When Oboro Shirakumo is nineteen years old, he is studying to become a detective.
Money is tight, school costs more than he was expecting it to, but he’s passionate about his cause and he knows it’s worth the debt. He wants to help people, solve crimes, make his country safe.
This is important, because it’s while he’s walking home from school that he meets Shimura Tenko, a boy aged only nine when Shirakumo stumbles upon him.
It’s late at night, Oboro having stayed far past sunset to study, when he hears small, quiet whimpers from behind a dumpster.
At first, he thinks it might be a puppy that has been abandoned. But, after rounding the dumpster, Oboro sees a shivering boy.
“Hey,” He whispers, crouching down so he is face-to-face with the child. “What’s your name?”
The boy looks up at him, fear barely concealed in his eyes. “My name is Tenko. Shimura Tenko.”
“Nice to meet you, Tenko. My name is Shirakumo.” He extends a hand, one which the boy hesitantly shakes. “How old are you?”
“I- I’m nine. How old are you?”
Oboro shakes his head. “I’m nineteen. Compared to you, I’m practically ancient!”
Tenko lets out a giggle at that, and Oboro allows himself to feel proud. “So, Tenko, what are you doing outside in the cold? Why aren’t you with your family?”
Tenko’s face closes off, his eyes darting to the ground below the two of them. “I don’t have a family.”
Oboro’s face softens. “Do you have somewhere you can stay? Somewhere warm, where you can maybe find something to eat?”
Tenko doesn’t speak, but he shakes his head no. He doesn’t look back up at Oboro, and he begins to wonder if maybe the young boy is ashamed of his situation.
“Well, that’s okay, buddy,” He says, standing up. “How about I help you find somewhere to go, hm? And if we can’t find anywhere, you can stay with me. I’ll even get you some takoyaki, if you like.”
That draws Tenko’s attention, who lifts his head up to look back at Oboro. “You mean it?”
“‘Course I do! C’mon, let’s get you up and grab some food, huh?” Oboro extends a hand, and when Tenko accepts his help, using Oboro’s hand to lift himself off the ground, it’s hard work to keep his smile contained.
Tenko is a sweet kid, and once they’ve eaten their snack, Oboro takes him to the best children’s shelter he knows. When the receptionist tells him they have room for Tenko, he looks down at the boy with a smile.
“You hear that, Tenko? They’ve got space for you! And they have staff here to find a more permanent solution, too, like a group home or something. Does that sound alright with you?”
Tenko looks down, contemplating. “Yeah.” He mumbles, “I guess...but… What if I want to see you again? You’re my only friend, I don’t want to lose you already.”
“Hey now,” Oboro replies, dropping down to a crouch. “Who said anything about losing me? Here,” He pulls a notebook from his backpack and rips out a blank page. “I’ll write down my phone number. Now you can talk to me whenever you want, and maybe we can hang out again on the weekends!”
“Okay,” Tenko nods, “I would like that. Thank you, Shirakumo.”
Tenko calls often, but Oboro can’t find it in him to complain. The boy seems to have trouble making and keeping friends, and if Oboro can be a friend to him, then he’s happy to do it. Despite his young age, Tenko is fun to talk to. While it’s true that he is still a kid, he’s clearly lived through more than some adults.
It’s during one of their regular phone calls that Oboro learns what he always wondered, but dreaded asking.
“What are you in school for?” Tenko asks, after patiently listening to Oboro complain about homework.
“Ah,” Oboro smiles, even though he knows Tenko can’t see it. He’s proud of who he is going to become, he can’t keep the smile off his face. “I’m going to be a detective.”
Tenko goes quiet. After a moment of silence, Oboro continues to chip away at his homework, before Tenko speaks again. “You’re going to be a policeman? My dad always hated the police.”
“Oh?” Oboro pauses, lifting his quickly unfocusing gaze toward his wall so he can pay full attention to what his friend has to say. “I didn’t know that. Did he say why?”
“His mommy was a police officer and she abandoned him. That’s what he always said. But he was mean, and he lied a lot, so I didn’t believe him for a long time.”
Oboro feels his heart falling, seemingly in slow motion, into his gut. “What about now? Did something happen, something that made you agree with him?”
Tenko is quiet for a long time, long enough that Oboro would almost begin to worry if he couldn’t hear the boy’s soft breathing on the line. “Yeah. But I don’t want you to be sad.”
“It’s okay, Tenko,” Oboro says, shaking his head. “I won’t be sad. You can tell me.”
Oboro hardly allows himself to breathe as he waits for Tenko to respond.
“My dad was mean. He… he hurt my sister and I. Someone noticed a mark I had on my arm and they called the police. My dad told them I fell down the stairs and...that was it. They left. My dad got so mad, he thought that I told that person to call them, but I didn’t! I didn’t, Shirakumo, I promise! But he was still so mad, and I was so scared, so...I left.”
“Yeah. And then you found me and you made it better. Something those stupid cops never did.”
Oboro doesn’t know what to say. He’s always known, of course, that sometimes the police mess up, sometimes they miss things. But to just...leave? Leave a child in that situation with such a simple, flimsy explanation? Without even talking to Tenko himself?
He’s seeing red.
“Well,” Oboro replies, forcing his voice to stay calm so as not to frighten Tenko more than he must already be. “I’m glad I was able to help you.”
“I’m sorry,” Tenko replies, voice soft.
Oboro releases a small sigh. “Don’t be sorry, Tenko. I’m glad you told me.”
“Okay,” The boy whispers. It’s times like these, when Tenko’s voice is small and unsteady, that Oboro doesn’t question for a second that he is still only nine years old. “If you still decide to be a detective, you’re going to be the best detective ever! I know it, Shirakumo!”
Oboro allows a small chuckle. “Thanks, buddy.”
Aizawa Shouta is probably the best man Oboro has ever met.
He tries to tell Shouta this, whenever he’ll listen, sometimes even with the help of Yamada Hizashi. Shouta always shrugs off their compliments, however, face stony and voice betraying nothing as he grumbles at them them to fuck off.
Oboro knows Shouta doesn’t actually dislike it, though. He knows because Shouta told him, once, with the conditions that if Oboro ever repeated the confession to Hizashi, he would be a dead man.
He never has told Hizashi, of course, nor does he plan to. He knows that Shouta knows this as well, because if Shouta didn’t know him well enough at this point to know he would never go spilling someone’s secrets, Oboro would be on the search for a new boyfriend.
Shouta shares a major with him, and the two of them met on the first day of classes at the academy. While Shouta would probably argue that he was annoying, Oboro likes to think the two of them hit it off right away. They quickly gravitated towards each other in all the classes they shared, and before Oboro knew what was happening, Shouta was confessing his feelings and telling Oboro to ‘hurry up and ask him out, already’.
(Oboro realizes that to anyone who knows Shouta, it may seem like a lie. Aizawa Shouta, confessing first? In what world? That’s why he’s never bothered to tell anyone the story. Well, that, and the fact he’s still in the closet.)
Truly, he feels like the luckiest man in the world to have Shouta. Oboro is not well off, not by a long shot, and he has to work a part-time job at a cafe when he’s not in school, just so he doesn’t starve. A job on top of school on top of homework and studying leaves very little time for Oboro and Shouta to go out together, but somehow, they make it work. Not once does Shouta complain, even though Oboro knows he would be valid in doing it. Shouta just gets it.
They haven’t been together very long, only the past four months since school has started, but sometimes Oboro thinks he might love him.
Oboro introduces Shouta to Tenko six months into their relationship.
He doesn’t tell Tenko just who Shouta is to him, but Tenko (who has recently turned ten and is quite proud of it) seems to know anyway.
Shouta knows enough about Tenko that he doesn’t find it odd that Oboro is friends with someone half his age, but he doesn’t know about Tenko’s father, nor does he know about the boy’s distaste for the police. Oboro doesn’t think Shouta would be particularly offended by that - he knows that Shouta plans to become a Private Investigator unrelated to the police force - but he feels like those things are Tenko’s to explain, not his.
Of course it’s not something a person would bring up the first time they meet someone new; ‘Hi, my name is Shimura Tenko, I’m ten years old and my father was abusive and the police didn’t do anything so I ran away and now I hate cops. How are you?’ doesn’t really fly as an introduction.
So, at least for now, Shouta is in the dark about Tenko’s past. And that’s okay. Oboro has no desire to leave Shouta, and with Tenko almost like a little brother at this point, he knows he’ll never get rid of him, either. Shouta will find out when the time is right.
As it would turn out, the right time may never come.
Oboro has paid far less than he promised he would have by this point on his first student loan, and he’s been denied a second.
Without a student loan, he can’t afford school. Hell, clearly he can’t even afford school with a loan.
Oboro contacts his academy’s administrators, with no luck. He contacts local and federal police, desperate for some kind of scholarship or other financial assistance. He has good grades, he was consistently top of the class, he just got dealt a shitty hand.
He’s laughed at and hung up on more often than he’s actually spoken to, and his sadness over the situation is slowly but surely being replaced with anger.
Frustrated, Oboro dials Tenko’s number. He doesn’t love complaining to a literal child about his adult problems, but he’s too ashamed to admit to his other friends just how poor he truly is. Shouta knows, but he’s visiting his parents and that has him stressed enough as it is, Oboro doesn’t want to add to that. He’ll talk to Shouta about it once his boyfriend returns home.
Tenko picks up on the second ring, the way he always does.
“Shirakumo? Is everything okay? You usually text before you call…” Tenko trails off, nervousness and anxiety clear in his voice.
“Hey, Tenko, I’m alright. Didn’t I tell you that you could call me Oboro? I didn’t change my mind.”
“I know,” Tenko replies, tone shifting from anxious to shy. Oboro figures it’s at least something of an upgrade. “But I don’t want to.”
Oboro nods, even though Tenko can’t see him. “That’s okay. How are you doing? How’s the new group home?”
“It’s good. My roommate is nice, he doesn’t snore like the last one did.” Oboro hears a giggle in the background and wonders if it’s the aforementioned roommate. “How are you?”
“Ah,” Oboro waves a noncommittal hand. “A little frustrated. But don’t worry about it.”
Tenko hmm’s on the line. “What happened?”
“I-” He pauses, wondering how much Tenko will truly understand of his situation. “Do you know what a student loan is?”
Tenko scoffs. “What do you take me for, a nine year old? C’mon, Shirakumo, I’m grown up now, you know that.”
Oboro holds back a chuckle. “Right. Those double digits mean double the intelligence, too. I forgot.”
“Exactly! Now, back to the student loan?”
“Student loan. Yes. I got denied one for this year of school. Can’t go back. No scholarship options, either.” He tries to keep his tone lighthearted, but he can hear the irritation below it.
“Oh no!” Tenko cries. “Shirakumo, that’s terrible! Did you try calling other places? Aside from your school?”
Leaning back in his chair, Oboro sighs. “Yeah. I spent all afternoon calling different police precincts. Most of them didn’t even finish listening to me before they hung up, and the ones who did just laughed at me.”
The line is silent a moment, before Tenko whispers in a gravelly voice, “Bastards.”
Oboro gasps. “Tenko! That’s a bad word!”
“I don’t care!” Tenko exclaims. Oboro can hear someone speaking behind him on the other end of the line, but whoever it is is being ignored. He listens to Tenko stomping down a set of stairs and, a moment later, slamming a door behind him. “I don’t care if it’s a bad word, Shirakumo, it’s true! They’re bastards! They’re leaving you behind just like they did to me. It’s all they do! They’re evil!”
Oboro pauses, gathering his thoughts. “Tenko, I-”
“Tell me I’m wrong, Shirakumo. Try to tell me I’m wrong.”
He wants to, he really does. He shouldn’t allow this kid - a child, because that’s what Tenko is - to think so lowly of the people meant to protect him. He should do his part to restore the faith.
But… Tenko has already lost faith. Possibly, he never had it in the first place, no matter how much he wanted to; it’s hard for a child not to believe what they grow up hearing from their parents.
Tenko doesn’t have any trust in the police for Oboro’s crushed spirit to build off of, and really, it should have been the police officers’ jobs to build that trust, all those months ago. The police failed Tenko, and then they failed Oboro, and perhaps they don’t deserve all the faith they get in the first place.
“You can’t, can you?” Tenko’s voice draws him from his thoughts.
With a shake of his head, Oboro replies. “No. You’re right, I can’t. Bastards.”
Tenko’s cackle should probably worry him, but all it does is fill Oboro’s heart with joy.
He’s never letting that boy get hurt again.
He’ll do whatever it takes.
After talking to his boss at the cafe, explaining what’s happened, Oboro gets promoted to full-time keyholder and opener, with the shop owner renting the empty apartment above the shop to him far below market value.
The too-polite, too-anxious side of Oboro, the side who was taught never to take advantage of people’s kindness for fear of being indebted to them, wants to decline the offer.
He doesn’t allow that side to win this time. He accepts before he can talk himself out of it, and his boss thanks him for it with a laugh. Oboro is taking over the boss’ shift, so now the shop owner is making money while doing no work at all.
He calls Tenko, excited, as soon as he finishes unpacking his new apartment. He doesn’t have much, having moved from a student-only apartment that was fully furnished, but now he has a chance to save up his money and buy things he actually likes.
Despite his life plans going down the gutter, Oboro finds himself excited for the future.
Tenko comes to visit a week after Oboro has moved in. Oboro treats him to hot chocolate from the cafe, and then the two make their way up to the apartment.
Before Tenko can take a seat on the couch in the main area, Oboro motions for the boy to follow him down the hallway.
“Okay, Tenko. You don’t have to if you don’t want, I know it’s still years away from even being a possibility, but…” Oboro pauses, gesturing with a wide arm to a closed door in front of the two of them. “I thought, once you turn 18 and age out of the system, this room could be yours. Check it out, if you want, but I’ll let you know right now, it doesn’t have any furniture yet.”
Tenko looks up at him, eyes shining. “Are you serious, Shirakumo? You would do that for me?”
Oboro smiles, resting a hand lightly on Tenko’s shoulder. “Of course I would.”
Tenko extends an arm, and before he knows what’s happening, Oboro is being wrapped in the boy’s embrace.
“Thank you,” Tenko says, voice muffled in Oboro’s shirt.
Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, Oboro reminds himself:
He will do anything to protect this boy.
Two weeks before school is going to resume, Oboro ends his relationship with Shouta.
It’s not something he looks forward to doing. He doesn’t want to break up with Shouta, he’s been putting off doing it for days.
But, it would be unfair to Shouta for Oboro to continue to stay in his life and take up the time he would need to study. Private Investigators need more experience, more respectable references than regular police detectives do. Shouta will need to do an internship or some sort of practicum this year, and Oboro can’t selfishly demand his time on top of it.
If he were still in school, maybe they could make it work. Study dates, seeing each other in class, that sort of thing.
But he isn’t, and he won’t ever be again, and he has a full-time job now, so at this point his days are pretty fully booked anyway.
Oboro does his best to explain this all to Shouta, and he’s pretty sure Shouta understands, but understanding doesn’t stop the hurt and heartbreak from flashing across Shouta’s face.
Oboro apologizes once more, stands up from the table the two have been sitting at, and presses one last kiss against Shouta’s forehead before he exits the building, leaving his heart behind.
Two years pass without much fuss, Oboro continuing to work and build his savings.
It’s a week after his twenty second birthday that Oboro’s boss gives him the offer of a lifetime.
“The whole thing? The business and the apartment?”
His boss nods, a small smile on his face. “You deserve it. You’ve worked hard. You know this business inside and out, I trust you to keep it to the standard it deserves.”
Oboro searches the face of the man in front of him. Age and life have left the skin wrinkled, but his eyes are kinder than anybody else’s.
“Well,” Oboro begins with a wry smile of his own. “Retirement will look good on you. Thank you for this opportunity, of course I would be honoured to buy the business from you.”
It’s below market value, a ‘belated birthday present’, according to his boss. Oboro has just enough money in his savings to afford the business and keep it afloat until he begins to earn back his investment.
But it’s worth it. It’s so, so worth it. It means no more paying rent on his above-shop apartment, no need to get permission before he moves Tenko in once the boy turns eighteen. Of course, he still has six more years to prepare for Tenko’s arrival, but it’s a weight off his shoulders nonetheless.
Pretty soon, all the papers have been signed and ownership of both the coffee shop and the above-shop apartment has been transferred to one Shirakumo Oboro, and his once-bleak future couldn’t look brighter.
A year after acquiring the business and making small changes to turn it into something of his own, Oboro meets a teenage boy named Touya.
Touya is a runaway, and Oboro once again finds himself with the overwhelming urge to help this young boy.
Sure, the boy is seven years older than Tenko was when Oboro found him. And, sure, Touya is only a handful of years younger than Oboro himself, but he is still a kid and Oboro is determined to help him.
Touya refuses to accept handouts, and he instead quickly begins a job working evenings at the coffee shop in order to be able to afford to pay rent for the bedroom that will one day become Tenko’s.
Aside from Touya, Oboro has hired a man named Sako Atsuhiro to work as an in-house baker, so that they can stop out-sourcing the desserts they sell. It has steadily led to increased popularity of their cafe, and just a few short months after hiring Touya, Oboro hires a man named Bubaigawara Jin to work the morning shift.
All the new hires mean that Oboro finally has time off, sometimes, and he usually spends it visiting Tenko.
Tenko is now thirteen, although Oboro has to admit the boy views the world in a way that is much older than he is. Tenko has been moved around a number of different group homes, never seeming to find one that fits him just right. Oboro thinks this may be somewhat his fault - he’s the one who promised Tenko his home as soon as the boy ages out of the system. If he has something to look forward to, why should he bother getting comfortable with something temporary?
Nevertheless, Tenko has spent his time in every group home he’s been in talking to other children like himself. His opinion of law enforcement is lower every time Oboro sees him, and with the stories Tenko relays to him, Oboro finds himself agreeing with the boy.
Perhaps more frighteningly, he finds that his agreement on the subject doesn’t bother him in the slightest.
It’s around midnight, when Oboro hears the story of Todoroki Touya.
Cautiously, he relays the story of how he met Tenko, and watches Touya’s oft-impassive face become quite clearly enraged.
Touya comes with him, the next time Oboro goes to visit Tenko, and the two boys seem to get along well, spending at least twenty minutes huddled together, chatting.
Another four years pass, and Oboro knows that Touya is some sort of vigilante on his nights off.
Which is not to say that Touya isn’t smart with it, just that Oboro knows his schedule to a T.
(That, and, the now-seventeen year old Tenko told him. Tenko talks often with Touya, and Oboro knows that the minute Tenko has aged out of his final group home, he’s going to follow in Touya’s footsteps.)
He approaches Touya one evening, the young man dressed head-to-toe in black, with a flimsy mask covering the lower half of his face.
“Touya,” He begins, causing Touya to turn around on his heel. “I want you to know, if you ever feel you want or need assistance in your…activities, I’m here to help you. If there’s something you need, if you want me to cover a final hour or two for you at the cafe, just let me know.”
Touya’s eyes search his, and then he nods once. “Thanks, Shirakumo.”
“Of course. Any time, Touya.”
“Oh,” Touya exclaims. “That’s one thing. When I’m doing all this, you should call me Dabi. I’m going to make a name for myself one of these days, just you watch me!”
Shirakumo doesn’t hesitate to believe it.
On Tenko’s eighteenth birthday, Oboro closes the shop early and he and Touya help Tenko move into the apartment above.
Touya moved out a few months ago, having saved enough money to be able to afford his own studio a couple minutes away by train.
Tenko doesn’t have many belongings, but nobody comments. They all know that Touya doesn’t need to be there, but after they have dinner and a little bit of birthday cake, Tenko will be joining Dabi for his first night as his vigilante persona - Shigaraki Tomura.
Oboro will not be tagging along, but he has vowed to continue to support from behind the scenes, covering costs and ordering supplies, so the three of them mark Tenko’s birthday as the official beginning of what Tenko has decided to name “the League of Vigilantes.”
Oboro thinks it has a bit of a ring to it.
With the addition of Tenko to the cafe, plus the new requirement of a meeting place for the LoV that isn’t Oboro’s apartment, he decides to make his cafe a 24-hour establishment.
Touya offers to take the new graveyard shift, being the night owl that he is, with Oboro taking over the evenings and Tenko taking the midday.
That way, he figures, Shigaraki and Dabi could go out on evenings together, if they want to. They don’t make a habit of working together, too worried of it becoming obvious just who they are, but they aren’t against the idea, either.
Really, the graveyard shift has been proposed as a way for Oboro to keep Touya on his payroll. Not that Touya knows this, of course. Touya still hates handouts, and Oboro worries if he knew the shift was created solely for his benefit, Touya would never accept the shift.
Tenko knows, however. Oboro has never been good at keeping secrets from him.
Graveyard shift being a LoV meeting place had just been an added benefit.
To his surprise, however, the night shift brings in some money. Not a lot, of course, nowhere near what the day shift does. But, still, being the only place offering coffee after the clubs in the area have all closed for the night does have its perks, apparently.
Touya is already mentioning having a sort-of regular, although he claims the customer’s name escapes him.
“He’s kinda scraggly-looking,” Touya offers at one of their regular LoV meetings.
The meetings are rarely very professional, they typically drag on until Tenko goes upstairs, yawning, and Oboro follows him only after turning the “open” sign back on, leaving Touya to his work.
Tenko’s huff draws him back to the conversation at hand. “Scraggly. That helps a lot.”
Touya shoots him a glare. Oboro doesn’t pay the bickering any mind, he’s had five years to get used to it after all.
“His name is like...Ai-something. Fuck, I can’t remember.”
Slowly, Oboro turns to look at Touya, tilting his head. “Black hair? Long-ish?”
Tenko whips his head to stare at Oboro. “No fucking way,” He whispers.
Touya gives both of them an odd look. “Yeah,” He confirms. “Shoulder-length.”
“Any chance his name might be Aizawa? Aizawa Shouta?”
Tenko shakes his head slowly. “No fucking way,” He whispers once again, with feeling.
“That’s it!” Touya exclaims. “That’s his name! Aizawa. How the Hell did you know that?”
Oboro hums, electing not to reply.
“Wow,” Tenko says, eyes appearing unfocused as he once again stares in Oboro’s direction. “Aizawa Shouta. I haven’t heard that name in ages.”
Touya’s eyes dart between the two of them once again before he speaks. “How do both of you know him?”
Oboro can feel Tenko’s eyes on him as he replies. “He’s my ex. We went to school together, and I dumped him after I got kicked out so that I wouldn’t be a distraction to him. God, that was already nine years ago…”
“I think saying you dumped him is a little harsh, Shirakumo. He knew why you were doing it,” Tenko says softly.
Oboro doesn’t say anything, choosing to stare down at his hands. He has never forgotten Shouta, could never forget what being with Shouta felt like, the way Shouta could make him feel like he was the most important man in the world.
“Wow,” Touya says, breaking the silence that has enveloped them. “Shirakumo, please don’t tell me you’re still hung up over a guy you broke up with nine years ago.”
Oboro finally raises his gaze, and his eyes say everything his voice can’t.
He feels Tenko grab both his hands, and Touya pats his shoulder before standing up and walking back to the coffee bar, turning the sign back on by himself for tonight.
“I’m sorry,” Oboro whispers.
Somehow, his words break his own heart.
A few months after Shigaraki’s debut, Oboro is in his apartment watching t.v when he gets a text.
‘emergency lov meeting in 15 mins. wear ur mask. shirakumo ur kurogiri now. delete this txt’
And, well, it says everything he needs to know. Oboro slips the mask he purchased a few months ago over his face, and makes his way downstairs to see Touya doing the same. Oboro turns the “open” sign off, and Touya pours him a mug of tea, meeting him at their usual booth.
Shigaraki has his mask pulled up when he enters the cafe with someone following close behind.
“Spinner,” He says, locking the door behind his guest. “This is the League of Vigilantes. Kurogiri,” He gestures to Oboro, who waves politely, “And Dabi.” Shigaraki finishes with a gesture towards Dabi, who nods in acknowledgement.
“You drink coffee, Spinner?” Dabi asks, standing up again and pointing to the coffee bar.
“Uh,” Spinner replies eloquently. “Yes. Two cream and two sugar, please.”
Dabi nods. “Classic. Nice. Want some, Shigaraki?”
Shigaraki shrugs, and Oboro sends a silent thank you when he sees Dabi prepare a decaf tea for him instead.
“What’s going on, Shigaraki?” Oboro questions, glancing between the boy and his guest.
Shigaraki grabs his mug of tea from Dabi before it can even be set on the table top, blowing on the steaming drink. “Spinner wants to join us.”
Oboro turns his gaze to Spinner, who is nodding. “Yes. Well - I didn’t know Shigaraki was part of a team already, I had originally proposed working more as partners, but I’ve heard of Dabi and I would be honoured to join your League. I- I’m sorry, I don’t know if I’ve heard of you, though, Kurogiri?”
Oboro waves his concerns away. “Don’t worry. I work behind the scenes to support the League, moreso financially than anything else.”
“Right,” Spinner replies, nodding. “Gotcha. So...why are we meeting in a coffee shop?”
Oboro blinks. “I own it. It’s our cover.”
“Are you serious?” Spinner looks at Shigaraki for confirmation.
Shigaraki nods. “If you join us, we can probably find a shift here for you, too.”
“You can have the evening shift, if you want it,” Oboro offers.
Spinner opens his mouth to reply, but before he can say anything he’s interrupted by Dabi.
“Hey, guys, if you’re going to talk business and not League stuff, I would rather just get back to work. No offense, but I don’t give a fuck.”
Shigaraki scoffs. “Sweet of you, Touya.”
Touya rolls his eyes. “Whatever, Tenko. You make, like, two hundred times what I do in tips. Sue me for not wanting to close longer than I have to.”
Oboro raises his hands, stopping the argument from brewing any further. “Just turn the sign back on, Touya. Spinner, I’ll go grab some paperwork for you to fill in, and then we’ll see when we can get you in for training?”
Spinner nods, and Oboro watches Touya slip his mask off and switch the sign back on. Oboro pulls his own mask off, assuming Shigaraki and Spinner are doing the same while he heads to his office to fetch the paperwork.
Spinner introduces himself as Shuichi Iguchi, and begins training the following afternoon, immediately revealing the existence of the LoV to both Bubaigawara and Sako.
He had mistakenly assumed everyone employed at the cafe was part of the League.
Oboro prepares for disaster, but finds himself pleasantly surprised when Sako reveals he appears on the streets every now and again as the vigilante Mister Compress. He asks to join the League as soon as he learns of its existence, and of course Oboro has no reason to deny his request.
Bubaigawara is a bit more unpredictable, as he appears visually shaken by the revelation. Oboro sends him home early, trusting him not to go to the police with his information. He knows that Bubaigawara cares about all of them, he doesn’t think their safety is at risk, at least not yet.
Two hours after Bubaigawara has been sent home, Oboro receives a phone call. While he may not have any experience with it, Bubaigawara wants to join, too.
Somehow, in less than twenty-four hours, the League of Vigilantes has doubled in size. Shuichi mentions a friend he sometimes teams up with, Magne, whom he thinks may be interested in joining as well.
After spending years with only Tenko and Touya to call family, Oboro can’t stop the feeling of hope from overtaking his chest.
Touya meets Toga while he’s out as Dabi, just shy of a year after the League grew so suddenly. He drags Toga back to the cafe with him, where Oboro immediately offers her a part-time job. The cafe is continuing to get busier, and they need the help on weekends.
Toga accepts his offer, joining the League at the same time, and Oboro’s family is complete.
Oboro doesn’t have the time to keep up with all the gossip within the cafe, but Tenko tells him about the young man that Touya has a crush on.
“He’s a student,” Tenko says. “He’s studying crime scene analysis. He’s going to be a cop.” Tenko pretends to gag.
“That’s unfortunate. I hope he comes to his senses soon,” Oboro replies softly. He remembers those days. This ‘Hawks’ character will learn better some day. In fact, if he’s close with Touya, that day will likely be sooner, rather than later.
The next time Oboro hears about Hawks, the general consensus is that the League is angry with him now.
He’s hurt Touya’s feelings, broken his heart if Toga is to be believed.
(The others may deny it sometimes, but Oboro knows that when it comes to love, Toga is almost always to be believed.)
And then, Tenko is sheepishly confessing that he accidentally revealed the existence of the LoV to Hawks.
“I thought Touya told him. Dammit!”
Oboro shakes his head, laughing only slightly. “Do not worry, Tenko. If he hasn’t gone to the police with Dabi’s identity, Dabi’s words probably got to him already.”
“I know,” Tenko allows. “I just- Shit, I hate that I was the one who said it.”
Oboro allows his laugh to grow in volume, this time. He ruffles Tenko’s hair as he walks behind him. Tenko grumbles, but he doesn’t pull away.
It’s only a few days later that Oboro is meeting the polarizing Hawks.
Oboro introduces himself with two names, unsure which one Hawks knows, and follows the rest of the League as they make their way to the large booth, steaming drinks in everyone’s hands.
It’s awkward, for just a moment, until Dabi is nudging Hawks to explain.
And he does.
Oboro has never met someone who can talk as much as Hawks does.
Toward the end of his explanation, Hawks mentions Shouta. Oboro can feel Tenko’s eyes on the side of his head, but he pays the boy no mind.
He...he can’t remember Shouta, right now.
But - Shouta really did it, he got what he always wanted, he became a successful Private Investigator. Oboro did the right thing, breaking up with him, removing the distraction that was himself.
It hurts, referring to Shouta as “Mr. Aizawa,” but he has to. He doesn’t trust Hawks, at least not yet, and he doesn’t feel explaining to the entire rest of the League why he’s so familiar with a Private Investigator looking to take down one of their own.
In order to protect the rest of the League, Oboro has to forget Shouta
God, does it hurt.
Shigaraki and Touya work together to get Shouta off Touya’s trail, and weeks pass with the case apparently going cold, but still Oboro can’t stop thinking about Shouta.
He knows Tenko has figured this out about him, but he can’t find it in himself to care.
Tenko doesn’t seem to care, either, and really that just makes him comfortable in thinking about Shouta even more.
Maybe...maybe he should message Shouta?