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In hindsight, he really should have seen that this was going to be a problem.


Teruki had always taken pride in that, among many things, he was good at reading people. Analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, determining their power level. He wasn’t some pathetic, single - minded idiot who let any small bit of power rush to his head and jumped at every chance to fight.


He was smart. He was efficient. He was a strategizer.


Which is precisely why it came as such a slap in the face when he’d come to determine, hiding behind a dumpster, frantically asking for advice from a random stranger on a phone he just stole, that perhaps he had underestimated Ritsu’s capabilities.


A street bench went flying into a parked car’s passenger window, coming out the driver’s side and splintering into pieces when it collided into a bookstore with a sickening screech.


A problem.


Just a bit.


To be fair, things hadn’t started out quite so… violently. Not at first, at least. Or maybe it had, but things had just escalated so unbelievably quickly he hadn’t had any time to feasibly comprehend it all.


He’d noticed Ritsu immediately become upset over Shigeo’s arrival, but that was a given at any rate. Even though he’d grown more comfortable around Teruki and they were borderline friends, he was still touchy whenever the topic of his brother was breached. 


It left him rather intrigued, honestly. It could just be chalked up to wanting to protect him from his end of their deal, but what little mention of him did show up in conversation was laced with an odd amount of bitterness. The kind of layered, underlying resentment that made a darkly gleeful side of him unfurl. What exactly was the reason Ritsu turned to him for help instead of his own brother?


(He’d stopped asking a few meetings in. It was unusual behavior for him, to not press for information from someone when he had the power to do so, which was almost always the case. But he found himself enjoying the company of the second - year. It felt more like he was here, tethered to the ground, instead of aimlessly floating through every moment. For the first time in years, he’d begun to care.)


The real problem had started after Ritsu had shown up after him and blew up at Shigeo. Teruki hadn’t even had to do anything, Ritsu just started screaming at him. He’d already noted that he was quick to anger, but not with such devastating rawness. It was a bit unnerving, frankly, and left him in a bit of shock.


Maybe that was why everything afterwards seemed to happen so fast.


He’d taken the heavy breathing as Ritsu trying to collect himself, but the rising buzzing of a power spike in his aura, hair already beginning to unnaturally stand on end, could not be so easily mistaken. Teruki might have been inexperienced in emotion - fueled abilities, but he doubted such a thing could ever end well if left unattended.


He’d reached out to him, arm placed gently around his shoulder, hand lingering hesitantly near his front uniform pocket. “Hey, deep breaths. Make sure to -“


And then he was thrown into the side of a building.


He’d managed to throw up his barrier just before impact, thankfully, but the sudden force on his body left him reeling.


Even though he hadn’t been thrown far, he normally would have already retaliated, if not for the fact that Ritsu had stumbled off the bench and crumpled to his knees, giving no indication that he was even aware of what he did. The buzz around his aura was beginning to grow frenetic - staticky, almost. It was giving him a headache. 


The ground began to tremble as the buzzing reached a fervent high speed, and before he knew what he was doing he took off towards an alleyway, gripping tightly to the phone (phone?) in his hand as he ran for dear life.


This likely prevented him from obliteration when the street exploded. 


And yes, exploded was definitely the right word for it. While not having much range, he could tell, groggily sitting up from when he’d been knocked off his feet, that it had left a large crater in its wake, taking out the front of the adjoining buildings with it. While the roads were currently devoid of civilians, thank god, he couldn’t be so sure about the buildings themselves. If he didn’t blow up, he’d have to check back in later.


It was then that he’d noticed he was holding something in his hand - a cell phone, one he immediately recognized as belonging to Ritsu. He must have grabbed it by mistake from his shirt pocket when he was running away. 


How convenient.


He’d already decided he wasn’t immediately going to counterattack, so it was worth a shot. While he was confident he could take Ritsu down, he didn’t want to risk doing any further damage to him - because, frankly, he had no idea what the hell was happening here. Checking his contact list to find someone who knows something could potentially work.


There were only four. Two labeled “Mom” and “Dad,” and one called “Shigeo.” As none of them answered, he was forced to rely on the final one, “Reigen Arataka.”


And that was where he was now - hiding behind a dumpster, ready to take off again if Ritsu - no, the levitating shell - brought any of its idle, aimless destruction his way. He’d kept the phone at a low volume, but the sound of this Reigen guy’s heaving breaths as he ran towards the scene seemed far too loud for comfort. If he had a plan, it better be good.


As if on cue, he noticed a figure on the other side of the street, walking cautiously on the sidewalk in a rather comical attempt to appear discreet. Teruki took a leap of faith and poked his head out, quickly waving him towards the darkened alley.


As Reigen picked up his pace, he froze mid - step. The shell, which had collected a whirlpool of shattered window glass around it, had turned towards him.


Teruki watched in horror as the man’s body was flung backwards towards a wall. “Shit, don’t!” he cried out.


Before he could stop the terrifying spectacle with telekinesis, however, someone apparently did it for him, as Reigen thankfully stopped short of being completely crushed by sheer force of impact and merely collapsed to the ground, (hopefully) unconscious. 


He heard light footsteps walking toward him at an even pace, completely calm and steady.


“Ritsu? What are you doing?”


Speak of the devil.