Tomura had mostly sequestered himself away the past week, immersing himself (reluctantly) in the thrilling world of Friendship Simulators. So, when he emerged from his room to speak to Hisashi, the man was already caught off guard.
“Sensei,” his disciple began, and then said a sentence that no parent wants to hear: “Your child is trending online again.”
Oh no, Hisashi thought, mentally running through an endless list of things that could have gone wrong. “I see,” he said, voice tempered. “And for what reason is my son a topic of conversation?”
If his son could just not attract attention for one week—the dinner was tonight! What could Izuku have possibly managed to get himself into? Well, actually, better not ask that question. The real question was how deep Izuku could manage to get into shit, because the shit, somehow, always found his son.
“You should really get a Twitter…” Tomura grumbled, tapping away at his phone as he presumably found what he intended to show him, and Hisashi shook his head with a smile.
“My boy, you already have so much to say about my accessibility tools. Do you really want to hear my screen reader shouting out Twitter opinions all afternoon?”
“Oh. No, that would kill me, actually.”
Hisashi hummed in agreement, returning to his current task of dismembering a corpse as he waited on Tomura. Some of his followers hadn’t had the best reaction to their overpowered boss escaping from prison. Unfortunately, more than a few of the little rats had assumed Hisashi was going to be locked away for good—goodness knows why, it’s not like this was the first time he had escaped from jail!—and he could hardly let dissenters run free.
Thus, the corpses. And Hisashi was hardly one to waste valuable resources. Thus, the dismemberment. Recycling at its finest.
He was a sustainability-conscious villain; one could hardly let perfectly good limbs and organs go to waste.
Medical science in the era of quirks really owed him a great debt, not that the government would ever admit it. For leeches on societies, government officials could be so absurdly squeamish. They were just bodies . Everyone had bodies! Death was a totally natural part of life—and so were limbs.
Thankfully, Tomura was raised with the maturity to disregard a few stray detached extremities. Hisashi was good at parenting.
“He was on the train,” Tomura said finally, dragging Hisashi’s attention back to the topic at hand (and away from the hand he was dismantling). The boy continued, his voice a flat drawl, “Looks like he was dragged into a bunch of selfies, though I don’t think he was too happy about it. He looks like a startled green deer. With a bush on its head.”
“Ah, my poor boy has always been a bit shy,” Hisashi sighed fondly. “Though I hardly see why everyone feels the need to hound Izuku. Frankly, I’m surprised he was recognized at all! He’s rather plain—”
“He’s wearing a t-shirt with him and All Might on it,” Tomura drawled plainly, “one that says the bastard’s his father. It’s got both of ‘em on it, smiling and shit. Chibis.”
Hisashi froze, wrist-deep into some straggler’s chest cavity. “...I must have heard that wrong, Tomura. Did you say—”
“It’s one of these ugly ‘Mighty Family’ t-shirts. And all the pics he’s in have the hashtags too: #MightyFamiy, #MyBoy, #FatherAllMight. It’s disgusting.”
Although he could hardly breathe fire into a mechanical respirator, Hisashi could feel puffs of smoke curling out of his mouth. His lungs were hot, burning with righteous anger, and the smog found its way out of his mask despite him suppressing any actual fire.
“Father All Might,” he hissed, hands clenching tight around some organ, pulverizing the thing into a gory pulp. “What is he, some religious figure? That is. This is absurd.” Hisashi spun around, stalking and spreading smoke across his workshop floor. He paced restlessly.
“Yeah,” grunted Tomura, face scrunched up and watching him warily over his phone. He shifted in place. “Uh. For what it’s worth, Little Brother doesn’t look too happy to be in the photos.”
“I gave him a Nomu.”
“The Nomu’s in the selfies too, actually. It’s got a big hat on and a sweater and shit.” Tomura squinted at his screen, muttering reluctantly, “Actually, it’s kind of cute. Like a special edition mount.”
Hisashi strode toward his successor, who startled a bit. Doubtlessly he was a bit of a sight: a 6’6”, bulky, suited, and blood-coated masked figure wasn’t the most reassuring character. Regardless, Hisashi was a man on a furious mission, and he gripped Tomura’s arms with bloody hands.
“Tomura,” he said.
Tomura waited for him to continue, and when he didn’t, the boy awkwardly patted at one of Hisashi’s clenched, bloody hands encouragingly. “There, there,” he said, face twisting in some uncomfortable attempt at reassurance. Likely, it was a try at a comforting smile, but Tomura, deprived of such affections, was stuck trying to mimic the pixelated faces he’d studied on screens. Hisashi had never seen nor heard the boy attempt such a look before, so he could only assume his rehabilitation had done its job.
Nonetheless, it was creepy as fuck. Hisashi released his successor’s arms, fists clenching and unclenching in contemplation.
“Tomura,” he repeated, “I am going to win.”
“I know, Sensei. You’re a- uh, you’d be a way better dad than All Might.”
“Izuku must know that I plan on making a fantastic first impression tonight,” Hisashi continued, hand rising to tap at his mask. He pulled out his phone from his suit pocket, saying loudly, “Phone, bring up a text to Izuku.”
“Uh, Sensei, are you sure you should—When did you get his number?” His successor had the insolence to sound surprised; as if Hisasi reaching out to his son was a bad idea, and as if he wouldn’t have sought out a way to contact Izuku. He was hardly an amateur at this whole ‘family’ thing. He was married !
“I know what I’m doing, Tomura,” Hisashi interrupted, lying, but with great determination. How hard could it be to be a doting father? He had only been gone for a decade or so. “And I obtained it from Inko, of course. Phone, text Izuku: My boy, comma, this is your father, period. I look forward to seeing you this evening, period.” He paused, considering the best way to let his son know that he planned on blowing Yagi out of the water. “My parenting will be so overwhelming with undaunting love that you will never smile at All Might again, period. Send text.”
“...Sensei are you sure —”
“I helped raise Izuku for the first four years of his life, my boy,” Hisashi declared, shoving his phone back into his pocket. He’d have to remember to wipe the blood off the screen later; he had to make an excellent first impression, after all, and the dinner was only hours away.
Despite his disgust at Izuku’s clothing choices, he could appreciate the deviousness and spite that doubtlessly fuelled the selection. Izuku was showing Hisashi his true colors, the Izuku that hid behind the pretenses of hero society. His boy was truly ruthless, donning garments denying his connection to his loving, villainous father on the very night they were to reunite for the first time in nearly a decade. How cruel.
As much as he wanted to burn the t-shirt into a fiery crisp, he also wanted to pat his son on the back for his savagery.
And also get the boy into an actual shirt, one with buttons and a collar. If the rest of Izuku’s wardrobe remained much the same as it was in his childhood, it was undoubtedly filled with kitschy t-shirts titled with their function or designation. Gods only knew the amount of hero merchandise, too, that filled his closet. Hisashi shivered in disgust. Yes, he’d have to get his son a proper suit or ten.
His phone chimed. Embarrassingly, he found his heart racing just a bit.
Hisashi rushed to retrieve it from his pocket, while Tomura visibly braced himself, heat signature stiffening and temperature rising with stress. Really, he had no need to be so tense; Hisashi knew to expect Izuku’s tongue to be nothing less than cutting. He had so much ground to make up with his son, after all, but he planned on sticking around now and being the good, villainous influence Izuku needed in his life.
“Phone, read the text from Izuku.”
In its loud, robotic voice, his phone noted, “Image attached.”
It said nothing else, which left Hisashi a bit surprised; Izuku was not a boy of few words.
He blinked, understanding dawning quickly. “Ah,” he said. “Right. He doesn’t know I’m blind.” With the way he fought at Kamino, anyone that didn’t get a close look at his mask-less face would have no way of guessing he couldn't see. He thought for a moment, considering, then called, “Tomura.”
“You heard my phone.”
“Hard not to hear it,” his successor muttered, which Hisashi again chose to kindly ignore. He left his phone’s volume for text to speech louder than the average man because he participated in louder than average hobbies, like dismembering corpses with a table saw.
(He may be blind, visibly, but he wasn’t blind to microaggressions regarding his visual disability.)
“Well,” Hisashi said, tone professional and calm, “I can hardly ignore whatever image my son has sent me. We’re meeting with him tonight, after all. Despite his usual thoughtfulness, he seems to have forgotten to add a descriptive caption, as per typical electronic courtesy. Please,” Hisashi gestured, phone in hand outstretched toward Tomura, “describe the image Izuku has texted me.”
Tomura took his phone with hesitant fingertips, grimacing. He stared down at the screen for a few solid minutes, deciphering both the image and, more importantly, how to describe it to Sensei.
There was no way to soften the blow. Tomura had studied friendship and neighborly kindness for an entire week of endless simulation gaming, but Tom Nook couldn’t save him from having to say the terrible truth.
“It’s a meme, Sensei.”
Hisashi blinked, baffled but determined. “...describe the meme to me, Tomura. In relentless detail.”
“What—ughh, no. Who does that.”
“The blind,” Hisashi declared, maybe a bit threatening, aura radiating his tension regarding the evening’s dinner. “Tomura. I must reconnect with my son, and I cannot fail to All Might in my ability to read Izuku’s texts. Describe. The meme. ”
Tomura opened and closed his mouth a few times, struggling on every level, primarily mentally, to gather the strength to describe a stupid meme to his Sensei. Finally, he relented, voice rasping, “It’s...an image of All Might, but mostly greyed out. The eyes are, uh, red with lasers. He’s glaring, with the laser-eyes. There’s English impact text over the bottom of the image. It says, ‘Then perish’ in all caps.”
Hisashi considered this. Tomura slumped a bit in place, legs growing weak, energy spent on the demanding task of describing his little brother’s stupid meme to the king of the underworld.
“What could this mean,” Hisashi muttered to himself. Tomura stared in confusion, because he thought it was pretty damn obvious, but his Sensei continued mumbling. “Obviously there’s the literal meaning. Izuku is issuing a threat, so to speak, a verbal challenge of wits. It’s only logical that he disputes my claim, as he is the successor to my brother’s quirk, and the usage of All Might’s visage further displays his loyalties. Not to mention his uncouth affection for Yagi. Clearly, my boy is letting me know that he’s prepared for the emotional campaign that will inevitably occur tonight. It’s a proud statement, fearless of—”
“It’s a meme, Sesei. He’s just,” Tomura grunted, voice strangled, gesturing with the phone still gripped in his hand (pinky raised). “He’s just messing with you. Don’t read into it.”
“It’s not ‘reading into’ things to discus and dissect media. Izuku is an intelligent boy. He wouldn’t send such a powerful image without fully unraveling its meanings.”
“It’s All Might with red laser eyes. It’s not that deep, Sensei.”
Hisashi drew himself up, retrieving his phone from Tomura’s uncertain grip. “I must respond in kind,” he mumbled. “I have to let Izuku know that I am prepared to face his challenge head-on. And that I’m not out of touch, so to speak.”
Tomura edged away, subtly skirting the edge of the room toward the door to his own. “Well, anyway,” he said quickly, “just thought I’d let you know Little Brother is trending. I’m gonna go get dressed for dinner, in the clothes you got me, Sensei. And I have to go over some dialogue options so I remember how to talk extra kind and shit.”
“Oh, no. I need you, my boy. After all, a blind man can hardly craft the perfect JPEG.”
“Sensei,” Tomura gritted out, strained. His palms were sweating. “I gotta...gotta talk to my villagers. I need to study being friendly, like you assigned me.”
“You’ve had the week to study up, Tomura,” Hisashi declared, phone held up like a weapon. Tomura had never really felt threatened by Sensei, but the stubborn rage oozing from him had him stiffening in unease. Tone dark, Hisashi demanded, “Help me respond to Izuku. Create a meme that will sway my son’s loyalties to his true family.”
Hands unsteady, pinkies raised and face twisted in a grimace, Tomura took his Sensei’s phone and started editing his reply.
“I can’t believe I just sent that to All For One,” Izuku muttered to himself, hands twisting anxiously together. He and Bakugou (and Mephi-chan) had disembarked from the train, barely managing to dart away from Izuku’s admirers, and they were nearly to his mom’s house. Izuku’s stomach squirmed when he thought of how he’d have to face his evil biodad across his kitchen table.
“You didn’t send it to All For One,” Bakugou corrected gruffly. “You sent it to your evil, loser sperm donor. Remember, he may be a superpowered creep, but he’s still your shitty old man.”
“Right,” Izuku said. He hadn’t entirely convinced himself of that yet—logically, he knew that they’d long since confirmed the man he’d be meeting tonight was his dad, and logically he knew that this was the same man that had broken out of Tartarus. Logically, he knew he’d be having dinner with his biological father, who just happened to be a centuries-old villain.
But emotionally...well. Emotionally, he was in hell.
Bakugou kicked at the ground, then stuck his leg out to trip Mephi-chan. Predictably, that didn’t exactly work; Mephi-chan was built to be impervious, after all, and it had four sturdy legs. Thus, Mephi-chan merely hobbled awkwardly over Bakugou’s outstretched leg, open maw dripping onto his friend’s limb. Bakugou recoiled.
“Fuckin’ gross,” he hissed, shaking his leg free of Nomu drool. As much as Izuku hated having an assigned Nomu, he couldn’t help but relish in the moment. He may have forgiven his friend, but a little karma for poorly behaved boys never hurt.
No, he chided himself. No, Izuku, let’s be kind and spite-free. He’d been more bitter than usual, recently, he couldn’t help but notice. It probably had something to do with a gaggle of their classmates obsessing over his genetic origins. Regardless, Izuku was determined to not be spiteful. He didn’t want to be mad at his classmates when they were all so kind, and so heroic, and so nosy, not minding their own business, heroes —
“Anyway,” Bakugou grumbled, shoving the indignity behind him, “why’d you send your old man a meme? I thought you’d wanna be all noble ‘n shit, but the look on your face when you saw the bastard’s text was fuckin’ pissed.”
Izuku blushed, rubbing at his face. “Ah, so embarrassing,” he whined. “I don’t want to be so angry. I just thought- well, mostly I thought it would be funny. He’s really old, right? And probably wealthy and pretentious, based on how he’s been in a position of power. So, he’s probably really out of touch, I thought, and making him have to decipher a threatening meme would be really funny. Like, good luck, evil quirk-boomer grandpa, right?”
His friend just stared at him for a moment, eyes squinting like Izuku was improperly assembled furniture and he couldn’t figure out where the manufacturer had gone wrong. Such a look was hardly warranted, in Izuku’s opinion.
“Uh-huh,” he finally grumbled. “Right. Anyway, you think he’s gonna look like he did at Kamino?”
“Y’know, face all fucked up ‘n shit. He didn’t have any damn eyes when All Might punched his Darth Vader helmet off.”
“ Don’t, ” Izuku hissed, freezing in place. He glared hard at Bakugou, face going fierce. Maybe this was a little overkill, a little harsh, but he wouldn’t tolerate any language related to that topic. “We don’t use the Star-words anymore. Don’t even reference its characters.”
Bakugou blinked at him rapidly, hands smoking a bit at his sides. He looked more than a little startled at Izuku’s outburst. Izuku huffed in a deep, calming breath.
“We all know what his mask looked like,” Izuku mumbled, returning to their previous, calm pace, headed toward his childhood house. “ If it was similar to any fictional properties, we don’t have to say it, ‘cause we all already know.”
His friend was giving him that look again. For no reason! Izuku wasn’t behaving any different than usual, and if he was, it was just because people kept trying his damn patience. Which was only to be expected when people referenced Space Battles and paternity theories around him all the damned time, gods—calm down, Izuku.
Bakugou just faced forward and proceeded as if Izuku hadn’t radiated sheer malice. The two weren’t terribly far from Inko’s, anyway. Bakugou continued, huffing, “...okay. His mask, that didn’t look like anything at-fuckin’-all, y’think he’s still wearing it?”
“Hmm.” Izuku tapped at his lower lip, considering. “Well, he could hardly heal himself within the two weeks he’s been out of prison, right?”
“Why not? He could, I dunno, go grab someone like Eri, couldn’t he? Fix his shit?”
Izuku shook his head, amused at Bakugou’s amateur quirk theory. Maybe if his friend hadn’t spent his youth belittling Izuku’s hobby, he would have a better understanding of how these things worked. “I highly doubt it. For one, it’s unlikely Eri’s quirk could fix his body entirely.”
Face scrunched in confusion (which, on Bakugou, always looked more like indignation), Bakugou gestured with his hands, asking, “Why not? Can’t she rewind shit?”
“Well, yes, but think about the biology behind rewind. She can rewind matter, but if you consider thermodynamics, I don’t think she can recreate mass no longer in existence. That is to say, she’s likely not able to recreate destroyed organs from nothing. Maybe if he had similar, spare organ matter available to reshape…” he trailed off, then shook his head. “Well, if we consider other quirks, if he took the eyes of someone else, that could work? But organ transfers are tricky even with quirks, the rejection rates—”
“Holy shit, okay.” For some reason, Bakugou looked kind of green and squeamish. Izuku didn’t think quirk theory was that upsetting. “Probably not Eri. Maybe some fuckin’ organ transfer quirk, which who fuckin’ knows who has that shit. So he’s probably still blind, right?”
“Well, with deep enough connections he could access the quirk registry to find someone with that quirk, but the timeframe—Oh,” he said, coming to an abrupt stop. “Oh, no. He’s probably still blind. This is terrible.”
With a firm shove, Bakugou kept him walking. His mom’s house was in sight, at this point, but Izuku’s mind was racing furiously. Bakugou demanded, “What’s got you freaking out? Ain’t that a good thing, if he’s still blind.”
“For Japan, yes,” Izuku answered, heart racing and determination wavering. His gut stirred anxiously. “But, Kacchan, I sent him a meme! And- and the t-shirts!”
“He won’t be able to read them,” Izuku uttered, staring despondently at the stairs in front of him. All they needed to do was climb the old, metal stairs, and take a sharp turn to the left, and the two of them would be at his mother’s house for the night. The evening’s dinner was so close, but Izuku couldn’t help mourning his plan before it had even come to fruition. “It was a JPEG, Kacchan. And I didn’t even consider accessibility.” Disappointment in himself was creeping in.
Mouth hanging in disbelief, face scrunched in anger, Bakugou exclaimed, “Wha- didn’t you send that out of fuckin’ spite anyway? Who cares if he has to have someone else read it?!”
“Oh,” Izuku said, suddenly feeling short-sided. And a little silly. That was- “That’s genius, Kacchan, thank you. It’s probably so demeaning for him to have to stoop to having some underling read his memes for him. He must have been so embarrassed. You’re so smart, Kacchan.”
“I am,” Bakugou said, grabbing at Izuku’s arm and beginning to pull the other boy up the stairs behind him. He continued, “And you’re acting dumber than normal. He’s bringing Hands with him tonight, right? That bastard will be able to read ‘em. And he’ll hardly be able to keep his mouth shut when he sees All Might t-shirts on his keeper’s wife ‘n kid.” Bakugou smirked. “Ha, he’s gonna flip his shit. It’s a good thing I’m here to see it and to make sure Auntie’s safe if he really loses it.”
Izuku smiled up at his friend, appreciative of his forward-thinking and go-get-them attitude. And his animosity, when it was pointed at someone else. Yes, Kacchan was a great influence, an intelligent comrade, a real piece of—
“Fuckin’—” Bakugou stumbled, grip going hot around Izuku’s arm. Izuku yelped, and Bakugou released his arm immediately, patting at the burnt location apologetically, as he turned to bark at the figure camping out in front of Izuku’s childhood home. “Oi, bastard! Who the fuck are you!”
Izuku braced himself, gaze narrowing at the shadow lurking around the corner. It was a tall man’s silhouette, shifting awkwardly in the evening’s shadows, and the man had obviously been haunting the area, waiting for someone to approach. Thankfully, it wasn’t broad enough to be his biodad. Izuku couldn’t see the man’s features in the dim lighting, but he loaded up a low percentage of One For All, just in case. Had All For One sent someone ahead to scout him out?
“Er. My boy…”
And he dropped his quirk just as quickly. “All Might?!” Izuku squawked, squinting at the figure shuffling out of the shadows. Hands raised in surrender, Toshinori’s tall, emaciated figure emerged from around the corner.
“Yes, ah,” his father-figure started, hands lowering to wring in front of himself anxiously. He coughed, fist guarding his mouth from possible blood-spray. “Yes. I know I was not supposed to come, given that Young Shigaraki will be accompanying your father tonight, but I….Well.” Blond hair catching the dying rays of the sunset, Toshinori briefly rose to his full height, face set in determination. “I simply could not leave you to face All For One by yourself, regardless of your relation or his intentions.”
It was a beautiful declaration of familial love. Despite his atrophied form, Toshinori was resolved and brave and—”Ah, hell,” Bakugou groaned, reaching into his backpack. “The nerd’s already crying and we haven’t even gone inside.”
Izuku sniffed, “I can’t help it!” and gracefully accepted the crumpled tissue packet Bakugou shoved into his hands. He wiped at his tears and blew his nose, Toshinori coming over to pat him on the back reassuringly.
“Izuku,” Toshinori said, hand firm on his shoulder. “Know that no matter how this evening goes, I will remain by your side. And if that bastard thinks he can take you from me, he has another thing coming.”
This, of course, led to Izuku wailing loudly, burying his tear-stained face into Toshinori’s chest. Bakugou grimaced. “Yeah,” he grunted, staring at the ground awkwardly, “That’s nice ‘n all, but the reason Auntie didn’t want you coming tonight was ‘cause that Hands Bastard is a loose fuckin’ cannon. You should—”
Before Bakugou could finish advising Toshinori to abandon ship while he still had the chance, the door to Izuku’s childhood home flew open. In the doorway, flustered and clutching at a kitchen rag, Inko smiled widely.
“I would recognize that crying anywhere,” she said, visibly fighting back her own, reactionary tears. “You’re such a loud crier, my Izuku!”
“Mom!” Izuku exclaimed, worming his way out of Toshinori’s grip and flinging himself into his mom’s hug. “It’s so good to see you! It’s been so long, I’m sorry.”
Bakugou groaned, grumbling to no one, apparently, “Fine, guess All Might’s gonna get dusted tonight, great plan. And it’s only been two fuckin’ weeks.” He marched over, wrestling Izuku’s backpack off of his entangled form. “Hi, Auntie,” he greeted, nodding at Inko before making his way indoors, both his and Izuku’s ugly backpack in tow. “I’ll put our shit down and go set the table.”
“Oh, Katsuki dear, you don’t have to!”
“No offense,” he called from further in the apartment, “but I don’t wanna drown in two crybabies’ tears tonight before I have the chance to eat!”
Inko huffed, patting at Izuku one last time before pushing him to arms’ length. She scanned his form, as though he would have changed in any way in the two weeks since she’d last seen him in person. “I’m so happy to have the family together tonight,” she said idly. “Even your bastard of a father. Although, Toshi—” she shot him a quick, doubting frown. “We discussed this, you know! That boy my husband adopted, Tomura, isn’t he...not a fan?”
Toshinori huffed, shrugging. “That is certainly an understatement,” he said, voice more of a mumble. “Frankly, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t try to disintegrate me at some point tonight.”
“Toshi!” Inko exclaimed, wavering.
“Oh, I’ll be fine, Inko,” Toshinori continued, bringing Inko into a hug alongside Izuku. He patted both of them on the head with his large, skeletal hands. “I just didn’t want Izuku to have to face.... that man alone tonight,” he gritted, “Even in my current form, I want to protect my family.”
Izuku, naturally, proceeded to tear up and sniffle at All Might calling him ‘family.’ Inko patted Izuku’s red face consolingly, glancing up at Toshinori with affection. “Really, Toshi,” she sighed, face blushing just a bit at how openly loving the man was with her son. “I appreciate it, truly. And it’s good to see you. Any family get together would be incomplete without you! But, please, for this family’s sake—” Inko took one of Toshiori’s hands in both of her own, gazing up at him imploringly. “Let’s give Hisashi the benefit of the doubt tonight, alright?”
Toshinori nodded, face set in a gritted smile. He accompanied Izuku and Inko inside, large hands braced on their backs. “Oh, I have plenty of doubt. But none to his benefit.”
Like hell was he going to give up his place in this family to that man, that- interloper. Like Toshinori would just let the leader of Japan’s underworld corrupt his innocent, heroic son.
Yes, Toshinori would doubt All For One. He would doubt him enough for all three of them. He’d doubt that man six feet deep into the ground.