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how he live forever but ain't got time for his kids?

Chapter Text

No one would suspect a conspiracy of its magnitude to have such an inconspicuous origin—in retrospect. 

But if Izuku had heeded the concept of retrospect, his arms would have considerably fewer fractures, and well...

As his orthopedic specialist bemoaned, under the ruthless light of an x ray, his arm bones looked like pitted, fragile volcanic rock.

(Whatever. At least Izuku could console himself with the knowledge that the Midoriya family had generously supported Musutafu’s local orthopedic specialist through some difficult financial times.

That was heroic, in a way. Right?)

Nothing about the morning that had an absurd conspiracy theory throwing Izuku into a political comedy was out of the norm.

Like so many weekend mornings around the dorms, 1-A was perched around the common room in various stages of sleepy conversation.

Kyouka was huddled in a loveseat off to the corner with her girlfriend, headphones split down the middle between her and Yaoyozoru. Bakugou, awake before anyone else even on a Saturday, had already returned from his morning run, showered, and prepared a full breakfast. As always, he made it clear he didn’t plan on sharing: he held his bowl close to his chest and shoveled eggs aggressively into his frowning mouth.

Mina and Kaminari sat across from him at the wide dining table. They were swinging their feet in leashed chaotic energy, eyes glinting down greedily at Bakugou’s food, while Kirishima rattled off a string of ideas for the class for the afternoon.

Izuku shared one of the low tables with Todoroki, Uraraka and Iida. Spread out in front of them, their notes splayed in messy piles, were their desperate attempts at documenting Present Mic’s latest lecture. The four of them regarded the papers with careful trepidation.

Despite their best efforts, the words in front of them were still in Japanese. Uraraka seemed to be practicing the method of ‘glaring at the words to translate them.’ It was an interesting concept—Izuku was vaguely sure there was a politician with that quirk.

With an exaggerated sigh, Uraraka flopped backward, arms thrown wide across the floor. “Ughhh, Iida-kun,” she whined. “I thought you were supposed to be the studious one.”

That was a little harsh, Izuku thought, but secretly agreed. He snuck a glance at Iida, who was just a bit pink-cheeked.

“We should all be equally studious!” he argued. “We have a prestigious reputation to uphold. Of course, I haven’t had the chance to review Friday’s lesson quite yet, and, ah. Friday English classes are…”

“Unstructured,” Izuku offered. Iida nodded.

“Of course, I cannot, as a student, critique Present Mic-sensei’s teaching methods. And I am not critiquing! But Fridays…”

Iida trailed off, torn between solidarity with his peers and his adherence to propriety. He was sitting strictly seiza, unwilting even despite his embarrassment under the despairing gaze of Uraraka. 

Izuku couldn’t help but blurt out the relevant info dump sticking to his tongue. “I think it’s because Friday nights are when Present Mic-sensei has his most popular segment on his radio show! He hypes himself up throughout the day so that he’s extra enthusiastic for his guests and his listeners, you know, Friday nights are when he hits his highest ratings! So it makes sense, doesn’t it, for him to be a little overzealous throughout the day.”

He caught his voice starting to rise throughout his spiel, and, with practiced restraint, clapped his mouth shut on the ideas that threatened to keep pouring out. Iida and Uraraka stared at him with familiar slight confusion and uneven smiles. Even across the room, Bakugou audibly scoffed, clearly having overheard him. Izuku flushed.

Nothing about this morning was out of the ordinary for the 1-A dorms. In all likelihood, it would have passed by like any other, fading into obscurity in the class’ memory, but Izuku had to go and continue opening his mouth.

In his defense, he didn’t want to leave things to an embarrassed silence. 

With a short laugh, Izuku ducked his head, a hand rising to the back of his neck. “Ah, well, I also find his Friday lectures kind of hard to follow, Iida-kun. Although, I’m not great at English anyways.”

A shift of color out of the corner of his right eye caught Izuku’s attention. Todoroki had shifted from his lazy, half cross leg, half seiza posture that he always ended up falling into. He picked at one of the sheets of his notes on the table. He managed to make idly playing with paper look thoughtful and handsome.

“I thought you would be good at English,” he said casually.

Izuku blinked. That he would have such expectations was flattering, albeit unexpected.“Ah, thank you! But why English?”

“I bet Todoroki-kun knows way more English than us,” Uraraka mumbled. She managed not to sound too bitter.

(Generally speaking, she restrained her ‘goddamn rich kids’ rants to after 7 pm. For civility’s sake.)

Todoroki gave a slight, brief shake of his head. Somehow, he maintained his elegance even when his mismatched hair stuck to his face. “My English is alright,” he allowed. “My father used it a lot growing up, since he wanted to be known internationally. And All Might is fluent in English, so my old man had to be, too.”

Iida gestured energetically, hands chopping in agreement.

“Certainly, that makes sense! My brother was focused on our precinct, so he never prioritized international languages. Of course the number two hero of our nation would need to know English.”

“Yeah.” Todoroki nodded at Iida in acknowledgement, then turned his calm stare onto Izuku. “Anyway, that’s why I thought you would be good at English. All Might uses it all the time. He used to live in the US, right?”

“He did!” Izuku agreed cheerfully, before he caught onto the rest of that sentence and— “Wait, uh, just because All Might knows English doesn’t mean I would know English, Todoroki-kun.”

He could resist talking about All Might. If he had to.

The other boy gave a slight hum. “I guess I thought, since you’ve known All Might so long, you would hear a lot of English.”

A laugh from across the room carried over, the universal sound of joy at a friend’s expense. Izuku flushed red, hands flapping in nerves. 

“Todoroki-kun,” he whined, “I’ve told you. I- I’ve only known All Might since this year at UA!”


That was hardly a concession. Izuku flailed. “He’s not my dad!”

Uraraka laughed, shoving Izuku in a wide flat stretch across the table. “Stop trying to deny it, Deku-kun! We’ve seen you two together.”

Kaminari—sat at the dining table with Bakugou, and the source of the prior laughter—pointed an accusing finger in Izuku’s direction, hand gripped awkwardly around his chopsticks. Noodles hung from his utensils. Bakugou, to his left, looked at his lack of manners in disgust.

“Yeah, Deku,” Kaminari called, “that’s some familial energy if I’ve ever seen it. He looks like he wants to ruffle your hair and call you ‘my boy’ whenever you answer a question right.”

“He does call him ‘my boy’ a lot, huh?” Kirishima mused. He sounded way too serious for the topic at hand.

“He fuckin’ calls all the guys in class ’my boy,’” Bakugou grumbled. He dug into his plate with unrivaled aggression. “That doesn’t mean shit, you idiots.”

Nodding frantically, Izuku turned his wide, desperate eyes back on Todoroki in hope. He’d been told they worked miracles. 

Todoroki blinked. He was perpetually immune to feedback from the rest of the class: be it encouragement or flak, his expression was eternally placid. And it didn’t help that he absolutely enjoyed testing Bakugou’s patience. “Yeah,” he said. “He does call everyone that. But actually, I don’t think All Might is his dad any more. I just think they got to know each other prior to UA.”

For a very short moment, Izuku allowed himself to hope. Maybe, just maybe, Todoroki could be convinced to drop his theories entirely.

“Aww, Todoroki-kun,” Uraraka said. She was pouting, like she was personally invested in Todoroki’s prior theory. “What happened! You were the first one to really start the ‘Deku is All Might’s Illegitimate Child’ conspiracy.”

“You’re basically club president, dude,” Kaminari agreed. He’d set his breakfast down and crossed his arms, frowning at Todoroki. “As the unofficial president of the unofficial Illegitimate All Might Lovechild club, you can’t just give up on the dream. What about the rest of us?”

“Rest of us?” Izuku squeaked. He glanced frantically around the room, and to his horror Uraraka, Mina, and Kirshima all nodded. Iida didn’t nod, but he did look slightly flustered, and he refused to look directly in Izuku’s direction. For Iida, it was essentially an admission of collusion.

Izuku couldn’t help but feel betrayed, just a bit.

“How many...who else was in this club?!”

“Don’t worry, Deku! It wasn’t, like, an official club,” Uraraka consoled, as if any sort of club dedicated to his parentage, official or otherwise, could be anything other than utterly mortifying.

“Tsuyu-chan’s in the club,” Mina offered helpfully. “So is Shinsou-kun, although he hasn’t attended any of the meetings yet.”

“Dude, what! There were meetings?” Kirishima swiveled to Mina, tone despairing. He gripped at his shirt and leaned into her side. “I didn’t know we were meeting!”

“I wasn’t aware we had any meetings, either,” Todoroki said. There was the slightest inflection of hurt in his voice, the Todoroki equivalent to shouting in misery. 

Was he feeling left out of the club he had, apparently, founded? Could it really be considered his club if he never attended?

Better yet: why was Izuku mentally considering any of these concepts?

Mina shoved Kirishima out of her space, a mischievous grin on her face. “That was a joke, a joke! We haven’t had any meetings.”

“Ah,” Todoroki said. “That’s good. I would have been a bad club president, otherwise.” He paused. “Well, I suppose I’ll be a bad club president right now, since I am officially stepping down as the unofficial president of the Midoriya is All Might’s Illegitimate Lovechild club.”

“Nooo,” Uraraka moaned. It was hard to take seriously, but her tone was concerningly genuine. She swatted Todoroki on the arm with four fingers, to avoid sending him floating away. “Don’t leave us, Todoroki-kuuun!”

Kirishima sniffed. Izuku could only hope those weren’t tears in his eyes. “Sad to see you go, dude. But it’s definitely manly to follow your beliefs!”

All the everyone-please-focus-on-Midoriya conversation seemed to be straining Bakugou’s already short and frayed social fuse. Sparks fell from where his hands gripped his fork.

Despite himself, Izuku couldn’t help but ask. Todoroki had, after all, been the first one to ever bring up the idea to his face, and apparently the first one to announce his theory to the rest of their class , oh god, so hearing that he had abandoned the All Might Parentage Theory was a surprise.

How was he to know that he was handing Todoroki the wood with which to build his coffin.

“You don’t think All Might is my anymore, Todoroki-kun?” He couldn’t even say it without tripping over his own tongue; the very concept was a grade school dream spoken aloud, and it was profoundly embarrassing now that he actually knew the man.

God forbid All Might actually hears the theory. That would, he was absolutely certain, make this the worst timeline.

(If he had known what would come from all of this, he wouldn’t have jinxed it, even in his head.) 

Todoroki hummed in consideration. “I did think that,” he agreed. “At the time it made the most sense that All Might was your father. But now, given your multiple quirks—”

“I just- it’s still just one quirk! My quirk is just weird!” Izuku protested weakly. No one seemed to acknowledge it.

“—given your multiple quirks, in combination to your relationship with All Might,” Todoroki continued, monotone, mercilessly objective , as Kaminari watched on in increasingly wide-eyed delight, “it makes more sense for his enemy from Kamino to be your father. The one with a lot of quirks.”

The group at large gave this statement the hefty silence it deserved. Izuku felt his jaw hang loosely.

Mentally, Izuku swore at Blackwhip; why did the past One for All users have to have such obnoxious , conspicuous quirks?

“He and All Might obviously knew each other,” Todoroki continued, like the phrase ‘they knew each other’ was at all a fitting description of the number one hero’s decades-long, gore-filled crusade against a powerful enemy. “Plus, you seemed to have an idea of who the villain was when we arrived at Kamino. You looked like you were ready to stand and confront him. 

“Back before you arrived at UA, All Might must have recognized the gravity of your situation, and your heroic spirit. So he helped you escape him and apply to UA.”

On some level, Izuku couldn’t help but admire the thought Todoroki had put into the (absolutely insane) conspiracy. It was convoluted, it held kernels of truth, and it was scandalous.

On every other conceivable level, he couldn’t help but want to burst into tears at what his life had become.

Bakugou, naturally, broke the room’s straining, painful quiet.

“What the fuck,” he said. His teeth were gritted and his hands were smoking. If Izuku hadn’t known him for so long, he’d be afraid he was going to melt his spoon. “First All Might’s his fuckin’ dad, but then that’s not convenient any more, so his greatest enemy is your second guess? Why the fuck would All Might hang around that dickhead’s kid?”

Kaminari, however, grabbed the branch Todoroki was dangling and pulled the whole tree up from the roots. The delight that glowed on his face seemed to trigger an extension of his quirk—an effect Izuku would have, in any other circumstances, found very interesting—and the hair on his head and his eyebrows were standing on end, like static on a balloon pulling all the blond strands on his head afloat.

“Oh, you’re onto something, man! Of course All Might would watch over his enemy’s kid, to make sure, right? But then, then he saw Midoriya-kun’s hero spirit and his super strong quirks, and he must’ve been like, ‘ This will be just like Star Wars!’”

It wasn’t a terrible All Might impression. That made it worse. 

Izuku moaned into the palm of his hand in despair. “What does that even mean, Kaminari-kun?!”

“What, you’ve never seen Star Wars?”

That’s not the issue!” Then, barely a mutter: “Of course I’ve seen Star Wars. It’s All Might’s favorite series.”

Kirishima seemed torn between consoling Bakugou’s steaming rage and joining Kaminari in the pure joy of what was undoubtedly the most unrestrained thesis that Class 1-A had created to date. In the end, Izuku guessed, it was too tempting not to throw himself into the jubilation.

“That is a good theory, huh,” he said, smiling tentatively in Todoroki’s direction. “That’s just like All Might, right? He wouldn’t leave a super sweet and strong kid with a crazy villain. So manly.”

“—does that make All Might Yoda, though?” Mina mused.

“No way, he’s too tall! He’d be Obi Wan.”

Hand rising in a desisting gesture, Iida cut off the conversation between the three. “While it is a very interesting and well-constructed theory, we need to stay respectful of All Might-sensei! Regardless of if he valiantly rescued Midoriya-kun from his father’s grasp, he is first and foremost our teacher! We shouldn’t be speculating so much over his personal life and comparing him to fictional characters.”

“Deku-kun said All Might liked Star Wars, Iida.”

Iida hesitated briefly at this comment. Took it into quick consideration. “Regardless, this sensational story is the emotional past of our teacher. We need to be considerate.”

At that, well. The way Iida was talking, they were ready to take this dubious idea and hold it up as codified theory. Izuku wasn’t going to let this keep going.

“This isn’t—no!” he cried. He stood up, glancing around frantically at his friends in desperation. “There is no past. Todoroki-kun, you were convinced that All Might was my father not even three months ago. You all can’t really be considering that All for On e is my dad!”

There was an unusually sharp glint in Todoroki’s eyes. “His name is All for One? That name hasn’t been published in the media. I wonder how you know it.”

Mina cackled.

A lightbulb near Kaminari popped out from the force of his beaming grin, though it was drowned out by the popping sounds made by Bakugou’s clenched hands. He had stood to his feet and was scowling, teeth gritted.

“You’re all talking about shit you don’t fuckin’ understand. Don’t drag All Might into this paternity test garbage. He’s got enough to fucking deal with.”

“Does he?” Mina asked innocently. “He’s retired now, though.”

Bakugou didn’t grace that comment with a response. He’d shoved his chair back into the table and had moved to the kitchen, where he took up a washrag with restrained, passive aggressive gusto. Apparently he had one last comment in him, since, as he turned the faucet on full blast, he shouted back to the group:

“Also, I’ve met Deku’s fuckin’ dad when we were little brats! I think I’d remember if his old man was a goddamn supervillain, especially since the villain fuckin’ kidnapped me!”

Kirishima, Mina, and Kaminari all quieted at that, faces taking on the embarrassed quality of someone who accidentally brought up a sore subject.

Social graces were never enough to stop Todoroki.

“He was wearing a mask, though,” he argued plainly.

“His face was pretty messed up, huh,” Uraraka mused. She held her chin between her thumb and pointer finger. “I bet that was from All Might, too. Maybe when All Might met him before, when he was rescuing Deku-kun…”

Todoroki nodded in agreement. His gaze was directed in a distant stare at the table, like he was focused on committing these ideas to memory. 

Apparently decency and shame had relinquished their hold on the three at the other table, because, with a quick glance to make sure that Bakugou was out of range and absorbed with demolishing dishes, Kaminari strolled over to Izuku’s table and dropped the the group next to Todoroki.

He clapped a hand to Todoroki’s shoulder with a sage nod. “Club prez has me convinced now, guys. I propose we rename our club to, uh… What was his name, Deku?”

“All for One,” Izuku mumbled, since the secret was already out of the bag. This situation had run away from him at top speed. Still. “But. I cannot stress enough how much he is not my father.

From the table across the room, Mina pointed a demanding finger in Izuku’s direction. “Mido-kun, what’s your dad’s name?”


“Occupation and the last time you saw him?”

“Ah, well, he’s a salaryman, and I think he left Japan around when I turned five…But he called me on the phone all the time until I was about 9.”

“His quirk?”

“Fire breathing.”

With a thoughtful humm, Mina tapped her finger against her lips in thought. Izuku refused to feel like this was an interrogation: the two of them were having a, a conversation. “And your mom’s?” she asked.

“...the ability to attract small objects.” He cut off her protests before she could go further than opening her mouth. “But there are plenty of cases where children develop completely different quirks than their parents!”

Kaminari was shaking his head sadly, his hand patting against where it was clasped on Tokoroki’s shoulder. Sat next to him and mildly perturbed, Todoroki didn’t seem to know what to do with the physical contact. 

“I dunno, man,” Kaminari said. “Your quirks, the vanishing, the adoptive mentor-dad vibes from All Might, it’s all adding up for me.” He shrugged. “Guess we’re gonna have to change the club name.”

Futilely, Izuku glanced between the spread out group. All of them were wearing similar expressions of determination and delight, like they’d uncovered some great conspiracy. This had gone further than just running away from him, he realized. This had full-on taken flight.

This could be...bad, right?

This was bad, right?

“I have to go,” Izuku blurted awkwardly. Papers were unceremoniously scooped into his backpack, and he fired off a text to All Might. Belatedly, he hoped that the text in question didn’t send his mentor into an aneurysm.  

“Aww, Deku-kun,” Uraraka said. She frowned up sadly at him. “We didn’t mean to upset you. Do you not want us to mention it around you again?”

I don’t want you to mention it at all, Izuku thought to himself, mildly hysteric. I don’t want you to think about it at all.

“It’s fine,” he bit out. Hm, that came out too confrontational. He needed to be more casual, like he wasn’t helplessly invested in this conversation. With a forced smile that must have been more concerning than intended, based on Todoroki’s startled reaction, he continued, “Really, it’s fine! Feel, uh, feel free to talk about whatever you want! It’s not like All Might and I are hiding anything,” he rambled with a dumb laugh.


Up at his shoulders, his hands gripped tightly to the straps of his backpack. He was shuffling backward, feet ready to pull him out of the situation and take him to his aforementioned mentor. “I’ll see you all later, okay?”

Without waiting to hear a reply, Izuku hurried off. His heartbeat was loud in his ears, embarrassment warming his face, but it was important he faced this issue now rather than later. If One for All had any more obnoxious quirks hiding for him to uncover….

Well. He’d rather everyone think All Might was his dad.

If his stubbornly conspiratorial class could just stick to that theory, things would be sure to settle down.

Chapter Text

“Ah,” said All Might. He looked paler than normal, which was saying something, since his usual pale was a swatch away from anemic. 

Stewing in guilt, Izuku scuffed his shoe against the floor.  “I’m sorry,” he said, despite his mentor’s repeated requests to stop apologizing. How else was one supposed to approach this situation? All Might had dozens of books dedicated to teaching, but Izuku was fairly certain he didn’t have any about confronting sudden onset paternity.

(Okay, more than fairly certain: Izuku had comprehensively scanned All Might’s bookshelf and kept a ledger of the titles. For heroic purposes that weren’t creepy. Could be important, heroic knowledge in one of those books, who knows!)

“My boy,” All Might started, settling a comforting hand on Izuku’s shoulder, then seemed to catch himself. “Er, I can see what they were getting at.” With a sheepish cough, he guiltily retracted his hand to his lap.

The atmosphere was potently embarrassing. Both of them looked toward the ground and fidgeted.

“You know,” All Might said, “Todoroki-shounen’s whole idea is, ah, a lot. How he managed to reach such a theory I couldn’t say. But it does make me think…” he trailed off.

Eager for any wisdom All Might could impart, Izuku nodded in encouragement.

“It’s sort of like Star Wars.”

(Kaminari’s impression had been spot on.)

With a shout of anguish, Izuku jumped to his feet. One hand rose and gripped his hair, the other tapping at his lip frantically, as he began to pace his room frantically.

“My boy, what—”

“That’s what Kaminari-kun said,” Izuku hissed. Toshinori startled at the sight of tears in his protege’s eyes, Izuku’s appearance unable to be described as anything but unhinged. “He said, ‘This will be just like Star Wars,’ and I said, What does that even mean , Kaminari-kun? But I’ve—I’ve seen Star Wars!”

“I know you have!” All Might placated. He did his best to sound consoling, despite absolutely not following this sudden desperation. All he had been trying to do was make a lighthearted comparison about the situation! He didn’t mean to cause an existential crisis. “We watched it together, for your birthday.”

“For my birthday,” Izuku repeated. His eyes were wide, staring at nothing, his hands dropping to his sides in defeat. He turned to All Might, tears still pooling. “I’ve seen Star Wars, All Might,” he rasped; he sounded defeated.

With that, the tears started falling. Toshinori flailed. He tried opening his mouth to console his successor, because what did that mean , but Izuku cut him off with a rough voice.

“We watched Star Wars together for my birthday,” he said. “Gods, we both hung out with my mom for my birthday. Does I Luke?” he bemoaned.

Toshinori cut off the rant before Izuku could get too lost in his own head. Goodness knows his boy had the habit.

“Izuku,” he said, and he couldn’t help but take pride in the happy flush the boy always got when he used his given name. Part of it was a takeaway from his days in the States, but mostly he used the name sparingly, wielding it with affection.

“What I mean to say,” All Might said, voice gentle, “is that the idea is, er. Very creative and fantastical, and obviously absurd. The very idea that a selfless, kind boy like you could be any product of that man …” he trailed off, shaking his head and biting back the ancient rage. Izuku watched him with watery eyes, and Toshinori continued. “The plot reminded me of Star Wars, that’s all. A nonsense conspiracy is irrelevant to our relationship and your status as my successor.”

With a sniffle, Izuku protested, “But you like Star Wars,” he mumbled.

How could a kid be so cute while being able to punch a hole in the sky, Toshinori wondered in mild awe. 

Truly, more than One For All, Izuku’s real quirk was the ability to melt the hearts of those around him into puddles. This whole situation was absurd and yet Toshinori felt the incessant urge to ruffle his kid’s hair.

“Forget Star Wars,” he said, to Izuku’s obvious shock. And his own, since well, they were his all-time favorite movies, but if it upset Izuku so much: “If it means keeping you safe from such hurtful rumors, I would be happy to redirect your classmates’ attention to their previous theory.”

It was ridiculous for Toshinori’s heart to be racing; he felt like a schoolboy confessing to his crush, not a retired pro hero offering to let his protege submit a paternity claim.

Izuku blinked. His hands were limp at his side, and he stared uncomprehendingly at All Might. He felt like he had short circuited, bluescreened into a fictional world where All Might, the All Might, was actually suggesting—but no, he couldn’t be, Izuku was just misunderstanding. Was this a willful delusion? There was no way All Might was offering to— 

“I am offering, my boy. Nothing would make me so proud as to call you. Call you. Er.”

All Might seemed to choke. His face had gone as red as Izuku had ever seen it, and Izuku vaguely soaked in the mortification that, oh, gods he had said that out loud? But also, was All Might choking? Was he killing All Might via his classmates’ stupid conspiracies?

Izuku rushed to Toshinori’s side, panicking only a little bit. He looked frantically over his mentor’s wheezing form, and, overcome with panic, Izuku slapped at All Might's back with an open palm in an attempt to clear his airway.


He didn’t mean to use One for All—!

Once Izuku had completed having a mild panic attack, and All Might had picked himself off where he had been body slammed into Izuku’s floor, the two (with a significant amount of blushing and stammering) managed to come to a hesitant, deeply embarrassing conclusion:

It would be a lot more convenient if their class thought Izuku was All Might’s son rather than All For One’s.

It would help them maintain the secret of One for All, and it would explain their relationship. No doubt it would come with its own plethora of issues if it spread outside their class, but those issues seemed significantly less troublesome than dealing with his classmates relating him to an incarcerated villain. There was just one problem.

Well, two problems.

All Might was in his mother’s living room, dealing with problem one. Although, really, his mom didn’t deserve being considered a problem, even just in Izuku’s head. Izuku quickly rescinded that label: his mom couldn’t ever be a problem , she was just a... complication in their plan.

No, there was one complication with the plan, and one problem. An explosive problem.

“Why the fuck am I here,” Bakugou growled.

Izuku sat across from the problem. He fiddled with his shirt and glanced nervously at the problem, who seemed to be seething in frustration, legs splayed and arms crossed aggressively as he slumped in Izuku’s bedroom chair. By no means did he envy All Might—

(“Toshinori,” the All Might in his memory corrected. Neither of them could meet the other’s eyes, but Toshinori had a hand on Izuku’s back as Izuku held his head in his hands in happy mortification. “If we’re going to commit to this, it’s only right you get to use my given name yourself, my boy.”

Neither of them brought up that, if they were to commit to this, he would also have to call him. Well. Dad . Izuku was pretty sure that he would spontaneously combust and burn UA to the ground if he tried.)

By no means did he envy Toshinori. He had the significantly undesirable position of having to explain not only their cover-up but also the entire reason they had to craft one to Izuku’s mother. There was really no way around it, the two had decided: if Inko was going to be looped into their conspiracy, she had to be looped into the truth about One for All.

“Hey!” the problem barked. Izuku jerked out of his thoughts, meeting Bakugou’s frustrated glare. “Don’t fuckin’ ignore me,” he grumbled, hands clenched in his pants pockets. The other boy took a deep breath, saying, “You dragged me back to Auntie Inko’s place on a Saturday night for a fuckin’ reason , right? Everybody knows it’s just you ‘n All Might that make these trips any other damn week.”

Kacchan was being polite, Izuku thought. Polite for Kacchan, but he noticed the other boy practicing his breathing exercises. He had to squash down his pride at Bakugou’s commitment to therapy; now wasn’t the time.

“Sorry, Kacchan,” Izuku mumbled. His hands fiddled anxiously in his lap. “It’s just… You know how Todoroki-kun and the others were talking earlier? About, uh… who my dad could be?”

Bakugou scoffed. “Obviously,” he muttered. “Stupid fuckin’ idiots. They don’t know what they’re dealing with, bringing up that asshole.”

“Oh, they really, really don’t,” Izuku agreed. “But Todoroki-kun mentioned a- a club.”

“That bullshit? Who cares what kind of club a bunch of extras make up.”

“Well…” Izuku trailed off. Bakugou eyed him suspiciously, and he held his hands up defensively. “Look, he’s been bringing up his Secret Lovechild conspiracy for the entire school year! Ever since the Sports Festival—”

Hahh ?!”

“—we’ll be in class,” Izuku rambled, “and he’ll silently pass me a note that just says, ‘I know,’ and he’ll just look between me and All Might and gesture. Or, or whenever I go to eat lunch with All Might, he’ll stare at me and say, ‘Father son bonding.’ And everyone else just nods!”

Bakugou’s hands sparked. “How the fuck have I not heard this?!”

“Kacchan,” Izuku pleaded, “whenever Todoroki-kun speaks in class, you pointedly turn off your hearing aid!”

“...I don’t want to listen to the half n’ half bastard, so fuckin’ what,” Bakugou grumbled. He managed to slouch further into the chair, somehow; he looked in danger of slumping to the floor out of the sheer force of his disregard.

“The point is he doesn’t let these theories go,” Izuku said. “And now everyone in class has their hands on this new conspiracy, and I just know they’re going to drag it out for all it’s worth. I can see it now—”

“Get to the point, idiot.”

“—someone’s going to mention Tartarus,” Izuku continued, staring with desperate eyes at Bakugou, “and Todoroki-kun’s going to say something like, ‘Isn’t that where your dad lives, Midoriya-kun?’ And then everyone will stand up and clap. And then it’s going to go viral.


“The point!” Izuku said, probably too enthusiastically, since Bakugou hissed and huddled himself back up into a relatively normal posture. “The point is, All Might and I were talking, and between this and One For All, we should just...just let them focus on the more plausible theory.”

“ want everyone to think All Might’s your fuckin’ dad?”

Izuku nodded feverishly. Then, catching himself and blushing, he shook his head. “Yes! Er, no , I don’t want them to think that All Might’s my dad, haha, that would be weird , wouldn’t it? I definitely haven’t written fanfiction about that. But I’d rather they think All Might is my dad and keep One For All secret than drag up All For One into daily conversation.”

Bakugou had seemingly passed through every stage of rage and had arrived at irked and baffled. Izuku relaxed, just a bit; that usually meant he wouldn’t blow anything up, at least.

“This is dumb as fuck. But whatever, it’s up to you two if you want to drag All Might into this shit, I guess.” He leaned forward, intensifying his glare. “None of that explains why you dragged me to your mom’s place at fuck o’clock on a Saturday.”

“Well…” Izuku said, returning to his previous embarrassment. “Everyone knows we grew up together, and you- you said you’ve met my dad earlier today. Plus you’re in the know about One For All...”

“You want me to participate in this goddamn trainwreck.” 

“Kacchan,” Izuku urged, “I want you to help me steer this train directly into the wreck.”

From the living room, there came the unmistakable sound of breaking dishes, followed by his mom’s voice raised in anger. Toshinori could be heard rapidly pleading, but Izuku’s mom became a force of nature in her rare outrage. Phrases like “lying to my face” and “just another deceptive man trying to act like you deserve to be his father” echoed down the hallway.

Izuku and Bakugou both stared in mild terror at the door.

“He told her,” Izuku stated.

“All Might just became a dad,” Bakugou said, red eyes sharp on his door, “and he’s already gonna fuckin’ die.”

In the end, his mom did not kill All Might, although Izuku suspected it was a near thing. Toshinori’s eyes were wide like a man that had been pulled back from a sheer cliff face just in the nick of time. His hand on Izuku’s shoulder trembled, just a bit.

“Ah, in the end, no matter how frustrating it is for these men in your life to hide such things from me,” his mom sighed, face in a slightly strained smile, “I just can’t deny how much happiness he’s brought into your life, Izuku.”

Izuku blushed. So did Toshinori. Bakugou made a choked, gagging sound at all of the paternal sentiment and Izuku briefly worried that he would actually vomit on Izuku out of spite.

His mom clapped her hands in front of her with a brighter smile. “Well!” she chirped. “With all of those secrets on the table, it’s only fair to share what we’re working with, right?”

Somehow, that sounded like a threat.

Rarely opened and just as seldom added to, the Midoriya family’s collection of scrapbooks had been hiding in some cabinet drawer beneath a pile of recipe books. It was pastel green coated in a layer of dust. The phrase ‘Family is Everything’ was wide across the cover in sparkly silver ink, surrounded by bright stickers Izuku vaguely remembered applying.

‘Everything’ was underlined heavily in dark red glitter. This, too, seemed somehow threatening.

“I remember Izuku, Hisashi and I filling this in,” his mom said, trailing her fingers carefully over the cover. She smiled fondly. “Ah, Izuku applied the stickers. I did the calligraphy. Hisashi added the underline—nothing was important to him like family.” She paused, and her voice lowered when she repeated: “Nothing.”

An uncomfortable silence stretched across the room.

His mother’s smile seemed stuck in place. “Yes, he always said family was everything to him. And then he left! But that’s fine. We were fine! Weren’t we, Izuku?”

The way she said it didn’t really sound like a question, and Izuku nodded hastily. “Yes! Yes, we’re perfectly fine, mom! And- and he used to call a lot, too, and that was fine!”

The atmosphere could be cut with a fork. Bakugou stared blankly at the scrapbook like he could ignite it with his eyes. All Might seemed to be looking for some way out of this sensitive topic.

“No matter,” his mom sighed with that same smile. The tension finally drained out of the room, and they all felt their shoulders drop and the tensed lines of their spines loosen. Inko’s hand relaxed from its deathgrip on the book’s top. “After all,” she continued lightly, “Hisashi has been gone for years , and now my boy has a wonderful new male role model to welcome into our family.”

With that, she opened the scrapbook’s cover. The first page was a family portrait of the three when Izuku was still a toddler, his mother and father (in matching, sharp suits) both holding him with wide smiles and Izuku (in a very tiny version of the same outfit) grinning at the camera. It was the same photo he remembered his dad always looking at in his wallet, except—

“Uh, what the fuck.”

“Language, dear,” Inko said faintly, then, “Oh, but. That’s very odd, isn’t it?”

His father’s face had been carefully cut out of the photo, leaving behind his broad, suited silhouette. Izuku felt a shiver run up his spine, feeling like he was looking at a morbid trophy left behind by a serial killer.


Inko turned to the next page, which documented her and Hisashi’s wedding, and was greeted with a similarly creepy, increasingly uncanny phenomenon. There she stood in her wedding kimono, young and pregnant, and there was a handsome, suited Hisashi. Most of him.

Because his face was cut out of that picture, too. And the next, Inko sharing a wedding kiss with a blank white square in the paper, and there on the next page was Hisashi holding newborn baby Izuku, presumably looking down at his son for the first time. But you couldn’t tell, because his face was torn out of that photo, as well.

And on the next page, and the next. Izuku felt faint.

“I didn’t do this,” he argued, looking at his co-conspirators. “Kacchan, you didn’t—?”

“When the fuck would I ? Why would I?”

Silence settled uncomfortably around the table again.

“This is...certainly concerning,” Toshinori muttered, uneasy. “Perhaps he felt the need to remove himself from the scrapbooks after he removed himself from your lives? Maybe out of, er, guilt?”

“If nothing else, this makes the lie easier, right?” Izuku offered. “We could say, um. We had to cut you out of the pictures for our safety, so no one would find out. And- and I mean, you kind of have the same figure as my dad, right, All Might?”

Izuku made a gesture with his hands to indicate ‘you are very large and muscly,’ but Toshinori regarded the motion with concern.

More quiet, heavy with everything they weren’t saying. Izuku’s mom looked at all the censored family photos like a mortician viewing a body. The pressure in the room squeezed at Izuku’s lungs; he had never seen a look like that on his mother’s face before.

“He ruined my scrapbook,” she said.

Halfway across Japan, Midoriya Hisashi felt a mysterious shiver run down his spine, like someone had walked across his grave.

Tartarus was said to be impenetrable, inescapable, but the sense of an impending threat settled across Hisashi’s tightly bound shoulders all the same.

Chapter Text

The rest of the evening, they worked on streamlining the narrative.

“We should try to keep everything as contained as possible,” Toshinori said, embarrassment with the situation still obvious. “Still, it’s important that if it does come up in conversation, you answer without hesitating.”

Izuku stared down with determination at the timeline he had sketched out across one of his hero notebooks. Although it seemed kind of sacrilegious to fill it out with false information entirely unrelated to actual heroics, it was related to his heroics career . That counted, right?

“Lying without hesitation,” Izuku mumbled, reading over his fake timeline. “Have you had to do a lot of lying in interviews, All—Toshinori?”

Toshinori rubbed at the back of his head. “Ah, quite a lot, I’m afraid,” he admitted. “Particularly about my quirk, of course, but also about. Well, about my personal history, my relationships, my family, my favorite locations—”

Izuku gaped up at Toshinori, distressed. “That’s everything about you, though!”

“God, none of that shit matters. Can we focus on getting your fuckin’ story straight so we can get to the dorms and I can go the fuck to sleep?” Bakugou interrupted

It wasn’t a difficult story to put together, as it turned out. Sadly, with how absent a figure Izuku’s dad had been, he left a lot of (broad, tall) holes in his childhood just waiting to be filled in by any forthcoming father figure. All they really had to improvise was why Izuku was only now owning up to his parentage, and the recent developments with One For All.

“Our fake-but-also-not-fake connection is easy when it’s just the strength, but with the others…” Izuku trailed off. He brought up Blackwhip in demonstration, which helpfully illustrated the obvious issue by being conspicuous.

Immense strength was easy to connect to All Might. Floating black energy tendrils, not so much.

“You’re intelligent enough to think of something,” Toshinori said, entirely unhelpful. His eyes darted away anxiously, and it was obvious that he had the same concerns as Izuku—and that he hoped to avoid having to answer the question.

Izuku stared up at his mentor with despairing eyes. Toshinori did not meet his gaze.

“Er, when you come up with that explanation, be sure to tell me, my boy. Not that I expect this to become an issue! It shouldn’t.”

“Un-fucking-believable,” Bakugou muttered.

“We’ll - We’ll deal with the problem if it arises!” Toshinori insisted. “But it won’t.”

Naturally, the problem arose as soon as class began the following week.

They managed to get through most of the day without his class bringing up anything related to Izuku’s family, thankfully. Homeroom passed without much incident, Todoroki only stared at Izuku for a few minutes in silence throughout history, and even training went okay: Todoroki and Kaminari did lean together and trade concerning whispers when Float activated after Izuku punched the air in victory, but they kept it between themselves. All in all, Monday made Izuku hopeful that his classmates might let things settle.

At lunch, he paid dearly for letting his guard down.

Izuku, as usual, sat with Uraraka, Iida, Todoroki, and Tsuyu. The cafeteria was always packed at lunch, since they shared the hour with General Education and Support and Business classes, so everyone had to speak at a higher volume than usual to be heard. From the next table over, Izuku could see Bakugou angrily adjust at his hearing aid.

To Izuku’s pleasant surprise, Shinsou ended up drifting toward their table. He hadn’t started in the hero course yet—although there was a free space after class 1A’s resoundingly successful campaign to expel Mineta—but he ended up sitting in on almost all of their training, so he was a hero student de facto. 

Still, he tended to be reluctant to socialize with their class. He seemed to be receptive to Izuku, though, and Izuku was (as always) utterly determined to be friends with as many people as he possibly could. He waved Shinsou over to their table, scooting to make a free seat between him and Todoroki.


“Shinsou-kun!” Izuku greeted. “You weren’t in training today. How are things going?”

“Fine. Busy with physical conditioning.” Shinsou was a man of few words. Maybe that’s why, like Todoroki, he seemed to gravitate to Izuku and Kaminari; they both had a tendency to ramble. Izuku was happy some of his friends were quiet and normal and respectful.

Then Shinsou turned to Todoroki and opened his mouth.

“Heard you’re quitting the Secret Lovechild Conspiracy Club.”

Izuku dropped his chopsticks. Like Todoroki, Shinsou seemed to gravitate to insanity , apparently. Or maybe just a lack of basic social skills? What was it with powerful quirks and socially ostracizing upbringings that made his classmates so obsessed with his paternity?

With a casual shrug, Todoroki admitted, “It’s more of a rebranding. A new theory seems to fit better, now.”


This was—Izuku didn’t want to bring up their whole fake backstory, but he had to put a stop to Todoroki’s even wilder All For One theory before it could go any further. That was the whole point of pretending that All Might was his dad, after all: constrain the conspiracy to the halls of UA and out of, well, Tartarus .

With the most innocent, pleading gaze he could muster, Izuku waved his hands between his friends to break up the conversation.

(Not that he had to pretend, really, about the pleading.)

“Ah, please guys,” Izuku begged. He made a show of turning his gaze toward the lunch table. It wasn’t even hard to look as pathetic as possible, because his classmates’ conspiracies naturally reduced him to anguish. Quietly, he said, “A- About your theories, Todoroki-kun, I wanted, um. That is. I had to say…”

Gaze unendingly patient, Todoroki nodded in encouragement. Shinsou’s eyes darted between the two of them like he was watching a match in the Sports Festival.

This was it. No going back. Izuku took a couple of deep breaths and tried to convince himself that this wasn’t one of the most profoundly humiliating moments of his life. All Might, no, Toshinori was on his side! He just had to say it once or twice, and once it was out there his classmates would let it go and it would lose its conspiratorial drama and everything would calm down.

Shinsou slurped loudly at his juice packet.

In a hushed tone, Izuku managed to get out what he could. “We’ve—All Might and I—we’ve been...trying to keep all of this quiet, you know?” Out of the corner of his eye, Izuku noticed Uraraka and Iida both turn not-so-discreetly to listen in on the conversation. “I didn’t want to say anything at first, because it’s kind of, well...sensitive?”

The others stared at him with bated breath. Shinsou’s juice packet dangled limply from its straw.

“But- But hearing that you’re trying to say I’m, uh, this villain’s child, we finally thought.” Don’t choke, Izuku, keep calm and think of All Might. “Just between our class! We could maybe be honest. About All Might. Being. The dad. Of mine.”

There. It wasn’t a complete sentence, but he said it! That counted, right? It was out there and now everyone in 1-A could freak out and get over it.

Shinsou’s mouth dropped open and his juice packet clattered to the table. “Wait, really? I was just jok—”

Uraraka vaulted across the table to grab Izuku’s hands. Her expression was unflinchingly earnest, as emotionally affected as a bridegroom at a wedding. “Deku-kun,” she said, “I’m so—so proud of you!”

Iida nodded vigorously. “It comes as no surprise, truly, but we welcome your newfound honesty! And, of course, as a fellow legacy hero student and the next in line of the prestigious Ingenium Hero Agency—”

Todoroki’s eyes were narrowed slightly. He stared at Shinsou’s spilled juice like it would begin spelling out cosmic secrets. “Wait,” he said.

At that, Iida quieted down and gestured vigorously for Todoroki to continue. Uraraka blinked at Todoroki in confusion, and Izuku...well. 

He wasn’t one for prayers, but if one of the past One For All users had some sort of, oh, Let My Friend Be Normal For Once Please quirk , now would be an excellent time to manifest. No pressure! But he was holding out for the third One For All user, personally.

Todoroki brought both pointer fingers into the air. He glanced between the two carefully. “What made me first think that All For One was your father,” he said, “was your quirks.”

Quirk. Singular.” Izuku smiled kindly. Compelled, coerced, but kindly. Just radiating kindliness. He urged the power of his smile to soothe Todoroki’s incessant mind into silence. Unfortunately, this was yet another quirk that did not choose to manifest.

With a slow shake of his head, Todoroki gestured with both of his pointer fingers. He brought the two together and then slowly apart, tracking them with his gaze. “I connected them,” he said. “The floating, and the power, and the dark tentacles—”

Please do not call it that.”

“—you have dark arm tentacles.” Todoroki returned his merciless stare to Izuku’s own. “Everything else, I can connect it back to All Might directly. It was my original theory, when you just showed the strength, after all. But I can’t see how such vastly different abilities could all be ways that one quirk manifests.”

Izuku thought rapidly. Mentally, he scoured the pages upon pages he’d put into his hero notebook, trying to think of a vaguely comparable quirk. But, of course, there weren’t any—because One For All was a bastard quirk. There had to be something he could bullshit Oh.

“Todoroki-kun,” Izuku said calmly. “What do you know about the Quirk Singularity theory?”

The other boy frowned in consideration. The pointer fingers he had raised lowered slightly from their previous position, his conviction visibly deflating. “Not much,” he admitted.

Eyes glinting in determination, Izuku turned quickly to Iida and Uraraka and asked, “And you guys? How familiar are either of you with the Quirk Singularity theory?”

Seeming guilty at his lack of familiarity with something they had gone over in class, Iida said, “I know that it involves quirks growing stronger over time, but that is as much as I can think of.” Uraraka puckered her mouth up like she often did when Aizawa-sensei presented a pop quiz, scratching at her cheek and shrugging.

As Izuku swiveled toward Shinsou, the other boy waved his hands frantically. “I’m not a quirk nerd like you, man. And we barely went over that in Gen Ed, I’m with Iida-kun, here,” Shinsou defended.

A placid, unflinching smile crawled across Izuku’s face. Across the table, Shinsou shivered.

“Great,” Izuku chirped. “I was hoping that would be the case!”

What followed wasn’t, strictly speaking, a lie. Quirk Singularity theory was, after all, a constantly developing idea that added upon itself with every new generation of quirk users. One For All just so happened to embody the theory. If quirk academics could learn about Izuku’s quirk, he was sure they would be falling over themselves to publish papers on the subject.

But his quirk was an important secret, and as far as his friends needed to be concerned, it was a wacky result of inheriting the number one hero’s overpowered quirk.

“Well,” Izuku started, heart racing in an odd rush as he spread the truth paper thin to his friends, “the Quirk Singularity theory says that each generation of quirk users increases the power of their quirks exponentially. Every decade quirks seem to trounce the previous decade’s abilities: think of your parents’ quirks compared to ours, and ours compared to, I don’t know, if Kacchan and I had a child. Their quirk would be overwhelmingly strong, right?”

The others were getting it, he could tell. Uraraka nodded. Iida seemed to be taking mental notes. Toroki’s gaze was intense. 

“So, the specifics aren’t exact, obviously,” Izuku rambled, hearing his own pulse thud heavily in his ears. “But with”—he lowered his voice and his eyes—” All Might being my d- dad and his quirk being so insanely strong, it’s only gotten stronger as I’ve had it. But my body’s gotten stronger, too. We think that, with my body finally being strong enough to handle it, the quirk’s stockpiled energy is manifesting in these weird, new ways.”

Even Shinsou, as purportedly uninvested as he claimed to be, exhaled in a low whistle. Uraraka had her hands clenched tightly in front of her, eyebrows furrowed.

“That’s- that’s so much to handle, Deku-kun!” she rushed out.

Iida gave a single, firm nod. “Indeed. To be entrusted with such a powerful family legacy, I can understand why you’d need to keep this all secret. As always, I am impressed by your heroic determination!”

Izuku They were buying it? They were just trusting his explanation, without question? A part of him, the part that had huddled alone in middle school classrooms, trying to stay out of sight, was struck with deep affection. To have friends that take his ideas at face value, and respect his wishes for discretion—he was so lucky!

Another part of him, a part that had only recently hatched and that squirmed awake to deal with troublesome questions, found the situation to be weirdly….fun. He wasn’t lying , technically speaking, but he was being deceptive and they just - took it.

Was… was he good at being deceptive? Did he even, on some newly discovered level, enjoy it?

That couldn’t be the case. He was going to be a hero: heroes didn’t enjoy twisting the truth. Obviously he was just relieved that his friends accepted his explanation. Yep. That was it. No deeper self-examination needed.

“That doesn’t make sense.”

Izuku’s heart skipped a beat, but his fake self-conscious smile held firm. “What doesn’t, Todoroki-kun?”

Todoroki was still frowning in thought. “Why would a strength quirk just suddenly develop tentacles? How is the floating connected? It doesn’t make sense.”

“Todoroki-kun,” Izuku said sweetly. “You’re thinking about it too much.”

“I don’t…”

“Iida-kun was born with engines in his legs , Todoroki-kun,” Izuku pressed. “Engines! How did that happen, biologically? Are they organic matter or inorganic? Do they connect to his intravenous system? How does that affect the fact that they seem to create exhaust? What is the exhaust composed of?”

Poor Iida was gaping, staring at Izuku like he’d forecasted the boy’s own death. His mouth opened and closed in silent protest; he had clamped his hands over the engines in his legs self consciously, a man stripped raw in front of merciless spectators.

A necessary sacrifice, Izuku thought desperately to himself. He hated to throw a friend under the bus, but Todoroki just needed to shut up and accept his dumb, fake theory.

Todoroki shut his mouth with a click. He stared at Iida in bafflement. “...huh.”

“Damn,” Shinsou said. He shook his head, mouth slanted in a smile. “He makes a good point, huh? What the fuck are quirks, anyway.”

“Exactly, Shinsou-kun! And your own quirk raises so many questions: what part of the mind, exactly, is affected by mind control? It’s such a broad term. Can a nonverbal response be considered a reply to one of your inquiries? Or better yet, how far can one stretch the very concept of a ‘response’ and how social interactions—”

Uraraka groaned, hands reaching up to grab at her head. “Deku-kun, please,” she groaned. “We’re still on lunch break. I can’t think about this kinda stuff.”

“It was a rhetorical question, anyway,” Shinsou added. “Quirk theory is bullshit and guesswork.”

It definitely wasn’t bullshit and guesswork, but Izuku wasn’t going to argue with someone taking his side. He wanted this absurd All For One theory brushed under the rug, and then he wanted to throw the whole rug out, and then ideally burn the room the rug had been in. Metaphorically.

“I don’t know enough about quirk theory to argue with that,” Todoroki said. He looked vaguely constipated, but maintained his absurd level of handsomeness nonetheless.

“Don’t worry about it!” Izuku replied. “In fact, stop thinking about it at all!”

The other boy hesitated, but ultimately nodded his head.

“I guess...I guess I will retain my position as the head of the All Might Is Midoriya’s Secret Father club. Although, perhaps we don’t need a club, since you’re admitting it now.”

“You really, really don’t need a club,” Izuku agreed. “You never did. There shouldn’t have been one and there shouldn’t be one. No clubs or conspiracies needed!”


Izuku let out a breath he’d been holding. Sure, Todoroki still seemed to be thinking about his classmates’ ridiculous club, but he was accepting the story. And the others were wearing expressions of unfazed acknowledgement.

“Thanks for not freaking out too much,” Izuku said. “Especially about this, we really value our privacy.”

“Of course!” Iida hurriedly agreed. “A close connection to the former Symbol of Peace is something that would require a great amount of discretion.”

“We’ll keep quiet about it, Deku-kun,” Uraraka said. She looked slightly guilty. “Sorry for bugging about it so much, before.”

Shinsou huffed. “We’re gonna have to check with the other club members before we dissolve. Will we have to refund membership dues?”

“...Please tell me that’s a joke, Shinsou-kun.”

“Is it?” said Shinsou.

Todoroki sighed. “I enjoyed being in a club with friends at school,” he admitted. “I’ll miss the experience, but now that our theory is correct, it seems weird to have a club dedicated to Midoriya-kun’s family.”

“It was weird the whole time,” Izuku groused.

“Midoriya-kun, please,” said Iida, frowning slightly. “Your classmates put a lot of hard work into our—er, their club.”

Todoroki stood up. “As the former club president,” he said solemnly, “I feel I have a duty to inform the others that our club is dissolving.”

Then, to Izuku’s unending horror, he cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled across the cafeteria.

(He had never heard Todoroki raise his voice above a slight shout in the heat of battle. That in itself was enough to draw attention.)


The phenomenon of Todoroki’s raised voice was enough to dim conversation across the cafeteria. Near the edges of the room, the business and general education students paused with utensils half raised to their mouths in bemusement. Kaminari perked up at the table nearest to them.

(There was no need to yell. They were right there. Why couldn’t Todoroki just - just be normal and walk to the others’ table.)

“Yeah, bro?” Kaminari shouted back. He looked inappropriately delighted to be speaking with Todoroki in this manner; he’d swiveled his body around in his chair and put his own hands against his mouth, his voice naturally carrying significantly more than the other boy’s.

Any lingering chatter from the other tables in the cafeteria muffled and died. Izuku faintly recognized a spark of interest in some of the business students’ eyes at the spectacle unfolding in front of them.

(One of them—with slicked blonde hair and sharp black eyes, who was, for reasons unknown, wearing a three piece suit instead of their required uniform—pulled out a notepad. The other business students surrounding him suddenly seemed to materialize tablets and laptops, fingers primed and at the ready.

Izuku suddenly realized why his own classmates were so disconcerted by his notebook hobby.)

“Midoriya-kun has confirmed our initial theory,” Todoroki said loudly, “so he’s requesting we shut down the club.”


It was obviously a rhetorical question, but Todoroki was not a rhetorical boy.

“Midoriya-kun confirmed that All Might is his father,” he called, carefully enunciating his words like the issue with his previous statement had been its inflection. “Thus, he wants us to stop ‘making things weird’ and shut down our club dedicated to the previously unconfirmed theory that he is All Might’s illegitimate love child.”

You could hear a pin drop. Izuku did, in fact, hear a pen clatter to the floor from the heralding blonde business student.

“Whoa, really?” Kaminari grinned, sparks flashing off the tips of his hair. “Hell yeah, Todoroki-kun! We so called it!”

He pumped a fist in the air. Kirishima, from his left, sniffled loudly. “So brave,” he muttered.

Bakugou’s face was blank. He covered his mouth and screamed into his hands.

Izuku’s own face was unmoving from its mask of muted horror. His eyes darted around the rapidly mobilizing cafeteria, seeing the business students scramble to pick up their dropped notes and scribble or type away on their surfaces.

“Oh,” Todoroki added, still loud. Students around the cafeteria froze in what they were doing to focus on him again. “He requested we keep this as discreet as possible. Everyone”—he bowed to the other tables, impervious to his own gaffe—”please be tactful of the deeply personal fact that our classmate, Midoriya Izuku of class 1-A, is All Might’s son.”

“Shit,” said Shinsou, noting that Izuku had gone pale. “Midoriya-kun, were you, uh, trying to keep that on the down-low..?”

The business students had risen to their feet and were flipping through their papers and tablets full tilt, shouting and gesturing with enthusiasm like brokers at the stock exchange. “Put this on the class 3-E Twitter, stat! We have to be the first to tap into this market!” yelled the blonde business student. Another, with short brown antlers, nodded obediently. The preeminent business student tangled a hand in his hair, mussing it into disarray. “I’ll be damned if we fall behind 3-F on being the first to report this…!” he hissed.

An orange-haired girl from the same table, whom Izuku had never once spoken to in his career at UA, materialized in front of Izuku with a wide, sparkling smile—literally, in that her quirk was Sparkling Smile: her teeth caught the light in a manner that was almost blinding.

“Midoriya-chan, right?” she gushed. She didn’t wait for Izuku to reply, turning her disarmingly bright smile onto Todoroki immediately. “And Todoroki-san?”

Izuku didn’t, couldn’t reply. Blearily, he wondered why he got stuck with such an overly familiar honorific while Todoroki was granted blessed neutrality.

“Yes?” Todoroki responded politely.

He didn’t seem to notice the chaotic, miniature Wall Street that his big mouth had unleashed across the cafeteria. Kaminari was taking a selfie with one of the business students.

“You mentioned a club that unraveled Midoriya-chan’s secret connection to All Might. Tell me,” she urged, teeth gleaming white and wide in an encouraging grin, “what else do you know about this relationship?”

She made this all sound so… scandalous, almost. Izuku tried to calm himself; Todoroki had mentioned- he had mentioned being as discreet as possible. He understood the need for secrecy.

“We’re trying to respect Midoriya-kun’s privacy,” Todoroki responded. 

Izuku didn’t even have time to let his guard down.

“Don’t worry!” said the business student, Sparkling Smile broad and trustworthy across her face. “We just need to know what we have to keep private, y’know? We’ll keep it to class 3-E!”

“Oh, alright,” nodded Todoroki, and then he proceeded to run his fucking mouth. A false offer of camaraderie, and Izuku’s naive friend spilled like a broken sink.

“Wow, guys!” Kaminari yelled, waving his phone in Izuku’s direction. “Their class has 1.3 million followers on Twitter! Cool, huh?”

He didn’t like to swear, but— “Fuck,” said Izuku.

Chapter Text

For an impenetrable fortress, Tartarus had a fantastic gossip mill. 

Of course, if he were actually rendered quirkless, it would have been considerably more difficult for Hisashi to obtain the information he desired. Luckily for him, being outfitted with quirk suppression cuffs was more of a troublesome formality. 

The cuffs certainly suppressed a quirk—key word being ‘quirk,’ singular .

Really, the fact that he hadn’t dropped dead the instant they slapped the cuffs on him should’ve been enough to tip the heroes off. Without his anti-aging quirks (yes, he had more than one—it could hardly be a collection if he settled for one per function!) and a few that supported his strained respiratory system, he would have rapidly aged and suffocated the moment All Might crushed his mask.

The heroes could thank his quirk collection for not broadcasting a mummified corpse during All Might’s final stand. When he was done eviscerating them.

He had allowed the quirk ( singular! ) suppression cuffs to muffle a troublesome quirk he had obtained decades ago, one that, despite his emotional attachment, was currently far more trouble than it was worth: 

Pressurized respiratory support system plus fire breathing added up to possibly igniting his own trachea.

Not that he had done so. But if he had , well. Trial and error are the foundation of scientific discovery, and what was the point of regeneration quirks if he didn’t get to practice with them in a controlled environment? 

(Doctor Garaki would never say a word about walking in on his lethal, immortal boss choking on his own burning lungs.

Literally. He was physically incapable of mentioning the incident, thanks to a quirk that invoked oaths of loyalty. Not that the event had occurred, again, but if it had ...sworn to secrecy.)

The cuffs were really doing Hisashi a favor. 

Ragdoll’s quirk was a constant background hum. He couldn’t use it to its full potential; much to his own consternation, it turned out to be a quirk that required significant, single-minded focus and years of practice. Admirable, how the former hero had been so tactful in utilizing the quirk, but—despite having more free time than ever before, thanks to his pseudo-captivity—Hisashi was unable to properly experiment with the quirk.

The quirk mainly provided feedback on physical states, anyway. Not the most useful for monitoring the outside world, as it just gave him a lot of, “Tomura sure is decaying a lot of shit! and boy, is his skin still dry!” and, “There goes Izuku, breaking more bones. How exactly is he breaking so many bones? Who knows!”

Frustrating, to say the least. The quirk—which Hisashi had taken to calling ‘Status Effect,’ because apparently Tomura had rubbed off on him in the worst way—was more of an annoyance than anything else.

He had other observational quirks, but given that his eyes were still, ah, nonexistent...not the most useful.

Instead, he resorted to his faithful pastime: antagonizing the moralistic bastards surrounding him into revealing information.

“Ah, Inatomi-san,” he greeted at the changing of the guards. “Lovely to see you again. Or, hah, not see you.”

(He always left an opening, on statements like that. If blindness had no other perks, at least it left plentiful room for a bounty of sardonic jokes. Not that his current crowd ever showed a glimmer of appreciation for wit.)

Inatomi—a tall, broad man with a durability quirk Hisashi was raging to get his claws on—bristled outside his cell. His guards had, of course, been carefully instructed to not engage with him, but the sanctimonious dolts could never resist.

And oh, how he loved to watch them fume.

Well, not watch . Ha.

Inatomi didn’t respond, predictably. He did, however, lean in toward his mic that he kept clipped to his shirt collar, and murmur quietly to the other guard across the hall (Kawamura-san, who had a lovely set of dragonfly wings). “Gods, I just clocked into my shift, and he’s already talking to me,” he muttered.

Without hearing enhancement, one wouldn’t have known he’d spoken. Hisashi—politely playing into the idea that all three-hundred and forty-seven of his quirks could be erased by a single pair of cuffs—graciously acted as though he didn’t hear every word.

Who said chivalry was dead.

Kawamura shook her head. “You know the drill, Hikki,” she mumbled. “Ignore him. Just pretend you can’t hear him. Stay on guard, but keep—”

“—keep your head down, right,” the other guard finished. Inatomi raised a burly arm to scratch absently at the back of his head. 

There was a moment’s pause. But Hisashi couldn’t allow them more than a moment’s respite from incessant agitation if he planned on getting anything out of them. Goodness knows these boneheads wouldn’t steer the conversation themselves!

They were lucky he was here to gently shepard them to the fiery pits of their future. 

(Really, what has the Japanese government talked about since he’s been locked up?)

It was always simple work to agitate fools into impulsiveness.

“How is the family, Inatomi-san?” he asked, voice low. The guard’s heat signature rose, just a bit. “I assume your children are well. Is your wife still set up in the university hospital in Kyoto? One would hope the heroes assigned to her case would work hastily. After all, it’s not every day one deals with such advanced quirk damage!”

(Well, he dealt with it every day. But Tomura was a growing boy: Hisashi could hardly be blamed if citizens went around losing their skin.)

“Shut up,” hissed Inatomi. The guard’s breathing was heavier, and Hisashi could hear the light creaking of his leather gloves as the man clenched his hands in anger. “Do we need to issue a passive sedative, prisoner?”

“Goodness, I should hope not. Let’s change the topic to something more pleasant, if it suits you. How is the League doing in my absence?” Hisashi replied cheerfully.

“Poorly,” Kawamura said sharply. She was as visibly riled up as her partner, jaw muscles bunched in frustration. When Hisahi opened his mouth to prod the proverbial bear further, the guard cut him off immediately, barking, “No! We’re not doing this routine today. One more word from you about anything and I’m issuing the tranquilizer.”

That suited him just fine. With his guards all riled up and the league at the forefront of their minds, Hisashi settled into his restrains for his daily news.

“...Hasn’t really been a lot of activity from the League, has there?” Inatomi questioned quietly.

“Nope,” Kawamura responded. “Last we heard of them was, damn, that whole business with the Yakuza, right? That Chisaki guy?”

“Last I heard of ‘em, at least.”

Then they went quiet for a bit. Hisashi silently mourned the lack of updates; what had happened with Overhaul was at least a few months old at this point, if not older. Had Tomura really fallen so quiet? But more importantly, how was he supposed to keep himself entertained without the most up-to-date tales of societal destruction?

Fortunately, his guards did not remain silent. 

Unfortunately, they delivered unto him quite possibly the least welcome news of his 200-something years.

“Did you hear about All Might’s kid?” Kawamura asked, voice an eager whisper.

Instantly, Hisashi was on guard, and it took everything he had not to physically startle. He knew everything there was about any possible familial relation to All Might. How else was one expected to manipulate the blond bastard? As far as he had been able to find (and he was nothing less than thorough), the man had no living immediate family. 

“What? No way,” Inatomi said doubtfully. 

“Yep. One of UA’s third-year management classes posted this article about it, and of course everyone was retweeting it like crazy, and then Miyagi was talking about it on the news last night. They caught up to All Might outside of UA and he confirmed it!”

“What!” Inatomi exclaimed, and he was unable to keep his voice as quiet as before. Not that it mattered, since Hisashi was now laser-focused on this conversation.

In his quest to utterly destroy All Might, Hisashi had kept track of all of Yagi’s past romantic and/or sexual partners—by far one of the most, ugh, distasteful parts of his operation. The things one did to annihilate their enemies.

Not that Hisashi didn’t judge him for any of his past relations, because really, Nighteye? The stick up that man’s ass left little room for anything else. David Shield, well, that he could understand (lovely bright eyes and a sharp wit). But All Might only had five female partners over the course of his life, and none of them had borne any children.

All of this was normal and important information for an archnemesis to have. There wasn’t anything weird about Hisashi knowing this.

Point remaining, unless All Might had cloned himself en miniature within the last few months, Yagi didn’t have any spawn.

“Yep. They asked All Might about the Tweet, and he seemed all, I dunno, flustered. But he said something like, ‘We kept everything private to keep my family safe from my enemies,’ which, well”—the guard rudely gestured toward Hisahi—”I can see why All Might would want to hide him.”

“Him?” asked Inatomi. “So he has a son? Does his son have his quirk?”

And then one of Hisashi’s dimwitted guards uttered the words that would throw all of his carefully constructed plans out the window. 

“Oh, he does!” Kawamura responded excitedly. “He’s at UA, actually. You remember that green-haired kid from the Sports Festival, the one that fought Endeavor’s son and kept breaking his bones? Turns out he’d been struggling to get his dad’s quirk under control for years , and…”

The guards kept talking, inane rumors droning in the background, but Hisashi didn’t truly hear another word of it.

Because they were talking about Izuku . His family, whom he had distanced himself from for their own safety.

It was only after Hisashi heard his son’s name at the Sports Festival that he’d learned that his son—who should be quirkless—had been wielding immense strength, and realized that Izuku must have fallen into Yagi’s clutches.

If Hisashi hadn’t given him a quirk, there was only one other transferable power Izuku could have stumbled upon.

Extremely inconvenient, profoundly enraging, but he could deal with it. That plan had even grown to encompass his stay at Tartarus. Hisashi would allow the boy some time to grow into his own strength, let Izuku experience the downfalls of heroic society, and give Tomura plenty of time to build up a strong, independent league. Tomura knew not to kill All Might’s successor.

Once Izuku was an adult and thoroughly disenchanted with the heroics industry, Hisashi would welcome his son back into the family business of dismantling society. 

It was far from a perfect plan, particularly given that a large portion of it involved Hisashi himself being bored out of his mind and chained to a damn gurney, but it would put the pieces where they needed to be. He would have a more confederated league, Tomura would be forced to mature, and his son would be strong and embittered, ready to discover his legacy and stand at his side.

Yagi had infuriated Hisashi, standing against him time and time again, but for him to try to claim Izuku as his own son … 

Well, as the kids would say (he was pretty sure—he was probably at least a few decades behind the latest slang): it was fucking on .

“This has been fun,” Hisashi said, startling his two guards so badly they fumbled the guns in their hands. Quickly recovering, they both pointed their muzzles toward his bound form. Hisashi grinned. “Your hospitality leaves quite a lot to be desired, but I suppose that’s part of the establishment’s theme. All in all, I think I would rate Tartarus...a solid six out of ten! Very secure, stunning avant-garde design, but comfort is where Tartarus truly falls short.”

“Silence, prisoner,” one of the guards barked, but Hisashi had stopped really paying attention to them. As fun as it was to antagonize his enemies (and, oh, it was fun), he had sensed one of the guards pressing the button that would release the chemical tranquilizer.

No matter. Hisashi had obtained a quirk that would allow him to filter out toxins from his bloodstream back in his early 60s, after a rebellious underling had attempted to poison him. Some lessons were more painful to learn than others, particularly the ones that involved Hisashi foaming at the mouth while Doctor Garaki had his stomach pumped.

He’d quickly hunted down a quirk he called Antidote, after he had finished removing the failed assassin’s head from his body.

Ah, the rose-tinted memories of youth. Or maybe that was blood-tinted. Whatever.

Usually he would allow the tranquilizer to take effect, just to add some legitimacy to his poor-restrained-prisoner performance, but he had a son to reclaim.

It was always fun showing the heroes exactly where they had gone wrong. In this case, by helpfully exhibiting that quirk suppressing cuffs only suppressed a quirk, singular. They should be thanking him for such a useful learning experience—after all, there were other villains out there with more than one quirk!

(All of which he was, of course, responsible for. Details, details.)

Slipping out of the restrains was simple: he had obtained a quirk that allowed his body to transform entirely into amorphous sludge from the villain that had so insolently thought to attack his son, which he’d stolen shortly after the man had been imprisoned. 

It was as simple as collapsing into a pile of impact-resistant goo, which harmlessly absorbed and spat out the bullets they frantically shot at his fom. Hilarious. Once he was free of his bindings, it was a cinch to escape swiftly through the unavoidable air ducts. 

Alarms blaring, Tartarus became one prisoner lighter. Hisashi was even courteous enough to leave his two useful guards alive.

To use a youthful colloquialism: All Might could come at him, bro . Ha.

Once Izuku explained to Todoroki why, exactly, what he had shouted had single-handedly thrown Izuku into the darkest timeline, the other boy was appropriately apologetic.

“I’m sorry,” he said, finally, finally seeming to understand why Izuku had hoped to keep things quiet. “To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about your safety. It’s All Might . In my mind anyone close to him is still untouchable. I’m not entirely used to him being….deflated.”

“Don’t use that word,” Izuku said, frowning. He fought back the instinct to defend All Might’s virtue. Todoroki didn’t mean anything bad , he was just. Bad at talking. “He’s still pretty strong!”

“Is he?” Todoroki asked. “He looks like pipe cleaners wrapped in skin.”

“He has bones!”

“But bones may be all he is,” Todoroki said sadly.

“He has one whole lung and both his intestines!” Izuku argued, like he was making some sort of point and not digging himself a nice deep hole. “Besides, two lungs—that’s always been sort of excessive , right? He’s just...a streamlined human being.”

“Highly concentrated All Might,” Todoroki mused.

Izuku would grasp whatever measly olive branch he was offered. “Exactly! My point is, he’s- well, he’s not fine, he has so, so many health problems, but he’s not defenseless. He’s still All Might.”

“Shrink wrapped All Might.”

Wavering, wanting to defend his mentor further but knowing Todoroki didn’t not have a point, Izuku sighed and nodded. “He’s vacuum sealed. Still strong, but since he’s lost his power and retired, my mom and I are at risk.”

“Sorry,” Todoroki repeated. He looked almost embarrassed. “Explaining one’s relationship to one’s father is how I try to build connections with people. That aside, those 3-E students seemed so nice. They said they’d keep it to their class…”

“I know it is, Todoroki-kun.” Who could forget their first, proper conversation, wherein Todoroki provided Izuku with all of his personal history short of his social security number. “And the class wasn’t lying, exactly,” Izuku continued. He pulled out his phone and loaded his Twitter, navigating to their profile. “It’s just that their definition of ‘keeping it to their class’ is ‘we’re going to publicize and market this as a class to our 1.3 million followers.’”

Todoroki took his phone from him, scrolling further and frowning down at the screen. “Are those...t-shirts?”


The door to 1-A blasted open (literally) as Bakugou slammed his own head into the door with a technique Izuku had hitherto never seen: he was a fuming, sweaty mess, and he must have somehow used the sweat from his forehead to headbang open the entrance…

“Kacchan is amazing,” Izuku couldn’t help but mutter. Reflexive, at this point.

“You’re still in deep shit,” Bakugou shouted toward Todoroki, hands catching himself on a front row desk. Red eyes narrowed in, razorsharp. “Oi, Deku, did you rip into that fucker for snitching yesterday?”

Bakugou had been the avenging archangel to rescue Izuku from yesterday’s lunchroom chaos. He had eventually overcome his fuming disbelief and dragged Izuku out of the cafeteria, sparing him from the overeager questions 3-E kept throwing at him.

They had arrived back to their classroom early, and Bakugou had rushed to the window, thrown it open, shoved his head outside, and yelled an ear-splitting “FUCK THIS SHIIIT!” loudly into the outside world.

Izuku had not addressed the screaming. It was a harmless, healthy outlet. Relatively speaking.

Izuku sighed, leaning back into his chair. Todoroki mutely handed him his phone back with a tiny bow, eye diverted in shame. From the front row, Bakugou’s eyes tracked Todoroki’s shrinking, guilty form with prejudice.

“He didn’t mean it like that ,” Izuku argued. He frowned down at his phone where—yes, those were t-shirts, what the hell. “Todoroki-kun just connects with others by bringing up family trauma.”

“Well, what he meant doesn’t fuckin’ matter, ‘cause now even All Might is getting hounded with this shit.” Bakugou gritted his teeth. “You saw it, right? Auntie—”

“Yeah,” Izuku sighed, remorse curdling in his gut. Reporters had tracked his mother down at home to ask her about what 3-E had posted and Toshinori had summarily confirmed. His mom had, of course, gone red and stuttered out an angry request for privacy, before slamming the door in their faces.

Earlier this morning, in response, Toshinori had made one more short (and deeply embarrassed) appeal at the entrance to UA to respect “his family’s” discretion. When a reporter had tried to probe further, he’d only been able to stutter out, “My boy, Izuku, he- he’s very smart, but he’s a rather shy boy, so please. Er. Be respectful of our privacy.”

Then he had bowed so low his bangs hit the ground, shaking so badly with nerves that he almost stumbled over. Aizawa had caught him by the scruff of his suit and held him up, expression world weary. 

And tired. Profoundly, soul-deep tired. An expression that pled Through some act of sheer masochism I have remained a teacher .

“He said ‘ my boy !’” exclaimed a reporter, and the throng of press had gone wild. By the end of first period, #MyBoy had been trending in Japan. Izuku restrained himself from reminding the reporters that, actually, All Might had been calling all the guys in class ‘my boy’ for the past two semesters. Publicly! It wasn’t…They didn’t have to. Y’know. Tweet about it.

Todoroki just sunk deeper into his seat. Izuku patted him delicately on the head in forgiveness. Bakugou growled in frustration and stomped to his own seat, rumbling, “Deku may have forgiven you, bastard, but I fuckin’ haven’t. Your big fuckin’ mouth is the reason All Might and Auntie have to deal with this bullshit.”

As is summoned by Bakugou’s rage, the rest of their class burst into the room in a flurry of chaos. Lunch must be over, Izuku thought—not that Izuku planned on eating in the cafeteria again anytime in the near future. It was scorched earth. 

“Deku!” Kaminari hollered, grinning. He ran up to Izuku and shoved his phone up to his nose. “Look, it’s amazing!

It was not amazing. It was the damned t-shirts. 

Izuku carefully restrained One For All from crushing his classmate’s phone between his fingers.

Thankfully, before Izuku had to fully conceive the horror in front of him, Aizawa slouched into the room and his classmate’s scurried to their seats. Their teacher leaned on his podium, rubbing at his eyes tiredly.

“Well, I hope you’ve all had your fill of fun for the day,” he drawled. “Because as of 1:17 pm today, UA is on lockdown.”

Quiet gripped the room, the class frantically glancing between each other. Everyone scrutinized their classmates for the most guilty-looking student, primed and ready to blame someone for whatever was about to unfold.

To Izuku’s unending despair (but also deep sympathy), nearly every eye in the room turned to him.

Deep, deep in his brittle bones, Izuku already know that something…something stupid was going to happen to him.

Chapter Text

Despite Japan’s deadliest supervillain escaping captivity over their lunch break, classes resumed after Aizawa’s very brief announcement. Very brief.

“The lockdown isn’t anyone here’s fault, to my own shock,” he had said. “For once, none of you kids have done anything troublesome. It’s incredible. I’ve been praying for a day when I could say that.”

Uraraka had shakily raised her hand. “Um, sensei, if none of us have done anything”—and Uraraka’s eyes absolutely darted in Izuku’s direction, the traitor—”then why are we going into lockdown? None of the alarms have been set off or anything.”

Their teacher just waved a hand. He looked like he was preparing to recite something he didn’t particularly didn’t want to say. “Right. Guess I should tell you, since it’ll probably end up getting leaked to the news soon anyway. There’s been a breakout from Tartarus. The villain All Might fought in Kamino got out, somehow. But don’t worry,” he drawled, sounding utterly unconvinced of that directive, “The HPSC reports everything is under control.”

Izuku fell out of his chair. His classmates looked shocked at the news as well, memories of Kamino still raw in the public conscience, but Todoroki’s reaction was the strangest by far.

Todoroki stood up ramrod straight from his seat. In a terrible echo of his actions from just a handful of days ago, he raised both pointer fingers in the air and gazed between them intensely. Gaze intent, he gestured pointlessly with both fingers.

“In respect of my friend’s privacy,” he said, which was a truly horrifying way for him to begin a sentence, “I will not say what’s on my mind.”

His gaze darted and drilled into Izuku’s own from across the room. From his position sprawled on the floor, Izuku thought about reaching out with Blackwhip and breaking his dear friend’s fingers. Lovingly.

Todoroki cleared his throat, as though there was any need to garner the class’s attention when the room was already in a stupified silence. “All I will say is this. Midoriya”—again, Todoroki brought both pointer fingers together and then apart, like his fingers were connected by a taut string—”I connected them.”

Bakugou let loose a minor explosion against the surface of his desk. Snarling, he rose out of his seat to glare at Todoroki. “Oh, okay, so you didn’t learn your fuckin’ lesson, huh, Half n’ half bastard? You didn’t connect shit!

Kaminari stood abruptly, dashing between the two boys’ desks. He smiled nervously, holding out two flat palms as though he could keep his classmates back with an invisible forcefield. “Bakugou, dude,” he laughed, desperate and tense, eyes pleading. “He’s just joking, man. Right, Todoroki? We’re all good!”

“I don’t joke.”

Izuku curled up and hugged his knees to his chest from his position on the cold, cold floor. “Everything is normal,” he muttered quietly to himself. “I’m sure I just misunderstood Aizawa-sensei’s statement earlier. After all, Tartarus is the most secure prison in Japan, possibly the world, and with the vast amounts of safety measures in place there’s no way All For One could have escaped. It’s simply impossible. Aizawa-sensei will clarify his previous statement, and we’ll all laugh and go back to class, and maybe I’ll give All Might a hug and that will be normal too! and maybe we’ll—”

“Problem child,” Aizawa said. His tone seemed to suggest that the real tragedy was not the escape of a deadly prisoner, but rather how he was going to have to deal with it. “You didn’t misunderstand me. The villain from Kamino escaped, we’re all on lockdown, and Todoroki and Bakugou and Kaminari would you all sit down I will not ask again.”

They sat. Izuku whimpered from his comfortable ball on the floor.

“...Midoriya. Existential crises do not excuse you from my rules. Return to your seat.”

Uncurling himself from his cocoon of denial, Izuku slowly crawled back into his seat. He stared down at his desk with defeated eyes.

“Okay.” Aizawa let out a controlled breath. “Like I said: everything is under control, purportedly. Do I believe this? No, I do not, and based on your reactions, this is somehow going to involve our class in some way.”

Izuku sniffled. In a feat of strength, he held back any actual tears.

“You will all continue to attend classes,” Aizawa continued, shooting a red-eyed glare at Mina when the girl let out a disappointed, ‘aww’. “I will escort you back to the dorms at the end of the day. Everyone will stay on campus. Stay together in small groups, keep your teachers in the loop if you notice anything odd, and for godss sake, refrain from doing anything...stupid.”

With that statement, Aizawa’s tired gaze returned to the rear corner of the room, where Mina, Kaminari, and Kirishima had been subtly leaning into each other’s space and whispering. The three jolted back to sitting straight up in their seats. They attempted to look innocent, which only made them look more mischievous.

“Now. With Japan’s imminent doom out of the way, let’s return to learning.” Their teacher smiled, like he was sharing a fun joke with friends and not telling his class to ignore a genocidal maniac. Of course, when Aizawa requested their attention, it was less of a request and more of a sentencing. WIth varied levels of attention, 1-A returned to a truly electrifying lecture on property damage paperwork.

But even the banality of property taxes couldn’t spare Izuku. Despite his best efforts to become absorbed by forms and spreadsheets, Izuku became aware that someone was prodding him in the back. A furtive glance over his shoulder revealed the culprit.

Kaminari poked Izuku, gesturing to his phone. Reluctantly, Izuku turned to classmate.

“Don’t worry,” Kaminari whispered. “#KaminoVillain and #Tartarus are trending, but All Might being your dad is still the highest trending topic in Japan. You guys aren’t gonna be overshadowed by a villain, man!”

“Oh,” said Izuku. “Great. That is...exactly what I wanted, clearly.”

“I know, man,” Kaminari replied, completely disregarding Izuku’s lifeless inflection. He grinned at Izuku and gave him a tone-deaf thumbs-up. “We were talking about putting in a bulk order for the class for some of those t-shirts, by the way! So far we’re thinking about the one that has both you and All Might’s faces on it, but there is this really cool alternate print that says, ‘Mighty Family!’ which is really cool, right? What’s your size? We’ll—”

With a garbled, choking wheeze, Kaminari was cut-off. Aizawa’s capture scarf mummified him from the nose down, their teacher’s glare red in their direction.

Izuku looked at his constrained classmate with a sense of detached, floating peace.

“Kaminari.” Aizawa managed to look disappointed; Izuku was impressed, as he’d thought the man had long given up on having any expectations for their class at all. “You’ll be on clean-up duty tonight. Midoriya, the only reason you’re not also being punished is because I can tell that whatever he said was punishment enough.”

Izuku nodded, eyes fixated on the order form clearly visible on Kaminari’s phone from where the boy’s hand stuck out of his scarf-cocoon. He couldn’t help but fixate on where Present Mic and Toshinori had both added in their own sizes. Traitors.

(He ignored the part of himself that desperately wanted to add his own size to the order, because, hey, it’s still new All Might merch! Even if it was merch built on a dumb lie, as the number one All Might fan, he couldn’t just not want the merch. These shirts cemented a new, dishonest period in All Might’s legacy! 

Not to mention, if he and Toshinori both had the same print...they would match. Matching t-shirts with All Might. Izuku’s stomach fluttered with guilty butterflies.)

The rest of the day passed in a vaguely anxious haze. Between classes, his classmates would pop over to his desk and share the latest developments in ‘his’ trending tag, chattering casually about how cool it was that he and Toshinori were ‘finally just saying it.’

Izuku was tempted to ‘finally just say’ fuck this, but he figured—with the prison break also occupying the class’s consience—Izuku cursing might be enough to overload 1-A’s sense of stability in the universe.

At least the stupid t-shirts were something harmless for the class to cling to. Harmless to everyone except Izuku, at any rate.

By the time classes were over, he felt about ready to vibrate out of his seat. He had a few questions for Toshinori, primarily about why exactly he had seen his name and size listed on the 1-A t-shirt order form, but held off on cornering the man. There was the prison break for the pro heroes to worry about, after all, so his personal drama could wait.

(But primarily because, when he had mentioned stopping by the teacher’s lounge earlier, Uraraka had uttered the words ‘delegated dad discussion,’ which was simultaneously impressive in its alliteration and also horrifying, because Mina had cheerfully responded, ‘Get that All Might triple D, Midoriya!’

To which, of course, Bakugou had promptly screamed and removed his hearing aids entirely.)

With the school on lockdown and security on high alert, Aizawa diligently escorted their class back toward the dorms. Izuku was reminded of elementary school, with his classmates forming a small, overly-energetic mob and their teacher exasperatedly trying to corral the gaggle of teenagers toward their destination.

“Don’t touch that,” Aizawa scolded, following Kirishima attempting to highfive a doorframe. 

“Don’t use your quirks in the hallways,” he chided Mina, who was attempting to skate around their small herd. 

“Management has their own dorms and will not be joining us, don’t you touch that door,” he gritted out at Kaminari, whose fist froze inches away from knocking on class 3-E’s door.

“Just like first grade,” Izuku mumbled, admiring his teacher’s visibly fraying patience. What was it about being on lockdown that caused a group of teenagers to regress roughly 10 years in their behavior?

“A fantastic question, Midoriya,” Aizawa said, and oops, Izuku realized he must have said that out loud. He flushed in embarrassment, but Uraraka just choked out a laugh and Yaoyorozu coughed into her fist, visibly suppressing a smile. Aizawa was not nearly so entertained. “You all walk this way every day after class. Why are you all acting like this is a field trip?”

Iida (who had been marching diligently directly behind Aizawa) protested, red-faced, “Not all of us, sensei!” but Mina just cackled.

“It feels kinda special when you’re escorting us in a big group, Aizawa-sensei!” she said happily.

“Special,” Aizawa repeated. From his position in the center of the controlled swarm, he was at the nexus of chaos. “A murderous, destructive villain has managed to escape from Japan’s most formidable prison, and your security escort makes you feel...special.”

“Yeah! Extra time with sensei!” Mina cheered. Kaminari whooped in agreement, joining Kirishima in attempting to jump and slap the top of doorframes.

Aizawa looked like he was considering the ethics of throwing his students at said villain. Izuku wouldn’t blame him, at this point.

(Izuku noticed Aizawa’s phone screen as he paced beside his teacher: he had been googling bulk order leashes.)

Thankfully, with the dorms in sight, it seemed class 1-A would be spared whatever fate their defeated teacher might’ve been considering. Kaminari and Kirishima pointed at the building excitedly as though they didn’t take this exact path every single day of their lives.

Except—there was something... off .

Despite their overly-cheery mood, even his more excitable classmates seemed to notice the suddenly tense atmosphere. Their class mob shifted subtly behind their teacher, who had activated his quirk and was actively scouring their surroundings.

From their viewpoint near the front of the dorms, nothing was obviously amiss. There weren’t any plumes of smoke, no broken glass, no mobs of villains, but despite nothing visibly disturbing the area, their class had been through enough conflict to pick up on the tension in the air.

The area in front of the dorms was clear. Like a mischief of rats, their class inched forward behind their teacher. “Nothing’s there,” hissed Mina. She squinted, wriggling in impatience. “But you all feel that, right? It feels all tense, like a haunted house, or before a fight!”

“Ashido,” Aizawa scolded. His classmate drooped again, admonished. “Just because this area is clear, we can’t assume the entire campus is safe. I want all of you to head inside, and I’ll—”

“AHH! THERE!” Uraraka shrieked. She pointed aggressively toward the barred entry gates, just visible from the stoop in front of the dorms. Her hand shook as she jumped up and stood on her toes to peek at whatever disturbance she had noticed. “Sensei, at the gates—!

Faster than any of their class could rush, Aizawa dashed toward the gates guarding the entrance closest to their dorms. Izuku couldn’t help but admire how quickly their teacher dropped his goggles over his eyes, capture scarf at the ready, even as the rest of his class promptly ignored every direction their teacher had given them and scrambled over each other to hurry after him.

As always, Bakugou followed with a blast. Not as always, he ended up colliding into Aizawa’s suddenly-rigid back. Their teacher’s lithe build belied his strength; Bakugou flopped to the ground with a groan, while Aizawa remained standing, shooting a quick glare at the boy hunched behind him.

“What the fuck, sensei!” Bakugou grumbled. It looked like his cheek had planted onto their teacher’s elbow: he held a clenched hand up to his bruised, scowling face “The hell are you stopping for? I saw you getting ready to throw down. If some shit’s there, lemme blow it up!”

“You didn’t even see what ‘ it’ is.”

“Doesn’t matter!”

Aizawa muttered what could have been a prayer for patience into his scarf. His hair had floated back down around his shoulders in a silent signal that, whatever ‘it’ he had seen, it wasn’t an immediate threat.

Which, when Izuku noticed the aforementioned ‘it’ in question, Izuku couldn’t help but doubt.

Tied up in what could only be described as many, many layers of decorative bows and ribbons, docile and drooling on UA’s porch, was a Nomu. There was a large tag dangling from the ribbon around its neck, though it was too far away for Izuku to be able to read whatever was written on it. 

The whole thing looked like some bizarre, lumpy, demented present. A present you gave to someone you hate.

“Oh no,” Izuku muttered. He bit at his hands. “It’s stupid. I knew it was going to be something stupid.”

As his classmates noticed the monster wrapped up just past the gates, they came to similar gasps of realization. “No way,” gasped Uraraka. “It’s totally not moving!”

Kirishima frowned at it, inching closer to the gate with still-hardened skin. “Can you all read the label? I think I must be reading it wrong, but I can only read the top half: ‘This is not a threat. This is a gift.’”

“Not a threat, huh,” Aizawa murmured.

“It’s a threat to my sanity ,” Izuku said solemnly. “Look at that ribbon! That’s part of the 5th Anniversary Golden Age All Might wrapping paper set! And it’s—wrapped around a Nomu! I have to, we have to, hng. That is a collectible !”

Aizawa grabbed Izuku by the sleeve, and okay, maybe he had been moving to open the gate. But he couldn’t just...leave the All Might merch there!

“You’re not rushing at a potentially dangerous enemy for some merchandise.”

Izuku stared up at his teacher, resolute. “Sensei. Sensei, some things are worth dying for!

“You’re not throwing yourself to your possible death for some All Might merch, Midoriya. At least not on my watch; wait ‘til Yagi takes over babysitting duty before enacting any self-destructive tendencies.” His teacher paused, then unceremoniously grabbed Todoroki and wrapped the other boy’s hand around Izuku’s bicep. “Here. Todoroki, you’re on Midoriya duty while I assess the situation.”

Todoroki glanced down at where his fingers had been locked into place around Izuku’s left arm. He nodded.

Izuku squirmed in place, but Todoroki was unflinching and relentless. “Sensei,” Izuku begged, “Don’t tear the wrapping paper!” He paused, glancing around at his classmates self consciously. “Also, uh, you know. Stay safe, I guess.”

“It’s okay, Deku-kun,” Uraraka comforted him, her own eyes shining in excitement as she tracked their teacher’s cautious approach to the Nomu. “We know you have your priorities. Besides, that ribbon has your dad’s face on it!”

Kirishima was standing on his tiptoes, trying to peek over the gate Aizawa had deftly vaulted over. It was obvious he, like most all of their class (minus Izuku, who had priorities ), was on guard, given that he had yet to relent on his hardened skin. “Aizawa-sensei,” he called, “what’s it say, after the whole ‘not a threat’ thing?”

Despite the enduring tension, their class had steadily inched closer to where their teacher was investigating the unmoving, limp Nomu outside the UA gates. At one point, Aizawa had poked the immobile thing with a nearby sharp stick. 1-A had held their breath—and Izuku had hissed out, “Don’t make a hole in it! ” to which Kaminari had choked on a laugh—but the Nomu had remained inactive.

After a solid five minutes of testing and prodding and their teacher routinely activating his quirk (to no reaction), Nedzu trotted up to the gate, along with a wide-eyed Present Mic. Nedzu, as always, wore a placid smile.

“Well, what an interesting situation!” he chirped. Some of their class that hadn’t noticed his silent arrival yelped and startled; Nedzu didn’t react to their shock.

(Izuku was pretty sure their principle delighted in the suffering of humans, which wasn’t the most heroic quality to have, but who was Izuku to criticize? Everyone knew Nedzu’s traumatic backstory. 

Some people psychologically tormented humanity to cope.)

Aizawa seemed to decide that the gift-wrapped Nomu really wasn’t a threat. He had snatched off the attached letter and was reading the note with a tired-looking frown. With a longsuffering glance at his class and the principle, their teacher read aloud:

“‘This is not a threat. This is a gift. You heroes may also think of it as a peace offering, although yours is not the favor I wish to curry. 

‘“To my beloved son: I have never been adept at expressing affection. My own brother lamented the gift I bestowed upon him, and began a legacy targeting my defeat that you now erroneously continue. I can only hope you understand that this nullified weapon is an olive branch.

“‘You have always admired heroes, to my own consternation. I still think you are making a grave mistake, but know that when I began targeting your class, I was unaware you would be among them. When you were injured at that fateful training camp, know it was against my strict orders.

“‘This is not a threat. Izuku’”—and Izuku felt the pavement shift and fall under his feet, felt his world tilt and sway. His classmates made muffled sounds, shouts of confusion, but Izuku couldn’t distinguish anything beyond his own ringing ears—”’my dear son, this is the first of many offerings I will extend to you, to usher you back to my side where you belong.

“‘It’s all for you, Izuku.’” Finally, Aizawa looked back up at their class, at Izuku, who had slumped in Todoroki’s grip and had one knee on the pavement. His teacher’s rattled gaze sought out Izuku’s own, as he finished reading the note, “‘Signed: Your father, Hisashi ‘Shigaraki’ Midoriya.’”

Even Todoroki’s own grip failed, as his friend once more held up both of his hands. Izuku drooped to the ground completely, staring ahead blankly at the (still priceless) vintage All Might-themed ribbon.

(Must not be too difficult to collect all the rare All Might merch when you were already over a century old by the time the hero debuted. Old and already dead set on destroying said hero.)

“I really, really connected them,” Todoroki said, gaze intense on his own hands. Vaguely, Izuku noticed his friend had pulled a spool of red thread from his pocket—which, god, had he just been carrying that around waiting for some kind of reveal?—and had twisted two ends between his fingers. “I connected them.”

“Bleurghh,” Izuku said intelligently.

Kaminari shuffled awkwardly, glancing between his classmates’ shocked and confused expressions. “Uh,” he said. “I thought All Might was your dad, Midoriya? Although, I’m gonna be real here: I didn’t understand half the words in that letter.”

“He said something...about curry, at some point?” murmured Mina. She looked just as lost as Kaminari, and Izuku didn’t plan on correcting her.

His own head had traitorously connected the same damn, stupid threads Todoroki had daintilly planted in his mind. Shigaraki, Midoriya, cut-out faces in a photo album, bizarre happenings with One For All, tied up Nomus on their god damn doorstep. A bunch of fucking red-ass string. Mercifully, even as Izuku’s thoughts tied up into a damning picture, his head rang in silence.

(Would it be weird to ask- well. Did this mean he got to keep the wrapping paper?)

Hisashi patted himself on the back for a job well done.

Look at him, Time Magazine’s Dad of the goddamn Year, giving his son a collector’s item themed with his nemesis’ ridiculous, grinning face, despite the fact that digging out his old collection of All Might’s earliest merchandise—

(Which he had collected for villainous reasons. Hisashi had kept his eyes on All Might’s career since the moment Shimura had set her eyes on the brat. 

His collection of notes on Yagi’s past relationships and strict ledger of every piece of All Might merchandise was completely different from his son’s. Izuku collected All Might products as a fan. Hisashi compiled a curated record of his enemy’s career. Extremely different.)

—kept him grimacing at every turn. Ugh.

Hopefully his son understood the sacrificed Nomu as the peace offering that it was. 

After all, it was only the first step of many in making Izuku realize that his true place was at Hisashi’s side. And how hard could it be to win a teenage boy’s favor?

It couldn’t be so different from winning over Tomura’s own loyalties. He was sure of it.

Chapter Text

Hisashi was beholden to no one’s schedule and no society’s standards of courtesy. This meaning, of course, that he felt no need to alert his allies of his arrival.

If they bothered to watch the news—which, gods help him, they better have some understanding of current events—they would know he had escaped Tartarus, anyway. He had donned an impenetrable disguise following his liberation: dark shades and a medical mask, along with a generic, ugh , department store suit.

(The indignities one suffered for the sake of staying out of prison. Outside of the gaudy straitjacket he had been forced to endure while in captivity, Hisashi hadn’t worn anything this cheap in decades.

He could feel his skin crawling beneath the godawful polycotton blend .)

Disguise in place, Hisashi had allowed himself a brief stroll amongst a mob of unknowing citizens. It was imperative to stay on top of the news cycle, after all. How could he properly rule over a people if he didn’t know what concerns dominated the general consciousness? Not to mention, he needed to know just how erroneous the heroes were in their mad scrambling to locate him.

Which—really, what did they expect to do if they did find him? Who did they think they could send to restrain him now that All Might was out of commission? Endeavor ?

He had to laugh.

His breakout from Tartarus took a couple hours to hit the major news stations, no doubt the result of the Commission trying desperately to spin and wrangle the story into the least damning report they could manage. He could never help but admire just how devious the Safety Commission was in its overarching domination of the heroics industry, but at the same time, well, they were his mortal enemies and his plans did target their fiery downfall.

Within three hours of his escape, however, not even he himself could have prevented the media from blasting the scandal of the year. Well, second major scandal of the year.

For his sanity’s sake, Hisashi was trying to compartmentalize away the rumors that had led to his breakout in the first place. If there was one good thing that came out of having all of Japan’s eyes on the lookout for him, it was that they would, gods willing, stop talking about Yagi’s stupid, enraging lies about his relationship to Izuku.

If they wanted a scandal, oh, we would give them one, damn it . And all the more scandalous for its authenticity.

It was fun to watch the ignorant populace around him stare wide eyed and gaping at the screens around him. There were murmurings and uneasy shifting all around him, as people made their way home or (for those with a lack of self preservation) chose to ignore the red-bannered warnings flashing across a multitude of news stations and go about their mundane lives.

To his own consternation, the media had already assigned him a shortened moniker: the Bastard of Kamino .

The downside of keeping his real villain name a hushed whisper amongst the underworld for generations. Hm. He would have to release a damned statement.

After he finished killing Yagi twice , because apparently the media had come up with the name after asking All Might about whom exactly he had defeated at Kamino, and the idiot, sweaty and anxious, had responded, “What, that bastard?”

It was clear he needed to return to his organization and corral them into a sense of order quickly. The faster he could stop the media from plastering screens with bright graphics exclaiming the dangers of the Bastard of Kamino, the better. It was not the impression he wanted to give Izuku: he had spared his guards for a reason. He could be polite .

Common courtesy aside, Hisashi didn’t presently have a way to alert his followers of his location. All of his belongings had been either teleported away by Kurogiri or annihilated when his warehouse in Kamino had collapsed into rubble. He had no doubt that his backup Nokia had survived, given that it had somehow endured his first beatdown from All Might six years ago without anything more than a cracked screen, but its whereabouts were another matter entirely.

Not that he really needed it. There were only so many places Tomura could be hiding out, and his protege was many things, but innovative was certainly not one of them.

That being the case, Hisashi made his way to the hideout he had set aside that he knew for a fact had the fastest internet connection. If the boy prioritized nothing else, a strong WiFi signal was paramount. 

(When he had described some of his many hideouts to Tomura, this one stood out in particular because—when Hisashi had dutifully shown him the results of the internet speed test the boy had demanded from each secret location—Tomura had described the results as ‘poggers.’ He wasn’t entirely sure he knew what that meant, but given that it had enticed a truly chilling smile from the boy, he was pretty sure it was a good thing.)

Without his favorite warp quirk, he dutifully made his way to the dilapidated building 300 miles south of Musutafu. The best place to hide was just shy from under your enemies’ noses, after all.

It didn’t take too long to arrive: he was without Kurogiri’s quirk, certainly, but he had access to many others that made relocating much easier than it would be without a quirk’s assistance: a very short-range teleportation and speed quirk hastened the process. Unfortunately, Sludge Transport, which he had utilized at Kamino, did not work on one’s self, had a limited radius, and was very disgusting and should be avoided whenever possible.

Within three hours of his escape, he had arrived at the hideout he was 90% sure Tomura would have chosen.

He owned the building, and thus felt no need to knock.

Which apparently wasn’t necessary at all, because—although the location was obviously correct, given the dishes piled in the sink and the quietly droning TV buzzing in a side room—nobody was at the entrance.

No guards. No watchmen. No Kurogiri. Ugh, what had he been teaching this boy?

A quick scan of the building using his heat signature quirk revealed that the side room was occupied, despite Hisashi’s first glance. He crept into the room and peered over the edge of the sofa, noting the snoring figure of Spinner, asleep and prone and utterly undefended in front of the TV.

Wasting electricity , Hisashi thought with a scowl. If you were just going to fall asleep , at least turn off the television. Who did these brats think was paying the electricity bill around here?

He switched off the TV. Spinner, predictably, did not wake.

Hisashi did not stab him. This was very courteous of him.

The unwatched TV burning through electricity wasn’t the only wasteful attribute to catch his attention. From the moment he walked in, Hisashi had been unable to ignore the chilly temperature of the compound. He felt a shiver run over his skin.

Heat Signature informed him that the building was kept at a cool 63 degrees. Unacceptable.

He strode to the hallway, quickly finding the thermostat. With his lack of eyes, he wasn’t able to read the thermostat display, but he was absolutely able to click the up arrow several times. Then several more.

Again, who did they think was paying the damn bills around here?

With his frugal instincts satisfied, Hisashi finally proceeded to the first order of business: finding his protege. Tomura was, as always, easy to find, even in a multistoried warehouse with more spare rooms than an evil mastermind knew what to do with. Hisashi was blind, but he wasn’t deaf.

And Tomura certainly wasn’t...quiet.

Gods help him, Tomura wasn’t quiet. He was, unfortunately… a gamer .

From his position at the foot of a staircase on the ground floor, Hisashi could hear echoes of enraged shouting. Based on the reverberations, and a larger-than-average blob of high temperature shaped vaguely like a teenager, Tomura was somewhere on the second floor, to the far right.

Up the stairs, down the hallway, and following the screams of frustration, Hisashi lingered outside of Tomura’s door. It was shut, but that did little to muffle the sounds coming from his room.

“What the fuck was that?! Are you typing with your feet? ‘Cause that’s the only excuse to mess up that goddamn badly on— fuck! Wait—”

One could only endure these gaming sessions for so long. In deference to Tomura’s ‘gamer rage,’ Hisashi knocked politely on the door. The boy barely paused in his ranting.

“Hang on, guys, it’s probably just my stupid keeper.” Through the door, he heard huffing, and a clattering that meant that Tomura had taken off his headset. “Well, Kurogiri? Get it the fuck over with so I can get back to my game!”

Hisashi opened the door, smiling beatifically. “Are you winning, Tomura?”

Wide-eyed, Tomura disintegrated his controller with a shriek. He flailed and scrambled forward off his chair, falling to the floor. Unfortunately, he was so rattled that he forgot to lift a finger, and—palms flat on the floor—Tomura summarily dusted a wide hole in his bedroom, through which his arms dropped and sent him, flailing, to a faceplant.

“Oops. My apologies, Tomura. I did knock.”

“S-Sensei?! How are you—when! I, uh, I didn’t mean to cuss at you, Sensei.”

Hisashi sighed. “If you had been watching the news, my boy, you would have seen my breakout from Tartarus dominating the headlines. But I can see you have been...distracted.”

For a pale, pasty boy, Tomura could turn an alarming shade of red. “I’ve, uh. I was winning, Sensei.”

“Winning on the battlefield, as a formidable villain? Or…?”


His expectations were low, but sometimes Tomura managed to slide below them anyway.

After Tomura had cleaned up the remains of his controller (the boy had a collection of them, stashed in the back of his closet, due to his unfortunate habit of descending into a rage mid-game and dissolving his belongings), Hisashi gathered the boy in a previously shut room he had anticipated being his own before he had been locked away in Tartarus. Shamefaced, still, his successor summoned Kurogiri to the room as well.

To Kurogiri’s credit, the man only flickered rapidly in a tall flume of purple, shape briefly lost in shock, when he saw Hisahi standing casually next to Tomura.

“Sensei,” he said shakily. “I suppose I should have expected your presence soon, given what I saw just moments ago on the television.”

Tomura scoffed, looking at the ground. Hisashi smiled, just barely.

“Well, I’m glad some of you keep up to date with national crises! Now, before I address anything else—Kurogiri. Prior to Kamino, I had you store away a few spare support masks made by Doctor Garaki. If you would retrieve one for me, now, please.”

He liked to add please to the ends of his demands, as though they were a polite request that could be disobeyed. Technically, his followers could disobey, in theory. They would just die. But the option was there, technically.

“Of course.” With a swirl of dark purple fog, the man stepped away briefly. Tomura looked up at Hisahi with a look of concern.

“ still need the mask? How are you…”

Hisashi huffed. “You really think the heroes would have managed to heal me more successfully than Doctor Garaki had managed? Or that they would bother? ” He sneered. “No, they had me hooked up to an ancient ventilator during my stay in Tartarus. I am still injured and blind.”

“Then how—” 

“I can manager a few hours like this, but not much further.” He smiled grimly. “Within another hour or so, my lungs would collapse, and I would begin suffering major organ failure. Hence why it was vital to return to you as quickly as possible.”

Tomura’s eyes went wide and—dare he say it?—concerned. Ah, the boy so rarely showed emotion outside of his Thirteen Flavors of Anger, it was worth allowing a bit of vulnerability just to elicit it.

Nothing like a show of strategic weakness to endear your emotionally-dependent followers to you!

Kurogiri returned, carrying a heavy, metallic black replacement ventilating mask, which he handed reverently to Hisashi. He removed the (ugly, tacky, not even brand name ) shades and hat with a sigh of relief, hooking up the complex equipment with practiced ease. For the first time since he dissolved into slime and escaped his prison, Hisashi took a deep, easy breath.

His followers, the obedient little ducklings they were, waited for him patiently. Good. A few months of captivity hadn’t undone years of hard earned conditioning.

“I have some important tasks for Tomura,” Hisashi began. He directed his gaze (nonexistent though it was) toward Kurogiri. He may not have eyes, but he knew his attention held weight. “I have a specific task for you. There is a box of materials in my personal belongings that you will use to wrap and restrain a Nomu. Any will do. Once you have completed this, return to me. I have a letter to deliver along with the Nomu.”

Kurogiri didn’t have eyes in the traditional sense, but the ‘eyes’ he did have were just as easy to read. They went wide, and the edges of his smoky form flickered in confused tension. It was obvious the man wanted to ask questions, but a threatening tilt of Hisashi’s head had the man bowing and stepping out once more.

Tomura did not have the same social graces.

“Sensei, why are you, uh, delivering the Nomu? And where?” Tomura asked. His eyebrows were furrowed and a hand reached up to scratch at his neck in perturbed anxiety.

(Now that was a habit he would need to train the boy out of before moving forward with his plan. Hisashi had allowed the disorder because, frankly, excoriation was unnerving enough in combination with his successor’s quirk to serve as a sort of peculiar intimidation tactic. But since plans had changed, all he could think about was how...unsightly the poor boy tended to treat himself. Inko and Izuku would not appreciate the behavior.)

His successor stared up at him in respectful but confused questioning, and Hisashi knew that he needed to tread carefully.

Tomura was...a temperamental boy. Territorial, certainly, and the last thing Hisashi wanted to do was make the boy jealous of Izuku’s position as Hisashi’s son. Part of Tomura’s indoctrination involved having him see Hisashi as a sort of father figure, a parental savior lifting him from destitution. Introducing a biological family would mean introducing possible competition.

The best way one could prevent any familial jealousy would be to incorporate the insecure member into said family. Simple enough, right?

“Tomura,” Hisashi began, tone as genial as he could manage, “have you ever wanted a brother?”

By the time Kurogiri returned, bound and stupefied Nomu in tow, Hisashi had gingerly introduced the idea that he had a family to his successor. The boy had, impressively, only turned two whole inanimate objects into dust in a jealous fit.

Progress. Dusting inanimate objects, instead of very much animate beings, was progress.

“Who is it,” Tomura wheezed. “Sensei’s family.”

His successor’s stare was intense and longing, now, instead of heated and furious. This was also progress. He could move forward with longing.

Kurogiri started, looking at Hisashi in alarm. Hisashi remained tranquil, hoping that the serenity he was oozing would spread via osmosis into Tomura’s bloodstream. Unlikely, given that Tomura had managed to somehow increase the fervor with which he scritched at his neck, but Hisashi could hope.

Sometimes, when dealing with Tomura, hopes were all he had.

With red, sharpened claws, Hisashi reached toward the Nomu. Fingers sank through its reinforced skin like a knife as he swiftly disarmed the beast. Certain quirks needed to remain for it to maintain its recognizable, monstrous form, but those were passive mutations. For this Nomu to be the gift it needed to be, Hisashi needed to remove anything dangerous.

Which were, obviously, most of the quirks he had given it. In the end, he dismantled 14 quirks from the Nomu, leaving it a lovely, drooling husk. In hideous ribbons.

“Lovely,” said Hisashi. Purposefully avoiding Tomura’s pressing gaze, he strode to the desk in the corner of his room; being as talented as he was, he was able to write his very important letter and speak to his minions simultaneously.

Pen flying across the (ugly, All Might themed) notepad, Hisashi continued casually, “You know, in this world, we don’t always get to choose our family.”

Tomura’s face scrunched up. He looked constipated. Kurogiri just looked nervous—he always was better at reading the atmosphere.

And the atmosphere was a little...tense. One doesn’t begin good news with a disclaimer, after all.

“Family can find you in the least expected ways. Sometimes, by an extraordinary stroke of luck, one can come across their future successor, abandoned by hero society, in a dim alleyway”—he directed his smile toward Tomura, who preened in delight at the implication that his Sensei cared for him—”and sometimes….sometimes it’s your secretary .”

And now Tomura and Kurogiri were both confused, the latter uncomfortable. Not that he disliked making his disciples squirm, but he couldn’t leave his family’s details unclear if he wanted this merger to work. As much as it could work.

Hisashi sighed, signing the note with a short flourish. “It was a simple ‘accounts management’ business I ran a couple of decades ago—naturally, it was one of my many money laundering fronts, but the low level employees didn’t need to know those details.

“I remember the day I first saw her clearly. My wife. Another grunt was hounding the poor woman for her attention while she was trying to work, panting after her. He cornered her in the stairwell. I was watching from above, and I saw it all.”

This time, when Hisashi sighed, it was unmistakably dreamy. (Kurogiri, who had never witnessed such behavior from his master, shivered.)

“Somehow he kept missing that she wasn’t interested. When he wouldn’t decease his advances, she used her quirk: she has an attraction quirk for small objects, and that day, she pulled just so on his tie…” Hisashi smiled, gazing at the fond, distant memory.

“She pulled him face first down the staircase, and he fractured his L3 through L5 lumbar vertebrae and his left arm when he tumbled to the bottom.

“It was love at first sight, really. You could say I was... head over heels .”

Tomura blinked, gaze wide in morbid fascination. The incredible pun flew over his socially stunted head. Kurogiri, who recognized but refused to acknowledge the pun, merely accepted his lot in life and focused on delicately attaching Sensei’s letter to the giftwrapped Nomu.

Hisashi shook his head, refocusing on the present and his very important point. “Anyway, one meeting led to another, and we were married with a son just two years later. When it became clear he wouldn’t inherit my own quirk, I had to distance myself for their own safety, but I never truly abandoned them.”

Visibly restraining himself, Tomura squirmed in his chair, hands carefully entwined with raised pinkie fingers. His eyes wide, he rasped, “Who is it, Sensei? I want to...I want to meet your family. I want to join them.”

And here came the part Hisashi knew was very delicate. He knew Tomura wasn’t exactly fond of Izuku, given that Yagi had infected the boy with a sickening sense of hero worship and a parasitic quirk. But he also knew not to kill All Might’s successor, so hopefully this wouldn’t come completely out of left field.

“Kurogiri,” he said, commanding the man’s attention. “Bring the box that contained the wrapping paper here, for a moment.”

The other was visibly confused, but summoned a small portal nonetheless, one arm reaching through space to pull out a dusty, hastily gathered box. His foggy grip delicately handed the supplies to his master, and Hisashi carefully sorted through the obnoxious hero paraphernalia that largely occupied the box.

Said contents did not go unnoticed by Tomura; his successor grimaced in a manner very similar to Hisashi’s own in the face of plasticy, blond grins. He had raised the boy well, but Hisashi was a man on a mission.

From the dust-covered depths of an innocuous box, Hisashi pulled out one of his most precious belongings.

Tomura squinted at the object Hisashi held reverently in both hands. “Is that, uh...a scrap book?”

“It is. It’s the scrapbook, the unedited scrapbook lovingly assembled by my family and I just months before I left them. For their own safety, I left them both a….censored version. But I couldn’t bring myself to damage the original.”

Hisahi ran a hand delicately over the glitter-covered cover. “Family is Everything,” he read darkly. “Yes, that is a lesson I’ve learned over my many years, ever since my brother…” he trailed off, a finger tracing the cursive letters on the scrapbook’s cover.

For once seeming to pick up on the mood, Tomura stayed silent, though he stared hungrily at the book in Hisashi’s hands. Kurogiri stared awkwardly at the stagnant Nomu.


The boy startled, attention flicking back to Hisashi’s face. Hisashi ‘stared’ back at the boy intensely.

“What I’m going to show you will come as a very great surprise, so for now I am going to hold the book myself. To prevent any….quirk accidents.”

His successor scowled at the floor, hands clenching, but nodded. “I’ll be careful, Sensei,” he muttered.

Hisashi smiled, not trusting that one damn bit. “Of course. It’s just that some surprises can be more emotionally intense than others, and as I mentioned before, this scrapbook is one of my most precious belongings.”

All of which was short for: your dusty hands aren’t going to touch this damn book until after you’ve had the inevitable emotional breakdown my family’s identity will cause.

Mute and obedient, Tomura nodded once more. Hisashi’s smile was a stubborn, aggressive thing. He was calm, so Tomura would be calm. He would be calm. 

The sheer pacifying vibes Hisashi was radiating would cool Tomura’s undoubtedly emotional reaction.

This being the case, Hisashi opened the scrapbook to the first page. A lovely photo of Inko and him in tailored suits, with Izuku, a smiling toddler, held between them. If the green curls and freckles weren’t damning enough, below this introductory photo were the delicately penned kanji: “The Midoriya Family: Hisashi Midoriya, Inko Midoriya, & Izuku Midoriya.”

Tomura got it quickly.

“Oh no. It’s that- that’s the All Might brat. The All Might kid I hate. Is this a test. Is this a joke?

Hisashi maintained his firm, flat smile. He continued to just absolutely diffuse placidity. “This is my family, Tomura. Please play nice with your little brother.”

His successor gaped at the scrapbook. “Fucking hell. This is so….”

“Not poggers?”

Tomura grimaced. “Not poggers.”

Chapter Text

After Tomura finished his modest breakdown, Hisashi felt more confident about his next steps in his extensive plan.

Firstly, he had Kurogiri deliver the carefully wrapped and disbled Nomu. He deliberately attached his letter to Izuku (by fusing it into the defunct Nomu’s flesh, a process which entailed only a teensy amount of blood), then dispensed Kurogiri with his peace offering. Hisashi felt rather like a military spouse waving their loved one away into battle, hopes desperately wished alongside their departure.

One couldn’t be a supervillain without a taste for the dramatics. He didn’t even have to try.

Next, Hisashi needed to begin rebuilding the bridges he had burned to protect his family so many years ago. He couldn’t simply barge in on his wife apropos nothing—he didn’t want to end up with a fractured vertebrae like his unfortunate ex-employee, after all—so he needed to give his beloved family a heads up, so to speak.

Specifically because his own head was still kind of...fucked up.

It was a work in progress. Hisashi was, obviously, aware of the young girl that the heroes had rescued from the Hassaikai just months ago: the guards to his cell couldn’t avoid discussing the raid on the old Yakuza hideout after Hisashi gently herded them into the topic. 

What a quirk that young girl had! Hisashi couldn’t restrain himself from probing for more details, a verbal nagging which led to Hisashi being flooded with massive doses of sedatives.

His guards said he had it coming. Victim blaming, in Hisashi’s mind. He couldn’t help his natural, innocent sense of curiosity.

(Even if his curiosity entailed questions about the truly gruesome, gory details of the torture of a small child. It’s not like he endorsed such barbaric practices, but if the science was already out there ...well, waste not, want not.

He had only ever experimented on one child, and that Tsubasa brat had it coming. Hisashi’s hands were as clean as it got, for a centuries-old mastermind.)

Despite that minor setback, Hisashi had obtained enough information about the girl’s quirk that he had his doubts about its effectiveness. The girl could rewind and reshape matter, but she was, as much as anyone in their quirk-laden world, constrained by the laws of thermodynamics. She could reverse and repair, but she couldn’t recreate mass that no longer existed; it was why she could ‘shrink’ or deage those she grasped, but she couldn’t spin them into health or recreate decimated organs. Thus, Hisashi truly doubted that the quirk would be able to restore his eyes without the sacrifice of, well, a similar piece of organ matter, which no thank you, he— 

“Sensei,” Tomura mumbled, eyes darting furtively around the crowded mall. “You’re mumbling again.”

“Oh, dear.” Indeed, a few heads were craned awkwardly in his and Tomura’s general direction. Hisashi hadn’t realized he’d been theorizing out loud. His hand had even reached up to tap at where his mouth had been running beneath his medical mask.

Some habits were hard to break. Whatever. You’d think people weren’t used to hearing about blood and organ matter or something. Everyone was made of organs! The public just had some growing up to do.

Still, for the sake of blending in (as much as one could when bulkily covering an industrial mask with a hat, shades, and medical mask), Hisashi restrained his natural, innocent curiosity.

“Thank you, Tomura,” he said, a bit belatedly. “I appreciate you looking out for me.” In an effort to encourage his successor’s sense of attachment and to play into their outward appearance of father and son, Hisashi reached out and patted Tomura on the head.

Tomura, whose distinctive hair was tucked into a beanie, ducked his head further into his scarf, blushing. The boy really took after him in so many ways. Mainly in his lack of empathy and hatred of hero society, yes, but also in being flustered by outward displays of affection. Thankfully, with Izuku’s savior complex and Inko’s natural maternal tendencies, Tomura’s blatant unfamiliarity with acts of kindness would work in their favor.

Hisashi didn’t even know he was planning ahead when he refrained from providing Tomura with healthy emotional affection. It must have been his experienced mind subconsciously scheming—he was just that good .

More cheerful, Hisashi allowed himself to leave a familiar hand on Tomura’s shoulder. If the boy ducked any further into his scarf, he’d end up walking into a pole. Hisashi deftly steered him along through the crowd.

Eventually, Tomura recovered enough of himself to raise his head back up and glance around. “Where exactly are we headed, Sensei?” he asked quietly. His successor scrutinized the crowded mall they were navigating with visible distaste. The poor boy was never one for crowds.

TVs on display in store windows still presented vibrant, scrolling warnings about the escape of the Bastard of Kamino, talking heads warning the public of staying alert, but, roughly a day having passed since Hisashi’s escape, the public was already glancing over the warnings. An immense threat to the country’s safety could only hold the interest of hero society for a couple dozen hours—with deadly villains being a daily occurrence, Hisashi’s breakout from Tartarus was delegated to a political issue only hours after he failed to show up and demolish Tokyo.

And so, barely a day after Hisashi’s escape, the people of Japan were once more faithfully crowded into shopping malls. Bless them, Hisashi thought fondly. It was so terribly easy to disappear into a crowd.

Tomura clearly did not share his fondness for the ignorant masses. His successor stared at one of the TVs flashing through a montage of All For One’s last battle against All Might, frown intense on his face, then stared up at Hisashi’s own impenetrable disguise. One gloved hand (Hisashi had made the boy put on soft knitted gloves to prevent him from clawing his neck raw) gestured at Hisashi’s shoddily adorned cover-up.

“Everyone’s stupid,” he said with disgust. 

“They sure are!” Hisashi agreed fondly.

He patted the boy’s shoulder again, in a terribly good mood and refusing to let Tomura’s teenage angst get him down. Continuing to steer the two of them through the familiar mall, Hisashi answered Tomura’s earlier question. “My last phone was completely demolished in my battle against All Might,” he stated. “I need to give Inko some warning about my appearance before I show up at her front door, given my current, hm, lack of face. And, of course, I want to make contact with Izuku to begin building a dialogue. What with me being his idol’s mortal enemy, we can assume things could...get off on the wrong foot.”

Tomura scowled. “Fucking All Might. Fucking hero society propoganda bullshit,” he hissed. Hisashi couldn’t bring himself to reprimand his language, because hey, fuck All Might. His successor shook his head, strands of blue-white hair coming free from the beanie. “I’m excited to meet your family, Sensei,” he continued, “I met that All Might kid before, but that was before I knew he was my little brother. And the foot was all wrong.”

He didn’t correct Tomura’s attempt at a metaphor. It was close enough. “I know it was, Tomura. You’ll have time to correct that mistake, and Izuku is a forgiving boy.” 

Gods knew Hisashi was depending on that forgiving demeanor.

“When I’m done with him—uh, done bonding—we’re gonna be so close. He’ll call me big brother and everything. I’ll help him realize that heros are bullshit, and we’ll play video games together, and I’ll turn all the people he doesn’t like to piles of dust.”

Tomura really was such an affectionate boy at heart. Still. “I don’t doubt that you will, my boy. But remember: indoctrination is a process , not a single action. He may well never completely come to see our (correct) way of thinking.”

At the word ‘indoctrination,’ Tomura’s face had pinched up in displeasure, or maybe confusion. Hisashi needed to remember to taylor his vocabulary. Maybe if he related it to video games again…?

“It’s like he’s a console gamer,” Hisashi tried. “Uh. You can explain why PC is better all you want, but at the end of the day, he’s still going to reach for the GameCube controller.”

That made sense, right? Apparently it made enough sense for Tomura, because the boy’s posture visibly relaxed as he let out a defeated sigh. “Damn. Shit’s more ergonomic, I guess. Heroes always look OP, right? So I’ll help Sensei explain that he’s nerfed himself before he even picked a class.”

Hisashi...understood about half of that terminology. Together, he and Tomura were one-half teenager, one-half Quirk Boomer. But he nodded, because he was pretty sure it sounded right. It was more about the spirit of things, anyway: play nice with your new little brother, or he won’t want to join our party.

Besides, Hisashi planned on doing most of the talking. Ideally, Tomura wouldn’t need to ‘persuade’ Izuku at all. All his successor needed to do was sit there and look sad and redeemable, playing to Izuku’s hero complex. Hell, seeming quiet and downtrodden may even be a bonus.

Arriving at a store with a wide display of phones was ultimately underwhelming, after their robust conversation about persuading family to be sympathetic for the dark side. The grotesque display of commercialism, surrounding Hisashi and Tomura with chipper shop clerks eager to steer Hisashi out of his illegally-earned yen, was enough to have Tomura shoving both hands into his pockets, shoulders up defensively.

He was the picture of teenage disillusion. Were Hisashi a merciful mentor, he would allow the boy to sulk outside and glare at each passersby, but unfortunately for him, Hisashi was blind.

Mercy was reserved for those who could, y’know, see the phone displays. Hisashi’s current disposition did not lend itself to reading.

The pitiful clerk attempting to help the two of them find a phone was starting to pick up on Tomura’s tangible miasma of antisocial rage. It didn’t help that his sloppy beanie and hoodie really completed the image of hikikomori.

And Tomura’s presence really was necessary, apparently, since every time Hisashi named a phone model he was familiar with, the clerk looked more and more uncomfortable.

“Um,” the nameless drone hedged anxiously. “That- that model is also out of production. It has been for about… a hundred years?”

“Hm.” Hisashi considered his options. “Not that I’m over a hundred years old or anything, but if I were , and if the only phones I was familiar with were all antiques, what phones would you recommend?”

“Er,” the hapless boy said, shuffling in place in visible discomfort. “Are you just. Looking for something that isn’t a smartphone? Because pretty much everything is, nowadays.”

“He’s blind , you insensitive NPC,” Tomura hissed. Not the most tactful, but Hisashi appreciated the thought.

“I can see the phone itself,” Hisashi added helpfully. “But only the shape of it. Screens are just rectangles in a heat field.”

The clerk jerked, face flushing and hands help up in deference. “O-oh, I’m so sorry! That’s, you could’ve said something. If you need something more accessible, there’s always screen readers and voice to text…?”

“Ugh, no ,” groaned Tomura.

“Oh?” said Hisashi, interest peaked. “Show me, boy.”

Someone should have told Hisashi about accessible technology years ago.

Not that he really gave them a chance, given that—after he was blinded and wounded by All Might—Hisashi had sequestered himself away behind cables and life support, only showing himself to allies and enemies alike as a voice on a screen.

One didn’t flourish in the underworld by advertising their weaknesses. None of his business partners ever knew he was blind.

Still, he could’ve been using smartphones years ago. Although Tomura didn’t seem to share in his excitement.

“Sensei, could you...turn your phone down?” he gritted out, tension in the line of his shoulders.

Hisashi glanced up at his successor. “Tomura, really. I need to hear my phone to use it.”

Tomura grimaced. “Yeah, I know. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, Sensei. But it’s just- we can hear everything you’re doing.”

Kurogiri coughed, awkwardly. Hisashi frowned down at his phone, ignoring his successor’s advice transiently. 

“Text Inko,” Hisashi directed aloud. His phone pinged in recognition, and Tomura groaned, audibly dropping his head onto the counter. “May I call you soon, question mark. I have a lot to explain before I visit in person, comma, it’s the least you deserve from me.” He paused. “Sad emoji. Send text.”

His phone chimed a confirmation. Tomura grumbled something about ‘old people’ into the wood. Hisashi deigned to ignore that—they had other things to discuss before he called Inko to arrange a family meeting. His first visit home was vital . It would be Tomura’s first attempt at integrating himself into his family’s good graces, and, most importantly, it was Hisashi’s chance to apologize to his wife and garner his son’s empathy.

It took longer than one evening to sway someone to your cause, but Hisashi could start rebuilding their relationship. He could show his son that he made a damned better father than Yagi. He would show Izuku that he would be a fantastic dad.

Losing to Yagi was simply not an option.

Hisashi pocketed his phone, turning his attention back to Tomura. Before he brought his successor to meet his wife, and before he could reintroduce the young man to Izuku properly, he needed to make sure that Tomura could use some...tact.

Unfortunately, teaching Tomura social courtesy was akin to teaching calculus to a swarm of bees.

Telling his successor to play nice led to a furrowed brow and a shaky nod, gloved hands reaching uselessly to claw at his neck in anxiety. Advising him to sympathize with his hero-hopeful son caused Tomura to nod frantically, but simultaneously growl under his breath about the damnation of hero society. Instructing Tomura to engender Izuku’s sympathy ended with Tomura not-so-discreetly Googling synonyms for empathy.

It was clear that Hisashi needed to meet the boy in the middle, so to speak.

“I just don’t get it,” the boy hissed, fists clenched in frustration. “He was bullied for being quirkless, right? Why the hell does he still like people? Why does he want to be a hero when all the heroes snubbed him?”

All of those were questions that dogged Hisashi himself—being a sadistic, cruel bastard had always made it difficult to understand his brother’s idealistic perspective—and he wasn’t entirely sure he had an answer for Tomura. What he did have, however, was experience.

Hisashi sighed in longsuffering understanding. “Of course he wants to be a hero,” he mused. “Back when I was a boy, everyone wanted to be an astronaut, or a pop idol, or a social media influencer—”

“An influenza?”

“—Ah, no. An influencer. They used to fill the void between circus clown, salesmen, and models. Don’t worry about it; I’ve managed to wipe most of them from the history books, anyway. My point is this: Izuku wants to be a hero because it’s what he’s learned to want.”

Tomura huffed. Hisashi sympathized.

“You don’t need to understand someone’s perspective to comprehend it, my boy,” Hisashi advised. Gods knew he didn’t truly understand half the shit he was able to manipulate in order to command his minions’ loyalty, but he perceived the lines of logic and emotion needed to guide the gullible to his side.

Tomura grunted. Hisashi needed a little bit more of an agreement before he moved forward.

“Think of it this way: you don’t need to enjoy the pacifist run, but playing the pacifist run is important to understanding what happens in the genocide run.”

“I guess,” Tomura muttered. “When you put it like that. I just gotta entertain them, huh? Play nice with All Might simps.”

“Very good,” Hisashi agreed, choosing to ignore the use of the word ‘simp’.

(If Izuku was a hero simp, did that make Tomura a...hero incel? After months of captivity, his sanity was already on thin ice; he would not consider it any further.)

With a bright chime, Hisashi’s phone broke into the conversation. Hands rushing to retrieve the thing, Hisashi commanded his phone to pull up his text messages. Aloud, because he literally had no choice but to use voice to text, Tomura, not everyone had perfectly functioning eyes.

One would hope his followers would be a bit more sympathetic to the plights of those disfigured by hero society. Maybe he needed to host a panel in sensitivity to those with disabilities or something.

“Phone,” he ordered, because he refused to give his phone a name otherwise. “Read the text from Inko.”

“Oh no,” mumbled Kurogiri. Rude.

A robotic, monotone voice read aloud, at his established full volume: “From Inko. It better be a damn good explanation. Our boy hasn’t heard from you in years and the first time I hear from you is after we make the news for All Might stepping up the plate. Who do you think you are. A good father—”

“Stop!” Hisashi shouted, fumbling to lock the screen. It was only a feat of perseverance that kept him from throwing his own phone to the ground and shattering it in mortification. He hadn’t blushed in years , but he could feel the blood rising to his face. 

“Oh shiiiiit,” Tomura huffed, voice obviously holding back a laugh. “Maybe you should leave the screen reader on full volume after all, Sensei. I wanna hear the rest of that.”

“Tomura,” Kurogiri chided. Despite his correction, Hisashi could hear the amusement in his voice as well.

“I wanna hear the rest of it respectfully .”

“No,” Hisashi mumbled, pushing down his internal screaming for later, when he could call his wife alone and have a very delightful conversation about his years of silence being due to a medical emergency. “No, that sounds like it will be a private conversation. I think that’s enough screen reading for today.”

“I don’t think that’s how you use it in a sentence, Sensei.”

“As the one with a visual disability, I think I will be the judge of that, my boy.” Tomura may still be respectful, but maybe Hisashi needed to torture or kill off a couple lower ranking followers in front of him to remind him that his respect should be tempered with a hint of fear, as well.

(His quirk-greedy hands twitched in impatience; he hadn’t maimed anyone in months . At this point, he may as well apply himself for sainthood.)

“Does it really county as a disability if you can still beat All Might into the dirt using Heat Sig—” Tomura started, but Hisashi cut him off. He had other, important tasks to address before he could arrange their meeting with Inko and Izuku.

“As much as I love to discuss crushing All Might like a bug,” he acknowledged, “we need to prepare you for more familial interactions.”

This seemed to be what broke Kurogiri’s veil of professionalism. His follower’s misty form wavered in a sharp blurt of laughter, hands fumbling the bottle in his grip. Tomura glared at the other man, arms crossing in a huff of indignation.

“I said I’d play nice,” he grumbled. “I wanna make a good impression for Sensei’s family.”

“And I’m sure you will,” Hisashi said kindly, lying through his damn teeth. “Think of it as...lessons in etiquette.”


“Professionalism is important for any villainous leader,” Hisashi continued, voice calm. “You can only spend so much time intimidating your own followers into compliance. If we destroyed our followers and family every time they irritated us, there would hardly be anyone left in Japan!” Hisashi chuckled.

Tomura nodded. Kurogiri looked decidedly uncomfortable. Not everyone was cut out for diabolical leadership.

Hisashi led Tomura up to the boy’s room, a hand at his back. “Not to worry, of course,” he drawled, tone inviting and reassuring. “I am prepared to meet your educational needs in a manner suiting your. Hm. Personality.”

“...what’s that mean.”

If Hisashi didn’t know his successor so well, he would be afraid of offending him. Thankfully, the boy was blissfully at ease in his own social ineptitude, and thus Hisashi could introduce his amended rehabilitation plan.

“It means, Tomura, that your familial integration plan will be….an epic gamer moment.”

“...using centuries old memes like that really, really makes you seem old , Sensei,” Tomura replied, tone flat. He did not seem nearly as delighted at Hisashi’s charming sense of humor as he had hoped. Ah, well. No accounting for taste.

“I am a 200-something year old father of two teenage boys. Allow me my dated humor. Izuku and Inko always found my jokes funny.”

They arrived at Tomura’s room, host to a very expensive desktop, Hisashi still guiding the boy by a hand at his back, as the boy muttered, “Maybe they were laughing at you. And wasn’t the brat, like, five when you left.”

What a generous leader Hisashi was, to choose to ignore impertinence of such magnitude. If his hand between Tomura’s shoulder rose to grip around the back of his neck like a mutt’s scruff, well, who could blame him.

After Tomura had made a couple of semi-concerning choking noises, Hisashi delicately shoved the boy into his chair, head facing forward to the screen. He released his succor’s neck in favor of a fatherly hand on the shoulder. If it was at all threatening after the minor suffocation, that was all a matter of perspective.

“Now,” he began cheerfully, “I’ve taken the liberty of restricting your game library for this mission—”

“What. Holy shit, Sensei, where are my files. Did you delete —”

“Not important! Tomura, really, you must focus on your assignment. Your files will be returned to their previous state after you’ve successfully integrated yourself with my family.”

(Gods, if Hisashi did make a copy of Tomura’s Steam library. Shit. It was all on the cloud, right? He wouldn’t have only kept local files for all of his games. He wouldn’t. For the sake of Japan’s infrastructure, he hoped not.)

Hisashi gestured to the few remaining shortcuts on Tomura’s desktop. “These will serve as your rehabilitation, in between thorough etiquette lessons taught by Kurogiri. Do well at your tasks, Tomura, and you will make me very happy.”

And what more could his successor want, than to make his dear Sensei happy?

Later, once Sensei had retreated to his own sound-proofed room to call his estranged wife, Tomura slouched in his chair and stared despondently at his desktop.

What had previously been a meticulously un-organized collection of an expansive Steam library had been brutally reduced, cutdown without mercy. Only three icons remained on his home screen, and when Tomura went to see if he could download any other games, his system pinged with a popup, preventing further action without a password Tomura did not have.

Three games , he thought to himself. Damn. Do people really live like this?

His choices were, as Sensei specified, focused on rehabilitation. Games he had never played (he could if he wanted to ) out of a sheer lack of any interest whatsoever:

Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, and Harvest Moon.

How soon can I meet Sensei’s family , he wondered to himself, holding back a scream of despair. How soon can I pass this test. This...form of inhumane reprogramming.

A popup notified him that he was not making satisfactory progress in beginning his island journey with Tom Nook. Tomura lost the battle against his screams.

Chapter Text

They obviously didn’t intend to keep the Nomu.

After Izuku had finished delicately unwrapping the drooling, docile monster at UA’s stoop, preserving the (limited edition and very rare!) ribbons and wrappings for his keeping, his teacher and their principle had re-restrained the Nomu. Police had been called, and the monster had been summarily shoved away into a cruiser, driven off for research and captivity.

Principle Nedzu had clapped his hands together, announcing that he would have to follow up with Izuku and All Might very soon. It was spoken politely, a request with an assumed agreement, but Izuku felt a chill run down his spine nonetheless.

“Ohhhh,” said Kaminari, eyes tracking the vanishing shape of their principle. “Shit, are you gonna get in trouble for being in the middle of a super villain custody dispute, dude?”

“No way,” Kirishima argued, clapping a hand to Izuku’s shoulder. Izuku—who had already been slumped in wretched defeat, knees to the concrete—collapsed forward onto the ground. As miserable as he seemed, his friends mercifully left him face-sideways on the cold, hard pavement. “That wouldn’t be cool at all,” Kirishima continued, “to punish Midoriya for a villain trying to drag him into some stuff. Besides, All Might already came out and said he’s Midoriya’s dad. I bet this is just All Might’s enemy trying to piss him off.”

“Hm,” mused Mina. “Obviously the villain’s full of it, but why is he lying about Midoriya specifically? Why d’you think, Deku-kun?”

“Uuuuughhhh,” said Izuku, face still pressed into the ground.

“Yeah,” Mina sighed, nodding sagely, hands on her hips. “Guess villains don’t need a reason to lie, huh?”

That wasn’t exactly what Izuku meant—his mind was droning some repeated plea toward unknown gods about why he, innocent Izuku, had to be subject to cruel, cosmic irony—but Izuku didn’t plan on saying any of that. His classmates might get ideas if he implied in any way that he was even considering the stupidly plausible theory that his mentor’s nemesis had dropped into their laps.

Unfortunately, some of his classmates were already more invested than others. Some of his classmates were bastards. One such bastard spoke his mind.

“Yet again, I am proven right.”

“Todoroki-kun,” Izuku mumbled, turning his blank stare up toward his classmates. He must have looked particularly pitiable, because those in his line of sight grimaced in sympathy at him. As they well should, he thought. “Please. Shut up.”

“Shut up or I’ll shut you up,” Bakugou growled. As always, he had a talent for inserting himself into the conversation; given that Izuku had dragged the other boy into his schemes, he couldn’t complain. If nothing else, his friend made for a great distraction. 

Bakugou stalked forward and yanked Izuku up from his woeful faceplant, sticking him back on his feet and dusting off his rumpled clothes with an aggressive hand.

“Thanks, Kacchan,” Izuku mumbled. He stared blankly at the carefully collected All Might memorabilia in his hands. Is it worth it , he wondered to himself. Is this all really worth it?

(Well, monetarily speaking, almost certainly: Izuku’s suffering was difficult to quantity, but if one added up the pain and suffering, he was certain it came out to at least ten thousand yen. Meanwhile, this vintage All Might merch could go for twice that, easy, on Ebay.

Was it concerning that Izuku could reduce his mental anguish to cold, unfeeling numbers? Perhaps. Izuku’s therapist would, in all likelihood, answer with a firm yes, Izuku, what is wrong with you. 

But Izuku was an All Might fan first and a functioning individual second: what was really concerning was that a centuries old supervillain just tousled up a Nomu in antique memorabilia, like cheap lasso around a hog. Pearls before swine.)

Bakugou just scoffed, single handedly holding up Izuku’s physical form, and also, to some extent, his will to live. “Don’t thank me, stupid. The Rat Bastard is probably already on it, but you should go talk to All Might about this shit before anything else gets fucked up.”

Izuku nodded. Shit would fuck itself up, inevitably, so he must try to un-fuck the shit as much as he could, before the shit was, itself, fucked. So to speak. Bakugou’s words were truly words of wisdoms.

Todoroki squinted at the two of them.

“Warning one father figure about the other, huh,” he mused. His stare tracked where Izuku was clutching his gaudy merchandise in quivering hands.

Before Bakugou could metaphorically explode at the other boy (or maybe literally, it was unclear at this point), Kaminari tilted his head at Todoroki and asked, voice friendly and curious, “I thought you were on board with All Might going public about being Midoriya’s dad, Todoroki? What gives?”

Yeah, Izuku thought bitterly, dazed, What the fuck gives.

“Well, I don’t think All Might is lying, per se,” Todoroki said. “I think they’re both his dads, now.” Then he paused, and added with a hapless shrug, “...You know how it is with quirks these days.”

“Wow,” breathed Izuku, brain-to-mouth filter malfunctioning. “You are so fucking stupid.”

It was the meanest thing Izuku had said to someone. Despite his own, deeply buried horror, he couldn’t bring himself to regret it. He was floating outside of the world, still, the dark comedy his life had become pulling him into a fugue state.

Their class and their teacher, who had been watching this conversation with some amount of bleak intrigue, were not so numb. Bakugou laughed, loud and barking, a sound Izuku hadn’t heard in years; Iida gasped, clutching at his chest like one clutching their pearls; Uraraka made a sound like a very quiet, breathy scream; Kaminari jolted himself with a shock and screeched; and Todoroki went wide-eyed, blinking rapidly at Izuku.

The various sounds of excitement shook Izuku from his dissociative state. “Oh my god,” he breathed, hands clapping to his mouth in horror. “T-Todoroki-kun I. I am so sorry, I didn’t mean that! Well, I mean I kind of did mean it but not in an angry way. Well, hm, maybe a little angry. I just—”

“Alright,” Aizawa said, interrupting Izuku’s tirade. “As entertaining as this all is, and as many questions as I have about all of this , let’s take these conversations back to the classroom. Midoriya,” he nodded in Izuku’s direction with a sharp gaze, “if you want to discuss this situation with All Might, go ahead. Make it brief: you still have class.”

“I’ll take him,” Bakugou said. At Aizawa’s doubting blink, he continued, shaking Izuku by the tight grip at his arm, “He ain’t in any state to be wandering around alone, Sensei.”

To seemingly demonstrate his current uselessness, Izuku wobbled pathetically in Bakugou’s grasp. He was a limp noodle of defeat.

Aizawa grimaced. The look he shot at Izuku’s pitiful form was the same look Izuku had seen the man direct toward particularly wretched stray cats. “Yeah, go ahead and escort him.” He paused. “Make sure you’re back before sixth period. Villainous paternity schemes are no excuse to fall behind.”

With that declaration, Aizawa dismissed the two. Bakugou proceeded to drag Izuku’s limp form toward the teacher’s lounge. Their class shot the pair of them a mixed set of gazes; they seemed torn between bafflement at Izuku’s earlier savagery and pity at his, y’know, general life situation.

Between the shock and the mercy, Izuku was pretty sure he preferred the shock, if only because it didn’t place him at the center of a goddamn custody battle between the greatest hero in history and said man’s mortal enemy.

Maybe he should swear at his classmates some more. That would keep them focused on anything other than the absurdity of his life.

Toshinori was, predictably, less than enthusiastic about the situation.

“That bastard of a man,” he growled, teeth gritted, blood gathering at his mouth in his tense rage. “Even this, he feels like he can get his filthy claws on? Nothing is sacred to him. He just lies, deceives, schemes —”

“About that,” Izuku interrupted awkwardly. All Might’s fiery blue gaze fixed on him, and Izuku squirmed in his position squeezed between Bakugou and the hero on the teacher’s lounge couch. “I, uh. You remember the scrapbook?”

Toshinori nodded.

“I’m, er, not so sure he is lying.”

Toshinori choked on his own blood, covering his mouth with a handkerchief and hunching over himself. “My boy,” he coughed, “You think that- that man really believes that he’s your father?”

“I think he might related to me? In some way. And the biggest gap in my family tree is the one that was married to my mom.”

Bakugou groaned, slumping, legs spread, with an angry frown. “I hate this,” he grumbled. “I hate that you aren’t fuckin’ wrong.”

“Oh, I think I hate this the most!”

“Hahh?? I can hate it way more than you, bastard!”

“Boys,” All Might sighed. “Please, explain what on earth you mean to this old man.”

“You’re not old , Toshinori,” Izuku insisted reflexively. “But, well. Just looking at some of the evidence, I can’t help but wonder… Why have I been inheriting the past user’s quirks from One For All, when arguably you were much more the zenith of the quirk than I am? At least if we’re looking at it from the perspective of quirk singularity. And then the timeline. It adds up, if you think about it. When my father left, when he stopped even calling our family, it lines up with when I failed to manifest a quirk and with your battle with All For One...”

Toshinori gave this the silence it deserved, brows furrowed. He looked like someone that was lost on their way to a funeral: upset and looking for direction.

Directions to Izuku’s cold, cold corpse, because he was currently digging his own grave.

“It’s just,” Izuku continued, squirming a bit, “I don’t see why he would choose to lie about this? This, specifically, and now. Why break out now , unless he really had something to prove?”

“Because he’s a bastard,” Toshinori argued, very sensibly.

“True. But what does he have to gain?”

“My undying rage?” Toshinori suggested.

“He already has that,” Izuku pointed out. “Anyway, whether it’s true or not, it seems safe to be on the defensive and assume it’s true. Or, at least, he thinks it’s true.”

His mentor-father figure stared despairingly at the floor, handkerchief held up to his mouth. His hands were gripped in angry fists. Izuku stared, pleading with puppydog eyes, until Toshinori let out a long, rattling sigh.

“You know,” he murmured, raising a hand and ruffling Izuku’s mop of hair, “this is more like Star Wars than ever before.”

“No,” said Izuku. “No, nope.”

“Even that bastard’s big, black respiratory metal helmet, it looks just like Darth Vader, doesn’t it? Oh, no. This really is making more sense by the minute—”

“Don’t use Star Wars comparisons as an argument, Toshinori-san,” Izuku pleaded. He let the pressure of Toshinori’s hand on his head push him down until he slouched half-off the couch.

At least the man had the decency to look embarrassed. “Er, it does help me see it from your perspective, though, my boy. Rising above one’s biological origins into a legacy of justice!”

“You’re romanticizing the situation. I preferred and plan on publicly sticking to you being my dad.”

Toshinori laughed, hand moving to clap Izuku on his slumped shoulder. “Oh, my boy, I plan on fighting for the position myself! Rest assured, whoever your biological father is doesn’t matter to me. You , as an individual, are the only one that can define who you are. And I’m as honored as I have been this past week that you choose me to be your father.”

Izuku sniffled. Bakugou groaned, choking down bile at the maudlin stares Izuku and All Might were sending each other. He shoved a pillow over his face. “Let me know when you two are done being so grossly fuckin’ domestic,” he grumbled into the fabric.

“I can’t help it,” Izuku sniffled, tears already leaking out (despite his very best efforts). “I’m just so glad that you would still stick with me, All Might, even if I end up being at the center of All For One’s stupid schemes. You’d still- you’d still want to be my dad!”

Maybe he was wailing, tears soaking into Toshinori’s suit jacket. Who could blame him? Within the last few days, his life had taken a Star Wars-style twist (okay, he could admit it) and gone to shit and back. Now Japan knew him as All Might’s son and his possible secret-evil-dad had broken out of jail and decided that right now was a great time to show his face—or lack of face.

And Toshinori said he’d still stick by him. Wow.

“Gross,” Bakugou groaned. “You’re soaking the damn couch!”

With a comforting pat on the back, Toshinori urged Izuku into standing, pressing tissues at his teary face. “Of course,” he said, expression fond, “regardless of what that bastard of a man plans on trying, I promise I will be by your side.”

Izuku continued to sob with happiness, now at a greater volume. He reached out to Toshinori and threw an arm around him, pulling his mentor in for a desperate hug. With his other arm, he determinedly pulled in his reluctant coconspirator.

“Eugh!” Bakugou shouted. “No!” The other boy squirmed angrily out from under Izuku’s arm. “I’m going back to class. Lemme know if your villain sperm donor tries any other shit, but I do not want in on your fuckin’ group hugs.”

“Kacchan,” Izuku sniffed, “I- it’s an Arm of Friendship.”

“Keep your arm to your damn self!” Bakugou hollered, yanking his backpack across his shoulders aggressively. He shoved his hands deep into his pants pockets, marching out of the teachers’ lounge. “I’m allergic to sentiment .”

Later, once Izuku had finished sobbing into Toshinori’s chest and collected himself, Izuku returned to their class and discretely passed Bakugou a paper note with a wobbly scribbled, ‘thank you for being my friend through these trying times’.

After a moment of furious scratching, Bakugou slapped the note back onto Izuku’s desk. The note (what remained of it, because Bakugou had dug into the thing with his pen so aggressively that he’d shredded into the paper, and ink bled onto Izuku’s fingers) looked more like a ransom letter than anything else, and read simply: ‘AGHHH NO’.

Izuku chose to interpret this as wary acceptance. Pocketing the note, he shot a quick, thankful smile back at Bakugou.

For some reason, his friend just stared back in something between disbelief and dread. 

(From across the classroom, Kaminari observed this exchange with delight.

“Tsundere,” he breathed, but even that was too loud to escape Bakugou’s sharply-tuned hearing aids. After a few moments of incensed writing, he shoved a separate note at Kaminari. It must have been much more succinct in expressing his feelings than his reply to Izuku, because Kaminari stopped chuckling immediately. In fact, he choked. On delight, Izuku was sure.

Kacchan is getting pretty good at having friends, Izuku thought happily.)

Unfortunately, their plans to not keep the Nomu appeared to go the way of most of Izuku’s plans. 

That is to say, they went to shit. Immediately.

When Izuku walked into class the next day—determined to put thoughts of Star Wars and how much, exactly, a paternity test actually costs far away, and determined to focus on his education for once—he was greeted with a truly baffling sight. As always, Iida was one of the earliest to class, and the other boy was indeed sitting ramrod straight in his assigned seat. Yaoyorozu and Todoroki were also early, the former meeting Izuku’s morning greeting with a concerned smile, the latter….

The latter was slumped slightly in his seat, one hand cupping his cheek, as he stared at the Nomu slumped next to Izuku’s seat.

The Nomu, which was there, riiiight next to Izuku’s desk.

“Oh,” said Izuku, “Hm. Um!”

“Good morning, Midoriya-kun,” Todoroki greeted, as though he weren’t looking at a massive black monster sitting primly in their classroom. Iida also shouted a brief morning ovation.

There was a moment’s pause, during which the only sound was Yaoyorozu’s quiet writing and the echoing drip of the Nomu’s drool hitting the floor.

Izuku made a hesitant wide gesture with his hands. “Are we,” he started, then cut himself off, rubbing at his eyes and blinking roughly. The visual did not change. “Are we not going to address the, uh, elephant in the room…?”

“It’s a Nomu,” Todoroki replied.

“It’s- it’s a figure of speech.”

“Is it? I was under the impression that they’re mutants made up of multiple quirks and genetic experimentation.”

“Strictly speaking, Todoroki-kun, we still do not know exactly how the Nomu are constructed!” Iida replied politely. His arms moved with the reply, enthusiastic as always, and he, too, looked supremely unconcerned with the hulking Nomu slouched by Izuku’s chair.

Todoroki squinted. “Oh. Well, either way, it’s not a figure of speech. It’s a Nomu.”

“Yep,” Izuku agreed, walking forward in a daze. “It is definitely, definitely a Nomu. That wasn’t… I wasn’t concerned with its taxonomy !”

“You should be as clear as possible in your speech, Midoriya-kun!” Iida chided, still so damn polite. “Todoroki-kun was answering your question as best he could.”

“Okay,” Izuku said, voice just a smidge away from ‘strained insanity’, “let me be clear: why are none of you freaking out at the Nomu sitting in the room.”

“It’s just sitting,” Todoroki responded. “Also, I poked it and nothing happened.”

“In the grand scheme of things,” Yaoyorozu chimed in, peeking up at Izuku a bit guiltily, “since it didn’t respond to Aizawa-sensei yesterday, I figured it wasn’t going to do anything.” She shrugged, going back to her homework in the spirit of hey, what can you do ?

“UA is a highly secure institution,” Iida argued. “I am sure that the Nomu would not have arrived in our classroom if it was a threat to our safety. Although, I admit, I am not sure what our teachers intend to teach us by bringing it into class.”

Izuku gave all of these responses the consideration they deserved. They deserved very little, because apparently his classmates had zero self preservation—not that he was one to talk. The Midoriya household was Bone-break central, and Izuku was the mayor. And, well, like Yaoyorozu mentioned, the Nomu hadn’t done anything yesterday. The police had taken it away to the precinct without a fuss, so how had it arrived in their classroom…

Izuku walked up to the Nomu hesitantly. In the spirit of things, since apparently this was how they verified their relative safety, Izuku gave the monster a firm, careful jab with a pencil.

Nothing happened. It remained a drool-dripping husk as it was the day before. Just to be on the safe side, Izuku stabbed the Nomu with 5% force of One For All.

Again, no response. The only consequence to his aggressive jabbing was the crackling of his pencil as it broke into pieces against the Nomu’s impenetrable skin.

“Hm,” said Izuku. He supposed, if nothing had happened over a day of violent prodding, and if their teachers had let the monster wander into the school, that maybe the Nomu was just gonna stay there. Sitting by Izuku’s desk, unmoving and stupid like a massive, hairless black guard dog. With careful steps around its unmoving bulk, Izuku took his seat. The Nomu remained slouched directly next to him, like a grotesque piece of modern art.

“Weird,” Izuku said. “This is weird, right?”

“When is our class not weird?” Todoroki replied. It was the most reasonable thing out of his mouth in days. “Just last week, All Might agreed you were his long-lost love child. Yesterday, the most deadly supervillain in Japan broke out and disputed this by claiming that you were his long-lost love child. That was all pretty weird.”

“....” Izuku opened his mouth, then closed it. He considered his friend’s words from an outside perspective, rolling them around in his head and realizing, hey, he had a point. In the end, all Izuku could respond with was, “I don’t think I’ve heard you say that much in one sitting since you first confronted me with your family history, Todoroki-kun.”

“Hm,” the other said, as if he had exhausted his ability to verbalize.

Over the next twenty minutes, the rest of their class proceeded to walk in. Each student’s entrance and response to the Nomu haunting Izuku’s seat was a bit different—Kaminari just raised his eyebrows; Uraraka gasped and clapped a hand to her mouth before moving to her seat, eyes wide and fixed on the Nomu; Mina made a high-pitched eep! but seemed to get over her shock with that exclamation; and Bakugou just stopped, glared between Izuku and the Nomu, and let out a long, growling groan, hands popping.

“We haven’t fuckin’ started class yet,” he grumbled, slamming himself down into his seat behind Izuku. With a heavy booted foot, he kicked the Nomu in front of him, utterly fearless. “Haven’t even started class and we’re already dealing with your bullshit, huh, Deku?”

“I didn’t- I didn’t bring the Nomu! It was just here when I walked in!”

“And, what, none of these idiots thought to freak out ‘n call Sensei?”

Izuku sweated, hands twitching nervously. “Er, we poked it and nothing happened. And it’s just sitting!”

“It’s just sitting,” Todoroki agreed astutely. 

As always, Todoroki’s voice was anathema to Bakugou, and he glared in the other boy’s direction with a sneer. “Just sitting, hahh? You stupid?!”

“Well,” Iida coughed, “it has indeed just been sitting…?”

“Fucking hell, you all better—”

Thankfully, their teacher chose this moment to walk in, cutting off Bakugou’s tirade and sparing Izuku from having to justify his non-response to the insanity his life had become. Not so thankfully, Aizawa shot the Nomu perched next to Izuku’s desk such a despairing look that Izuku was worried the man might just hand in a resignation letter to Nedzu right then and there.

“Who let that in,” their teacher said, a question that wasn’t a question. As always, unfairly , everyone unsubtly shifted in Izuku’s direction.

“I didn’t let it in!” he defended. “Iida-kun, you were here first! And- and like you said, we figured, with how secure our school is—” Izuku emphasized, carefully shifting the guilt to UA’s blatantly shit safety procedures “—all of our- our dedicated teachers must have known it was here.”

Iida was wide-eyed, slightly pink-cheeked, raising a hand to shield himself. “I—well, yes, I did think that, but…”

“Okay,” Aizawa said, half of a sigh, half of a grunt. “None of you let it in. It let itself in, somehow, which is just great. No, Iida, the faculty did not invite an actual Nomu into the school. This is not a learning experience. As far as we’re aware, it should be at the local precinct.” Their teacher pulled out his phone, typing rapidly and holding his phone to his ear. “Nedzu. Yes. No, it’s a Nomu this time. No, he didn’t let it in. I already asked. Right by Midoriya’s desk, how’d you know? Don’t answer that.”

With a dial tone the whole class could hear, Aizawa hung up on their principal. 

Izuku may not have let in the Nomu, but he did feel the insistent urge to apologize nonetheless. He fought down the instinct as best he could; this was not his fault, he reminded himself urgently.

It didn’t feel true, exactly, but given enough determination, a formerly-quirkless boy could manifest his lifelong idol and become his successor in a 2-hour period.

Izuku could ‘determination’ his way into blissful denial.

Before the end of first period, a squad of local police had arrived and escorted the docile Nomu out of their class. It hobbled along as they dragged it away, encased in restraints. The police seemed concerned, obviously, and took statements from 1-A confirming that Nomu had just been there. Sitting, they all agreed solemnly. 

With confused, concerned gazes, the police nodded and took their leave. Nothing would slip past them this time, they assured.

Naturally, within a half hour—and a loud, bubbly pop! —the Nomu suddenly just reappeared exactly where it had been, slouched and dripping drool onto the floor by Izuku’s feet, sans restraints. Their class looked at him.

“Don’t look at me,” he pleaded. They ignored him, and they looked.

“How does the saying go,” Mina mused, ignoring their teacher sighing and re-dialing the same officers he had alerted earlier. “If you love it, set it free. If it comes back, it was meant to be!”

“I do not love it,” Izuku said. 

The Nomu huffed next to him, laying down on its hindlegs like a monstrous dog. Bakugou, from behind Izuku, kicked at it again. His booted feet stomped the unflinching Nomu repeatedly. If nothing else, perhaps Izuku’s new parasite could be a healthy outlet for Bakugou’s violent tendencies.

Another squad of police reappeared within yet another half an hour (possibly the same squad. It was hard to tell, since they were blatantly not meeting any of the students’ eyes). The Nomu was summarily re-bound and grappled away. The police were muttering quietly amongst themselves, sounding very concerned about the whole thing, now, and maybe a little afraid, while Aizawa and Nedzu watched the proceedings like a public execution.

Their teachers waved away the police and their captive. This time, though, Nedzu remained behind in the classroom, perched on Aizawa’s podium. He kicked his short furry legs back and forth, content to bide his time. Aizawa was less content. “Feel free to take this time to study,” he grumbled. “We don’t think this will take too long.”

“What will take too long?” asked Uraraka.

Nedzu just smiled, which was ominous enough to deter further questioning. Izuku pulled out his study guide and focused on not thinking about Star Wars, while his classmates grumbled over homework.

Finally, with all the drama of an expected intermission, the Nomu reappeared. It again took less than half an hour for a bright, bubbly pop! to announce its arrival: gone one moment, there the next, no dramatic warp quirks in sight. Nedzu clapped his hands in delight, patting Aizawa on the back before leaving their classroom in a cheery jog. Aizawa watched him go with palpable longing, before turning back to face the expectant faces of his students.

“Well, back to class, I guess,” he conceded. “Looks like we have a special guest for the unforeseeable future. Try to ignore it and pay attention, please.”

Class 1-A took that as well as could be expected—not well.

“If you love it, set it free,” Kaminari repeated Mina’s earlier words, his voice an obnoxious, singsong drawl. “If it comes back, oh shit, too bad!”

“That doesn’t rhyme though,” Kirishima mused. “If it comes back, wait and see?”

Kaminari grimaced, shaking his head. “Nah, that just sounds ominous.”

“What, and ‘oh shit too bad’ doesn’t?”

“I don’t love it,” Izuku repeated, tugging at his classmates’ sleeves with a whiteknuckled grip. “I didn’t set it free!”

His words—a desperate plea for reason amidst a sea of teenage chaos—went unheeded. Their teacher, being the lone anchor of control, did his best to reign in the anarchy, but the sheer vibrating energy of their class was impossible to ignore. At Izuku’s feet, the hulking Nomu took up gnawing at one of the straps of his backpack. It was quickly coated in drool, fraying at the edges and laying in a limp puddle on the tile floor. Izuku looked at it and understood.

On all levels except physical, Izuku thought, he, too, was the backpack strap .

Chapter Text

Izuku had always wanted a pet, but between a single working mother and a quirkless, rambling encyclopedia of a son, that dream had never come to be.

He was starting to regret ever dreaming at all.

How to return a gift you don’t want???  he typed rapidly into google. Class carried on around him, 1-A having quickly acclimated to the pest at Izuku’s side over the last few days. Izuku’s foot tapped rapidly, anxious, against the floor when none of the search results proved helpful.

Weird—one would almost think his circumstances were unusual. One would almost think that Izuku’s life was an endless circus of irony and frustration, almost. But Izuku was trying his damned best to stay determined. His circumstances, no matter how Star Wars, would not define him.

How to return a sentient gift you don’t want and it can kill people???  he tried.

This yielded somewhat more relevant results; Izuku scanned archived help threads posted by others who were the unwilling recipients of puppies and kittens, smuggled into Christmas stockings like adorable little burglars.

Charming tokens, in comparison to Izuku’s... companion. His stalwart Nomu made Izuku feel more like a prisoner of war being watched over by a malevolent guard. Hm. Google seemed to latch more onto the ‘sentient’ aspect of his search rather than the ‘can kill people’ part. Surely someone else in Japan had been gifted, say, a tiger?

A tiger that could teleport and regenerate and possibly fight All Might at his prime.

Yeah, no, Izuku thought, sighing in defeat at Google’s meager offerings. He didn’t think “kindly return the puppy to the gift giver with an explanation as to your extenuating circumstances, or—in the case where one is unable to return the puppy—contact your local non-kill shelter :)” was very applicable to being charged with a Nomu.

Even Yahoo answers, a bulwark of Japan’s collective guesswork, failed to provide a solution.

Hunched by his feet, his- no, the Nomu chewed placidly on the Stain figurine Izuku had found in a discount bin at the mall. He refused to give it any toy meant for a dog, because that would almost be conceding that the Nomu was a “pet” of any kind, and he refused to give it any of the hero figures Izuku owned for obvious reasons.

For the first and hopefully only time in his life, Izuku wished merch companies had created a Shigaraki or a Muscular figurine; those would make good additions to his “chew toy” offerings. Maybe he could put his own crafting/cosplay skills to the test and make an All For One figure.

(He’d have to look up dog-safe materials. He could only assume if it was dog-safe to gnaw on, it would be Nomu-safe, right? Or, since Nomus were the result of genetic experimentation on humans, maybe he should lean toward child-safe….

Then again, Izuku chided himself, maybe he should just coat the damn figures in lead paint and hope the Nomu dropped dead. Why was he unconsciously considering the safety of his non-pet? Damn his hero complex. Nomus were essentially impervious to damage, anyway. Lead paint was probably a pleasant spice to an unkillable parasite.)

Izuku considered the ethics and logistics of creating custom villain figures for the sole purpose of offering them as fodder to his Nomu. The mental image of All For One checking in on his assigned pet and discovering it chewing away at an effigy of the villain was a damned good one. Good enough that Izuku summarily decided the ethics of making a one-off villain chew toy was, in fact, a great idea. 

Great enough that maybe it didn’t have to be a one-off, he mused. Maybe Izuku could turn this curse into a business opportunity. Briefly, he pictured a world where dogs across Japan gnawed and tore and drooled on sad, disfigured models of tiny little All For Ones. It had a very strong appeal.

Izuku did his best to focus on his burgeoning startup idea, stalwartly ignoring where the majority of the class (sans Izuku and Bakugou, and their teacher) were huddled around Izuku’s “friend.”

He mentally emphasized the quotation marks around the word friend, because Todoroki was on thin fucking ice.

In the center of a circle of desks, hands raised in uncharacteristic, passionate gesturing, Todoroki held court. He spoke to Izuku’s skeptical classmates like a raving prophet, holding up his own tidy notebook like a gospel.

“ you can see why I think Midoriya’s quirks, plural, are related to both All Might and the Bastard of Kamino,” he said. He was a bit pink in the cheeks, and his chest was raising and falling quickly. He seemed out of breath; Izuku didn’t think the other boy was used to speaking in such complex sentences. “Midoriya may claim that he has ‘just one quirk’ and that ‘his quirk is just weird’, but as you can see on page fourteen, I’ve illustrated why this isn’t the case.”

Todoroki held out his notebook, pages splayed wide, like Moses down the mountain heralding the Ten Commandments.

“You really did illustrate it,” Kirishima said in disbelief. “Wow, hey, that’s a pretty good drawing, Todoroki!”

“It looks just like Deku-kun,” Uraraka muttered, eyes squinted in focus. “Say, have you been studying pictures of him or something, Todoroki-kun…?”

Todoroki didn’t even have the decency to look embarrassed. “Yes.”

Despite his very best efforts to ignore the conversation floating through the classroom, Izuku couldn’t avoid it. He had been trying to focus on their homework, because this was independent study hour , but his pencil had frozen over the page, lead broken off after pressing a long, shaking line into the page. “No,” he whined.

In the desk behind him, Izuku could smell the sugary smoke wafting from Bakugou’s clenched fists. “What the fuck,” his only real friend in the whole damn class, apparently, hissed. “Aizawa-sensei,” he barked, standing in his rage, chair screeching as he shoved it back, “isn’t this supposed to be study hour?!

Bakugou gestured angrily at the congregation holding court mere feet away.

Curled in his sleeping bag, Aizawa blinked tiredly back at Bakugou. “It’s independent study,” he muttered. “If your classmates want to waste their time studying one another’s creative scriptures, that’s up to them. Focus on your own work.”

Somehow, Bakugou managed to sit back down angrily. Izuku envied him.

“Anyway,” Todoroki continued, as if he had any room to sound exasperated at the interruption. “I think All Might helped Midoriya escape the Bastard of Kamino prior to the start of the school year. This was All Might’s second break up with the All For One.”

The group nodded in understanding. Mina raised her hand, as if Todoroki was the authority in the classroom, and Todoroki nodded at her to speak. “But how does Midoriya’s mom come in, then?” Mina asked, hand scratching at her horn. “He can’t have more than two parents!”

“Can’t he?” Todoroki posited. He passed his notebook to Mina. “If you review my diagram on page eleven, and the timeline on page twenty-three, you’ll see how I take these items into consideration. Since the age of quirks began, there’s actually plenty of precedent for having three or four different biological parents.”

“Huh,” Mina mused, eyes scanning Todoroki’s writing. She passed the notebook around to the eager classmates next to her. “Wow, I had no idea, Todoroki! You really did your research.”

Kaminari grabbed at the notebook with eager hands. He squirmed a bit in his seat in delight. “Bro,” he said, voice wavering in excitement, “this is so good! Also, whoa, the back of this page looks just like one of Midoriya’s notebooks!”

Kirishima peered over his shoulder. “Wow, hey, it does. Actually, is that Midoriya’s handwriting…?”

Izuku squawked. “What!” Abandoning his mission of pretending the conversation wasn’t happening, he scrambled over to Todoroki’s flock, grabbing at his stupid notebook with anxious hands. Kirishima was right, this was— “Todoroki-kun,” Izuku hissed, “This is my handwriting! Is this—”

“I took a leaf out of your book and started my own journal,” Todoroki explained.

“This is literally a page out of one of my notebooks! Which one did you- when did you take this. You copied it!”

“I said what I said.”

“They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Yaomomo murmured, watching this display with morbid fascination. “And Midoriya-san’s notebooks are definitely worth imitating. Your writing is very analytical.”

“This is not just imitation,” Izuku contended. “This is intellectual theft.”

“If he took your actual notebook, even if he returned it after making a copy, that could be considered genuine theft,” Iida chimed in. Like he had any right to add his opinion to the conversation, Izuku thought, given that he was taking his own notes on Todoroki’s earlier conspiracies. Izuku could read a synopsis on multi-parent quirk genetics from where he was standing, hands clutching the copy-pasted notebook to his chest.

One of the ‘explanations’ was just three words: quirks these days. The words were underlined. Izuku had never endorsed book burnings, but, well, there was a first time for everything.

“You’ve bastardized my notebooks,” Izuku mumbled miserably. “This- this page was originally about the genetics behind Best Jeanist’s quirk, and you- you corroborated it together like a ransom note.” He pointed to the chaotically assembled timeline and previously referenced diagram on page eleven.

Todoroki at least had the decency to look a bit ashamed. Not ashamed enough though, Izuku thought bitterly. “I didn’t actually tear it out or anything,” Todoroki justified, gaze shifting guiltily. “I made copies of my favorite pages and returned it and you never noticed, so I thought you wouldn’t mind.”

Izuku stared at the notebook Todoroki had constructed in despair. To his own dismay, it was indeed a well put together collection of writing. Disregarding where his classmate had carefully pasted Izuku’s own writing like a grade school collage, the notebook contained actual academic references (?!) to various cases regarding unusual quirk genetics. And the illustrations were, unfortunately, pretty good.

If the notes were about anything other than Izuku’s theoretical parentage, he’d be deadset on keeping it and adding it to his collection. As it was, however… 

“I’m gonna destroy this,” Izuku said.

Todoroki rose from his seat with a wide, fearful stare. “You can’t,” he objected, more emotion in his voice than when he recited his tragic backstory. “I worked really hard on that notebook. And the Midoriya is All Might and All For One’s Illegitimate Lovechild fanclub is going to need that notebook in order to restart recruitment efforts.”

“Is that so,” Izuku said, considering the notebook in his hands.

Todoroki, Kaminari, Mina, Uraraka, and—he knew it—Iida all nodded. The rest of their little circle looked just as complicit, heads shifting in agreement. Izuku responded with his own determined nod.

“Mephi-chan,” Izuku called, turning back towards his (fine, if he couldn’t return it he would own it) stupid Nomu. Mephi-chan perked up and hobbled over to Izuku, and Izuku patted the thing on its massive, bulging head.

“Here,” he said, smiling at it for the first time since it started haunting his desk. “Open up!”


Izuku ignored his guilty classmates and, pulling at his Nomu’s snout, tossed the stupid notebook into its drooling, fanged mouth. Mephi-chan, of course, immediately began chewing away.

“The sacred texts,” Todoroki said. He looked devastated. “I worked so hard on that notebook. Midoriya, why—”

“Oh, you all know why,” Izuku replied with a vicious grin. His classmates shrank back a bit, startled at the menacing aura pouring off of Izuku. Maybe he took after his probable sperm donor more than he thought, Izuku considered, because even he could feel the furious pressure he’d inadvertently sent at his classmates. “There will be no more notebooks about my parentage, please!”

Todoroki’s congregation shifted uncomfortably. Iida awkwardly crumpled up the notepad he had been notating, tossing the creased page toward the trashcan. He raised his empty hands as a white flag of surrender.

Todoroki was lucky he was so handsome. Otherwise, Izuku may be tempted to act less than heroically toward his friend, maybe wrap him up tightly in Blackwhip like a snake choking out its prey. But he wouldn’t! That wouldn’t be very heroic.

Kaminari finally broke the tense silence. “Hey, Midoriya,” he started, smiling awkwardly in Izuku’s direction. “What did you call the Nomu earlier? Uh, Nesi?”

“Mephi-chan,” Izuku corrected.

“So you did name it!” Uraraka chirped, expression quickly morphing into a grin. “I knew you couldn’t resist it forever, Deku-kun.”

Mina moved closer, now that the atmosphere had regained some normalcy. Most of the circle had shuffled back toward their normal seats, Todoroki remaining a solitary, despondent figure standing alone in the center of the room. Mina patted Mephi-chan on its head, blithely ignoring the paper being shredded in its mouth. “That’s a cute name, Deku-kun. Where’s it come from?”

“Did you name him after a hero?” Kirishima asked with a grin, leaning closer.

“It, not he,” Izuku corrected gently. “Please don’t gender my Nomu. But, no, it’s not named after a hero.” Izuku smiled at his classmates. If they were willing to put their previous stupidity behind them, Izuku was more than happy to pretend they hadn’t been theorizing about his villainous background. “I wouldn’t name a Nomu after a hero,” he laughed, scratching at the back of his head. “No, Mephi-chan is short for Mephistopheles!”

“Who’s that?” Mina asked.

“A demon!” Izuku replied happily.

“Oh,” said Mina, smile going a little strained for some reason. Kirishima’s grin looked more like a grimace, suddenly, and his classmates shifted further away from his Nomu.

Izuku couldn’t think of a reason for the sudden awkwardness. He was suddenly cursed with a massive, teleporting monster that stalked his every step. What was he supposed to name it? 

He considered some of his earlier ideas: All Bite? Nomui Woods? Beast Jeanist? Gnaw For One?

He had put those names on the backburner. For now, a ceaseless demon seemed the perfect moniker for his parasite.

If one of the other names ended up pissing off All For One more than the others, he could always adjust it later.

“Oh, Izuku,” his mom sighed, tinny over the speakers. “What was I supposed to tell him? He is your father, after all.”

Izuku gripped his sheets tight, grimacing. “Oh, I dunno! Maybe something like, ‘Turns out you’re a supervillain, and also we basically adopted All Might, so get lost’?”

His mom hummed in consideration, a buzzing sound that didn’t carry well over electronics. Izuku had his phone sat on his bed, set to speaker, with Toshinori and Bakugou both sitting in various states of uncomfortable. Bakugou leaned back in Izuku’s desk chair, legs splayed and frowning at Izuku’s phone; Toshinori sat with his hands clasped close in front of his legs, hunched over awkwardly next to Izuku on his bed; and Mephi-chan sat like a living stain in the corner. His mentor determinedly didn’t look at the numerous All Mights grinning back at him from every angle of Izuku’s room.

“Tempting at that is,” Izuku’s mom said, voice happy but long-suffering, “I already chewed him out. To think he planned on just showing up, as though he hadn’t been gone the past decade! The men in your life, Izuku,” she chided, working herself up into a righteous rant about how Izuku deserved better from his various father figures. Tosinori shifted uncomfortably next to him.

“I know,” Izuku agreed hastily, cutting off that spiel before his mentor had to sit through another speech about how she, as Izuku’s mother, should have been told about Toshinori’s connection to Izuku sooner than later. “It’s want to let him back in? Just like that?”

“Well, he is your father, Izuku. Just because we don’t agree with his business practics doesn’t mean we should cut him out entirely.”

“He’s evil.

Inko sighed. “You know, when he first told me his work was ‘less than ethical’, I thought he was just involved in hedge fund management or stocks, maybe a lawyer. In hindsight, I should have probed deeper….”

Izuku immediately felt guilty; he didn’t mean to shift the blame for his biological father being a supervillain to his mother. Bakugou looked supremely unimpressed, mouth gaping a bit at Izuku’s phone as he mouthed the words ‘less than ethical.’ “It’s not your fault, mom,” Izuku said, hands fiddling awkwardly with each other. “I just. He could hurt you.”

His mom laughed, a startled and delighted sound, and Toshinori frowned at Izuku’s phone. “Inko,” he interrupted, “Please. I cannot overstate the threat that All For One could pose to you or Izuku. He—”

“Oh, Toshi,” Inko breathed, smile audible. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to downplay what he’s done. It’s just, well. You should have seen the mess he was at our wedding. It’s not just me that Izuku gets his waterworks from!”

Toshinori didn’t seem to know what to do with this information. The concept that All For One, king of the underworld, had bawled at his wedding was incongruent with the image he had of the man ripping a hole into his side.

“Well, regardless,” Inko huffed. “I meant what I said the last time you visited, Izuku. Toshi has been such a wonderful male role model in your life. Any man that wants to call himself your father has to earn it. Hisashi’s been gone so long, and I’m still so bitter about that, but…” She sighed, wistful and sad. “You should have seen the way he looked at you when you were born, Izuku. He asked to stop by for dinner this weekend, to see you and get to know you again, and I couldn’t say no. Hisashi, well. He’s always had such a way with words!”

“I bet,” Toshinori muttered.

Izuku was quiet, brows furrowed and glaring at the carpet. Across the room, there was a gentle snap! as Mephi-chan bit the arm off of its Stain figurine, followed by a grotesque, loud swallowing sound. Bakugou grimaced at the noise.

“I don’t trust him,” Izuku mumbled. “He’s All For One, All Might already said he’d be my dad, we don’t need him.”

“Izu, baby, I know,” his mom consoled. “We don’t. And if he messes this dinner up, I’ll kick him to the curb and tell him to come back and try again in another five or ten years, okay?”

Bakugou groaned, holding his head in his hands. “Really,” he grumbled, “You’re gonna go home this weekend for a nice fuckin’ sit down with All For One? I’m not going with you, nerd, no fucking way.”

“Ah, Katsuki, you’re there too?” Inko exclaimed, delighted. “Izuku, you should have told me he was there. Katsuki, you have to come visit this weekend, dear. Hisashi hasn’t seen you since you were three feet tall!”

“He saw me when his batshit successor kidnapped me,” Bakugou whisper-yelled into his palms. He gripped his hair in straining, tense hands. Izuku reached across the room to pat him soothingly on the leg, but his friend slapped his hand away. Bakugou huffed, raising his head with a glare at Izuku, and replied louder to Inko, “Okay, Auntie. I’ll be there.”

Inko replied with a delighted ramble about what she was planning for dinner, and how she was so excited to have everyone together again, while Bakugou stared down Izuku with lasersharp eyes. Izuku held up his hands in helplessness. Hastily, he whispered, “It’s not like I can tell her not to invite you! She probably already told your mom!”

Bakugou reached across the room to kick him, the gremlin. Izuku grimaced, hissing quietly in pain, and pointed aggressively to the Nomu resting in the corner. “Take it out on Mephi-chan,” he chided quietly. His friend continued glaring, but he did stomp over to the corner and proceed to take his frustrations out on Izuku’s unflinching Nomu with angry kicks.

Toshinori watched all of this with a concerned frown. “I should come as well,” he said, hesitantly, “to make sure everything is alright.”

Inko shut him down quickly but gently. “I would love to see you, Toshi,” she assured, “But, well, Hisashi said he was bringing the boy he’d adopted, and apparently Tomura-kun isn’t, ah. He isn’t very fond of you.”

At that news, Toshinori coughed blood into the back of his hand, and Izuku stared in wide eyed horror at his phone. His mom continued, ignorant to their mutual despair, “Maybe once he’s warmed up to all of us, and we’ve gentled him a bit, we could all have a big family gettogether,” she said happily. “Izuku and I are very good influences. I’m sure Tomura-kun will warm up to you once we’ve shown him a little love!”

Izuku doubted that, but well. Previously he’d doubted that his evil sperm donor would even want to reach out, let alone schedule a family dinner, and here they were. Maybe Shigaraki Tomura would be on his best behavior.

Either way, his wavering determination to show up back home this weekend was solidified. There was no damn way he was leaving his mom alone with both All For One and Shigaraki Tomura. The former may be tamed by his inexplicable affection, but Shigaraki?

That boy was the definition of a loose canon mixed with a Gamergate hikikomori. A guy that you’d see pulling a knife out on his classmates in a fit of rage, or that would be escorted in handcuffs on the evening news after reacting violently at a girl’s rejection. Izuku shuddered.

“Right,” Izuku said, lying to himself and god. “I’m sure he’ll warm up to us.” 

Maybe to his mom, at least. She emanated powerful maternal love, an unstoppable force of affection. If anyone could win over Shigaraki’s shriveled heart, it’d be her. Not Izuku, hero Otaku and hero hopeful, but hey, if his father insisted on integrating the other boy into their family, they would be...brothers. They would have a solemn duty to put up with each other. Again, Izuku shuddered.

“As long as that’s the only person he’s planning on bringing,” Izuku conceded with a shaky sigh. He ran a hand through his hair. “Hopefully he doesn’t have any other evil children running around to introduce to us.”

At that, his mom laughed hard, which startled Izuku and Toshinori enough to have them making questioning sounds. “Oh, it’s nothing!” Inko said, voice shaking with suppressed laughter. Bakugou made a doubting huff from the corner of the room, where he was sitting on Mephi-chan, swinging his feet into it repeatedly.

“Inko, please,” Toshinori said, hands wringing. “This situation more than any other calls for as much honesty as we can afford. If ‘other evil children’ has you laughing, I just… I worry for Izuku, you know this,” he finished, a statement that made both he and Izuku turn red and avoid looking at each other in mutual embarrassment.

Thankfully, this seemed to be enough to have Inko collect herself, giggles winding down as she reigned in her amusement. Despite himself, Izuku couldn’t help but smile a bit; it had been awhile since he’d heard his mom laugh that hard. It didn’t make any sense, as far as reactions to “do you think your evil spouse has any other children running around out there?” but Izuku was just happy to hear his mom so jubilant.

“It’s,” she started, then cut herself off with another little laugh. “Oh, it’s just. Well, it’s not the most appropriate conversation, I shouldn’t…” 

“Mom,” Izuku interjected, sensing his mom’s reluctance. “C’mon, you don’t know if it may end up being important, right?”

“I’m pretty sure it won’t be. It, well,” she chuckled. She sounded embarrassed, but continued, “Well, I suppose you’re old enough now that I can say this, even though it’s silly and private…”

She trailed off again, quiet huffs carrying over the tinny speakers. Toshinori and Izuku stared at his phone in anxious silence, Izuku now realizing that this topic may be something that he wanted to avoid, but having already dug himself his nice little hole.

“It’s just…I doubt he’s had any other children. On our wedding night,” she said, and oh no, Izuku did not like where this was going, but his mother continued with a chuckle, “That night, he was so nervous. He teared up and admitted it was his first time!”

“All For One was a fuckin’ virgin?! ” Bakugou hollered, hands exploding on Mephi-chan. Izuku, similarly, covered his ears and screamed.

Some intel wasn’t worth learning, he had come to learn. Maybe if he just yelled his denial and shut out the world, he could wipe his brain regarding any knowledge about his mom and All For One’s sex life .

Or lack thereof, his traitor brain whispered, as Toshinori played damage control, face beat red as he stumbled over a response to Inko that Izuku did not and would not listen to.

All For One had been a 200-something-year-old virgin.

Chapter Text

When Bakugou shouldered open Izuku’s dorm door, he took one glance at Izuku and immediately turned around and walked back out. 

The entire movement was a smooth loop, no hesitation. It would be an impressive maneuver if it wasn’t offensive—Izuku hadn’t even done anything! Yet. 

“Kacchan!” Izuku squawked, rushing to throw his door open and gripping his friend’s arm. He stared up at the other boy imploringly. “You said you’d give me feedback on my outfit for this weekend!”

“And I regret that now,” Bakugou ground out, teeth gritted. He reluctantly allowed Izuku to drag him back into the room, his heels dragging against the carpet behind him and palms smoking. Once the door closed behind them with a soft click, Izuku crossed his arms in a defensive huff, but Bakugou just growled and gestured at Izuku’s whole body in a passioned hiss, “What the hell are you wearing?!”

“A t-shirt!”

“I can fucking see that, idiot. You never wear anything else. When”—he spun Izuku around in a dizzying circle, red eyes narrowed in disgust as he took in Izuku’s fashion choices—”did you get this!”

This was, of course, one of the t-shirts, a part of the bulk order that 1-A had submitted to a shady creator on Twitter. When he’d first seen the things, Izuku had wallowed in his fate. Who, after all, could ever want to wear such a ghastly thing: his own face and All Might’s (or, rather, a bizarre cartoony variation of them) grinned back at the viewer, framed by round bold letters that declared them a ‘mighty family’. It was designed with bright, All Might colors, strong lines, and an absolute absence of any shame.

Now, Izuku understood. He would wear such a ghastly thing. It was ugly, and he hated that it existed, but—you know who would hate its existence even more?

His evil biodad, that’s who. Izuku would wear the garish merch with pride, just for the look on All For One’s face when he saw it. Plus fuckin’ ultra.

“I know it’s ugly,” Izuku allowed, ignoring Bakugou’s muttered comments. “It’s ugly and dumb, and the worst part is most of our class has their own matching shirts. Present Mic got one too, and I’m about 78% sure he got one for Aizawa-sensei. Even All Might got one!”


“He thought I wouldn’t notice,” Izuku bemoaned, shaking his head sadly. “I saw his name on the oder form! And that’s not even addressing the fact that I keep track of all of All Might’s online orders!”

“Again, why.”

“I’m looking out for my real dad, Kacchan. The eldery are very susceptible to online scams. Focus!”

“I’m focusing, stupid, I just hate everything about this and every damn thing you’ve said in the past five minutes.”

“You’re not focusing, or else you would’ve noticed the matching t-shirt I have laid out for you,” Izuku declared, gesturing at the hideous shirt laying on his bed.

Bakugou shot Izuku a look of such angry bafflement that Izuku felt the need to ramble an explanation. He was, after all, Izuku’s only remaining friend in 1-A that wasn’t a member of the stupid parentage club, which seemed to change its name and eponymous patriarch weekly.

“I got you a matching one, for maximum impact,” Izuku explained. “Now, before you start arguing about or ‘shame’ or ‘dignity’—”

“I,” said Bakugou, darkly, “am not wearing that.” 

Izuku gestured widely at the offending clothing, eyes wild. If he looked a bit unhinged, wearing a shirt with his own chibi-fied face and empassioned about getting his lifelong friend to do the same, he was sure no one could truly blame him, given the circumstances. “Kacchan, disregard fashion! Disregard your pride!” Izuku hissed. He flung his arms out dramatically. “Focus on coming out on top, like you always do: imagine the look on All For One’s and Shigaraki’s faces when they see it!”

For a few solid minutes, Bakugou was quiet and considering. His gaze was narrowed in on the terrible t-shirt spread on Izuku’s bed, mouth turned down in a sharp frown and brows furrowed as he mentally manifested the vision Izuku was urging him to see.

Think about it, Izuku silently pressed with a wide-eyed stare, trying to meet Bakugou’s eyes (despite the other boy determinedly refusing to do so). Yes, we will look so, so stupid, but you know who will look even more stupid? My evil sperm donor, when he shows up at my mom’s door and is greeted by his hero son wearing a shirt that openly announces his parental preferences.

Mephi-chan stuck its snout out from where it had hidden itself under Izuku’s bed. Izuku kicked it back like a shameful secret. Bakugou was too focused weighing his pride against All For One’s humiliation to add in his own kick.

Finally, he seemed to reach a conclusion. The scales tipped, and dignity gave way to spite.

“...I’m not wearing it all the way to Auntie’s house. No fuckin’ way am I risking the paparazzi staking out your house seeing me wearing this shit,” Bakugou muttered. “I’ll put it on when we get there and no earlier. And I’m taking it off before we leave.”

Izuku beamed. “Thank you, Kacchan! I even got one for my mom!”

Bakugou looked reluctantly impressed, if just a little horrified. “All For Dumb is gonna hate this shit. When the hell did you get so vindictive?”

“Y’know,” Izuku mused, packing away Bakugou’s t-shirt along with his other supplies for the weekend, shoving it into his bulging yellow backpack, “I’m not sure! I think it was some time around when I realized I enjoyed lying to our classmates, back when we first confirmed the rumors about Toshinori being my dad. I thought to myself, ‘Am I good a lying? Do I enjoy lying?’ and it turned out the answer was yes, actually, when I really put my mind to it! I think the vindictiveness was a natural and normal next step,” he explained happily. 

“...right,” said Bakugou, eyes squinting in consideration at Izuku. “Speaking of being pissed off, are you gonna take that anger out on the idiots in our class any time soon? ‘Specially Half n’ Half bastard.”

“Hm?” Izuku hummed, glancing up briefly from where he was filling his weekend backpack. Notebooks stuck out of a haphazard lump of t-shirts and hero merch. He blinked at his friend. “Why would I do that?”

Bakugou threw himself backward on Izuku’s now-empty bed, hands behind his head and feet swinging into Mephi-chan’s head where it peeked out from under the bed. He scowled at Izuku. “You kidding me? He’s been the fuckin’ Ringleader of Dumbassery, talking up the whole damn class about how All Might had to have some kind of love triangle with your sperm donor and your mom. He even made that stupid notebook. You ain’t mad?”

“Oh, I’m mad,” Izuku agreed, nodding and returning to his current task: trying to zip his backpack closed around the bulging contents without breaking the zipper. He huffed, pulling at the cord carefully. “I’m mad but...well. He wasn’t entirely wrong, you know? And he isn’t being malicious on purpose.” He shrugged. “It’s just his personality. And it was probably going to get out somehow, anyway. All Might being my dad was never going to stay a secret for long.”

His friend groaned, feet bracing themselves on Mephi-chan’s head, like Bakugou was going to perch on his Nomu’s face. “Fuckin’ really . You’re just gonna let it go? If that dumbass didn’t shout about your dad to the whole damn school, we wouldn’t be in this situation at all.”

“Maybe,” Izuku allowed. “Or maybe someone else would have spilled. Or maybe I would have blurted it out, actually, I probably would have ended up being...” he trailed off into muttering.

Bakugou was not impressed. “So you’re just gonna let Half n’ Half get away with starting a cult about your parentage. You’re gonna keep sitting with that dumbass at lunch like he isn’t a foundational member of a fuckin’ religion about you having two dads.”

Izuku finally finished wrangling his backpack into submission, huffing with the effort of zipping up all the supplies he planned on bringing to the weekend’s dinner. He walked over to Mephi-chan and threw his arms around its firm, inactive neck, sprawling out on the floor. He grumbled his answer into its flesh.

“Couldn’t hear you, dummy,” Bakugou responded. “Speak up. Why the hell are you even putting up with half the dumbasses in our class.”

“Todoroki is simple and he’s nice to look at,” Izuku repeated, raising his head to stare at Bakugou. “And he doesn’t actively hate my guts. Look. You tormented me for years and I still consider you one of my closest friends, so standards for friendship are kind of basic human kindness. It’s not the healthiest foundation for relationships, but it’s gotten me this far.”

At that, Bakugou didn’t have much of a response. He twitched guilty on Izuku’s bed, feet kicking down on the top of Mephi-chan’s head. Izuku grunted when the heel of his shoes made contact with the top of his own skull where it was pressed into Mephi-chan’s neck.

“Whatever. I’m a better fuckin’ friend than Half n’ Half now , right?”

Izuku’s heart skipped a beat at Bakugou’s use of the word friend. He sniffled, raising already-teary eyes to meet Bakugou’s own. “Are you admitting,” he whimpered, “to being my friend, Kacchan? I’m your friend? Oh, I’ve been waiting for you to say that since—”

“Oh, fuck, nevermind. I take it all back. Be friends with Half a Brain if you want, I’ll come with you this weekend and I’ll put on the damn t-shirt. I’m not gonna join you in a fuckin’ sobfest and hug a Nomu while talking about our feelings, good-fuckin’- bye .”

With that, Bakugou stomped out of Izuku’s room. Izuku watched him leave with watery eyes.

“Mephi-chan,” he whispered into his Nomu’s inert, muscular nape. “Kacchan admitted I’m his friend! He denied it immediately after, but look. This is progress. This is friendship. Wow. Can you believe it, Mephi-chan? I know.”

Mephi-chan, of course, did not respond. It did make a warbly, breathy screech and shuffle its feet, nosing its way out from under his bed.

“I know! And he admitted that Todoroki is my friend too.” Izuku nodded excitedly. “Er, he said Todoroki is a bad friend. But you have to be a friend to be a bad one, right? Wow. This is amazing. I have so many friends.”

Another wheezing shriek echoed out from his Nomu’s throat. Izuku patted it on its head, letting it drag him across the ground from where he had his arms tied around its neck.

He may have to face his evil biodad this weekend, but his friend was going to come with him. He was determined to walk into his mom’s house head held high.

Maybe if Izuku kept his head really, really low, he could walk into his mom’s house with a modicum of dignity.

His classmates seemed determined to really test the concept that Izuku had any dignity at all. It was Friday, classes had just ended, and Izuku was hoping to mentally psyche himself up for the evening. But his classmates weren’t through with him for the week quite yet: Kaminari and Kirishima had cornered him at his desk before he could leave.

The rest of 1-A, perhaps sensing that Some Nonsense was afoot, remained in the classroom as well, gazes unsubtly turned toward where Izuku was confronted by two of their most enthusiastic members. Mina popped bubblegum obnoxiously, and Iida definitely had a notepad of his own poised and ready to note down any important Izuku lore that may arise from whatever he was dragged into.

Izuku’s backpack was obviously already packed for the weekend, stuffed to near bursting and propped up against the Nomu next to his desk. He fidgeted with a strap, glancing up at Kaminari awkwardly. “Um,” he said, gaze shifting from Kamiari’s excited eyes to the obvious stares from the rest of 1-A. “Can you?”

“Remember the 3-E Twitter?” Kaminari blurted, entirely redundantly; as if Izuku could forget the social media account that single-handedly thrust his All Might-associated lies into the public conscience. At Izuku’s tired nod, Kaminari continued, “They have sooo many followers—before all this Mighty Family stuff they had 1.3 million followers, y’nkow, and now? 2.2 million! That’s wild, right?”

“Right,” said Izuku wearily. “It’s great to know that my personal life has catapulted our classmates into internet fame.”

“It really is,” Kirishima agreed with a sharp-toothed grin, oblivious to Izuku’s bitterness. Not that Izuku could even be mad at Kirishima about any of this; the other boy was just too damn pure in his excitement for their fellow students.

(And just like Todoroki, he definitely wasn’t bad to look at. Kirishima’s hero costume left so little to the imagination, Izuku mused dreamily. All those firm muscles. How could Izuku be expected to stay mad at his classmates when they were all so damn forthright and handsome? His bisexual heart couldn’t hold anything against them for long.)

Ignorant to both Izuku’s frustration at 3-E achieving internet fame at his expense and his vague, dreamy musings about how his difficult classmates were all painfully attractive, Kamiari rambled onward.

“I figured, why should they get all the social media clout, right? So Todoroki and Kirishima and Sero and I—”

“Of course Todoroki is involved.”

“—we made a HeroTube channel! Guess how many subscribers we already have, dude? After just two weeks?” Kaminari babbled.

“Oh, I couldn’t say,” Izuku gritted out, shaky smile firmly in place. He would be. A good. Classmate. “Probably too many. Probably more than I want to even think about.”

Kaminari waved his hand, enthusiastic and dismissive all at once, clicking at his phone and turning the screen to face Izuku. His friend’s distinctive yellow-and-black hair, and Kirishima’s spiky-toothed grin, were both clearly visible in the video’s preview picture. Todoroki lurked in the video’s background as a red-and-white blur. The subscriber count was visible, and it was already in hundreds of thousands.

Izuku’s finger hovered over the play button, shaking just slightly. He felt more like his finger was wavering over the detonation to a massive bomb. He clicked play.

And immediately their classroom was blasted with sound.

“WwwwWWWHAT’S UP, HeroTube!” the Kaminari on screen veritably yelled at the camera, face a camera-perfect plasticy grin. Izuku grimaced—why the yelling? The camera was right there, there wasn’t any need! He frantically lowered the volume.

(Was this intensity normal? None of the HeroTubers Izuku followed were quite so...enthusiastic. He was subscribed to dozens of channels dedicated to battle compilations and quirk theory, and the creators of those channels were always calm and collected, if passionate. Kaminari, on the other hand….

‘Unhinged’ was the best way to describe the video’s energy.)

The Kirishima on screen pumped his fist. “Hey guys!”

Next to him, HeroTube Kaminari slammed his hand onto one of the common room tables. “You’ve probably seen UA’s class 3-E’s WILD Twitter post, right?! This one—” HeroTube Kaminari held up a screenshot to the Tweet that had thrown Izuku’s life into chaos. 

The screen flashed to cuts of All Might bowing to a crowd outside of UA and admitting to being Izuku’s father, and to a shot of Izuku’s mom stuttering and closing the door on intrepid reporters. HeroTube Kaminari nodded furiously. “Well! I thought, hey! that’s my classmate! Why should our Senpai get all the credit for breaking the news when we were the ones to dig up the truth and do all the research.”

“I made a notebook,” HeroTube Todoroki said distantly, voice tinny. “But a Nomu ate it.”

“He even made a notebook,” agreed HeroTube Kaminari, nodding solemnly. “It was a damned good one too. With diagrams and everything, documenting our relentless hunt for the truth. But our classmate was embarrassed by our heroic passion, and he destroyed it.

“In this video, we’ll walk you through how All Might and the Bastard of Kamino had a totally dramatic breakup, and then how they met our classmate’s mom and how our classmate is related to all three of them. But before that—

“Be sure to Texas SMASH that SUBSCRIBE button if—”

Izuku paused the video. He took a deep breath. He thought about his journey to this moment: how he went from a quirkless middle schooler to All Might’s successor, to the unwitting spawn of Japan’s greatest evil, from a friendless preteen to having a class full of peers that admired him enough to want to make a whole HeroTube channel about his heritage.

To how said channel now had over 200,000 subscribers, in just two weeks.

“The video,” Izuku said, voice shaky. “It’s. Uh. Good editing.”

He could get nothing else out, his thoughts as wavering and flailing as his determination to face his supervillain biodad this very evening. His hand was unsteady as he handed Kaminari’s phone back to him. The other boy beamed.

“Thanks, man! I know you’ve been kind of embarrassed about this whole thing, but it’s what the people want , you know? And you didn’t like Todoroki’s notebook, so we made sure not to write anything down this time!”

Next to him, Kirishima nodded, grin wide.

Right, Izuku thought. You refrained from writing anything down, very good work. Instead, you made a twenty-three minute long video dedicated to the topic. Normal.

“Why are you yelling in the video so much, kero?” asked Tsuyu, face placid and tilted in consideration. Yaoyorozu nodded in hesitant accord, lowering one of her hands from where it had been covering her ear against HeroTube Kaminari’s shouting.

“Huh?” Kaminari asked, head tilted in confusion. “That’s just being enthusiastic! That’s how all the best HeroTubers do their videos.”

“I think being passionate about our classmates is pretty manly, y’know?” Kirishima added, reaching up to scratch at the points of his hair. “We’re just really excited about you, Midoriya! You and All Might have the coolest relationship.”

Kirishima grinned, teeth sharp and glinting, face handsomely angled and sharp. His shoulder muscles bunched up below his sleeves from where his arms were stretched.

Izuku nodded dreamily at him. “Right,” he agreed mindlessly. Handsome , he thought privately. “Right. You did, uh. You did good, Kirishima.”

From behind him, Bakugou made a disparaging, disbelieving scoffing sound. “Really,” he said flatly. Izuku turned, ready to at least try to defend his honor, but Bakugou’s knowing glower made him squeak and go red.

“Uh,” Izuku stuttered, eyes darting between his friend and the posse of handsome classmates grinning at him. He looked downward guilty. “I just. I hate the topic but. It’s a technically well-made video? And they’re j-just trying to be friendly.”

“Uh huh.”

“Anyway!” Izuku shouted, jumping to his feet and refusing to look at anyone. His hands were fidgeting restlessly, and he summarily dropped his pencils in a loud clatter like an idiot. Fumbling down at his belongings, he rambled at his friend, “Uh, anyway. Let’s head back to the dorms and get ready for tonight, you know? Focus on the goal.”

“You guys are both heading home tonight?” Kaminari asked, eyes wide. He gestured between Izuku and Bakugou. “ Both of you? Is something going on?”

“Shut up,” Bakugou drawled. He bulldozed out of the room, gripping Izuku by the back of his collar. Izuku choked. Mephi-chan grumbled at this, trotting after the two of them. Clenched in its jaws, Izuku’s backpack dragged along behind Mephi-chan on the ground like a carcass.

“You can’t hide the truth from us!” Kaminari shouted after their retreating forms. “What are you hiding! Is it the government?”

“Wait, what?” was the last thing Izuku heard, Kirishima’s tone perplexed. “What does the government—” before Bakugou kicked the classroom door behind the two of them. He stomped angrily toward the dorms, seemingly unaffected by Izuku’s dragging, stumbling feet.

“Kacchan,” Izuku choked. “I can walk!”

“You say that, but you weren’t walking. You were too damn busy ogling our annoying fuckin’ classmates.”

Feet catching onto the floor, Izuku fumbled his way out of Bakugou’s grip. He hastened after his marching friend, Mephi-chan ambling after the two at their quickened pace. “I wasn’t ogling,” Izuku protested, out of breath and mildly self-conscious. “It’s just. They’re just having fun, making HeroTube videos about this whole situation. They don’t mean any harm.”

“And that has nothing to do with our most annoying classmates being ‘nice to look at’, huh?”

“...maybe a little bit,” Izuku admitted. “When they’re all smiling at me and telling me how happy they are that All Might is calling himself my dad, I just can’t stay mad at them. Having friends is just so emotionally overwhelming.”

“Ugh,” Bakugou grunted. “Gross. More sentiment. What happened to focusing on the damn mission?”

“I am focused! I’ve got the t-shirts in my bag. Oh, and the All For One figurine I designed for Mephi-chan—”

“The what?”

“—well, after Mephi-chan chewed through the Stain figure, I realized that it was very cathartic to see the gnawed, plastic remains of his ugly face. And then I started thinking about the business potential of other villain chew toys…” Izuku trailed off, mumbling about the enterprise opportunities of a made-to-break villain toy line.

Bakugou was giving Izuku a look, a sideways sort of grimace, as the two of them hastily made their way back to the dorms to get their things together. “Uh huh. So. You made your own All For One figure.”

“Well it’s not like I could just buy one!” 

“....right. Y’know what, don’t show it to me yet. I want my reaction to that thing to be as genuine as it can fuckin’ be when All For Dumb sees it tonight.”

Izuku beamed. “That’s the spirit, Kacchan! Personally, I’m hoping he’s so offended that he chokes and dies right on the spot!”

Oh, fucking hell, Bakugou thought, for once keeping his mouth sealed tight in a grimace. Izuku’s menacing grin haunted the corner of his eyes. This conspiracy shit has brought the absolute worst out of this fuckin’ loser.

Bakugou thought back to the oppressive, menacing aura that had frozen him to the spot in Kamino. Next to him, Izuku was exuding a threatening anticipation. They weren’t the same—no fuckin’ way could Deku be as haunting as the evil douche—but the oozing anger was similar enough to be….concerning.

All For One wasn’t ready for how much his brat took after him.

In hindsight, Izuku probably shouldn’t have worn the Mighty Family t-shirt on the train home.

At first, he and Bakugou were able to board without trouble. Izuku was really a very plain, inconspicuous person, he thought. Sure, the green hair wasn’t the most common thing, but in a world where his classmate had an honest-to-gods bird head, green hair was as unnoticeable as having a particularly bright-colored tie. Throughout his life, Izuku had faded into the background.

Even the Nomu hunched under their seats and behind their legs, somehow, went unnoticed. Maybe it was the massive sun hat Izuku had shoved onto its head, and the sweater he had shoved over its limbs. Mephi-chan just looked like an ugly, lumpy hairless dog in an equally ugly, lumpy outfit. 

Izuku probably should’ve accounted for the recent interest the media had taken in him. In him and All Might, specifically, he realized, as another passenger did a furious doubletake at his t-shirt.

Oh no, Izuku had time to think, gripping Bakugou’s sleeve in desperation. Don’t look too closely. I am a normal boy, in a normal t-shirt, that doesn’t have a club dedicated to my paternity at school

“Hey!” said another passenger, an older man who looked like he had just left the office, suit a bit disheveled. “That t-shirt. You’re that kid from the news, right? All Might’s kid!”

At that announcement, nearly every passenger in the car perked their heads and turned in interest, eyes wide and mouths gaping. “Whoa!” said a woman, leaning forward and blinking at Izuku like a bug behind glass. “You so are! You’ve even got one of those t-shirts! Hey, what is it like having All Might—”

The rest of the train ride was an endless, loud cacophony, complete strangers dangling themselves into Izuku’s personal space. He’d lost count of how many unwitting selfies he’d been pulled into. At his side, Bakugou was a fuming, barking guardian, doing his best to swat away the most obnoxious people from latching onto him.

“You just had to wear the damn t-shirt on the way over, hah?” he hissed, teeth bared at the strangers closest to grabbing at Izuku’s arm. “You couldn’t just change when we got there, or wear a fuckin’ hat.”

“I didn’t- I didn’t think—no one’s even noticed the Nomu !” Izuku whispered back, just as furiously. “Is wearing a t-shirt with my own face on it really enough to make me stick out in a crowd? I’ve never been recognized in public in my life. How do I stick out more than a mutated monster?”

“People are idiots,” Bakugou said. “And it’s wearing a sun hat.”

As if in agreement with Bakugou’s declaration regarding the public’s intelligence, a girl around their age leaned into their personal bubble. “Aww, what a cute dog!” she cooed. “And he’s even got a little sweater and big ol’ hat!”

“Thanks,” Izuku agreed blankly, mentally exhausted. “I tried killing it and banishing it, but it just wouldn’t die and kept following me around. So now I make it carry my stuff.”

There was a silence in the train car following that statement. “I see,” eeked out the girl. She shifted away, stumbling into a group of other passengers. “Well. Bye.”

Significantly fewer people came up to Izuku after that. Izuku reveled in the sudden space and relative quiet he was granted. “Huh,” he murmured, tapping at his lower lip. “So violence and threats are helpful when you want to be left alone, I guess…”

Next to him, Bakugou shivered.

Chapter Text

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’ 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.

Chapter Text

“Oh,” said Toshinori, guilty. “You, uh. You were the one that took the t-shirt I ordered, huh?”

Izuku smiled beatifically. Clutched in a white-fisted hand, the Mighty Family t-shirt dangled, damning evidence of Toshinori’s compliance. “I was looking out for you, Toshinori! I wouldn’t want yours to get lost before tonight, after all. And I mean, it’s not like you were going to keep this a secret, right?”

“Right,” Toshinori agreed, sweating. What was with this pressure? “Er… my boy.” He took the t-shirt gingerly, stepping away. “I’ll just… go put this on.”

Bakugou watched All Might scurry off to the bathroom to change, the man’s face red and sheepish. “What kind of cowardly reaction was that,” he grumbled. “If he’s gonna order it, he may as well man up to it.”

“Oh, leave him be, Katsuki,” Inko chided happily, fussing from her place in the kitchen. She’d already changed into one of the garish t-shirts; when Izuku had pulled her matching outfit from his stuffed backpack, his mom had clapped her hands to her mouth and proceeded to tear up. “They’re so ugly,” she had whispered. “I love them.”

The shirt’s print was entirely obscured by Inko’s apron, so it was a relatively pointless wardrobe change, but hey, Izuku thought, it was the thought that counts.

And Izuku had a lot of thoughts recently that weren’t so heroic. Thoughts like smearing his biodad’s face in the dirt and dragging his classmates through the UA hallways in a parade of shame. Lining up 1-A like an execution, and summarily listing off their many, many sins.

But that wouldn’t be heroic. Couldn’t think those thoughts!

“He’s just embarrassed,” Inko continued, sounding unduly fond. “To think he loves you so much but feels like he has to hide it. What a silly old man.”

Toshinori emerged from the bathroom, adorned in his own ugly t-shirt. It hung off his skeletal body like an unflattering rag. “Please, Inko,” he said, tugging at the shirt awkwardly, face still pink. “I’m only a handful of years older than you.”

“But you’re so much older in spirit, silly man.”

Bakugou gagged, shoving his way into the bathroom to change. “Gross. Can you two save the damn flirting? At least ‘til the real old man gets here.” He closed the door behind him firmly.

Inko paused in her dinner prep, head tilting a bit. “Ah, I knew he was older when we married. I assumed he was maybe a decade or so older than me…”

With a suppressed, bloody cough, Toshinori lowered himself onto the sofa. He and Izuku exchanged a quick, panicked glance, before Izuku stared uncomfortably at the ground. “Well,” said Toshinori, “he’s certainly. Older than you.”

With a disparaging stare, Inko turned to face Toshinori. Between his sitting and her standing, their heights evened out, leaving the two at roughly eye-level. “Don’t feel the need to shelter me, Toshi,” she chided. She propped her hands on her hips. “I’ve already come to terms with my husband being an underworld mafia boss. Don’t bother keeping something like my husband’s age from me.”

With impeccable timing, Bakugou naturally chose that moment to come marching out of the bathroom. He wore their school blazer over the ugly t-shirt, as though attempting to maintain some amount of dignity. “He’s older than dirt, Aunty. From what the two idiots told me, he’s over 200. Old as balls.”

Inko blinked, dish rag flopping into the sink. “Goodness. Well. I always was drawn to older men…” 

Izuku hollered in despair, clapping his hands over his ears. “Mom, no!”

“Oh, Izuku, he hardly looks a day over 40! Frankly, he didn’t seem to quite act his age. You know, what with him being a vir—”

“No, no no,” Izuku chanted, doing his very best to shut this conversation out of his mind. He wondered if he could convince Shinsou to use his quirk to help him forget the last ten seconds or so ever happened. Thankfully, he was saved by the bell, very literally; his phone chimed from his pants pocket, and Izuku scrambled for the perfect excuse to physically and mentally leave the conversation. He dragged out his phone, scurrying from the kitchen and throwing himself next to Toshinori on the sofa.

He was quiet for a few solid minutes, face screwing up in confusion at his phone. He felt like an archeologist attempting to discern some forgotten ruins. The taxing look on his face eventually was too much for his friend to bear, apparently, because Bakugou snapped his fingers in front of Izuku’s face, fingers blocking his view of his phone screen with mini pop! s of his quirk. “Oi, nerd. What the hell did he send you? You look like you gotta shit.”

Eloquent as always, Izuku thought. Nonetheless, he was grateful to be snapped out of his dazed stupor, turning his phone screen around to face his friend. “What does this mean,” he implored.

Squinting at the screen, Bakugou scrutinized the villain’s response. It took just a moment for him to both grimace in disgust and—despite his best efforts to not enjoy a villain’s reply to an outdated meme—snort disbelievingly. “Pretty fuckin’ obvious, isn’t it? You sent him some ancient shit memes, so how was he supposed to reply.”

“Not like this,” Izuku said miserably. “It doesn’t make any sense. But it’s...funny. I hate it.”

“What did that man send you?” Toshinori asked, trying his best to peer over Izuku’s shoulder.

“Here,” Izuku sighed, shoving the phone at Toshinori, his other hand running anxiously through his hair. “I didn’t expect him to send one back. I just thought he’d respond with something like, I dunno, ‘Very funny, young man. But I will emerge victorious.’”

Eyes widening, his breath catching in his throat, Toshinori stared in horror at Izuku. That response… his boy had no business doing such an uncanny impression of All For One! He took the phone from Izuku’s hand robotically, resisting the urge to hide Izuku away from the world and all its influences, the urge to make sure Izuku never sounded so much like his nemesis ever again. To elicit such a response, whatever that man had sent must have been truly heinous.

He looked down at the phone in trepidation. He analyzed the image on the screen, then titled his head as though that would help him make sense of things.

It was a photo from the battle at Kamino, a shot of All For One hovering ominously above the battlefield. But Toshinori didn’t remember his enemy ever holding his arms out so stiffly, spine straight, arms spread wide threateningly. There was English text over the top of the image, reading simply in all caps: “WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY.” At the bottom of the image, obscuring Toshinori’s half-emaciated form facing his enemy, the screen displayed only the English words “bottom text.”

“I don’t get it,” he said. He was terribly confused. Was he really so out-of-touch? Is this what the kids were sending each other these days? “All For One never held his arms out like that.”

“It’s Photoshop,” Izuku said, “and he’s T-posing.”

“Erm, okay,” said Toshinori, though it wasn’t. “Did he forget to remove the words at the bottom?”

“No, that’s part of the humor, you know?”

He did not know.

Izuku retrieved his phone, locking it and stuffing it away with prejudice. “Don’t worry about it,” he consoled. “It’s ironic. And it’s a really, really old meme anyway. I sent him an old one, too.”

“I see,” Toshinori considered, trying to recover some of his dignity. “Perhaps I’m not so out-of-touch as I feared, then. I don’t understand what that man is trying to say with the joke he sent you, though.”

“Well, I sent him a meme that reinforced the idea that tonight’s confrontation will be proceeded by hostility. I chose an image of you so that he would understand that I had predisposed affection, to let him know that I would have your side right from the get-go. And I purposefully selected an older meme so that he would know that I know he’s old, and—”

“Shut up, gods,” Bakugou groaned, slumping in his seat. “All Might gets Dad Points for not getting memes, anyway. Shit isn’t that deep.”

“It is deep. Every image I exchange with—Kacchan,” Izuku said suddenly, frowning at his friend. He’d only just realized what he was wearing. “Don’t wear the blazer over the t-shirt. You can barely see the print. The whole point is to upset him!”

“Fuckin’ hell, fine.” He shrugged off the offending cover aggressively, throwing his blazer across the back of the couch and crossing his arms with an angry huff. “There. Now All For Dumb will get a face-full of stupid shirt. Not that he fuckin’ wants me here, anyway. I ain’t a part of this family.”

“Thank you, Kacchan,” Izuku said sweetly. “Remember, it’s about getting a reaction!”

“Er,” said Toshinori. He raised a hand like a student in a classroom, embarrassingly enough, before catching himself and lowering the hand self consciously to his lap. “I don’t mean to be a downer, but… my boy, you are aware that All For One is still blind, correct?”

“I know,” Izuku agreed. “He may not be seeing it with his own two eyes, but he might as well, because Shigaraki Tomura is going to blab the second he gets a glimpse of these shirts. He’s gonna hate them so much he won’t be able to stay quiet.”

“Right,” said Toshinori. Truthfully, all this ‘spite’ and ‘underhandedness’ didn’t make much sense to him. The only person he’d ever really, truly held a grudge against was the very man he was going to be confronting within the hour. He had never been one to implement overly-complex mechanactions to drive a target’s temper. How surprising, that his successor would have such a, uh, natural talent for subterfuge. “Shigaraki-shounen will be here to explain things for him. Like a seeing-eye-boy….”

Izuku stood suddenly. “Speaking of,” he said, gaze fixing on Toshinori determinedly. “You have to stay out-of-sight, at first. You’re my surprise trump card. I can’t show my hand right off the bat. I have to wait to see his hand, first.”

(“He’s got plenty of fuckin’ hands,” Bakugou snorted. “He ain’t hiding ‘em.”

“...Kacchan, that’s actually really funny, but now isn’t the time!”

“Hahh?! Don’t tell me what I can and can’t say, fucker!”)

“Er,” Toshinori said, weary. “You want me to hide?” Didn’t that defeat the purpose of him coming at all?

“Not exactly. Just… go hang out in my room, for now. Once he’s gone quiet, and everyone’s settled down, then you can come out. All For One will be too distracted with me and mom to notice you, at first. It shouldn’t take too long to get everyone around the table.”

“Yeah, he’s gonna be focused on you and Auntie,” Bakugou grunted, glaring. “And I’m gonna be stuck making eye contact with fuckin’ Hands. Why did I have to come, anyway.”

“You’re an honorary part of this family, Katsuki,” Inko said, stepping up next to the two boys and ruffling both of their hair. Bakugou grumbled and shifted away, but not entirely enough to completely dislodge Inko’s loving hands. “I didn’t want Izuku to have to deal with all of this alone, you know? It’s so much for a young man to have to bear, after all.”

“I’m not alone, mom! I have you and Toshinori.”

“But no one your age, Izuku,” Inko sighed, hand moving from Izuku’s hair to pat fondly at his cheek. “Talking with your parents isn’t the same as having a friend to confide in. And you’ve known Katsuki your whole life! Isn’t he, oh, something like a brother at this point?”

“Absolutely not, ” Izuku stated, purposefully not mentioning that Bakugou had been one of the first targets of his young bisexual awakening.

“Fuck no,” Bakugou said at the same time, purposefully not mentioning that Izuku had been one of the targets of his raging inferiority complex.

“Oh, you boys.” Inko shook her head. “You’re so stubborn, but you’re good kids at heart. I know there are things teenagers will refuse to tell their parents. You should have at least one of your friends with you to support you, you know!”

“Right,” Izuku agreed, mostly to get his mom to please stop. “I have Kacchan”—”you don’t have shit,” Bakugou interjected, “I just decided I’d come, nerd!”—”and Kacchan is enough. I mean. I tried to include everyone in my class, a little, but they…” he trailed off, frustration stewing and bubbling in his gut. He inhaled deeply to keep it down.

“But our classmates are even bigger idiots than this idiot,” Bakugou finished for him. “They won’t leave Deku the fuck alone, ever since this pick-your-dad shit started.”

Izuku hummed in agreement, rage trickling into his voice just a teensy bit. “They’re a little too forward with things,” he uttered. A miasma of anger seemed to saturate the air, making Bakugou grimace and Toshinori stiffen. Somehow, Inko seemed completely immune. “A little too insolent,” Izuku continued, “to the point where I kind of get the urge to crush th —”

The doorbell interrupted him, splitting the heavy, oppressive atmosphere. Toshinori jumped out of his seat, literally, and Bakugou’s hands sparked against the sofa. In an instant, Izuku seemed to recede sheepishly back into himself.

“Sorry about that,” he mumbled, tugging at his lip. “That keeps happening for some reason. It’s like there’s some other part of me that’s been showing itself recently, y’know?”

“Uh-huh,” Toshinori croaked, because what the fuck. “I’ll just go, uh. Hide, like you said, my boy.” He pet Izuku very carefully on the head, then shuffled down the hallway. Izuku turned his abashed smile back toward his mom and his friend.

“I’ll go get the door, sweetie,” his mom said, giving one last reassuring pat to Izuku’s cheek. She quickly fussed a bit in the kitchen, putting things in their place, before heading to the door. Bakugou seemed stiff, guarded.

“Kacchan?” Izuku asked, frowning. “Are you okay? You don’t have to stay, you know, I can tell my mom…”

“Shove off, nerd,” Bakugou grunted, shaking off his discomfort. Like hell he was going to admit he was starting to be a little weary of the nerd. There was nothing scary about Deku, he declared to himself. “I’m not gonna fuckin’ bail on you and Auntie. Someone’s gotta make sure Hands-fucker stays in line.”

Izuku took a deep breath, hands sweating. He wiped them on his pants, bracing his face at the sounds of a deep voice echoing from the doorway. “Right,” he said. He bit at his lip. “I’ve got this. It’s just my evil biodad. It’ll be fine.”

“Little brother,” came a dry, scratchy voice from way too close, a hand settling on Izuku’s shoulder with a delicately raised pinky.

Izuku yelped, activating Float and 5% of One For All on instinct, shooting himself into the ceiling.

“Inko,” Hisashi greeted, taking Inko’s hand and raising it to his lips, heart racing like a teenager on a first date. “You’re as lovely as always, my dear.”

“Hisashi,” Inko said sweetly, “You already told me you’re blind.”

“Ah,” said Hisashi. “Yes, but beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, th—er, I don’t have eyes but your beauty still shines through via your heat signature...”

There was a slightly strained silence, Inko’s hand delicately held in Hisashi’s increasingly sweaty grip. He could tell, through Heat Signature, that Inko’s heart was very much not racing in the same banner as his own. She wasn’t mad, but she wasn’t swooning. Think, Hisashi chided himself rapidly, Say something smooth.

“Sensei,” Tomura said from behind him, voice as scratchy as always. “I want to meet Inko-san. I’m wearing the gloves so I won’t destroy her accidentally.”

Hisashi screamed internally, face schooled like he had a normal successor trailing him like a sad, dusty dog. “Of course,” he said smoothly, ignoring the slightly narrowed brows on Inko’s face. “Come say hello to my wife, Tomura. Inko,” he said, and it wasn’t quite a plea, but it was definitely getting there. “This is my ward successor, Tomura. He’s been very eager to meet you and Izuku.”

“I already met your son,” Tomura countered, stepping forward and bowing stiffly to Inko. “Except the feet were all wrong.”

“The...feet?” Inko asked carefully, reaching out and wrapping Tomura in a careful, one-armed hug. Tomura responded as though she had handed him a bar of gold, eyes wide and awed in her direction. Seeing this, Inko shot Hisashi a vaguely concerned look.

Hisashi mentally cursed himself for not preparing Tomura to not act like he was strategically deprived of physical affection. Sometimes he was a little too good at villainous grooming.

He cleared his throat. “He means to say that they got off on the wrong foot,” he clarified.

Expression softening, Inko turned her head back to his successor. “Oh, I’m sure that will be alright,” she comforted, her presence radiating motherly care. “Izuku is such a kind, forgiving boy. If you want to go ahead while us adults talk, Izuku is right through there”—she gestured to the living room, down past the entryway—”so you can go ahead and make up for your first impression, alright?”

Nodding, eyes moons of awe at her warm concern, Tomura stepped past Inko. “I will,” he said, already turning and facing the living room, from where Hisashi could hear teenage voices echoing in discussion. “I will,” Tomura repeated, firmer, “I’ll explain I wasn’t gonna kill him when I grabbed his throat in the mall.”

Inko startled. “What?!” she squeaked. But Tomura had already taken the opportunity to walk further into the apartment.

Ah, thought Hisashi, watching his successor disappear with a sense of deep foreboding. So I’m kind of fucked.

A moment passed, during which Hisashi considered the highlights of his long, long life passing him by. Inko turned slowly from the direction of the living room—Izuku had made a loud yelping sound, but the sound of three relatively calm voices reassured him that Tomura was being careful—and pinned Hisashi with a purposefully blank stare.

Diffuse the situation, he thought at himself. “I brought the scrapbook!” he blurted.

It was unexpected enough to break the tension. Inko furrowed her brows in confusion, posture losing its tension. “You brought it?” she asked. “But we have the scrapbook here.” The pinched look that remained on her face told Hisashi that Inko hadn’t realized that the version of the book she possessed wasn’t the original. Oh, no. Did she think he had desecrated such a precious family relic?

“Ah, no. That’s an edited version, as I’m sure you must have noticed,” Hisashi rushed to explain. “I didn’t want anyone seeing my face and getting suspicious of you—being associated with me in my prime was akin to painting a target on your back. I would never damage the original, though.” He reached into the laptop bag he had across his shoulder, pulling out said original. “I’ve kept it safe hidden away all these years.”

Hisashi offered the scrapbook out with delicate hands, and Inko took it just as carefully. She smoothed one hand over the glittery cover (‘Family is Everything’, in charming silver), opening the first pages and pausing at the photo of their wedding. It was moments like this that made Hisashi strongly consider searching out a quirk to recover his eyes; how he longed to flip through the pages of that lovingly crafted scrapbook and reminisce with his wife over photos of their son in his infancy, how he—

“I’m surprised you’re so nostalgic,” Inko hummed, gaze focused on a photo of the two of them holding up an infant Izuku. “Given that you left us for so long.”

Hisashi could feel himself sweating at the back of his neck, beading up at the back of his mask. “My dear,” he started, strained, “It’s as I explained over our last phone call. I left to protect you and Izuku, he was quirkless, I didn’t want to put you all in danger so—”

“Oh, I understand, Hisashi,” Inko sighed, closing the scrapbook with a soft click. Her hands traced over his bright red underline on the front, the line that dug into the soft cover under the word ‘Everything’. “I understand, but you couldn’t have called? Kept up with your son?”

“I called on his birthday…” Hisashi tried, though he knew it was a dangerous line to tread.

“You did. One day out of a year.”

“ my defense, once you hit a hundred, the years all kind of—” he made a vague, wiggly hand-wave gesture “—blur together. Like, what’s a year of time, in retrospect?”

“It’s first grade, and then it’s middle school,” Inko said coldly. “And then your son is in the news because he’s found a father-figure that wants to stick around.”

Fuck, thought Hisashi, quite succiently. “Er,” he said, less succinctly. “I regret it, as you have heard—”

“Yes, Hisashi. I don’t want you to have to grovel twice. Once was plenty.” She sighed again, casting a quick gaze over her shoulder to where Hisashi could definitely hear the distinctive sounds of the Bakugou spawn’s popping quirk. Distantly, he hoped that Tomura was employing his very best manners. “Let’s not linger on past regrets,” Inko murmured, turning back to Hisashi and bringing a hand up to Hisashi’s shoulder. “I want Izuku to have the opportunity to know his father. I’ve missed you, dear. Even knowing what you were keeping from me, I miss the man I married.”

Hisashi felt himself melting. Inko had the unfailing ability to make anyone fall into her sweet demeanor, the skill of motherly-saccharine coos that could subdue even the dark king of the underworld. And underneath it all, such a delightful savageness. It wouldn’t really be Inko without the spite at her scarcely-there husband.

“My lovely wife,” Hisashi started, “I intend to stay in your and Izuku’s life. No one can take me from my family again, including myself and my own foolish decisions.” 

“Oh, you smoothtalker,” Inko chirped, stifling a giggle. “I would love to kiss my husband, at a time like this. Why the mask, dear?”

“...well. You know how I kind of, er, ghosted you both about six or so years ago?”

“I do,” Inko responded, voice still pleasant but with an undercurrent of I will not forget how you ghosted me. Hisashi cleared his throat, shivering a bit.

“Yes, well. You know about my employment at this point—”

“I”m aware you’re a high-ranking villain, yes.”

“—I’m the high-ranking villain,” Hisashi chuckled, which, shit, shouldn’t have said that probably. Inko was visibly unamused by Hisashi’s enjoyment at his own position on the foodchain. “Anyway!” he rushed, “All Might smashed my face off entirely.”

Inko blinked rapidly. Her eyes tracked over his mask, as though she could discern the face beneath it if she stared long enough. Shaking just a bit, her hand hovered over the surface of his mask. “He did something so violent?” she murmured. “All Might?”

Hisashi caught his wife’s hand in his own, holding it gently. “Indeed. I barely clung to life. I’m afraid what lies beneath my mask is mostly my face’s scarred remains.”

Eyes tracing the metal outlines of Hisashi’s mask, Inko was quiet for a moment. To Hisashi’s slight concern, the raised voices of Tomura, Izuku, and the Bakugou spawn could be heard from further within the apartment. He didn’t want to rush his wife’s sentimentality, but he did want to make sure that Tomura didn’t fuck everything up before Hisashi was even able to step foot into his family’s apartment.

“Let me see your face,” Inko said suddenly. “I’ve seen All Might’s wound. I know what to expect, but I want to see you. You can hardly wear this mask through dinner, dear.”

Well. She had a point.

With slightly trembling hands, Hisashi flipped a switch at the back of his mask, the hydraulics making a mechanical hiss. “I can’t go without the mask for too long,” Hisashi cautioned. “Probably a few hours, but it strains my lungs.” He lowered the mask slowly. 

To her credit, Inko’s only real reaction was the widening of her eyes. Her hand remained raised, and it traced over the scarred tissue of Hisashi’s face carefully. Then she raised onto her toes and kissed him lightly on his lips.

If Hisashi could still blush, he would.

Then the Bakugou spawn ruined the damn moment.

Fuck off! ” the brat hollered from within the apartment. He could hear the distinctive, raspy cackle of Tomura, and Izuku’s rapid pleading, behind the pops of the brat’s quirk. Inko startled, hand flying to her chest in surprise and eyes going wide.

“Oh dear,” she gasped. “I didn’t think Katsuki would react so strongly to meeting Tomura. I know you said he was a villain, but I didn’t think Tomura made such a strong impression on him…”

“Oh,” said Hisashi. “That would be because it was Tomura that took Bakugou from their training camp this last summer.”

There was a pause. Inko had gone very still, and Hisashi strangely felt that he had poked some slumbering beast he should have avoided. Inko’s fingers dug into the scarred skin of Hisashi’s face, and he felt his heart race in anxiety. Oops, he thought to himself unhelpfully.

“He was what?” asked Inko sweetly.

Chapter Text

The intro hadn’t gone as smoothly as Tomura had intended. Which made no sense, because he’d dominated all the tutorial levels.

His Animal Crossing village? 5 stars, within the first week of (nearly non-stop) playing. His Stardew Valley achievements? Maxed out, every single stardrop. He’d played through romancing every romanceable NPC in Harvest Moon.

It went without saying that Tomura had managed several pro gamer moves.

This indisputable truth being said, it made no sense for his little brother to jump into the ceiling when Tomura lovingly laid a hand on his shoulder. As he watched the flailing, dumbstruck hero student stare at him, flabbergasted, Tomura wondered what he’d done wrong. He’d lifted his pinky out of habit, even worn the stupid gloves, so it wasn’t like it was dangerous.

He’d done nothing wrong! Ever, really. His Sensei had assured him early on that all of his actions were excusable due to his circumstances.

(What circumstances those were still wasn’t clear. Who cared. It couldn’t have been anything important, anyway—he had Sensei. What could go wrong in his life with his Sensei there?)

The popping sounds of the Explosion Brat snagged Tomura’s attention. Little brother’s little blond friend was here for dinner too, apparently. What was his name again? He’d memorized it when he’d planned on recruiting him…his little brother had called him—

“And Kacchan, right?” Tomura asked politely, smiling in a way that could only be charming.

The Kacchan brat shivered, quirk sparking loudly and teeth flashing in a snarl. Briefly, Tomura hoped that Sensei wouldn’t be distracted from his important reunion with Inko-san. The kid’s face had wrinkled up in anger at absolutely nothing, and Tomura instinctively braced his feet a bit firmer on the ground.

“The fuck? Don’t call me that, Hands Bastard!” he hissed, hands clenched and smoking. “Deku, get down from the fuckin’ ceiling! I’m not handling this asshole by myself.”

“That’s not very nice,” Tomura chided, kind smile stuck in place. “I heard my little brother call you that, and you’re friends. Friends call each other nice names, right?” He reached up to scratch harmlessly at his neck with glove-covered hands. “I’m just trying to be friendly. Not like I’d remember your name—we only met once, after all.”

“‘Met once’? That what you fuckin’ call kidnapping me, hahh?!”

Kacchan,” his little brother pleaded. See, Tomura shot a look at Not-Kacchan. The brat just continued gritting his teeth.

Tomura tsked, raising his hands in a ‘what-can-you-do’ gesture. “Geeze, kidnapping is such a strong word, huh?” he murmured, eyes trained on his little brother’s figure. Izuku was visibly concentrating, the weird-ass levitation he’d employed slowly dying as he sank carefully down to the floor. The Not-Kacchan didn’t take his poisonous glare off of Tomura, who continued providing his reasonable explanation once his little brother was safely on the ground. “You crash a single training camp, and give a recruitment pitch to one hero brat, and suddenly you’re a kidnapper?” He shook his head. “Cancel culture these days.”

His little brother had landed upright, but he looked like a strong gust of wind could knock him back off his feet and into the ceiling again. “Shigaraki,” he said.

“That’s me,” said Tomura. He shot his best winning smile at his little brother. “You should call me Tomura, though. Or Nii-chan. After all—” he put his hand right back where it belonged on his little brother’s shoulder “—we’re family, aren’t we?”

Izuku looked like he had more to say to that, but he was rudely interrupted by Not Kacchan. The brat had looked like a living fuse since Tomura had brought up the very real effects of cancel culture, wick inching closer to some inevitable explosion. You’d think he ran his mouth enough to let off some steam.

“That what you call it?” Not Kacchan demanded, rude yet again. He shoved a big stupid finger into Tomura’s chest; a tiny waft of smoke curled up from his shirt at the point of contact. “Crashing camp? Recruitment pitch? Did ya forget the fuckin’ restraints, bastard?”

“It’s not anything that they didn’t do to you at the Sports Festival ceremony, right?” Tomura asked, smile curling a teensy bit cruelley. “Why’s it so bad when I do it, but when heroes do it, it’s fine?”

“You fucker—”

“Kacchan, don’t—”

“See, Kacchan, see? Why does a hero-kid get to call you that and not me? Kind of hypocritical, huh?” Tomura could feel himself slipping back into old habits, habits he’d been doing his damndest to train himself out of over the past week through endless hours of weirdly-enjoyable, mind-numbing gameplay. “I tried adding you to my party. It didn’t work, but you gained some important EXP, right? That must’ve been a lot of personal growth stats you added.” He titled his head, mean smile still growing. “GG, right?”

The Not Kacchan’s quirk sparked and popped, going haywire, the brat’s expression absolutely furious and teeth gritted in a snarl. “Fuck off!” he hollered, fist flying toward Tomura. He braced himself, the thrill of successfully trolling some hero simp flying through his veins, but the fist stopped before the two could actually get into some good PVP.

Little brother was there, hand firm around the Explosion Brat’s forearm, pushing the arm away from Tomura’s fighting stance and off to the side. “Please, Kacchan,” he pleaded, eyes wide and worried. “All For One is at my front door! This isn’t the time and definitely not the place for a, a final showdown!” Izuku gestured at their surroundings, which were almost sickeningly wholesome: photographs of Inko-san and little brother, smiling and hugging, a framed acceptance letter to, gag, UA, a picture of Izuku with the girl he’d taken from the Shie Hassaikai, and a photo of Izuku with All Might, the fucking bastard, invading even little brother’s home—

“Are you boys doing okay?” Sensei asked, stepping up behind Tomura, gaze focused solely on his son. Sensei was relaxed, entirely unthreatening, but Izuku stared at him with wide, emotionless eyes. Was it ‘cause Sensei had taken his mask off? Little brother didn’t seem to be scared or horrified or anything; his face was painted with the same kind of flat acceptance Sensei often fell into when he was deeply unhappy with the circumstances.

Yeah, he could see the resemblance, at least a resemblance to back when Sensei had a face. He could also see the resemblance in the dawning anger, the tightening at the corner of Izuku’s eyes, trained sharp on Sensei, where his hand slackened around the Explosion Kid’s arm and was shaking with some suppressed feeling.

(There was a gurgling burp from the corner of the room, sticking out awkwardly in the tension. Well, that’s where Izuku’s donated Nomu went, at least. Though Tomura didn’t recall Sensei putting a yellow-red-and-blue bow on its head.)

“Izuku,” Inko-san said, looking very worried. She stood hesitantly in the physical center of the tension, stuck between her estranged husband and her son, hands wringing. Tomura didn’t see the big deal. Personally, he was happy to see this intense, not-so-heroic side of little brother. The family resemblance really shone through when he was quivering in anger, really switched him into a palette-swapped mini Sensei, unlike his normal normie persona. Yeah, now he looked more like Sensei and less like that bastard All M—

“I AM—” a deep, horrifically familiar voice called, slightly muffled behind a door that was immediately flung open by a pathetic blond skeleton. “—HERE, COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET!”

Inko shrieked, hand flying to her heart; the Explosion brat flung his hands toward the ground as they burst with surprised sparks; little brother got a look on his face that was a kind of mixture between confusion and exasperation; and Sensei…  

Well. Sensei’s pleasant facade had frozen in place. Now Tomura was feeling a little nervous.

“Erm. You said to come out when everyone was calmed down…?” the pathetic bastard prattled, eyes flicking between Izuku and Sensei. They settled resolutely on Izuku, whom the skeleton approached with a familial hand clapped to his shoulder. “Was my timing bad?” he whispered, not very quietly. “Did he say anything about the shirts?”

“Oh, Tomura has already seen the shirts,” Sensei said, in a voice as pleasantly fake as Tomura’s fragile patience. Sensei’s face was fixed, cold like little brother’s gaze had been, on All Might’s useless figure. His teeth were gritted in his fake-ass smile. “There were plenty of posts about your fashion statement on Twitter, after all. I can’t say I like the shirts,” Sensei continued, turning his focus onto his son, where his expression warmed immediately into an honest grin. “But I appreciate the maliciousness and cunning behind them. Izuku, son, you’ve certainly proven yourself at school. It’s so very good to see you.”

“You’re blind,” little brother said. “You can’t see me at all. Beyond a heat signature, right?” 

“Well, yes,” Sensei allowed, smile going a little frayed. “I mean to say—”

“If you’re going to say something about my personality being conveyed through my heat signature, don’t,” Izuku said, cutting off Sensei in a Super effective! battle move. “I’m not a mood ring. That’s pseudoscience at best, and mysticism at worst.” Little brother’s stare hadn’t left Sensei, as he finished quietly, “I would think that All For One would know better than to think he could win my favor by pandering to me.”

Damn, Tomura thought, staring in awe and horror at Izuku. Little brother really does take after Sensei.

Maybe we’re not too late to add him to the party after all.

Was Izuku’s heart racing, pounding against his chest, as he chewed out Japan’s most infamous villain-cum-deadbeat dad? Maybe.

But seeing All For One—all seven feet of him—in his and his mom’s damn living room, as broad as All Might in his prime and wearing another dark suit, was such a bizarre reality as to send Izuku into an almost out-of-body experience. He was disparaging All For One in a verbal smackdown, yes, but a good portion of himself was also a ghost, hovering right outside his unmoving figure, screaming silently and whacking his head on the wall.

All For One just continued smiling pleasantly at Izuku, but he could tell his raving had had an effect; his eye-less face was wrinkled in strain at tying to keep up his cheery farce, teeth flashing. Anyone with a sense of propriety would feel a tingle prodding at their self-preservation.

But Izuku… well. He had always been a little self-destructive. His fragile, latticed bones could attest to as much. A threat presented itself and he couldn’t help but poke at it.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Bakugou grimace and shove his hands in his pocket, hunching his shoulders uncomfortably. His poor mother wavered in the center of the living room, bottom lip tucked under her teeth. Shigaraki Tomura (he wasn’t going to call him Nii-chan; maybe Tomura, for the sake of efficiency, and if his biodad’s family name was Shigaraki, did that make Izuku, himself a Shigaraki?) remained unmoving in front of All For One. Toshinori’s hand on his shoulder had gone tight. And the bastard father himself… 

Well, it was tough to get a detailed read on someone that didn’t have a face.

Mephi-chan decided to remind their tense group that it was there and didn’t like being ignored. A screechy warble cut through the air, and Mephi-chan waddled over next to Izuku and shoved its head under Izuku’s hand, demanding attention. Izuku patted it on the head delicately, minding the bow, and All For One tracked the movement. The bastard’s expression shifted from fake-ass niceties to a genuine, satisfied grin.

“I see you’ve taken a liking to the Nomu I gifted you, Izuku.” The bastard finally moved, stepping closer toward Izuku to peer down at the Nomu. “I had hoped you would understand it as both a peace offering and a bit of security.”

Security, right. “You mean how it follows me everywhere and teleports back to me if I try to leave it behind?” he asked coolly. “Yes, I noticed, All For One.”

All For One scoffed lightly, waving a hand dismissively. “It would hardly be a good security measure it it didn’t keep good track of you!” he chided. “And please, call me dad.”

“No, thank you.”

There was a brief, painfully strained pause, where the bastard’s fake expression wavered and twitched. “Well, I can understand it may be difficult to adjust to having a father-figure back in your life: after all, substitutes —” the bastard’s head tilted pointedly in All Might’s direction “—they just don’t measure up. Literally.”

Then the bastard angled his head downward slightly, as thought emphasizing that Toshinori was a solid inch or two shorter than the villain. Which, really ! Izuku thought indignantly, All Might is well above average height! He’s 6’8”! It can’t be helped that my evil biodad is absurdly tall.

Two can play at the game of pettiness.

Goodness knows Toshinori wouldn’t be able to strategically, passive-aggressively defend himself as eloquently as Izuku could do on his behalf. All Might had always been a more direct sort of man. Thankfully, he had Izuku, pseudo-son successor extraordinaire, to be petty on his behalf—and a lifetime of Quirk-based discrimination made Izuku very good at playing this game.

“Well, there’s something to be said for measuring up,” Izuku agreed pleasantly, his own smile contorting with spite. “And something to be said for stepping up, too! After all, what kind of father-figure…” Izuku trailed off, eyes narrowing at All For One, though his face remained amiable. “...leaves for a decade?”

You could hear Mephi-chan’s drool dripping to the floor. Bakugou’s head was swiveling between Izuku and All For One, All Might’s own face the image of strained desperation. His poor mother could probably feel her life shortening with each word.

“My boy,” Toshinori tried to say, but Izuku wasn’t done yet.

“It’s just so interesting to me, that you’ve lived over two centuries, but you haven’t had time for your own kid!” Izuku chirped, as though he were sharing a fun, quirky fact. He gave sad, fake little laugh, shaking his head.

All For One’s fake-ass smile had finally dropped, as his place-where-his-eyes-would-be furrowed, scarred skin wrinkling further.

“ Well. If you’re not up to ‘dad’ quite yet—understandable, of course, very reasonable—you should at least call me Hisashi.” Hisashi took a couple steps closer toward Izuku, long legs quickly closing the distance. Tomura shuffled after the man like a pathetic stray. Next to Izuku, Toshinori drew himself up with a huff, puffing out his frail, skeletal chest. A sweet gesture, but entirety unnecessary, Izuku thought.

Hisashi had made the situation very clear, had laid his cards out on the table for Izuku to analyze and dissect, all throughout a minutes-long conversation: the villain was determined to insert himself into Izuku’s life, dead-set on shoving himself into the father-shaped hole that had occupied their home since he left over ten years ago, for reasons Izuku couldn’t yet understand. It didn’t make sense, really; the man had just escaped from Tartarus, which—why now? Why wait to break out of prison, right when Izuku made the news for being falsely related to All Might? Unless… unless…

Despite it all, the Bastard of Kamino, the Dark King of the Underworld, the Unseen Ruler of Japan, was infected with that human condition: the yearning for a place to belong and for people to see you. The longing for a family.

If Izuku were a less kind boy, he would smear this vulnerability in his biodad’s eyeless face. Being the gentle hero-in-training he was, though, Izuku would take the high road.

The high road being this: he would exploit his pathetic, evil father for all his deeply-buried sentimentality and use his resources, distract the man for all his worth until Izuku could become the number one hero. He was patient. He could be patient, would have to be to grow strong enough to lock his biological father away for good.

(He just had to put up with his classmates nagging him about conspiracies for a couple more years. He could deal with it, he could, even if it made a certain dark pit in Izuku’s chest tingle and burn in rage, something inside him curling—he could ignore that.)

His mom wanted him to play nice, after all, and Izuku had spent a lifetime smiling at his tormentors. He could play nice, mostly. 

200-something years of investments and money laundering meant Hisashi’s pockets would be deep. Izuku had been hoping to move his mother into a bigger apartment once he graduated and got a position at a hero agency, but now he wouldn’t have to wait.

Using his father for his illegitimately-obtained wealth didn’t mean he had to play completely nice, though—he’d been feeling this urge , recently, to prod and jab at those that insisted on antagonizing him, purposeful or not. Primarily his classmates, but hey.

Who better to show his newly-discovered spite than his deadbeat biodad?

Things had gotten off to a bit of a rough start, Hisashi conceded.

He’d done plenty of research into his son before meeting up with him tonight. He’d watched the Sports Festival from his first year, read the (hacked) notes his UA teachers had written about how he behaved in class, had prodded Inko for dozens of stories describing Izuku’s meek but brave and cheery disposition.

The boy sitting across from him… well. His son had changed, Hisashi was sure about it.

Izuku certainly wasn’t as gentle and chipper as Inko had made him out to be, but maybe it was just the tense atmosphere. The mood smothering their little gathering reminded Hisashi of being rolled into Tartarus—forboding, oppressive. His son was opposite him at the table (as far away as possible, he noted sadly), which their group was awkwardly squished around in mismatching chairs.

Inko’s apartment was a modest thing, purposefully not attention grabbing, but Hisashi was really starting to regret its size. The five of them (Inko was bustling about in the kitchen) were smooshed into their chairs, sides pressing against each other. Only Hisashi was currently spared this claustrophobic indignity; for some reason, no one except Tomura seemed eager to get very close to him. To his right, the presently empty chair would obviously be filled by Inko. And next to Inko’s other side was…

Hisashi’s blood boiled. Yagi would be on Inko’s other side.

Only the two foot gap spared his enemy from annihilation, and the chair. Hisashi wouldn’t destroy one of Inko’s chairs.

The homewrecker of a man had the audacity to sit next to his son, whose other side was pressed into the Bakugou spawn. Said spawn was emitting a low, constant growl, like an angry motor, gaze shooting daggers at the boy touching his other side. The brat seemed torn between leaning as far away from Tomura as possible, not wanting to be in contact with Izuku, and not wanting to let Tomura out of his sight.

Under the table, snout pressed against Izuku’s foot, the Nomu made an occasional whuff ing sound. Hisashi could tell there was something on its head, something crinkly and poofy, but given that Izuku had put it there, he didn’t want to ask for details. Knowing his son’s sense of what he was reluctant to call fashion, it was probably All Might themed. There was something about the Nomu that Hisashi had questions about, however.

“Izuku,” he said, his voice visibly making his son startle in his seat. “I can’t help but notice that you’ve given your Nomu something…?”

“Oh,” Izuku said, tone still flat. “You mean the All Might bow on its head? It’s a limited edition.”

I fucking knew it. “Of course. No, I meant whatever it has in its mouth, actually.”

For some reason, this made Izuku still for a moment. Hisashi was suddenly hit with a bit of trepidation. He’d assumed that his son had given the thing some kind of dog’s toy, maybe a bone, based on the semi concerning cracking and crunching sounds it occasionally made. The way Izuku slowly leaned back into his chair, his head titled in consideration at Hisashi in a move that he couldn’t help but note was very similar to his own mannerisms, had Hisashi realising this may have been an incorrect assumption.

“It’s something I made myself,” Izuku said smoothly. He could hear the smirk in his son’s voice, which—given the Bakugou spawn’s inching away from Izuku and Yagi’s anxious, hovering hands—was a concerning sight.

The short, simplistic answer was so obviously bait, practically luring Hisashi asking him to elaborate further, but Hisashi was curious to a fault. Plus, he couldn’t help but be proud of his son for such an effective lead. “And what exactly is that something?” Hisashi asked, leaning back in his own seat, his own head tilting in eager anticipation, a mirror of his son across from him.

“Nothing too inventive,” Izuku drawled. “Just a modified figure. For the base, I took—well, I won’t bore you with the details. It’s chew toy, in the shape of a specific villain.” His son reached down to scratch at the Nomu’s scruff. “I’m thinking of expanding the range, really making it into an enterprise, you know? It’s already chewed through one of Stain, Muscular, an Overhaul with detachable limbs, and of course—” Izuku grabbed at the Nomu’s jaw, prying open its mouth to extract an obviously deformed, drool-coated figurine. “—my personal favorite, The All For Nomm.”

Tomura vocalized Hisashi’s own inner turmoil, letting out a choked, horrified noise. “Little brother,” he rasped, hand darting across the table to grab at Izuku’s wrist. “Put Sensei down. Don’t let it chew on Sensei.”

Izuku snatched his hand out of Tomura’s grip, stretching it above his head and holding Hisashi’s apparent effigy high like some terrible offering to the gods. “I won’t,” he snapped. “If Sensei is going to decide he suddenly wants to know his son, well, here I am!”

With that exclamation, Izuku waved the figure above his head proudly, a banner of spite and depravity.

Tomura growled, gloved hands clenching at Izuku’s exposed biceps. “Give me Sensei,” he hissed. “He’s all fucked up. I can fix him.”

“I can make him worse,” Izuku replied, then—using his ill-suited quirk, and completely defeating the purpose of it being a chew toy for animals—he gripped the Hisashi-shaped figurine’s arm between three fingers and pulverized the plastic limb to bits.

“No!” Tomura howled, throwing himself bodily onto the table, reaching desperately with both arms to claw at Izuku’s fist. “Sensei!”

“Don’t get so fucking close to me!” the Bakugou spawn yelled, shoving at Tomura. “Get off the fucking table!”

“Ah, boys, maybe you should—” Yagi started, and the whole situation had Hisashi wound up with stress and frustration that he couldn’t help but turn to Yagi and give his own irked contribution.

“Oh, so now the homewrecker is going to give my son a lesson on manners?” he sneered, fists clenching under the table. Yagi froze, his stupid smile turning to the battle scowl that Hisashi was much more familiar with.

“Homewrecker?” he asked in disbelief. His eyes were those blue points of heated rage, narrowed on Hisashi’s broader form. Yagi had to audacity to scoff. “To be a homewrecker, there would have to be a home to disrupt in the first place. I happen to know that my boy’s biological father was nowhere to be seen!”

Oh, okay. So it was going to be like this. Hisashi could feel his suited arm start to pulse, quirks stirring under his skin as rage bubbled up his throat. “Well, maybe if someone hadn’t been a damn thorn in my side specifically targeting all of my legitimate business practices —”

—oh, legitimate? Please, they—

“—the businesses I used to support my family,” Hisashi continued, voice a hissing, growling snarl. In the background, the shouting of the Bakugou spawn and the pleas of Tomura only magnified the chaos between himself and Yagi. Izuku was a silent, stalwart statue, holding his prize now well above the group’s head with an extended black tendril that definitely hadn’t been a part of One For All when Hisashi had last seen it, wait, when did Izuku get that quirk—

“What is going on here?!” Inko snapped.

Hisashi froze. So, too, did the rest of the room’s guilty occupants. He was very aware of where Tomura was desperately sprawled across the table, his shirt clutched in the smoking hands of the Bakugou spawn, Tomura’s hand grasping at Izuku’s high-held arm.

The gaggle of angry teenage boys rather remsebled a Renaissance painting. Inko, obviously, did not share this sentiment.

“Sit down,” she said sweetly, voice strained. “Dinner. Is ready. Tomura-kun,” she added, chipper, “please get off the table and take your seat! You, too, Katsuki.”

The boys removed themselves. Inko began setting out empty plates in front of every seat.

“Izuku, please put you toy away,” she added.

“It’s Sensei,” Tomura mumbled. Inko took this in stride.

“Izuku, please put Hisashi away.”

“Inko,” Hisashi tried, but Inko set his plate in front of him with a rather overly-loud clatter.

“I was talking about Little Hisashi,” she said, which was a horrifying sentence. Hisashi was, of course, dutifully quiet as Inko continued setting the table. The boys all stewed in patient silence.

Izuku shoved his twisted, malformed effigy of Hisashi back at the Nomu sitting under the table, which promptly bisected the toy with a loud crack. Hisashi tried not to feel like this was a omen of something to come.