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When Endeavor finishes delivering his ultimatum, All-Might uses one of his precious minutes in his hero form to punch Endeavor in the face. The force of it sends the number two hero staggering back and into an alley wall, leaving an Endeavor-sized imprint in the bricks.

“THAT IS NOT HERO-LIKE BEHAVIOR!” All-Might roars.

“All-Might!” Izuku shouts, grabbing his mentor’s arm and using Full Cowl to prevent him from stalking forward. “Stop that!”

Bakugou’s temper had been steadily rising throughout the whole conversation, but now he’s howling with laughter. It’s definitely not helping.

Endeavor rubs his jaw and spits out the blood filling his mouth. “So you refuse, then?”

“Of course I refuse!” All-Might yells, “How dare you even ask – this is most unbecoming of you!”

Bakugou has that grin he gets when they’re facing a particularly vicious villain, and All-Might is shaking he’s so angry. He’s wasting time in his hero form that he might need later, that he and Kacchan might need later, and this is all ridiculous.

“I accept your terms,” Izuku says, listening to the words leaving his lips almost like he’s not the one saying them. Endeavor’s eyes gleam with triumph, and he almost wants to punch the man himself.

Both All-Might and Bakugou are yelling, but he shakes his head, and eventually gets Bakugou to stop swearing at him by convincing All-Might to put him in a headlock. His mentor says to him, solemn, “I do not like this, and I do no approve.”

That makes tears prick at his eyes, but he holds them back. This is too important to let Toshi’s disappointment stop him. He turns back to Endeavor and repeats, “I accept your terms. If you keep my and All-Might’s secrets, I will do as you ask.”

Endeavor has it all wrong, some of the facts but none of the right answers. It doesn’t matter. If he tells everyone what he thinks he knows, the actual truth will come out sooner rather than later. And he and Toshi haven’t been doing this for six years, haven’t been hiding and training and lying for six years, for all their hard work to come toppling down now, before they’ve completed what they set out to accomplish.

“Keep our secrets, and I will marry your son.”

~

Shouto doesn’t find out he’s going to be married until a week before his wedding.

Endeavor tells him over breakfast, as casual as if he were going over their patrol schedule for the day, and he ices over half the kitchen. Fuyimi throws herself back to avoid it, dragging the twins with her. His brothers hide behind Fuyimi, who only inherited their mother’s power but is fairly talented with it, or is at least stronger than their mother. Akira and Homura inherited both of their parents’ quirks, just like him, but are comparatively so weak that their father considers them useless.

Shouto sometime wonders how many children Enji would have forced his mother to have if Shouto hadn’t been exactly what he’d been hoping to create. Their births were carefully planned, a year to have a baby and a year to recover. The twins are two years older than him, and Fuyimi is two years older than the twins.

“Control your temper!” Enji says, melting and evaporating the ice with a snap of his fingers. “Really, Shouto, what else did you expect? My marriage with Yukiko was so successful, of course I would do the same for you.”

“I refuse,” he says, forcing himself to keep his tone even, trying to be ice when all he wants to do is scream. His father refuses to even pretend to listen to him when he acts in a way that Enji considers to be ‘overly-emotional.’ “I will not – I don’t even like women. How exactly do you expect this marriage to go?”

Enji raises an eyebrow. “I am aware of that. I am not blind. I never said you were marrying a woman. It’s for the best – children will only distract you from your duty, and your brothers have your same quirk. It will be their duty to pass the quirk along.” His lips twist in contempt, “It’s the one thing they can contribute to this family.”

It’s not the first time he’s said something like this. As far as Shouto is aware, Akira and Homura are both interested in women and don’t mind having a lot of children, even if it’s on their father’s orders. Then again, he doubts they’d risk saying differently if that wasn’t the case.

“If it’s not a quirk marriage, then why bother?” he asks.

“The boy brings other advantages to our family,” he says, something not quite like greed in his eyes. Shouto wants to demand more information, but he knows it’s pointless. His father will tell him exactly what he wants him to know, and nothing more. “Keep your Saturday clear for the wedding.”

Shouto doesn’t care that it’s not a quirk marriage. It’s still a forced marriage, and one he wants no part it. “No. I will not do this.”

His siblings inch further out the kitchen. Endeavor is blocking the exit, and Fuyimi is looking consideringly towards one of the windows, clearly wondering if it’s worthwhile to break it and jump through. Shouto is always careful to make sure his siblings aren’t hurt in the crossfire of his and his father’s arguments. Endeavor is rarely so considerate.

“Your mother will be disappointed,” Enji says, still perfectly calm. “I had planned to move her back home for the wedding, so she could help our new son-in-law settle in. But I suppose I cannot force you.”

Shouto stares. Every time he thinks his father has reached the depth of his cruelty, he proves him wrong. Enji has controlled Shouto his whole life through his mother, through his siblings, from forcing him to attend UA to becoming his sidekick after graduating when Shouto would have really preferred to work for someone else. Anyone else. “If I agree to this marriage, you’ll release Mom from the hospital?”

“Of course. That’s what I just said, isn’t it?” By the smug smile already beginning to edge its way up his father’s lips, he knows he’s won.

Yukiko hasn’t left the hospital in fifteen years, ever since she burned Shouto when he was just five years old. Shouto would do anything to free his mother, but even if he were willing to speak out against Endeavor and risk his anger to save her, he wouldn’t be able to do the same for his sister and brothers. The only option he has, the only option he’s ever had, is to bend to his father’s will. This is no different.

“Very well,” he says, pretending he actually has a say in this.

He hopes that whoever this boy is, he knows what he’s getting into.

~

“You are not doing this,” Katsuki growls, standing over Izuku with his arm crossed. They’re at his workplace that he uses for his cover for his superhero activities, which is basically just a large warehouse filled with terrifying contraptions and one even more terrifying girl. Hatsume’s not here, because if she was, he wouldn’t be. He hates that girl.

Izuku is hunched over a large drafting table, sketching out the schematics for whatever new and scary thing he and Hatsume have cooked up. For whatever reason, he insists on actually working at his fake job, even though the whole point of it is to just act as cover while he’s running around as the anonymous hero Deku. “Don’t worry, Kacchan, I can take care of myself.”

“Who the FUCK said I was worried, moron?” he snaps. “Are you planning to tell Todoroki your secrets? Because otherwise I don’t know how the fuck you plan to keep being a part of this team.”

“Should I tell him?” Izuku looks up from his drawing. “Just what his dad thinks he knows, at least. I wasn’t planning too, but you’re right, sneaking around is going to be really hard, so – what do you think? We both went to school with him, but you guys were in the same class. I only really saw him at the sports festivals.”

That’s what Izuku fucking gets for choosing to transfer from General Studies to Support instead of Heroics, like Katsuki goddamn told him to when they were fourteen, secrets be damned. “Don’t! Are you fucking stupid? Todoroki doesn’t like his dad, but he obeys him. Endeavor may be too much of an idiot to put two and two together, but Todoroki isn’t. Don’t tell him anything. It’s bad enough that Endeavor knows your secret identity and thinks that you’re All-Might’s secret love child. We don’t want them getting any more bright ideas.”

“It seems wrong to lie to my husband,” he says, and it must be as weird to say as it is to hear because he scrunches up his face like he just ate something sour.

He punches Izuku in the shoulder, “None of this matters, because you’re not getting married! What is this, the dark ages? Are we going to get three cows and the best of this year’s harvest in exchange for your hand?”

Izuku laughs, his pencil skittering across the page as he lets out a high pitched giggle which is the very opposite of heroic and cool. What a fucking disaster of a person.

Katsuki hates this entire situation, he hates Endeavor for asking and Izuku for agreeing and All-Might for letting it happen. He had to at least try and convince Izuku to change his mind, but he’d known from the beginning he was going to fail. Fucking Deku is the most stubborn person he’s ever met.

~

The wedding is smaller than Shouto was expecting. He thought his father would want to make a production out of it, especially since he insisted on a Western ceremony, which Shouto assumes was for the express purpose of inviting as many people are possible to the ceremony itself, and not just the reception. There are still too many people for him to be comfortable, his father’s sidekicks and support staff, and a number of other heroes his father had invited, which makes sense. It’s not a wedding, not really – it’s a publicity stunt. But his family is there, his siblings are here, and his mother is here, giving him a trembling smile as she stands by Enji’s side. Having her here, and not stuck in the hospital, is what makes all of this worth it.

Yaoyorozu is the only person he’d invited for himself. He didn’t have many friends, but the girl is the only person from school he still keeps in contact with just because he likes her. She gives him a forced smile and a thumbs up whenever he catches her eye.

His future husband’s parents are seated in the front row besides his own, the only people here for him, and Shouto is doing his best not to look at them. He hadn’t asked any questions, doing his best to pretend the whole situation wasn’t happening, but he regrets that now. He doesn’t even know his future husband’s name.

The mother has green hair and is wearing a rather plain kimono, considering the occasion. She’s been sobbing since she got here. The father is incredibly strange looking, an abnormally tall man who looks even taller for how thin and emaciated he is – his fine suit is practically hanging off of him. He has limp blond hair and blue eyes that are striking even from within his sunken face. He’s also been glaring at the space in front of him the whole time, and has only moved to hold out a box of tissues to the mother. There’s almost two feet of space between them, and the mother refuses to even look at the father. Neither of them are wearing wedding rings.

Divorced, then, if they were even married to begin with. And neither of them happy about this wedding, it seems. He hopes Endeavor didn’t do anything too awful to get them to agree. The louder his soon to be mother-in-law’s sobs get, the more that hope curdles and dies.

He’s already counting the seconds until this is over. He’s been tortured before, by his father of course, but by villains as well. None of it compares to this.

The doors at the end hall open, and a hush falls over the crowd. His groom enters and walks down the aisle unaccompanied.

In spite of the Western ceremony, they still have a Shinto priest, and Shouto is wearing the traditional black kimono. He expects for his almost-husband to be wearing the same, but he’s not. He’s dressed as a bride, and for a moment he wonders if his father lied to him, and he’s about to marry a woman. But the broad shoulders and sharp angles of his groom’s chin make that unlikely. He’s nearly swallowed by the formal wedding uchikake. Shouto notices his kimono before he even takes a good look at him, and his already bad mood sours even further. It’s not rented, of course the son-in-law to Endeavor wouldn’t be wearing a rented uchikake. It’s custom made, and his father has either been planning this for a long time, or he paid an exorbitant amount of money to hire someone with a weaving quirk. His groom’s kimono is a pale blue and delicately embroidered with ice and flames, a clear tribute to Shouto’s powers. It’s a clear mark of possession, and he wants to vomit. 

Shouto doesn’t even think to look at his face until he’s standing in front of him, but it’s not a great loss. Between the large headdress and the fact that he’s completely covered in white makeup, he can’t distinguish any individual qualities about him besides that he likely has all the usual facial features people have. He looks human enough so far, but Shouto supposes he could be hiding a tail like Ojiro under his heavy kimono. He really should have asked more questions about his future husband. Or possibly any.

He learns halfway through the ceremony that his name is Izuku Midoriya. Or was, he supposes. Now it will be Izuku Todoroki.

They press cups of sake to each other’s lips, and thanks to his headdress and bowed head, Shouto can’t even get a good look at his husband’s eyes.

Oh well.

The ceremony finishes, and before they even have the chance to speak, his husband is whisked away by his parents for an outfit change. His brothers pull him aside at a slightly more sedate pace, and the guests get ready to move to the reception, a truly lavish affair that gives Shouto a headache just thinking about it.

~

Mei can’t focus on her work, which never happens to her. She has trouble remembering to eat and sleep, has trouble keeping up with friends and family, has trouble with things like basic human interaction. But she never has any trouble focusing on her work.

There’s a loud knock at her warehouse door, and normally she’d ignore it. Anyone who feels like they have to knock isn’t someone she’d allow in her workshop. But it’s not like she’s getting any work done anyway, so she gets up and shoves open the door.

“Shinsou!” she says in surprise. “Is something wrong? You never come here.” Shinsou had finally managed to transfer into the Heroics program after winning the sports festival in their second year, and was currently a top sidekick. He had a schedule just as long and hard as Izuku’s, but since he wasn’t her employee she saw him a lot less.

He kicks the ground, and she doesn’t know if she’d ever call him cheery, but now he looks downright depressed. “The wedding is happening right now, and I want to stop it somehow, or at least force Endeavor to walk off a cliff. But I can’t, because it’s not what Midoriya wants, and this whole thing is stupid.”

“We could go get drunk and destroy things with Bakugou? I’m sure he’s at least doing the latter already,” she offers. Shinsou and Bakugou kind of hate each other, but the three of them are the only friends Izuku has that know he’s Deku, who know the real reasons for this sham of a wedding, and if they’re going to suffer they might as well suffer together.

Shinsou sighs in way that makes his whole body slump and says, “Yeah, sure, why not. It’s not like today can get any worse.”

~

“Mom, please stop crying and help me get changed!” Izuku says frantically, and if he could he would literally rip the kimono off of him it’s so heavy and uncomfortable. But it costs more than he makes in a year, even as All-Might’s sidekick, so he doesn’t dare.

Inko takes a step toward him, but then her face crumples and she buries her face in her hands and wails, “YOU’RE SO YOUNG!”

Normally seeing his mother crying would make him start crying, and it would just be a huge mess, and if he was younger that would be the case regardless of anything else – but he doesn’t have time to give into tears right now. They have a half hour for him to get changed before they need leave for the reception, and he can’t get out of this damn kimono.

“TO – I mean, DAD!” he calls out, because they are definitely surrounded by people who are listening, and who will report anything strange back to Endeavor. “HELP!”

All-Might bursts inside, already steaming, but deflates when he sees there’s no danger. “Don’t do that!”

“Help me get changed. Mom is busy,” he gestures to Inko, who has curled up in at the end of a couch and is doing loud breathing exercises to get herself under control.

“Making you dress as a bride seems – unnecessary,” Toshi’s already pulling all the insane layers off and hanging them up, deftly undoing the knots Izuku was just stuck pulling at and making worse.

He pulls off the headdress and throws it on the couch next to his mom. “I don’t mind, and Endeavor did spend a lot of money on it. Mei keeps putting me in dresses whenever I go out with her anyway.”

Toshi sighs and says, for possibly the thousandth time, “You don’t have to do this. I don’t even want you to do this.”

“Luckily, this is my decision, not yours,” he says, definitely for the thousandth time. “Also, it’s a little late, I’m already married. Grab my suit while I wash my face.” He does think the amount of makeup the artist put on him is excessive, but he supposes it goes with kimono.

Toshi sighs, but does as he asks. He just hopes his mom stops crying long enough to help him do something with his hair. The headdress has smushed it all down and now it’s sticking up a weird way in the back, and really, all he knows how to do is run his hands through it until it looks artfully messy, and the most All-Might has ever done with his hair was brush it.

Hizashi or Aizawa would be great right now, both of them have fabulous hair, but he has to work with what he has.

Izuku will panic and cry about this all later. For now, he has a timetable.

~

“Oh,” Akira says, “He’s cute.”

Shouto has no idea what his brother is talking about until he turns and sees Izuku enter the waiting room, fiddling with his cufflinks and biting his lip in concentration.

He is cute.

Shouto hadn’t been expecting that.

Izuku is about his height, and he has dark green hair that looks like it’s just barely been tamed into submission. He’s wearing a tuxedo, the same as Shouto, and it’s perfectly tailored, of course. Nothing but the best for Endevor’s new son-in-law. There’s a dusting of freckles across his face, which he can’t bring himself to stop looking at.

His husband looks up, and panic flashes across his face before he forces on a smile. “Hi! We didn’t really get a chance to talk at the ceremony, and Endeavor said you were too busy to talk before, so. I’m Izuku Midi – oh,” his face kind of spasms for a moment as he stumbles over his own name, since that’s not his name anymore. “I’m Izuku.”

“Shouto,” he says, and this is wrong, they’re married and this is their first conversation. “Do you need help with the cufflinks?”

Please,” he says, holding out his hands. “I’m awful with these types of things.”

He adjusts them, carefully tugging on Izuku’s sleeves so they’ll lay correctly, and finds himself at a loss for what to do now. Akira coughs and says, “You guys should probably get going. They’re waiting for you.”

“Right!” Izuku says, still with that strained smile. “Are you ready, Shouto?”

Now that is strange. No one calls him by his first name besides his family. But Izuku is his husband. It would be rather odd if he called him by his – by their last name. “Yes,” he says, because he can’t say anything else, and awkwardly offers his arm to Izuku.

He regrets it immediately, feeling like an idiot, but before he can take it back Izuku is setting his hand in the crook of his elbow and leading them forward with determined steps. He hadn’t noticed before, not until they were touching, but – Izuku’s hand is trembling.

~

Fuyimi hates this entire situation, and she was fully prepared to hate the man that her father forced onto her brother. She’d thought he was making Shouto get married to someone powerful, someone older, someone who would be able to grind out the last spark of defiance Shouto had managed to maintain. It’s the only reason she can think of that he would force Shouto to get married at all.

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” Akira asks, starling her so badly she jumps at the sound.

“Don’t do that!” she scolds, but at that moment Homura shows up at her other side. At least this time she’s expecting it, but she hates when they do that. If she didn’t know for a fact that the two of them had the half and half quirk, she would think they had a stealth quirk tucked away somewhere.

Homura leans his elbow on her shoulder, and they’re too tall for their own good, just as tall as their father. She and Shouto had inherited their mother’s height. “He seems … nice,” he decides on.

“Yeah,” Akira agrees, “who saw that coming?”

None of them, at least. Their new brother-in-law is shaky and nervous and obviously doesn’t know anyone here, but he’s doing most of the talking. Not in a show-off kind of way either, he’s just – keeping the conversation flowing while Shouto stands silent and useless next to him. He’s letting Shouto choose where they go and who they talk to, even though he’s doing most of the work to keep the conversation going. Then there’s the matter of the boy’s parents – she’d tried to talk to them earlier, but hadn’t gotten more than their names before Inko had broken down in wailing sobs so loud she and Toshi hadn’t been able to continue talking over them.

They thought this husband was supposed to be some sort of new punishment for Shouto.

But …

“Do you think Shouto is supposed to be this kid’s punishment, instead of the other way around?” Akira asks, saying what they’re all thinking.

Fuyumi has no idea, and she can’t decide if it’s better or worse if that is the case.

~

The reception is one long blur, and over faster than it seems it should be. It’s all of his father’s friends and work acquaintances being loud and boisterous, and cameras constantly flashing. Shouto is sure a photo of him and Izuku will make it into the paper tomorrow.

“I want to leave,” he says, as early as is socially acceptable. Everyone else is still partying, but Shouto just wants to get out of there.

Izuku looks up at him in surprise, but only says, “Sure.”

His new In-Laws follow them outside to the car. Izuku’s mother hugs her son too tightly, shoulders shaking even though it seems as if she ran out of tears sometime around the second course. His father grips Izuku by the shoulders, looking into his face with an intensity that makes Shouto uncomfortable, and it’s not even directed at him. “It’s okay,” Izuku says, and his father sighs and ruffles his hair.

Neither of them have looked at or addressed Shouto once, and he does his best not to be offended. It’s not like any of this was his idea.

They slide into the car, and the driver inclines is head to them. Izuku doesn’t notice, too busy waving at his parents until they’re only specks in the distance. “Wow!” he says, tugging at his tie. “I’m beat! Who knew getting married would be so exhausting?”

His smile looks less strained than it did at the beginning of the night. He’s not cruel, like Shouto feared he might be. He’s not from a prestigious family, like he thought he must be. He’s just a kind, unremarkable boy. “Why are you here?”

Izuku falters. “I – you said you wanted to leave? Did, did you not want me to come with you?”

“That’s not what I meant,” he says, and great, he’s already upset him. “Never mind.”

Izuku is still starring at him, hesitant in a way that he wasn’t before, and he really is awful at –well, people. Maybe he should get Fuyimi to talk to Izuku instead. He looks like he wants to say something, but thankfully they arrive home before he gets a chance. Shouto holds the door open for him, and it’s not very often he finds himself relieved to be home. But Endeavor is at the reception, and his bed is inside, and that’s all he wants.

“I’m surprised no one tried to stop us while we were leaving,” he says, unlocking the door.

Izuku makes a choking sound, and Shouto looks behind him, concerned. His husband’s face is beet red. “Um,” he says, sounding strangled, “that’s uh, because, I mean, they think we’re … going to bed.”

“We are,” he says, perplexed, and Izuku is blushing so deep he’s nearly purple.

Then he gets it.

This is his wedding night.

He left early to go home with his husband.

They think they’re going to bed.

It occurs to him for the first time that he won’t be going to his room alone. He won’t be sleeping alone. Izuku will be coming with him. He’s going to have to share his room and his home and his life with a man he’s only met today.

“Oh,” he says. His face is too warm. It would probably be incredibly strange of him to ice over his own face, but he’s very tempted.

Are they going to bed? Like – to bed.

“We can just sleep, maybe?” Izuku asks, voice unnaturally high. “Just because it’s been such a long day, and I am tired, and you look tired. Not that you look bad, or anything! But it’s been a long day, is all I’m saying, and maybe we should just, uh, go to sleep?”

“Yes,” he says after taking a moment to parse through the babble. “Let’s do that.”

~

Aizawa didn’t used to like All-Might very much. At least as a person, because as a hero he couldn’t really be faulted, except for perhaps not knowing his own limits.

Then six years ago he took a teacher position at UA. He was looking for sidekicks, he’d said, and Aizawa had thought that was a shitty reason to be a teacher, and said as such. But – well, All-Might had tried, and perhaps he’d misjudged, because unfortunately he found himself growing fond of the man. Yamada had been thrilled, at least.

Toshi hadn’t poached any of the kids that had gotten in on recommendation, which Aizawa had thought would happen in the beginning. Instead he’d taken on the single most volatile student Aizawa had ever encountered, and a later bloomer from General Support. Everyone, himself included, had thought he was crazy, especially since he’d gone the whole of his career without taking on any sidekicks, ever.

He’d proved them all wrong.

Bakugou and Midoriya, childhood best friends to enemies and back again – twice! – had ended up being one of the most perfectly in-sync teams he’d ever seen. On the battlefield with All-Might with them, there was nothing they hadn’t accomplished. All-Might was proud of them, as he should be.

However, there are less than a dozen people who know the truth of Deku’s identity, who were there to see the whole thing unfold. There are people who know of Midoriya, a support technician with an intelligence enhancing quirk that didn’t get pinned down until he began UA, and so was mistakenly marked down as quirkless for the first portion of his life. There are many, many people who know of Deku, the anonymous hero with a strength quirk who works as a sidekick for All-Might.

There are very, very few people who know they are the same person. There are even fewer people who know about the secrets around One For All. Aizawa is one of those people.

This is why he’s not that surprised when there’s a knock at his door at nearly midnight, and he opens his door to see Toshi standing there, fiddling with the edge of his shirt cuffs. “I think I’m going to hell.”

“You look ridiculous in that, you should really start wearing clothes your size for when you’re not in hero form,” he says, stepping aside to let Toshi in. Yamada is also one of the people that knows the truth about Deku, but he doesn’t know anything about the transient nature of One For All. Luckily for Toshi, Yamada also has an early morning class to teach tomorrow and is already asleep in their bed. Even if that particular secret wasn’t likely to come up, he’s not going to wake Yamada up to deal with Toshi’s existential crisis.

Toshi looks pathetic enough standing in his entryway that Aizawa bends down, scoops up one his recent rescue cats, and deposits her into Toshi’s chest. She’s very fat and very fluffy and the color of freshly poured cement. She settles into his arms and is purring like a motorboat within a few moments. “Want some hot cocoa?” he asks.

“Yes, please,” Toshi answers, following him into his kitchen and sitting at his table, carefully arranging the cat in his lap. She immediately falls asleep on him, which is good. It means he won’t be able to run away without disturbing the cat, which Toshi will refuse to do.

The day he found out Toshi liked cats was the day Aizawa caved and finally admitted the two of them might actually get along one day. He’d always imagined All-Might to be a dog person.

He makes the hot chocolate on the stovetop, because he’s not a heathen like Yamada who uses the instant packets. “So the wedding went well?”

“I feel like I’m selling him,” he says miserably, “I told him over and over that I didn’t want this and it wasn’t worth it, that it didn’t matter if his identity got out. We’re strong now! It’s not like when he was a kid and just starting out and couldn’t defend himself. But he didn’t listen.”

“Midoriya being stubborn? I’m shocked. Besides, you know he doesn’t care about the secret identity. He likes his anonymity, if anyone can understand that it’s me, but it’s not what he’s worried about, and you know it.” He pours the bubbling chocolate into two mugs, and adds mini marshmallows to one of them because Toshi is secretly as much of a kid as any of Aizawa’s students. “So far you’ve managed to keep your dwindling time-limit restriction a secret from – well, basically everyone. Besides the UA staff, your sidekicks, and Inko, no one knows. And now Endeavor has found out and is willing to tell the whole world.”

“Why should that matter?” he asks crossly. He brightens when he sees the marshmallows, just like Aizawa knew he would.

He sits across from him and says, “Because you’re vulnerable when you’re not in your hero form. You’re down to what, three hours a day? And that’s only because your sidekicks force you to actually take of yourself.” The sight of Bakugou pushing a protein shake on nauseous Toshi while Midoriya held out an already peeled banana on his mentor’s other side was the funniest thing he’d ever seen, and he still regrets not thinking to snap a photo of it when he had the chance. “Midoriya is up to about seventy percent of your power, right?”

“Only because he refuses to take more,” he says, “The stronger he gets, the weaker I get. That’s how it works. That’s how it’s supposed to work. It should have taken three years, at the most. We’re at six. That’s unheard of!”

He ignores that for now. “Well, that means even at your best, you’re only at thirty percent of your full power. Forget that All For One is still out there – there are literally hundreds, possibly thousands, of villains who would love to tear you to pieces, and may just be able to if they knew you were walking around in a very killable body twenty one hours out of the day. Obviously Midoriya isn’t willing to risk you. Did you think he would be?”

Toshi is the only father Midoriya had ever known. Of course he was willing to do anything to keep him safe, including putting off reaching his full power and marrying Endeavor’s youngest son

“That makes me feel even worse,” Toshi hunches in on himself, “I don’t want him doing this for me. That’s not right. I’m supposed to be protecting him, not the other way around.”

He considers shaking the other man, but then hot cocoa will end up spilled all over his floor. “It’s not up to you. Toshi, Midoriya is twenty years old. He’s old enough to be making his own decisions, and as his mentor and friend, it’s your responsibility to respect those decision. You don’t get to decided what other people are willing to do for you.”

Toshi is silent for several long moments, mulling that over. Then his shoulders relax and he smiles at him, “Thank you, Shouta. You’re a good friend.”

Oh god, Toshi is the worst, why does he just stay stuff like that? It’s bad enough he has to deal with this kind of crap from Yamada. “Whatever. Have fun keeping all your stories straight.”

His face falls. “There are rather a lot of them, aren’t there?”

“Well, there’s the truth: that you passed on your quirk to a quirkless Midoriya when he was fourteen after knowing him for about an hour, and he attended UA in the General and Support programs so you could keep his identity a secret to stop All For One from getting suspicious, and now he uses his career in Support for a cover for his work as your sidekick. There’s what Endeavor thinks he knows: that Midoriya is your illegitimate child who inherited your quirk, and who you’re keeping a secret out of shame for having him out of wedlock, because Enji apparently thinks this is the feudal era. Oh, and how he knows about your dwindling power. Then there’s the lies we’ve all been telling the public for the past eight years: that Midoriya has an intelligence enhancing quirk that was uncategorized until he joined UA, and now he just works and as a support technician, and that you have no relationship to him besides that he attended UA during the time you taught some of the Heroics classes. That Deku is a hero who shares your strength, but who can’t risk revealing his identity to the public for personal reasons,” he ticks them off on his fingers as he speaks, and Toshi’s eyes narrow the longer he talks. It’s possible that this the longest he’s spoken at any one time in the entirely of he and Toshi’s relationship, but mocking him for the complicated web of lies he’s found himself trapped in is fun. Aizawa so rarely has a chance to have fun these days, so he shouldn’t deny himself.

Toshi kind of looks like he wants to throw his hot cocoa in Aizawa’s face, marshmallows in all.

But the cat is still curled contently on his lap, and he can’t do that without disturbing her. Excellent.

~

Izuku and his mom had packed up his things in the week leading up to the wedding, and he’d worried he’d have to dig though boxes to find his pajamas and a toothbrush, but he shouldn’t have.

In the long hours since the movers had picked up the boxes and he’d been picked up to get ready for his wedding, the boxes had been brought to Shouto’s room and unpacked. There’s little traces of him all over, the closet open to show his shirts lined up neatly alongside Shouto’s, and his favorite blanket artfully thrown over a chair in the corner. He wonders if it’s as disorienting for Shouto to see these things amongst his room as it is for him.

“Is that … an All-Might poster?”

He looks to where Shouto is, and blushes. He hadn’t meant to bring that, his mom must have packed it when he wasn’t looking. “He’s my favorite,” he says awkwardly, because it’s true of both his identities. “Is that okay?”

The poster is his favorite too. He’s on the bottom, wearing his Deku costume that covers the top half of his face and his hair. He’s holding up All-Might with one hand, and All-Might is doing a strong-man pose, both of them smiling as wide as they can. Kacchan is sitting on All-Might’s shoulders, elbow on his head and scowling in the camera. He’s trying to look angry, but Kacchan had had fun that day, and it shows.

It’s a promotional shot, All-Might with the only sidekicks he’s ever taken, so he’d felt safe enough to hang it in his room at ho – at his mother’s home. It would be too telling if he’d hung up any of the candid team photos that are safely locked away in his phone.

Toshi has no such restrictions. His home is practically wallpapered with images of the three of them, and it makes Izuku feel better about his childhood bedroom. Whenever Kacchan sees it, his face gets all red and he tells them to die, which means he likes it too.

“It’s fine,” Shouto says. “Do you want the first shower?”

He should say no, but he literally wants nothing more than to be alone for a few minutes and be able scrub the feeling of blackmail and extortion off of him. He doesn’t think that’s a feeling he can scrub off, but he’s going to try. “Yes, please.”

Shouto gestures to a closed door off the side of his room, and Izuku takes a moment to collect his things and duck into the bathroom. Shouto doesn’t move at all as he does this, and he’s a little worried that his new husband might be in the middle of having a quiet nervous breakdown, but there’s nothing Izuku can do about that because he’s in the middle of his own breakdown.

No one wants to be saved by a crying hero, so Deku usually manages to keep his waterworks under control. Izuku is not so lucky, and he barely manages to turn on the shower before he lets out a sob. He hurries to clap his hands over his mouth, trying to hold it back until he can pull off his clothes and step under the warm spray of water.

He spends a long time like that, curled up at the bottom of the shower, hunched over his knees with his hair plastered to his forehead. He hasn’t had a panic attack since he was a kid, but he feels like he’s on the edge of one now.

Which isn’t fair, because he chose this. He chose to marry into Endeavor’s family, so Endeavor would feel like he’d finally gotten one over All-Might. He chose to move out of his mother’s house, and start a whole new life to ensure his and Toshi’s secrets stayed secrets.

It’s not fair to Shouto either, who he’s sure got even less of choice in all of this than he did. He doubts Shouto remembers him from school, because why would he? Izuku was in the General program, then the Support one, and always declined to participate in the Sports Festivals. But Izuku remembers Shouto.

He kept an eye on all of Kacchan’s classmates of course, but it was impossible not to be drawn in by the sheer breadth of power that Shouto commanded. Everyone knows that about him, everyone remembers that.

What Izuku remembers most is how sad he was. He used to wonder why one of the strongest people and most acclaimed hero-in-training he’d ever seen looked so sad all the time.

After dealing with the darker side of Endeavor, he doesn’t wonder why anymore.

He doesn’t know how long he stays in the shower, but it’s too long, and he has to push down the guilt at that, what with Shouto is waiting for him in his – their room.

He puts on soft flannel pajama pants and a long sleeve shirt. He won’t be able to hide his scars forever. Part of him had wondered if he’d have to show them tonight, if Shouto would have – they are married now, after all, it’s only expected. Unless the both of them plan on living a life of celibacy, it’s something they’ll have to do, or deal with, eventually.

But not tonight. Izuku takes a deep breath and pushes the door open, “Sorry I took so long, it’s all yours now.”

Silence.

The room is dark, the only light spilling out of the bathroom. Izuku takes tentative steps closer, and Shouto is curled up on the edge of his bed, still in his suit minus the jacket, fast asleep. He sits on the bed and unties his husband’s shoes, then slides them off. He carefully unbuttons his shirt, but can’t figure out a way to get it out off of him without waking him up. Shouto is a hero, and heroes are notoriously light sleepers. Izuku is shocked he’s managed to get away with as much as he has already.

He grabs his blanket off of the chair, it’s soft and warm and a dark green. Kacchan’s mom had knitted it for him when he’d graduated UA, which had been hilarious mostly because he hadn’t even known she could knit. Kacchan had inherited his personality from her, and even imagining her knitting was hilarious. He draped the blanket over Shouto, cautiously tucking it in around his shoulders.

He can’t think of anything else he can do, so he gives into the exhaustion pulling at him and crawls into the other side of the bed and under the covers. He can’t quite relax, and ends up falling asleep at the opposite edge of the bed, just like Shouto, so there’s a whole valley of space between them.

~

Shouto wakes up when it’s still dark, and there’s someone moving around his room. He panics until the events of yesterday come rushing back, and he croaks out, “Izuku?”

The movements stop. His bathroom door is open so just enough light to see by spills into his room. Izuku steps by the bed, and he’s already dressed for the day. “I have to get to work early,” he says, “Mei runs a tight ship. I’ll probably be home late too.” Uncertainty washes over his face, “Is that all right? I can try and talk to her about changing my hours, but well, it’s Mei, you know?”

He doesn’t know. He has no idea who this Mei person is, although by the way Izuku is talking he assumes she’s his boss. “That’s fine.” What else is he supposed to say? He’s not going to be his father, restricting and controlling what Izuku does. Besides, his hero work keeps him out late most nights. At least Izuku won’t be stuck alone in the house at night while he’s not here.

Well, not alone. His siblings are here more often than not, and they’re more welcoming, more normal, than he could ever be.

“Get some sleep,” Izuku smiles at him, “Put on some actual pajamas.”

Izuku gives him an awkward wave and then he’s gone. Shouto takes stock of himself – shoes off, shirt unbuttoned, and a blanket that must be Izuku’s covering him. “Huh,” he says, and can’t help the way his mouth quirks up in the corner.

It’s such a small thing, but it was kind of him. Shouto hadn’t expected kindness.

~

Izuku steps into the workshop, still when it’s too early for the sun to have risen. A light comes on dramatically right above him, and Mei shouts, also from right above him, “DID YOU TOUCH HIS BUTT? TELL ME EVERYTHING!”

Izuku screams and nearly throws one of industrial metal tables at her. “MEI! Don’t do that! Are you trying to die? Or give me a heart attack?”

“Neither,” she shrugs, slowly descending from the high ceiling, clad in their prototype hover boots. “If you’re here this early, I’m assuming you don’t have time to gossip?”

“Unfortunately,” he says, not meaning it at all. Mei on the warpath is a terrifying thing, and the longer he can put her off, the better. Maybe she’ll get distracted by some new device she wants them to make, and will forget all about interrogating him about his new marriage. “We have a team meeting at six. Do you have my costume?”

He obviously couldn’t bring any with him when he’d moved. The last thing he needed was someone stumbling over his costume and putting two and two together to equal Izuku being Deku. But it’s not like he can run to his office every time he needs to get changed either. Maybe some sort of lockbox that he can keep by the house?

She throws it at him, using the speed-enhancing gauntlets. He has to use his quirk to prevent it from caving his face in. “Mei!”

“Go save the world, and then I expect a full debrief,” she says, and then makes a shooing motion out the door.

Mei is one of his best friends, and easily the scariest person he knows. Kacchan doesn’t even get offended when he says that, because no one wants to be scarier than Mei Hatsume.

He has a couple spare minutes before he has to be there, so he calls his mom as he’s walking over. People are used to seeing Deku in this part of town, so the few people who are already awake this early in the morning don’t do more than wave at him. He only has a few seconds to wonder if maybe he should have waited to call until a more reasonable hour when Inko says cheerfully in ear, “Izuku! My dutiful son! I’m glad you called.”

“Hi Mom,” he grins. “How are you? Do you have a headache? That was uh, a lot of crying at the wedding.”

“Well, you said to make it dramatic,” she says, “You said the more upset I was, the happier Endeavor would be, and the less likely he’d be to pry into the story you and All-Might fed him. I was just following instructions. I thought I did a rather masterful job.”

“No, you’re right,” he assures, and he has to bite his lip to keep from laughing. “It was a fantastic performance. Ten out of ten. I was thoroughly impressed.”

She sniffs, “As you should be. Only the best for my Izuku. Speaking of – how was your wedding night? That boy of yours is quite handsome, and he filled out his suit very nicely. Did he look as good with it off as he did with it on?”

He wants to die. “MOM! I – we didn’t – we’re not – I don’t know!”

“Well, it’s perfectly acceptable not to have sex on your wedding night, dear. But if your father had looked half as good your husband did, you might have been born quite a bit earlier–”

He hangs up on her before she can say anything even more embarrassing. He doesn’t think it’s possible, but knowing his mother he is very, very wrong. She texts him a series of heart emojis, then an eggplant and a winky face, and yep, there it is, he is even more embarrassed.

By the time he gets to their customary meeting spot, All-Might and Bakugou are already there. He always does his best to be early, so this never happens. “Is something wrong?” he asks, using his quirk to suddenly appear next to the both of them. “I’m not late.” It’s a statement, he knows he’s not late, but it’s still kind of a question because otherwise why would his teammates be here already?

“The fuck, Deku!” Bakugou yells, and Izuku frowns when he sees Kacchan’s clenched fists and the veins basically popping out of his arms. “Where the fuck have you been, you piece of shit?”

“You’re not late,” Toshi says when his eyes widen. He’s his costume but not having transformed into his hero form yet. He’s just as tall either way, but when he’s skinny he has this ability to loom that just doesn’t carry over to his hero form. “We were just – concerned, is all.”

Kacchan kicks at the ground, “Who the fuck said I was concerned? I’m not concerned about anyone, least of all that idiot.”

Oh. “Was there an attack?” he asks, “I didn’t hear anything. You don’t have to worry about me – even if I’m not in costume, it’s not like I’ll just let myself be killed to keep my cover. That would be pretty counterproductive.”

Toshi slaps a hand over his face and Kacchan sets loose an explosion at his head, “SHITTY DEKU, WE’RE WORRIED ABOUT YOUR STUPID WEDDING NIGHT!”

He doesn’t bother to dodge the blast, since it wasn’t really aimed at him, but he kind of wishes he’d just stepped into it and ended his misery. Why is everyone around him concerned with his sex life? What’s worse, his non-existent sex life. “Um.” He hasn’t seen Kacchan this mad since they were kids.

“Was he,” Toshi pauses, hands still over his face. Izuku wills him to just stop talking, “…nice?”

“I will fucking destroy him,” Kacchan says, in a completely normal tone of voice.

Izuku grabs onto his arm, just in case he’s thinking of running off to do it right now. A calm Kacchan is the most dangerous kind. “Don’t do that! You don’t have to do that?”

“So he was nice?” Toshi asks, sounding a cross between hopeful and mortified.

Izuku is just straight up mortified. “I’m not talking about this with you guys. This – this is not a conversation we are having.”

“Oh, okay,” Toshi says, relieved.

Kacchan grabs the front of his shirt and pulls him up to eye level, like back when Kacchan used to be stronger than him, and says, “I will fucking end him, do you hear me? I don’t give a shit about him or his dad or our secrets, or any of that crap. I don’t need any fucking details, Deku. Just – you know I’ll kill him, right?”

That would be a pretty alarming speech to most people, but Izuku has spent his whole life hearing what Kacchan doesn’t say. “If I need help beating up my husband, you’re the first person I’ll call.”

Kacchan lets him drop, apparently satisfied by that. “I fucking better be. Are we going on patrol, or what?”

Please,” he says.

Toshi shifts in that next moment, “WHAT A WONDERFUL IDEA, YOUNG BAKUGOU!”

He picks them both up and leaps into the air, a sidekick tucked under each arm. Izuku has long resigned himself to Toshi’s casual bouts of insanity. They’re both able to keep up with him. He doesn’t have to carry them.

Kacchan has not.

“WHY DO YOU ALWAYS DO THIS?” he howls as the cameras flash. Toshi’s laughter is his only response. Izuku makes sure he’s smiling as he waves to the photographers.

~

Shouto gets back late. He and Endeavor had gotten into a fight with a trio of villains robbing an unrobbable bank – why would anyone advertise something like that, it’s practically begging someone to prove them wrong – that had turned into a hostage situation which had ended in forty three people being rescued and three dead villains.

He doesn’t think they needed to kill them. They could have been taken in, but Endeavor had burned them to a crisp before he’d gotten the chance. They were attacking them, it was in self-defense, perfectly legal, but – what’s the point of being the strongest if they just kill people? Anybody can kill.

He’s expecting Izuku to be home when he gets there, but he’s not. He’d said he worked late, but it was nearly ten at night, and he’d left at five this morning – surely he couldn’t still be working? He wants to call him to find out, then realizes he doesn’t have his phone number, and feels like an idiot for not having something so simple as his husband’s phone number.

Fuyimi has it, probably. That’s the type of thing she’d remember to ask for. He’s filthy, he’ll take a shower first, and then he’ll see if she has it on hand. There’s no reason to panic after all, he has no reason to think that anything’s wrong.

He takes a quicker shower than he usually would. Normally he loves the feeling of intolerably hot water on his skin, but he can’t focus on it, can’t even focus on the stinging from his upper back from a wound he wouldn’t let anyone treat. He wraps a towel around his waist and steps into his bedroom, but he also steps into someone, their heads clacking together. He grabs onto Izuku’s arms to prevent him from falling over. “Sorry!” Izuku says, eyes wide. “Are you okay?”

“Are you okay?” he asks, horrified. Izuku is covered in burns, the tips of his hair is singed, and parts of him are streaked in soot. “Was there an accident at work?”

“Your back!” Izuku says, ignoring his questions completely. “It’s bleeding! Is that a stab wound? Is that from bank robbery today? I thought they said you and Endeavor had been unharmed.”

“How do you know about that?” he asks, momentarily distracted from the fact his husband looks like he was roasted over an open fire. “The details of today were kept from the press, the story shouldn’t be running until tomorrow. They didn’t report on our presence at all.”

Izuku shrugs, “I’m a support technician, Mei and I get the same updates the heroes do. You should really let me stitch your shoulder.”

Technicians don’t have that kind of access. There are some high level engineers that get it, but mostly it’s reserved for… “Are you a designer?” It’s the most prestigious job in hero support there is. There are less professional designers than there are pro heroes.

He blushes, “Ah, yeah, I guess technically. I am a technician though! Mei hates outsourcing the work, and doesn’t trust anyone with our designs, so we have to build everything ourselves.” He walks over and starts messing around in one of the drawers, then he pulls out an extensive first aid kit. “You’ll just get blood all over the sheets if you don’t let me take care of that. Sit on the edge of the bed.”

Shouto hates being told what to do, and he normally wouldn’t let someone he barely knows near him with a needle. But it’s his husband, and oddly it doesn’t bother him so much if it’s Izuku. That’s probably something he should keep an eye on. “Fine.” He sits and hears the shuffle as Izuku rifles though the first aid kit, and feels the coolness of blood being cleaned off his back and then the wound being treated with iodine. “What company do you work for?”

“Hatsume Industries,” he says, and Shouto’s glad Izuku can’t see him as his eyes bug out of his head. “I told her the name is too pretentious since it’s just me and her and our lawyer, but she doesn’t listen to me. I keep saying we need to hire more help, but she doesn’t listen to that either.”

No wonder Izuku’s hours are so long. “Hatsume Industries is the most sought after support equipment company in Japan. You support the Iida family, Eraserhead, Present Mic, and … are the rumors that you support All-Might’s team true?”

“Yeah,” he says, and Shouto feels a twinge of pain as he stitches the wound on his back closed. “Mei asked him to not to confirm it to the press, said rumor would do the job better than a confirmation. She was right. We have a crazy waiting list, but we can barely keep up with the people we support already. I spend half my time trying to make everyone’s armor stronger just so we have to replace it less. All done.” Shouto turns around, and Izuku is frowning. “Maybe we should add you to the roster, if you’re getting yourself stabbed through your uniform. Mei will throw a fit about you bypassing the wait list, but you’re my husband, she can get over it. Her boyfriend gets precedent, after all, so it only seems fair.”

It’s the first time Izuku’s referred to him as husband, and it makes his face warm for no reason he can name. “I’m locked in a contract with my father’s company through the end of the year.”

“Well, let me know if you want me to make any alterations, at least,” he says, “It’s considered rude to mess with another designer’s work, but I think it’s pretty rude to give a hero a suit that can be stabbed though, so I’m sure it evens out.”

“I will,” he says, and his voice is coming out uncharacteristically warm. “You never answered my question. What happened to you?”

“What?” he looks down at himself and laughs, “Oh, don’t worry about this. We blow ourselves up all the time, just a hazard of the job.”

Right. That’s definitely not reassuring at all, but Shouto doesn’t know how to say that without sounding like an ass, so he just says, “Okay.”

Izuku leaves him to shower after that, and he can’t get the burns out of his head. He knows Fuyimi has to have burn salve around somewhere. The rest of them are impervious to flame, although not to other too-hot substances, as his mother had demonstrated when she’d poured boiling water on his face.

His mother. Who’s sleeping beneath this same roof right now, and yet Shouto hasn’t taken a single opportunity to speak with her.

That’s a problem for tomorrow, or perhaps the day after that, or whenever he can gather enough courage to speak to her. Although, if it depends on his courage, it may never happen at all. But Fuyimi has to have burn salve, and perhaps his mother does too, now that she’s back in this house. He – he’s concerned for Izuku’s well being, of course, but also, and this is incredibly selfish of him, he really, really doesn’t want his new husband walking around with burn scars. People will say – well, people will probably say it anyway. He doesn’t have the kindest reputation. He’ll get Izuku the burn salve, but it’s probably best that he doesn’t focus on the rest, because the rumors are going to happen no matter what he or Izuku do.

He’s had a long, difficult day, and his body is heavy with tiredness, but he can’t find sleep. In his head he has the image of three dead robbers he couldn’t save from his father’s wrath, he has his mother and the knot of fear and dread in the base of his throat, and he has his apparently genius husband who gets blown up regularly, something which will certainly cause rumors of spousal abuse.

The shower turns off, and he pretends to be asleep, not sure what he’ll say if Izuku asks him why he’s still awake. Izuku slides into the opposite side of the bed, right at the edge like the night before, but he falls asleep almost instantly. Shouto stares at the ceiling, willing sleep to come but unsurprised when it doesn’t.

Midway through the night, Izuku rolls over in his sleep and drapes himself across Shouto. He freezes, his recitation of pi getting cut off in the middle as Izuku tenses and then sighs, going boneless against his side. He cautiously extradites his arm from his grip, but Izuku only huddles closer, pillowing his head on Shouto’s chest and tangling their legs together.

It’s on his right side, and he runs warmer on that side. He’s had this effect on cats before. He hadn’t thought it would carry over to his husband.

He wonders if this happened last night too, if Izuku woke to find himself flush against Shouto and had to pull himself away before getting ready for the day.

Shouto cautiously lowers his arm, curving it around Izuku’s back. He’s noticed Izuku is cute before, of course, and it’s easy to see under his clothes that he was in decent shape. But, now that he’s pressed up all along Shouto’s side, it’s impossible not to notice.

Izuku is made entirely of solid muscle.

He’s heavy and firm, and Shouto thinks he might actually be able to feel Izuku’s abs through both layers of their shirts. If he has any idea how to use those muscles, then without quirks it’s possible that Izuku could best him in a fight, and he – really likes the idea of that.

He shifts enough so that he can press his chin to the top of Izuku’s head. He’s just had the thought that his husband’s hair smells like mint when he, improbably, drifts off to sleep.

~

Izuku wakes up the next morning, warm and comfortable, and it takes him several long moments to realize it’s because he’s draped himself over Shouto at some point in the night, and his face heats with embarrassment. He tries to slowly ease himself off without waking him, but realizes that’s going to be pretty difficult with Shouto’s arm around him and his face buried in Izuku’s hair, and suddenly he’s a lot less embarrassed and grinning so wide his face hurts. It’s been a long time since she shared a bed with someone, and he likes Shouto, he has since they were kids.

He glances at the clock, and he still has another twenty minutes before he has to get up to spend the day at the workshop with Mei. He could spend those twenty minutes trying to slowly extricate himself from Shouto’s grasp without waking him, or he could snuggle with husband.

The latter sounds like a far better option, so that’s what he does. When the time comes he pulls away, and when Shouto’s eyes flutter open, he searches for that bravery and impulsiveness everyone’s always yelling at him for and leans down to press a quick kiss to Shouto’s cheek, right at the edge of his scar. “Go back to sleep, I need to get ready for work, but you can still get a few more hours in.”

Shouto’s eyes slip closed, and he turns into the warmth of where Izuku just was, curled up on his side, fast asleep. He looks less like someone who’s dangerous than he does someone that needs protecting from dangerous things. Staring at his sleeping husband and thinking he’s adorable is pretty creepy, and Mei will murder him if he’s late, so Izuku throws on his clothes and is out the door ten minutes later.

He’s at least expecting it this time when Mei throws a bowling ball at him using the new gauntlet, so he’s already activated Full Cowl and catches it in his hand. He’s spinning it on his finger like a basketball in the next moment. “One of these days you’re going to manage to seriously hurt me.”

“If I do that, then you deserve it. You’re a hero, you should be more aware of your surroundings,” she tosses the gauntlet onto a nearby table. “I still can’t get the calibration quite right – it doesn’t adjust itself for the weight it’s trying to move, making it effectively useless.”

“This is for Tenya, right? Because if so, I was looking at the results of his latest stress test, and I have some ideas.” He opens his bag and pulls out a neatly folded piece of paper and spreads it out over his desk, the only moderately clean space in their whole workshop.

Mei crowds closer, already muttering under her breath about his equations, an unfortunate habit that she picked up from him. What she isn’t doing, however, is asking him about his sex life, so he counts it a win.

~

Fuyimi doesn’t know the details. She never knows the details. All she knows is that when it started she was preparing dinner with her mother, the twins sitting at the counter and describing a hilarious mistake one of the other first year law students had made in class today. Yukiko is smiling and laughing at them as if fourteen years hasn’t passed since they were all together like this, and Fuyimi is just itching to talk about her own day at school, except she’s the teacher and not a student.

She doesn’t get that chance. Instead, there’s the jarring slam of the front door bouncing off the wall and a wave of heat rushes through the house. “Behind me,” she snaps, already pushing her mother back against the wall. Akira and Homura don’t have to be told twice, stepping behind her and in front of their mother. Fuyimi wreaths her hand in ice, not that it will do them much good. When tempers are lost in this house, so is control.

“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING?” Enji roars. “CRIMINALS ARE NOT WORTH RISKING YOUR LIFE FOR!”

Shouto comes stalking past them down the hall. “My life wasn’t in danger, Father. If you hadn’t interfered–”

“You would be dead and these past twenty years would have been for nothing,” Enji say grimly, right on Shouto’s heals. Her brother means to go to his room, but Enji grabs his forearm and violently yanks him in the other direction. “If you insist on behaving like a child, then I will treat your like one. We’ll train until you’re too tired to act in such a moronic manner again.”

Shouto is struggling against their father, something he rarely does, digging his heals into the floor and trying to peal Enji’s fingers off his arm. But it’s no use. Without his quirk, Shouto just isn’t as strong as Enji, and thankfully Shouto isn’t angry enough to think starting a quirk battle with their father in the middle of the house is a good idea.

They disappear around the corner, and it’s only when she hears the slamming of the training room door that any of them manage to relax.

She turns, terrified at what this has done to their mother. The twins are on either side of Yukiko with a hand on her back. But she’s not crying, not shaking, there’s no distant look in her eyes like she used to get when they were kids. Instead she simply looks tired. “Not much has changed, has it?”

Akira tries to force a smile, and fails utterly. “No. Not really.”

They’re much more subdued as they finish preparing dinner, and every time they hear the distant thump of what is surely Shouto being thrown against the wall, Homura winces. Their father is … unkind to all of them, on occasion. But it’s only with Shouto, only while they’re training, that his unkindness becomes a physical thing.

They’re just sitting down to dinner when her new brother-in-law walks in, fresh burns on his hands and motor oil streaked across his cheek. He looks surprised to see them, but he quickly recovers, plastering a smile on his face that looks mostly real. “Ah, hello everyone! Sorry for my unfortunate timing.”

“Not at all,” Yukiko says. She uses her foot to push out the chair across from her, “Please, join us. This is a family dinner, and you are family, after all.”

His smile looks much more real after that. “I should at least get washed up. Do you know when Shouto should be back? I kind of expected him to be home by now.”

They all go silent at that. “Ah,” Fuyimi says quietly, “he is home.”

At that moment there’s a particularly loud thump, and she can’t help but flinching.

Izuku’s eyes narrow. “Where is he?” She shakes her head, but he presses, “Fuyimi, where is he?”

“He’s in the training room down the hall,” Homura says, “but don’t wor – well, don’t, just, don’t. He’s with Dad and it’s really better if we wait for them to be finished.”

Izuku drops his bag in the chair, and for a moment Fuyimi thinks everything will be fine, that he’ll take his seat and wait with them. But instead he says with a grim sort of false cheer, “Don’t be silly, this is a family dinner, isn’t it? We’re missing two members of the family.”

He’s bolting down the hall before anyone can stop him, although Akira makes a valiant effort at grabbing his arm. “STOP!” Fuyimi calls out, flinging out her hand. Ice forms on the floor, but he merely jumps over it, somehow managing to dodge each patch of ice she sends out even though he doesn’t once look at the floor. He turns the corner, and she’s not Shouto, she can’t make ice appear where she can’t see it.

She moves to go after him, to prevent this all from going from bad to worse, but Yukiko grabs her hand in a vice like grip. “Mom?”

“Sit down,” she says, and her clear eyes are the only thing that makes Fuyimi sink back into her chair. “Don’t let your food get cold. We worked hard on it after all.”

“Yes, Mom,” the three of them murmur, reaching for their chopsticks, but they can’t help but keep stealing glances down the hallway.

~

Sweat is dripping steadily down his forehead, one half of it steaming off and the other turning to frost against his skin. His whole body is one huge bruise, and the force of his father’s fire attacks has thrown him against the wall more times than he can count. Today had been awful. He’d tried to take the villains in alive, to take them in unharmed, and it was going to be fine, he had it under control. But then his father had burst in and burned them to a crisp before Shouto had a chance to stop him. All he wants to do is scream and cry until he feels less pathetic, less worthless, until he can get the faces of all the people he’s failed to save out of his head, villains included.

Instead he’s forced to spar against his father, and he’s losing. Badly.

He hears the door slide open, and he looks away from Enji’s oncoming fist to see Izuku on the other side. Horror fills him, and he doesn’t even think to dodge. It’s a solid hit to his jaw, and it sends him stumbling into the wall, his already abused back taking yet another hit. His stab wound is throbbing, and he thinks he might have reopened it, but he’s so drenched in sweat he can’t tell. “Get out of here!” he tries to yell, but the he’s gotten the wind knocked out of him, and it comes out as more of a croak.

Izuku runs into the room, but he’s not headed towards him like Shouto thought he was. Instead, he jumps up and catches Enji around the neck with his thighs, twisting and flipping the much larger man onto the ground even as Izuku lands on his feet. Going by the wheezing sound coming from his father, Shouto isn’t the only one who’s gotten the wind knocked out of him. It doesn’t keep him down for long, and Enji kicks Izuku with enough force that he goes crashing into the wall.

Shouto struggled to his feet, desperate to stop this before Enji does something even worse. But Izuku doesn’t seem hurt, getting to his feet and running back. He feints away at the last second, and then sends Enji sailing over his shoulder and onto his back. “Father-In-Law,” Izuku says, barely out of breath, “Dinner is ready.”

“Son-In-Law, you could have just said that,” Enji says, but he doesn’t sound that irritated about it, which is a miracle. He almost sounds amused. “We’re in the middle of training. We’ll eat later.”

“You can keep training,” Izuku shoots back, and watching this seems like an out of body experience. “But I demand my husband’s presence.”

Enji pulls himself to his feet, giving Izuku a glare which has caused lesser villains to wet themselves. Izuku doesn’t give an inch. He sighs and brushes himself off. “I have missed Yukiko’s cooking,” he says, and leaves the training room without sparing Shouto a backwards glance, as if that’s what he was planning to do the entire time.

Izuku is by him a moment later, his lips twisted in sympathy. “You look like crap. Let’s get you cleaned up first, we can eat after.”

He’s staring, mouth parted, and he’s aware he must look like an idiot but he can’t bring himself to move. “You – you just fought my father.”

“He didn’t even set me on fire, he was just humoring me,” Izuku says dismissively, and what. It’s not like Izuku’s wrong, Enji would have destroyed him in a second if he’d wanted to, but how can he be so nonchalant about going up against Endeavor? Most pro heroes won’t even face him in a spar anymore. “Come on.” Izuku holds out a hand, and after a moment of his confused thoughts dripping through him like molasses, Shouto takes it.

They go back to their room, and after a few seconds of insistent tugging, Shouto pulls off his shirt. It makes all his muscles scream in protest. He’s expecting Izuku to be upset when he sees his battered torso, the scars that will never fade and the bruises that hopefully will. He’s preparing himself to comfort his husband over his own pain, preparing to lie about how he got most of these wounds.

He’s expecting hysterics, but no hysterics come. Instead Izuku makes a considering sound in the back of his throat and says, “You tore your stitches. I’m going to have redo them.”

“Sorry,” he says, and he’s thankful Izuku can’t see his face right now because he has no idea what it looks like.

“Don’t worry about it, I can fix it. I have bruise salve around here too, I just have no idea where the movers put it. Hopefully next to my first aid kid.” There’s the strange sensation of Izuku taking out the ruined stitches before cleaning the wound and putting new ones in. Shouto tries to find words, but can’t, and after a moment of almost-strained silence, Izuku seems to get that. He fills the silence, telling Shouto about his day, about Mei and the ridiculous gloves they’re trying to perfect and how they destroyed half of the workshop doing field tests and adjustments. There’s a cool numbing sensation as Izuku’s calloused hand carefully work some sort of balm into his skin.

Under any other circumstances he’s be hyper-focused on the feeling of Izuku’s hands on him, on the way how warm his husband’s hands feel differs depending on which side of his body Izuku is touching, on the hot breath on the back of his neck as Izuku rubs the balm into a large bruise spreading around his hips. Under normal circumstances, having his husband rubbing his hands all over his body would be a very different experience.

But Shouto can’t focus on any of that, because he’s too focused on Izuku challenging Endeavor, and his father actually listening to him, giving in to him. That’s not something he’s ever done before, and Shouto has to know why. He has to know if Izuku and his father are – if maybe this whole thing is – if Izuku really is intended to be his punishment.

“Why did you agree to marry me?” he asks, cutting Izuku off mid story about he and Mei’s last spectacular failure.

“Uh, what?” he says, high pitched.

He doesn’t turn around, doesn’t know if he can force himself to have this conversation if he has to look him in the face. “I know why I agreed to this, why I married someone I didn’t even know, but what about you? Why did you agree to marry Endeavor’s son?”

Izuku’s hand are still on his back, and he can’t figure out if he wants to lean into them or pull himself away. “Well, I, uh – you saw my dad at the wedding right?”

He nods.

“He’s sick,” Izuku says, his voice tight. “You can probably tell that just from looking at him, he’s so skinny, but. He’s really sick. He got hurt a long time ago, and he doesn’t want anyone to know. It’s a secret. This is a secret, okay?” He doesn’t wait for Shouto to respond before he continues. “Enji found out. It’s a long story, and it’s stupid, but your dad doesn’t like my dad. He was going to tell everyone, to finally win at something over my dad, which is such an awful reason to tell a secret. If people find out he’s sick, if all his coworkers find out he’s sick – a lot of them know already, his boss and his friends, but it’s no one else’s business. But if they find out, they’ll judge him, and it will ruin him.” He swallows, “So Enji offered my dad a deal – he’ll keep his silence, so long as I marry his son. You.”

“And so your dad forced you to marry me to protect his secret,” he says, and he feels sick.

“No! That’s not what happened!” Izuku pulls at his shoulder until he turns around. No matter how sad he’d sounded moments before, now Izuku is smiling at him. He rubs the back of his neck and says, “He refused, he was really mad Enji had even asked. But – well, he’s my dad. I agreed to Enji’s terms, and my dad was pissed about it, but I told him it was a deal involving me, so it was my decision. So – Endeavor is happy, because my dad is miserable. But his secret is still safe, so I’m happy. And maybe this wasn’t how I was planning to eventually get married, but – no one forced me! I am here of my own choice, because getting married to you would keep my family safe.”

Shouto is staring at him again, and he almost wants to cry. They’re here for the same reason then – to keep a beloved parent safe from Endeavor’s wrath. It would almost be poetic if it wasn’t so tragic. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay!” Izuku is still smiling. “Do you want to go get dinner? You must be hungry.”

Shouto nods, not trusting himself to speak. They must have taken longer than Shouto thought, because the house is quiet and empty. They don’t turn any lights on, and Izuku takes two wrapped plates out of the fridge and pops them in the microwave. He’s keeping an eye on it so he can stop it before it beeps, mindful of the sleeping people in the house. He’s still got motor oil on his face, and his clothes are singed around the edges. He’s speaking in a hushed voice, and he’s just started a story of when he and his friend tried and spectacularly failed to make their mothers breakfast when Shouto can’t keep it in anymore.

The first few tears are silent, and he rubs them away with the back of his hand, but more come, and he can’t stop them. He digs his palms into his eyes, tries to force his breaths to come out evenly but his lungs are stuttering as even more tears come.

“Hey,” Izuku says, soft. “Are you okay? Was it something I said? I’m really sorry, I wasn’t trying to upset you.”

Shouto is not a tactile person, more out of habit rather than desire. He’s viewed as cold, and people keep their distance from him, and those who try to get close he simply pushes away. Anything he cares about it something for his father to twist and taunt and control him with, and it’s better to not have anything to lose than to lose everything. He reaches out a hand, blind, and immediately Izuku’s calloused fingers tangle with his own and tug him closer. Between one breath and the next, Shouto has his head pressed up against Izuku’s collarbone, and Izuku’s strong arm around his waist holding them together, holding Shouto together even though he feels like he’s moments away from falling apart.

Izuku, who loves his father, who is kind even when he doesn’t need to be, who burst in and fought Endeavor to protect him.

He had been so prepared to endure cruelty that kindness has left his him reeling, has left him split open, and he doesn’t know how to stop it. He doesn’t even know if he wants to stop it.

“I’m really glad it was you,” he says, “Out of all the people my father could have married me to, I’m really glad it was you.”

“I’m glad it was you too,” he says, almost as soon as Shouto has finished talking, no hesitation or deceit in his voice. “I feel like I was cheating. I knew who you were when I agreed to marry you. I knew I would be marrying a good man.”

He swallows, and this is too much, too fast, they barely know each other. But Izuku is his husband, and he hasn’t given Shouto a single reason to doubt him. “I want to tell you about my mother. About how she was when I was a kid. About how this house was when I was a kid.”

“I want to hear about it,” Izuku says firmly. Shouto figures what he doesn’t already know he can guess, but it’s not about knowing. It’s about being told.

They separate at some point, but their hands stay intertwined as they eat off the same plate. The words spill out of Shouto, first a trickle and then a flood, and once he’s started he can’t stop.

By the time he finishes, it’s nearly dawn, and Shouto’s head is resting on Izuku’s shoulder.

He thinks this might be what falling in love feels like.

~

Toshi has a bad feeling, like sour milk in the bottom of his gut. He wants to blame it on this whole mess with Endeavor, but honestly it started long before that. It started when the League of Villains started acting up, when All For One slowly started making his presence known.

Izuku has added even more responsibilities to his life, what with agreeing to marry Endeavor’s youngest child. Toshi wants to take it easy on them for a while, wants to give Izuku time to adjust to married life with someone he doesn’t even know, wants to give Katsuki a chance to catch his breath and settle into something approaching a normalcy.

But he can’t.

Izuku can only put off the complete transfer of their quirk for so long. When it’s finally complete, he won’t be able to protect them anymore. When that happens, Izuku and Katsuki will be on their own, there will be nothing Toshi can do for them when he’s quirkless and weak. Before that happens, he has to train them harder, longer, even when it threatens to break them.

They’re his sidekicks, his friends, and the closest to children he’ll ever have.

Toshi can’t bear to lose them.

~

Fuyimi is drawing up lesson plans when there’s a knock on her door. It’s not like she’s expecting it to be anyone really, because no one bothers her when her door is closed. But she’s definitely not expecting it to be her youngest brother, his arms crossed and his teeth worrying over his bottom lip. “Shouto. Is something wrong?”

“I have a problem,” he says, and it has in fact taken all twenty of his years for him to feel comfortable enough with her to come to her and just say things like that. “I want your help.”

“Of course,” she props open her door so he can step in side. “What’s going on? Is it Dad?”

He shakes his head, and that’s a relief, at least. “I – I – you’ve had a lot boyfriends and girlfriends,” he says, and luckily he doesn’t say it in a judgmental sort of way, so she doesn’t have to freeze his mouth closed. Which would be largely ineffective, and mostly just be embarrassing for her. It’s a much more effective punishment for the twins.

“Yes. Why?” He’s still biting at his bottom lip. If he doesn’t stop soon he’s going to break through the skin, and she wants to scold him for that, but she doesn’t want to sound like their father so she says nothing.

“How did you know that you liked them? And that they liked you?”

Fuyimi smiles and pretends like that isn’t that saddest thing she’s ever heard. Shouto has had boyfriends, although the relationships had always been brief. Did he not like any of them?

“Let’s start from the beginning,” she says, because she’s almost certain this has to do with her brother’s cute new husband. “Tell me everything.”

~

Inko’s phone rings, and she doesn’t check the caller ID before answering it. “Hello?”

“What the fuck, Izuku got married? To the coffee additive? And I wasn’t invited to the wedding? I am hurt and offended, what the fuck is that shit, I knitted that boy a blanket made of love and he doesn’t even invite me to his shitty wedding?”

“Hello Mitsuki!” she greets cheerfully. “It was a private wedding, unfortunately, and it was – well, arranged, I suppose is the word.”

“Must have been private,” Mitsuki agrees, “if Katsuki wasn’t there either.”

She smiles. Mitsuki does a much better job of controlling her temper than her son, but Katsuki is her one sore spot. It’s not like she can judge her for it – Izuku is hers, after all. “I was the only one there for him. It was – well, kind of awkward, honestly. I wish you’d been there, I could have used a friend.”

Mitsuki huffs down the line, but Inko can tell she’s not upset anymore. “Well, that sounds like a fucking nightmare and a half. Want to come over and bitch about it?”

“That sounds nice,” she smiles. “I’ll be over in about an hour?”

“Do whatever the fuck you want,” she says, then hangs up.

Mitsuki and her have always been friendly, but ever since both their sons had moved away from home they had become friends, which is probably a bit backwards of them, but she’s just happy that it happened.

She hopes Izuku and his handsome new husband visit soon. The house feels too empty.

~

Izuku doesn’t want to jinx anything, but the next few weeks pass – quietly. Between his two jobs, he doesn’t have any days off, three days with Mei and the other four days of the week working with Toshi and Kacchan. Of course, there are times when villains or emergencies pull him away from his work with Mei, but he works on the designs almost every day, and sneaks off to the workshop whenever he thinks his teammates won’t yell at him for over extending himself, like they have any room to talk.

Things with Shouto get easier and easier between them, even though it seems like they barely get any time together, since they both work long hours seven days a week. There are plenty of nights where they mean to go to sleep, but instead they’re curled up facing each other and talk long into the night, longer than they should considering they both always have long days following their short nights. Every morning, without fail, they wake up tangled up with each other, and they’ve stopped even being embarrassed about it. Well mostly, at least.

Izuku is painfully aware how attractive his husband is, and he sees the way Shouto looks at him. He’s ready to face any and all uncomfortable questions about his scars if it means actually getting naked with his husband, but since that first night together neither of them have brought it up, and he doesn’t want to push. This is an arranged marriage after all, a forced one, this is supposed to Izuku’s punishment, or maybe All-Might’s, he’s not totally sure. Either way he’s very certain Endeavor didn’t force him into marrying his son for either of their benefit.

He’s zoned out thinking about all the sex he isn’t having with his husband when Mei hits him in the face with a crumpled up design sheet. “Hey!”

“Just be thankful I didn’t use the gauntlet,” she says, “Also, pay attention to me when I’m talking to you. What are you wearing next week?”

“What’s happening next week?” he asks, “Do we have plans?”

Mei looks at him like he’s an idiot. He gets that look a lot, which he doesn’t think is very fair, because he’s been passing himself off as having an intelligence enhancing quirk for years now, and people keep buying it, so he can’t be nearly as stupid as the frequency of Mei’s stares would suggest. “The Sidekick Appreciation Ball? Are you messing with me right now?”

“Are you taunting me? You know I can’t go,” he says It’s not something she’s done before, but he wouldn’t put it pass her. “It’s plainclothes only. I can’t show up in costume, which means I can’t show up at all.” That is one major drawback of being an anonymous hero who hides his identity even from his fellow heroes – he misses out on a lot of social stuff, the annual ball included.

The Sidekick Appreciation Ball is sponsored by all the pro heroes, and it’s basically what it sounds like – all the sidekicks get together out from underneath the eyes of their supervising heroes and drink and dance. It’s a blast, from all accounts. But he’s had to skip the previous two he technically was allowed to attend, since Deku’s identity is a closely guarded secret.

“Yeah, you can’t go as Deku, obviously. But you’re not just Deku anymore, or my business partner. You’re Todoroki’s husband. Aren’t you going as his plus one?”

“Huh,” he says.

He hadn’t thought about that.

~

Shouto hasn’t gone to the Sidekick Appreciation Ball before. He doesn’t exactly have any friends besides Yaoyorozu, and he’d rather not endure a night of uncomfortable social interactions just to spend a few minutes talking to her. Going to the ball would be awkward at best, and at worse it would be an outright disaster. He’s never had any interest in attending.

However when Izuku asks about it, doing an incredibly bad job of hiding how hopeful and eager he is, Shouto says yes, of course they’re going.

~

The thing is, Izuku just doesn’t own any suits, and has a very limited selection of dress shirts and pants.

This can almost entirely be blamed on Mei, who introduced Izuku to the wonderful world of skirts and dresses when they were fourteen, and he hasn’t looked back since. Whenever he wears a suit he just looks like a little kid pretending to be a grown up. When he wears a dress he looks – good. It’s hard for him to feel confident or attractive in itchy shirts and unflattering pants, but in a bodycon skirt and heels? He feels pretty, feels powerful like that.

However, he has just as much fashion sense in dresses as he does everything else, meaning none. Mei can’t help him, too wrapped up in tinkering with the gauntlet and her own dress. This means there’s only one person he can trust to go shopping with him.

He’s supposed to be with Mei this morning, but he has to go get a dress at some point. So he takes the tube in the opposite direction, and once he reaches his destination he pulls out his phone and dials. It’s picked up two rings later. “Hi! What are you doing right now?”

“I’m in bed, shit for brains,” Kacchan growls down the line, voice quieter than normal. “Kirishima came over last night.”

“Is he still there?” he asks, feeling a little guilty. He knows Kacchan doesn’t see Kirishima as much as he’d like to, since his schedule is more erratic than either Kacchan’s or Uraraka’s.

There’s the rustle of cloth in the background, probably Kacchan getting out of bed. “Yeah, but he’s going to sleep until two in the afternoon or until I get sick of him drooling on my sheets, whichever comes first. So just ask me whatever you want to ask me.”

“Will you come with me and help me pick out a dress?” he asks, pushing the words out as quickly as he can so Kacchan won’t get irritated and hang up on him in the middle. “I left all the ones I have at my mom’s house, and they’re all for clubbing anyway, we never went anyplace nice, and I want to look nice! It’s my first ball and I’m going with Shouto and I want to look nice for Shouto too, I guess, because he looks so good in suits but I don’t, I’ll look frumpy next to him if I wear a suit, and if I embarrass him by looking like a disaster he’ll never take me to another one, and I’ve wanted to go so badly these past couple of years–”

There’s a loud slam from the apartment building Izuku is standing in front of, and one of the upstairs window of crashes open. Kacchan jumps from it, does a somersault mid-air, and lands on his feet in front of him. Izuku resists the urge to clap. “Oh my god, stop talking, whatever, I don’t give a shit. You’re buying breakfast.”

Clearly the sound of rustling cloth had been Kacchan getting dressed. “Okay!” he says, hurrying to catch up to him as he stalks toward the tube. “What are you wearing?’

“Black,” he answers shortly, “Then I don’t have to keep track of whatever the fuck anyone else is wearing. This better not take as long picking a dress for the senior formal did, otherwise I will leave you to have an emotional breakdown in the dressing room by yourself again, for fuck’s sake.”

“Okay,” Izuku says. Kacchan hadn’t even done it the first time. He’d found the perfect blue dress, but he was panicking about it clashing with Shinsou’s hair, and Kacchan had left and come back with a choker that had both the blue of the dress and the purple of Shinsou’s hair, and had told Izuku that it would make them matching, not clashing, and also to stop crying before he stabbed himself in the eye.

He still had the photos his mom had taken. He and Shinsou had only gone as friends, but they’d looked amazing.

~

Shigaraki hates it when things don’t go his way. Things should go his way, that’s what he’s always been taught, but when it comes to this particular area they so very rarely do and it makes him – irritable.

There’s an entire wall of the bar dedicated to it, completely plastered with pictures of the question no one anywhere can seem to answer.

Who is the anonymous hero Deku?

He appeared seemingly out of nowhere two years ago as the sidekick to All-Might, along with that Bakugou kid. Bakugou they at least know something about, they know where he grew up and what he got up to in school. But nothing on Deku.

Not a name, not a history, nothing. He has a strength-augmenting quirk that shares a shocking similarity to All-Might’s, and there are many rumors floating around that he’s actually All-Might’s son, but it’s nothing that either of them have ever confirmed.

They don’t know anything about him, and it bothers Shigaraki. How can he defeat what he doesn’t know?

He’ll just have to cause some other sort of trouble. Something that might get the infamous Deku out of the woodwork. But – those pesky pro heroes will get in the way. He needs them gone, otherwise it won’t work. He needs it to work.

He’ll have to get the Nomus. But that’s fine – they’ll be a big enough threat to lure the pro heroes away, and the Nomus are strong enough that they might even kill some of them, which would be nice.

A perfect plan.

~

Izuku is back at the workshop before lunch, because if he’d taken longer Mei would have murdered him. He stays even later than normal to make up for it, and it’s nearing midnight by the time he makes it back home.

It’s dark and quiet, so he assumes he’s alone. He’s tiptoeing his way through the living room when someone says, “Have a long day?”

It nearly gives him a heart attack, but when he whirls around it’s just his mother-in-law sitting in a dimly lit corner of the living room, curled up on the couch with a book open on her lap. “Reading in low light damages your eyes.”

She laughs, “If that’s the most damage I sustain, I’m sure I’ll be fine. Would you like some tea? It’s still hot.”

There’s a teapot next to her, and the extra cup almost makes him feel as if this is an ambush. But if it is, it’s a rather pleasant one, so he says, “Of course.”

He drops his shopping bags and gingerly sits down next to her. Today had been a day of mostly sketching, so he’s not covered in burns or engine oil, which is nice. “Here you go, Izuku,” she pushes the warm cup into his hands, and her skin is just like Shouto’s on his left side, running a few degrees too cool to be normal. “So, tell me about yourself. I barely know anything about you.”

“Not much to tell,” he says awkwardly, pressing the cup to his lips and wincing as the boiling tea scalds his throat. Do her powers give her protection against heat, or does she just enjoy too hot tea?

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” she says, and Izuku thinks this is what a rabbit probably feels like looking down the jaws of a wolf. “My husband wouldn’t have arranged your marriage to my son if there wasn’t much to tell. He won’t tell me why he chose you, which isn’t a surprise, he’s never told me much of anything at all. But Shouto is my youngest son, and I can’t help but worry, you understand.”

That makes sense, because he spends a lot of time worrying about Shouto all on his own. What he wouldn’t give to punch Endeavor, just once. He’d been mad at Toshi for doing it, but now he’s kind of envious. “It has more to do with my father than it does me, honestly.”

She raises a single eyebrow, looking very much like her youngest son in that moment, and says, “I’m listening.”

So he settles and prepares himself to tell her not exactly the truth, but not exactly a lie either. Toshi is the only father he’s ever known, and ignoring the part about him being Deku and how that came about, the rest of it is entirely accurate.

He tells himself it’s almost like he’s not lying at all.

~

Izuku had commandeered their bathroom an hour before they needed to the leave and hadn’t come out since, so about five minutes before the driver shows up he goes into his sister’s room to run a brush through his hair and change into the navy suit and pink tie Izuku had told him to wear, which is about all he ever does to get ready. He has no idea what Izuku could possibly be doing in there for an hour.

He walks back into their room, calling out, “The driver is here, we should leave–” and he cuts himself off when he sees his husband.

He’d thought Izuku would be wearing a suit, like him, and he’d looked good in the tux he’d worn to their wedding reception, so he’d been looking forward to seeing him in those same tailored lines again.

This is so much better.

He’s in a dusty pink lace dress. It’s off-shoulder, the sleeves draping around his upper arms, and Shouto sees his tan, freckled shoulders and wants to bite them. It hugs close to the upper part of his body then flares over his hips, longer in the back than the front so his muscled legs are on display, and probably even more pronounced thanks to the delicate strappy nude heels he’s wearing. His toes are painted the same color as his dress, and as Shouto drags his eyes back up he sees his fingernails are painted too. There’s – something different about his face, he doesn’t know anything about makeup so he can’t say for sure, but his lips are glossy and his dark green eyes look even bigger. His hair is artfully messy as always, and Shouto focuses on that as he tries to keep his heart from beating out his chest.

“Do you like it?” Izuku asks, and he does a twirl for him, his dress flaring up around his thighs. Shouto kind of wants to die, and not a single bit of him wants to go to this ball. Instead, he’d much rather stay in, with his husband, and peel that dress off of – well, no, actually upon further thought the dress can stay. The dress can definitely stay. “Shouto?”

He sounds nervous, which is what finally allows him to snap out of it and croak, “You look great!” He clears his throat, “You look great. Really. Our car is here.”

That was horrendously awkward, but Izuku either doesn’t notice or pretends not to because he just smiles at him and lets Shouto steer him outside.

Just as he’d feared, his mother and siblings are all waiting for them in the kitchen, which they have to pass through to get to the front door. The twins are already wolf whistling when he steps through and Fuyimi is making kissy faces and his mother is just laughing. He grabs Izuku’s hand and runs, and for a moment he fears that he’ll trip on the heels, but this must not be his first time wearing them because he keeps up effortlessly as they bolt though the house, opening the front door and tumbling out and into the back of the car.

Izuku is giggling and collapsed against his side, solid and warm, and he really loves the sound of his laughter. “Sorry about that.”

“It’s fine!” he says, beaming. “I’d always wondered what it would be like to have siblings.”

“They’re yours too now,” he says, and when Izuku actually looks pleased at that he can’t help but smile back. When Enji had told him of the arranged marriage, he hadn’t thought his new husband would like him, never mind his brothers and sister. But he does. Izuku likes him, and his family, and he likes Izuku.

His good mood lasts until they arrive to the hotel the ball is being held at, and it’s already bustling with sidekicks, most of whom he either barely knows or doesn’t like, and he really hopes Izuku enjoys tonight because he won’t.

They’re only there a few minutes when it becomes apparent that Izuku will be having a good time, because he’s instantly swarmed by people.

~

Iida thinks he may have been made aware of Midoriya (Todoroki now? No, that’s too confusing, he’ll just stick with Midoriya) through one of Bakugou’s hair raising and very offensive complaints, but he didn’t become friends with him until Mei introduced them after the first sports festival where she beat him so soundly and thoroughly the only possible course of action was to ask her out.

He’s been informed that it’s weird that when he explained his reasoning to his family, they all agreed. Perhaps non-hero families have other sort of customs, but as far as his parents and brother were concerned, Mei handing him his ass on national television had been a first date.

He’d tried explaining this to Uraraka at some point during third year when things had started getting serious between him and Mei, but she’d only stared at him. She’d already entered into her own unexpected relationship by that point so she couldn’t mock him, but it was clear she’d wanted to.

Point being, he’s known Izuku since they were fourteen, only a little less than he’s known Todoroki. So he’d say he knows the two of them pretty well, and he knows that in spite of attending the same school for four years, Midoriya and Todoroki hadn’t ever spoken. When their wedding was announced and Mei became tense and more snappish than normal, he’d worried. Arranged marriages were hard even for the calmest and most level-headed of people, which neither of them were. Todoroki and Midoriya were both good people, but they were very different people, and Todoroki was a very powerful man who came from a very powerful family. And Midoriya had many friends in high places, but the same thing that had forced him into this marriage in the first place is the same thing that could potentially prevent him from reaching out.

So Iida had worried, as he thinks anyone would, as he knew many people were.

But as soon as he sees the two of them walk in together, most of that worry vanishes.

Their body languages is easy and casual, and Todoroki has his head cocked to side to more easily hear whatever his husband saying, an eager smile on Midoriya’s face as he looks across the ballroom.

He turns to his girlfriend to say something about it, but she’s already gone. He turns back around, and she’s got her arms around Midoriya’s neck and he’s spinning her around. He’s certain she doesn’t have a speed quirk, but he’s not certain that her shiny silver heels haven’t been modified in some way. He’s never certain that anything on her person hasn’t been modified in some way. She never tells him, and the only way to know for sure is to ask Midoriya, but even he doesn’t keep up with all of her side projects, so truly there is no way to know for certain, which is terrifying. Or exciting. Or both.

He hurries over, because that line of thinking won’t end well for anyone, at least not while they’re in public. “Iida!” Midoriya greets, detangling from Mei. He shakes his hand and clap him on the shoulder. “I haven’t seen you in – forever, it seems. You haven’t come around the shop at all.”

“I’ve been busy, villain activity has been increasing lately, as I’m sure you’ve noticed,” he says, and not that Mei never lets him inside anyway, will only drag herself and sometimes Midoriya out to see him. It bothers him, but it’s dangerously close to whining, which he doesn’t want to do, so he never says anything. “You’ve been busy too, I suppose.”

Midoriya laughs and flushes, “Yeah, a little I guess. I’m sorry, I’m being rude.” He addresses Todoroki, “You obviously know Iida, but this is my boss and dear friend, Mei Hatsume. Mei, this is Shouto Todoroki.”

She doesn’t get further than holding out her hand when they’re interrupted by Ashido screaming “MIDORIYA!” and diving into their group. It’s only Midoriya’s quick reflexes that keep her from crashing to the ground.

“Sorry,” he twists around and Tsu is right being him, wearing a pretty green dress with lily pads around the hem. It must have been custom made for her. “I tried to stop her.”

“We can’t be held responsible for our girlfriend’s actions,” he says graciously, because if people start holding him responsible for Mei’s actions he will be quickly fired.

~

Shouto’s mouth doesn’t actually fall open as more and more of his classmates crowd around Izuku, but it’s a near thing. Iida and Hatsume make sense of course, but it seems like the entirety of Class A somehow knows him, which he just doesn’t understand. He’s clearly missing something.

The crowd dissipates a little, and Shouto stays mostly silent by Izuku’s side as a steady stream of people come up to talk to his husband. It should feel awkward, or boring, and Shouto should be itching to get out of there. But he isn’t. Izuku keeps glancing over and smiling at him while he’s talking to other people. He reaches out to touch his arm or his back just to make sure he’s still there, and he feels like he’s a part of the conversations even though he’s not saying anything at all.

Izuku is currently deep in conversation with Shinsou, a boy who had transferred into Shouto’s class in his second year. Like seemingly everyone Izuku has spoken to tonight, they seem to know each other, falling easily into conversation. Which is shocking for Shouto to witness, because he’s heard Shinsou talk more in the last ten minutes than in the three years they shared a classroom.

The flow in their conversation is interrupted when Bakugou elbows his way in between them, sending Shinsou stumbling back a couple of steps. “Nice dress, asshole. Too bad it’s being wasted on Half and Half here.”

Shouto stares. Is Bakugou insulting him? Or worse – hitting on his husband? How is he expected to react to that? Start a fight? He’s not completely certain he’d win that fight, and he really doesn’t want to fight Bakugou anyway. He’s had a soft spot for the violent man ever since Endeavor offered him a sidekick position and Bakugou had rejected it by telling him he couldn’t work for someone that was a bigger asshole than he was, and then had turned around and worked for Endeavor’s rival. His father’s reaction had been priceless. But he can’t just stand there and do nothing.

To his confusion, Izuku doesn’t seem offended in the slightest. He’s smiling, wide and friendly, “Kacchan! You look great. Where are your dates?” Bakugou is indeed cutting an impressive figure, black tie on a black shirt under a black suit. He doesn’t spend more than a second’s thought on that though, instead turning his head to stare.

Izuku just called the most violent, acerbic non-villain Shouto has ever met a cutesy kid name, and Bakugou is letting him.

“How the fuck should I know? I’m not their keeper.” He reaches out and tugs at Izuku’s dress. “The bottom is loose, good for dancing. But you haven’t danced all night. You love dancing.”

“I haven’t been asked,” he says, sending Shouto a shy glance.

Oh, here’s the awkwardness he’s been successfully avoiding all night. “I don’t know how to dance,” he says, and if they were alone he’d sound apologetic about that, but they’re not, so he doesn’t.

Izuku’s face falls for a moment, but then there’s another smile plastered on his face. “That’s okay!”

“Tch,” Bakugou rolls his eyes and hold out his hand, “Come on, loser.”

“Really?” Izuku’s entire being lights up. He takes a step toward Bakugou, then hesitates, looking back at Shouto. “Is it okay? Do you mind?”

“He’s not your keeper either!” Bakugou snaps, “You don’t need his permission.”

Izuku rolls his eyes, but Bakugou is right. “It’s fine,” he says, pushing down his sense of unease. He doesn’t want Izuku going off with Bakugou, but he’s not his father. He won’t try and control his husband’s actions.

He almost regrets it when he sees Bakugou’s hand on Izuku’s waist, and the scant few inches between them as they begin to dance. Shinsou is starring at him, a single eyebrow raised. He searches for something neutral to say, but instead “Kacchan?” pops out of his mouth.

Shinsou snorts. “Don’t try and call him that. He will blow you up. Izuku is the only one allowed to call him that.”

“Oh,” he says, and when it looks like Shinsou isn’t going to add anything more he asks, “Why?”

He’s just starring at him like he’s idiot. Before he can get too irritated about it a hand claps him on the shoulder and says, “Why, they’re childhood friends of course! Midoriya and Bakugou have known each other since they were toddlers.” Iida is beaming, a hand on both him and Shinsou. His girlfriend isn’t around, which is some relief. Hatsume may be the cleverest mind in support engineering, but she’s also a little scary.

Shinsou rolls his eyes, “And rivals, and bitterest of enemies, and then back to dearest friends. Izuku’s called him Kacchan the entire time, and it’s not likely to change. But literally no one besides Izuku or his mom can get away with that kind of stuff now.”

“How did you meet Izuku?” he asks, because he knows he’s a bit of a social recluse but this all just seems improbable. “I’m assuming Iida met him through Hatsume.”

He’s giving him that same stare like he’s in idiot. “Well, we were in the same class, weren’t we? We were both General Studies students our first year. Then I switched to Heroics, and he went to Support.” He can feel his entire brain shutting down. It must show a little, because Shinsou almost looks concerned. “We ate lunch together all the time! He was my date to the senior formal! Did you really never notice?”

He blinks, slow and heavy, and then says, “Izuku attended UA?”

Iida’s mouth drops open. “He – of course he did! He was in our year! We hung out with him all the time!” He pauses, then says, “Well, I did. And he and Bakugou did, obviously, they were practically glued to the hip for a while there. Plus – well, almost everyone else. But I guess you didn’t hang out with us a lot,” he finishes lamely.

Shinsou is walking away, shaking his head. Tsu and Ashido wave at him as they walk over, but he doesn’t seem to notice them. “What’s his problem?” Ashido asks, nudging Iida hard enough in the ribs that he winces.

He shoots Iida a pleading look. If Ashido finds out that he didn’t know he went to school with his husband, she’ll tell everyone else, and then he’ll never hear the end of it. “Uh, nothing,” Iida says, eyes darting between him and Ashido.

Before it can get too awkward, Tsu points and says, “I didn’t know Bakugou could move like that off a battlefield.”

They all turn, and Shouto feels like the bottom has dropped out of his stomach. The dance floor has cleared as fast, complicated tango music plays. Izuku and Bakugou are the only ones making use of it, a circle of people clustered around to watch them dance.

It’s hypnotizing.

Their steps are sure and confident, and they’re moving perfectly in sync. Bakugou has his hands all over Izuku, and lifting him and moving him, and Izuku’s legs are around his waist for the briefest of moments and Shouto is cold throughout his whole body. It’s not just the Bakugou is touching his husband. It’s that they look good together, they look balanced and comfortable and all the burning intensity Bakugou carries around seems tempered by Izuku. Izuku, who’s known Bakugou his whole life, who calls him cute nicknames, who Bakugou so clearly cares about when he cares about so little.

“Ah, Todoroki,” Ashido says, “There’s no need to look so scary. They’re just friends! Bakugou has a boyfriend.”

“And a girlfriend!” Shouto blinks as Uraraka pops up in a skintight black dress, with Kirishima on her arm. He’s in a hideous powder blue suit that clashes with his hair. “Hey everyone! Aw, look, Katsuki’s having fun.”

Kirishima already has his phone out, snapping pictures. “How come he never has any fun with us? I’m hurt!”

Uraraka pats his arm consolingly. “Hey Todoroki! How’s being married to Midoriya? Have you licked his abs yet? I’ve always thought they looked very lickable.”

“Excuse me?” he demands. This is why he never hung out with any of them during school.

Kirishima gives Uraraka a wounded look, “Does Katsuki let you lick his abs? Whenever I try he punches me in the face.”

“Please stop talking about – all of this,” Iida says. “I’m begging you.”

The dance finally ends, and the audience brakes out into applause, everyone around him included. Izuku looks flushed and pleased, while Bakugou just looks unbearable smug, and he kind of wants to punch something. They’ve barely made it back over when Uraraka and Kirishima are crowding around them, demanding Bakugou go dancing with them.

“Absolutely not,” he scowls, “Neither one of you assholes know how to dance, and I’m not getting my feet stepped on.”

Uraraka pouts and presses her whole body up against his side. It makes Shouto’s face flush just to watch, but Bakugou is unmoved. “Please? Pretty please, darling?”

“No,” he shoves her off. “Izuku knows what he’s doing, it’s the only reason I’ll dance with him.”

Izuku rolls his eyes, “I’ll dance with you Uraraka.”

She squeals and takes his arm, dragging him back on to the dance floor. Iida looks around then sighs and says, “My girlfriend has disappeared. Kirishima, would you like to dance?”

“Someone cares about me,” he says to Bakugou, who snorts. He takes Iida’s arm and allows himself to be led away. Tsu and Ashido follow as the band starts playing something a bit easier for everyone to dance to.

This leaves him alone with Bakugou, which Shouto feels was by design. “Is this the part where you tell me if I hurt Izuku you’ll hurt me? Or are you just going to murder me since he was forced to marry me?”

Bakugou laughs and slaps him on the back. Considering he’s constantly covered in bruises thanks to his father’s training, it hurts more than Bakugou probably intended it to. “Man, you must be dumb if you haven’t figured it out yet. You can’t make Izuku do jack shit that he doesn’t want to do.”

He stares. “Surely you’ve heard about the circumstances of our marriage, if you and Izuku are such close friends?”

“Gross, don’t call us that,” he says. “Yeah, I know all the nitty gritty details of your father’s twisted deal. You know what else I know? Izuku wanted to follow me around everywhere when I was a kid, he wanted to do all the things I did. But he was quirkless, so the only thing he was going to achieve by following me was hurting himself. So for years I tried to get him to knock it off. I called him names, I beat him up, I blew him up. I told him he was worthless and pathetic and he was better dead to me than alive, that he’d never amount to anything without a quirk.”

“That’s horrible,” he says, eyebrows raised. It’s worse than some of the things that have come out of his father’s mouth, and it’s definitely not the kind of things friends say to each other. He doesn’t have much experience in that department, but he’s confident about that at least.

“Pretty horrible,” Bakugou agrees, “And you know what? No matter what I did, no matter what I said, I couldn’t shake that kid. He’d decided we were best friends, he’d decided to go UA, he’d decided to be the best at what he does. And here we are.” He shrugs, “Good fucking luck trying to get Izuku to do something he doesn’t want to do.”

“Oh,” he says blankly, “so you’re not here to give me the shovel talk?”

Bakugou is giving him the same look Shinsou had, the one that says he thinks Shouto is an idiot. “Do you know what Izuku’s quirk is?”

“Intelligence enhancing,” he answers. He doesn’t see where this is going.

“You fucking wish,” and Shouto would like to say that’s a sneer, but it’s most definitely a leer. “It’s not that simple, Todoroki. His quirk is listed as High Spec. The only other person with that quirk is–”

“Principle Nezu,” he finishes, and he’s learning all sort of horrifying facts about his husband tonight. He looks over Bakugou’s shoulder. There’s no way the smiling man twirling Uraraka across the dance floor could secretly be as sadistic or manipulative as Nezu, is there? But look at the company he keeps – the best of the best in regards to sidekicks, partner to the best support designer in the country. “Was I a political match?”

Bakugou slaps him up the head, and he’s just surprised enough not to slap him back. “What the fuck goes on in that twisted mind of yours? Fucking no. A shit for brains like you is marrying down, no matter how much money or fame you have. My point is if you hurt Izuku, he’s perfectly capable of handling you all on his own. And if he wants me to blow you to smithereens, I will fucking destroy you. But that ain’t my fucking call, is it? Otherwise you’d already be dead.”

That’s all oddly comforting for someone who comes off as the least comforting or empathetic person ever born. But he’s been juggling two committed and seemingly functional relationships for years, so there must be some sort of emotional center underneath all the explosions. “Thank you,” he says earnestly.

Bakugou looks so disgusted that he’s a little worried he’s going to get punched for his trouble, but Uraraka walks up behind her boyfriend and slips her arm through his, pulling his attention down to here. “Katsuki!” she beams, “Won’t you please dance with me? Midoriya did, and he survived!”

“She only stepped on my feet a few times,” he confirms, just getting up to them as he’d followed Uraraka at a slightly more sedate pace.

Bakugou narrows his eyes at her. “Fine, but you gotta use your quirk to make yourself featherlight if you’re going to be stepping on my feet.”

“Okay!” she beams, and drags him back onto the dance floor.

Izuku is laughing as he settles at his side once more, curling an arm over his shoulder. In heels, Izuku is taller than him. “He just feels guilty because Kirishima won the coin toss so he’s going home with him and she isn’t, otherwise he never would have agreed to that. She’s going to end up defiling him a closet somewhere before the night is through anyway, so she’s not missing out on much.”

That is so much more information about Bakugou’s sex life than he ever wanted to have, and he has no idea how to respond to any of it. “Oh.”

Izuku looks down at him, green eyes somehow even brighter. “I know you said you didn’t dance, but do–”

“IZUKU!” he stumbles as Hatsume barrels into him, grabs his arm, and starts pulling him away. “Tenya is dancing with Kirishima, so you have to dance with me.” She doesn’t spare a single glance for Shouto.

“You don’t have to drag me!” he complains, glancing over his shoulder to shoot Shouto an apologetic look. Shouto shakes his head and waves him on. He’d agreed to come here in the first place because Izuku had wanted to come, and he’d wanted Izuku to have fun. It would be ridiculous for him to get upset over Izuku having fun.

He loses track of his husband for the remainder of the night. He talks to Yaoyorozu for a fair bit of time, and then gets pulled into a conversation with some of his father’s other sidekicks that he doesn’t actually hate. He catches glimpses of Izuku throughout the night, dancing with other people and pulled into the center of different groups. He catches Izuku and Bakugou doing a waltz at one point, the two of them more skilled and beautiful than everyone else around them.

It’s almost the end of the ball when there’s a tap on his shoulder, and he turns to see his husband. “Shouto,” Izuku says, totally ignoring the group of Mountain Lady sidekicks who’d he been talking to, “I’ve been looking for you.”

“Oh?” he says, “Are you ready to leave?”

Izuku bites his lip, and Shouto is instantly arrested with the urge to also bite Izuku’s lip. “Ah, no, not yet. There’s one more dance. The last one. Dance with me?”

“I don’t know how,” he says.

Izuku grabs his hands and pulls him away. Shouto doesn’t even think to say goodbye to the women he’d been talking to. “It’s okay, most people haven’t been dancing for real anyway.” It’s not a complicated song, Shouto realizes as they step onto the dance floor. It’s slow and easy, and they’re surrounded by couples who are holding each other close and swaying to the music. He even sees Bakugou and Kirishima move past them, and Kirishima really must be a horrible dancer, because he’s standing on Bakugou’s feet with his arms around his neck like a little kid. Bakugou doesn’t look irritated, which Shouto assumes is as soft as he ever looks in public. “I’ll lead, it’s easy,” Izuku curls an arm around his waist, pushing them close, and places Shouto’s hand on the bare skin of his shoulder.

This close, he can smell the mint of Izuku’s shampoo and the vanilla undercurrents of his body wash. He must have showered just before they left for him to still be able to pick up on the scents. It would be so incredibly easy to go on his tiptoes and kiss him, or to bend just a bit lower and bite at the smooth expanse of tan, freckled skin in front of him, and it takes pretty much all of his will power to do neither.

The dance ends, and they make their goodbyes, something that takes about three times longer than Shouto expects it to considering how many times they get stopped by people wanting to get one final word in with Izuku. Shouto has never spoken to so many people before, and he can’t help but think Bakugou had a point – Izuku clearly doesn’t need any of his connections or notoriety, he has plenty on his own. If anything, he’s the one benefiting from Izuku’s reputation. There’s been quite a few people who had been exceedingly cordial to him tonight that had never before deigned to give him the time of day.

They finally get into the back of the car, and Izuku collapses against his side, throwing a leg over his lap and laying his head against his shoulder. Shouto curls an arm around his back to keep him pressed against him. “Thanks for taking me,” Izuku says, and Shouto can’t see his smile but he can hear it. “I had fun.”

“I’m glad,” he says after a long moment. He can’t say the same, but that doesn’t matter. He came here for Izuku, and Izuku had fun, so he got exactly what he wanted.

~

Toshi is with Aizawa and Hizashi when his phone lights up with an alert and a demand for his presence on the other side of the country. That’s isn’t too unusual – what is unusual is seeing Aizawa and Hizashi’s phones go off with the same notification.

“All of us?” Aizawa frowns down at his phone. “That … not normal.”

“Must be something big,” Hizashi says, cracking his neck. “Fuck, we’re getting old. Let’s go.”

Aizawa rolls his eyes, “Speak for yourself, I’m younger than you.”

“By three months!”

Toshi is able to push aside most of his unease. Izuku and Bakugou are still here, they’re in the middle of the ball now but they’re capable and they make a good team. They’re more than strong enough to deal with anything that might come up while he’s gone.

Then they get onto the plane ready to take them to the scene of the disaster. He sees every pro hero within a twenty mile radius on the plane, and his stomach drops. He tries to meet Endeavor’s eyes, but the man won’t even look at him.

There’s a tension in the air that can’t just be attributed to them flying into a potential warzone. They’re professionals. They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again.

No, the mounting tension is from each hero individually realizing they’re leaving this area basically defenseless, and the knowledge that there’s nothing that they can do about it.

They’re heroes. They work for the public, so they go to wherever the public needs them most. Even when it feels wrong, even when their guts churn and they can’t help their teeth from grinding together.

They are public servants first, and all else second.

~

Izuku hadn’t realized he’d fallen asleep until he’s being woken up and pulled from the back of the car. He stumbles after Shouto, rubbing at his eyes as he cracks his jaw yawning. The night’s over, it doesn’t matter if he messes up his eyeliner. They walk silently through the halls, careful of all the sleeping people in the house. Shouto leaves his shoes at the door, but Izuku is so tired that it doesn’t occur to him until he’s halfway down the hall. Izuku is more awake by the time Shouto closes their bedroom door, and he swallows, looking at the long line of his husband’s back in that perfectly tailored suit, likes the look of him in the tie Izuku told him to wear. His mouth is dry, and he’s sick of waiting. He steps forward, placing his hands on Shouto’s chest as soon as he turns around. “Izuku?” he asks, hushed even though they don’t need to be.

He moves his hands up and under his jacket, pushing it off of his shoulders. It falls to the ground, and Shouto’s eyes widen. “Is this okay?” he asks. His fingers brush Shouto’s throat as he unbuttons his shirt.

“Fine,” he says, voice low. Izuku pushes his shirt off of him, and he wants to bite marks into all his pale skin. He reaches for his pants next, and Shouto’s breath hitches as he undoes his belt, as he unzips his pants so he can pull them off of his narrow hips. Izuku moved for his boxers next, but Shouto grabs his hand and raises them to his mouth so he press a kiss to each knuckle. “My turn.”

“Whatever you want,” Izuku murmurs, just to see the way Shouto swallows. He turns Izuku around and carefully unzips his dress, pushing it off his shoulders and letting his hands wander all down Izuku’s torso, and they stop right when they reach his underwear. It’s pink lace to match the dress. He turns around and takes a step forward, pushing Shouto against the door and pressing their almost-naked bodies together. “I like that I’m taller than you in heels,” he says, tilting Shouto’s chin up so he can look his husband in the eye.

“I like the heels,” he says, and before Izuku can think too much about the pleased flush spreading over his skin, Shouto wraps his hand around the back of Izuku’s neck and pulls him down so their mouths meet. Shouto tastes like the wine they were serving all night. Izuku slots his hands under Shouto’s thighs and lifts him up, he’s strong enough that it’s easy even without his quirk, and Shouto wraps his legs around his waist and they’re still kissing as he walks them over to the bed.

They’re doing this all backwards, getting naked before kissing, marrying before sleeping together, and falling in love somewhere in the middle of it all. But Izuku wants Shouto, and Shouto wants him, and nothing can be so important as the feel of Shouto’s body under his, of Shouto’s lips under his.

They don’t get much sleep that night.

~

Mei had insisted he drop her off at her workshop instead of going home with her, or her going home with him, and Tenya had half expected this night to end this way so he only insists on a pit stop at a convenience store to ply her with food and espresso before he drops her off at the warehouse. Ideally, he would be able to convince her to go home and get some sleep, but he’s been dating Mei for far too long to think he could get away with something like that. If his girlfriend is going to be handling a blowtorch at three in the morning, he would at least like her to be as awake as possible.

This all means he gets home just as his brother is leaving. “Tensei?” he asks, blinking. “Is something wrong? Should I suit up?”

He went to work as his brother’s sidekick after graduating, because of course he did. His brother is the best hero he knows.

Tensai gives him a quick smile and claps him on the shoulder. “No, it’s fine. Pro-heroes only. Keep the city standing while I’m gone.”

“Good luck!” he calls out after him, frowning now that Tensei can’t see him.

He doesn’t like this. It feels wrong, off balance. But it’s not like he can disobey his older brother and his boss, so he does his best to put it from his mind and get some sleep.

~

The next morning, Izuku is exhausted, but he’s far too cheerful for that to get in his way, almost whistling as he walks towards his and Mei’s warehouse. He’d finally had sex with his husband, and it had been fantastic, and he’s pretty sure Shouto will want to keep having sex with him. He loves his work with Mei, he’s very excited to get working on the new goggles for Aizawa. But he’s already thinking of how early he can get away with going home, meaning how soon he can get back in bed with his husband.

Unfortunately, his good day can’t last because at that moment a black swirling vortex appears in front of him and swallows him whole.

~

Ochaco wakes up to the sound of a phone going off, and she’s irritated for all of ten seconds until she realizes she’s laying in Katsuki’s arms. Her boyfriend is curled around her with a heavy hand on her hip and his scowling face slack and peaceful. But – wait ….

“I LOST THE COIN TOSS!” she screams, bolting upright and startling Katsuki into wakefulness. He flails and falls off the side of the bed. She scrambles over to look down at him, “I LOST THE COIN TOSS!”

“I heard you the first time,” he says, scowl once again present as he rubs at his head. “Why are you so loud?”

“WHAT AM I DOING HERE?” she yells.

Eijirou chooses that moment to pop his head in. “Oh, good, you guys are awake. Breakfast is ready.” He leaves, shooting her a smile like he always does. He doesn’t look mad.

Ochaco looks back down at Katsuki, who hasn’t bothered to move from his place sprawled out over his floor. “Did I steal his night?” she asks quietly. “I didn’t mean to.”

“You didn’t steal anything,” he sighs. “You got drunk and started crying that you were sad that you were going home alone. Eijirou was also drunk, so he also started crying because you were going home alone. I, a sober functioning adult, told you both to go home with each other if you were so worried about it. Then you both started crying on me.”

“Then what?” she asks nervously.

He rolls his eyes. “Then I went home, and you two followed me here. You opened every single snack bag trying to find the salt and vinegar chips because you were too drunk to read, but I didn’t have any so I came downstairs to find you sitting on my kitchen floor and crying surrounded by open chip bags. Eijirou tried to make ramen and forgot to add water so now there’s just a block of noodles burned to the bottom of one of my pans.”

She frowns and looks at the side table. There’s an empty bag of salt and vinegar chips crumpled up there. She looks back down at him, a single eyebrow raised.

His face goes red and he crosses his arms. “Whatever, the supermarket across the street is open twenty four hours for a reason. Eijirou contented himself with the left over miso in my fridge, then he decided that it was going to be a sharing night, and dragged you and me upstairs. You both stripped, got into bed with me, and fell asleep. There was no sex.”

“Sorry?” she says. It’s not even the first time this has happened, although she feels guilty for crying. She gets to spend the night with Katsuki a lot more often than Eijirou does.

“Whatever,” he jerks his chin to his side table. “Who was calling?”

She scrambles for the phone and checks the screen. “You have three missed calls from Midoriya’s mom. That’s weird.”

He pushes himself to his feet and snatches the phone from her hand, hitting redial. Ochaco can hear her pick up on the first ring and her deluge of high pitched, frantic words, but can’t make out anything specific.

Whatever she’s saying, it can’t be good. Katsuki pales and the air around him to begins to smoke.

~

Izuku returns to consciousness slowly. This isn’t the first time he’s been captured, and it’s far from the first time that he’s been knocked out. He’s sitting cross-legged on the floor, and his hands are bound with – rope?

He blinks, carefully testing the strength of it, and has to quickly stop before he breaks through. This doesn’t make any sense. It’s well known that Deku can break through chains. Why would someone bother trying to restrain him with just rope? His feet aren’t even tied.

“Awake, are we?” a raspy voice asks, and he doesn’t bother to pretend. He pulls his head up and sees a skinny man covered in amputated hands, which isn’t the strangest thing he’s ever seen but it’s certainly up there. “Scared?”

There’s that same shadowy figure as before, the man with the portal quirk, and he raises an eyebrow. “Do I know you?”

The man seems taken aback, and his shoulder slumps. “None of you are screamers! It’s so disappointing.”

“They are used to having the protections of their heroes,” the portal man says, “give it time.”

That gets his attention. He looks around, straining to see past the two men standing in front of him, and realizes he’s not alone. If he hadn’t been so disoriented, he would have realized it sooner. There are other people here, lined up against the wall tied up like he is and gagged, and he recognizes some of them.

Most of them only vaguely, he knows their faces but not their names. But there are two people here, huddled in the corner with wide, fearful eyes, that he recognizes instantly.

Mei and Mitsuki are here. He twitches. They both shake their head, and he forces himself to relax.

“What if they don’t come?” the man covered in hands whines. “I need for them to come.”

“They will come,” the portal man says. “We’ve taken extra special hostages. They’ll show, and so will your anonymous hero. All they have to do is trace the feed to find out where we are.”

He scratches his neck in a spot that’s already raw and bleeding. He looks down at Izuku like he’s just remembering he’s there. “You are very useful,” he tells him, “We didn’t think Todoroki cared about anything, but then you came along.”

That’s when Izuku gets it, and he feels like a complete moron for not figuring it out sooner. He hasn’t been captured as Deku, the anonymous hero and sidekick to All Might. He’s been taken as Izuku, Shouto’s husband.

Which means they don’t know he has the power of One For All. He can feel impulsiveness bubbling up in him, and he wants to do what Kacchan would do, force himself free and punch these idiots until they’ve figured out the full scope of their mistakes. But he can’t. He can’t be rash, he has to be smart, he has to think this through.

The man covered in hands says, “Let’s move on to the next part, watching them be afraid is boring. It’s time to make this a spectacle.”

The portal man hesitated, but says, “Of course, Shigaraki.”

Well, at least Izuku has a name now. He doesn’t know where he is, he doesn’t know how many villains are here, and he doesn’t know how many hostages are here or where they all are. Mei and Mrs. Bakugou were right to tell him to wait. He can’t just activate his quirk and barrel though, he has to be smart about this. People are depending on him.

~

Inko knows why she’s the one to get the note. It would be foolish to try and slip into the Todoroki household, what with Endeavor and Shouto inside. But her home isn’t as protected, it was so easy for someone to just slip this little note beneath her door. Besides that, sending the message to her means the villains have more time to work while she scrambles to contact someone who can help.

She calls Izuku first, and is unsurprised when it goes straight to voicemail. The next logical choice is Shouto, but she doesn’t even have her son-in-law’s number, which hadn’t seemed like such a gross oversight until right now. So then she dials Bakugou, but he doesn’t answer, and it’s on to Shinsou.

Thankfully, he picks up within the first couple of rings. “Hey Mrs. Midoriya, what’s–”

 “Izuku has been taken hostage,” she cuts him off. “I have the ransom note. They left it under my door, but it was addressed to Shouto. They don’t want money, they just want him to come get him, but they don’t say where Izuku is!”

“I’m on my way,” he says, deadly serious.

“Okay,” she says, and she’s forcing herself to be calm, to not panic. Her son is strong, and powerful, and logically it’s more likely than not he can fight his way out of whatever situation he’s gotten himself into. But she’s his mother, and logic has little to do with the dread churning in her stomach. “Someone needs to go tell Shouto.”

“I’ll take care of it,” Shinsou says, “Don’t worry, we can handle this. It’s under control.”

Almost as soon as he’s said that, like the universe was waiting for the perfect moment, her television switches over from the local news she’d had playing in the background to a grainier, stranger image.

“Hello, the quiet town of Musutafu!” a scratchy voice says as the camera shakes. It settles, and Inko has to put her hand to her mouth as the image reveals a room filled with restrained hostages, her son among them. “As you may or may not have noticed, your city is left unprotected except for some paltry sidekicks. I’ll be waiting for you to come save them.”

The camera pans down to reveal a clock attached to a bomb in the center of the room. The countdown is frozen at one hour. The man presses a button and the countdown begins.

“The clock is ticking, sidekicks!”

~

Principal Nezu watches the grainy footage on his television, and realizes instantly that they’re tapping into the local news network. This isn’t even being broadcast nationally, which means it’s less a power play than it is a trap.

He makes a phone call to the police, informing them of how the feed is being broadcast, and asking them to leave it up, as a personal favor, but not to trace it as the villains are asking them to. He assures them that he has someone on the inside, and that everything is under control, and that if any sidekicks call asking, they should say it’s untraceable. For the sidekicks’ safety, of course.

It’s not very nice of him, but he’s never claimed to be nice. Izuku has hid in the shadows for too long. Toshi’s time as the number one hero is past, and if Izuku expects to one day replace him, he’ll have to step out from the shadows into the spotlight.

~

Shouto wakes far later than he usually does, sun streaming through the windows. He wakes up sore, which he is used to, but it’s a different type of soreness, and he buries his face in his husband’s pillow and hides his ridiculous grin to the world. He’s pretty sure he’s in love with his husband, who’s he’s finally having sex with, and his whole life is a minefield of disasters, but against all odds he doesn’t think his marriage is one of them.

He doesn’t understand why he wasn’t dragged from bed at the crack of dawn until he ventures from his room to find his siblings and mother eating breakfast, and is told his father got called away in the middle of the night.

What an unexpected reprieve. He absently takes the bowl of rice his brother passes him and wonders if he can convince Izuku to meet him for lunch when his phone goes off. He answers it as he accepts the tea pot from his mother, “Hello?”

“Don’t panic,” Iida says, which is possibly the least reassuring phrase any human being could possibly say. “Midoriya has been taken hostage, along with a couple dozen other people. Including my girlfriend. We’re all meeting up at Mrs. Midoriya’s house now, since no one wants to make a political statement by going to their boss’s office. I’ll text you the address.”

He drops the tea pot, and it shatters across the table and sends hot tea splashing everywhere. Fuyimi freezes it before it can hit anyone, and he doesn’t even have the presence of mind to thank her before he’s bolting for the door.

This is all his fault. His husband is in danger because of him. Izuku is in danger because of him. He feels like he’s going to be sick, but he pushes that feeling aside. He can vomit when he has his husband back and safe, not before.

When, not if.

Not if.

~

Eijirou is the one who finds the ransom note for his mom, and Katsuki is hit with an absolute tidal wave of fear and anger. It’s a good thing his dad is out of town for work, otherwise he might have gotten taken as well. Then he finally gets a hold of Inko, and finds out that Izuku has been taken as well, and most of that turns into instant relief and the overwhelming urge to laugh himself breathless.

His best friend would never let anything happen to his mom.

Of course, there’s no way to explain that without blowing the lid off a good chunk of their secrets, so he says nothing, and rushes to the Midoriya house with everyone else. His own house is only a block away, and for the first time he regrets moving out of his parents’ house after graduating high school. He’d wanted independence, wanted a place he could be with his girlfriend and boyfriend away from everyone else, wanted to get out of the same neighborhood he’d lived in his whole life.

But if he’d been living at home, no villain would have been stupid enough to try and kidnap his mother.

Granted, these same villains were stupid enough to take Izuku.

They make it to Inko’s place, and she meets his gaze, nervous but far more calm than most mothers would be, because she knows Izuku isn’t in that much danger, comparatively. Shinsou is the same, and they’re all glancing at each other, trying to be careful not to be too obvious about it.

The thing is, everyone else is panicking and there’s no way to tell them that the situation isn’t nearly as dire as it seems. In fact, it’s pretty comical, ignoring the miniscule chance this all ends in mass murder.

The villains have co-opted the local news station, and the live stream shows the countdown for the bomb is down to forty minutes. Everyone is arguing about the best way to track it down before time runs out, since this villain is a moron who does things like tell them to show up by a certain time without bothering to tell them where it is he wants them to go. It’s like he saw a compilation of the shittiest villain tactics and smashed them together without taking the time to worry about the logic of it all. Ashido has the police on the phone, but they keep insisting that the link is untraceable, and that they’ll have to figure it out some other way.

Inko slides over to him and whispers, “Why isn’t he doing anything?’

Bakugou glances back to the feed. The two villains are the center next to the bomb, and hostages are still tied up and in frame. Some of them have started crying. Izuku is tied up, dead center. “Probably because he’s missing information, or waiting for something.”

“Don’t worry,” Katsuki jumps as Shinsou appears right behind him, like a ghost. Not even Hagakure startles him as much, and she’s invisible. “He’s a hero first. Whatever he’s waiting for, he won’t let anyone get hurt.”

“Bakugou!” Ashido calls out, voice frantic. “Where’s Deku? Shouldn’t he be here too?”

“Uh,” he blinks. “Yeah, he’s handling it.”

Inko’s head drops into her hands, and a moment later he realizes his mistake when everyone crowds against him, yelling “Does he know where they are?” “Why didn’t you say anything! Let’s go!” “We have to go help!”

Shinsou backs up, leaving Katsuki to his fate like a coward.

Todoroki pushes through to grab him by the front of his shirt and shake him. He’s lucky that Katsuki is a compassionate and understanding kind of guy, otherwise he would blow his fucking hands off. “Tell me where my husband is,” he says with the sort of fierce intensity that would be impressive if Katsuki wasn’t teammates with Deku and freaking All-Might.

“People’s lives are in danger!” Iida shouts, “This is not the time to mess around, Bakugou!”

Katsuki ignores him, instead focusing on Todoroki. Steam is coming from his right hand, while his left one has frosted over. “I don’t know where the hell my best friend and mom are, otherwise I’d be there instead of here, having to listen to your shit. Deku knows where they are. He’ll take care of it.”

“Why the hell would Deku go off without you? How can he know if you don’t?” Eijirou demands.

Tokoyami swings back around to the tv and shouts, “Deku is one of the hostages!”

Shit.

Shinsou and Inko are giving him disappointed looks, which is a little fair, but also fuck this whole situation, what was he supposed to say? This is all Izuku’s fault for getting captured in the first place.

~

The six monsters ravaging the city are some of the most powerful, grotesque beasts any of them have ever faced.

They’ve been fighting for hours, and everyone’s exhausted. Aizawa’s basically useless against these creatures, and he spends more time pulling Yamada out of danger than he does fighting.

About an hour ago, the numbness of battle broke into relief, because they’re winning. It’s slow, and painful, but they’re winning. But there’s a bubbling worry that he can’t push away, that causes him and Yamada to keep trading solemn glances.

All-Might’s three hour time limit passed a long time ago, and he’s still fighting. They can’t tell him to stop, they can’t afford for him to stop while these disgusting creatures with their exposed brains keep coming at them.

But every second too long he stays in this form is a second more than he can stand, and Aizawa has zero interest in having to carry All-Might’s corpse back home. He looks fine, or as fine as the rest of them are after hours of fighting, but both he and Izuku are the types of people that would just keep cheerfully smiling through disembowelment , so he’s doubtful of how far he can trust how All-Might looks.

Then a steel beam comes flying at his head, and he has to focus more on not dying himself if he doesn’t want Yamada to kill him.

~

Izuku is pretty sure this Shigaraki person is older than him. He looks older than him, looks to be in his late twenties, but maybe he’s wrong.

He has to be wrong, because this guy’s whining is really starting to get on his nerves.

Everyone is gagged besides him, and at first he thought there was some sort of reason for that, thought they were going to make him stand in front of the camera and deliver some sort dramatic final message to Shouto, thought for a moment that maybe they knew of his other identity and this whole thing was a drawn out plan to get him to reveal himself in front of thousands of people, and therefore the world.

Now he thinks they just forgot.

Shigaraki keeps complaining like a petulant kid, and the shadow guy – Kurogiri, he thinks – is basically just acting like a babysitter, which would be pretty funny if he wasn’t in a room with dozens of hostages and a ticking bomb in the center.

Actually, it’s still a little funny.

Unfortunately, just because they’re idiots doesn’t mean they’re not powerful, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to capture all these people to begin with. He keeps trading glances with Mei, but she keeps shaking her head, saying now is not the time. It’s not like he doesn’t understand her point, he still doesn’t know where they are or if there are any more villains milling about. But the countdown on the bomb is down to about fifteen minutes, so pretty soon the necessity of not getting blown up is going to force their hand.

He catches her eyes, looks to the bomb, then to the villains, and raises an eyebrow. She shakes her head, glaring, and he rolls his eyes. He hopes Tenya is watching very closely right now so he knows this is all his girlfriend’s fault. Then again, Tenya doesn’t know he’s Deku, so if he does pick up on their exchange he’s more likely to be confused than anything else.

“This is boring,” Shigaraki says. “They only have twelve minutes left. Why haven’t they traced the signal yet? It’s so easy. Should we just tell them where we are? Blowing everyone up and not even getting Deku to come out is boring.”

His eyes widen. This was all a ruse to get him? Why? He looks back to Mei to see if this is what she was waiting for, but she shakes her head.

She’s gambling with all their lives by telling him to wait, and he doesn’t understand why, but he trusts her. She’s the smartest person he’s ever met, and if she tells him to wait, then he’s going to wait. He just hopes no one dies because of it.

“Have patience,” Kurogiri says. Izuku imagines he has to say that a lot. “Don’t give up on a plan just because it’s taking longer than you anticipated.”

Shigaraki crosses his arms and scowls. “Clearly they could use some motivation.” He walks over to the hostages, and grabs Mitsuki by her hair and drags her upright. She looks less scared than she does pissed off.

Izuku’s whole body tenses. He trusts Mei, but he’ll slit his own throat before he sits idly and watches Kacchan’s mom get hurt. She doesn’t struggle, only keeps glaring as he drags her to the center of the room next to the bomb. “Here’s a little preview of what will happen if you don’t get here in time.” He tries to sing-song it, like a cartoon villain, but he’s too petulant for it to come out even close to menacing.

Mei is still shaking her head, but Izuku doesn’t care. He shifts hallway to his knees, getting ready to jump into action and tackle Shigaraki to the ground.

There’s a loud crackle of static, and a voice he knows but has never before heard himself crackles out of all the speakers. “All six of the Nomus have been destroyed.”

Shigaraki drops Mrs. Bakugou and whirls around to face the speakers. “No! That’s impossible!”

“Clearly not,” that same voice says.

They continue talking, but Izuku can’t concentrate on that, his eyes wide and body frozen.

He knows that voice. Toshi had played recordings for Kacchan and him, and there’s no mistaking it, not mistaking the thing nearly killed Toshi, the think that haunts his nightmares even know.

The voice belongs to All For One.

He looks toward Mei again. There are six minutes left on the clock. She gives a single, sharp nod, and he takes a single moment to mourn the comforting cloak of his anonymity.

“Everything is going to be fine,” he says, speaking to the hostages but also into the camera as he breaks from the ropes binding him and activates Full Cowl. “Do you know why?”

He pushes himself forward. Shigaraki has turned toward him, but it’s too late. Izuku’s fist connects to his sternum, breaking several ribs if not collapsing his whole ribcage and sending him flying into and through the nearest wall.

He reaches for Mei next, ripping through the ropes binding her. She runs for the bomb, and Kurogiri tries to get in her way, but Izuku stops him, punching through where he thinks the center of him should be. He misses, but it throws Kurogiri off enough that Mei falls next to the explosive, already taking it apart so she can disarm the bomb.

“Because I am here!” he shouts, grinning with all his teeth. He reaches for Mitsuki and pulls apart the ropes binding her. She stumbles over to the other hostages, already working on freeing them.

Kurogiri is getting wider, dissipating as villains start pouring from him.

That’s fine. Izuku just has to keep them distracted until the hostages are out of harm’s way.

A man with half a mask and what looks like a ditzy girl in pig tails step through. Izuku runs forward, fists raised.

He’s Deku. He’s a hero, and keeping all these people safe is more than just his job. It’s his duty.

~

Shouto figures it out first, watching Izuku trade covert glances with Hatsume, and feels like a moron for not realizing sooner.

His friendship with Bakugou, the strength he displays so casually and those scars that couldn’t all be from workshop accidents, why Endeavor was so keen for this seemingly plain and unremarkable man to marry into his family, Izuku’s vague explanations of his father’s illness.

His husband is Deku.

No sooner has he come to this realization than Izuku is getting to his feet and punching a villain so hard he flies out of the screen. “Because I am here!” Izuku says, grinning.

“FUCK YEAH!” Bakugou screams, “That’s what I’m talking about!” Mrs. Midoriya throws her arms around Bakugou, eyes streaming with tears.

Hatsume has deactivated the bomb by the time the portal opens and even more villains step out. Bakugou’s mom is ushering everyone to safety off screen, and Hatsume grabs the disarmed bomb and rushes after her.

There’s yelling and disbelieving shouts as everyone reacts to the sight of quiet, dorky Izuku holding his own against what has grown to be a half dozen villains.

A bunch of people’s phones go off, his included. He looks down to see an address, and it’s Iida who says, “All right everyone, let’s go! Izuku needs backup!”

~

Once they’re on the street, Mei accosts the first person she sees, demanding the cell phone of a confused middle school girl. She logs into her email, and initiated a program to text the entirely of Class A the same message: the address of the dilapidated bar where they had all been held.

“Let’s fucking go!” Mrs. Bakugou tugs on her arm, face sent into a scowl. “Izuku is handling it, we’ll only get in his way if we stay. He should have to worry about defeating those guys and protecting us.”

“You go,” she says, holding the bomb closer to her chest. “Make sure everyone is safe. I have a plan.”

Mrs. Bakugou stares at her for a long moment. Mei juts her chin up in defiance, daring her to fight her on this.

“Well,” she sighs, “I hope you know what the fuck you’re doing. Good luck.”

“Thanks,” she says to the woman’s rapidly retreating back. She turns to the middle schooler and says, “I need your phone. I’ll get you a new one and, like, a jet pack if I don’t die. Cool?”

“I guess?” the girl says, eyes wide. “Good luck with that bomb.”

She pats the girl on the head and runs in the opposite direction of all the other released hostages – back towards the bar.

~

Izuku feels the exact moment the tenuous string of One For All connecting him to Toshi snaps.

All of these guys are strong, and this is not an easy fight. Izuku wipes away the blood dripping into his eyes, and he hasn’t been fighting long, but he’s already starting to feel worn with the constant barrage of attacks against him. Then – it’s the oddest sensation of energy flowing into him, and the next punch he throws his more powerful than he intended to make it, and it the pigtail girl screams as his hand snaps the bone of her leg cleanly in half and she collapses to the ground.

The remainder of One For All flows into him, and he’s refreshed, he feels just as good as he had at the beginning of the fight. But now fear is clogging his throat and making his eyes burn. Toshi better have just pushed himself too far, better just be hurt and exhausted and not dead.

“FUCKING TOOK YOU LONG ENOUGH, SHITTY DEKU!”

He looks around to see a couple dozen sidekicks pouring into the bar, Kacchan in the lead. Shouto is just behind him, face blank, and wow, this is going to be an awkward conversation after this is all over.

~

The fight is almost laughably uneven after that. They’re all sidekicks, but that’s due to their age and experience, not their skill. Shouto considers the fact that he’s freezing villains and not burning them to charred skeletons a fabulous show of restraint.

He believes in mercy, in second chances. But these people captured his husband and threatened to murder him, and he finds himself unable to muster up any mercy for people like that.

Izuku and Bakugou are fighting back to back, and it’s no wonder they danced so well together when they fight the same way. He’s a little relieved their ease with one another is due to them being partners in battle rather than some strange unresolved sexual tension.

There’s a crackle over the speakers, and Hatsume’s voice fills the bar. “Heroes and dear friends! It would be best for you to leave the bar within the next forty seconds.”

Shouto blinks. “What?”

Iida is already running, grabbing Kaminari and Sero and hauling them back with him, one under each arm.

“SHE’S NOT FUCKING AROUND!” Bakugou shouts, and Shouto is startled to find Izuku grabbing his hand and pulling them away. “LET’S FUCKING GO!”

“Ice would be useful,” Izuku says, and Shouto twists to form a five foot thick ice wall between them and the remaining villains.

“What’s going on?” he demands, but Izuku just continues pulling him along.

They run outside, and Hatsume is standing there, waiting, a phone clutched in her hands. Tsu hops out and yells, “That’s everyone!”

“Get clear!” Hatusme shouts, and then she presses a few buttons on the phone.

The explosion pushes them all to the ground, and when they look behind them the bar is flattened, and what remains is on fire. He can make out some of the bodies of villains that couldn’t escape, and he wants to be sick, but there will be time for that later. Besides, these weren’t bank robbers or kids or anything like that. They were mass murderers, and it’s a lot harder for him to be feel regret at their loss.

“Look,” Uraraka says, voice hard, and she points across the street. Iida steps in front of Hatsume, as if she hasn’t just proven she’s perfectly able to take care of herself by blowing up a building full of villains.

Shigaraki is there, hunched over and coughing, and so is the portal man made of darkness. “This isn’t over,” he wheezes, and then Kurogari touches him on the shoulder and they’re both gone.

“Damn!” Kaminari says, “Who the hell are these guys?”

Izuku shakes his head and turns to Bakugou, “Give me your phone.”

“What the fuck for?” he asks, but he’s already handing it over.

Shouto touches Izuku’s shoulder, running his eyes over him and cataloging all the different wounds he’s still bleeding from. “We should go to a hospital.”

“Shouto, I love you, but be quiet,” Izuku says, scrolling through the contacts. “This is important.” He puts the phone up to his ear, seemingly not noticing how pole-axed Shouto is sure he must look.

Did Izuku just say that he loved him?

~

Aizawa is unsurprised when his phone goes off, and he answers it on the first ring. It’s good timing, since Yamada had wondered off in search of decent coffee. A foolish mission, since they’re in a hospital. “He’s alive.”

There’s sigh of relief down the line, and Bakugou’s number had flashed over the screen, but it’s Midoriya who says, “He lost the rest of it, I have it all.”

The kid must be in mixed company if he’s talking in code. “I figured as much, he pushed himself too far.” He looks down at Toshi, curled up on the hospital bed and his thin frame taking labored breaths. “We’re in the hospital now, but it’s mostly exhaustion. Me and Yamada are staying with him until he’s released. Endeavor and Thirteen elected to stay behind and oversee cleanup.”

“Good,” Midoriya says. “Good. God, I was so worried.”

“He’s going to be fine,” he promises, softening in spite of himself. “He’ll never be able to act as a hero again, but he’s going to be fine.” There was a time when the Midoriya was the only person Toshi had, when so many loved him and some knew him but the only person who did both was a stubborn fourteen year old boy. “Are you all right? I expected you to call earlier. Did anything happen while we were gone?”

The sudden silence is very, very worrying.

“You should turn on the news maybe,” he says finally, then hangs up.

Yamada returns to the room to see him leaping for the remote and frantically searching for whatever the hell Midoriya was talking about.

It takes him a depressingly short amount of time to find.

~

Someone means to call the cops, but before they get a chance they’re already there, likely attracted by the giant explosion.

Izuku is relieved when Tsukauchi shows up. The detective looks to the group of young sidekicks, to the smoldering remains of the building, and sighs. “This is Toshi’s fault, isn’t it?”

“Pretty sure it’s Deku’s actually,” Bakugou says, and Izuku elbows him in the side.

They’ve created a giant mess for him, but the man still looks a little amused. “Sorry about your cover,” he says to Izuku, “I know you were fond of it.”

He shrugs, “Had to happen sometime. Sorry about,” he gestures to the explosion area.

Tsukauchi shrugs back at him. “You saved the hostages, which is the most important part. It was really hard to convince everyone not to panic about a couple dozen people being in danger of being blown up, I’ll have you know.”

“Sorry,” Izuku says, and he thinks they may be in danger of just doing this in circles forever. “Want some help with the clean up?”

“You’re heavily bleeding in four different places that I can see,” he says dryly, “I know where to find you. Please go get medical attention.”

On the bright side, since everyone knows his identity, he can just go to the hospital instead of having to trek back to UA to bother Recovery Girl.

~

Bakugou, Uraraka, and Kirishima volunteer to stay behind and assist the police, while everyone else makes their statements and goes home. The only one bad off enough to need to go to the hospital had been Izuku. Tenya walks with Mei, and they’re not going any place in particular. He’s not willing to leave her alone in her workshop, although they had stopped there briefly so he could change out of his suit. He can tell by the anxious way she’s fiddling with her hands that she’s too keyed up to go home and rest, so they’re just walking.

He’s not bothered by the silence, but Mei isn’t someone who lends herself to quiet. Eventually she breaks, and says, “I’ve never – killed anyone before. Not myself, I mean. I’ve designed a lot of things that have a killed a lot of people, but I’ve never done it myself before.”

Tenya’s unsure of what to say. He can’t tell her it gets easier, because it doesn’t. “They were going to kill you.”

“I know! I know. Me, and Izuku, and whole bunch of other people. I did – I don’t know if I did the right thing, that seems like a dangerous stance to take, but I made the best decision I could.” She wraps her arms around herself, “I don’t regret it. Does that make me a bad person?”

He grabs her by the shoulders, forcing her to pause. “No! Of course not! We have to make those kind of calls sometimes, and it’s awful and it sucks, but that’s what we’re for. We’re here to make those kind of decision to ensure the safety of the most people. That’s our job.”

Mei sniffs, and it’s so rare that she allows herself to be vulnerable, even with him. “I don’t think I like that job. I’ll leave being the hero to you in the future, if that’s okay.”

Tears are leaking out her eyes despite her best efforts, and he knows she hates it when people see her cry. So he pulls her close, and she buries her face in his chest as her shoulder shake. He drops a kiss on the top of her head. “That’s okay. I couldn’t do what I do without you, so – that’s perfectly fine, Mei. I’ll make the tough calls from now on.”

They both know that’s not a promise that he can make, there’s no guarantee that Mei won’t be put in another hard situation, but that’s not the point.

The point is just being here for her, and that is something he can promise.

~

Shouto hasn’t really said anything though him getting seen to, and luckily there’s a doctor with a healing quirk on staff who’s there when they go in, and the biggest of his wounds close up and look weeks old, even though they’re still tender. The rest are small enough that he gets away with a few stitches, and the doctor thanks him for everything he’d done as Deku, and nurses keep popping in to do the same, and by the time he’s released he’s a bright red. “I’m going to have to get used to that, huh?” he says to Shouto as they leave. Shouto keeps starring at him, and he really wishes he’d say something. Anything. “Shouto?”

“Did you mean it?” he asks, staring at him with an intensity that almost makes him feel like he’s going to be dissected. “What you said before, did you mean it?”

“What?” he blinks. “Probably. What did I say?”

“That you loved me,” he keeps starring.

Izuku groans. Had he said that? “I – yeah, of course I did. When did I say that? I’d wanted to be romantic about it, I guess I wasn’t. I mean, I know our marriage was arranged, but – I’ve liked you for a long time, and you’re so beautiful, and nice, and strong, and – yeah, of course I love you. Of course I meant it.”

Shouto pushes him against the hospital wall, and for a moment he’s worried he’s going to get punched, but then his husband’s lips are on him, and he wraps his arms around Shouto’s neck to pull him closer. “I am very angry with you for lying to me,” he says, still pressing kisses along the edge of his jaw. “But – I love you too.”

“Right,” Izuku says, breathless, “very angry, got it.”

“Is this what my father was using to blackmail you? Your secret identity?”

Shouto is asking him serious questions, but he’s still biting at his neck, and he’s seriously distracted. “What? Oh, no. I, uh, my dad that I was talking about? Is All-Might, and he’s not my real dad, but he’s still kinda my dad anyway, and he has a secret that Endeavor threatened to tell. And my secret identity too, but that part didn’t matter so much.”

“Okay,” Shouto says, and he’s kissing him again, and they should really stop before they get arrested for public indecency.

He has a thought, and he pushes Shouto away, but keeps a grip on his shirt so he doesn’t go too far. “Hey, you’re dad, he’s a dick right?”

“Right,” Shouto says, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, he’s out of town for the next day or so, and All-Might’s secret got blown, and so did mine, and I don’t think he really has anything to hold over me anymore. We should move out,” he says, beaming, “I’m pretty sure there’s an empty apartment in Kacchan’s building, and in the meanwhile we can stay with my mom or Toshi. Ah, that’s All-Might’s name.”

Shouto is frowning, which wasn’t the reaction he was looking for. “My mom and siblings are still there. I can’t leave them, who knows what he’ll do to them if I try.”

Izuku shrugs. “Well, I guess we’ll just have to take them too. My mom has been complaining about having an empty house for a while.”

Shouto’s eyes have gone unfocused, and he’s thinking about it, he’s really thinking about it. “This is crazy,” he says finally, “impossible. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t be gone in time.”

He grabs his husband’s hand and drags him towards the closest cab. “Babe, if life has taught me anything, it’s that nothing is impossible. I know some people.”

~

Yukiko is sitting in the living room, anxiously watching the news, the twins and Fuyimi huddled around her.

They’re so invested, they all jump when the front door slams open. “What one earth!” she says, and it’s to find her son and son-in-law standing there, looking incredibly pleased with themselves. “Thank goodness you’re all right!”

Before she gets any more out, a parade of people enter her home, and her mouth drops open as all the dashing, brave heroes she’d just seen on the news come in, all of them carrying cardboard boxes. They’re her sons’ classmates, ones she recognizes from his yearbook because he’s certainly never mentioned them before, but she knows them. Last in line is two of the women who’d been taken hostage, Hatsume and Bakugou’s mother, and finally Inko, Izuku’s mother.

Shouto comes to her and takes her hands, something he hasn’t done since she returned, and when she looks up at his face, when she looks up in the face she scarred when she wasn’t much older than he is now, he smiles at her. He hasn’t smiled at her since he was a kid. “Mom,” he says, “we’re leaving.” He looks past her to his brothers and sister and repeats, “We’re leaving.”

“Just tell us what to do!” Iida says, adjusting his glasses. “We’re here to help!”

“We can’t!” Akira says, “Have you gone mad? Dad will never let as leave.”

Bakugou snorts and pounds his fist into his hand. “Let him try. I would love to get a chance to punch him myself.” The boy’s mother rolls her eyes.

Izuku shakes his head, “It won’t come to that. All-Might is out of commission. Endeavor is going to be the new number one hero – assuming he doesn’t do anything to provoke a scandal, like a very public falling out with his wife and children. He’ll be so busy with his new glory, he won’t have time to come after you.”

“And if he does,” Tsu pipes up, “we’ll beat him up.”

“Violence can solve some of your problems,” Uraraka adds, “Particularly if you’re good at it.”

“Where will we go?” Homura asks, and if he’s trying to hide the hope in voice, he’s doing a poor job of it. “We have nowhere to go.”

“Nonsense!” Inko speaks up, stepping forward. “You are all my son’s family, so that means you’re mine too. You’ll live with me. The house was always too big for just me and Izuku, so it’s definitely too big for me alone.”

Shouto squeezes her hands, and she looks back to him. “Let’s go,” he says softly, “Let’s just – go. We’re not alone anymore.”

She looks from him to Izuku, to the crowd of people here to help, here to put themselves in between her family and her husband.

“Okay,” she says, “Okay. Let’s go.”

~

Getting away from Endeavor isn’t that easy, of course it’s not. But Endeavor does have his hands full with his new position, and whenever he tries to do something about it, there’s always an emergency he needs to attend to, someone irritating getting in his way, or simply a door that refuses to open.

In the end, it’s almost a relief to give up. He has the position he’s always wanted, and his children still carry his name, his legacy, but now he doesn’t have to deal with them.

He can’t be that upset by it. He’d never cared for them all that much anyway.

~

Toshi hears about everything by the time he gets home, and there’s a tightness and a pain in his chest that doesn’t settle until Izuku and Katsuki walk through his front door.

He’s in the middle of making tea, and he’d told himself he was going to be an adult about this, that he wasn’t going to over react. But as soon as he sees them, none of that means anything to him. The only thing that matters is throwing a skinny arm around each of their shoulders and stooping so he can crush them both close to him.

Izuku clutches back just as hard, as usual, but instead of pulling away Katsuki leans into the hug, just barely shaking so that if Toshi wasn’t looking for it he wouldn’t notice at all. “I’m so sorry,” he says, “All For One is back, and I couldn’t help, and now – now I can’t do anything.”

“S’okay,” Katsuki mumbles, “You’ve trained us well. We’ll find him, and when we do, we’ll beat him.”

“We’re just glad you’re okay,” Izuku says, “That’s what’s most important, okay? You – you don’t have any of One For All left, so you can’t strain yourself, okay? You did your part. It’s our turn.”

His eyes are welling up, just like when he’d woken up to find out Aizawa and Hizashi had stayed behind to be with him, for no reason other than that they were his friends and they didn’t want him to be alone. He was so used to people only caring about him for All-Might for so long, that even now the reminder that there are people who care about him just because he’s Toshi makes tears come to his eyes.

They have important things to discuss. Their upcoming promotion from sidekicks to pro heroes, what exactly happened in that bar, how they’re going to handle Izuku’s reveal as Deku.

But for now, he holds his boys in his arms and breathes, just because he can.

~

One Year Later

~

Shouto wakes up to the sound of loud, persistent knocking. “Make them go away,” he moans.

Izuku shakes his head, trying to curl himself even further into his husband’s side. “They’ll leave eventually.”

“When has that ever been true?” he asks, resigning himself to wakefulness and opening his eyes. Theoretically, living on their own means they only wake up when they want to, and it means his siblings can’t stick their noses into his business nearly as much as when they were only down the hall.

In practice, they live the floor below his husband’s best friend, who’s boyfriend and girlfriend see no problem at all with dragging them into whatever last minute plans they’ve made. Also he’s pretty sure Izuku just – made a bunch of copies of their keys and gave them out to everyone, because Mei and Shinsou just stroll in whenever they please, and he’s literally woken up and walked into his kitchen before to discover Tsu and Ashido eating all their cereal.

He drags himself out of bed, grabbing yesterday’s pants off the ground and tugging them on before throwing open the door. “What?”

Akira and Homura are beaming at him from the other side. “Mother and Inko sent us to come get you, they wants you to come over for brunch.”

“Why didn’t she call?” he sighs, walking back but leaving the door open so his brothers can follow him inside.

“She did, last night. You must have been busy,” Akira waggles in his eyebrows, something he never wanted to see his older brother do.

Izuku stumbles out. He’s wearing Shouto’s boxers. “We’re getting brunch? I do have to go into the warehouse today. Mei and I still haven’t finished the modification on your costume, and Aizawa broke another pair of goggles.”

“Our mothers wants us to go over,” he says, hooking his finger in the edge of his boxers and dragging Izuku in for a kiss.

Homura makes a gagging sound, and he smiles against Izuku’s mouth. “Any particular reason?” Izuku asks, eyes crinkling in the corners as he smiles.

“You didn’t hear?” Homura shoves a phone beneath his nose. “Look.”

Izuku takes the phone and angles it so they can both see. It’s the newest hero rankings – they’ve moved up. After only a year as pro heroes, Izuku is at number eight, and Bakugou is at number nine. Shouto is at number twelve, but he wasn’t officially named a pro hero until a couple months after he quit working for his father’s agency. There are heroes who go their whole lives without even breaking the top twenty, and they’re already sailing far past them.

Endeavor better not get too comfortable as the number one hero. At this rate, it isn’t going to last long.

“Kacchan must not have seen it yet,” Izuku says, smiling, “He’s going to be pissed.”

“Well, let’s go wake him up and tell him,” Shouto suggests, “He does it to us enough.”

Akira groans while Homura snatches his phone back. “No! Weren’t you listening? We have to go to brunch!”

“Mitsuki went and got him earlier anyway,” Akira says.

Shouto and Izuku share a look and then look back. “What’s the rush? It’s just brunch.”

“It’s a brunch party!” Homura says enthusiastically, and then winces when Akira smacks him upside the head.

“It was supposed to be a surprise,” he glares at his twin, “Inko said not to tell you anything, but since Homura has already ruined it, it’s a party. Everyone’s there, all your friends from school and Toshi and Aizawa and Hizashi.”

Homura pushes them back toward their room. “So hurry up! Mei said she’d eat the cake if you weren’t there in time.”

“There’s cake?” Izuku asks innocently, and laughs when Akira once again smacks Homura. “Sorry, sorry! I’m going, I’m getting dressed.”

Shouto rolls in his eyes and pushes his husband into their bedroom, slamming the door shut behind him in case the twins get any ideas.

They really do need to be getting ready if people are waiting on them, but he instead he pushes Izuku back on to the bed and kisses him, his hands in his hair and laughter edging its way up his throat, because his life is so much closer to perfect than he ever thought it would be.