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Chapter Text

Izuku sat on the desk, his black uniform ruffled and open at the collar. He had one leg up, his ankle crossed under his other knee. The bruises that surrounded his neck were dark and purple; his smile fond.

Across the room, with at least three desk rows between them, Katsuki sat in his seat with his legs propped on the desk as he leaned the chair back.

They were alone.

(They were always alone here.)

“I wonder how much more messed up the other me would be if he knew you wanted him in middle school,” Izuku said, tapping an ankle against the metal desk leg.

Katsuki ignored him.

“It’s a little amusing,” Izuku said, knowing Katsuki was listening. He hit the desk leg again. Paused. Hit it again. “Don’t you think so?”

Katsuki pulled his legs off the desk and crossed his arms on the surface instead, dropping his chair back to the ground with a heavy “thump.” He turned to stare at the window, glaring at the night sky and the few strands of moonlight that gave shape to everything in the shadows.

“He’d either be furious you kept it so well hidden this whole time.” Izuku hit the desk leg; the ring echoed in the room. The steady beat matching Katsuki’s heartbeat. “Or ecstatic that he might have a chance.”

Izuku hummed under his breath, stopping his leg. He hopped off the desk, walking exactly one row closer before stopping, not quite stepping into the light. “Though more likely, you’d just be a matching set, and he’d be as conflicted as you are.”

“What are you doing?” Katsuki asked, glaring at Izuku out of the corner of his eye while still facing the window. The other played with his open collar, fingers close to the bruising. Katsuki looked away.

“Talking,” Izuku said. He touched a finger to his lip, eyes smirking. “We can’t do that now? Or are you in the mood again? You know I like it when you make me shut up.”

“Just say what you want,” Katsuki said. Covering his eyes, he willed himself to be anywhere else than here.

The world remained stubbornly in place; Izuku and middle school uniforms and all.

“It’s almost cute how much this all bothers you,” Izuku said. Katsuki listened to him move again, his old shoes squeaking on the hard floors. “All those ‘what ifs’ that are crowding your every thought. It’s getting to be hard to breathe in your head, and I’m used to taking up a lot of room!

“It must be driving you mad knowing that Izuku would have said ‘yes’ if you asked him to be yours back then, even if you didn’t change a thing about you and what you were.

“What if you weren’t so scared?

“What if you focused on the other reasons you hated him instead of just the jealousy he’d be better?

“What if you let the part of you that admired him show more than the part that wanted to crush him?”

Katsuki flinched hard enough to rattle the desk when arms wrapped around his shoulders. Izuku hugged him from behind, the back of the chair digging into their bodies as it separated them. He wrapped one arm around Katsuki’s front, squeezing tight enough to hurt, while the other arm dug fingers deep into Katsuki’s hair. Izuku’s breath warmed his neck as he nuzzled Katsuki.

Izuku whispered, “I wonder what he’d do if he knew you wanted to stick your hand down his pants while you shoved his face in the dirt.”

“That’s enough!” Katsuki yelled. He shoved back his chair and twisted, grabbing Izuku’s uniform collar. He lifted the brat and slammed him into the nearest desk hard enough to scoot it back an inch with a deafening screech. “Shut up.”

“Don’t be so upset, Katsuki,” Izuku said, green curls falling to the side; green eyes amused. He reached up and put his hands behind Katsuki’s neck, pulling them closer together. “You don’t have to hide anything from me.”

Izuku yanked Katsuki closer with an unexpected jerk, pressing their forms together. The room stayed quiet; their heavy breathing the only real sound outside of the shift of fabric.

“I mean, anything you need to hide, I already know about,” Izuku said, kissing Katsuki on the side of the lip. He kissed him again. “I’m the one who starred in all those little fantasies of yours. I know every little want, desire, and regret. Isn’t that nice?”

Katsuki touched his hand to Izuku’s collar. The bruises fit the shape of his hand; he couldn’t remember when he’d done that. “You’re nothing more than a bad dream.”

“Compared to what’s waiting for you when you wake up, I’d like to think I’m a rather pleasant one,” Izuku said.

Katsuki dropped his head on Izuku’s shoulder; gentle fingers petted his hair.

(Waking up came too soon.)

Katsuki groaned as he turned on his stomach, hands digging into his sheets. He smacked his hand against the alarm clock and sat up. He ruffled his hair out and put his feet on the floor with a smack.

He could hear Kirishima rummaging around his own room as he got ready for the day and smiled to himself.

They’d only been in the dorms a week and while Katsuki’s nights were the same as usual, waking up to something other than his mother screaming at him to get ready was a plus in his book.

But that was the only one.

After a shower and getting ready, the breakfast area remained its usual chaos with all twenty students still tiptoeing around each other and adjusting to each other’s morning routines. At least half of them had already made it downstairs and Katsuki snagged a cup of coffee from under Ashido’s arm as she and Sero fought over the stove.

He blocked out everyone else, save for one “good morning” head nod to Todoroki at the toaster, and headed to the couch. He collapsed in the seat and drank his coffee with his bag next to his legs while he waited for Kirishima to finish his hair routine so they could walk to class.

“I can’t believe I ever wanted to get into Class 1-A,” Shinsou said, sitting next to him. The ever present eye bags were more defined than usual and he clutched his own tumbler of coffee. “Everything is so lively. Man, I hope this settles down into a routine before I resort to making a facility use schedule myself.”

“I’m sure Yaoyorozu and Iida would be glad to help with that,” Katsuki grunted. He snuggled into his seat and clicked on the television to catch the morning news.

“—and that’s the weather for today. Up next, we have an interview with an Orudera Junior High alumni who used to know Izuku Midoriya, a young villain who’s been making quite the name for himself since he debuted as a member of the League of Villains. For his most recent act, Midoriya was found to be responsible for the kidnapping and injury of a U.A. Hero Class student last week,” the news announcer said, voice even.

A picture of Izuku from the attack in the street last week appeared on screen, fuzzy and out of focus from some civilian’s phone. Katsuki saw his own face on the sideline for everyone to see.

“We don’t have to watch this,” Shinsou said.

Katsuki gripped the remote tighter as he let the newscast continue, and ignored the way a few of the others had noticed what was playing on the television.

The screen shifted to a teenager with his face blocked out and voice distorted—not that it would have mattered otherwise. Katsuki wouldn’t have remembered an old classmate even if they’d shown his face. They were all unimportant extras whose names he never bothered to learn, but now he wished he knew.

The kid said, “Midoriya? Yeah. I knew of him. He was that Quirkless guy who was always mumbling under his breath about heroes and following Bakugou and his friends around. He was always creepy, if you ask me.”

“What’re you guys watching?” Kirishima asked, arriving behind the couch.

“They’re talking about Midoriya on the news,” Iida answered, standing on the other side of the room.

Kirishima nodded and leaned his walking crutch on the couch back next to Bakugou as the newscaster continued.

“Can you tell us anything about Midoriya’s relationship with Bakugou? He was seen at the last attack and the two of them seemed familiar from the footage that’s been submitted to the station,” the reporter asked.

“Relationship?” The other student snorted. “I’m not sure you could call Bakugou beating the,” a beep aired, “out of Midoriya once a week a relationship. Bakugou made that guy’s life a living hell whenever they were in the same room. But maybe Midoriya was into that, because it sure didn’t stop him from getting into Bakugou’s space as often as he could.

“Everyone in class knew that leaving Bakugou and Midoriya alone together was a bad idea, even if we were all too scared of Bakugou to actually say anything about it.”

Shinsou grabbed the remote and turned the television off before the report could continue.

Katsuki felt everyone’s eyes on his back and he stood up from the couch. He glared over his shoulders, looking each concerned and confused expression straight on. When the eyes started to narrow, Katsuki nipped things in the bud and hissed, “If you’ve got something to say, speak up.”

“Is what that guy said, true?” Ashido asked, eyes wide. “Did you used to beat up Midoriya?”

Sero mumbled under his breath, “It would sure explain a lot.”

“It would put his hyperfixation on you in a different light, should it be true,” Todoroki said, staring at the table. “Though it’s also possible that young man is exaggerating for the press and attention.”

Katsuki bit his lip and slowly unclenched his hands out of their fists. He reached down and grabbed his bag. “It’s true, and I’m not talking about it.”

“Bakugou,” Kirishima said. Katsuki could feel his friend’s gaze on his back as he pushed his way out of the room and from everyone staring. Kirishima scrambled for his crutch and hopped after Katsuki. “Wait up!”

He was out the door, only holding it open for Kirishima out of necessity, when he heard Shinsou tell the others to “Leave them alone for awhile.”

The door to the dorm slammed behind them and Katsuki leaned on it, staring at the morning sky and listened to the early birds leaving their dorms for class.

“You okay?” Kirishima asked, leaning heavily on his crutch. Katsuki stared at the cast on his leg, full of signatures from their class. He hated that Izuku had broken Kirishima’s leg and he hated that even a week later there were still a few stubborn yellow bruises leftover and stitches in a healing shoulder. Kirishima snapped his fingers in front of Katsuki’s eyes. “Hey, I’m going to take that silence as a ‘no,’ so talk to me.”

“I’ve been thinking about middle school too much lately as it is,” Katsuki admitted. He slumped against the dorm wall into a squat. (Izuku in his crisp black uniform; always adoring, no matter what expression he wore.) Katsuki grabbed a rock and threw it across the room, igniting his Quirk behind it so that it skipped all the way to the next dorm. “I wasn’t expecting to get hit with it this morning in a news program due to some idiot whose name I don’t remember.”

Katsuki was glad Kirishima didn’t have a comment.

(He didn’t want to think about Middle School.)

“Let’s walk to class,” Kirishima said, the upbeat tone in his voice obviously forced. The laugh that followed was a bit more natural. “You can check my homework and tell me all the questions I got wrong to clear your head.”

Katsuki snorted as he got up. He pointed at Kirishima’s back and huffed. “You left your bag in the dorm.”

He couldn’t help the smirk as Kirishima cursed under his breath and hurried back inside, the crutch tapping on each tile square as he greeted people in the hallways.

Katsuki waited for him outside, leaning against the dorm and closing his eyes.

(Now everybody knew.)

The television wires sparked from the damage after Izuku had thrown one of his stick grenades at it, missing the box proper and hitting the wall behind it.

“How dare they make Kacchan look bad,” he hissed, sitting on the edge of the worn couch.

“You’re lucky that wasn’t in the bar,” Shigaraki said, slumping against the back of the couch in their apartment living room. He clicked his tongue and waved his fingers at the destruction. “Kurogiri would have killed you.”

Izuku fumed, biting his thumb and glaring at the wrecked device. This wasn’t good enough. He had too much fury and nowhere to put it without breaking something he couldn’t afford to replace.

(They needed a new television anyway.)

“I’ll be back,” Izuku said, getting up. He was acting on his anger, but Izuku was allowed to do that now: He was a Villain. That’s what Villains did. Izuku said, “I’m going to see Giran.”

“What about?” Shigaraki asked, almost amused.

“I’m going to check his network for someone who’s good with computers and hack into the news network for the unedited footage,” Izuku said. He ran his fingers along the couch edge as he moved. “How does attacking a news station sound as a fun, public event for the League of Villains?”

“Before or after you murder the kid in the interview?” Shigaraki asked, laughing.

“I was thinking we could do it at the same time. You’ve been bored anyway, and this could be a good co-op mission for us,” Izuku said. He turned and indicated the wrecked television. “Besides, how else will Kacchan know I defended his honor if he doesn’t see it live?”

Shigaraki snickered under his breath and smacked the couch with his open palm. “I love it.”

Izuku grabbed his coat from the rack and slung it over his shoulders as he stomped to the doors leading downstairs to the bar.

His past with Kacchan didn’t belong to anyone but Izuku and Kacchan.

(No one else understood their relationship; no one. How dare they?)

After this week, no one would make that mistake again.

Chapter Text

Katsuki probably should have realized he’d be getting a phone call from his parents when he got back to the dorm after school.

He had forgotten that “Everybody” wasn’t just everybody in his school.

It was everybody, everybody.

Needless to say, he received a very firmly worded request to come home for dinner, dorms be damned, and to be prepared for Mrs. Midoriya to be there. It didn’t give him much room to escape when she said they had already acquired permission from the school.

Kirishima volunteered to come with as emotional support, but Katsuki turned him down. His best friend had his own issues surrounding Izuku and he didn’t think meeting Mrs. Midoriya was going to help that any.

Instead, he spent the entire train ride home wishing that Izuku would come crashing in and cause trouble just so he could get out of this visit.

(It figured the one time Katsuki wanted the twerp to show up he was a no-show.)

Once he finally arrived, Katsuki wasn’t too surprised to find out that Mrs. Midoriya had been completely in the dark concerning her son’s middle school days and his relationship with Katsuki.

He was, however, surprised to find out that his mother knew.

Which is why when he clicked open the door and let himself in, he found himself taken aback by Mrs. Midoriya yelling at his mother.

“You knew about it the entire time and you didn’t say anything to me?” Mrs. Midoriya asked, her eyes angry and wet. “I can maybe understand not being able to control your son and his actions, but I should have known what he was doing!”

Katsuki winced as his mother hissed right back, “Excuse me?”

“Hello, son,” his dad said from the side, drawing his attention away from his mother’s vicious response. His dad glanced between his wife and his son, biting his lower lip. “I’m sorry you’re coming home to this. But we thought it would be best to talk through with all of us after Izuku’s mother called us earlier.”

“No shit,” Bakugou said under his breath.

“Katsuki, please try to be a little nicer than usual,” his dad said, shrinking in. He whispered, not quite wanting to attract attention to their presence just yet. “Hisashi had to leave for his flight back to work last night, so Inko was already a little more sensitive than usual when the news hit this morning. She’s really upset.”

Bakugou breathed out and dropped his schoolbag by the door as he listened to Mrs. Midoriya bark back her own responses to the yelling. “Perfect.”

“And I’m telling you that kid on on the news was exaggerating!” Katsuki’s mom yelled back. “I didn’t tell you what was going on because I didn’t think it was anything to be worried about! Every time my kid pushed yours around, the next day Izuku would still be following him around like Katsuki was the best thing to ever happen to him. He always had that stupid smile on his face like nothing had happened. Clearly they were working things out on their own.”

“Pushed around? Is that what you’d call what that boy described on the news! I asked around after that, you know? I didn’t want to believe it, but I had to be sure so I called his other classmates’ parents to speak to their kids and they told me just what your son did to ‘push’ mine around,” Inko said. She crossed her arms and said quite sternly, “You say you knew what your son was up to all those years, but I don’t think you did.”

His mother reared her head back and sucked in a breath. He recognized the twitch of genuine anger and decided this needed to stop.

(The last thing he needed was to wreck his mother and Mrs. Midoriya’s friendship over something so stupid.)

“It’s in the middle,” Katsuki said, speaking up loud enough to get both mothers’ attention. He shoved his hands in his pockets and stepped into the living room, staring hard at the floor. “The bullying wasn’t as bad as they said on television, but it’s probably worse than what my mom knew about since the worst of it happened when she wasn’t around.”

“It’s about time you got home, brat,” his mother said, crossing her arms. She frowned, her body tense and tired, but she relaxed a fraction. “Masaru! How long has he been there?”

“Just a few minutes, we didn’t want to interrupt, Mitsuki,” his dad said, He tried for a calm smile and rubbed his hands on his shirt. “Why don’t we go sit at the table and talk this through.”

“Sounds good to me,” his mother said. She tugged on her blouse sleeve twice before reaching down to grab the tea tray and cups off the coffee table. She nodded her head toward the dining area and huffed. “Come on, we’ll yell at each other in there like civilized adults.”

“That’s not quite what I meant,” his dad said, but followed the other two into the kitchen. He looked over his shoulder when he noticed his son wasn’t following. “Katsuki?”

“I’m coming,” he said.

Katsuki reminded himself to get a thank you gift for Kirishima on the way home. He wasn’t sure how he would ever get through this conversation if he hadn’t had a chance to practice talking about it a few times before hand.

(Didn’t make it any easier though.)

When he was finished telling them the simplified version of what he’d spilled his guts to Kirishima about, Mrs. Midoriya said a quiet, “I need to think about all this” and left with a small apology for yelling at Katsuki’s mother, which was returned with the same sincerity.

The house was quiet after Mrs. Midoriya left, and Katsuki slumped at his kitchen table. He covered his face and breathed in.

(This sucked.)

Eventually, he dropped his hands to face his parents. His dad smiled softly, but looked worn and old, while his own mother looked like she wanted to yell. Instead, she settled for a hug and said, “I think you’ve got the picture of what went wrong here. Go get some sleep, baby.”

Tired and exhausted, Katsuki hugged her back and went to bed, hoping and praying that it wasn’t this rough when the rest of his class attacked him for answers of their own.

(At least he’d had plenty of practice.)

“I’m starting to think I never quite appreciated the network Giran had built up,” Izuku said, walking alongside Shigaraki in the familiar neighborhood. He had his hands casually in his pants pockets, feeling a bit like Kacchan and the way he always strolled along, and admired the sights of his old hometown. They reached the house they needed within a few minutes and no one was out and about in the sleepy neighborhood. “I was hoping for immediate gratification, but I didn’t think I’d actually get it.”

Shigaraki scrunched his fingers together and used his Decay on the the lock. It fell away, and he pushed the door open with a single finger. “Giran can be very efficient with the right motivation.”

“It’s also sort of funny that he’s scared of me now,” Izuku said. He scrunched his nose and shook his head. “Giran used to give me such a hard time with work, but now he’s practically calling me ‘sir’ whenever I talk to him.”

“Feels good, right?” Shigaraki asked, smirking behind the hand-mask.

Izuku said, “Yes.”

The house remained quiet as Izuku walked in through the front door. The small dwelling was much like any other house in the neighborhood, with a modest living room and kitchen taking up the main space. He took a turn on the first hallway he came across and cracked open the first door, finding the first bedroom on the hall. The kid’s parents slept soundly in their bed, breathing heavily. He left the door open as he moved further down the hallway, ignoring the way Shigaraki chuckled as he entered the parents’ bedroom.

(Next door, next door.)

There. Past the bathroom and a small linen closet, Izuku found the second bedroom of the house, with his prize inside: Izuku recognized his old classmate, sleeping spread out on the bed. If he recalled, the other boy’s Quirk allowed him to stretch out his neck.

(Not a threat.)

He didn’t bother to remember the other boy’s name.

It really didn’t matter.

(As Kacchan would have put it, “He’s an extra.”)

He slammed his hand over the boy’s mouth, waking him instantly. Frozen in fear, his old classmate’s eyes widened as large as saucers, and his body shifted as his neck lengthened on reflex.

Izuku jammed a knee into his old classmate's chest to keep him from wriggling away and leaned over him, being sure to smile as brightly as possible. “It’s not nice to tell lies on the news.”

The boy’s screams vibrated through his palm.

(Maybe it was a little fair this kid had thought Izuku was “creepy.”)

“So, you knew about the bullying thing the whole time, didn’t you?” Shinsou asked, popping open the top of his bento at the lunch table. He pulled out his utensils and pushed the food around. Eijirou was surprised Shinsou hadn’t brought the topic up yesterday, but then again, most of the class had agreed not to bring it up for at least one day. Shinsou said, “Which would explain why you were so confused when I said Midoriya had a crush on Bakugou.”

“Yeah, I knew about it,” Eijirou said, leaning his elbow on the table. He really wished he’d had a chance to talk to Bakugou about this the other night so he could get his facts straight about what he could and couldn’t tell their friends about he whole mess. So for now, he had decided just to stay quiet. “But it’s not really my place to talk about it, even now. It was all said in confidence, you know?”

“Confidence,” Shinsou said, shoving an omelette slice in his mouth. “I get it.”

Eijirou bit his lip and put his utensils down; he forgot that was a touchy subject.

“You know that thing with you and Midoriya is different though, right? His safety was on the line, and he was a threat to other people.” Eijirou cleared his throat and took a long drink. He tried not to wince as he said, “You’re not a bad friend because you told someone what he confided in you.”

“That’s what they keep telling me,” Shinsou said. He crossed his arms on the desk and pushed his half-eaten lunch away. “But I was also more okay with that answer when he was still in custody and they could talk to him or get him help. He’s obviously gotten worse since the breakout, and I’m not sure if I can help him now.”

“Which makes you wish you hadn’t said anything in the first place,” Eijirou finished for him.

Shinsou laughed, fake and empty, before shrugging. “Something like that.”

“Okay, no more gloom and doom over here,” Mina said, dropping her tray down next to them. Sero and Kaminari joined her at their table, and the regular crew was almost all accounted for. “Bakugou’s already grumpy enough as it is after yesterday and that stupid newscast, so we should be sure to get him in a good mood before we interrogate him.”

Eijirou snorted and dug into his lunch. “Where is he, anyway?”

“Aizawa caught him and dragged him down to the principal’s office,” Kaminari said, half chewing on a biscuit. He swallowed and wiped a few crumbs off the side of his mouth. “Said they wanted to talk to him about the newscast.”

“I’m surprised he didn’t talk to him yesterday,” Shinsou said, leaning on the table. “Wouldn’t that have been more timely?”

“I think Aizawa was thinking along the same lines as the rest of us,” Sero said. He reached across the table for the salt and added a bit to his lunch. “Bakugou was so closed off yesterday, he probably figured he wouldn’t get much out of him even if he asked about it. Since our favorite explosives expert was much calmer this morning, Aizawa probably figured it was safe to bring it up.”

“And why today he’s going to answer some questions,” Mina confirmed with a nod. “He’s got a lot of explaining to do.”

“I just hope he’s okay,” Eijirou said. He sighed and rubbed the side of his face. “He didn’t even want to talk to me about it last night, and then he had to go home to his parents where I’m sure the subject came up, so I know he’s got to be taking this whole thing badly. I’m really not sure Bakugou was prepared for everyone in the area to find out about his thing with Midoriya.”

“I sure wouldn’t be either,” Kaminari said. He played with the hem of his sleeve on the table and frowned. “And I can’t stop thinking about that first time we saw Bakugou and Midoriya together in the hallway. Bakugou looked ready to kill that kid. Remembering made it way too easy to picture that being a regular thing when they were in middle school.”

“I know right? He had him half way up the wall and Midoriya’s face was turning red,” Mina said. She mimicked the scene with her arms, holding them up high and shaking her wrists once. “I don’t even think the guy's feet were touching the ground.”

Eijirou had forgotten about that.

Or rather, he’d forgotten that Kaminari and Mina were with him when they ran across Bakugou at his least manliest during Midoriya’s first week of school at U.A.

“It kinda makes you wonder why this isn’t a big revenge thing,” Kaminari said. He leaned toward the center of the table and lowered his voice. “That would make way more sense if you ask me.”

Sero shrugged, “I don’t know. It’s a fine line between love and hate, right?”

“Maybe Midoriya’s a masochist?” Shinsou offered, starting to eat again. He looked thoughtful as he continued, despite everyone at the table staring at him. “I mean if he is, he clearly hasn’t found a healthy outlet for it, but it would explain why he’s so crazy about Bakugou’s whole alpha male schtick and pushing his buttons to get a reaction.”

“Dude, don’t say stuff like that.” Kaminari snorted and started laughing. He leaned his arm on the table and snorted. “Bakugou might actually kill you if he hears you making jokes about it.”

“Who was joking?” Shinsou asked, straight faced and serious.

“Drop it either way,” Eijirou said, frowning. Midoriya’s obsession with Bakugou was on an entirely different level. None of them had any idea just how bad it really was. The jokes lost their edge, plus: “I don’t want to think about it, either.”

Shinsou finished off his omelette. “Just looking at all our options.”

“Hey, the television turned off,” Sero said, looking up. He pointed at the large screen at the end of the cafeteria that typically played a mix of the local news and school announcements. “I wonder why?”

Kaminari looked up and squinted. “The feed must have been cut because the power’s still on. You can see the light in the lower corner.”

Most of the students hadn’t noticed the television lose it’s picture, but they all turned to stare when the volume spiked and static roared.

It blinked white before it opened on a news room floor, the main desk pushed out of the way. In the center of the screen was a young teenager, crying his eyes out in handcuffs. A collar had been hooked around his neck attached to a strap on his chest. His neck, long and winding, folded in on itself as it moved in his panic.

“Is it working?” A voice said to the side.

Eijirou felt his stomach drop; he knew that voice.

“Midoriya?” Shinsou whispered, eyes wide.

“It looks like everything’s working!” Midoriya said, walking into the frame. He wore his full villain costume, his half-mask on and his hood darkening his face. His voice remained full of cheer as he held his hands out. “Great! My name is Izuku Midoriya and I’m here from the League of Villains! I hope you’re all paying close attention, because I’ve got a couple of announcements to make.”

“Man I hope Bakugou isn’t watching this,” Kaminari said, wincing.

Eijirou agreed.

Chapter Text

Katsuki wanted to go back to lunch.

The Principal and Aizawa had decided this was the perfect time to ask Katsuki how he was doing after the news report and his time at home with his parents. Specifically though, they wanted to know how he felt about the broadcast and if he was willing to talk about his time with Midoriya in middle school with either of them. Katsuki realized fairly quickly that he wasn’t getting out of this room without saying something and prayed for an intervention before he had to talk about his feelings with the Principal and Aizawa.

His silent prayers were answered when Present Mic opened the door with a slam and yelled while somehow keeping a serious expression in his face: “You need to turn on the TV.”

“What is it now?” Aizawa asked the air as he picked up the remote and did as instructed.

“—couple of announcements to make,” Izuku said, front and center on a ruined newscast set.

“What’s he doing?” Katsuki asked, staring at his childhood friend in the middle of a newsroom wearing that stupid costume. He zeroed in on the young man at Izuku’s feet and it didn’t take much to put two and two together. “Ah, hell.”

Principal Nezu waved for Aizawa to turn up the volume. He muttered under his breath and frowned at the box. “Young Midoriya didn’t waste any time reacting to that broadcast, did he?”

“Before we start, I’d like to remind everyone that if we see so much as a single person within ten feet of the building’s perimeter—” Izuku cut himself off and tapped forward. The camera shifted as Izuku moved it to the side from the front, revealing a group of people huddled together next to none other than Tomura Shigaraki himself, covered in his creepy white hands. Izuku said, “Then our fearless leader will have to execute someone. I personally would rather not resort to that, but Shigaraki would love it. So let’s not give him an excuse, okay?”

As Izuku moved out of frame to fix the camera, Shigaraki waved his fingers at the lens and his shoulders moved up and down like he was laughing.

Katsuki felt sick.

“Is anyone at the scene yet?” Aizawa asked Present Mic, speaking softly with his eyes still on the channel.

Present Mic pulled his glasses down and said, “Yes. I managed to contact the authorities when the broadcast started and they started sending Pros to the scene almost immediately when the channel went down. I don’t know the details of who’s going to be there or what the plan of operation is, though.”

“Then I guess all we can do is keep watching,” Aizawa said, frowning hard at the screen.

Izuku took a seat on top of the news counter he’d shoved back to make more room for the main floor and crossed his ankles. “We’ve got three things we’d like to announce. The first of which is a message from the League of Villains proper, while the other two are just from me.”

Katsuki could help but stare at the screen, his heartbeat picking up with every word.

“Since a few of our guests in the corner are getting edgy, we might as well start!” Izuku said, leaning back. He laced his fingers together through his gloves and sat them on the side of his thigh. Katsuki could see heavy bags under his eyes over the top of the metal mask; he looked like he hadn’t slept. Despite how tired he looked, his voice still had some pep when Izuku said, “For our first big announcement: The League of Villains is recruiting! If you have an interest in causing destruction or embracing your inner desires, ask around for the League and we’ll find you. Anyone is welcome and if you don’t think you have the right tools to get the job done, we’ll help you get them.”

“Boy, if he isn’t the perfect poster child for recruitment,” Present Mic muttered under his breath. “He has a much more pleasant appearance than that Shigaraki brat, and everybody knows he was an average, bullied middle schooler that’s now a legitimate threat to Pro Heroes. Shigaraki couldn’t have asked for better advertising.”

Aizawa grunted in response while Nezu held a hand up for them to be quiet.

Katsuki half listened to them, fixated on the screen and the unnatural confidence Izuku displayed. Even in their past confrontations, there’d been a touch of desperation and neediness that hinted of his multiple anxieties, but this version of Izuku—he was practically charismatic.

“But, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to get some things straight with our next point of the day,” Izuku said. He vaulted off the counter, smacking his boots hard into the ground. He reached over and dug his fingers into the hair of their peer and yanked his head back, arching the entire body up as the chain hooking the neck and chest together remained taut. “Yesterday morning my old classmate here said some things about Katsuki Bakugou that were highly misinformed.”

The world grew out of focus; fuzzing around the edges as Katsuki stared at his childhood friend on the screen.

Izuku had said his proper name.

Katsuki couldn’t remember if he’d ever actually heard Izuku say his proper name before; it was always “Kacchan” this and “Kacchan” that. If Izuku had felt even a fraction of the same shiver that just ran down Katsuki’s spine when he had finally said “Izuku” for the first time since they were four, he could no longer find himself surprised at how fast Izuku’s creepy behavior had escalated after they “made amends.”

(“Don’t be unfair now,” Izuku said, biting his lower lip with a smile and tugging on the black collar of his uniform. “I call you ‘Katsuki’ all the time when you’re dreaming of me.”)

He shoved down the intrusive daydream and focused on the real Izuku, whose eyes burned into the camera over his mask.

“I want to make something clear: Katsuki is my oldest and dearest friend. He means everything to me. Everything. I know from an outside perspective that our relationship may seem rough around the edges and hard to understand, but it also solely belongs to the two of us and I will not stand here and let a jealous brat like this,” Izuku paused to yank the young man higher, “make Katsuki look bad for a gossip piece about me.”

Present Mic whistled.

“Brag and theorize about me all you want, but if anyone so much as thinks of dragging Katsuki Bakugou down in any way while you’re at it, then you will regret it,” Izuku said. “And just to drive that point in, I have a demonstration.”

Izuku dropped the student back down to his knees where he overbalanced trying to catch himself, toppling over onto his side. Izuku tugged a black cloth from out of his pocket and knelt next to the boy scrambling to get away. With a flick and a tug, he had wrapped the black cloth entirely over the boy’s mouth and nose, yanking it back. The fabric held airtight to their classmate’s face, enough that you could see the outline of his mouth frozen in it’s half-open position. Izuku tied it in a knot behind the other boy’s ears and threw his arms wide and proud when he was finished.

The boy thrashed, smacking his head up and down on the ground attempting to get rid of the gag. But it stayed firmly in place and the goal of the cloth became clear with every second the boy’s mouth struggled to inhale. Izuku slammed a foot down the boy’s side, essentially kicking him over onto his stomach to keep him from wriggling too much.

Katsuki whispered, “Izuku’s going to suffocate him.”

“I’m going to contact the station and see what’s going on and if they need any help,” Present Mic said, shoving his glasses back up. He yelled as he ran out the door, “We might not have more than four minutes to save that kid.”

Katsuki felt impressed that Present Mic had already jumped into action. His own movements were frozen in shock and the inability to look away at the morbid scene.

“I’m going to gather the other teachers and address the students so they don’t panic,” Principal Nezu said, also living up to his profession as an educator and Hero. “Keep an eye on young Bakugou.”

(Why was Katsuki still sitting here? Why wouldn’t he move?)

Aizawa and Katsuki were left alone with nothing else to do but stare at the television screen: Aizawa with a sense of growing rage, and Katsuki feeling disturbingly more numb by the second as the the suffocating teenager’s movements became more and more sluggish.

“Now that that’s over with, we can address point three,” Izuku said. He stepped off their old classmate and walked closer to the camera, though the dying boy behind him remained visible. He stared straight into the camera lens; and while he was technically looking at everyone, it felt like he was staring straight at Katsuki. “This one’s a bit personal, but I think all of you would benefit to pay attention.”

Izuku reached up and yanked his mask down and threw his hood back, open and vulnerable despite the steel in his eyes and the grease dragging down his curls. He declared, “Katsuki Bakugou is mine and I’m done sharing.”

(Katsuki felt that shiver again; he hated it.)

Izuku opened his mouth to continue, but a crash off camera interrupted his announcement. Panicked screams and noise filled the air, which had to be the hostages. Izuku stared to the side and backed away from the camera in time for everyone to hear a “Stop, Villain!” shouted by (Katsuki was pretty sure) Fourth Kind.

Aizawa took a seat on the corner of the principal’s desk, watching the camera. “I don’t think they’re going to make it to that kid in time.”

Watching the boy on the ground, knowing he had a couple minutes at most before he suffocated, Katsuki couldn’t help but agree.

Clearly not sharing Aizawa’s pessimism, nor showing signs of delight, Izuku did nothing more than huff in irritation and shoved his mask back up into place. He dove to the side when a projectile of some sort flew by him, indicating there was more than one Hero, though Katsuki didn’t recognize the voice or the Quirk.

The camera tipped over after a rattle and the screen cracked, but the picture still ran.

“I guess we’re tuning out early,” Izuku said, loud enough for the cameras.

He tugged one of his stick grenades from his pocket—the screen flickered—and tossed it up once. He caught it and leaned down to shove it in the chest harness of the boy on the ground, barely twitching as he struggled to stay conscious.

Izuku mumbled under his breath. The words were hard to make out through the noise and distance from the mic, but Katsuki could tell from years of practice: “And here I went to the effort to make this painless. Honestly, all they had to do was wait two more measly minutes for him to die and everyone would be fine but now we have to do this. I didn’t even get to finish my speech and I practiced and everything. Oh, well. We were prepared for this anyway. It’s not a problem. I can deal with this just fine.”

Izuku clicked the top of the grenade down and ran off of the screen, pulling out another grenade from his pouch as he yelled “Shigaraki, duck!”

Katsuki heard the grenade attached to the bound teen beep before something smashed into the camera, cutting the feed.

Aizawa cursed under his breath.

Staring at the screen and biting her lip with the edge of her thumb pressed into her canine tooth, Himiko giggled at the static across the television, still coated in the blood of her latest crush. She lifted the knife and stabbed it into the meat again, and again, keeping time with her heartbeat.

“Wow,” she said. Green eyes and green hair. Passionate. Willing to get his hands dirty. Now that was a man! Himiko got off the body and tapped the top of the television, hoping to bring the picture back. “Aw, I wanted to see more!”

She got up and patted down her skirt; she had to see that one again.

Himiko put her hands on her hips and shifted to one leg. She grinned wide and licked the red off her lip. “Now what was that he said about recruiting?”

(She supposed it was time to start asking around.)

“Katsuki?” Shigaraki asked first thing as the two of them stepped through Kurogiri’s warp and back into the safety of their home. “I thought Bakugou’s first name was ‘Kacchan’?”

“No, his first name is Katsuki,” Izuku said, tugging his sleeve back. Three bars worth of energy still resided in his flesh and he needed to release that soon before it decided to release on its own. Izuku hadn’t intended to absorb that much extra during the fight, but he’d dropped a grenade on accident when Fourth Kind tackled the desk he was standing near. Izuku huffed and sat at the bar, deciding he might as well practice small energy bursts. “I’m not going to call him ‘Kacchan’ on national television. That’d embarrass him.”

Kurogiri said his goodnights, practically ignoring their conversation, and left to report to the Master or turn in for the night; Izuku didn’t particular care which.

“I see,” Shigaraki said, standing to the side. He scratched his neck, watching as Izuku made tiny sparks in the palm of his hand. It crackled like a sparkler, lighting the dark corner of the room. “How thoughtful, though I think killing someone for him and declaring him yours in front of the whole world might have had the same effect.”

Izuku felt his cheeks flush; Shigaraki might have had a point.

A larger burst almost burned his wrist, but Izuku caught it in time. He scowled at Shigaraki. “Maybe I also don’t want anyone else getting the idea in their heads that it’s okay for them to call him that. That’s my nickname for him and it’s between us and us alone.”

“That answer I believe,” Shigaraki said. He frowned at his hand. “I didn’t get to kill anyone.”

That in and of itself was still surprising. Izuku didn’t know how the Pro Heroes had managed to find just the right spot in the wall to hit Shigaraki without touching the hostages, but he hated to admit he was impressed.

(They really did need more members. Without bringing the Nomu along, he and Shigaraki really weren’t equipped to handle large groups, even with Kurogiri’s warp support.)

But those thoughts were for another day.

“If the plan had gone perfectly you wouldn’t have killed anyone anyway,” Izuku said, dropping his elbow on the counter. He yawned into his hand and rubbed the side of his eyes. “I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to crash.”

Shigaraki snickered. “You and your need for sleep.”

“We can’t all run on sheer willpower, and we just had a fight after staying up all night” Izuku said, not even caring it was still technically the middle of the day. He sent off one last spark, watching the last bar leave the back of his arm. He had plans for a bath and sweet dreams and his eccentric friend wasn’t keeping him up to play video games this time. “I’ll see you after a long nap, Shigaraki.”

His friend held his hand up in goodbye, turning on the television.

Izuku tapped up the stairs toward the apartment section above the bar and rubbed his thumb into his chest. He’d taken an unexpected hit from Fourth Kind that was sure to be a spectacular bruise, but paid the Hero back with an explosion to the face that wrecked that stupid piece of headwear he had on.

The entire mission had had its ups and downs, but overall Izuku considered it a success.

As he headed for the bath, Izuku could only hope that Kacchan saw the broadcast. If he had, then an extra bruise or two were of no consequence; they’d be worth it.

(And if not, Izuku could always send Kacchan a tape of the recording.)

Katsuki made it two steps into the classroom before he found himself knocked back into the wall, tackled by Ashido’s fierce (and unexpected) hug.

“Bakugou! Are you okay?” Ashido asked, squeezing him hard enough he had to exhale. Sero tugged her back, revealing the rest of the class had gathered near the door waiting for his arrival. “You and Aizawa were gone for so long we figured you had to have seen that awful show on TV!”

“Dude, you okay?” Kirishima asked, leaning on his crutch.

Katsuki rubbed between his eyes and sighed. “Better now that I know that kid survived, even if he’s intensive care.”

“He’s alive?” Kaminari leaned up on a desk. “But Midoriya stuck a grenade on his chest!”

“The young man survived, yes, but we’re keeping it under wraps for now for fear Midoriya will try again,” Aizawa said, walking into the classroom behind Bakugou. He tugged his scarf down and sighed. “Everyone take a seat and I’ll address the situation.”

Katsuki wandered back to his desk and collapsed in his chair, only complying with the request because he knew they were going to be dismissed early to the dorms as soon as Aizawa was finished speaking.

He shot Kirishima a weak smile to appease the worried glance digging a hole in his back before turning back toward the front of the room. Katsuki slumped forward, burying his head in his arms as he breathed.

“First, the information I’m about to tell you is classified,” Aizawa said. Katsuki didn’t need to look up to know he looked as tired as Katsuki felt. “You’re being informed because it directly effects Bakugou, and we decided that burdening him with secrecy might not be a good idea at this time.”

That particular bit of dialogue had come straight from the Principal when he finally came back to the room to find Bakugou and Aizawa sitting in silence, one stewing in rage and he other still in shock. He thought it would be difficult for Bakugou to talk things through with his friends if he had to leave such important details out.

(“He’s going to tell them anyway, so we might as well make it official,” as Aizawa had put it.)

Their teacher continued, “From what I understand, almost all of you saw the footage in the cafeteria today, or at least have heard about it. However, the reports from the news are only reporting that the villains escaped and that there was a single casualty.

“However, this is an intentionally false report in order to protect the victim, and as Bakugou mentioned earlier, the young man Midoriya kidnapped from his home is alive and in intensive care. As his parents were already found dead in his home, we felt the best choice for now was to continue to let Midoriya believe he killed that boy,” Aizawa said.

“Wait,” Kaminari said. He held his hand up and leaned forward on his desk, rattling it slightly. “We all watched Midoriya stuck a live grenade on his chest. How’d he survive that?”

Katsuki had asked basically the same thing when the Principal reported the news, already convinced that a kid’s blood was directly on his hands via proxy.

“Dumb luck and one hell of a rescue team,” Aizawa said. “The kid’s missing half his side, but they were able to stabilize his vitals and get him to a hospital with not a moment to spare. He’s not in one piece, but he’ll live.”

Someone behind Katsuki whistled.

“Before I dismiss you for the afternoon, I want to remind everyone that this will be the sort of situation you deal with in the future again and again until you’re sick of it,” Aizawa said. “You got a taste of this life during the attack on U.A., and a few of you have seen it closer up hand. It only gets worse from here, and we were lucky today.

“Tomorrow we’ll be discussing the entire event in more detail, pointing out what went wrong and how we can prevent situations like this in the future. Be ready for it, and you’re dismissed.”

Katsuki drew his head out of his arms as Aizawa left the classroom. He glanced around looking to see who would accost him first with questions. Getting it over with now meant Katsuki could go back to his dorm and sleep it off faster. He saw everyone had a question in their eyes, but no one seemed to have worked up the will to start asking.

He sighed and pointed at Kaminari. “You. I can tell you want to say something so just ask it already. I’m not in the mood to beat around the bush right now.”

Kaminari held his hands up and shrunk in his seat. “No, uh. It’s better if I don’t say what’s on my mind. Let someone else go.”

“Everybody wants to ask something and they’re all getting exactly one question, so ask yours now and get it over with so I can go back to the dorm and take a nap before my head explodes!” Katsuki said, with enough bite that it almost felt like yelling, but didn’t quite reach it.

(Kaminari jumped, so it was good enough.)

“What the hell did you do to Midoriya in middle school to make him that obsessed with you?” Kaminari blurted, leaning forward with a face expressing morbid curiosity. He slammed his hand over his mouth immediately afterward. “Uh, sorry. No. That wasn’t what I meant.”

Katsuki stared at him for a full second, processing what he’d just asked.

A moment later, Katsuki had doubled over laughing at his desk so hard he thought he might be crying.

Chapter Text

Izuku straddled Katsuki’s lap, digging his fingers into Katsuki’s hair with one hand and clutching his shoulder with the other. Izuku’s nails dug deep into his scalp, pulling hair as he held on tight. Izuku’s labored breathing moved his chest, knocking it into Katsuki’s with a tempo that matched his rolling hips.

Warm, amber afternoon light washed over the room; school having just let out and the classroom cleared, leaving only the two of them behind to take advantage of the empty space.

Katsuki kept his face buried in Izuku’s neck, inhaling the smell of his soap. His hands clutched to the black uniform, wrinkled and burnt under his smoking palms. Izuku’s uniform jacket hung open in the front, revealing the crisp white shirt beneath it, still maddeningly tucked into his trousers. Katsuki pressed kisses into Izuku’s skin, pulling them closer together at the waist.

Izuku returned a kiss at Katsuki’s temple, pressing his nose there and dropping his arms around Katsuki’s shoulders. He pulled himself up into a hug, pressing their heads together at the side.

“You know, Katsuki,” Izuku said, whispering. He leaned back and kissed Katsuki’s eyelid. He spoke into Katsuki’s skin, murmuring along it. “People will say that they’d be willing to kill someone for you, but not many would actually do it.”

Katsuki stopped.

“It’s flattering, don’t you think?” Izuku asked. He put his thumbs on Katsuki’s cheeks and placed his fingers behind his neck. Izuku kissed Katsuki full on the mouth, distracting him with tongue and spit, before nipping his bottom lip. “And we both know how much you love flattery and praise.”

“It always amazes me how you find new ways to be a pain in the ass,” Katsuki said, returning his head back to the crook of Izuku’s shoulder. He let his hands drop from Izuku’s back and busied them, tugging on the end of his jacket instead. “Way to kill the mood.”

“The mood was already dead,” Izuku said, petting the back of Katsuki’s head. He shifted back a bit on Katsuki’s knees, adjusting their position to something less intimate. Izuku ruffled Katsuki’s hair. “But I can fix it.”

Izuku leaned back, drawing his hands over Katsuki’s shoulders. He pressed Katsuki back so he had to sit up properly and look at him. Izuku smiled meekly, raising his shoulders into an innocent shrug before he wrapped his fingers around Katsuki’s uniform collar and yanked.

Jerking himself backwards and Katsuki forwards, Izuku put enough force behind his tug that it knocked both of them out of the chair. They landed hard on the floor, Izuku on his back and Katsuki crashing on top of him, catching himself on his knees. He hissed as his joints knocked into the floor, smacking his head forward into Izuku’s chest and bit back the curses.

The classroom disappeared; the floors and walls turned to onyx with a single, burning hanging light above them.

It swung.

“I’ve been bored,” Izuku said. Katsuki crawled up, hovering over Izuku on his knees and elbows. The light swayed, turning the darkness into a warehouse for a blink, before going back to the shapeless nightmare. Izuku played with his own jacket collar and pulled up a knee. He tapped it against Katsuki’s hip in a steady rhythm. “Which must mean you’re bored with the same old daydreams, too.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Katsuki said.

He moved to get up, but Izuku snatched Katsuki’s hand and put it over his own heart, still grinning. Smoke rose from Katsuki’s palms without his consent; he felt the sparks burning Izuku’s shirt and tried to yank his hand away. Izuku’s grip remained iron, even as his shirt singed.

“Don’t worry, I think I know something much more fun we can do,” Izuku said. He leaned up and kissed Katsuki on the side of the mouth. “Trust me.”

Katsuki blinked and Izuku’s villain costume replaced the familiar school uniform, complete with his face mask, though the hood was drawn back. Izuku’s curly hair framed his face, eyes alight with amusement and smile hidden. Katsuki looked down and saw his own hand dressed in his costume gloves. He could feel his own hero mask on his face and the weight of his gear.

“Now this could be fun,” Izuku said, leaning up. He kept Katsuki’s hand on his chest, the smoke still rising. “Don’t you think?”

An explosion burst from Katsuki’s hand, blinding him.

Waking him up.

The nap hadn’t helped.

Katsuki sat up and punched his pillow. He hit it four more times before he slicked back his hair and climbed off his mattress. His crumbled U.A. uniform shifted as he moved and he yanked it off, replacing it with a plain shirt and some jeans.

He supposed it wasn’t realistic for a two hour nap to make all your problems go away after your childhood friend turned into a sociopathic murderer, but Katsuki had hopes, gosh darn it.

At least the question and answer session was done and over with:

“What the hell did you do to Midoriya in middle school to make him that obsessed with you?”

Apparently be awesome and feed the twerp constant negative attention. (Katsuki didn’t have a better answer than that, because he sure as hell didn’t know either.)

“How are you holding up?”

Take a wild guess and you wasted your question. Next!

“Have you really known Midoriya since you were children?”

Yup, known each other our entire freaking lives, for better or worse. Our moms are friends, too, if that saves anyone a dumb question.

“What are you going to do next time you run into Midoriya?”

Katsuki didn’t have a clue.

But he was sure it would involve decking that idiot halfway across a room.

Half the class gave up their one question when someone else asked it first, and he managed to get out of their clutches within twenty minutes of interrogation. Todoroki patted him on the back as he headed out the door, and Kirishima promised that they’d “study” tomorrow after Katsuki had time to decompress. Overall, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

(Now if only his dreams would stop turning into nightmares, he might be able to function again.)

Katsuki clicked his dorm room door shut behind him and headed straight for the stairs. He tapped down them, flight after flight, until he hit the bottom floor. The common room seemed mostly empty, save for Sero watching television and Iida sitting at the counter near the kitchen. Iida stared at the table top, his hand across his forehead and his expression furrowed like he was thinking too hard.

Grabbing a snack out of the fridge he sat across from him and regretted it even as he asked, “What’s up, Class Rep? You look more serious than usual.”

“Bakugou,” Iida said. He pulled his hand down and crossed his arms on the counter. He continued his frown, sighing and attempting to look less miserable (and failing if Katsuki noticed). Iida said, “I just have a lot on my mind.”

Katsuki surprised himself when he asked, “Such as?”

“Midoriya,” Iida admitted. He turned his head just so, reflecting the light off his lenses. “I know that’s a sensitive topic for you, so I’ll refrain from talking about it.”

“I’m not a piece of glass,” Katsuki said. He rolled his orange on the counter and pointed. “Spill.”

Iida smiled wryly and shook his head. He fixed his glasses with a soft smile and said, “If you insist. Do you remember a few months ago when I got caught by Stain and that Nomu in the alley?”

“Yeah, you were an idiot and Endeavor bailed you out and Izuku out,” Katsuki said. Iida cleared his throat, his cheeks reddening. Katsuki crossed his arms and nodded. “The point?”

“It’s been on my mind since that broadcast,” Iida said. “I’m still trying to reconcile that the boy we saw on television earlier this morning was the same as the young man who showed up to save me from Stain, and that hung out with me and Uraraka after school.

“Midoriya walked straight into that alley and yelled at Stain without fear, which I had mistaken at the time for foolish heroism,” Iida adjusted his glasses again, frowning hard as he struggled to remember. If Katsuki recalled, Iida had hit his head pretty badly during all that. He imagined that was rough for a guy as meticulous as Iida to have memory problems. Iida continued, “But now knowing about his connections and hidden occupation, it has occurred to me that perhaps the reason he could walk up to Stain without fear was mere familiarity instead.

“I keep wondering about every moment in that alley, desperately trying to figure out what clues should have tipped me off that all was not as it seemed,” Iida said. “Or figure out why he bothered to save me in the first place. I know Aizawa suggested that he was trying to make connections to keep his cover, but that doesn’t sound right either. There are far more worthy students in the class for something like that, so why did he bother?”

“You’re thinking too hard,” Katsuki said. He stuck his thumb in his orange peel and tugged it back. “Izuku saved you because he wanted to. Since Stain is still in jail, I’m guessing he’s not exactly in anyone’s good graces in the League of Villains. For all we know the Hero Killer trying to kill you was the last straw.”

Iida frowned, and shifted. “You think so?”

“Look, Izuku didn’t have friends before he got here,” Katsuki said, ripping off an orange slice. “Nobody wanted anything to do with the Quirkless kid starting from when we were four all the way through middle school, so he followed me and my friends around. Trust me when I say that Shinsou, you, and Uraraka were his first real friends. I guarantee that part of his life in U.A. wasn’t an act.”

“That almost makes it all worse,” Iida said, snorting out a half-laugh. He wrung his hands under the table and said, “I’m starting to understand how Shinsou feels. We let Midoriya down, didn’t we?”

“And another thing,” Katsuki said, splitting his orange open and cutting Iida off. He pointed a finger at Iida and growled. “Stop killing yourself trying to figure out what you missed or what you should have noticed to tip off that Izuku was working with the League of Villains.

“If anyone should have noticed something was up, it should have been me, and it should have been in our third year of middle school when Izuku dropped off the face of the planet,” Katsuki said, aware that his voice was raising in his impromptu guilty confession. He put his orange down and dropped his arms loosely in his lap. He stared at the table. “Izuku used to follow me and my friends around like a puppy our entire lives.

“I could look over my shoulder on any given day and see him hovering around spying on me, but then one day he just stopped. But it wasn’t just that: He was silent in class, went straight home after the bell rang, and was a ghost on weekends.

“I barely saw him, and I told myself it was ‘about time’ that he stopped tagging around. In truth though, I knew there was something off about everything. If years of threatening him and shoving him around didn’t get him to leave, then something else had to have happened to make him go away.”

Katsuki felt himself pausing, biting the edge of his lip. He felt split open and raw, and said what was on his mind anyway: “But I was too scared to ask what changed.”

Surprised Iida continued to listen without interrupting, Katsuki finished his thought and admitted what he had denied so fiercely in middle school: “Izuku started avoiding me the day after the Sludge monster attack. I thought maybe that he had heard how I had been helpless and weak, needing to be saved, and it was possible that Izuku finally wised up and decided I wasn’t as cool as he thought any more.

“It’s all ego talking, but when you get used to somebody calling you ‘amazing’ and saying how cool you are literally every day, it goes to your head a little,” Katsuki said. He laughed and rubbed his mouth. “And with my attitude, Izuku was the only one still saying it by the time middle school hit. Everyone acknowledged my skills, but no one actually liked me.

“So I guess when I thought he gave up on me, I got a little terrified he might be right. I didn’t want it to be true, so I just ignored him as much as he was ignoring me.”

Katsuki swallowed, his voice dry. He reached for his fruit and popped another slice in his mouth.

Feeling his cheeks flush, and realizing just how much he had shared, Katsuki fiddled with his orange and huffed. “I guess my end point, is you and Shinsou were better friends to Izuku than I ever was, so uh, don’t beat yourself up about it too much.”

“Thank you for sharing,” Iida said. He took off his glasses and rubbed his misty eyes. “I will cherish this unusual moment of openness.”

“It’s not that weird!” Katsuki yelled, slamming his fist on the counter. He squished the last of his orange, spilling the juice and innards over his palm. He frowned and shook the excess off. “Shut up!”

“Bakugou, bro,” Kirishima said. Katsuki spun around on his seat and stared. Kirishima had tears on his cheek and he bit his lip. He held up a single fist, and tilted his head down and to the side in pride. “That was so manly. You’re always so manly. Look at you sharing and making friends. I’m so proud to be your best friend, man.”

“How long have you been there?” Katsuki asked, gaping.

“We’ve all been here for a while,” Todoroki said, holding his hand up from the couch. Ashido and Sero sat on his other side, giggling. Kaminari took a step out from behind Kirishima and leaned on his shoulder. Katsuki bristled and Todoroki shrugged. “It’s not our fault you were so focused on your heart to heart with Iida you didn’t notice us walk in.”

“It’s okay, Bakugou,” Shinsou said. He snickered and put his hand on Bakugou’s shoulder, grinning wide. “We already knew you were a softy inside with an insecure side a mile wide, but we like you anyway.”

“I’m going to kill all of you,” Bakugou yelled, shoving off the hand and letting loose and explosion. The group scattered with a laugh and dodged out of the way. He shouted, “You hear me! Dead! Izuku won’t have anything to hunt down when I’m done with you.”

“You’ve got to catch us first,” Shinsou said. The challenging smirk he sent Katsuki made his blood boil. Shinsou lifted an eyebrow, as if daring Katsuki to try. “You think you can do that?”

“Just watch—”

Katsuki blinked, staring at the television from the couch. Ashido popped in a movie and he jerked his head at to the side. Shinsou had an arm over the back of the couch and shrugged. “We decided a movie night would be more fun than you murdering all of us over something as dumb as being embarrassed over something you have no reason to be embarrassed about.”

“You were outvoted, dude,” Kirishima said from his other side. He gave a thumbs up and laughed. “And Shinsou’s not sorry about using his Quirk.”

“Nope,” Shinsou confirmed, taking the bowl of popcorn from Todoroki, who settled on the floor in front of Katsuki’s knee.

Katsuki snorted and snuggled into the couch. As everyone in the dorm squeezed into the small room, ready to watch whatever movie Ashido had decided to unleash on them, he couldn’t deny the warm feeling growing in his chest as he sat surrounded by his friends.

He felt lighter.

It made forgetting about his nightmares easier.

(If just for the moment.)

Shigaraki pushed Izuku off the couch.

He huffed and picked the controller back up, watching his fighter continue their victory pose. Izuku snickered under his breath and stayed comfortable on the floor, clicking the “Continue” button.

Shigaraki was a sore loser; what else was new?

“I want to play another game,” Shigaraki said. He clicked the game off mid-menu and pulled up the list of titles.

Izuku tapped the controller against his knee as Shigaraki scanned through the list. “We could play that cooking one. It has two player co-op so we won’t be competing against each other, just the level.”

Shigaraki paused on the game for a few seconds before shrugging and starting it. “I get to pick an avatar first.”

Not having a preference, Izuku let him have first pick. Video games were probably the weirdest addition to his new super villain life. Izuku honestly couldn’t say he had played many before, usually too busy buried in his notes and looking up videos of heroes in his spare time. He remembered Kacchan was fond of the arcade, but that was one of the few times he didn’t feel the need to watch his every move. Kacchan’s arcade afternoons were when Izuku got his own things done.

He probably should have guessed early on by Shigaraki’s vocabulary that the man genuinely loved video games.

Izuku just didn’t realize he’d be expected to play them with him.

“Better you than I,” Kurogiri had said one day while cleaning the bar. “It’s nice he has someone to play with that isn’t me. I can’t stand those games of his.”

“Ready?” Shigaraki asked, selecting the first level.

Izuku nodded and straightened up, rubbing his thumb on the controller edge. “Let’s go.”

About twenty minutes into the game, the sun had set over the horizon and Kurogiri warped into the living room behind them. He flickered in place until Shigaraki reluctantly pressed pause on the remote.

“I hate to interrupt, but Giran has arrived with a hopeful new member,” Kurogiri said. He waved his hand toward the stairs. “Shall we greet them properly?”

Shigaraki tossed the controller on the couch cushion and Izuku followed him up, setting his own down next to it. He stretched his arms behind his head and cracked his neck out.

“Shall we meet our new friend, Shigaraki?” Izuku asked, clicking his mask up. “Maybe our party will grow from two to three.”

Shigaraki, already wearing his own hand, rolled his shoulder. “Let’s find out.”

Forgoing Kurogiri’s warp, the two of them trailed down the stairs and into the bar. There near the doorway stood Giran with a hand in his pocket and his eyes glued to his phone as he scrolled through his messages. Standing near him was a blonde girl with her hair in double buns, wearing a sailor-style high school uniform and a long sleeved cardigan. She hummed under her breath, swaying on her legs with her arms behind her back.

As soon as she noticed Izuku and Shigaraki, she spun on her heel and gasped in delight.

“Izuku Midoriya! I love you!” she shouted, her voice full of glee. She put her hands on her cheeks, smiling so brightly her face had to hurt. Izuku took a step back of the intensity of her emotions. “I love you so much I want to be you! Can I kill you? Please? I think we might be soulmates!”

Izuku shared a glance with Shigaraki while the girl continued giggling in flushed joy, face red and hands on her cheek like a little girl gushing over her crush.

Izuku could barley manage a “What?” in response.

“You’re even more perfect in person,” the girl swooned. “I bet you taste so good.”

“This is Himiko Toga,” Giran said. He raised a hand and walked out of the bar. “And she’s all yours.”

Izuku was pretty sure this was some sort of revenge for (basically) becoming Giran’s boss.

Chapter Text

Tomura had known Himiko Toga for all of three minutes and had decided she was certifiably insane after one.

“I can’t believe we’re standing here together,” Toga said, her hands still on her cheeks as she leaned forward at the waist to invade Midoriya’s personal space. He leaned back to get away, which only encouraged her to step forward (practically skipping) and get even closer. Toga bit the edge of her lip as she gushed. “You were so passionate in that broadcast and so motivating, I couldn’t help but fall in love!”

Midoriya turned five shades of red and reverted to an anxious state that Tomura thought he had beaten out of the boy.

It was a fairly interesting spectacle: Toga continued to hover around him, flirting with her body language and enjoying his sputtering responses. Midoriya held his hands up defensively in front of his chest to put distance between them, waving them in random directions as he tried to give a coherent response to the flattery. Midoriya refused to make eye contact with Toga and she grinned more and more as he continued to fumble about.

“Oi, Midoriya. Why are you getting flustered?” Tomura asked, scratching his neck. He dropped his elbow on the bar and snorted. “Aren’t you in love with Kacchan?”

“I am!” Midoriya yelled, snapping his head to look at Tomura. His cheeks stayed flush, but he narrowed his eyes as his brain started working too hard. He put his hands to his chest, almost scandalized. “I’ve never had a pretty girl confess to me, okay? Even if she’s crazy it’s still a first!”

“You are so cute,” Toga giggled.

This was getting nowhere.

Tomura sighed deeply and looked at the new blonde. He dropped his hand from his neck and pointed at her. “You. I don’t understand you. Repeat that thing you said earlier about wanting to be Midoriya and kill Midoriya.”

“Boys are cuter when they’re roughed up,” Toga said, throwing her arms behind her back and sticking her chest out. She rolled her shoulders in, trying to look cuter than she was. Toga hummed, “But as for that second part. It’s normal to want to be like the ones you like, right? Midoriya understands! That’s why I think we’re soulmates.”

“I understand what now?” Midoriya asked.

“You’re trying to be like the one you love, aren’t you?” Toga asked. She threw her arms forward and grabbed one of Midoriya’s hands. Tomura barely caught the movement; girl was fast. She held Midoriya’s hand between hers and yanked it forward to place near her heart, just above her breast. “You were bullied, and he was your bully, but now you’re the bully! You’re trying to emulate him by being big and tough and cool, and if that isn’t just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen I don’t know what is!”

Midoriya stared at his hand on her chest.

“Don’t deny it! You want to be just like him.” She pressed her lips together, smiling more meekly. She rubbed her thumbs on the sides of Midoriya’s skin. “I bet you want to rough him up, too. I can tell. You’re like me, aren’t you?”

“I am not like you,” Midoriya said, calming himself down. He tugged his hand back and cleared his throat. Tomura remained impressed Midoriya didn’t step away and held his ground. “Am I the only reason you came to join the League?”

Toga smiled, showing off her sharp canines. “Do I need a better one?”

“How many people have you killed?” Tomura asked. She turned to look at him, biting the edge of her index finger. “Out of curiosity.”

Her eyes glittered. “How do you know I’ve killed someone before?”

“Call it a hunch,” Tomura said, scratching his neck.

“Good hunch. Well, let’s see,” Toga said. She turned tilted her chin up in thought and tapped her cheek with the same index finger she’d been chewing on. After a second she laughed hard enough to shake her shoulders. “I don’t know! It’s not like I was keeping count. What about you?”

“That was the right answer,” Tomura smirked from behind his face mask. They might be able to use this one, even if she did need to learn who was in charge around here. Tomura slumped forward on his stool, leaning away from the bar. “Because I don’t know either.”

“It sounds like our initial interview is a success then, especially if these papers Giran provided are to be believed. Perhaps we can move on to the details of this arrangement,” Kurogiri said from behind the bar, setting aside the small dossier their broker had given Kurogiri before Tomura and Izuku arrived downstairs. He picked up a glass and said, “Assuming you realize that killing other members of the League is strongly frowned upon, no matter what your personal affections.”

“Shucks,” Toga said. Her gaze switched to Midoriya and she flushed. She turned on her heel and slapped her hands on her cheeks. “But I think that’s okay. It just gives me more time to tell Izuku how much I love him before I crawl into his skin.”

Midoriya gagged out a flabbergasted “What?” at the same time Kurogiri said, “She is surely going to make things more interesting around here.”

Toga blushed (again; it was like her blood constantly spent its time at the surface of her skin) in response and tapped over to the bar to introduce herself properly to Kurogiri. He offered her a drink and she hauled herself up, kicking a leg back and forth against the bar, while shooting Midoriya a look over her shoulder every so often.

(And a few were spent staring at Tomura with a thoughtful expression he wasn’t sure he liked.)

“I don’t really sound like her, do I? We’re not alike, right?” Midoriya asked, tugging his mask down and whispering in Tomura’s ear.

“A little,” Tomura admitted, pinching two fingers together.

He was lying, but the answer was worth it to see Midoriya glare at him.

Katsuki leaned against the wall as Kirishima got his check up from Recovery Girl in the nurse’s office after class. It’d been a long night of awful nightmares and a weather forecast of storms in their future, so he was glad that at least one good thing was happening today.

“I’m glad you could fit me in,” Kirishima said, smiling brightly as always. Recovery Girl’s assistant finished removing his leg cast and set it aside. “I think I would have gone stir crazy being out of commission for another week or two.”

“Let alone the three to four months it would take to heal naturally,” the nurse said, chuckling as she wiped off some dust from the plaster. Katsuki looked away from the blotted and bruised skin, rubbing his arms. “There we go. He’s all yours, ma’am.”

“Thank you, dear,” Recovery Girl said. “And it’s no trouble. It’s been a fairly quiet week with injuries. Everyone seems to be taking things more seriously and are being less reckless after that horrible broadcast yesterday. I’m just sorry I couldn’t get you in to finish up sooner.”

“No! I totally don’t mind,” Kirishima said, holding his hands up. “Getting healing in small doses is absolutely okay. I don’t need you to use up all your stamina on me just because I’m getting cabin fever.”

Katsuki snorted.

Kirishima was getting healing in small doses because he was so wrecked from Izuku’s Nomu during his kidnapping that everyone agreed it’d be better for him to heal in small batches with one wound at a time, his shoulder taking priority and the leg last with two treatments.

“You’re a good boy,” Recovery Girl said. She puckered up and with a familiar green glow, pressed her lips to Kirishima’s knee. Within seconds, the flesh turned back to it’s normal tan color and looked healthier than ever. Recovery Girl patted Kirishima’s knee with a soft smile and said, “That should finish you up. Take it easy for the rest of the day to let things settle, but you should be good to go for all activities tomorrow.”

“You’re the best!” Kirishima said, hopping off the table. He collected his things and tapped his leg up and down on the ground. The nurse shook her head at him as she took his crutch and cleaned up the bed. “Thanks again!”

“Any time,” Recovery Girl said. She squeezed the top of her cane handle with a fond smile. “It’s what I’m here for.”

“Okay, okay,” Katsuki said, pushing off the wall. He walked over and grabbed Kirishima by the arm. “Thanks again, but we have been here too much already.”

“I agree,” Recovery Girl said. She waved her hand. “Off with you two, now.”

“Bye!” Kirishima said, waving over his shoulder as Katsuki dragged him out of the room. They made it a few feet down the hall before Kirishima stretched his arms over his shoulders and said, “Man, I can not wait to take a proper shower. My leg is still itchy from that cast.”

Katsuki grunted, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“You okay?” Kirishima asked. He threw his bag over his shoulder, pausing for a moment to rub his knees. “You were doing better last night after the movie, but you seem more out of it today.”

“Haven’t been sleeping well,” Katsuki said, voice low. The halls were mostly empty now that classes were over, but you never knew. “Been staying up too late thinking about stupid things.”

“I said before that nothing’s stupid if it involves your feelings and I still mean it,” Kirishima said. He threw an arm around Katsuki’s shoulder, tugging him into a side hug. “We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but don’t like, berate yourself for having thoughts.”

“Thanks, but I am not in the mood for more sap,” Katsuki said, pushing Kirishima off his shoulder. He rubbed his hands together, lighting sparks the way his dad usually did and smirked. “Let’s go see if Todoroki wants to help me blow shit up.”

“One of these days he’s going to get sick of making you practice dummies out of ice,” Kirishima said, grinning wide and showing off every single row of his shark-like teeth. “He’s going to get bored before you do and then he’ll go find a new friend to spar with.”

“Then I’ll start using you for practice again,” Katsuki said. He flicked Kirishima in the head and snorted. “That Quirk of yours is good for that.”

“I might actually take you up on that,” Kirishima said, staring down at the floor. His face fell into something more contemplative and breathed out. “I need more practice with my stamina. I’ll give Midoriya one thing, he’s great at seeking out weaknesses and what’s the point of being unbreakable if someone finds a way?”

“It’s his own loss, really,” Katsuki said. He held up a fist and pressed it into Kirishima’s shoulder. “Revealing our weaknesses means we can get rid of them, and eventually even Izuku’s going to be the one in the corner. He’s smart, but he’s got his own faults and when we find them, it’s going to be game over.”

“You said it,” Kirishima said. He returned a shoulder hit of his own to Katsuki’s side and laughed. “Let’s go get dinner.”

Katsuki nodded and breathed in.

They had a lot of work to do.

Himiko liked this place.

She had a new bedroom to herself that she had already made plans to decorate. Everyone lived together and it was basically a tiny little family in here with plenty of room to grow!

Mr. Kurogiri was nice and polite and he really loved Tomura. His only downside was that he didn’t like Izuku very much, but she sort of understood that since Mr. Kurogiri was jealous—that was one emotion that Himiko knew very well. It wasn’t hard to see he didn’t like sharing Tomura with Izuku.

You could even say Mr. Kurogiri flat out didn’t like Izuku and thought Tomura should take charge more.

(But if he laid a single warp-covered finger on her cute and beloved Izuku, she’d figure out how to stab him. Repeatedly.)

Speaking of Tomura, he was pretty fun, too. He was spoiled rotten, did whatever he wanted, and liked video games. His Quirk could destroy anything he wanted with the touch of his hand (like the one he wore on his face!), but he’d learned how to handle everything without breaking anything using an odd amount of care that he disguised with an air of laziness. He was scary when mad, but also super cute when he pouted, which Himiko checked off as an extra point in his favor.

(He also didn’t fluster easy, but Himiko was sure she could crack him.)

The best part of all though, was getting to see Izuku all the time.

(She’d only been there one night and it was already fantastic!)

Himiko giggled to herself, holding one cheek on her hand while the other spun her knife around in the air. She drew little hearts with it, tempted to carve her name alongside Izuku’s into the couch to signify their future coupling, but decided not to ruin Mr. Kurogiri’s furniture. She rolled onto her side and scratched the blade back and forth on the carpet.

Izuku was so much better in person than on the broadcast.

Himiko rolled even further on her stomach, humming to herself as she watched Mr. Kurogiri fix dinner in the small kitchen across the room.

So little time had passed, but Himiko already knew that Izuku worked like the devil, with some sort of analysis or news program running whenever he had a spare moment. He sent files to Giran and took clients over the computer and still managed to find time for his own projects. He’d mastered multitasking (and got the cutest look on his face when he mumbled facts and figures under his breath while he sorted papers and websites).

Izuku mumbled to himself almost all the time and it was adorable.

(Himiko had to note it twice—it was that cute!)

He was also considerate and despite a full workload, paused for an hour to watch over Tomura’s shoulder when the man wanted Izuku to watch his handheld game (something about a high score). Izuku and Tomura were very close, but it was in a cute, good way. But it wasn’t just Tomura. Izuku had also used Mr. Kurogiri’s warp to visit his pet Nomu at least once, and Tomura said Izuku tried to do it every day. Izuku cared very much for the two of them.

(And thankfully not in a way that would require Himiko to be jealous.)

She tapped her knife against her cheek.

Best of all, though, Izuku knew obsession.

Himiko had only needed one glance in his room to know that his love for “Kacchan” was the real deal: Pictures of the teenager covered Izuku’s walls. With the exception of one tack board that held a few pictures of the hero All Might and a photo of a middle-aged couple with green hair, every other available surface found itself coated in photos of Kacchan including: publicity stills, candid shots that looked like they’d been taken from fairly close distance, and random school photos with bits of text around them that might have been clipped from a school paper.

The collection was as haphazard as it was complete. If Himiko had been any other girl, she might have found it creepy that Izuku was such a stalker.

But Himiko was Himiko and she found it wonderful.

Now if only she didn’t want to stab Kacchan in the eye for taking all of Izuku’s attention.

It was Himiko’s ultimate conundrum: She loved Izuku because he loved Kacchan, but if Izuku got the Kacchan that he loved so much, then he wouldn’t have room for Himiko! She’d never get him all to herself to love and cherish and shove his face in the dirt and cut his skin and drink him alive.

It was quite the pickle!

“Are you done giggling to yourself?” Tomura asked, leaning over the side of the couch. His hand-held game hung loosely in four fingers from one side. He huffed, one eye glaring through the fingers of his mask. “You’re annoyingly loud.”

“But I’m so happy!” Himiko said, she hopped up on her knees and poked Tomura’s mask. “Besides, it’s not like I have much else to do. You’re playing games and Izuku’s doing all the work by himself.”

Tomura tapped his game console up and down on the couch side. “I don’t know if you’ve forgotten already, but we did destroy a news station yesterday.”

“Oh, right.” Himiko said. She wrapped her knuckles on the side of her head. “I guess it makes sense you’d take a break then! But then why is Izuku still working so hard?”

“Because he’s a workaholic,” Tomura said, scratching his neck. He looked back toward the open door to Izuku’s room and huffed. He raised his voice, “You do know you don’t have to do Giran’s work anymore, right, Midoriya?”

“It’s what I’d be doing in my spare time anyway,” Izuku shouted back. Himiko wished she could see him from the living room, but his desk was just out of sight from this angle. “Might as well get paid for it.”

Tomura stilled for a second, considering that answer before snorting loudly and walking around. He kicked the couch until Himiko scooted over and he sat. “I forgot analyzing Quirks was his hobby.”

“What other hobbies does he have?” Himiko asked. She clapped her hands together and put her knife away. “I already know about Quirk analyzing and his Kacchan stalking—”

“Don’t call him that!” Izuku yelled from the other room.

“Oops,” Himiko said, putting her finger over her mouth. She corrected herself, “Bakugou stalking. But what else does he like? Tell me!”

“All Might?” Tomura scratched his neck. “I don’t know. I make him play games with me but he doesn’t like them and he doesn’t do anything else but work or stalk Kacchan.”

Himiko waited for Izuku to scold Tomura for the use of nickname.

It didn’t happen.

“Why do you get to call him that but not me?”

Tomura shrugged. “I was his friend first?”

Himiko snickered into her hand, but she and Tomura both jumped when Izuku’s door slammed shut behind him. Bags were under his eyes and he huffed as he walked over.

“You’ve certainly made yourself at home already,” Izuku said. He frowned at Himiko and put a hand on his chin. “You passed Giran’s initial test because your file says you were responsible for the blood draining murders, but we still don’t know anything about you aside from why you joined.

“You may have passed Shigaraki’s test just by being a killer, but I’m still wondering if you’re going to be able to pull your weight around here as an effective team member,” Izuku said. Izuku studied her, eyes raking all of her frame. Himiko shivered and fidgeted on the couch, from the intensity of it. Izuku asked, “What exactly is it you’re good at aside from murder?”

“Hard to please, are you?” Himiko said. She bit her lip. Izuku was even cute when he was mad and trying to glare. She wanted him. She wanted to touch him so badly. Himiko had an idea. “That’s okay! Once you know what I can do, I think you’ll be very impressed.”

“And what is it that you can do?” Izuku asked.

“Let me have a cup of blood and you’ll find out,” Himiko said. She grabbed the couch back and pushed up to lean over the side to be closer to Izuku. This was perfect! Himiko had wanted to be Izuku, but she didn’t think it’d get to be this soon. Her heartbeat picked up from the excitement. “Or a tablespoon. Either is okay. I just need your blood.”

Izuku said, “No.”

“Don’t say that!” Himiko forced a smile and leaned even closer. “You’ll like it! I promise!”

Tomura scratched his neck and said, “Does it really matter whose blood it is?”

“I guess not,” Himiko said, putting. She puffed her cheeks and slumped on the couch side. “But I really wanted it to be Izuku’s.”

“Why don’t you just tell us?” Izuku asked.

“It’s more fun if it’s a surprise,” Himiko answered. And she wanted that blood; Izuku’s blood. Himiko pressed her lips together and smiled coyly. Izuku looked away from her and she ran her hand over the couch back. “It ruins the fun if I just tell you.”

“I am not giving you my blood if I don’t know what you’re going to do,” Izuku said, crossing his arms. He paused and huffed. “No, I take that back. Even if I know, I’m not giving it to you.”

“You’re no fun,” Himiko said. (That was a lie. This was adorable. His glaring was so endearing she wanted to cut his face off and frame it.) She held her hands together and begged, “Pretty, pretty please?”

“Here,” Tomura said. He shoved his arm in front of her face and pulled back his sleeve. “Small cut, no more than what fits in your palm. I’m already tired of this back and forth, so just do it.”

“Tomura knows how to have fun!” Himiko said. She flicked her knife out, spinning it once. He didn’t so much as twitch as she cut a tiny slit on the inside of his arm near the wrist. Izuku had jerked into a battle-ready position at the sight of her weapon, but didn’t move to intervene (such a good boy). Himiko caught a mouthful’s worth in her palm before she said, “I’m good!”

“Shigaraki!” Kurogiri said. He appeared at his master’s side in a blink of an eye (without his warp, even!) and immediately applied a cloth to stop the bleeding. “What were you thinking?”

“That I was bored and I wanted them to shut up,” he said. He glared at Himiko and let his arm be tended. “Go on then. Impress us.”

Himiko licked the glob of blood off her palm and did just that.

Chapter Text

Dabi walked into the wrong damn bar.

He stopped dead in the doorway, eyes widening as he took in the cast of characters bickering in the main seating area of the small establishment. Under normal circumstances, Dabi’s eyes would have gone to the back wall first to see if there was anything decent (or cheap, depending on his mood) stocked. But this time around it was hard to miss the drama that took over the entire place like they owned it.

(Which they probably did.)

“But I don’t want support equipment!” a blonde girl whined, waving her arms around. Dabi had no idea who she was, but he already knew she was annoying. The girl puffed up her cheeks and stopped her foot. “I have my knife and my knife is good enough! Besides, what you described to Giran to order is so not going to be cute!”

“The point is to look scary,” a man scratching his neck said with a hand mask on his face. He looked scrawny but every inch of him screamed “creepy” in that “you don’t want to meet him in an alley” kinda way. That guy, Dabi knew: Tomura Shigaraki. You couldn’t go two steps in the underground without hearing about big bosses with masks, and most people knew to stay out of their way. Shigaraki groaned, scratching his neck harder. “You’re a villain.”

“And you need support equipment,” a green haired boy said, swirling ice around in a half-filled cup of something sparkling. The brat looked frustrated and tired with bags under his eyes that almost were as purple as his own burnt skin. Dabi knew that guy, too: The crazy kid from the news broadcast with the grenades and a serious thing for some U.A. student. “Your Quirk is incredibly handy, but your methods of collection are shoddy and inefficient.”

Blondie narrowed her eyes, insulted. A woman’s wrath was not to be trifled with, but Newscast looked like he hadn’t learned that lesson yet in life. She pulled her knife out and stabbed the bar top. “My methods work just fine!”

Newscast Brat slammed his glass down next to her knife, his voice raising with his frustration. “You killed three people on accident because you took too much and have no control with the knife!”

“Who cares?” The blonde said back, putting her hands on her hip. “They were practice dummies for the real thing anyway. I’d be much more careful with someone I love, thank you very much.”

“That doesn’t matter. You need to be able to capture, store, and organize from multiple people while in the field and you can’t do that with your current methods.” The teen held both of his hands up and put them in front of him, half-way to fists. “If you want to stay here, you’re going to use the equipment we give you.”

Dabi decided to take this opportunity of yelling and bickering to take a few steps out of the bar before someone noticed him.

“It seems we have a guest,” Black Mist said from behind the bar.

(And that was strike three on major known super villains Dabi recognized.)

Dabi cursed under his breath and held up a hand with a hopefully careless looking shrug. “Ah, I think I’m in the wrong place. I’ll just let myself out.”

He took a few steps back and tripped, falling hard on the floor…on the other side of the bar next to Shigaraki. He glared at Black Mist, watching his warp return to his person, before getting back on his feet. Dabi wiped dirt from the floor off his sleeve and huffed, “Or I guess I could buy a drink.”

“And what’s your poison?” Black Mist asked, pulling down a fresh glass.

“Anything that’s cheap and not literal poison,” Dabi said, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Because I’ve only got like four bucks on me.”

Shigaraki snickered behind his face mask while the blonde girl skipped over to hang on Newscast Brat’s arm. She giggled into the sleeve covering her hand and said something suspiciously like “He’s cute, too.” Newscast look unamused, but gave Dabi a once-over with his eyes so thorough that it made his skin crawl—even the bits without nerve endings.

“And what makes you think you’re in the wrong place?” Shigaraki asked, watching Dabi from a wide eye wedged between two of the fingers of his mask. “You sure look like you fit in with the freaks.”

“I don’t know, I think I’m pretty handsome myself,” Dabi said, clicking his tongue before rubbing it along the metal stitching on the inside of his mouth. A glass clinked onto the bar top, but he had to reach in-between Shigaraki and Newscast to get it. This was a freaking test if he’d ever seen one. Dabi rolled his eyes and snatched up the glass; he had his own tricks up his sleeves if these losers tried anything. “You’re the one hiding your looks behind a mask, not me.”

“You didn’t answer the first half of that question,” Newscast said. Dabi could almost feel his eyes continuing to scan over his stitches and burnt skin; Newscast’s mind whirled behind those eyes. That kid was dangerous and asked again, “Why are you here?”

“I asked Giran for a bar that didn’t card minors because getting a fake I.D. is more trouble than it’s worth when you’ve got a face as nice as mine,” Dabi said, admitting the truth. It’s not like he had anything to lose. “He recommended I check out this place, and while he neglected to mention this is apparently a League of Villains hangout, he was right about the bartender not caring about checking your age.”

Dabi threw back his shot and nearly spit it back out. He swallowed it, relishing the burn before dropping the glass at his side, held loosely between his fingers. Dabi glanced at Black Mist, “And if that was the cheap stuff, I’m terrified of what your top shelf costs.”

“We don’t carry anything ‘cheap’ in this establishment,” Black Mist said, the amusement loud and clear. “But consider that on the house.”

“Just out of curiosity, but how do you know Giran?” Newscast asked, mouth tugging halfway into a smile. The girl repeated “Tell us! Tell us!” over his shoulder. Newscast sighed and shoved her face away. “It might answer a lot.”

“I do the occasional odd job,” Dabi said carefully, keeping his eyes on where Shigaraki’s hands were. He was the closest and Dabi didn’t know how fast he was if Dabi said the wrong thing. “Just when I need some spare cash.”

“Giran is well aware that this isn’t a public bar,” Newscast said, holding up a finger and drawing it around in a circle. “Which meant he probably sent you here as a future recruit without telling you.”

“Thanks but no thanks,” Dabi said. He lifted his glass in a half toast and set it back on the bar. “I’m a little small time for this.”

“You’re staying,” Shigaraki said. He leaned his elbow on the bar, dropping the side of his head into a waiting hand. His voice sounded dull and bored, but with enough authority that Dabi could believe this was the guy who tried to kill All Might. He pointed at Newscast and Blondie. “I won’t be left alone with them, so I’m keeping you.”

Dabi glanced behind him as the door slammed shut, closed by Black Mist. Dabi breathed out and weighed his options of how far he’d get using his fire. Shigaraki he could maybe take if he was alone, but that girl was really close to her knife and Black Mist had a few tricks, too. He looked at Newscast and remembered his Quirk had something to do with energy absorption—which included fire.

Unless he unleashed something big enough to take the whole place down and bring every cop in the city running, he was stuck for now.

Dabi said, “Well, damn.”

“Shall I get you another drink?” Black Mist offered, still amused at his predicament.

Dabi shoved Newscast and his girlfriend over, taking the seat in-between them and Shigaraki. Dabi pulled his cigarettes out of his pocket and tapped one out of the case. “Give me the whole damn bottle.”

Shigaraki giggled under his breath and Dabi rubbed his hands down his face, stretching the skin under his eyes. Blondie poked him in the cheek, catching her nail on one of his stitches and continued to coo about him in Newscast’s ear. Dabi took the offered bottle from Black Mist and poured himself a double.

Katsuki wiped the sweat off his face and collapsed into the grass. The leftover slush cooled his back and he exhaled, releasing the last of his excess energy from the work out. The sky loomed above his head with white clouds and clear skies. He could hear Kirishima complimenting Todoroki on creating steam off to the side.

His latest work out session with Todoroki hadn’t been enough (it never was) but it’d allowed him to let out a little bit of steam of his own. His hands and arms ached from the exercise, burning in that good way that noted his heart rate was up and his muscles were growing.

“We’re going to head back to the dorms,” Kirishima said, looking down at Katsuki. He stood over him and gave a thumbs up. “You coming, or just going to chill down there?”

“I’ll catch up later,” Katsuki said. He held a hand up and waved them on. “I want to be alone for a while.”

“If you say so,” Kirishima said. He left Katsuki’s vision, returning his gaze to the sky above. His boots stomped in the melting slush and he said, “Come on, Todoroki! We’re going back without him.”

“See you soon, Bakugou,” Todoroki said, off to the side and out of sight. “Don’t stay out here too late.”

“I won’t,” Katsuki said.

He closed his eyes and breathed in the warm afternoon air. The air in the training field stayed quiet and he rolled to his side to get up. Katsuki would stretch and cool down with a light jog before going back to join everyone else back at the dorms.

“You looked like you were having fun.”

Katsuki stopped, kneeling on one knee, he carefully turned to look over his shoulder. Izuku smiled, his metal mask hanging around his neck, and raised his hand to wave. He sat on the bleachers, one leg raised with his arms wrapped around them.

“Makes me wish I’d taken Todoroki up on that offer to help train,” Izuku said. His smile turned wry as he stuck his tongue in the side of his cheek. “But it still makes me a little jealous to see them with you.”

“What are you doing here?” Katsuki asked, pushing up. Izuku’s gaze swept over his back tank top with a small bite to the side of his lip. Katsuki resisted the urge to cross his arms, and widened his stance. “Shouldn’t you be kissing Shigaraki’s ass?”

“I think Shigaraki can miss me for a while.” Izuku snickered and hopped off the bleacher. Katsuki glanced around, looking for a teacher or someone else. He didn’t see Izuku’s friends, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t secretly outnumbered or something. He couldn’t afford to keep screwing up. Izuku stopped about four feet from Katsuki. “It’d be nice if you looked at me since I came all the way here.”

“How’d you get into the school?” Katsuki asked.

“I wanted to see you,” Izuku said, as if that were all the answer he needed.

(It probably was; the brat was smart like that.)

Izuku edged closer, revealing flecks of rust on his upper cheek. Katsuki could smell the rot coming from his Villain costume, still reeking from sweat and old blood. Izuku stopped a breath away from Katsuki, looking up with large eyes that looked like they wanted to eat Katsuki alive.

“Why aren’t you calling for help? Or striking out?” Izuku asked. He pushed up on his tip-toes just the extra inch he needed to put them eye to eye. “Shouldn’t you be stopping me, Hero?”

The quiet afternoon seemed too bright; too empty. Izuku stood in the middle of this field next to Katsuki like he belonged there. Like he hadn’t tried to murder some kid on television. Like he hadn’t put Kirishima in the hospital.

“Why are you here?” Katsuki asked, voice heavy.

“Because you want me here,” Izuku said, far too knowing. He put his hands on the back of Katsuki’s head and pulled him forward to crash their lips together. Their teeth knocked; Izuku nipped the side of his mouth. “Because I want to be here.”

“I hate you so much.” Katsuki dropped his head into the nook of Izuku’s neck and shoulder. He grabbed his back, digging his raw fingers into the black jumpsuit.

“No you don’t.” Izuku petted the back of his hair, calm and even. He completed the hug, wapping his arm’s around Katsuki’s back. Izuku nuzzled him, whispering, “Can I take you home now, Katsuki?”

The ground opened up beneath them.

The bright blue sky disappeared into a sea of inky black warehouse walls and concrete floors. The hanging lamp returned, swinging as it lit patches of the ground, but never the entire room.

Katsuki hit the ground, landing hard on his back and losing all of his breath. He didn’t hear Izuku land, but he could hear the taps of his boots in the darkness around him. Katsuki rolled over and got to his knees, looking around for where Izuku had slunk off to. The light swayed again, the stem creaking in the empty room like a nail on a chalkboard.

He really hated this place.

“Oh suck it up, Katsuki,” Izuku said. The boot connected with Katsuki’s lower back, kicking him forward. Izuku helped himself to a seat on the lower part of Katsuki’s spine, shoving his face into the concrete floor from the back of the neck. Inhumane strength kept Katsuki pinned and furious. Izuku chuckled, scraping Katsuki’s cheek on the floor. “You’re not going to win. You couldn’t beat me in Middle School. You couldn’t beat me when I took Kirishima. You couldn’t save that kid. You can’t save yourself.”

Katsuki bit his tongue and scrunched his eyes closed as Izuku shifted his hips, pressing them into the dip of his spine.

Izuku fit their bodies together, reversing a position that Katsuki used to daydream about when he was younger. He repeated an old line with a whole new sickening meaning: “Just give up and let me have you, okay?”

Ice water splashed over Katsuki’s face, throwing him out of the dream and back into the dorm living room.

He breathed heavily and reached up to wipe off the excess water dripping from his face.

“Having a good nap, there?” Shinsou asked, staring down at Katsuki. He set the empty glass on the side table next to the couch. Shinsou looked pointedly at Katsuki’s waist and the after effects of his dream. “Sure looks like it.”

“Oh, shut up.” Katsuki tugged at his pants as he readjusted and calmed himself down. He tugged up a leg to lessen the evidence and glared at Shinsou. Fire still pooled at his belly, but he was too disgustingly grateful to have had his dream cut short to be too angry. “Was the glass of water necessary?”

“I thought you were having a nightmare at first, but then realized you needed to cool off instead,” Shinsou said. He continued watching Katsuki with an odd look before snorting and turning away. “You talk in your sleep by the way. I’d advise not taking naps in the common room if that’s what plagues your subconscious. If anyone else finds out you’re moaning Midoriya’s name in your sleep, this whole situation will get a thousand times worse.”

With that, Shinsou turned on his heel and walked away.

“Hey!” Katsuki shouted after him, but his friend had already left the room.

He could still feel the tension in the air, but he couldn’t pinpoint from what. Shinsou kept a lid on his emotions more than Katsuki did when he wanted to, and right now he was a closed book. But it was clear as day from the glare in his eyes and the glass of ice water that the dream he’d overheard bothered him.

But how? Had Shinsou liked Izuku himself or was he just disgusted in general?

Either way, Katsuki was screwed. He groaned and rubbed between his eyes before falling back on the couch. He dropped his hand on the top of his thigh, thumb near his waist, far too tempted.

“So who are you obsessed with?” Dabi asked, lighting the edge of his cigarette with his own flame.

Shigaraki’s eyes darted to the fire still lingering on Dabi’s fingertips before his gaze headed back to Dabi’s face. He scratched his neck. “Obsessed with?”

Dabi pointed with is cigarette to the other half of the room. “Newscast over there is obsessed with that U.A. student. Blondie’s obsessed with Newscast. I’d be willing to bet money Black Mist is obsessed with you considering he’s watching you all day. All of this leads me to think having a center of obsession is a requirement for membership in this group.”

“I’m not obsessed with anyone,” Shigaraki said. He reached over and used his Quirk on Dabi’s cigarette, dropping the ashes over his chest and lap. “And Kurogiri’s not obsessed with me. He’s just doing his job as my servant.”

“Sure,” Dabi said. He lit another cigarette and blew the smoke in Shigaraki’s face. He was tempting death at this point, but he couldn’t seem to give a shit. “Doesn’t explain those two.”

“Midoriya was obsessed with that Kacchan boy before I met him, I just gave him a nudge into acting on it,” Shigaraki said. “The other one’s just crazy, but she’s very good at killing things so I decided to keep her, too.”

Dabi blew a puff of smoke and made a joke. “Like pets?”

“What else would they be?” Shigaraki asked.

His tone was so dead serious that Dabi snorted to cover his laugh. He smothered the chuckles with another puff on his cigarette and leaned back into the couch as he watched the television. The local news played on, talking about heroes this and heroes that. He didn’t really care, but Shigaraki had returned to watching the latest gossip on heroes while Newscast and his girl worked on a laptop near the window. Dabi tapped the ashes from his cigarette into the waiting tray.

These people were out of their minds and he was sneaking out the window at the first opportunity.

Plus, he needed to pay Giran a visit and burn his entire damn office to the ground before calling the police to tip them off about what was in the ashes.

It would serve him right for sending Dabi into a lion’s den because he was a little bitter about one freaking job gone wrong. Dabi was gonna’ pay him back his money and that geezer knew it! He didn’t need to take it out on Dabi when all he wanted was a drink and some place to chill out.

Shigaraki scratched his neck, that stupid mask still covering his face. Dabi smoked, pondering the odds of Tomura Shigaraki actually caring if Dabi up and disappeared in the night. They’d known each other, what? Four? Five hours tops? That couldn’t be enough time to make an actual impression.

“I believe I’ll be turning in for the night, unless you need anything else?” Black Mist said, putting the last of the things away in the small kitchen. He paused and looked straight at Dabi. “And where will our newest guest be staying tonight?”

“He can share with Toga,” Shigaraki said.

Dabi lowered his cigarette and glared at Shigaraki. He already didn’t like where this was going. “I can just sleep on the couch.”

Shigaraki turned and looked at Newscast. “Midoriya. Tell Toga it’ll make you happy if she makes sure Dabi doesn’t sneak out in the night and run away.”

“It’ll make me really happy if you keep an eye on Dabi and make sure he stays put for Shigaraki all night,” Newscast repeated, almost mechanically, never taking his eyes off his keyboard as he worked.

Blondie hummed, kicking her legs back and forth. She watched Dabi with bright eyes and a knowing smirk. She dropped and hugged Newscast’s arm and asked, “How happy?”

“I’ll tell Giran to make your gear cuter,” Izuku said. He looked up and dropped a bright smile that looked wrong as shit on a guy that murdered someone on television over a jealous crush. “I’ll even make sure he paints it pink.”

“Deal!” Blondie jumped off the window seat and skipped across the room. She threw her arms around Dabi’s shoulders and swung her way around over the couch back to land in his lap with a heavy thump that knocked his breath out. She kicked her legs up and laughed. “We’re gonna’ be roomies!”

Dabi picked his fallen cigarette off the floor and shoved it out in the ash tray. “Peachy.”

“I told you I was keeping you, too,” Shigaraki said. He watched Dabi through the fingers of his mask, pupil small and gaze manic. “So don’t be stupid and make plans on your own.”

“Welcome the League, Dabi!” Blondie said, giggling. She stayed in his lap as she reached down for the television remote. She swapped the channel from the news to some sitcom and waved it in the air. “Izuku, baby! Come on! Let’s watch TV together!”

“No,” Newscast said.

“Boo,” Blondie said. She dug her fingers into the back of Dabi’s hair and leaned on his shoulder as she snuggled into his lap and dropped her legs between his. Blondie looked down at Dabi and Shigaraki and said, “Then we’ll just be best friends over here without you!”

Dabi grunted when she mock-whispered. “Do you think this will make him jealous?”

“No,” Shigaraki and Dabi said at the same time.

Blondie burst into laughter and squeezed his head to the side of her chest and Dabi vowed to redouble his efforts to get out of here and escape at the first opportunity.

Chapter Text

Izuku curled on his side under his comforter, clutching a pillow to his chest. Burying his cheek into the side of it, he blocked out the sound of Shigaraki’s troubled breathing through the (still unfixed) hole in the wall between their rooms. He’d put a large print-out picture of Kacchan over it, but paper did little to block sound. Shigaraki didn’t snore, but he had nightmares of his own that resulted in heavy, labored breathing and shifting that made his bed creak when he should have been relaxed and calm.

Dabi and Toga were mercifully silent sleepers in the room on the opposite wall, making it easy for Izuku to retreat into his own little daydreams in the dead of the night.

He thought about Kacchan, mostly.

(Kacchan had taken over nearly all of his thoughts, really.)

Izuku replayed his last moments together face to face with Kacchan: His hands around the other boy’s neck, the desperation of his own heartbeat, and the shock and outrage he’d felt when it had been smacked in his face how their peers at his ex-dream school had defanged and declawed one of the most amazing people Izuku had ever known.

As much as he had hated that the original news interview had made Kacchan look bad, it had done a wonderful job of reminding Izuku of how dominant Kacchan used to be. He was a self-absorbed, violent force of nature that Izuku couldn’t help but admire. Kacchan was an asshole, but he was an asshole that did what he said he would: Win, succeed, and do whatever it took to keep that first place spot in whatever he set out to do.

Sure, Izuku often wished that violence and hatred had been focused more toward goal oriented things and symbolic hurdles than people, but he’d far rather have Kacchan be a bully than a watered down lap dog.

Kacchan was meant to have a scary smirk and murder in his eyes.

Izuku shivered, hugging his pillow closer. His hand slipped over his belly and below the waistline of his boxers.

Kacchan would be furious when Izuku finally caught him. He’d be spitting mad, fighting every restraint meant to keep him contained. He’d be glorious again.

Izuku bit his pillow.

He was far away from the end goal of getting Kacchan alone and all to himself, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t pretend that moment was already here.

(And it was so easy to pretend.)

Himiko hummed as she fixed her hair in the mirror. Dabi slept behind her, face buried in his pillow and drool on the side of his cheek. The crust of it stuck in his stitches and it was as cute as it was disgusting.

The temptation to take his blood still lingered, but Himiko had learned the hard way that Dabi was fast with his Quirk, even in his sleep, and she didn’t want to risk getting a burn before she and Izuku had consummated their love.

She was sure Izuku wasn’t the shallow type and would hardly care about a little thing like a scar or burn mark, but it was the principal of the matter!

Himiko was adorable and flawless and she was going to keep it that way.

Which meant Mr. Handsome Dabi got to keep his blood.

He was behaving anyway, being a good boy for Shigaraki and Izuku, so Himiko thought he had probably earned the right to control what blood he gave her.

Happy with her hair, Himiko stretched and threw open her door. It was gloriously the middle of the night and moonlight fell softly into the main living room. Izuku and Shigaraki’s doors remained shut, though that wasn’t much of an obstacle for what she wanted.

Pressing her ear against the door to Izuku’s room, she listened for any sounds that her love might be awake. It wasn’t unheard of for him to be a night owl, but he usually passed out by two or three.

Himiko bit her lip as she caught the sound of a shifting sheets and mumbling through the door.

Her Izuku-baby was definitely awake. She covered her mouth to hold in the giggle and slid to the floor with her back against the wall, careful not to jostle the door.

Himiko knew to be gone by the time morning came, but she enjoyed herself listening to her beloved say someone else’s name over and over—his own beloved. Himiko pressed her fingers to her lips and smiled wide, feeling her own face flush.

It was only a matter of time before it was her name on his lips keeping Izuku awake at night.

(She was sure of it.)

“We need to do something fun,” Kaminari said, sitting on Sero’s desk after their last class had ended. Katsuki shoved the last of his classwork into his bag and leaned on the back of his chair to listen. Kaminari blew his bangs out of his face and huffed. “Everything’s been all work and seriousness since Midoriya tried to murder that kid.”

“Things like attempted murder by teenage Villains tend to be serious,” Shinsou said, slumping in his chair. He still hadn’t said a word directly to Katsuki since the incident in the common room two days ago, but he figured that was only a matter of time. Shinsou scratched a finger on his desk. “We’re not exactly going to start pretending it didn’t happen just because a little time has passed.”

“That’s not what I mean!” Kaminari said, crossing his arms. “I just meant that it’s already been a few days since then and all of us sitting around and being miserable is probably exactly what Midoriya wants.”

Ashido hopped up onto her own desk and kicked her legs back and forth. “He’s got a point. We have been more down than usual, and that’s probably not the best thing for any of us.”

“Frustration will do that,” Shinsou said. He sent a glance toward Katsuki before putting his attention back on Ashido. “Midoriya’s making all the big moves and we can’t do anything about it aside from hoping that someone gets to the scene in time when he does show up. He’s got us on the ropes and he knows it.”

“All the more reason not to let it get to us,” Kaminari said. He nodded to himself in agreement. Kaminari slapped his hands together and looked around the small crew that had gathered. “So what’s fun we can all do?”

“Going to the movies or the mall is a pretty standard outing,” Ashido said. She put her finger on her cheek and hummed. “Or we could go hiking or something.”

“We could go to the theme park,” Sero suggested. He tugged out his phone and pulled up the website, flipping it around to show everyone. “They just opened a new ride that sounded pretty fun and I was kinda hoping to check it out anyway. Going with the group would be way more fun.”

“A theme park?” Katsuki asked, sticking his cheek into his palm. “Isn’t that a little kiddish?”

“They can be fun,” Kirishima said, speaking up. He leaned on his elbows on his desk and scrunched his nose as he grinned. “There’s always delicious snack foods and kids running around to watch. Plus, the carnival style rides aren’t like super exciting or anything, but they can still be fun.”

“That sounds like two votes for the theme park!” Ashido said. She raised her hand in the air and laughed. “I’ll be three! We should totally go this weekend!”

“Would that really be a good idea?” Shinsou asked. He picked up a pencil and tapped it on the edge of the desk. “All of us out in public and in the open? I don’t know if you forgot, but there was a reason we all got moved into dorms.”

“That was to help protect our families and stuff,” Kaminari said, waving his hand back and forth. “We’d all be together, too. So it’s not like we’d be out alone.”

“A bunch of U.A. students out together is going to attract attention, even more so now that Bakugou’s semi-famous from all those newscasts,” Shinsou said. He put his pencil down and slid back into his seat. “We’d still be a walking target.”

“We would,” Kirishima said. He stared at the table top and threw his head up, slamming his hands on the table top. “Hey! What if instead of waiting for Midoriya to show up, we bait him out?”

“Like how?” Kaminari asked.

“He gets super jealous because Bakugou has friends, right?” Kirishima asked. He stood up and waved his hands around. “What if we sees us all together having fun out at a theme park? He’d want to crash the party, wouldn’t he? And when he does, we could be ready to ambush him!”

“That sounds stupid,” Katsuki said, gritting his teeth together. The last thing he needed was Kirishima and Izuku in a space together. He didn’t want them to see each other ever if he could help it. Katsuki squeezed his fingers into a fist. “We’d have no way of knowing if he’d actually show, and even if he does, he’s got Shigaraki and a Nomu with him.”

“Plus whoever answered that newscast,” Todoroki said, joining the conversation. He walked closer to Katsuki and his friends and frowned. “We could be facing considerable numbers.”

“But that would be an issue next time the League of Villains attacks anyway, right?” Kirishima asked. He almost growled, grinding his own sharp teeth together. “The next time Midoriya shows up he’ll bring those new ‘considerable numbers’ with him and we’d still be caught off guard. At least with this scenario we know to at least prepare for a bigger group than we anticipated.”

“And if he doesn’t show up, we had a nice day in the park!” Ashido said.

Katsuki rubbed between his eyes. “I feel like if baiting Izuku out was a good plan, someone would have come and asked me to do it by now. It’s not like the Pro Heroes aren’t looking for him or the League.”

“Bait missions are typically frowned upon, it’s true,” Aizawa said. Katsuki jumped at his voice and turned in his seat. Aizawa held his class books under his arm and sighed. “But that’s also because the victims of stalkers are typically civilians. Bait missions with heroes are more common, but in your suggested scenario none of you seem to have accounted for the civilians who would also be in the area of said ambush.”

“Right,” Kirishima said, sinking back into his chair.

“We could have a U.A. only day,” Sero suggested. “That way everyone in the park would be a Hero in Training and the teachers would have a good excuse to be there.”

“Wouldn’t that discourage Midoriya from attacking?” Shinsou asked. “The guy’s not stupid. He’s not going to walk into a park full of potential enemies, no matter how jealous he is.”

“I don’t know,” Kirishima said, staring straight ahead. Katsuki could see his mind running behind his eyes, probably remembering how out of control Midoriya had gotten before. He rubbed the side of his arm and pressed his lips together. “Midoriya might risk if it if we tempted him enough.”

Katsuki didn’t like where that sentence was going.

“You mean like we should cuddle up extra hard with Bakugou and show it off online?” Ashido asked, giggling. She held up her phone and flipped through the appropriate social apps. She turned it around and pointed at a selfie of her and Sero. “I bet if we posted a ton of pictures with Bakugou having fun with us that would definitely get Midoriya’s attention.”

“He already wants to kill all of you, do you really want to make it worse?” Shinsou asked.

(Katsuki agreed.)

“Or on the flip-side,” Kirishima said. The frustration leaked into his voice, hiding an anger that Katsuki didn’t like on his normally chipper friend. “He already wants to kill all of us. What do we really have to lose? He attacks us in a scenario where we’re prepared for him, or he attacks us when we’re off guard. It’s going to happen either way, so at least in the first one we have a better chance of taking him down.”

“Assuming he doesn’t realize it’s a trap,” Todoroki said. “We might not be the only ones with a plan.”

“He probably won’t care,” Shinsou said, thoughtful as he looked at his desk. “He’s high on what was essentially a win for him, and if the League has gotten new recruits, this would be a good opportunity to test them out.”

“Are we really still talking about this like it’s a good idea?” Katsuki asked. He glanced at their useless teacher, who still listened quietly. Surely that guy would tell them all they were being idiots intentionally provoking Izuku at this point. “Because it’s going to explode in our faces.”

“There has to be some sort of irony going on when you say things like that,” Kaminari said. “I figured you’d be the one who wanted a chance to take a swing at Midoriya more than any of us.”

Katsuki snorted and and slumped in his chair.

(“Only if we were alone and one on one, right, Katsuki?” Izuku asked. “But we can’t tell them that, now can we? Especially not after Shinsou saw what he did.”)

Stupid dreams, Katsuki thought to himself. He growled and slumped in his chair, ignoring the voices in his head.

“Now I really think we need to get out and do this,” Ashido said. She reached over and ruffled Katsuki’s hair with both hands. “If Bakugou’s not up and yelling about murder, then we really are too down in the dumps!”

“Stop that!” Katsuki shouted, smacking her hands away. He slammed his hand on the desk and shouted. “I’m trying to be smart about this, you idiots!”

“A little better,” Kaminari snickered. “But not quite there.”

“If you lot can come up with an actual plan of action,” Aizawa said, glancing over the group. “I’ll mention it to the Principal. Call it your next class assignment.”

As Aizawa walked out the door, Katsuki slid further down in his seat with a sinking feeling in his chest.

Nothing felt right, and the others weren’t wrong: The fire that normally burned in every inch of his body, the anger and drive, seemed to have been dragged out of him and beaten.

(“And whose fault is that?”)

Katsuki covered his eyes and blocked everyone out as they planned out a theme park ambush would be most effective, ignoring both the eyes of Shinsou and Kirishima staring at his back.

Dabi had severely underestimated the abilities of one Himiko Toga.

Four days. He’d been trapped in his hellhole of an above-business apartment with psychopaths for four days because that awful woman had the strength of a bear hiding somewhere under that stupid cardigan. She’d foiled every attempted he’d made at sneaking out in the night, whether it was by just flat out not sleeping or curling herself around Dabi like a boa constrictor that had a trigger happy knife.

He really wasn’t sure why he hadn’t just given up and lit the entire building on fire already, but that was a lie. He knew exactly why his flames were being kept under wrap: He’d overheard a small call with Shigaraki’s master, and he rethought just how desperate he was to leave.

Dabi wanted to get out, but while he could live with getting on Shigaraki’s bad side, he was pretty sure he’d be dead if he got on his Master’s bad side.

Needless to say, burning down the League of Villain’s property and home of operations was nixed from the plan list.

He lit another cigarette and nursed a shot of something expensive enough he didn’t want to know the cost of, but it was free so Dabi wasn’t complaining. Who cared if he was having liquor and cigarettes for breakfast? The bar itself was the only quiet place in the building with Himiko hovering around Newscast upstairs and Kurogiri cleaning things and he was exhausted.

Shigaraki himself had taken refuge on the couch with a book.


“How can you even see the pages with that thing on your face?” Dabi asked, blowing smoke in the room. He slumped all his weight on the bar top, sinking half off the stool with his knees bent. “Seems like it would make things difficult.”

Shigaraki flipped a page.

Dabi hated that guy. He tossed back his drink and dropped off the stool, crossing the room. He smothered his cigarette out in the back of Shigaraki’s couch and grabbed the book. Shigaraki stared at his empty hands for a second before turning to glare at Dabi, who had just turned the book over to look at the cover.

“Well aren’t you a smart cookie,” Dabi said, whistling at the back cover. He dropped the book back into Shigaraki’s hands and shoved his own into his pockets. “Got to admit, I was all ready to tease you over a romance novel or something, not find out you’re a total geek reading up on your chemistry theorems.”

Shigaraki huffed and flipped his book back to the page he was on. “Only idiots stop their studies after they drop out of school.”

“How far’d you even make it?” Dabi asked, half curious. Shigaraki had a scary Quirk and a wrinkled face, but he wasn’t the most offensive looking person. He could have made it through a few years of public school. Dabi snorted, remembering his own school days. “I made it to second year myself before skipping out.”

“Good dog,” Shigaraki said. He flipped another page. “You want a treat for that accomplishment?”

Dabi lit the book on fire with a snap of his fingers.

“Bad dog,” Shigaraki said, snapping his head up.

The brat’s hand shot forward, aiming for Dabi’s shoulder, but he missed when Dabi threw himself back. He called his dark flame to put space between them as he laughed. “Didn’t anyone tell you not to bring home strays? They bite.”

“Only until you train them properly,” Shigaraki said.

His second strike hit the mark, grabbing the front of Dabi’s collar (one finger raised) and yanking him forward for an over the shoulder throw. Dabi hit the ground and reminded himself that Shigaraki was terrifying in the underground for a reason before twisting around to sweep his leg at Shigaraki’s ankles. The other man hit the floor, and Dabi stood over him.

Dabi readied another flame when they heard something shatter upstairs and both of them stopped.

Shigaraki got to his feet, scratching his neck as he looked at the ceiling. He grunted and huffed. “He better not have broken the TV again.”

“What was that?” Dabi asked, dropping his flame.

“Another dog that needs a little discipline lately,” Shigaraki said, still scratching his neck. He mumbled under his breath as he headed for the stairs. “It was cute at first, but now it’s getting annoying.”

Alone downstairs, Dabi could have just turned around and walked out of the bar.

But he’d be damned if he wasn’t curious.

Izuku probably shouldn’t have thrown the lamp through the window. Sure it was a shady neighborhood and most people knew to stay away from their bar, but there was still a shattered window and people on the street looking at the household appliance broken on the alley floor below.

But if he hadn’t thrown the lamp, he would have thrown a grenade and if he blew up the television again, Shigaraki might actually kill him.

“Wow! Look how far it went,” Toga said, leaning out the window. She put her hand over her eyes and whistled. “It’s halfway down the alley!”

“Why are you breaking my house now?” Shigaraki asked, slamming open the door to the upstairs apartment. Izuku flinched at the tone and his eyes immediately latched onto the burned edges of his sleeves. “It better be good.”

“Izuku got jealous!” Toga said. She sat on her knees on the window seat, kicking her legs up and down as she continued to hang out the window. “Bakugou went to a theme park with all of his friends this morning and they’re posting pictures! It looks like so much fun. We should go, too!”

“Is Bakugou that U.A. kid?” Dabi asked, trailing behind Shigaraki. “And why would you care if he’s hanging out with his friends?”

“Because he’s in love with Bakugou!” Toga supplied. She giggled and reached for Izuku’s laptop. She pulled up a picture of Kacchan and Ashido with her arm around his shoulder in front of the park’s gate. Kacchan didn’t look amused in that one, but it was the next one that had made Izuku throw the lamp. Toga switched the picture to the offending image and giggled. “How could he not get jealous with there are all these people moving in on his man?”

The second picture had Kacchan smiling; warm and sweet and beautiful.

This lovely image had been ruined by two major points: Kirishima had put that smile there, and Kirishima’s fingers were laced with Kacchan’s as they held hands.

Such an innocent, possibly friendly gesture had revived all that ugly jealousy that Izuku had been channeling into getting work done.

Now it was just an ugly, squirming mass again in his chest that ached.

Izuku wanted to cut Kirishima’s hand off.

(Maybe he could give it to Shigaraki to add to his costume.)

“You have so many issues I’m not even sure where to start,” Dabi said, snorting. He grabbed the laptop from Toga and collapsed onto the couch with it. He flicked through the social media page, glancing at all the photos the students at U.A. had been posting from the first hour of their trip. “Your crush is in every single one of these pictures.”

(Izuku had noticed; it wasn’t helping his blood pressure.)

“That’s a trap if I’ve ever seen one.” Dabi closed the laptop and tossed it on the cushions. He pulled a knee onto the cushion and leaned on the couch back. “You’d be an idiot to go to that park.”

“But it would be so much fun, wouldn’t it?” Toga trotted over and retrieved the laptop. She leaned on the couch back, hanging over backwards until her legs hung over the side and her head hit the cushion. She opened the laptop lid again and scrolled through the photos. “It’s like an invitation! We’d be rude to turn it down, right? And it’s the perfect spot for a date!”

Toga put the laptop screen to her chest and grinned. “We should go on a date to the park and make Bakugou jealous!”

“It’s a park full of Pro-Hero wannabes and their teachers,” Dabi said. He felt the need to point it out again: “This is a set up.”

“I know! Doesn’t it just make you want to show up and ruin their plans?” Toga asked.

Izuku had been thinking the other day just how badly he wanted to see Kacchan again, but Dabi wasn’t wrong. This was a set up and the last thing Izuku needed was for another plan to go south.

(But he really wanted to see Kacchan. And he still wanted to break Kirishima’s face. This would be like killing two birds with one stone.)

“We should go on a date anyway,” Toga said. She shoved the laptop in the air with a new photo, this time of Bakugou and Todoroki standing in line for some candied treat, and waved it back and forth. “We’ll send Bakugou pictures and see how he likes it.”

“We’re going to crash the park,” Shigaraki said, eyes on Dabi—who was staring rather intently at the picture of Bakugou and Todoroki. “It’s only a trap if you don’t know it’s a trap.”

Toga screamed in delight and got off the couch. She jumped on Shigaraki’s back and spun them once in a hug before she let go and dashed toward her bedroom. “I’ll get my new gear!”

Dabi slammed the laptop lid closed and glared at Shigaraki and Izuku both. “This is a mistake.”

“We’ll see,” Shigaraki said, scratching his neck. “But I think we’ll all learn something interesting from it.”

Izuku’s heart skipped a beat.

He was going to see Kacchan.

“Stop staring into space,” Shigaraki said. He scratched his neck and headed for his room. “If we don’t go soon, they’ll be done with the park.”

“Right!” Izuku said, snapping up straight. He went for his own gear and forced himself to remain calm.

He’d just been offered a chance to get rid of everyone who’d had a hand in ruining Kacchan at once.

Izuku would be a fool not to take it.

(And he’d make sure they knew just how much he appreciated having his emotions being toyed with, ambush plan or not.)

Chapter Text

“No matter how much you glare at it, those pictures aren’t coming down,” Kirishima said. The boy laughed as he took a bite from a handful of popcorn. He finished off the bag by holding it up and tapping the remainders left into a waiting, open mouth before crumbling the bag and throwing it away in the nearest bin. “Though Ashido might have gone a little overboard.”

The sound of the roller coaster roared along with the screams of their classmates as they walked underneath it, stalking the food carts. After seeing nearly everything the park had to offer and making Katsuki pose for a picture at every single corner, Kirishima now had nothing better to do but talk about them.

“Yes, she did, but I’m not actually looking at them,” Katsuki said, scrolling up the small message list. He stared at the small message, feeling his chest sink. “My folks gave Mrs. Midoriya my number and she sent me a text confirming she typed it in right.”

“What’s Midoriya’s mother want your number for?” Kirishima asked, sitting on the arm of a small waiting bench. The two of them had retreated to a corner to avoid the worst of the rambunctious students running around the park. The teachers were keeping a close eye on everything, but it was a still a theme park. “She need something?”

“Not really,” Katsuki said. He typed out a short reply and clicked the screen off. “My parents are going out of town in a couple weeks, so they wanted her to have my number in case she needs something.”

“Does she know about the plan today?” Kirishima asked.

“No, and I sort of want to keep it that way unless we actually get our hands on Izuku,” Katsuki said. He shoved the phone in his back pocket and nodded toward the center lane in the park. “Come on, let’s go catch up with the others.”

“Yeah, we’d hate for their favorite model to go missing,” Kirishima said, snickering under his breath. He framed his fingers in a square and looked through the gap at Katsuki. “We did get some great shots though. You’re a natural for the camera.”

Katsuki snorted and shoved Kirishima in the shoulder. “Enjoy it while you can, because you’re not getting another photo of me for the rest of the year.”

“I don’t think we’d need one,” Kirishima said, pulling his own phone out. He scrolled through the media feed and bit his lower lip. “There’s enough photos here of you and everybody for like three albums.”

“Our plan probably backfired,” Shinsou said, joining the two of them with a soda hanging loosely in his hand. He stared at his own phone screen and his lips cracked into a half smile. “Midoriya’s going to be too busy drooling over all your photos to attack us. What do you want to bet he even goes to the trouble of scribbling everyone else out of them so he just has a collection of Bakugou photos?”

Kirishima stopped walking, almost crashing into a stand selling cotton candy. His eyes widened and he grimaced. “We did not think that part through, did we?”

“I’m pretty sure he already has a ton of photos of me,” Katsuki said, snorting. It’s not like he didn’t have a bunch of photos of Izuku in various places over the years. “We have known each other our entire lives and both of our parents have cameras. What’s a few more?”

“If you say so,” Shinsou said, not quite looking at Katsuki. He checked the time on his phone and shoved his hands in his pockets. “You think he’s actually going to come?”

“Not a clue,” Katsuki said. He looked over the grounds of the park of everyone running around and having a “good time” with the rides and stands, but the tension running through everyone had them on edge. The photos his friends had taken failed to account for the paranoia of everyone keeping their eyes on things, just waiting for something to go down. Katsuki snorted and crossed his arms. “But if he doesn’t show in another hour, I’m out and calling it a day. We’ve already been here like six hours.”

“If you wanted to see me that bad, you could have just asked.”

“Speak of the devil,” Katsuki said. He took a step back and glared up at Izuku sitting on the top rung of a stand. He looked perfectly content and settled, like he’d been watching them for a while. Katsuki ignored the shiver that went down his spine from knowing that Izuku had gotten that good at going unnoticed. “About time you showed up!”

“Like I said,” Izuku said, his mask clinking around his neck as he tilted his head to the side. “If you wanted to see me, you just had to ask. When it comes to you, I’m pretty easy.”

“Your baby boy isn’t too bright, is he?” A woman giggled.

Katsuki turned over his shoulder to see a blonde girl standing on another stand across from them. She had a pink face mask on and wore a weird harness that looked like it was composed of tubes, syringes, and small pressurized containers. The woman had a knife in her hand and a flush on her face that clashed with the pink gear.

“But I guess they don’t have to be smart if they’re cute,” she said. She giggled into her hand that held the knife and laughed. “Is that what you see in him, Izuku, baby? Are you all about those looks?”

“Izuku, baby?” Katsuki repeated to himself, mouthing the words. He shook his head and glared up at the newcomer. “Who the hell are you supposed to be?”

“Your competition!” She yelled, throwing her hands up. The girl leapt from the roof and slammed into the ground in front of Katsuki, grin wide and showing off her canines. “Because who wouldn’t love Izuku? Aside from you, that is.”

“Bakugou!” Kirishima shouted, but kept his distance to stay out of Katsuki’s way.

(Good. He should just stay back, but they had to keep an eye on Izuku. He didn’t trust them together. Never again, never again.)

Katsuki dodged back as the new girl swung her knife, barely missing him. He judged the distance between him and Izuku, still watching from the roof, and risked it: Katsuki lit his palms and threw an explosion toward the stranger. “Back off.”

The girl dodged with a roll to the side and laughed. “That’s a neat trick! Cute and explosive. Maybe I can understand Izuku’s crush a bit more now, but I still don’t understand you.”

Katsuki made a run for her, catching Shinsou slinking off in the background to get their teachers according to protocol. Kirishima activated his Quirk and kept an eye on Izuku and the new girl from the sidelines. Katsuki took that as his cue to charge full force. Izuku didn’t seem to want to interfere with the brawl, watching the exchange with a tiny smirk at the corner of his mouth.

“Get to the point or shut up,” Katsuki said, wanting to get rid of his idiot so he could deal with the real target.

(He hated dealing with Extras.)

“I don’t understand how you can’t like him back,” she said, eyes glittering over the top of the pink mask. “Izuku is wonderful! He’s beautiful and passionate and so smart! He’s perfect!”

Katsuki dodged her next knife swing and threw another explosion in her direction. Nimble, she continued to duck and weave out of the way, taking swipes with her knife toward Katsuki’s chest.

“Ah, I can’t wait for him to get bored with you,” she said. She stopped her offense to grab her skirt just below the center of her waist and she wrinkled the fabric as her hips twisted. He could see her heavy breath as she rolled her eyes up. “Then I’ll have my chance! Once he’s inside me, he’ll know that I’m the only one for him! He’ll be all mine!”

She dropped her moment of self-indulgence and darted forward with the knife, making quick, mad swings. “I bet he tastes so good! If you’re still alive, I’ll let you know what you missed, okay?”

Katsuki blocked the knife hit, hitting her arm with his forearm. She twisted and dodged to the side with a laugh, but came at him again like it was nothing.

There was something very, very wrong with this woman.

“Just die already!” Katsuki shouted, gathering a large blast in his palm. He grabbed her arm and threw his hand forward ready to hit the girl in the chest and shut her up for now.

Izuku moved, jumping down and putting himself between Katsuki’s blast and the girl. He took the blow, absorbing it and taking the opportunity to grab Katsuki’s arm. Izuku licked his lip and held Katsuki’s hand to his chest and shrugged. “Sorry about Toga. She got a little carried away.”

“Izuku, baby! You took a blow for me,” she said, flushing. She put her hand to her cheek and glowed red. “You do care!”

“Toga, I’d really love it if you went and played with Kirishima so Kacchan and I can catch up, okay?” Izuku smiled, crinkling the edges of his eyes. “Can you do that for me?”

“Anything for you!” Toga said. She skipped forward and kissed Izuku on the cheek before dashing past Katsuki and toward Kirishima in a blur of pink and blonde.

“Hey!” Katsuki said, yanking his hand to free himself.

(Kirishima. His skin could take the knife but he didn’t know what else she could do. He hadn’t seen her Quirk yet.)

Izuku held tight, his face twisting in his jealousy as he watched Katsuki’s attention turn to Kirishima. “I think it’s a little crowded here, don’t you think? Let’s go somewhere more private.”

Katsuki watched Kirishima throw a punch at the girl before the world dropped out from beneath him as he and Izuku fell through Black Mist’s warp.

(This was real. This was real. This was real.)

Shouto shot to attention when Aizawa’s communicator clicked to life. Iida gave his full attention to their teacher as well, moving closer and abandoning the carnival game he’d been attempting to win. He and Shouto listened to the message through the small, tinny speaker.

“They’re here!” Shinsou said, coming in loud and clear. “Bakugou and Kirishima are engaging Midoriya and an unknown alley near the food carts. No sign of Nomu or Shigaraki so far.”

“Roger,” Aizawa replied, already moving in a slow jog down the line. Shouto and Iida followed, waiting for orders. “We’ll be there soon. Do not engage and keep an eye for more enemies.”

“Yes, sir,” Shinsou said.

Aizawa turned to Shouto and Iida as they continued to move. “Meet up with the rest of your class and get the other teachers. Watch for other hostiles and be careful. I’m going to back up Bakugou and Kirishima. Understand?”

“Yes, sir,” Shouto said. He watched his teacher throw on his goggles and drop the jog to drop into a run toward the distance where he could see a few flashes of Bakugou’s explosions.

Turning on his heel Shouto moved to do as instructed when he and Iida found their path blocked.

“Look what we’ve got here,” a man said. Shouto winced at his appearance: burnt flesh stitched together with metal staples against pale skin. His eyes stayed half-lidded, tired and half-awake, but his mouth stretched into a lazy grin. “A tiny Todoroki.”

Iida shifted into a battle ready position at the same time as Shouto. He readied his ice and said, “Move aside.”

“Can’t really do that,” the man said. He snorted and held his hands out, showing off his palms. Shouto kept his eyes closely on the man and fought the feeling that he seemed familiar. Perhaps he was a villain his father had fought before. The other man seemed to know Endeavor at least if the way he’d said “Todoroki” was any indication. The stranger leaned forward and put one hand near his mouth and mock-whispered. “But I will let you in on a secret.”

Shouto and Iida stayed in position, ready for whatever this man may have in store with his Quirk, and the explosions in the distance continued to roar.

“You see, I couldn’t give two shits about the League of Villains or the lover boy’s spat on the other side of the park,” the man said. He dropped his smile and lit his palms on fire, the flames dark and black. “But I’d never pass up an opportunity to make big daddy Endeavor’s life miserable.”

Shouto threw up an ice wall to block the blast of fire heading toward him, shielding both himself and Iida. The dark flames shattered his ice wall and Shouto immediately threw up two more, struggling to stay solid under the wave of heat.

(Shouto reminded himself to thank Bakugou later for all their training together. His ice had strengthened considerably after taking the punishment of Bakugou’s explosions for hours on end.)

“This may be a problem,” Iida said, eyes on the ice and looking around for an escape.

“No kidding,” Shouto replied.

“What do you think’ll piss dad off more,” the man said, breaking through the ice wall with another roar of flames. The attack paused for a few moments and Shouto used the break to gather more ice at the ready. The burnt-man continued, “His precious perfect son getting defeated by some no name punk, or hearing that his prodigy was so thoroughly wrecked he had to retire from hero work before he even got his license?”

The man laughed and surrounded himself with a steadily growing burst of flames. “Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll just do both!”

“Iida, run and get help,” Shouto said, throwing up the largest ice wall he could manage to combat the furious attack. Shouto winced, his breath frozen as his body chilled more and more. “I’ll keep him busy.”

“I’ll stay,” Iida replied, staying near Shouto’s side. He narrowed his eyes behind his glasses and nodded at the Villain. “He’s making enough of a scene that help will come to us.”

As the other man’s dark fire overtook Shouto’s next ice wall and continued to come in larger and larger bursts, he had a feeling Iida was right.

Himiko stopped her knife an inch from the red head’s arm and looked over his shoulder at the giant burst of flames that tore into the sky. Her eyes glittered and she was happy to note her opponent had been distracted by the glorious sight, too. “Wow! Dabi’s amazing!”

“Dabi?” The red head that Izuku hated asked.

“A new friend!” Himiko said. She turned back to the other boy and laughed. “Sorry! Got distracted! I’ll kill you now, okay?”

“Not a chance!” the boy said back, roaring and taking a swing at her.

His skin was too hard for Himiko to penetrate with her needles, but that was fine. He was fun to play with anyway. Besides, Himiko just had to keep him busy while Izuku had his fun.

And when Izuku was finished, he’d be sated and then Himiko would have her chance.

She was so distracted by the thought, she almost forgot to dodge when he tried to tackle her.

(This was so much fun!)

Tomura paused scratching his neck, watching the action below. His throw-away group of Nomu that rampaged in the various corners of the park kept the other teachers and students busy while Midoriya and Toga had their respective fun.

But that wasn’t the show that had his attention at the moment: The black flames filled the sky, mixing with the steam of shattered ice and flashes of red flames.

“He’s a lot stronger than we thought, isn’t he?” Kurogiri said, keeping watch next to him from their perch on top of the highest ferris wheel car. “I’m rather surprised we kept him contained for so long now that we’ve seen his Quirk.”

“I don’t think we made him angry enough to use it,” Tomura said, chuckling under his breath. That sheer amount of power was impressive, but likely hard to maintain for long periods of time. And fire ate away at everything; it was an unforgivable and insatiable hungry beast. Dabi wouldn’t have had room to unleash it in their small bar and home. Though Tomura figured motivation was also a factor: “He went straight for the Todoroki boy after we dropped him off. I bet that’s a fun history.”

“It’s no secret that many, many villains have a hatred for Endeavor,” Kurogiri said. “Perhaps it’s a personal grudge from a past arrest.”

“Whatever it is,” Tomura said, mouth cracking into a smile against his will. His lips stretched and he felt the skin break. “We can use it.”

“Of course,” Kurogiri said. “Would you like to get a closer look, or would you like to remain up here?”

Tomura got to his feet and scratched his neck. “I want to kill something. I can’t the pets have all the fun, now can I?”

“Of course not, sir,” Kurogiri said, opening his warp.

Tomura walked through, leaving the top of the ferris wheel behind and walking onto the scene behind the pro hero that had shot him when they invaded U.A.

He didn’t get to kill him immediately, but Tomura took great pleasure in decaying one of his guns before his first real fight of the day got started.

Katsuki grabbed Izuku by the front of his jumpsuit and slammed him hard onto the floor of the carousel that Black Mist had dropped them into. “So who’s that chick really?”

“You’re not the only one who knows how to make friends, Kacchan,” Izuku said. He kicked Katsuki in the shin and rolled behind a horse on the other side. He grabbed the pole and used it to swing himself up to crouch on the horse’s seat. “Though I will admit I could probably do better in the friend department.”

“That’s putting it lightly,” Katsuki said. He snorted and moved to shove Izuku off the horse. He missed and the boy swung around on the pole and kicked Katsuki in the back. He retaliated with an insult, ignoring the burning feeling in his chest that still couldn’t believe how competent Izuku had gotten at fighting. “Who knew it’d take being a super villain for you to finally get popular with the girls?”

“That’s mean,” Izuku said. He returned the insult with a knee to Katsuki’s ribs before elbowing him in the back. “But at least you sound like yourself.”

“I’m always me,” Katsuki said. He grabbed Izuku by the middle mid-hit and slammed them both into the small carriage seat between the carousel horses. The side of it cracked from the impact. Katsuki hissed. “You’re the one that changed.”

“Believe that if you want,” Izuku said, almost sad.

(Don’t. Don’t. Don’t listen to that tone. He’s the enemy. A Villain.)

Katsuki snarled, and pushed through his own thoughts and past Izuku’s morose smile.

The blows continued between them until they were both interrupted by the burst of fire erupting from their left side.

“Wow,” Izuku said, dropping his arms a little from his block. His eyes widened, curious and alight with interest. “I did not know he could do that.”


“Another friend,” Izuku said, shrugging before running at Katsuki. “He’s not important right now, though he did remind me of something irritating.”

Katsuki hated himself for asking, “And what’s that?”

“I can’t take you home today because Shigaraki gave your room away,” Izuku said, almost giggling. The bags under his eyes raised with his fake smile as he huffed. “He suggested I just chain you to the wall in my room instead, but I don’t think that’s a very good long term solution for either of us.”

Katsuki felt fully justified let an explosion that took out half the carousel before the fight continued to rage on.

But it was nowhere near finished.

Chapter Text

“Do not engage,” Aizawa had said.

Eijirou cursed under his breath as he continued to block the crazed girl’s frenzied hits. He could see Shinsou watching on the sidelines, going back and forth between watching Eijirou’s fight and watching the entrance to the food area for other enemies. His hands went in and out of fists as he struggled to follow Aizawa’s instructions to stay put and watch for more enemies or run to help Eijirou.

The girl hadn’t noticed Shinsou at all, almost half-focused between the fight and giggling to herself about Midoriya, but she had more than enough energy to make up for any sloppiness.

But man what he wouldn’t give to abuse Shinsou’s Quirk right now just to get her to shut up!

“You’re the one my Izuku hates so much, right?” she said, duking under Eijirou’s fist. The girl snickered under her breath and her bangs fell in her face. Her pink mask hung low around her neck, showing off her teeth. “More than the others, I mean.”

“He talks about me?” Eijirou asked, unable to help himself.

“Nope!” the girl said. She jabbed the blade of her knife into his arm, cracking the blade on the hardened skin. The girl pouted at the chip before laughing. “I just put two and two together! When I looked up all the news reports that Izuku has been in, I remembered that you’re the one he kidnapped and tried to murder. Not to mention seeing you hold Bakugou’s hand in a picture made him throw a lamp out the window. It’s pretty easy to see he hates you most!”

“Awesome,” Eijirou said, resisting the urge to bang his head into a wall. He got hold of the knife (finally) and snapped it in half. The girl winced as a shard from the blade nicked her arm. She put her mouth to the wound and sucked it as she glared at Eijirou. He said, “Thanks for confirming what I already knew.”

“You’re welcome!” She answered, smiling too bright and too wide and all teeth.

(Kirishima wondered if this is what he looked like to other people with his own brand of seemingly endless cheer.)

“But I’m bored with you now!” she said. She tilted her head to the side and laughed. “I’m going to go play with him now.”

The girl yanked a syringe off the harness of her shoulder and dropped into a quick sprint toward Shinsou in the distance.

“Oh no you don’t!” Eijirou said. He followed her fast, tackling her in the side. She yelped and they crashed together in a heap, with Eijirou straddling her. He slammed her hands into the ground by the wrist and breathed hard. “You stay right there!”

“You’re cute, but this is a bit much,” the girl said. She tried to knee Eijirou, but he activated his Quirk in time to block her attempt. She pouted at the miss and kicked her feet. “Let go!”

“Where’d Midoriya take Bakugou?” Eijirou asked.

The girl snorted and shrugged. She tugged at her wrists and her face fell into a wistful smile. “Why would I know? Izuku doesn’t want me interrupting them so he didn’t tell me!”

Eijirou rolled his eyes back and huffed. “That sounds about right.”

“Oh, are you jealous, too?” the girl said, eyes lighting up. She lifted her back off the ground and Eijirou leaned back, but not so far he lifted her wrists from the ground. She giggled, still smiling too bright and face too red. “Do you like Bakugou? Is that why you two looked so cute holding hands?”

“Lady, I think your brain is fried with romance,” Eijirou said. He huffed and glanced around. He was half surprised no one else had shown up, but then again, with the fire burning in the distance where Todoroki and that Dabi guy had to be duking it out he wouldn’t be surprised if that had grabbed their attention. “Bakugou’s just my friend.”

“Boo, still boring!” she said again. She hit her head on the ground and whined, still twisting her hips under Eijirou’s thighs. He concentrated on her face, feeling his own cheeks flush. Villains weren’t supposed to be this cute! The girl whined and pouted. “I wanted to play some more!”

Eijirou heard the swoosh behind him and looked over his shoulder to see the arrival of Black Mist. The girl gasped. “Mr. Kurogiri!”

“I’m afraid I must ask you to let Miss Himiko up now, young man. This behavior is quite improper,” Black Mist said. He held out his hand ready to warp the two of them when the fluctuating mist around his body shrunk in, leaving a dark outline around what looked like to be a normal, human hand. He pulled it back and stared at the appendage. “What?”

“Aren’t you dapper?” Aizawa said, commenting on the Villain’s vest and slacks, revealed thanks to the canceled Quirk. Aizawa caught Black Mist in his scarf and yanked him back, slamming the warp villain into the ground. “I’ve been waiting for you!”

“Release me at once,” Black Mist said, glaring up.

“You didn’t really think just asking would make me let go, did you?” Aizawa said, eyes wide open behind his goggles. He turned to Eijirou, gaze still on Black Mist. “Are you okay? I would have dropped in sooner but I didn’t want to give away my position.”

“I’m good,” Eijirou said. “I have it!”

“Don’t hurt Mr. Kurogiri! He’s super nice!” the girl—Himiko—yelled. She kicked her leg up again and her struggle increased. “And Tomura’ll be really mad if you hurt his butler!”

“You’ll have to forgive me if that’s not a concern,” Aizawa said. An explosion roared from one corner of the park, while on the other flames and large chunks of ice continue to crash into each other. “Both of those situations, on the other hand are a bit of an issue.”

Eijirou’s limbs shook as he continued to hold down Himiko. She was deceptively strong for having such a tiny frame and her struggles had only increased with the capture of Black Mist. He called over his shoulder, “Where’s Midnight? Isn’t she supposed to help us restrain people?”

“She got caught up with a Nomu on the other side of the park,” Aizawa said. He continued staring hard at Black Mist, tightening his hold with the scarf. Aizawa dropped his foot onto Black Mist’s spine to hold him still. “Everyone’s engaging an enemy, but they agreed that capturing the warp gate was the top priority.”

“Smart, but ultimately futile,” Black Mist said. He smiled, wry and obvious on the dark outline of his face now revealed without the mist surrounding him. “I make things easier, but I’m hardly needed. Master Shigaraki is more than capable of handling himself.”

Himiko snorted to herself and Eijirou bit his own lip. He’d only seen Shigaraki for a few moments when he attacked their class, but that was a guy who definitely needed someone else babysitting him.

“Faith in your companion or not, you’re about to be out of commission,” Aizawa said. “Shinsou. There’s a set of sedatives in my pack. Midnight’s more reliable, but we’ll make do.”

“On it,” Shinsou said. He nodded at Eijirou as he walked by, following instructions as Aizawa gave them out.

Eijirou grunted as Himiko kicked him again, but he kept his hold. He hoped that Aizawa had enough for her, too.

“You’re getting sloppy, Kacchan.” Izuku’s hand ignited as he returned one of Kacchan’s explosions back at him.

The other blocked it, but didn’t counter with an explosion (for once). Kacchan had started trying to be smart about attacking the scenery from a distance instead of going one on one, but now he was just giving Izuku free ammo and it was starting to tick Izuku off. Kacchan was better than this and if he stockpiled any more, Izuku might have bit off more than he could chew.

Izuku kicked Kacchan in the rib. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were distracted.”

Kacchan snorted, wiping a stripe of dirt from the side of his nose with the base of his palm. “Maybe a little.”

“And why might that be?” Izuku asked, ducking under an angry swing. Kacchan kicked the side of a fallen carousel horse after his miss. “Usually you’re pretty focused.”

“I’m thinking about your little girlfriend,” Kacchan said, making a grab for Izuku’s arm. “Kirishima can handle himself, but I hate not knowing shit like what her Quirk is or what else you’ve hidden up her sleeve.”

Izuku blocked him with a strike from his palm but stumbled for a moment at that declaration. He pouted. “Toga’s not my girlfriend.”

“Does she know that?” Kacchan asked, using Izuku’s confusion against him. He grabbed Izuku’s arm and threw him over Kacchan’s shoulder and back into the floor of the wrecked carousel. To Izuku’s disappointment, he stayed standing over him instead of straddling him. “Between calling you ‘baby’ and the kiss on the cheek, you could have fooled me.”

Izuku rolled out of the way when Kacchan followed up with a second grab and hopped to his feet. He studied Kacchan’s face and the slight hint of hurt in his eyes. Izuku felt the pleased smile creep onto his face. “Kacchan, are you jealous?”

Kacchan jerked to a halt and his eyes widened in a semi-state of shock and realization.

Like he hadn’t noticed himself.

But that was all Kacchan wasn’t it? Izuku giggled under his breath and made a run for his shocked dance partner. Kacchan had already demonstrated once that he was bad at recognizing when he was jealous (or any of his own feelings, really)—that had been one of the huge stumbling blocks in their relationship at the start. Why would now be any different? Izuku bit his lip; it had been aggravating at one point, but now it was sort of precious.

“I’m not jealous! Wipe that stupid smile off your face,” Kacchan yelled. He smacked the side of his fist into a horse that had remained standing through the onslaught of back and forth explosions. Izuku snorted; Kacchan didn’t find it as funny. “I’m going to kill you!”

When Kacchan devolved back into a generic “Die” mode, it meant Izuku was winning and he’d run out of arguments.

(He tried not to appreciate that too much.)

“Did Toga kissing me on the cheek bother you that much?” Izuku asked. He grabbed Kacchan’s wrist and swung, yanking Kacchan around and using his knee to kick Kacchan into the rounded wall of the center of the carousel. He held Kacchan’s arm and bit his lip. “I can kiss your cheek if it’ll make you feel better.

Kacchan’s eyes widened, and he grit his teeth, his lip curling up with the embarrassed anger building. He hissed, “Shut up!”

“Is that a yes?” Izuku asked, not even caring that Kacchan lit an explosion in his chest large enough to push Izuku back, even as he absorbed it. Izuku held onto the energy, but felt it stir under his skin. That might have been too much. “Okay, so it was a no. I’m sure I’ll change your mind one day.”

“Just stop talking!” Kacchan shouted.

Kacchan threw another explosion, much larger than usual in his embarrassment, and Izuku grunted as it absorbed and joined the stockpile. He held his chest, looking around for a good place to throw the next release. He should have been using the blasts up more as he went, but he wanted to keep the conversation going. Now it was costing him. As Izuku considered a good way to fight back, he lost control for a few seconds and his hand sparked.

Izuku hissed and gripped his hand into a fist to stop the next burst, but not in time to cover up the mistake.

“You’ve got a limit to how much energy you can hold, don’t you?” Kacchan said, the wicked grin spreading across his face. His own palms sparked and he took great glee in turning the tables as he stalked forward. “Let’s see just how much it takes to make it overflow.”

Kacchan’s palms lit and Izuku wished he hadn’t left his Nomu back at the base.

Tomura felt the heat on his face and scratched at his neck. His throw-away Nomu had distracted the pro heroes he’d been fighting long enough for him to slip away and find his real target: Dabi.

It had only been for a moment, but he’d seen the way Dabi’s eyes had widened and narrowed upon seeing that Todoroki boy in the photograph. He knew there was something there worth noting, and he was not disappointed.

“You look like you’re having fun,” Tomura said, just over Dabi’s shoulder. They stood in front of a ring toss stand full of bottles, now half-melted from the flaring heat. He watched the various stuffed carnival toys burn around them. Their melted eyes cried out and sobbed; it made Tomura smile. “Your fire is sloppy.”

“Shouldn’t you be babysitting Newscast or something?” Dabi asked, eyes alight with the unique joy that violence could bring. He absently fed more and more fire into the wall of ice that the Todoroki boy desperately kept feeding to keep up. “You’re bugging me.”

“I came to see this special move of yours that you’ve been hiding,” Tomura said. He scratched his neck harder as he took in the range of the destruction. Between the ice chunks, the burned edges, and the still living flames, this corner of the park had turned into a hazard zone. “I’m surprised you still have the stamina to keep these fires burning.”

“This is nothing,” Dabi said, half under his breath. He paused his flames, keeping his eyes on the steaming ice. “But why are you really here?”

“I already answered you,” Tomura said. He huffed and dropped his hand, squinting to see the two tiny Pro-Heroes behind the thick ice wall. “I was bored and came to see what you could really do.”

“Whatever you say, creep,” Dabi said, side-eying Tomura. He huffed a moment later and raised his voice, shouting at the students. “Is this the best you’ve got, you little brat? You’re Endeavor’s heir, aren’t you? I expected to get at least some sort of a fight out of you!”

“That appears to be quite the claim coming from someone challenging Endeavor’s child instead of Endeavor himself, considering that’s the man you seem to take issue with!” Midoriya’s friend shouted. Tomura really didn’t like that guy; maybe he’d save his death for a day when Midoriya needed to remember who was in charge. The annoyance continued his lecture: “You are attempting to scare us, but your cowardice is on display!”

“And you’re butting in where you don’t belong,” Dabi snarled back. His hand lit on fire, but he didn’t throw it just yet. “This is between me and the daddy’s boy, so go play hero somewhere else.”

A block of the ice wall cracked and fell away, revealing the Todoroki boy on the other side. He seemed confused and his heavy breathing revealed his own exhaustion. The boy asked, “Is there a reason you’re so fixated on Endeavor being my father?”

“Nope,” Dabi said, popping the “p” at the end of the word. He laughed and moved back into an attack position. Tomura took a tiny step away from him as the flames gathered again. Dabi lit both hands on fire and took a few stalking steps forward. “Just pressing your buttons.”

Tomura licked his lip. “Liar.”

Dabi stopped. He glared over his shoulder and pointed a finger toward Tomura. “You’re really starting to piss me off. Get lost and find your own brats to torment.”

“You’re more interesting right now,” Tomura said. He waved his hand toward the Todoroki boy and Midoriya’s friend. “You’re not very good at lying either. Even they can tell you’ve got a motive for singling him out.”

“Would you leave already!” Dabi shouted. His flames flickered out of control with his emotion for a flash. “I’m trying to kill this kid and I don’t need a peanut gallery!”

Tomura smiled behind his father’s hand. Sore point. He poked it. “Why do you want to kill him specifically again?”

“Does it even matter?” Dabi asked. He spun on the side and threw up a wall of dark flame to meet the wall of orange and red fire that came from Todoroki, taking advantage of the opening like a good little U.A. prodigy. Dabi hissed and blew it away with his own fire before throwing another wave of flames at the brats. The Todoroki blocked it with fire, mimicking what Dabi had just done. Fast learner. Dabi hissed. “Either help or get lost, creep.”

“I think I’ll watch,” Tomura said, wiping the sweat from his neck. Dabi practically steamed with the heat he released, and the surrounding wild fires raised the temperature to near unbearable levels, however Tomura remained in place. “You're amusing.”

“Man, I hate you,” Dabi said. He breathed in and snorted. “Fine, then. Just stay out of my way.”

Tomura kept an eye on Midoriya’s friend, in case he did something stupid while Dabi fought the Todoroki, but stepped back to give his new pet some space. Growling like the mangy mutt he was, Dabi ran forward with fire on his fingers and tired of fighting from a distance.

He made it two yards before a tall man on fire slammed into the ground, blocking his path. The blue uniform was unmistakable past the fire decor: Endeavor, himself. Dabi skidded to a stop and threw his hands up to block the wave of fire that had shot out toward him as Endeavor moved to stand, an almost absent assault as the man turned toward a different target.

“Shit!” Dabi shouted as the fire pushed him back. He stopped near Tomura and so much hatred burned in his eyes that Tomura shivered. “You!”

Tomura noted that Endeavor barely spared Dabi a glance as he turned to face his son.

“I’m disappointed you haven’t cleaned up this trash already, Shouto,” Endeavor said. He broke the last remaining shards of ice away and huffed. “You’re better than this.”

Tomura expected rage.

He got something else:

Dabi grabbed Tomura’s wrist and dragged him in a full sprint away from the burning carnival games and the corrupt Pro-Hero like hell was on their heels.

Chapter Text

Dabi had learned a few things about Shigaraki Tomura in their brief time together: He was a spoiled brat and the person who was responsible for this was his Master. Shigaraki’s Master cared very much about his brat, as seen by his twenty-four seven bodyguard and overprotective babysitter Kurogiri. And lastly, Shigaraki’s Master terrified Dabi, as experienced by overhearing one phone call and this feeling had been reinforced by the way Newscast paled and exited the room as fast as possible whenever Shigaraki called the man.

(He didn’t even want to know what had happened to make Newscast that skittish.)

But to reiterate: Shigaraki was his Master’s spoiled, precious brat of a son, blood or no blood.

It was this information that had Dabi snatch Shigaraki’s wrist and sprint away from Endeavor. If he left Shigaraki alone here to be defeated by Endeavor, his Master would hear about it and probably blame Dabi.

Dabi didn’t need that sort of attention.

(He wasn’t scared. He was angry. He wasn’t scared. He was angry.)

“What are you doing?” Shigaraki asked as Dabi dragged them both around a burning booth and into a clear area of the park. “The fight’s back there!”

“Strategic retreat, creep,” Dabi said. He scanned the stands until he saw what he needed: An employee entrance. Dabi kicked open the small side door in the back of the food stand and dragged Shigaraki with him. He passed through the kitchen and into the back where he knew it opened into the maintenance and employee section of the park. “The big guns just showed up and we can’t compete.”

“You don’t even want to try to take on the final boss?” Shigaraki asked, tugging on his wrist. He probably had a strength advantage against Dabi, but right now adrenaline kept the advantage in Dabi’s court. “I thought you hated him.”

“Look,” Dabi said, stopping next to a small crossroad where it led to the employee parking lot. He let go of Shigaraki’s wrist and slammed the side of his palm into a light pole. “If it were just you and me versus Endeavor, I might go for it. But it’s you and me against Endeavor, his star brat, the U.A. student, and whoever else decided to show up. We were seriously outnumbered and I’m not going to jail.”

“We could have handled Endeavor,” Shigaraki said, scratching at his neck. “Midoriya’s annoying friend might have had a point. You’re just a coward. You pick on his children but not the adults.”

“Listen up you freak,” Dabi said, grabbing the front of Shigaraki’s shirt. He yanked him closer, glaring at that stupid hand-mask. “You’ve lost ever confrontation you’ve had with heroes so far because you get in over your goddamn head fighting people over your level. You lost to All Might twice. You lost at the news station. You’re going to lose here because Endeavor is not a joke. He’s the number two Pro Hero for a reason and we are leaving while we’re ahead.”

“Let go of me,” Shigaraki hissed. He reached up and grabbed Dabi’s wrist, fingers curling around the exposed skin from Dabi’s rolled up sleeves. Shigaraki’s index finger rested an inch above. “Now.”

“Fine,” Dabi said. He opened his fingers and dropped the shirt, but Shigaraki’s hold stayed on his wrist. “Your turn.”

Shigaraki let go of his wrist after waiting far longer than necessary. Dabi pulled his arm back, crossing his arms to keep them out of reach. Shigaraki looked around their surroundings, the anger still simmering under his skin. He scratched his neck and hummed. “Where are we, anyway?”

“Employee area,” Dabi said. “I worked here as a summer job when I was younger so I remembered where it was. I figure they won’t look for us back here for a minute, but we really should get out of here while we can. Call your butler or something before they find us and we’re really sunk.”

Shigaraki stared at him, eyes wary before he reached into his pocket. Tugging out his phone, he tapped in a short message. “You owe me.”

“Whatever,” Dabi said. He kept his eyes glued on the direction they’d run from, praying and hoping Endeavor would be too busy scolding his perfect child to go running after Dabi.

(If he even noticed Dabi was there.)

Katsuki should have done this from the start.

“I knew I had miscalculated,” Katsuki yelled in glee. He fired blast after blast at Izuku, chasing him around the ruins of the traditional carnival rides, the carousel long forgotten. Izuku absorbed every blast and released it in near succession. “I never should have held back!”

“It’s just going to come back out, Kacchan!” Izuku shouted, face furious. He winced as the energy exploded from his palm against his will in uneven bursts. Izuku had no time to think with the constant flow running through his body. “This is pointless!”

But it wasn’t.

Izuku’s face flushed and his breath heaved; the exhaustion hung on every inch of his worn body.

He’d practiced with his Quirk all right, but Izuku’s stamina was still rotten.

Katsuki could keep this up far longer than he could.

“But I’m just starting to have fun!” Katsuki yelled. He set off a particularly large blast that released from Izuku’s hand before it had been fully absorbed, overflowing his metaphorical cup. The destruction around them burned and licked at his skin, but it only made him sweat more. More sweat. More ammo. “You’re going down, Izuku!”

Izuku cursed under his breath, but Katsuki could see his brain working behind his bright green eyes. They searched around for a better target, but Katsuki wouldn’t let him think.

So he kept the explosions up.

Their dance continued with more bursts of energy than this area of the park could handle before it all came to a dead stop when a large plop of grey acid slammed into Izuku’s side.

Izuku screamed as the substance melted through the fabric of his costume, revealing the pulsing color bands that ran up his arm. Katsuki stared at Izuku as his face contorted from the burn in pain. In his shock, Izuku let out a huge blast that released all the energy he’d built up.

It all happened in a blink; their long, drawn out fight ended in an instant of outside intervention.

(That was starting to become a trend.)

Katsuki covered his face to block the explosion, but ran to the site of detonation as soon as the air cleared. The look of pain frozen on Izuku’s face had burned into Katsuki’s retina. He yelled, “Izuku!”

The other had been knocked out, his arm and the upper part of his face red from the acid burns. He skidded to a stop and check his pulse.

“Wow, didn’t think that would happen,” Ashido said, tapping down a stack of rubble. Sero followed close behind her. She stopped over Katsuki’s shoulder and stared at Izuku. “I upped the acidity to burn him, but I didn’t think he’d lose control like that.”

“I was pushing him to his limit,” Katsuki said. Izuku’s pulse remained strong, only unconscious. Sero offered a line of tape and Katsuki took it to tie the small villain up, focusing on this task before he got too caught up in making sure Izuku was alright. “Where’d you two come from?”

“We followed the explosions,” Sero said, ripping off the last bit of tape for Katsuki to finish tying Izuku’s hands. “Figured you might need a hand.”

“Are you okay?” Ashido asked, squatting next to Katsuki. “You looked like you had it under control, but we were only here for the tail end of the fight.”

“I’m good,” Katsuki said, picking Izuku up. He held him by the tape wrapped around his chest, holding him slightly over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Izuku’s limp head rested near his neck. “Let’s go make sure Kirishima and the others are okay.”

“You got it,” Ashido said.

As they made their way toward the other side of the park where Katsuki had last seen Kirishima, he couldn’t decide if Izuku didn’t weigh enough or was far to heavy to carry.

Shouto was grateful for Iida’s presence.

A witness kept his father on his best behavior.

“It seems the cowards have fled,” his father said. Endeavor crossed his arms, glaring at the burning area and the absence of the villains. “Why was he not apprehended by you? As I recall, your entire class received permission to engage and use your Quirks for this venture so it should have not been an issue.”

“His heavily offensive tactics gave me little room to move outside of a defense position,” Shouto admitted. Beating around the bush with excuses would only make this entire situation worse later. “It extended the duration of the fight considerably, leaving us both in a stalemate of sorts.”

Endeavor stared at Shouto, eyes studying him. Shouto swallowed but kept his shoulders straight. His father released him from his gaze. “We’ll work on turning defense into an offense at a later time, Shouto.”

“Yes, sir,” Shouto said.

There wasn’t much else he could answer.

“Sir, are there other reinforcements headed this way?” Iida asked. “The Villain implied that there were many others from the League in the park.”

“I’m all that is required,” Endeavor said. He clicked his communicator on and requested the locations of all remaining threats from the line.

“Are you alright?” Iida asked as his father headed to another area of the park to take care of a rampaging Nomu. “You look pale.”

“I’m fine,” Shouto said. He held his hand up, breathing out as he stared at his trembling fingers. His flesh burned under the frozen skin. “I might have overused my Quirk though.”

“That Villain’s stamina was impressive,” Iida said, fixing his glasses. Shouto concentrated on Iida’s soothing, analytical voice as he talked about the previous fight. “His ability to maintain those attacks for so long equaled his stubbornness, even if he did run away as soon as Endeavor showed up.”

That was an understatement.

The Villain that had confronted them had recognized Endeavor, and he’d chosen to get away as fast as possible. After all his screaming about Shouto and being related to Endeavor, he had expected a few thrown insults or declarations, but there’d been nothing of the sort.

Merely a furious gaze that turned into a terrified one for a flash of a second.

That much hatred and fear had to mean something.

“Hey! Todoroki! Iida!” Bakugou yelled from the side yard. He came down the hill with Midoriya over his shoulder, subdued and captured, with Ashido and Sero at his side. At least a few of his classmates seemed to be successful. “You two good?”

“We’re fine,” Iida said, raising his arm high in the air. “Endeavor arrived and broke up the confrontation.”

“Good,” another voice said. Shouto turned to see Aizawa walk up with Kirishima and Shinsou in tow. They dragged an unconscious Black Mist behind them, and a blonde girl stumbled in Kirishima’s grasp as he held her arm, hands tied in front of her. Aizawa grunted as he dropped Black Mist on the ground. “It’s about time he showed up.”

Shouto wondered if he and Iida were the only group to let their respective Villain partners escape.

The thought of failure twisted uneasily in his stomach.

His father would not be happy.

(Neither was Shouto. He was better than this. Neither his Father nor that Villain were wrong. Shouto could do this, but he hadn’t.)

Aizawa checked his radio. “Endeavor’s taking care of the Nomu running around. Since Bakugou, Sero, and Ashido have captured Midoriya, that means only Shigaraki and the villain Dabi are still free in the park.”

“Dabi?” Shouto asked.

“The guy making all the dark fire,” Kirishima said. He pointed at the blonde girl, now sitting on the ground next to him, pouting. “She told us his name.”



What a fitting name for someone who looked like they’d been burned alive.

(But by who?)

“What happened with him?” Aizawa asked. “You two were engaged with him, correct?”

“Yes, sir,” Iida answered. “During the middle of the fight, Tomura Shigaraki arrived to aid Dabi and both of them fled when Endeavor arrived.”

“So they’re together,” Aizawa said. He breathed out and crossed his arms. “Good, that’ll make things easier.”

“Hey, guys,” Kirishima said, turning around. “Where’d Himiko go?”

Shouto tried not to feel too relieved that he wasn’t the only one who’d dropped the ball when the team realized that the girl had slipped away.

“Kurogiri’s not answering,” Shigaraki said, staring at his phone. He studied the dial and frowned. “Why isn’t he answering?”

“Think he got caught up with a Pro Hero?” Dabi asked. He really needed that stupid warp gate to pick up or they’d all be trapped in this stupid park. Sure, Dabi knew where the exit was, but that didn’t mean he trusted them all to get there without being caught. They were only safe back here for so long. “It’s possible.”

“Midoriya’s not picking up either,” Shigaraki said. He bit the corner of his thumb, mimicking Newscast’s favorite nervous gesture and hissed. “Where are they?”

Dabi didn’t like where this was going.

And he really didn’t like it when a park guard burst out from the side of the road.

“Stop!” The guard yelled, holding up his hands as Dabi readied a flame to throw at him. “It’s me! It’s me!”

“It’s who?” Shigaraki asked.

“Toga!” The man said. He struck a playful pose with one leg and arm in the air before giggling in a manner that didn’t fit the face of the masculine guard. She pulled out an ID Card and twirled it around her finger by the lanyard. “I had to borrow a disguise.”

Toga pulled over a large backpack and patted it. “Do you know how hard I had to look to find someone who had a bag to put all my things in?”

She lifted the flap, showing off the edge of her pink gear. Shigaraki and Dabi both relaxed on reflex.

Dabi scratched at one of his stitches. “I didn’t know you could disguise yourself. That your Quirk?”

“Yup,” Toga said.

“Where were you?” Shigaraki asked.

“I was fighting with a cute boy, and then his teacher showed up and captured me and Mr. Kurogiri,” Toga said, pouting. It stretched the guard’s face and she huffed. “They knocked him up with so many tranquilizers I don’t think he’s getting up for a while.”

That complicated things a bit.

“Wait. You just said you were captured.” Dabi asked, “How’d you get away?”

She shrugged with a smile and laughed, deep and full while hiding a high-pitched background. “I’m me.”

That was as good an answer as any, Dabi supposed.

(His wariness of the blonde sure went up, though.)

“Where’s Midoriya?” Shigaraki asked, looking around. He scratched his neck harder, opening a scab. A little blood dribbled down his neck and Dabi frowned at it. “Wasn’t he with you?”

“No idea,” Toga said. She dug in her bag and pulled out her phone. She tapped through a few screens before laughing. “Oh, wait! Found him!”

She turned the screen around to show a picture of Newscast unconscious and strung over the shoulder of that guy he was so obsessed with. Some pink girl posed in the picture with her fingers in a victory sign in the foreground of the selfie.

“Well, shit,” Dabi said as Shigaraki yelled and turned around to dissolve the light pole they’d hidden under with his Quirk.

What a fantastic, freaking day.

Chapter Text

Izuku woke sore and plotting the murder of Ashido. She was the only one in class who could make acid and the slight tinge of red he could see on his arm looked raw, but not bad enough to scar, thankfully. It felt like a severe sunburn, which hurt but was nothing he couldn’t handle.

More so of an annoyance was finding himself tied up in the back of what looked like a police van. The restraints seemed to be courtesy of Sero, which put another person on his list of annoyances that needed to disappear, but that could wait. Izuku struggled to remember the end of this fight with Kacchan, but could only recall the cursing in his head when his Quirk overloaded and exploded in his face after the burn.

He’d lost then.

(Minor setback. It always was.)

To his left, still unconscious, was Kurogiri. He’d been restrained as well, though with a proper straight jacket, and an IV had been hooked into his arm that likely held some sort of sedative.

That meant his fast exit was gone.

(A major setback, then.)

The door to the back of the van hung open, but he couldn’t see much outside aside from a few lingering guards watching the immediate area. Kacchan was nowhere to be seen and Izuku growled. He’d lost him again. What was it going to take to get Kacchan all to himself?

At least he’d gotten to see Kacchan, if only for a little while they’d been face to face and managed to touch each other. Izuku had even been blessed with seeing Kacchan jealous of Toga, and that made her entrance into the League of Villains worth it.

Granted so far that’d been her only added value to the group, but Izuku would take it.

Speaking of Toga, however, Izuku noted that Shigaraki and their new companions were absent from the police van. That meant they were either in another transport or they hadn’t been captured yet. Izuku decided to bet on the latter considering there was still plenty of room in the van he was in. Izuku tugged on his tape restraints lightly before settling back down. As long as they were free, Izuku didn’t have to worry too much.

With or without Kurogiri, Shigaraki wouldn’t let his favorite pet rot in jail for long.

(Assuming he got away.)

“Look who’s finally awake,” Aizawa said, hopping up into the back of the van from the open door, blocking out the evening light. He checked Kurogiri’s IV drip before staring Izuku down. “I’d prepare yourself. The police station is a tad less willing to be lenient after what you did at the News Station.”

“I figured that,” Izuku said, looking up at his teacher. He attempted to sit straighter, frowning when the awkward tape bindings hindered his movement. “I take it you must still be looking for Shigaraki if we’re still in the park?”

“That may be true, but considering his exit out is still sitting here, he can’t have gone too far,” Aizawa said, turning to look at Kurogiri. His posture remained relaxed, similar to how he’d give lectures in class. Izuku wondered if that air of calmness was an act. Aizawa said, “Don’t worry, your little friend will be joining you soon enough.”

Izuku doubted that.

Shigaraki might have been in trouble if he were alone, but Dabi and Toga were unknown factors. They both looked like street-smart survivors who had more than enough practice dodging authorities. Izuku wouldn’t be surprised if they had hightailed it out of there when Kurogiri went down. He could only hope they took Shigaraki with them. And if they’d gotten out of the park, they were home free.

(They were fine. His friends were fine.)

“Where’s Kacchan?” Izuku asked, not really expecting an answer, but he figured it wouldn’t be right not to ask either.

“Far away from you,” Aizawa said. He took a step in front of Izuku and knelt to be eye to eye—an awfully kind consideration for someone who had fire burning behind his eyes. “You are never hurting my students again.”

“I’m starting to see why even Shigaraki thinks you’re cool.” Izuku leaned back in his seat, dropping his head on the back wall. “You have to admire that sort of passion, but you’re wrong. I’m very stubborn, you know, and I’ve decided getting what I want is worth the effort. Just ask Kacchan.”

“Lord, you’re young,” Aizawa said, breathing out steadily. Finished, he got up and left the van. “Stay put and behave.”

He closed the door behind him and smacked the back.

Izuku considered Aizawa to be a rather intelligent Pro Hero, but he wasn’t honestly going to leave Izuku alone in the back of this van with Kurogiri, was he? The door still remained open and Izuku could no longer see a guard outside. All he needed to do was get rid of that sedative line—something he was fairly sure he could accomplish with his teeth if he had to—and they’d be out.

But then again, should Izuku really question Eraser Head’s mistake?

As he scooted down the bench toward Kurogiri the door burst open again, revealing Present Mic.

“I am here to babysit!” The man shouted at the top of his lungs, just a step away from using his Quirk. Izuku winced, curling forward in his seat at the volume. Present Mic pointed at him and took a seat on the bench across from them. “Are you ready for my top ten hits and reasons why you’re in a lot of trouble?”

Izuku groaned, slumping in his seat as the other man started listing his rights, followed by the regulations and laws that Izuku had broken in an obnoxiously loud voice.

(Maybe Aizawa had known exactly what he was doing.)

Katsuki watched the police van drive off and relaxed enough to sit on a bench. He rubbed his hands down his face and looked over the few remaining classmates that were still there.

Kirishima chatted excitedly with Todoroki and Iida, describing his fight with Izuku’s “not girlfriend” and the capture of Kurogiri. A few feet away, Ashido and Sero did much the same thing, albeit about helping to capture Izuku, as they talked with Uraraka and Kaminari who saw little action from their corner of the park guarding an exit.

Overall, it seemed rather anticlimactic after nearly destroying the theme park in epic fights, but it’s not like they had much else to do at this point.

The search for the last remaining Villains had ended up a failure and officially the Heroes had declared they must have escaped to outside the park limits, though no one was quite sure how with all of the guards, Pro Heroes and students around. A few officers were going to remain around overnight, but for the most part, the operation was declared officially over.

“Two arrests, five dead Nomu thanks to Endeavor, and three escaped Villains,” Shinsou said, taking a seat next to Katsuki on the bench. He put his elbows on his knees, staring after the disappearing van and breathed out slowly. “Could have been worse.”

Katsuki grunted in response, slumping into his seat. He watched Shinsou from the corner of his eye. He had started to open up again for the sake of the mission, but Shinsou still felt awkward around Katsuki. The dream he’d interrupted still hung in the air between them with an awkwardness Katsuki didn’t know how to address and Shinsou seemed content to let linger.

However, Izuku’s capture seemed to be the push needed to loosen Shinsou’s tongue, even if he didn’t broach the actual topic that had created issue in the first place.

Shinsou asked, “How was Midoriya?”

“Still out of his mind, but he’s hiding it better,” Katsuki said. Izuku’s manic nature from Kirishima’s kidnapping had long been replaced with a more unsettling calm as of the newscast, but this park attack seemed even more so. “His new teammates look like they’re keeping him busy.”

“Kirishima said that new girl Himiko made Midoriya’s obsession with you look like a school grade crush,” Shinsou said. “I didn’t hear everything she said to him, but from what I saw, I agree. I imagine you do, too.”

“I don’t think Izuku really understands how obsessed that girl is,” Katsuki said. He frowned and rubbed his fingers together, making sparks in his palm. “Or if he does, he’s an idiot to treat it so casually. It’s leading her on and I don’t want to be there when she finally realizes he’s not interested.”

“Probably a good thing Midoriya is in custody,” Shinsou said. He covered his face with his hands and dragged them down his face, his fingertips resting on the bags under his eyes. “Lord that’s going to be a mess, though.”

If that wasn’t the understatement of the year, Katsuki didn’t know what was. Between his own desire to see Izuku and figure out what was going on, knowing that Shinsou probably wanted to reach out to him too, Kirishima’s own hatred, and even what Izuku’s mother—

“Oh,” Katsuki said, remembering something rather important to all of this. He tugged out his phone. He stared at the small test text message from Mrs. Midoriya and blew out a breath. “I should probably call his mother and let her know before the police do.”

“Good luck with that,” Shinsou said. He dropped his hands and leaned back on the bench.

With that, the conversation ended and Katsuki stared at the dial button on his phone, knowing it was just better to get it over with now. With a slow breath, he clicked it and held the phone to his ear, hoping he didn’t say the wrong thing.

“So now what?” Shigaraki asked, slumping against the wall in the alley. He scratched his neck hard, dripping blood down his neck and into his torn shirt.

Dabi’s skin crawled looking at it and half of his nerves were dead.

Fighting the temptation to grab the man’s wrist and make him stop the self-harm, he took in their hiding place and double checking no one had seen them slip into the alley after they jumped the parking lot fence. Toga (who had stopped being “Blondie” at some point that Dabi had yet to pinpoint) still wore her guard disguise. Her keycard had been the (Dabi chuckled at his own pun) key to their escape, allowing them to slip through the main guard gate in the fairly abandoned employee parking lot. After that, the three of them had somehow dodged the surrounding cops well enough to slink into the town proper outside of the theme park.

But now there were stuck.

And Shigaraki was still talking.

“We can’t exactly get on the subway or walk home,” Shigaraki said, pointing at the hand on his face before pointing at Dabi’s nose. A smudge of blood rested on his wrinkled finger. “We’re a little noticeable.”

“Most people are pretty unobservant,” Dabi said, scratching his scalp. They weren’t toast just yet, and as long as they escaped the police everything would be fine. He crossed his arms and looked at Toga. “Hey, you. Make yourself useful and steal us a couple jackets with hoods or something. You can disguise yourself, right?”

“Why should I?” Toga asked, putting her hands behind her back. She leaned forward as if she was sticking out her chest to look cute, but the effect was lost on the tall, masculine security guard body that she wore. “I’m thinking I should go back and rescue my Izuku instead.”

“We can save him later,” Dabi said. Why were all these people idiots? No one knew how to look at the big picture. He held his hands up and kept his voice calm. “Right now, we need to go home, regroup, and get a new plan. There’s way too many Pro Heroes and police at that park for us to actually get Newscast out, which means you need to get us something to cover ourselves with so we can get out of here.”

“I still don’t see what’s in it for me to help you two,” Toga said. She put her arms behind her head and rested on the back of her heels. “I know I can save Izuku all by myself and I already feel bad we’ve left him this long.”

Shigaraki grunted, sucking in a threatening breath and caved to her demands. “What do you want?”

Toga shot back up and laughed as she threw her arms in the air. “Nothing!”

Dabi and Shigaraki both took a step back as she bopped both of them on the nose with her index fingers.

Shigaraki asked, “What?”

Toga tittered under her breath before breaking out into a fully belly laugh, folding over and holding her stomach. “Your faces! That’s so great. You’re the best. I love you, two!”

“Toga,” Dabi hissed. He did not have time for this nonsense. His fingers curled in, halfway to a fist. “Stop messing around!”

“Okay, okay,” she said. She waved her hand at them and tilted her head to the side. “I was just teasing you, so don’t get so angry! You guys are way too serious.”

She hugged both of them in a surprise tackle before they could move away, using her newly acquired height to lift them off the ground in a tight squeeze before dropping them and running off down the alley yelling, “I’ll be right back.”

Shigaraki tugged on his shirt near the shoulder, eyes wide and confused. Looking too much like a lost puppy, Dabi huffed and sneered, “What’s with that face? Never been hugged by a girl before?”

“No,” Shigaraki said, turning to Dabi, eyes wide and thoughtful. “I haven’t.”

Dabi wanted to laugh and tease the creep properly, but the answer had been so earnest it sucked the joy out of it.

What was the fun in teasing him after that?

“Remind me to beat the shit out of Newscast when we get him back for this mess,” Dabi said, crossing his arms and leaning against the wall. “This whole thing is his fault for having that stupid crush in the first place.”

“I think we’ll be more concerned with saving him from Kurogiri when he gets free,” Shigaraki said, going back to scratch at his neck. “He doesn’t like Midoriya very much.”

Dabi snorted. “Who does?”

“I do,” Shigaraki said, he glared at Dabi through the corner of his eye behind the mask, all traces of his previous confusion and good mood erased. His voice sounded hoarse with anger and promise. “And when we get him back, the Heroes are going to bleed.”

Dabi suppressed the shiver.

Chapter Text

“Izuku Midoriya.”

Izuku had the decency to flinch at the unfamiliar, furious tone of voice of his mother. Her eyes were narrowed, her cheeks puffed in red, and he could not recall a single moment in his entire life that he’d ever seen her this angry.

“I do not have words for how much trouble you are in,” his mother said. She gripped a handkerchief in her hands, twisting it so hard it ripped at the corner. “Starting with how you broke out of prison and making our way to that horrible thing you did to that boy on the news.”

Izuku bit his lip to keep from answering or saying something to make this situation worse.

“And don’t think we’re getting out of talking about you in middle school,” she added, her eyes watering now. The wet eyes only added to her fury. “I want to know why I was the only person who didn’t know my boy was being bullied every day.”

“Kacchan didn’t bully me,” Izuku said, gripping his hands under the table.

Kacchan did awful things to him, but it wasn’t bullying—not the way everyone seemed to think it was. Especially since most of it was just how Kacchan was: Angry and violent. Those were traits that made him unique, even if he needed to direct them toward better targets.

(Izuku shivered thinking of Kacchan’s jealous gaze in the theme park.)

“He did!” she snapped, jerking Izuku from his thoughts. His mother slammed her hand on the table on the other side of the glass that separated them in the visiting area. “After that first broadcast when that boy told everyone you were bullied, I went to confront Mitsuki about it and her son was there. Katsuki told me everything he did to you while you two were growing up and I want to know why you didn’t tell me.”

“Kacchan would have gotten in trouble and you would have split us up,” Izuku said, sucking in a breath through his teeth. Kacchan had talked to his mother about their middle school days? Why would he do that? His mother continued glaring at Izuku through the glass and he crossed his arms on the small counter. “I didn’t want either of those things to happen.”

His mother sucked in a breath and blew it out slowly. “Well you think long and hard about what you want to say because when your father gets here, we’re all having a very long conversation with the police together as a family.”

“Dad’s coming?” Izuku asked, half surprised.

“Yes, he arranged a flight the moment I called him to let him know they caught you again,” his mother said. Her shoulders relaxed and the anger faded as she glanced at the clock. Their visit time was almost over and there was still so much to say (at least on her end). “He’s upset he missed you last time, so even if you are making plans to escape, you had better at least make sure to wait for him to get here and see you.”

Izuku rubbed at the corners of his temples. Like he had any control over when Shigaraki and the others decided to pick him up.

“I haven’t heard an answer,” his mother said, forcing sternness into her tone.

“I promise not to break myself out before dad gets here,” Izuku said, technically telling the truth. Feeling an odd stab of something in his chest he hadn’t felt in a while, Izuku licked his lip. “But I can’t promise I’ll stay if someone else doesn’t come to get me first.”

There. Compromise.

His mother took it. She sighed and wiped at her eyes with her torn handkerchief. “You behave, okay? I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Bye, mom,” Izuku said.

He bit his thumb as she collected her things and walked out. Izuku hoped that Shigaraki and the others would get him out soon. Another conversation like that and he might remember what guilt felt like again.

Dabi threw open the door to the bar harder than he had intended. It bounced off the wall and he had to catch it with his hand before it bashed himself in the face. He grunted, shoving it open properly again, stepping across the threshold ready to crash on the nearest surface.

Toga’s idea of “Be right back” had been close to eight hours.

Eight. Hours.

Dabi and Shigaraki had been stuck waiting for her in that alley the entire time. Shigaraki had been oddly docile as they waited, unsure of himself without his butler or Newscast to keep him together—or so Dabi had thought. After the first hour of waiting, Dabi had been tempted to just risk it and hoof it back to the bar with or without Toga, but he had taken note of Shigaraki’s shaking hands and the twitch in his eyes. Dabi realized moving Shigaraki as he was would have been a bad choice without bundling him up somehow.

The dude was a powder keg waiting to blow.

Not wanting to light the match, so to speak, Dabi resolved himself to waiting and consoling himself with plans of how he was going to burn Toga alive when she got back.

Around the crack of dawn, at least an hour before the trains started operation, she had arrived without a human-disguise wearing a casual sundress and carrying two shopping bags.

“Sorry about the wait!” Toga said. She handed one bag to each boy and grinned wide as if she hadn’t been gone for (Dabi felt it needed repeating) eight hours. “I had to find a new body to wear and then I had to hunt them down and wait to drink all their blood when they were alone and then they didn’t have enough money for new clothes so I had to pick pocket some people and then I had to find a store that was still open and here we are!”

Amazed at her ability to fit that many words into one breath without pause, Dabi gave up his anger and sighed as he took the bag.

The clothes she had chosen hadn’t included a practical hoodie, but instead were two fairly stylish outfits any rich-boy teenager would wear, complete with long sleeves and leather belts. Shigaraki’s bag even had a sweater vest to pull over the pressed button up. The preppy look of the clothes were such a high contrast to what Dabi and Shigaraki normally wore, it worked as a better disguise than covering their faces would have with semi-specious looking dark hoods.

Dabi and Shigaraki had walked onto a train with their faces exposed and no one gave either boy and their button up shirts and slacks a second thought. Toga had done good, even if she’d made them wait way too long for it.

(They needed to exchange numbers so she could just text them to say she’d be late next time.)

Thanks to those disguises, they’d managed to get back to the bar by the evening with only one awkward moment where they’d gotten on the wrong train because Dabi’d been too distracted corralling Toga and Shigaraki from attracting too much attention. Now all they had to do was rest, regroup, and figure out how to get themselves back on their feet after all this mess.

Before they could even turn on a light, the television hissed with a voice that filled Dabi’s soul with dread: “Tomura Shigaraki.”

“Master,” Shigaraki said, eyes wide. His face looked open and vulnerable without the hand covering it.

He dropped the shopping bag that held his villain gear; it fell on the side, spilling the hands onto the floor.

“Where have you been?” Master asked. The screen flickered twice. “And where is Kurogiri? I have been attempting to contact him for hours and I have had no response.”

“He got arrested!” Toga yelled, throwing her arm in the air.

Dabi slammed his palm over Toga’s mouth and dragged her back into himself. She squirmed and giggled under the hold, showing zero signs of self preservation. Dabi hissed under his breath. “Would you shut up?”

“Silence,” Master said. Dabi and Toga both frozen under the sheer authority that had been squeezed through a small speaker. “You have such rude pets, Shigaraki. I’m starting to think they’re all more trouble than they’re worth. Your choice in company has much to be desired.”

Shigaraki made an odd whine, and scratched his neck. “I should have reported in sooner. I’m sorry.”

“I know you are,” Master said, his voice softening as he addressed Shigaraki. For some reason, that made the shiver down Dabi’s spine all that much worse. “You worried me, son.”

“I won’t do it again,” Shigaraki said. He took a step closer to the television, wringing his hands in the front of his new sweater vest, pinky-raised. “I’ll fix it. I can fix this.”

Dabi held his breath through the short silence that followed. Toga continued to squirm against him, rolling her hips into his own but he ignored it, keeping his eyes on Shigaraki.

“You have a week from tomorrow morning,” Master said. The screen flickered again. “If you do not retrieve Kurogiri in that time, I will take matters into my own hands and you will be punished for this failure by having one of your little pets taken away. Have I made myself clear, Tomura?”

“Yes, sir,” Shigaraki said, voice light. He wheezed and squeezed the sweater fabric. “I understand.”

“You know I’m only doing what’s best for you, don’t you?” Master asked. “You have so much potential for greatness, but you will never get there if you continue on this path.”

“Yes,” Shigaraki said.

“Good,” Master said. “One week.”

The screen clicked off, leaving the dark bar drenched in darkness.

Dabi let go of Toga, who stayed by his side. At some point during the conversation, her mood had sobered. She stared at the blank screen with a form of thoughtfulness and contempt that looked out of place on the hyper blonde.

Neither of them bothered to stop Shigaraki when he screamed and threw a bar stool into the back wall, shattering the liquor bottles.

Hitoshi sat in front of the glass window, still half surprised they’d allowed him to come visit outside of regular visiting hours. He owed Aizawa a handful of thanks for arranging this visit, especially since last time Midoriya had escaped before he could go see him. Hitoshi tried to smile as he sat, but gave up when he knew it was too forced.

Midoriya’s eyes widened enough to give away his surprise at Hitoshi’s visit, but he didn’t say anything.

(Not that that surprised Hitoshi.)

“Hey,” Hitoshi said. He rubbed his index finger with the thumb on his other hand and looked away from Midoriya to stare at the corner of the glass where it met the small counter. “Kirishima mentioned you weren’t mad at me anymore, so I figured that meant it was okay for me to visit, even if I can’t figure out why you’re not mad anymore.”

(Awesome. That hadn’t been a mess of an introduction at all.)

“I calmed down and thought about it,” Midoriya said, snorting. Hitoshi looked up and the other was smiling, though it wasn’t quite so much fond as it was amused. “You meant well, even if you did something stupid in your panic. Besides, no matter how much I wanted to murder you at first, when I realized everything turned out for the best, it was hard to stay mad.”

“Huh,” Hitoshi said, careful not to speak in the form of a question. He didn’t want to give Midoriya any reason to stop talking. But he wanted so bad to—

“You can just ask a question if you want to,” Midoriya said, eyes narrowing. He tapped his fingers on the counter and looked at the clock and their dwindling time together. “I think it’d be sort of stupid for you to use your Quirk now after everything we’ve been through, and we both know you’re not stupid.”

“Right,” Hitoshi said. He covered his face with his hands and pulled them down, stopping just over his mouth. “What do you meant by this all was for the best?”

“I picked Shigaraki, subconsciously, I had already chosen him a long time ago,” Midoriya said. He looked toward the corner of the room, fingers stopping on the counter. “I was going to end up here eventually, whether or not you kept my secrets, so I guess by turning me in you just saved us both some time.”

Midoriya laughed and shrugged. “So on that front, I suppose I should thank you instead.”

“I’d rather you didn’t,” Hitoshi said, feeling sick to his stomach.

He still remembered that feeling when they’d first taken Midoriya away in a squad car; he’d believed strongly there was still good in that boy. There had to be. Hitoshi refused to believe that Midoriya enjoyed hurting others.

“Is that all you wanted to talk about?” Midoriya asked, looking worn and tired through the glass.

(But maybe now wasn’t the time to bring it up.)

Hitoshi dropped his hands and shrugged. “I’ll admit I was curious about your new attitude, but I mostly just came by to see how you were holding up.”

“It could be worse,” Midoriya said, blowing out and ruffling his own bangs. They’d grown longer, hanging down near his eyes. He bit his lip, crossing his arms on the small bar. His gaze darted up to Hitoshi’s face. “It’d be nicer if they told me things, though.”

“Like what?” Hitoshi asked, admittedly with a pretty good idea of what Midoriya was about to ask about.

“How’s Kacchan?” Midoriya asked, confirming Hitoshi’s suspicions. He frowned, reaching up and tugging on the side of his hair. “Before I woke up in the van, the last thing I remember was my Quirk backfiring pretty spectacularly. He wasn’t caught up in the blast, was he?”

“Bakugou’s fine,” Hitoshi said, weighing his words. He didn’t want to knock down the hornet’s nest just yet, but he couldn’t help the temptation to poke it. “You know, I really don’t understand your thing with him. It all seems like a lot of effort for something so one-sided.”

“Good things never come easy,” Midoriya said. He rested his chin in his hand, carefully watching Hitoshi. “Kacchan liked me once, he can like me again. I don’t mind waiting for it if I have to.”

“Did he ever really like you though?” Hitoshi asked. Bakugou’s own confusing motivations and feelings aside, Hitoshi knew what their relationship looked like on the surface. He wanted to hear Midoriya say it himself. “Discounting when you were four and weren’t really old enough to know better, the way he talked about your past together seemed to imply he wanted nothing to do with you after he found out you didn’t have a Quirk.”

“It figures that I go through all the effort to correct people’s misconceptions about our relationship that Kacchan goes and ruins it with his own insecurities,” Midoriya said. He growled, drawing his hand into a fist. “He’s spilling his soul to more than just Kirishima now, isn’t he? Though I can’t even really call it that. Kacchan’s confused and talking without a filter and everyone is misunderstanding.”

“That so,” Hitoshi said.

“I’ll tell you what I told my mother,” Midoriya said. He leaned forward and slammed his hand on the glass. “Kacchan did not bully me. I went out of my way to get into his space to see him and he responded accordingly. That’s just how Kacchan is and I like him that way. That’s all there is to it, Shinsou, and I’d really appreciate it if people kept their noses out of our business.”

Hitoshi’s “Midoriya is a masochist” theory looked more and more credible by the moment.

“So you like it when he roughs you up,” Hitoshi stated, putting on his best “blank” face.

Midoriya took his hand off the glass. “Is there a point to this?”

“I guess not,” Hitoshi said, not daring to admit he had suspicions that Bakugou enjoyed beating Midoriya up just as much. “Just trying to make conversation.”

Midoriya snickered and popped a warm smile that Hitoshi had missed. “You’re not very good at it.”

“I know,” Hitoshi said, matching the smile enough to show his teeth. “Why do you think you were one of my only friends?”

A laugh bubbled out of Midoriya and their conversation fell into light teasing and asking what company Hitoshi kept these days, and he even learned a bit about Himiko Toga and Dabi—nothing incriminating, but enough to know Midoriya didn’t care for Himiko (good) and that he was wary of Dabi (nothing that they all weren’t aware of).

The visit ended faster than Hitoshi would have liked, but he didn’t want to push his luck when they were already making exceptions to let him visit at all.

“I’ll come visit again soon,” Hitoshi said, rapping his knuckles on the counter as he got up. “Try not to break out this time.”

“No promises,” Midoriya said, but he waved as Hitoshi left.


It was all Hitoshi could ask for.

Himiko sat on the back corner of the couch with her hand on one of the couch legs. It had been flipped over in the middle of Tomura’s temper tantrum with a show of force she hadn’t thought the spindly man was capable of.

(Tomura was so strong! She wondered where he hid all that muscle; she certainly hadn’t seen it when he changed clothes in the alley.)

Tomura breathed heavily on the floor where he squatted, hands in his hair as he tugged it hard enough to tug out a few loose strands. Shattered glass surrounded him, spread around his red sneakers. He had ripped his new dress shirt sleeve and it hung loose around his elbow.

Dabi lay on the bar counter, an elbow under his head and a cigarette on his lips. He’d taken refuge there when Tomura settled in his spot on the floor, out of breath and too exhausted to continue his path of destruction.

Himiko twisted her hair around a finger and threw her legs out to vault off the couch back. She crunched glass under her heels as she landed, arms out wide behind her back. Himiko tapped over, dodging the pieces with sharp edges to the sky, and plopped on Shigaraki’s back, wrapping her arms around his shoulders.

“Do you feel better now?” she asked, squeezing tight as she clung to his back. His trembling body stilled, stiffening under her hold. His breathing continued to increase and she couldn’t help the smile. Tomura was still so shy! Himiko shifted so her chest was flush against his back and her hips lined up with Shigaraki’s own. Her knees scraped lightly against a loose shard of glass on the ground as she settled. “You were really upset!”

Tomura grunted, not giving her much of an answer, but he dropped his hands out of his hair. Himiko reached up and pushed her fingers through it, straightening it for him. Tomura didn’t stop her, almost relaxing under the touch. Himiko continued to pet his hair, loving each slight twitch as she made him hold up her full weight.

It looked like Tomura wasn’t picky with who he got his cuddles from when his favorite partner was missing.

(Himiko giggled.)

“You two need a room?” Dabi asked, staring down at the two of them. He blew a puff of smoke in their direction, adding to the growing cloud on the ceiling. “Might save us all some trouble later if you get it out of your system now.”

“Shut up, mutt,” Tomura said, glaring up. He stood, pulling Himiko up off the ground as she tightened her hold. She wrapped her legs around his waist and pulled herself up into a full piggy-back. He grunted, but didn’t push her off. “We have work to do.”

“Sure, but not tonight, because the only thing I’m doing is sleeping,” Dabi said. He snuffed his cigarette out on the counter top and swung his feet to the side, sitting up. He scratched the back of his neck and huffed. “You two can share a room, because if we’re raiding a police station tomorrow, I’m sleeping with a bed all to myself tonight.”

He dropped off the counter and hopped up the stairs to the apartment over the bar.

Himiko dropped her chin on her arms, leaning her head next to Tomura’s. She whispered, “I think he’s jealous of our cuddles.”

Tomura hummed under his breath. “If you don’t beat him upstairs, he might take Midoriya’s room before you can.”

Himiko shot up, stretching her arms out as far as they could go while still holding Tomura’s shoulders. “You’re right!”

(How could she forget that Izuku’s bed was free right now? She could sleep in his sheets and smell his pillow and she knew Kurogiri hadn’t washed them yet!)

She jumped off Tomura’s back and laughed as she raced up the stairs after Dabi, passing him easily. He shouted as his back hit the stairwell wall when she shoved him out of the way. Himiko laughed and burst into the apartment, heading straight for her lover’s room.

Tomura was such a good friend!

(She’d have to help him make better friends with Dabi so he’d have someone to cuddle when Himiko stole Izuku away for keeps.)

“You just can’t keep yourself out of trouble, can you?”

Izuku leaned his head back, staring at those angry eyes. He sat up on the small jail bench and put down his book. “Kacchan?”

“Who else?” he said. He slid a key card through the lock, unlocking the door. He slid the bars to the side just wide enough for him to walk through. Kacchan shut it behind himself with a resounding click. “Since when do big bad villains need saving?”

“I find it hard to believe that you’re here to save me,” Izuku said, sliding back on the bench as Kacchan took a step closer. He sat up, tugging at the prison uniform shirt. “Even if you are a hero.”

“You are supposed to be the smart one,” Kacchan said, kicking the side bench. He rested his foot there, dressed in dark pants and his training tank top. He dropped to a knee, crowding Izuku’s space as he put all his weight on the bench. “What do you think I’m here for?”

“Oh, I know what you're here for.” Izuku licked his lip, his heart speeding up. “But I’d rather you show me.”

“You’re a brat,” Kacchan said. He grabbed Izuku by the collar of his uniform and tugged him up so he could drop him on his back against the length of the bench. He settled between Izuku’s legs and shoved his palm in the center of Izuku’s ribs, putting his full weight on his arm. “Maybe you should do yourself a favor and stop talking.”

“Make me,” Izuku said, struggling to breath under his compressed lungs.

“Can’t,” Kacchan said. He dropped down, fingers still digging into Izuku’s chest. He curled his fingers in, nails scraping through the fabric. He smirked next to Izuku’s ear and laughed. “You’re about to wake up.”

Kacchan ignited his palm, throwing Izuku back into the harsh reality of an empty, dark cell and a too hard mattress.

Chapter Text

Two days after his mother had come to visit, she returned with Izuku’s father in tow.

Hisashi Midoriya looked ten years older than when Izuku had last saw him, with thick streaks of grey sneaking into the strands of his dark, green hair. He smiled warmly, but his hands stayed glued to the top of his thighs, holding onto his trouser legs. “It’s good to see you, Izuku. Between the lack of calls and you being away from home for so long, I was starting to think I might never see you in person again.”

Izuku’s father worked on an offshore oil rig outside of the country, which meant despite having time off every couple of weeks, it wasn’t always financially feasible to travel home every time he was back on dry land. However, he still tried to come home at least twice a year and on holidays, though most of his communication with the family happened through phone calls or regular emails.

Izuku had been with Shigaraki during his father’s last two visits. Despite what he said otherwise to Shigaraki when he asked why Izuku had been gloomier than usual those days, he had regretted missing those visits when he’d been in his new room with nothing to do but stare at his picture of his parents on the tack board. He mumbled, “Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” his father said. He put his hands on the table pulled his fingers in toward his palms. “How are you doing? They said they’re allowing you a room to yourself, is that right?”

“Yes,” Izuku said. “I’m not sharing with anyone.”

He wasn’t completely sure how he’d gotten that privilege, but he was sure it had to do with his age and the authorities wanting to keep him away from the other prisoners in case he found a way to use their Quirks better than they could, or attempt to recruit others into the League.

Either way he was grateful. Izuku wasn’t sure he’d be able to handle the embarrassment of someone else catching him have some of the dreams that had taken over his thoughts at night. And he already knew from Shigaraki’s teasing that he wasn’t exactly quiet, either.

“That’s good,” his father said, nodding. He pushed back his curly hair and rubbed his cheek, fingers brushing against the freckles he and Izuku shared. “For both your mother and my own sake, I really hope you’re going to stay put this time and start cooperating. Which I’m sure you’ve heard enough from your mother.”

His father winced and rubbed his mouth. He looked at his wife and asked, “So uh, why don’t we talk about something else instead?”

Izuku smiled, trying not to snort as the poor man floundered for a new topic. Not that he blamed him; his father had been left a little out of the loop as far as Izuku’s personal life had been concerned, and at no fault of his own.

“Oh! They said you had a visitor other than us,” his mother said, clapping her hands together and saving his father. “A boy from your class, right?”

“Shinsou,” Izuku said. The other boy had been a welcome surprise, even if he was a little misinformed about Kacchan. “He was in my general studies class and we moved up to class 1-A together after the Sports Festival.”

“I’m glad you have a few good friends still,” his mother said. “Hopefully they’ll be a much better influence.”

“Sure,” Izuku said.

His father asked about Shinsou and his mother told him about the Sports Festival and little things Izuku had mentioned about him that he hadn’t thought to mention during phone calls to his father.

As they chatted, Izuku slumped on the small counter on the other side of the glass looking between his parents. As much as he loved them, and as hopeful as they were that this second arrest would be the last one, he knew that he’d have to hurt them again.

He couldn’t stay here.

Izuku had too much blood on his hands to give up his goals now.

Shigaraki had better get his act together and come get Izuku soon. The longer he got to see his parents on a regular basis, the worse it would be when he had to leave them again.

“You’re a hard guy to get alone these days, Mr. Popular,” Shinsou said, taking a seat next to Katsuki in the grass.

“Not my fault everyone won’t leave me alone,” Katsuki said, grunting into his lunch. He didn’t mind that everyone was happy with their success at the theme park, but Katsuki was getting sick of seeing Ashido’s selfie with him and Izuku in the background and everyone’s gossip as they tried to figure out what would happy to their pint-sized villain. “What’s up?”

“I went to visit Midoriya in the detention center the other day,” Shinsou said.

Katsuki pulled his chopsticks away from his mouth and turned his head. “You did?”

Shinsou dug a blade of grass out of the dirt and snapped it in half. He played with the two halves between his fingers. “I didn’t want to tell anyone I had gotten permission until I spoke with you first.”

“How was he?” Katsuki asked, resuming his meal. His stomach twisted with every bite, but he forced himself to act normal.

“Tired, mostly,” Shinsou said. He dropped the ripped pieces of grass and reached for another large blade. “He asked about you and it made me wonder if you were going to drop by for a visit yourself.”

“Can’t,” Katsuki said. He scarfed down the last of his lunch and dropped the case next to him in the dirt. He stretched his legs out and put his head against the tree he’d taken refuge under. “Aizawa said neither myself nor my parents are allowed to visit until he’s gotten therapy or some shit and it’s been cleared.”

“That makes sense,” Shinsou said, continuing to rip apart and twist the strands of grass. Shinsou didn’t look at Katsuki, focusing on the green between his fingers. “You are sort of the center of his mania at the moment.”

“Don’t remind me,” Katsuki said. He growled and leaned forward, scratching the back of his neck, hating himself even as he asked. “What’d Izuku ask about?”

“If you were alright, mostly,” Shinsou said. He snorted and opened his fingers wide, dropping the grass bits. “He said the last thing he remembered was his Quirk exploding and he wasn’t sure if you were in the blast or not.”

“So he was trying to fool you into telling him info about me,” Katsuki said, snorting. He scrunched his nose and slid down the tree, scraping bark into the back of his uniform jacket. “Like I’d be hurt by a little blast like that. Izuku knows better, the little shit.”

“He didn’t get much, if that was really his plan. It started with you wellbeing and then devolved into rambling about how he’s convinced you’re not a bully and he’s sick of people saying that you are,” Shinsou said. He licked his lip and grinned with all teeth before shaking his head, taking back whatever had been on the tip of his tongue. “The subject ended pretty quick after that and we talked about his new friends.”

“The girlfriend and the fire dude?” Katsuki asked.


Not saying anything else, Shinsou leaned his head back and stared at the clouds. Katsuki didn’t press, even if he wanted to ask about what Shinsou hadn’t said. He hated being left in the dark, but pushing it wouldn’t help. Yelling and making noise would just draw the others over and Katsuki was already done with the topic.

Izuku was in jail and he’d get help and Katsuki would stop having bad dreams and he could go back to kicking ass and competing for the number one hero slot.

But before Katsuki could pack up his things and leave, Shinsou dropped a bomb of his own: “Do you like Midoriya, Bakugou?”

Katsuki grit his teeth and got up.

He walked away without answering, but he felt Shinsou’s stare on his back the entire way back to the school building.

(His silence was a good enough answer.)

Himiko Toga loved Izuku Midoriya.

There was no question. No confusion. Himiko knew exactly what she wanted.

(Wear him. Kill him. Love him.)

She pressed Izuku’s bed sheets to her face and inhaled. Himiko loved how her darling Izuku smelled, but his scent had started to fade over the two days that Himiko had occupied his bed while he was away.

Himiko needed to get him back and press her face into his neck and smell him in person. Maybe taste him.

(She knew he’d taste amazing. He had to. He smelled so sweet!)

But Tomura and Dabi were dragging their feet trying to come up with a fool proof plan and time was wasting. Himiko had expected to get things going the next morning after they got back to the bar and Shigaraki’s papa made his ultimatum, but no! She rolled on her side and growled into the mattress. They’d left Izuku alone in that rotten jail for almost three days! Himiko kicked her legs back and forth and sat up.

Her darling Izuku had to be waiting for a daring rescue!

She hopped off (the soon to be hers and his) bed and dropped the blanket on top. She grabbed her skirt off the floor, tugging it up her legs before leaving the room.

Himiko spotted Tomura and Dabi in the living room, watching the news.

“I’m shocked there isn’t more on there about us,” Dabi said, turning up the volume. He frowned at the television, sinking into the cushions. “That stunt in the park had to be bigger news than a single blurb. Those kids had their photos everywhere on social media.”

“Midoriya reacted rather badly to the last newscast that featured him, maybe they’re scared,” Tomura said. He had his hand on his face, and his hair covered both his eyes. He scratched at his neck. “I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“Is this what you two call planning?” Himiko asked, kicking the back of the couch hard enough to jolt both boys. “Izuku is in jail! Mr. Kurogiri is in jail! They need our help and you’re worried about how little press we’re getting?”

“Breaking into a police station with the three of us and maybe one Nomu if we can get Newscast’s little pet to listen to us isn’t exactly easy,” Dabi said, turning in his seat. He threw his elbow over the back of the couch and glared. Tomura remained focused on the news. “And you know on top of that they’ve got Kurogiri in total lockdown because he’s dangerous. We’re waiting to see if Giran has any other recruits, so while we wait, yeah, I’m interested to see what the news says about us.”

“We don’t have time to wait!” Himiko said, stomping her foot. “Tomura only has like three more days to save Izuku before his Master gets involved and we both know who he’s going to kill!”

“You?” Dabi said, curling his lip.

“Izuku! He’s the favorite and the one Tomura likes the most!” Himiko said. She snarled and reached forward, grabbing Dabi’s hair. She tugged it back hard, slamming his head into the couch back. “And if anyone other than me gets to kill Izuku then I’m going to be really mad!”

“Let go!” Dabi shouted, throwing his hand up. He hit her arm and ignited his palm, lighting her sweater sleeve on fire.

Himiko jumped back hissing as she patted out her arm and glared. “That wasn’t nice!”

“Neither was pulling my hair, blondie!” Dabi yelled back.

“Shut up, both of you,” Tomura said. He hissed and glared, his red eye wide behind the fingers of his hand-mask. “You’ve both got a point. Dabi’s right in that we’re ill equipped to attack the station and Toga has a point about our time running out. So if you’re going to kill each other, at least wait until after we’ve got Kurogiri and Midoriya back.”

“Oh, Tomura’s so serious and rational today!” Himiko said. She clapped her hands together and jumped over the couch back to sit between Tomura and Dabi, landing half on Dabi’s thigh in the small space. “Does that mean you’ve thought of something?”

“You said a cup of blood will let you transform for a day?” Shigaraki asked. Himiko nodded in agreement, kicking her legs back and forth. “And you can switch between freely if you have more than one person’s blood?”

“You got it in one,” Himiko said. She propped her chin on knuckles and leaned forward to block Dabi’s view of Tomura when he shifted to look around her. “Go on.”

Tomura poked her cheek. “You want to save Midoriya, right?”

“Yes!” she said, pouting. “I’ve only said it like a hundred times.”

“Here’s a list of everyone that works in the jail he’s at I had Giran acquire last night,” Tomura said, leaning forward. He picked up a small manilla packet with two fingers and handed it to her. Himiko opened the top of the envelope and tugged out a small set of papers with names and photographs. “Go wild and rescue Midoriya.”

Himiko hugged Tomura and squealed. “Yes! I love this plan!”

Nothing was better than having free reign without someone nitpicking her every move. (Himiko loved Izuku, she did, but he was such a micromanager!) She couldn’t even be angry Tomura and Dabi had been sitting on this important info for a day without acting she was so happy. Himiko jumped off the couch and ran into Izuku’s bedroom. “I have to get ready!”

So many people to kill and drink before she could save Izuku! There wasn’t a moment to waste!

(He’d have to love her if she saved him. He’d have to.)

“That wasn’t much of a plan from a guy who’s supposed to be smart,” Dabi said, slumping on the side of the couch. He watched Shigaraki from the corner of his eye and tapped his fingers along the back of the couch. “Plus, if that was it you could have told her yesterday when Giran gave us the info you asked for. It would have gotten her out of our hair earlier.”

“Let’s go,” Shigaraki said, getting up from the couch.

Dabi glanced up and asked, “Go where?”

“To break things,” Shigaraki said. He stared down at Dabi and stretched his mouth into an ugly smile. “We gave them three days of rest, and now we raise hell.”

Shigaraki loomed over Dabi and cracked his fingers. He raised his hand, curling flexing his fingers as he showed off his most deadly weapon. “The more we destroy, the less they care about everyone Toga’s about to kill. Once she breaks out Midoriya, he’ll help us make a real plan to get Kurogiri. Easy.”

“So we’re playing distraction, is that it?” Dabi asked. He snorted and lit his palm on fire, snuffing it immediately out. The smoke lifted toward the ceiling. “That sounds like a plan for us to get arrested since we’re missing our quick exit. How exactly do you plan to get away from the crime scene without Kurogiri?”

“Oh,” Shigaraki said, lowering his hand. He stared at the side of the couch and tilted his head to the side. “I forgot.”

Dabi hate that he laughed.

Shigaraki grabbed Dabi by the arm and yanked him off the couch with that strength he hid so well. “I’ll let you figure that part out.”

“Hey!” Dabi shouted. The spoiled brat dragged him toward the stairs of the bar, his manic grin spreading wider and wider as they approached the bottom floor. “I thought you were a genius or something? Are we really just going to go downtown, blow shit up, and then run for it like a couple of thugs?”

“Yes,” Shigaraki said. He pushed Dabi out the door and followed him, dressed only in the hand-mask on his face without the rest of his costume. “We’ll make it a game. I’m not very good at stealth games, but you’re the street smart one. Let’s see how well you can get around the cops at every hit, Mr. Stray Mutt.”

“I want you to know if we get caught and have to share a cell, creep,” Dabi said, “that I will strangle you in your sleep.”

“They’d never let us share a cell,” Shigaraki said.

“I hate you so much.”

Dabi shoved his hands in his pockets as the two of them headed toward the nearest train station in the dead of the night, ready to embark on the dumbest plan ever. A few moments passed before Toga went running by them, shouting in glee as she shouted “Bye, boys!” and disappeared around a corner. The knife under her skirt flashed in the street light as the fabric whipped around her thighs.

“This is going to be a disaster,” Dabi said.

“The best kind of night,” Shigaraki replied.

Dabi couldn’t find himself disagreeing.

Maybe there was something to this Villain thing other than saving his own neck, after all.

Chapter Text

Katsuki felt Shinsou staring him down from the other side of the room, even as he continued his polite conversation with Iida. Katsuki’s not-answer yesterday still lingered between them and Shinsou met all the criteria for “Stubborn” when it came to making sure Katsuki knew he was still looking for a proper answer.

Too bad for Shinsou though that Katsuki held the record winning entry for that particular trait.

But that didn’t mean Katsuki wasn’t paying attention, just in case Shinsou said something he wasn’t supposed to.

“If you want to go visit Midoriya, Iida, I’m sure Aizawa would let you,” Shinsou said, crossing his arms on the breakfast bar. While he didn’t get an answer to his probing question, Shinsou must have gotten enough out of Katsuki to feel safe enough to tell the rest of the class that he went to visit the jail. Shinsou swirled his coffee around in a cup before sipping it. “You could bring Uraraka with you, too. I think he’d like that, honestly.”

“You do?” Iida asked, rubbing the side of his arm.

Shinsou grunted in agreement. He drank a mouthful of coffee and set the empty mug down. “I think most of his problems are bad friends and bad influences. Maybe if he remembers he can have some better ones, he won’t cling to that Shigaraki guy so hard.”

“That is a good point,” Iida said. He tapped his finger on the table. “Maybe we could go as a group of three, just to drive the point home that he has friends here and we are hopeful for his rehabilitation.”

“And while you guys are doing that, we can go do something fun,” Kaminari said, throwing an arm around Katsuki’s shoulder. He grinned and popped his thumb over his shoulder to point at Kirishima. “We’ve been cooped up forever and with Midoriya back in custody, we finally have a chance to get out. Let’s have some fun!”

“I’d be up for that,” Kirishima said. He took out his headphones and crossed the common room to stand with the group. He grinned, bright and wide—and for once, it didn’t look forced. Kirishima punched out a fist and laughed. “We haven’t done anything just for us in a while, anyway. We should hit the mall or something.”

“Oh, oh!” Ashido said, jumping up from the table in the corner. Sero jerked back as she waved her arm. “I’m totally up for the mall! Let’s go shopping!”

Katsuki slumped into the couch seat, not in the mood for socializing, especially right after classes when all he wanted to do was pass out somewhere and forget that life existed. Katsuki pushed Kaminari’s arm off his shoulder. “I think I’ll pass.”

“No,” Ashido said, almost whining. She trotted across the room and held her hands up together, pleading. “You have to come, too!”

“I’m really not in the mood,” Katsuki said. He got up and shoved his hands in his pockets. Ashido continued giving him large, pleading eyes and he counted to ten in his head before he yelled at her to knock that off. Katsuki blew his bangs out of his face. “You guys go, though.”

“If you’re sure,” Kirishima said, smile fading. He didn’t press it though, and Katsuki felt grateful for that little breath of air.

(Kirishima was fine. He was here. Izuku was in jail. Katsuki didn’t need to watch him all the time. It was fine. They were fine.)

“We’ll see you later then,” Kirishima said, breaking Katsuki from his internal reassurances. He smiled and crossed his arms. “Take it easy, okay?”

Katsuki held up his hand and walked out of the common room, feeling it easier to breathe when he’d gotten out of the crowd.

He overheard Shinsou and Iida also turn the small group down with plans to visit Izuku instead, but inwardly sighed in relief when the rest agreed to still go. There was no real reason they should stop having fun just because he was in a bad mood. He pushed the door open to the stairwell and left the noise of the common room behind him as he took a few steps up the stairs. The others deserved to have some fun while he got his head together.

(“Aw, you’re being considerate of other people’s feelings,” Izuku said. “You’re growing up so well, Katsuki!”)

He pulled his fist away from the wall, wincing at the cracked plaster from where his fist had hit. Katsuki shook off his hand and jumped up the stairs two at a time, wanting nothing more then to get back to his room and crashing for the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening.

Maybe when they got back, he’d grab Kirishima for a movie or something, just to clear his head from thoughts of Midoriya and Shinsou’s incriminating question.

As he reached his landing, Katsuki spotted Todoroki heading down the stairs from the floor above. Katsuki leaned on the closed stairwell door to his floor and greeted him. “What’s up, half-and-half?”

“Nothing much,” Todoroki said, sticking his hand in his pants pocket. “I was on my way to the store.”

He held up a small, neatly printed shopping list and Katsuki scrunched his nose as he read some of the items. He couldn’t even pronounce the name of one of them. “Where are you going to find that around here?”

“There’s a small shop on the edge of town that has imported and custom tea blends,” Todoroki said. He shifted and rubbed the back of his neck, looking at the side of the door. His cheeks flushed in unneeded embarrassment. “My mother was fond of it, so even if it’s a little expensive and out of the way to get, I still like to drink it when I can. I ran out this morning and I was in the mood for it.”

Katsuki nodded, flicking his fingers on the edge of the paper. He didn’t know much about Todoroki’s home life, but he gathered it wasn’t fantastic. Happy memories were probably hard to come by. He shoved his hands in his pockets and frowned. “Are you going by yourself?”

“I was planning to,” Todoroki said. A moment of awkward silence passed before he blurted, “Would you like to come with me?”

A loud, boisterous trip to the mall was out of the question, but Katsuki wouldn’t mind some fresh air and a quiet trip with a single friend.

Katsuki opened the landing door. “Sure, let me change first though.”

“Alright,” Todoroki said.

Todoroki followed Katsuki to his dorm room to wait while Katsuki changed out of his school uniform and into something more casual for the trip. By the time he had gotten dressed, the others should have been long gone and shouldn’t be too upset about Katsuki heading out anyway after he’d turned them down.

“I feel like we’ve wasted our night,” Tomura said, scratching his neck. He felt naked without his hand on his face, standing in the middle of the train station at the edge of town wearing a stolen hoodie Dabi had yanked off an outdoor clothes rack as they passed by a store. That had been the worst of their activities of the night, save for strangling some idiot who tried to mug them. “We haven’t broken anything yet.”

Dabi had proven strangely effective at talking Tomura out of randomly hurting people on the street with a promise of something better.

But Tomura’s patience had finally worn thin as lunchtime passed and the afternoon grew late.

“You said I could figure out how we’d escape trouble without Kurogiri and I’m holding you to it,” Dabi said. He pointed his finger along the subway map, the other hand scratching at the disposable, medical face mask he’d donned to hide his burnt skin. “Spontaneity only gets you so far and I’d like to plan at least a few things ahead of time. Besides, we should give Toga some time to get her shit together, too, right?”

“But you’ve been dragging us around the city all night and all day trying to plan. When do we get to break something?” Tomura asked. He pulled at the side of Dabi’s dark grey hood and growled when Dabi smacked his hand away. Tomura grabbed the hoodie again, yanking Dabi away from the map. “You’re starting to remind me of Midoriya. If you’re just running us around to avoid hurting people I’m going to be very angry. I don’t like being humored.”

“Don’t compare me to Newscast,” Dabi said. He glared at Tomura’s hold on his hood and said under his breath. “Let go and I’ll show you exactly what I’ve spent all night and day planning to satisfy your childish demands.”

Tomura released Dabi’s hoodie and held a finger up. “One chance, and then we do it my way. I’m tired of waiting.”

“I gathered,” Dabi said. He took one last look at the train map and nodded his head to the side. “This way.”

Tomura trailed behind Dabi as he walked across the train platform. He continued walking until they reached an employee-only door. Dabi slapped his palm against the door. “Open that.”

A dissolved lock later found the two of them on the maintenance side of the tracks. Dabi shoved his hood back and tugged down the half-mask, letting it hang around his neck. He led the way down the tracks through the alleys behind the buildings near them until they were near the base of a hill, staring at the long beams that held up the train high above them.

“That’s where we’re going to get our boom,” Dabi said, pointing up. The electric railway ran high above them, far above the traffic of cars and out of the way of foot traffic. Tomura studied it and then glanced at Dabi. He grinned, lazy and wide. “Best way to not get caught, is to not be at the scene.”

Tomura tilted his head, not quite following. “Go on?”

Dabi knocked his knuckles into one of the steel braces that held up the tracks. “Dissolve this, and then we’ll walk down the row and dissolve that next one, and we’ll do the same for a few more just to be safe. When the train shows up in five minutes, it’ll be heavy enough to collapse the rails. The train’ll go flying, crash into some civilians and maybe go boom. While the Heroes are responding to that, you and I can go break something else far away and not get caught like idiots.”

“It took you all that time to think of that?” Tomura asked, giggling. Dabi had said it so easily, despite all the people who would surely die from such a crash. Tomura had been mistaken; Dabi was nothing like Midoriya. Tomura snickered, pressing his hand over his mouth to hide the ugly shape of his face as he laughed. “You’re a little slow.”

“It’s better than your plan to walk down the street and start murdering people before sprinting away like a couple of teenagers who robbed a supermarket,” Dabi said, still grinning. Dabi had a nice smile; handsome. Tomura rubbed his thumb against his own, chapped lips. Dabi kicked the beam and threw his hands out. “You gonna’ dissolve this or not?”

Midoriya had been right; Tomura had definitely needed more friends.

Dissolving the beam came easily enough. Five fingers together against the metal and it disintegrated away, crawling upward about three feet before the dust under his hands fell away and broke the contact. Tomura shook the dust free from his fingers and walked to the next one. A single broken support wouldn’t collapse and Tomura wanted to see that boom.

“So what will you be doing?” Tomura asked as he stopped at the next one. It dissolved just as easily. “Not going to let loose yourself?”

“I think I’ll settle for watching other things catch fire without me today,” Dabi said, watching over their shoulders. His eyes kept an eye behind them and near the street side of the maintenance fence, making sure that no one showed up to ruin their fun like someone responsible. “I’d rather not be at the center of the attention without your warp gate buddy.”

“We’ll see about that,” Tomura said. He walked to the next rail and pressed his fingers against it. The rail above them creaked the supports disappeared one by one. “One more should do it.”

Dabi whistled. “Let’s hit it and then get moving. I think the train might be early and I don’t want to be anywhere near here when it gets going.”

Tomura laughed under his breath as he slammed his palm into the next beam and joined Dabi in a sprint back toward the main platform of the train station.

Katsuki had gotten used to hearing explosions for obvious reasons, but the ones that he didn’t make himself always seemed to catch him just a little off guard.

“How awful,” Todoroki said, clutching his bag of tea. The door of the small shop fell shut behind them with a resounding click among the chaos of the people in the streets. Bakugou and Todoroki turned toward the source of the smoke, and the small explosion that had burst far down the street, nearly five blocks down. “What happened?”

“Looks like the track busted,” Bakugou said, pointing upward. Todoroki followed where he was pointing to spot the crippled track, split in half at the top rails and visible even from this distance. “The train must have run right off and hit that building.”

“But what caused the explosion?” Todoroki asked, scrunching his nose. “That’s a lot of fire for just a crash.”

“Don’t know,” Bakugou said. The sounds of sirens filled the air as the emergency vehicles sped by headed toward the center of the destruction. “Might have hit a gas line and a spark ignited it or something. Who knows?”

The two of them could see the smoke rising far in the distance, Todoroki staring solemnly and Katsuki bit his lip. He hated it, but the whole thing made him think of Izuku. That brat used to love running to the scene where Pro Heroes would gather to save people from disaster, whether it was an accident or a villain attack. He’d write his notes and mutter under his breath and very rarely, would tell Katsuki about it. Not often, but if it was a big enough thing he would.

Katsuki wondered what Pro Heroes would arrive at the scene, and blew out a breath realizing it didn’t matter.

Izuku no longer cared about that sort of thing, did he?

A man laughed.

Katsuki and Todoroki both turned their heads toward the ugly sound. The maniacal giggling came from a man a few steps away from them near the mouth of an alley who had a strong grip in the grey hoodie of the man next to him. The laughing one’s hood covered his face, but pale hands pointed and waved at the train crash. “Look at them run around like ants! It’s hilarious.”

“I told you it would be good,” his companion said. “And we’re safe and sound over here, while all of them die over there.”

“Hey!” Bakugou shouted. What sort of sick monster laughed at an accident like that? He made a move to yell more, but Todoroki grabbed his shoulder and shook his head. Bakugou pulled his arm back. “You’re just going to stand there and let them laugh?”

“Starting a fight won’t help,” Todoroki said, though his own expression was far from accepting. The same anger burned in his eyes that Katsuki felt in his gut.

Todoroki opened his mouth to say something else but snapped it shut with an audible click of his teeth. His eyes widened and Bakugou had a sick feeling lodge in his throat. Turning back toward the two strangers, he was met with two equally wide set of eyes as they faced Katsuki and Todoroki.

“If it isn’t Kacchan,” Tomura Shigaraki said, face wrinkled and scarred without the hand mask. His wild, manic eyes were open wide and his mouth stretched into a delighted smile. “A mini boss has arrived! This campaign has improved a hundred percent. And look! Dabi! He brought your favorite, too!”

Katsuki growled, opening both of his fists to reveal his palms as Shigaraki’s buddy pulled off his hoodie, revealing a man with burnt skin and stitches holding him together like a demented rag doll. He hadn’t met this one in person at the theme park, but he knew the guy was tough enough to pin both Todoroki and Iida.

“Like I said before,” Dabi said, licking the side of his lip. “I’ll never pass up an opportunity to make Endeavor’s life awful, and I was itching for a round two anyway.”

“You’re the one who ran away when Endeavor showed up,” Todoroki said, putting his shopping bag on the ground. He shifted into a better position to hold his ground and inched closer to Bakugou. “Not me.”

“I’m so going to love killing you,” Dabi said. He glanced at Shigaraki and lit his palm on fire in a large burst that scared a passerby. The people around them noticed who was standing among them and one or two screamed before making a run for it. Dabi laughed and the flames flickered around his palm. “You think you can handle Newscast’s boyfriend, Creep?”

“More or less,” Shigaraki said. Before Katsuki could move, the Villain sprinted to the side, reaching out and grabbing a frozen civilian who hadn’t had the good sense to run yet. His hand wrapped around their throat, one finger raised. He grinned at Katsuki and laughed. “If he moves, this girl dies. Easy! That way we can both be good and watch you two fight.”

“Works for me,” Dabi said, not a care in the world for the person struggling in Shigaraki’s hold. Katsuki needed to get them apart but he wasn’t sure he could make it twenty feet before Shigaraki killed the hostage. Dabi had no care for either of them and made a run for Todoroki. “Out of the way, kid!”

Katsuki threw his hands up to block the wave of fire that landed in his face, shoving him out of the way as Dabi darted in, putting himself between Katsuki and his friend.

He shouted as he skidded to a halt away from them, palms sparking on instinct.

Todoroki yelled as Dabi landed a punch, fire in his eyes as much as on his fist. Todoroki blocked the next hit, sending a wave of ice to push Dabi back. The burnt man didn’t laugh, only retaliating with another burst of fire and another swipe to grab at Todoroki.

Katsuki needed to help. He stepped forward, halting only when he heard the other Villain address him.

“Now, now, let them play,” Shigaraki said, loud and obnoxious. The girl in his grasp whimpered and he grabbed them by the arm. “Be a good boy and watch, okay? Midoriya’ll be upset if we have to kill you.”

He’d already forgotten the hostage Shigaraki had, just from seeing Todoroki in trouble. What sort of hero was he?

Katsuki smacked his fist into the ground, unsure of what else to do. He yelled at Shigaraki, “You’re going so down the first chance I get!”

“I don’t think so,” he said. Shigaraki, confident in his hostage plan, turned back to watch Dabi and Todoroki. He snickered under his breath, talking to himself. “This is fun.”

A wave of fire burst between the two of them, dark and hot. It singed Katsuki’s clothes as he rolled out to the side. His eyes widened as he paid attention to the man Dabi and the ferociousness of his dark flames. Todoroki threw ice to meet him, but found himself forced back with every matched hit.

Todoroki needed help.

“If you move, this girl dies,” Shigaraki said again, voice serious. His giggling tone dropped away into something far more frightening as he watched the fight between the pyro and Todoroki. “I want to see this and I don’t want anyone getting in the way.”

Katsuki’s fists shook with his own rage, but for now he had to stay patient. He prayed Todoroki could hold on until more help arrived.

Izuku flipped open his book, settling against the cot in the corner of his cell. A growing sensation of dread had settled in his stomach, twisting since earlier in the day when Shinsou had visited again, bringing Iida and Uraraka with him. The visit had been short and pleasant, but left Izuku with a feeling of regret that he needed to smother.

(This ending was inevitable, but it might have been nice to have those three as real friends for a little longer.)

His book.

Izuku focused on the pages of the book in his hand and breathed in. He’d read, he’d forget all about it, and wait. He could wait. Izuku could be patient and not dread every moment he had to see his tired parents and his longing friends and wondering every second where Kacchan was and if he was thinking about Izuku, too.

His stomach twisted again; unsettled and nervous.

Izuku felt cold, his senses lighting in recognition as a shadow passed by his cell door and lingered.

Looking up, he found himself eye to eye with a stocky guard that towered above him with a square, iron face and dark eyes. The guard’s face twisted into a smile, full of glee and teeth.

“Izuku, baby!” the guard yelled, slamming both of his hands against the bars of the cell. The man giggled, “I found you!”

Chapter Text

“Toga?” Izuku asked, eyes wide.

Himiko gasped in delight. She knew her Izuku was special and would be able to recognize her on sight! Himiko giggled to herself—if only that were true. Himiko gave herself away on purpose, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t tease him! She leaned back and swung on the bars she held on the door. “You recognized me!”

“No one else calls me ‘baby’,” Izuku said, saying what Himiko already knew. He closed his book and stood up, shuffling toward the door. Himiko’s heart dropped seeing her beloved looking so worn with deep bags under his eyes and hair flat and plastered to his face. He frowned at her and looked behind her shoulder. “Where’s the other guard from this hall?”

“Dead,” Himiko said, humming under her breath. She tugged her card down and stuck it in the lock, opening the door. “It was so easy thanks to the information from Tomura!”

(She might have killed more than she needed to get into the building, but that was neither here nor there.)

“Where is Shigaraki?” Izuku asked, still staring at the open door. He picked up his book, slipping it under his arm and took a careful step into the hallway. Izuku looked both ways down the hallway, looking at each cell door and for anyone else out of place. “It’s not just you is it?”

“I don’t know where Tomura and Dabi are,” Himiko said. She put her hands on her hips, looking up. She leaned back on her heel and dropped back down. “They said I could come save you, so I did!”

“They’re probably going after Kurogiri,” Izuku mumbled under his breath. He covered his mouth and looked down at the ground. “Getting you in with your disguise was easy, but how are we going to get past the rest of the guards? They’ll have to notice us on the cameras—”

“The camera guard is dead too,” Himiko said, stretching her borrowed face into a wider grin. She looked down at her cute Izuku and asked, “Do you think I’m that much of an idiot?”

Izuku stared at her, eyes widening for a moment before he narrowed them again. He crossed his arms and asked, “How many guards are dead?”

Himiko threw her arms out in her usual showy fashion, catching the attention of everyone lingering in the cells watching their exchange with lusting eyes. “All of the ones in this Wing of the building! You’d be amazed at how easy it is to kill them all with a knife and a good disguise if you kill the camera guy first.”

Izuku looked at the floor, clutching his book tighter against his chest. He looked intimidated. Himiko’s heart swelled in her chest. Izuku was delightful when scared. She couldn’t wait to have him all to herself and see that expression after she had put it there. It would be so much better. Himiko felt her breath rise and she licked her lip. Izuku took a step to the side. “Oh.”

“Which is good because we need to get Kurogiri,” Himiko said, putting herself back on track. It was important to remember yourself when you were working! There was a time and a place for everything. Himiko clapped her hands together. “Tomura’s dad said if we didn’t get Kurogiri out of jail by the end of the week, he’d kill you as his punishment and I think Dabi and Tomura went out to play with civilians.”

Izuku looked at Himiko and then the other inmates around them. He got that amazing look on his face that he always got when he filled out his paperwork for Giran or worked at his computer. Calculating. Smart.

(Such a catch!)

“Give me your card key,” Izuku said, holding out his hand. “I think I know how we’re going to make sure the rest of the facility is distracted while we get Kurogiri.”

Himiko dropped the key in his hand and shivered as their fingers brushed.

(Their first date was going so well!)

Shouto knew that there were people who hated his father, but he’d never met anyone with as much hatred for the man as Dabi. The anger from his fire, the heat and viciousness of it, screamed it more than his words did.

“Why do you hate Endeavor so much?” Shouto had to ask, throwing ice up to meet the barrage of flames. The shield did little to stop it with the fire melting through it almost as fast as he put it up, but it at least slowed Dabi down. Shouto rolled to the side, avoiding the next hit. “Did he defeat you? Is this a grudge?”

Shouto wanted to understand.

“None of your business,” Dabi replied, surrounding his hand in flames. He ran toward Shouto with the intent to switch up the fight style. He threw a punch and Shouto barely deflected it, coating his own side in ice to stop the burn. Dabi spun his hand around again, to take another swipe. “But killing you will destroy him, and that’s good enough for me.”

“You might be overestimating my value,” Shouto said, almost cursing himself as he admitted it. He lit a fire of his own and yelled as he let it loose.

Dabi held his arms up to block it, using his own blue flames. He threw his arms out, dispersing it. The hatred in his eyes this time was aimed solely at Shouto and the gaze looked so familiar Shouto frozen in place. Fire rose around Dabi’s hands, surrounding him in a ferocious build up. “No, I’m not.”

Shouto didn’t get his ice up in time for the next hit, still too unnerved from the flash of his father’s face that had taken over his vision. Dabi yelled in delight, darting forward to land a physical hit to his side. Shouto choked as a knee rammed into his ribs and he was thrown to the ground.

(“It only takes one slip, Shouto, to be defeated. You must always avoid it. Your guard must always be up,” his father had said.)

“I could murder ever single other one of Endeavor’s kids and he wouldn’t care, but you?” Dabi’s hands wrapped around Shouto’s neck, squeezing. He felt the heat rise as embers lit from his fingers and licked Shouto’s skin in tiny pricks and threat. “You’re his golden boy. The favorite. The success story!”

Shouto gathered ice in his hands as he struggled to breathe.

“If I kill you, everything he worked for will be for nothing and he’ll always be second best in this generation and the next,” Dabi said, voice low and hissed. “His worst nightmare’ll come true and I’ll sit back and laugh.”

Just a bit more ice. Slow. Gather it slowly so he doesn’t hear the crackle.

“You want to know the best part?” Dabi’s grip tightened further, and he straddled Shouto leaning in so close he could whisper. His lips edged near Shouto’s ear, glee lacing every word. “He actually loves you, so if I break his heart too that’ll just be the icing on the cake.”

Shouto slammed his ice covered hand into the side of Dabi’s temple, laying him flat out on the ground.

“Ah, I deserved that one,” Dabi said, rolling over and jumping back up. His lazy smile returned as he wiped away the blood from the side of his head. He flicked it away and laughed, stretching the stitches on his cheeks. “Got a little careless there, didn’t I? But I guess that’s why I’m where I am and you’re where you are.”

“What?” Shouto asked, coughing as he cleared his throat. The familiarity he felt from Dabi continued to eat at the corner of his brain. The constant references to his father weren’t helping either. “Nothing you say makes any sense and I’m fairly certain you didn’t answer my earlier question: Why do you hate Endeavor so much?”

“Honestly, kiddo?” Dabi said, lowering his shoulders and holding his hand forward in front of him. “You’re better off not knowing. You're nothing but collateral damage, so why rub salt in the wound?”

A burst of blue fire that dwarfed everything else Dabi had thrown out burst from his hand, engulfing everything within in sweltering blue.

“Todoroki!” Bakugou screamed from a point in the distance, his voice loud and raw and enough to snap Shouto out of his awe.

Maybe it was time for Shouto to start answering with some power of his own.

Tomura killed his hostage on accident.

He didn’t often lose himself in reflexes, but he figured he could be forgiven for the lack of control seeing the awesome sight that was the explosive power of a Todoroki from the Sports Festival in person.

The massive wave of ice smashed into Dabi’s fire, creating a monster chuck of ice that took up nearly the entire city block with towering shards that. The sight looked grisly with the ice filled with missing chunks from the heat of the fire. It looked like a scene from a horror film but in bright light.

He and Kacchan both had barely the reflexes to get out of the way from the brunt of the attack, but neither of them got out completely: Tomura had a leg stuck in a corner of the ice, fallen on his side in a pile of dust from his gripped fist around the woman’s neck. On the other side, Kacchan was in a similar position, only it was his upper arm and shoulder caught.

Dabi had been dead center of the Todoroki’s blast and Tomura couldn’t see him through the solid chunk of white.

Tomura sat up, pressing his hand against the ice. His decay worked, as it always did, freeing his own leg. He moved slowly, hoping to avoid the young hero’s attention and to bring the feeling back into the frozen limb. He may have underestimated that brat again.

(So unfair. Mini bosses weren’t allowed to be so overpowered!)

“Bakugou!” the Todoroki yelled, running to the side where his friend had been caught up. He joined his side and breathed heavily, breath frozen in the air. “Don’t use your Quirk. I’ll melt it!”

“About time you got serious!” Kacchan yelled back.

As they bickered, Tomura found himself forgotten and decided maybe he should get his mutt. His decay worked quietly and slowly on the chunks of ice as he made his way toward the center of the impact. Abruptly, the ice disappeared and he stared into a small hole in the center of the ice. He found Dabi dripping and shivering, covered in melted water and steam.

“We should go,” Tomura said, dropping both his hands. “I think we broke enough here.”

Dabi didn’t speak, his chest heaving up and down. He raised his hand, lighting fire in his palm and grinding his teeth. “Where’s the brat?”

“Other side helping to free Kacchan,” Tomura said, pointing in the general direction. “Perfectly fine, unlike you. You look like a drowned rat which is pretty sad for a dog.”

“I hate you so much,” Dabi said, but he dropped his hand and dissipated his flames. He dragged his hands through his hair and walked forward. “Let’s get out of here. I can kill the kid another day.”

Tomura shoved his hands in his hoodie pockets and trotted after Dabi as he left through the path through the ice. When they reached the other side, Dabi spared one look at the Todoroki before sprinting toward an alley. Tomura followed and made a mental note that everyone on their team needed to level up.

This was not going to happen again.

“Hey!” Katsuki yelled as he tugged his arm free from the last melted chunk of ice from the other half of Todoroki’s Quirk. He shook his arm to knock off the last bits of clinging ice and snarled. “They’re getting away!”

Shigaraki and Dabi had appeared on the other side of Todoroki’s ice mountain, sprinting in the other direction like the cowards they were. He moved to follow, but came to a dead halt on the other side of the ice. He saw the small mountains of dark dust and his chest heaved.

There was no sign of the hostage.

Katsuki yelled, angry and hard enough to hurt his throat, kicking the side of the ice and knocking off a chunk. They failed. They failed and someone else was dead. What sort of Hero was he? He couldn’t save Deku. He didn’t save Kirishima. He couldn’t help Todoroki. He couldn’t save one hostage.

But he could still catch those two villains and break their faces.

As he moved to run after them, Todoroki grabbed his arm and jerked him to a stop. Todoroki said, voice as chilled as his Quirk. “They’re gone, Bakugou. We need to help here.”

“Help with what?” Katsuki asked.

“That,” Todoroki said, pointing behind him.

Katsuki calmed himself to notice just how much damage and how far spread Todoroki’s ice had gotten. Without the safety of the stands or the watchful eye of their Pro-Hero judges to prevent collateral damage, Todoroki’s ice had been uncontrolled and wild. Multiple buildings had been punctured, leaving people yelling and trapped in upper stories, as well as others who had been hiding half frozen the way Katsuki had been. He could even see a few people trapped in their cars, completely buried and frozen.

Todoroki looked as frustrated and angry as Katsuki and all of it equally as aimed at himself.

Katsuki relented and turned his back toward the Villains. “Yeah, let’s go get those people out.”

The sounds of sirens sounded in the distance and whether they were headed toward Todoroki and Katsuki or still trying to help with the fallen train, he wasn’t sure. But he did know that next time he ran into Dabi and Shigaraki, they were going to pay for this.

Izuku opened the door to the main control room using the keycard that Himiko had procured. He scrunched his nose at the dead body in the corner, ignoring the obvious stab wound and the pooling blood. Himiko followed him, uncomfortably tall and broad with her borrowed body.

“I thought we were getting Mr. Kurogiri. What are we doing in here?” Togo asked, putting her arms behind her back. “Do you have a plan?”

“We’re going to find out what room he’s in first,” Izuku said. He sat at the computer terminal, surprised and happy that the alarms had been marked “All Clear” by Toga earlier. No one else in the facility was probably the wiser that this area had been invaded. Izuku opened up the cell rosters and went for the Special Containment units. “There he is.”

Finding Kurogiri was easy enough, and while he wasn’t in the same Wing, it’d be easy enough to get to him with what Izuku had planned.

“Now for the fun part,” Izuku said.

“Oh! What are you going to do?” Toga asked. She clapped her hands together, hopping from one foot to the other in her excitement. “Tell me!”

“We’re going to recruit,” Izuku said. He found the controls for the door locks and the main intercom easily enough after a bit of searching. This would be a piece of cake. “Just be quiet and let me work.”

Toga zipped her lips closed with a hand and continued to hover over his shoulder.

Izuku cleared his throat and popped on the Intercom.

Mustard covered his ears, wincing as the intercom screeched with feedback, alerting everyone in the block.

When the noise stopped he pulled his hands away, huffing and wondering if this was some new thing the guards had come up with to make people miserable. He’d only been here a couple weeks for his slap-on-the-wrist juvie sentence (which was still bull—use your Quirk to put a few self-righteous brats to sleep and they get all up in arms about breaking the law, but whatever), but he could see the guards doing that. What guard wouldn’t want to mess with the inmates?

“Hello, everyone! This is Izuku Midoriya speaking, and I’m here representing the League of Villains!” A chipper voice rang out through all the intercoms. Mustard stood from his bunk and looked toward the speaker in the center of the hallway, walking closer to the door to hear better. “And we have a gift for you!”

“Like what?” Mustard asked the air.

Midoriya answered, as if he could hear the question: “Freedom.”

The doors of every cell on the block clicked open at once. Mustard reached out and pushed; the door opened. He watched others step out in the hallway, all of the hesitant and looking around.

“You may notice that things have been a little quiet in our wing of the building,” Midoriya said.

A new voice interrupted, much deeper and manic. “Because they’re all dead!”

“Yes, they’re all dead,” Midoriya said. A brief scuffle came over the intercom and Mustard laughed under his breath. This was awesome. Midoriya cleared his throat. “We’d really appreciated it if the rest of the prison complex looked the same. So from me to you: Have fun. Get out there and break something and don’t forget to help out your neighbor if they have a Quirk restricting device. We wouldn’t want anyone to get left out now!”

“Hell yeah!” A voice yelled down the hallway. Mustard looked down the hall toward one of the more violent teens in the block and had to take a step back when his buddy took off his restraints. The teen shouted louder and released claws on his hands. “Let’s tear this place apart!”

“Have fun now,” Midoriya said.

The intercom clicked off and chaos ensued faster than Mustard could blink. He dove back into his cell to avoid being collateral to some of the bigger, stockier inmates that surrounded him. He giggled when it calmed enough for him to leave and he followed the trail of destruction until he found a clear hallway.

Mustard turned down it looking for an exit. As much fun as breaking things would be, he needed to get out. His Quirk wasn’t good for this sort of thing and he didn’t have his mask to help either, which meant a quick escape was the best plan.

When he got to the end of the hallway, he caught voices. Mustard slammed himself against the wall to avoid notice and listened.

“That was amazing, Izuku! You’re so smart!” A man said. Mustard concentrated and recognized it as the second person on the intercom. “They’ll get all the attention.”

“That’s the plan,” Midoriya said. Mustard inched around the corner and watched a younger boy about his age head down the hallway followed by a guard. “Come on, Toga. We need to get Kurogiri and get out of here before they start getting things under control.”

“You got it!” the larger man (Toga?) said, laughing under his breath.

The League of Villains, huh? Mustard changed this plans and followed Midoriya.

Never pass up an opportunity to get ahead in life.

Chapter Text

“How are we going to get him out?” Izuku asked the air as he looked over Kurogiri. The man had been strapped to the table with a constant IV dripping a sedative into his system to keep him unconscious. His chest moved up and down in the the tacky prison uniform and he didn’t twitch when Izuku patted his cheek. Even if the took the IV straight out, it’d probably be a while for him to wake up. “Do you see a wheelchair or something?”

“We can’t just carry him?” Toga asked, still wearing the guard’s disguise. She leaned back and forth and shrugged her shoulders. “I mean, they’re making enough of a fuss outside we should be able to get out.”

“Somehow I doubt it’ll be that easy,” Izuku said. He started undoing the straps holding Kurogiri down and tugged them aside. Asleep, his Quirk remained inactive and Izuku noted that for future reference. He’d never actually seen Kurogiri asleep before and now he knew why. The man was vulnerable like this, without his constant Quirk. Izuku’s fingers fumbled on the next belt loop as his nerves caught up with him. Breaking out of prison the hard way was far more stressful than using Kurogiri’s warp. “But we might have no other choice.”

“I can help!” A voice called out behind them.

Izuku and Toga both turned to see the small, blond inmate standing in the doorway. His choppy blond hair reminded Izuku of Kacchan, but it was the wrong shade. He wore a smirk, but it lacked confidence. A slight tremble in his frame betrayed his nerves, but he wore the bravado to try and trick them all the same.

“And who are you?” Izuku asked, still removing straps. Every minute was of the essence and he was not staying in this building longer than he had to, stranger in their space or not.

Besides, Toga was right there and had a knife. What did he have to worry about?

“Mustard,” the kid said. He put one hand on his hip and pointed his other finger out. “And you’re from the League of Villains! You guys are the real deal!”

“Again, who are you and why should we care?” Izuku asked. He moved on from the restraints and set to work removing the IV. “We’re a little busy, kid.”

“You’re like a year older than me,” Mustard said, scrunching his nose.

“The point,” Izuku said, hissing over his shoulder.

“If your guard buddy there lets me into the equipment storage, you’ll find my Quirk really handy right now,” Mustard said, crossing his arms.

A sense of genuine confidence fell over him and it piqued Izuku’s curiosity.

He looked over Mustard and saw no signs of restraints or anything that would have limited a Quirk or kept it in bonds. It was more than possible that Mustard might have taken it off, but something that he’d have to wear for a continuous amount of time would have left a mark of some sort. A bruise, or a hole in his outfit. He looked perfectly fine, which made Izuku wonder just what could be so ‘useful.’

So he asked: “And what Quirk is that?”

The kid named Mustard grinned and pointed at himself. “Sleep Gas. Anything that gets within range of my Quirk is out like a light and I can sense where everything is in the gas the way a spider tracks things in its web.”

Izuku blinked. If he was telling the truth, that did indeed sound fairly useful at the moment. And much faster than Toga murdering things.

“I take it they have gas masks in the equipment storage,” Izuku said, looking toward Toga and himself. “That would protect us from your Quirk?”

“You got it,” Mustard said.

“Aw, aren’t you adorable trying to help!” Toga said. She grabbed Mustard and lifted him out into a hug. He yelped, completely caught off guard. She spun them once before yanking out her knife and holding it to his throat. Her voice lowered and she hissed, “What’s the catch?”

The kid paled and froze still in her grip. He looked angry and yelled, “No catch! No catch! I just wanted an in to the League! I swear!”

“Do you want to get close to my Izuku, baby?” Toga hissed, tipping the knife closer.

“No, you loon!” Mustard yelled, dropping his elbow back. He wiggled out of Toga’s grip and ran around the table toward Izuku. Mustard held his hands up looking between Izuku and Toga with a raised eyebrow. “I just want to step up my Villain game and the League has way more resources. Of course I’d want to join! What is wrong with that guy?”

“Lots of things,” Izuku said. He looked at the over eager teenager and decided to go ahead and use him for now. They could use the extra hand and it wasn’t like he couldn’t handle it later. “Toga, go get two gas masks.”

“Three,” the kid said.

Izuku turned his head back to Mustard. “Three?”

“I’m uh,” he said, wincing and flushing red. He folded his hands together, shrugging his shoulders up in a sense of shame. “I’m not immune to my own Quirk. I need a mask, too.”

Izuku covered his face and dropped his elbows on the table next to the unconscious Kurogiri. This was exactly what he needed today. An amazing Quirk with a rather large limitation.

No wonder he didn’t have any Quirk restraint gear; he was his own worst enemy without support equipment.

But Izuku couldn’t afford to be picky at the moment. “Three. Go get three masks, Toga.”

“You got it, baby!” Toga said.

She dashed out of the room and Izuku went back to making sure they’d gotten rid of everything holding Kurogiri down. Mustard watched the door for any guard and Izuku vowed that if that kid didn’t come in handy, Izuku was going to let Toga kill him when they got back home.

Shouto sat side by side with Bakugou in the cramped police station interview room. He held his hands in his lap and stared at the small screens that Officer Tsukauchi set up on the table with the footage they’d gathered from the security cameras in the area.

He and Bakugou had already been cleared for “Self Defense” in regards to their Quirk usage against Shigaraki and Dabi, despite the severe collateral damage, however they still were required for further questioning and clarification.

“From what you boys have described, it sounds like both parties were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, though from the footage the Villain known as Dabi clearly instigated the fight.” Tsukauchi adjusted the screen, replaying the first footage of Dabi making his first rush with his Quirk alive. “Would you say that’s accurate?”

“That dude has it seriously out for you,” Bakugou said, looking at Shouto. “I’ve never met anyone that hates Endeavor that much.”

“From the report of the Theme Park attack, it stated that Dabi went immediately after Shouto there as well. I think it’s safe to say he has a personal vendetta,” Tsukauchi said. His next words were softer and under his breath. “As if we needed more confirmation.”

Shouto stared at the screen and the fight displayed. The two of them brawled and he still couldn’t shake the feeling that there had been something familiar about all of it. Something about Dabi screamed “You know me” even though Shouto couldn’t place him no matter how hard he tried.

“Do you have any idea why he is targeting myself and Endeavor?” Shouto asked.

Tsukauchi frowned and tapped his pen on the table. “About that—”

The door to the small room opened and Shouto sat up straighter in his seat as his father walked in. His towering bulk took over most of the room and the heat from his constant flames warmed the temperature. He spared Shouto a glance before he looked at the viewing screen, narrowing his eyes as he reached forward and paused the footage on a frame of Dabi.

“It seems a disappointment remains a disappointment,” Endeavor said, watching the photo of Dabi like it had personally insulted him. He exhaled, startling the flames around his face. The man pulled out a chair and sat, the metal bending under his weight. “I’d call it a waste, but he started as nothing and seems to be satisfied remaining there.”

The implication in those few words caused Shouto’s heart to skip. “Do you know him?”

Endeavor remained silent, staring at the scarred boy ever still.

“Father,” Shouto repeated. “Do you know him?”

“He’s going to find out, Endeavor sir,” Tsukauchi said quietly. He tapped Dabi’s face on the monitor. “If you don’t tell him, I’m sure that boy eventually will.”

“I suppose you have a point. Yes, Shouto, I know that young delinquent,” Endeavor said. He crossed his arms as he glared down at the screen. “Technically he is one of my sons, though he was formally disowned a few years ago. I had thought the little brat had contented himself with the disgrace of petty theft, but it seems he’s branched out to new levels of shame. At least he has the sense to avoid using the family name in his debauchery.”

Bakugou flinched in his chair.

“I don’t understand,” Shouto said, standing from his seat. He felt his shoulders drop and his hair fell in his eyes as he broke his own discipline and borderline shouted. “I’ve met both of my brothers now. Neither of them were Dabi!”

“Correction, you have met two of your brothers. Your eldest brother Yuki has a fraternal twin,” Endeavor said, frowning heavily. It spoke like it pained him to even explain, but with everyone in the room staring him down—including an officer—he was obligated to share what he knew. “When the twins were born, instead of two boys with combined Quirks, I had one with only Fire and one with only Ice.”

“Why didn’t I know this?” Shouto asked. He placed both hands on his table and breathed in. “I know I never saw my siblings much when I was a child but I at least knew they existed. Why didn’t my big brother say he had a twin?”

“Because you didn’t need to know,” Endeavor said. “Your siblings would have been a distraction you couldn’t afford with your training. After his disownment, you had even less reason to know about him.”

“But why didn’t Yuki say anything?” Todoroki asked, teeth grit. “They were twins.”

“That brat,” Endeavor said, pointing to Dabi on the screen, “was a delinquent and a menace. I told him when he hit his third year of high school that if he didn’t shape up, he’d be disowned and would be no longer welcome under my roof. He chose to leave and he’s been better off forgotten ever since. Yuki agreed.”

“Don’t know if you noticed or not, but this Dabi guy is trying to murder his siblings, so I don’t think that’s an option,” Katsuki said, butting into the family conversation. Shouto nearly flinched back from the viciousness of his tone as he slammed his hand into the table. “What the hell?”

Endeavor stared Bakugou down and turned to Shouto. “This is the company you’ve chosen to keep?”

“Yes,” Shouto hissed. He stared his father down and said, “Are we done with questioning?”

“For now,” Tsukauchi said.

“I’m leaving,” Shouto said. He left the room, slamming the door behind him.

It opened soon after with Bakugou chasing after him. “Hey, Half-and-half! Wait up.”

“I can’t believe him,” Shouto said, growling under his breath. “I’ve had another brother all this time. No wonder Dabi hates me and everything he said makes so much more sense now!”

“Your family is seriously messed up,” Bakugou said, staring back at the closed door as they headed toward the exit of the station. “And I thought my shit with Izuku was a headache.”

Shouto grunted.

“What are you going to do about it?” Bakugou asked, following Todoroki out the door.

Shouto stopped and looked Bakugou in the eye. “I’m going to talk to my brother Yuki.”

When Mustard said he could produce sleep gas, taking in the other teen’s size and mouth, he had figured it would be something like Midnight’s: Small and targeted. At most, Izuku assumed he’d take out the guards in a single hallway.

Izuku had not been expecting the sheer, overwhelming radius of gas that covered the entire building, spreading out from him in a burst. There was enough gas to potentially cover an entire city block and Izuku itched to see it from an overhead view to see just how far his reach really covered.

“You can sense everything that’s in this gas right now?” Izuku asked as they walked among the fallen bodies sleeping at their feet. They needed to get through this next block and they’d be out. They were so close. “Everyone?”

“Yup,” Mustard said. He stared straight ahead and walked at a good pace. “Speaking, there are four guards who must have had masks on the other side of the building. They’re headed our way at a quick pace.”

“They probably called the police, too,” Izuku said. He picked up the pace to a light jog as he pushed through the purple gas in the hallway. “We need to get out of here.”

“Yay! A chase!” Toga shouted, tapping after Izuku with Kurogiri over her shoulder in a fireman’s carry. “Let’s book it!”

The small trio ran through the hallways, Mustard updating them on the location of the guards that had located masks and were still up and about. Using Toga’s stolen keycard, they got through the last gate and entered the main lobby area of the small jail.

“What’re we going to do once we get outside?” Mustard asked. “My Quirk’ll last for a while and it’s got a good spread, but it’s super visible and easy to track.”

“Drop it when we leave the building, but wait about a minute,” Izuku said. “That way everyone in the immediate area will fall asleep and we make a break for somewhere to hide while it dissipates.”

“Got it, boss,” Mustard said.

Izuku breathed heavily through the gas mask, focusing hard on what he could see through the thick purple gas and the limited visibility through the small glass eye holes. They pushed through the open doors and hit the streets with people screaming as the gas swept over them like an expanding storm.

As he was told, Mustard stopped his Quirk about a minute after they’d left the station. When the gas had fully dissolved and once again revealed regular air, Izuku ripped off his mask and looked around for a viable exit that they could use. They needed to change clothes and get out of the public as fast as possible.

“Newscast, you sure know how to put on a show, don’t you?”

Izuku turned to the voice and saw Dabi, wearing a hoodie and a half mask covering the lower half of his face. Shigaraki stood next to him wearing a similar ensemble. He had his hand around the throat of a cop and squeezed, disintegrating the man before he could speak into his radio.

“Shigaraki?” Izuku asked.

“We saw the breakout on the news as we walked by a store,” Shigaraki said, scratching his neck. “Good job, Toga.”

“Thank you!” She said, holding her hand up. She almost dropped Kurogiri and giggled as she scrambled to catch him again. “I told you I’d save my Izuku!”

“This is nice and all but we need to be leaving,” Dabi said, throwing his thumb over his shoulder. “Like yesterday.”

“Agreed,” Izuku said. He and Toga ran toward Shigaraki and Dabi, with Mustard following as close as he could to Izuku’s side.

“Who’s the pipsqueak?” Dabi asked, looking Mustard over. Izuku scrunched his nose at the smell coming off his clothes. They looked damp and his shoes squished on the sidewalk. Why was he wet? Dabi sneered over his shoulder. “We aren’t picking up strays are we?”

“New friend, and he’s been very helpful so far,” Izuku said. He looked around and cursed under his breath. “Do you have a car or something? I don’t think we can keep carrying Kurogiri like this.”

“No,” Shigaraki said. He laughed and headed into an alley. “We just thought it’d be good to come pick you up.”

“He’s not that heavy,” Toga said, sticking out her tongue. “I’ve got this, baby! Don’t you worry. I’m a strong girl!”

“Girl?” Mustard asked, eyes opening wide in shock.

Dabi laughed and slapped the kid on the back as he followed Izuku and Shigaraki into the darkness of the alley. They left Mustard standing there and he called over his shoulder, “Toga’s Quirk is disguises.”

“You could have told me that earlier!” Mustard shouted after him before running to catch up. “And you’re that Dabi guy! You were all over the news! And you! You’re Shigaraki! The guy who attacked U.A.!”

“Is he a fanboy?” Shigaraki asked. He looked at Izuku and pouted. “We do not need another one of those.”

“No, he’s just easily impressed,” Izuku said. “Where have you two been?”

“Did you have fun on your boys night out?” Toga asked, running up to nudge Dabi in the side. “What’d you do?”

“We’ll tell you later,” Dabi answered. The flash of a siren rang out behind them and he ran faster. “Right now? Running. So much running.”

“This is so exciting,” Mustard said, giggling under this breath. “You guys are already the best.”

Izuku licked his teeth and forced himself to keep looking ahead. Sirens behind him. Allies next to him. This was life now.

And they’d be home soon enough.

Katsuki returned to the dorm alone.

Todoroki kept to his word and headed straight to his childhood home to interrogate his brother. Katsuki offered to come with him, but Todoroki said he wanted to go by himself and Katsuki respected his wishes. He’d already seen enough of Todoroki’s home life for one day, anyway.

He’d only offered because that’s what friends did.

(“I get prouder and prouder of you, Katsuki,” Izuku said. “So many new friends for me to kill later!”)

Katsuki stopped inside the doorway of the dorm and sucked in a breath. He counted to ten to shove the ever increasing intrusive thoughts away and exhaled to another ten count. He just wanted to go to bed.


(“I’ll see you soon, then,” Izuku said.)

“I should have gone shopping with you,” Katsuki said, plopping onto the couch next to Kirishima. Every inch of him felt too heavy and he dreaded the conversations the next day would bring when he had to say why he’d been gone for so long. “What a lousy day.”

“I take it you heard Midoriya escaped prison again, then?” Kirishima asked, voice somber.

“What?” Katsuki asked, looking up to meet Kirishima’s gaze.

He frowned at Katsuki and clicked on the television. A news broadcast aired, showing off purple smoke pouring out of a jail with large text over the screen reading “Mass breakout. League of Villains attack prison!”

“It’s been all over the news. Aizawa came by and told us that Izuku and Black Mist were two of the inmates that had yet to be accounted for when the Pro Heroes and police arrived at the scene to get it under control,” Kirishima said. “I’m surprised you hadn’t heard.”

Katsuki had been busy with a disaster of his own all day.

“It was a distraction,” Katsuki said, tightening his hands into fists. He growled and dug his palms into the side of his head. All the pieces fit together into startling clarity and he wanted to scream. “Shigaraki and Dabi derailed that train to distract people from the prison!”

“Who and who derailed a what now?” Kirishima asked.

“I’ll tell you later,” Katsuki said. He slumped into the couch and dropped his head on Kirishima’s shoulder. He was too tired for this. Katsuki had watched two Villains get away from a murder scene, Todoroki was a wreck, and now Izuku was running free again. He couldn’t handle much more of this in a day. “I’m taking a nap.”

“Sure thing, buddy,” Kirishima said, sliding down to give Katsuki a better position.

It was easy enough to fall asleep there in the common room, knowing that at least Kirishima was safe and sound and that their dorms were protected. Katsuki was safe here.

And for once, nightmares of Shigaraki murdering innocent civilians and Todoroki cowering before his father and deranged brother kept Izuku out of his dreams.

Chapter Text

Himiko had done well.

She had near-singlehandedly broken into a prison, removed all guards as a threat, helped her beloved escape a jail cell, had been an excellent assistant, and carried Mr. Kurogiri to safety.

Himiko had saved Izuku; there was no question on that matter.

(So why?)

“You ran into Kacchan?”


“What happened? Is he okay?”

(Why was he ignoring her?)

Himiko allowed the guard disguise to slop off, letting it land in chunks on the ground around her feet. The cold air of the room assaulted her skin and she breathed out, feeling her hair fall around her face once again. Mustard jumped back and covered his face, flushing at her nude body as she stepped out of the leftovers.

Izuku didn’t even bother to try and peek.

“Dabi and that Todoroki boy fought the entire time, we just watched,” Tomura said, scratching at his neck. He kept Izuku’s full attention, even though he didn’t say anything important. “Your Kacchan yelled at us and then we left. It wasn’t a big deal.”

She grabbed her clothes off the couch and pulled them on, glaring across the room. Not a word of praise. Not a thing. Her Izuku had heard “We ran into Kacchan” and he was lost to hang on Tomura’s every word.

“And you’re sure he was fine?” Izuku asked, his back to Himiko. He only had eyes for someone else. Himiko’s chest ached. What had she done all that work for if he didn’t care? Izuku tugged on Tomura’s arm. “You said that Todoroki’s Quirk got out of control.”

Himiko opened the door to her room and picked up her support gear. Maybe. Maybe she was wasting her time a little. Himiko held the pack near her side and a needle in her hand.

Izuku had a hand to his chest, still wearing that awful prison uniform. He smiled softly at the relief that his “Kacchan” was alright and Himiko wanted to be sick. Izuku pushed his hair back revealing those warm, green eyes and she hesitated.

One last chance.

“Izuku,” Himiko said, taking a step behind him. Dabi glanced at her equipment but looked away. Good. He must have been on her side. After placing her gear on the floor, she lightened the pitch of her voice and hugged Izuku across the shoulders. She babied up her speech to sound extra adorable. “Didn’t I do good today? Don’t I deserve a reward?”

“Yes, you did a good job. I’m glad you were there,” Izuku said. He turned and shoved her off his shoulders without a care. “But stop that.”

(So much for taking advantage of her kindness.)

Himiko picked up her needle and jammed it into the side of Izuku’s neck. He yelped and his back arched as the red liquid rushed into the needle and filled the small compartment.

“Toga!” Izuku shouted, hissing as he squirmed and turned to face her. He reached for her arm but Himiko was having none of that. She grabbed his fingers and twisted his hand back and kept the needle firmly under his skin. Izuku hissed through the pain and asked, “What are you doing?”

“I earned this,” Himiko said. She glared at Tomura and Dabi who had readied to act, but didn’t stop her just yet. Himiko looked back at her vial and yanked the needle out once it was done. Izuku threw his hand over the wound and took a step back, eyes wide as blood seeped through his fingers. Himiko didn’t bother to smile. “If you won’t be with me, then I’ll just be you. I broke you out of jail and I deserve a treat. Don’t you think so?”

Something on her face must have gotten through Izuku’s adorably thick skull because he swallowed and said, “Fine. Just. I don’t want to see it, okay?”

“Sure,” Himiko said, kissing the side of her syringe. Izuku’s invention worked pretty well. She’d have to remind him later this was his idea. Himiko licked the side of the needle, catching a few drops of blood on her tongue. “I can do that for you, baby.”

She threw her gear over her shoulder and went back to her room without giving them another word in, making sure to ruffle Mustard’s hair on the way.

The door shut behind her, and Himiko decided it was time to make Izuku all her own. This romance needed a conclusion they could both be happy with.

(But she’d make him suffer for it first.)

That’s how love worked!

Shouto regretted that by the time he got to his house that his siblings had already gone to bed, but this was important enough that he didn’t mind waiting for the morning.

He had the entire night to stay awake and consider what he was going to say and how he would ask his questions. Shouto knew he should have gotten some sleep, but he supposed it all didn’t matter in the long run.

After breakfast, Shouto walked down the hall and knocked on Yuki’s door.

It opened, revealing his eldest brother. His snow white hair hung around his face in choppy waves, and he leaned on the doorframe. Yuki resembled their mother more in his facial features, but he had their father’s eyes—the same eyes as Dabi. Now that Shouto was looking for it, the likeness to Dabi was unmistakable.

“And what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” Yuki said, crossing his arms. “Not often the favorite wants to talk to us lowly siblings.”

(Thinking about it, Shouto probably should have recognized that Dabi had a family connection much earlier.)

“I have been informed that the Villain Dabi who is attempting to murder me is both my older brother and your twin,” Shouto said. He looked at the floor, unable to look his older brother in the eye any longer as the look he received became more stern. “I wanted to confirm it for myself with you.”

“He’s calling himself ‘Dabi’, huh?” Yuki pushed off the doorframe, tapping it twice. “That sounds about right.”

“Is it?” Shouto asked.

Yuki smiled over his shoulder, the motion lazy and confident. “It was the Hero Name he picked out while he was still in school.”

Shouto felt the room tilt, though he was sure neither he nor his surroundings actually moved. He put a hand against the wall and asked, “May I come in?”

“Sure kid,” Yuki said, he stepped back and waved to a seat in the corner. “I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

Shouto didn’t believe that wording was accurate; he didn’t want to know any of this.

But he needed to.

Himiko helped herself to Izuku’s childhood bed, browsing through his mother’s phone as she curled a strand of hair around her finger. She spread out on his sheets and tapped her knee against an All Might poster on the wall.

No one had cared when she said she was going out.

No one had bothered to ask when she’d be back.

(That worked well enough for her.)

She rolled onto her stomach as she read old texts between Izuku and his mother from before he entered the League full time. Such cute little exchanges of “Be careful” and “I love you, too’s!” were everywhere. Such a normal family. She bit her lip and giggled. Himiko knew looking up where her Izuku lived before she met up with him and the League would come in handy one day.

Himiko clicked out of the message chain and looked at the other contacts. One name in particular stuck out and she clicked it.

After reading it, Himiko checked the calendar and grinned.

Fate itself had decided the time was now and Himiko would not forsake it.

(Soon, Izuku, baby. So soon.)

“What’s up?” Kirishima asked, shoving a piece of shrimp into his mouth. “Something the matter, Bakugou?”

“I don’t think so,” Katsuki said, putting down his chopsticks. He tugged out his phone and stared at the “one message received” note across the front of the device. All of his friends were here eating dinner or lounging in the dorm and his parents were out of town. The first group would just come down and yell if they wanted something, and the other half were probably pretending they didn’t have kids. “Let’s see who it is.”

He clicked it open to check and sat up straighter when he saw “Mrs. Midoriya” on the new message screen.

Katsuki opened it and read the message before relaxing and shoving his phone back in his pocket. “It was Izuku’s mom. She had a bookshelf delivered and wanted to know if I could help her put it together since my folks are out of town.”

“Isn’t it sort of late for that? Why not wait until the weekend?” Kirishima asked, looking at the clock. “It’s almost five.”

“Her place is small,” Katsuki said, getting up and gathering his dishes. “That thing is probably taking up her entire living room and she’s not a big lady either. I’d feel bad if I left it there in her way all week.”

Kirishima shrugged. “Fair enough. Want some company to help put it together?”

Katsuki considered the offer but shook his head. He still wasn’t sure he wanted Kirishima and Mrs. Midoriya to meet, considering his friend’s rather low opinion of her son. That was just asking for trouble. “It’s okay. I’ll set it up faster if I’m by myself. I’ll probably be back before curfew.”

“You probably shouldn’t go out alone, though,” Kirishima said. He put down his utensils and turned around in the chair. “Izuku is on the loose again.”

“I can handle Izuku,” Katsuki said. He wiped his mouth off with a napkin and threw it on the table. “I need some time to myself anyway or I’m going to go a little nuts.”

Between the dead hostage he’d failed to save still haunting his thoughts, Todoroki’s shitty father and brother, and finding out Izuku and Black Mist got out of prison, Katsuki’s mind hadn’t been the best place lately. He’d had an awful night of no sleep and even his short nap hadn’t done much good.

Katsuki knew he was stressed and putting together a bookshelf to help out Mrs. Midoriya—a woman he owed a lot at this point in life considering his relationship with her son—was exactly what he needed.

“I doubt it takes me longer than an hour or two,” Katsuki said, mind made up. “If you don’t hear from me by curfew, assume I’m staying the night or something.”

“And if you’re not back for class in the morning?” Kirishima asked.

“Assume Izuku kidnapped me,” Katsuki said, throwing his dishes in the sink to wash.

Kirishima shoved another piece of shrimp in his mouth. “That’s not funny.”

(It really wasn’t.)

“I’ll see you later,” Katsuki said and walked out the door before he could be guilt tripped into bringing company with him.

The trip managed to do the good Katsuki thought it would.

The boring train ride to his old neighborhood helped to prepare him for seeing Mrs. Midoriya and making sure he was on his best behavior. He arrived in good time and Katsuki checked his phone again as he made his way to Izuku’s place.

A new text waited saying that the door was open and that Katsuki could let himself in. Mrs. Midoriya had stopped by her neighbor’s to borrow a few tools for him to use on the shelf and she’d be over in a minute.

The small apartment was unlocked as she had said and Katsuki opened it with a respectful, “Hello” in case she had beaten him there.

Katsuki kicked his shoes off and slid them to the side before walking in and shutting the door behind him. He didn’t spy anything that looked like a large enough box to hold a bookshelf and wondered if the delivery men already put it in the bedroom. Katsuki put his hands in his pockets and turned on a lamp.


Of course.

Katsuki swallowed and turned around. Lit by the dim lamp light, Izuku leaned against the apartment door, his smile bittersweet and fond.

Of course Izuku was here.

“Or should I say ‘Katsuki’ since we’re here all alone?” Izuku asked, tilting his head down in a bashful fashion. He fingered the sleeve of the prison uniform before reaching up to touch his lip. “That does sound so much better doesn’t it? I really wanted to see you, Katsuki. I’ve missed you so much it’s been eating me alive.”

Katsuki paused, swallowing thickly.

(A dream?)

Izuku walked forward, his steps calm and direct, speeding up as he got closer. Izuku held his arms out and crashed into Katsuki’s chest, hugging him close and feeling far too warm and real for a figment of his mind.

(But then again, that’s what they all felt like these days.)

Izuku mumbled his given name again and Katsuki shivered from head to toe. His worst nightmare laughed and swayed the two of them as he continued their hug.

“You really like that, don’t you?” Izuku asked. His body trembled with giggles and he squeezed as hard as he was able. Izuku mouthed the name into Katsuki’s chest, repeating it again: “Katsuki.”

(Maybe he fell asleep on the train.)

“I want you so bad,” Izuku said. He shoved Katsuki’s chest hard, throwing him into the couch. Izuku followed, helping himself to Katsuki’s lap. He barely weighed a thing, but he knocked Katsuki’s breath out from his chest all the same as he tackled him. “You want me too, don’t you?”


Katsuki grunted, accepting the kiss that cut him off. Izuku pressed his tongue into Katsuki’s mouth and rolled his hips to meet Izuku’s. They fit together perfectly and his hands grabbed hold of Izuku’s thighs to tug him closer.

(This was stupid.)

He kept kissing Izuku anyway.

(But it had to be a dream.)

“Wow,” Izuku said, pulling back. He sprawled over Katsuki, holding onto his cheek with one hand. The other trailed down his chest and fell over the side of the couch to grab the cushion under them. “Izuku baby must really like them cute and stupid. No wonder I never had a chance.”

Katsuki snapped his jaw shut and screamed through gritted teeth as the knife plunged into the side of his belly.

Chapter Text

Katsuki had experienced pain in his life, from bruises to scrapes and broken limbs. He wasn’t a stranger to getting roughed up.

None of those things had prepared him for the sharp, sheer agony of having something as simple as a knife thrust into the side of his abs. The white-hot pain flooded his vision and his palms sparked as he grabbed the couch cushion and lost all focus on anything but how badly it hurt. His Quirk burned the fabric clutched under his fingers and he hissed in as the weapon yanked back out. He felt the rush of blood leave his body and the sticky substance coated his side.

“You don’t taste as good as Izuku but you’re still pretty good.”

He looked up, his entire body freezing as he stared at Deku sucking the blood off the side of his knife. Katsuki’s heart pounded in his chest and he should really get up and move but he couldn’t stop staring. Deku leaned down and lapped at the wound and Katsuki shivered at the wet touch.

“Get off!” Katsuki yelled, disgust crawling up every nerve.

He moved his arm up to use his Quirk, but the motion stretched his stomach and aggravated the wound. Unprepared for the additional hit of pain, Katsuki howled and curled over as he threw an arm over his wound as Izuku laughed above him. The little shit had clearly lost his mind and he giggled hysterically as he rolled off of Katsuki and fell to the floor.

“Don’t move now, I need to collect more,” Izuku said. He spun the knife in his hand with a flick and smacked the handle of the knife hard into Katsuki’s temple. His world backed out for a count and Katsuki fought nausea as he opened his eyes again, the world spinning. Izuku squeezed his belly and Katsuki gritted his teeth. “That’s better.”

Izuku hummed under his breath as something cold hit Katsuki’s side. Struggling to focus, Katsuki saw a drinking glass shoved against his side, collecting the red liquid. After it was full, Izuku threw his head back and drank with deep gulps. Katsuki stared, dizzy and confused.

“It’s always the best when it’s fresh,” Izuku said. He shook the last remains in the glass around in a circle before he set it on the table. Izuku stretched out his arms and cracked his neck. “Time to change.”

“What the hell,” Katsuki asked, ignoring the trembling in his hands and the cold sweat forming on the side of his brow as his jaw dropped.

Izuku shivered and his entire body shuddered with a ripple. As he shook his head, green hair turned blond and he stretched and gained a few inches. Katsuki gaped openly as “Izuku” turned into “Katsuki.”

His own red eyes laughed back down at him as the copy smirked down at Katsuki with a face he’d only seen in his mirror and photographs. His entire demeanor shifted and he held his hands up and asked, “What do you think? Look good on me?”

Katsuki shifted, but his hand stumbled on the couch and he hissed as he caught himself. Spots grew at the corner of his vision and he dared to look down. The patch of blood under him continued to grow and that explained why he felt so dizzy.

The stranger turned Katsuki over and tugged his phone out of his pocket and tossed it across the room. “I’d stay to watch your last moments, but I’ve got a time limit and I want to use every minute.”

“Who are you?” Katsuki asked, slumping to the side. He couldn’t find the energy to sit up and even blinking felt like it took too much effort.

His copy laughed and tapped his own cheek with a smug smile. “Your competition.”

A loud thump sounded in the background with a rattle.

Katsuki barely heard it. He continued staring at the giggling man wearing this face and he wheezed. “The girlfriend.”

“Maybe you aren’t so dumb after all,” she said, coughing out a laugh. A door slammed open behind her and she turned her head. “But it looks like I’ve got to go. Have fun dying!”

Katsuki watched his double stroll toward the door in time to watch Mrs. Midoriya dive into the room with half a bedpost in her hand. She turned to follow after the girl wearing the wrong face, but she must have heard his wheezing because she stopped and looked at him.

“Katsuki!” She screamed, dropping the weapon.

Chest heavy, he knew he should stay awake. Should warn someone. Warn Izuku. Anything. But all he could manage was a soft groan. Something pressed on his side; he couldn’t feel it.

The noises around him fell away as it all turned dark. He could hear his own heart slow and the steady beat felt soothing in all the wrong ways. Katsuki felt weak; he wanted to cry, but couldn’t find the energy.

So this was dying.


Izuku took a seat on the couch in the living room, his wet hair hanging loose around his ears. The shower had been heavenly after his stay in jail and he was happy to trade his prison uniform for a fresh pair of clothes. The loose t-shirt and shorts were comfortable and warm and the only thing that made it better was the silence.

Toga had left the building to go who knows where (and Izuku did not want to know, nor did he care), Shigaraki had gone with the newly awakened Kurogiri to report in with his Master, and Dabi had grabbed Mustard to rob the kid’s own house for clothes and supplies.

That left Izuku blessedly alone in the roomy apartment.

He sunk into the worn couch cushion and breathed out as he curled onto his side. By himself, he could almost forget everything that happened the past week. His failures. His friends. His mother. All of it.

Except one thing.

Izuku couldn’t afford to forget—

“Don’t you look cute.”

That sounded like Kacchan.

Izuku stared at the other teen standing in the open doorway that led down to the bar. He leaned on the doorframe, arms crossed and smirk wide. He licked his lips and strut into the room like he owned the place.

Dropping his arm on the back of the couch, Kacchan gave Izuku a lazy once-over with his eyes and said deep and low. “Makes me want to eat you.”

Kacchan shouldn’t be here.

He didn’t know about the bar. Didn’t know where Izuku lived. Would never go out of his way to walk in that door and see him.

(Not yet, anyway.)

Which could only mean one thing.

Izuku’s blood chilled and he slowly sat up. “What did you do, Toga?”

“Kacchan’s” eyes widened and Toga barked out a laugh as she slammed the back of the couch with her hand. “You got that so much faster than he did! You really are wonderful, baby.

“Toga,” Izuku said, sitting up on his knees as his heart pounded faster and faster in his chest. There was only one way she could be wearing Kacchan’s face. “What did you do?”

“You did have more information though,” she said, standing. Her stance, her movements, and her expressions all screamed “Kacchan” but there was just a hint of wrongness that sent goosebumps up Izuku’s arms. Toga hugged herself, one hand on her shoulder and the other on her hip. “But now I’m the one who knows more than you do.”

“What did you do?” Izuku asked, standing. “Where’s Kacchan?”

“Kacchan this and Kacchan that,” Toga said. She kept wearing his face. Kept using his voice. Toga cracked her neck to the side twice as she moved to stretch her limbs. “I still don’t know why you like him so much. He wasn’t even that good of a kisser.”

“What?” Izuku felt his voice crack.

“If you ever wondered if Kacchan’s willing to make out with you, the answer is yes,” Toga said, touching her finger to the side of Kacchan’s lip. “Though it might be ’never again’ after today.”

Izuku grabbed the couch back and hissed. “Toga! What did you do to Kacchan?”

“Say ‘Himiko’ and I might tell you,” she said, leaning forward. Toga reached out and grabbed Izuku’s shirt, yanking him forward to stumble onto the couch again. “Or you could just give me a kiss. This is as close as you’re ever getting to the real thing.”

“Take that disguise off and tell me what you did with Kacchan!” Izuku yelled, smacking Toga’s arm away. “Now!”

“I don’t think you really want me to do that, baby,” Toga said, continuing to warp the sound of Kacchan’s voice with her coos. She lunged, grabbing the sides of Izuku’s face as she smashed their lips together in a rough kiss. Izuku shoved her away and she grabbed him again with rough hands, pulling him closer as she shoved their foreheads together. Izuku felt sick as she whispered, “This is the last time you’ll ever see your precious Kacchan moving, so you might as well enjoy it while you can.”

Izuku felt his breath pick up. He knew what that implied. But it had to be wrong. His voice shuddered and he sucked in a breath. “What did you say?”

“He’s dead, baby,” Toga said, nipping his nose. Izuku’s heart stopped. “But don’t worry. You’re gonna’ see him real soon.”

He barely dove to the side in time to dodge the knife aimed for his ribs, rolling into the door of his bedroom.

Izuku snarled as he dove for Toga. “Liar!”

“But it’s true!” Toga said, catching Izuku mid-grapple. She twisted away from his hold and he jammed his elbow into her side. Toga laughed and dropped her elbow to hit Izuku in the shoulder before taking another swipe with her knife. “You know silly me and my shoddy knife work! It’s amazing how fast people can bleed out!”

“I’ll kill you!” Izuku screamed. He dive tackled her waist and smashed Toga into the couch. Red clouded his vision.

She had to be lying.

Kacchan wouldn’t die.

He couldn’t.

“He looked so betrayed, too, when his little Izuku stabbed him in the gut,” Toga said, swiping Izuku’s legs out from under him. She used her extra bulk from Kacchan’s body to pin him to the ground. She kneed Izuku in the gut and he gasped from pain as she straddled him. Toga shoved his head into the ground, putting her full weight into the hold. “Isn’t that sweet? You get to die knowing your little love affair wasn’t a total waste.”

“I’m going to kill you,” Izuku repeated. He growled into the floor and pushed up, wishing for strength he didn’t have. “I hate you!”

“I know, but I love you anyway, baby,” Toga said, holding up her knife.

Izuku saw the flash of metal and screamed as he put every inch of himself into throwing himself up and knocking her over.

He repeated “Kacchan” in his head as he threw the first punch.

“Thanks for the lift,” Dabi said, stepping through Kurogiri’s portal that dropped them off in his favorite bar. Mustard (Lord, he felt bad for that kid if that’s the best name he could come up with) followed behind with a duffle bag stuffed full of his clothes alongside Shigaraki. “Man it’s good to have you back. Walking everywhere was getting way too healthy for me.”

“Always a joy to be of service,” Kurogiri said, the sarcasm loud and clear and it brought a smile to Dabi’s face. “However, do keep requests for personal use to a minimum.”

“Sure, buddy,” Dabi said. He stretched his arms over his head and laughed before scratching the back of his neck. He was more than ready to crash. But speaking, “Hey Shigaraki. Am I off of house arrest or not? Because right now I’m thinking new guy shares with Toga and I can take the couch.”

“Share with Toga!” Mustard yelped, standing up straight. “But she’s a girl!”

“What are you? Ten?” Dabi asked, turning over his shoulder. “Most guys would love to share with her.”

“Then why don’t you want to?”

“Because she’s not my type,” Dabi said, shrugging. “She’s a little clingy for me.”

Shigaraki snorted.

“Still! She should get a room to herself,” Mustard said, looking away and still red. “And I can stay on the floor or something.”

“Quiet,” Shigaraki said, holding a hand up. He turned his head to the ceiling. “Do you hear that?”

Dabi and Mustard both shut their mouths and listened. It was faint, but he could hear a thumping noise from upstairs. Irregular and rough, it almost sounded like someone was running around or jumping—or fighting.

Shigaraki was the first to sprint to the stairs, hopping up them two at a time and Dabi was fast on his heels.

They crashed into the apartment and were met with a war zone.

The couch had been slid aside and the lamp had been shattered on the floor. The television had fallen over and there was a new hole in the wall. The side table had been snapped in half and nothing looked untouched.

In the center of it all, Newscast had his crush flat on his back on the floor with a knife toward his throat.

“Take it off!” Newscast screamed, pressing down with a hand around the knife’s handle and the other on the end to help shove it down. “I won’t let you die with his face!”

He and Shigaraki stood too dumbfounded to move. The U.A. student’s arms trembled as he held Newscast’s arms up to stop the knife from impacting. A mad grin spread across his face and it kinda reminded Dabi of—

“Ah, shit. That’s Toga,” Dabi said.

The spell broken from the realization, Dabi sprinted forward and shoved Newscast off of her. He grabbed Toga’s arm and yanked her back as she laughed like a lunatic, loud and harsh with a too deep voice. Newscast made another dive for her, but Shigaraki caught him at the waist and hauled him back. Using his elbows like hooks, Shigaraki held onto Newscast by the arms to keep him in place.

Mustard and Kurogiri hovered just behind Dabi and Toga, one unsure of what to do and the other observing.

“Okay, does someone want to tell me what the hell happened and why Toga’s wearing that student’s face?” Dabi asked, a hand on Toga’s chest.

“She killed Kacchan!” Newscast screamed. Tears gathered at the edge of his eyes and he struggled, squirming and jerking like a wild man. “Let me go!”

“Kurogiri,” Shigaraki said, voice shaking. His eyes were wide behind the hand on his mask and his arms looked strained as he tried to contain the thrashing Newscast. He nodded his head toward Toga and Dabi. “Get them out of here so I can calm Midoriya down.”

“Understood,” Kurogiri said. A warp opened and Dabi was fast to shove Toga through it.

She collapsed on the other side as it dumped them into an empty warehouse alone, Kurogiri clearly staying behind to keep an eye on Shigaraki and Newscast. Dabi stomped over to Toga as she rolled on the ground and kicked her side. “Please tell me you weren’t that stupid and you didn’t kill that nutcase’s boyfriend.”

“He’s supposed to be my boyfriend,” Toga said, still wearing the face of that other brat. She stayed on the floor, rolling on her side. “And I’m pretty sure I did. He sure lost enough blood that he’s probably dead.”

“You didn’t check and make sure?” Dabi asked.

“Why should I have?” Toga asked, shrugging on the floor. She licked her kip and rolled on her side, cradling her head in her arms. She moved her back leg back and forth. “I was going to kill Izuku tonight, so as long as he died thinking Kacchan was dead, that’s all that really mattered.”

“Okay,” Dabi said. He could work with that. This night was still salvageable. Dabi ran his hands through his hair and dug his cell phone out of his pocket. He dialed a familiar number and kept his eyes on Toga. After two rings it picked up and he said, “Giran. I need an ER admittance check. Right now.”

“For what?” Giran asked on the other end.

“It’s for Newscast,” Dabi said. “And I’m in a bit of a rush so hurry up and let me know if,” he looked down at Toga and hissed, “What’s this guy’s name again?”

Toga stuck her tongue out and rolled away from him.

Dabi growled and went back to the phone, “Blond hair and red eyes. Explosion Quirk. That’s what you’re looking for and I need an answer yesterday.”

“What is it with you kids and thinking you can order me around just because you joined that League?” Giran asked on the other end. “I’m an independent contractor.”

“Get the information now or I’m burning down your entire office,” Dabi hissed into the phone. “This isn’t a request. It’s a demand. Call me as soon as you know or else.”

He clicked off his phone and shoved it in his pocket.

Giran was shrewd and greedy, but he wasn’t stupid. With Shigaraki behind him, Dabi could actually get away with burning down everything Giran had built up without so much as a shred of consequence. He’d get the job done like a good information broker was supposed to.

While Dabi didn’t care about Toga and Newscast and their thing together, he did care about himself and his own well being. There was one thing Dabi knew one thing for sure: If Newscast was upset, Shigaraki was upset.

Shigaraki was one person he did not want to be upset.

“So help me if that guy is actually dead, I’m throwing you back at Newscast,” Dabi said, reaching into a pocket and pulling out his cigarettes.

Toga gave no response and went quiet, rubbing small circles on her chest with her fingers through a fake shirt.

Dabi smoked and hoped Shigaraki was having it easier with Newscast.

Chapter Text

Tomura had been abandoned.

Kurogiri had left to “consult with Master” about the situation, leaving Tomura alone with Midoriya and that new boy—who ran back downstairs to hide in the bar when Midoriya started crying.

This left Tomura alone with Midoriya, whose ugly sobs continued to grow with Tomura’s unease and inability to cope with the situation.

Midoriya sunk to his knees and wailed when Tomura let him go, and he’d been sobbing for at least five minutes straight since then. The gross tears and running nose wetted his cheeks and lips, leaving a wet spot on the floor where he’d just fallen over and curled in on himself.

Tomura was not prepared to handle this level of grief—the last time he’d come even remotely close to this level of emotion was when his own father died. But back then, he’d been in sort of a horrified shock—too in denial to really cry. Master had arrived and taken him in before his own sense of mourning could sneak into his heart and reduce him to such a state.

“Kacchan,” Midoriya choked through a wobbling throat. His fingers dug into his upper arms, hard enough that he bled from his own scratching nails.

He repeated the name over and over, half under his breath, half cried out. Tomura could do nothing but stand above Midoriya, hands twitching as he breathed heavily, half panicked himself with no clue what to do.

He’d always known that Kacchan boy was important to Midoriya, but somehow, it never quite sunk in just how badly Midoriya had been obsessed. Tomura had thought Midoriya’s “affection” for the Kacchan boy was like a game. Something to amuse himself and keep his mind off the parts of his new Villain life he didn’t like. A way to connect himself to his old world while adjusting himself to crime.

Midoriya’s shaking form trembled, as the boy’s sore throat turned to whines, no longer having the energy to scream but still loud and heart wrenching.

Tomura had been wrong.

He’d been so, so wrong.

As he sincerely contemplated using his Quirk to put his pet out of his misery, Tomura’s phone rang.

It’d be rude to answer the thing while Midoriya sobbed on the floor, but Tomura also doubted he even noticed at this point.

“What?” Tomura hissed, clicking the phone open.

“Toga was sloppy,” Dabi said, voice heavy and tired through the speaker. “She—shit, is that Newscast?”

“Yes,” Tomura said, turning around to hiss into the phone. “Is this important? I’m a little busy.”

“Jeez, yes. Tell Newscast his U.A. boy isn’t dead. Toga didn’t bother to make sure he died after she stabbed him and someone found the brat before he bled out,” Dabi said. He blew out a heavy breath into the phone and there was a soft thump in the background, like he’d kicked someone. “He’s in emergency surgery right now. I’ll text you the address to the hospital.”

Tomura didn’t often consider or believe in higher powers at work, but in this instance he sent a mental thank you to whatever one had intervened.

“Keep an eye on Toga and don’t let her leave,” Tomura said, clicking off the phone after Dabi said he’d comply. Tomura shoved his phone back into his pocket and looked down at his pet.

“Midoriya,” Tomura said, kneeling to nudge the other boy in the shoulder with his knuckles. “That was Dabi.”

The boy kept crying, not giving Tomura a glance. He acted like he hadn’t heard him and Tomura scratched the back of his hair before shoving him harder in the shoulder. “Midoriya! Listen to me.”

The crying continued.

Tomura backhanded Midoriya hard enough that his head smacked into the floor. “Stop it!”

“What?” Midoriya said, glaring up. He rolled back over and curled back in on himself, not crying but definitely sulking. “Leave me alone.”

“Kacchan’s not dead,” Tomura said. He got off the floor and kicked Midoriya in the side by the tip of his foot when the boy seized up. “Toga lied. He’s in the hospital.”

Midoriya twitched, a full body shudder. He turned over, eyes still wet but pupils small. “What did you say?”

Tomura repeated himself: “Kacchan’s not dead. Toga lied.”

Midoriya breathed out and rolled over onto his stomach. He crawled up to his knees and pressed his forehead into the floor. Midoriya wrapped his arms around himself, hugging him tight like a straight jacket.

He screamed, angry and raw.

Tomura left Midoriya alone to get the rage out of his system and went down to the bar to serve himself a drink.

“A young high school girl showed up at my door,” Mrs. Midoriya said, staring at the table as she gave her statement to the waiting officer. “I didn’t recognize her or her uniform.”

Shouta stood on the other side of the two-way glass, Hizashi by his side as they watched. All Might had meant to be there as well but his latest priority kept him busy and away as usual. Shouta would have held it against the other Hero, but he knew that no one was keeping an eye on Midoriya’s situation more closely than the other man, save perhaps Shouta himself due to the Villain’s connection with his class.

Mrs. Midoriya cleared her throat and swallowed. “I had only opened the door a crack, but it was enough for her to shove her way inside. The girl slammed the door behind her and started talking excitedly about how happy she was to meet me and wanted me to make her dinner and talk. I refused and asked her to leave, but then she pulled a knife out.”

“You can take a break if you need to,” the officer said, gentle and warm as the other woman pressed her lips together.

“No, I’m fine,” Mrs. Midoriya said. Shouta admired her gumption as she sucked in a breath and steadied herself. “There was clearly something not right with that girl, so I didn’t want to upset her too much. I tried to back up to get to the kitchen where I could maybe grab a pan or something to defend myself with.

“Before I could get very far, she said that I wasn’t playing along and I’m not sure what happened after that,” Mrs. Midoriya said, squinting at the table and reaching up to hold her head. “The girl was very fast and I believe she hit me, but I’m not sure. I definitely lost some time, though, and I know that I was unconscious.”

“What happened after that?” the officer gently pressed.

“I woke up in my bedroom and found the door locked. I could hear someone in my living room, so I started banging on the door,” Mrs. Midoriya said. She licked her lip. “When that didn’t work, I broke a bedpost off my bed and used it to break the lock.”

Shouta cracked a smile with Hizashi.

“I was more than ready to give that girl a piece of my mind, but when I got to the living room I saw Katsuki walking to my door,” Mrs. Midoriya said, frowning. “But before I could go after him, I heard a wheeze and when I looked at the couch, there was another Katsuki! But he was bleeding heavily and so pale he barely looked alive. I dropped my bedpost and grabbed a blanket off a chair to cover the wound and to see if he was still breathing.”

“That’s when you called emergency services, correct?” The officer asked.

“Yes,” she said. The woman frowned and fidgeted in her seat. “Do you know why he was there?”

“We found a text conversation on yours and young Bakugou’s phone that took place after the time you said the girl arrived. We believe the Villain impersonated you in order to trick Bakugou into coming to your house, though we do not have a motive for this attack just yet,” the officer said.

“Is this all related to Izuku?” Mrs. Midoriya asked, voice quiet. “I didn’t think he wanted to hurt Katsuki.”

“The description of the girl does match one of his known associates, but we are unsure at this time,” the officer said. He tapped his papers together and nodded. “Unless you’d like to add anything else, you’re free to go.”

“Have you heard anything about Katsuki?” Mrs. Midoriya asked. “The police still have my phone and I haven’t left the station.”

Shouta reached up and tapped twice on the two-way mirror. The officer waved him in and he opened the door. Mrs. Midoriya sat up straighter as he entered, but relaxed when he stayed on the other side of the room.

“I received word that Bakugou was released from surgery and into the ICU without complication,” Shouta said. “They predict he’ll be there another week due to the severe blood loss.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Mrs. Midoriya said, holding her chest. “I don’t know what Mitsuki and Masaru would do if they lost their boy.”

“We’re all very thankful that you were there to find him,” Shouta said. He nodded once to the officer and Mrs. Midoriya before returning back to the other room. He looked at Hizashi and waved his hand for the other to follow as he went to the exit. “We’re done here.”

“What do you think of all this?” Hizashi asked, voice thoughtful and without his usual exuberance. It was hard to be excited when one of your students had come so close to death, especially when it was the second time in one year. “Midoriya got tired of waiting for Bakugou or an internal power play?”

“The second without question,” Shouta said, feeling a headache coming on.

The only thing worse than Villains fighting Heroes, was Villains fighting each other. They had no care whatsoever for what got caught in the crossfire.

“You want to get something to eat before we face the mob back at the dorm?” Hizashi asked, shoving his hands in his pockets.

Shouta nodded, glad between the two of them at least one could remember basic necessities. “Probably should.”

Tomura sat at the bar in his favorite seat while Mustard slept on the couch behind him. The kid had curled up into a ball and looked like he'd had a pillow over his head to block out the noise from upstairs at some point from the way it hung half off his head.

He was still annoyed he’d been abandoned earlier, but he supposed he would have done the same in Mustard’s shoes.

The upper apartment door creaked open and soft thumps sounded as Midoriya’s heavy gait brought him down the stairs. Tomura sipped his drink. “Calmed down?”

“I’m rescinding my aversion to torture,” Midoriya said, sitting in the seat next to Tomura. His face burned with tired fury, eyes red and puffy. He dropped his head on Tomura’s shoulder and leaned there, body overheated and too warm through Tomura’s shirt. It’d been a while since they’d been this close. Midoriya dug his fingers into the fabric of his shirt, twisting it. “I want to know the most painful way to kill someone possible.”

“I can help with that,” Tomura said, setting his glass down. He reached up and tugged on Midoriya’s hair, wrapping the strands around his fingers. “And if you don’t like any of my suggestions, I know people we can ask.”

“Works for me,” Midoriya said, reaching over and grabbing Tomura’s cup and stealing one of the ice cubes to suck on. “Do we still have her?”

“Yes, but I’m afraid you’ll have to find another target for your frustrations,” Kurogiri said, stepping back into the lounge. He stood straight, hands behind his back. “The Master has passed a verdict on the issue at hand: You are not to lay a hand on Ms. Himiko for this transgression. Her skills have been proven too valuable to the cause to be lost, so consider this a teaching lesson about what happens when you open yourself up to be hurt with an obvious target.”

Midoriya sat up and grabbed the counter. “What?”

“Ms. Himiko has successful eluded capture from the authorities on multiple occasions without assistance, single handled taken down a prison, resulting in the rescue of a captured League members, and has proven capable enough to nearly kill a U.A. student without aid,” Kurogiri said, walking closer. His warp Quirk flickered in amusement. “While as for yourself, we have noted that all of your actions have been nothing more than acting in your own interests like a spoiled brat and failing each time. Between the two of you, she’s the greater loss.

“Our Master has decided you’ve been humored enough and suggests you start making yourself useful toward the greater goals of the League of Villains.

“Should you decide to ignore this declaration, you might find yourself in the company of a Nomu that isn’t so fond of you or even be used as the base for a new one. I’m sure our dear Master has many creative options for intentional disobedience.

“Have I made myself clear?” Kurogiri said, standing before Midoriya with no pity nor comfort. Midoriya bit his lip, hand trembling as hit clung to the bar. Kurogiri repeated himself. “Have I made myself clear that there shall be no retaliation against Ms. Himiko Toga?”

“And if she goes after Kacchan again?” Midoriya asked, breathing heavily through gritted teeth.

“You shall still restrain yourself,” Kurogiri said. “This is not up for discussion.”


“She won’t touch him again,” Tomura said, interrupting his friend. He shoved Midoriya back into the bar seat and pressed head onto the counter, holding it there with his hand. “Master’s orders are always to be followed. Keep your head down for a while and I’ll deal with Toga.”

Midoriya scrunched his eyes closed and buried his head in his arms, breathing heavily under them.

Tomura rubbed his knuckle into Midoriya’s shoulder and got up from the stool. He looked Kurogiri in the eye and said, “Take me to see Toga.”

Chapter Text

Dabi shoved his third cigarette butt into the crate acting as his chair. Toga hadn’t bothered to move from her spot on the floor, content to stare at the ceiling still wearing that Bakugou kid’s face.

“You’re a real mess,” Dabi said. He didn’t particularly want to start a conversation, but he had no idea how long he’d be babysitting this chick and the quiet didn’t appeal either. “You know that or does it go right over your head like the rest of common sense?”

“I’m not the one stitched together like a poorly made rag doll,” Toga said, rolling her head back to get a better look at Dabi above her. She grinned wide, showing off a pair of sharp teeth that weren’t hers and red eyes gleamed with a promise of murder. “Were you that desperate for attention from mommy and daddy?”

Dabi dropped off the crate and stood over Toga’s head, staring down right into those fake eyes. “You want to say that again?”

“If there’s anything I’m good at, it’s reading people,” Toga said. She jumped to her feet, the body language all wrong as the normally graceful girl thudded with a sway befitting a muscled dude with too much ego. Shoulders back and mouth in a sneer that showed off the gums, Toga squared her shoulders and got in Dabi’s face. Nose to nose she poked one of his stitches and said, “No one does this to themselves unless they want someone to look.”

“At least this face is mine,” Dabi said, keeping his own body at attention. He wasn’t sure how Toga’s Quirk worked, and the U.A. brat had a lot more muscles than she did. “Unlike you, I don’t hate myself so much I spend all my time trying to be someone else.”

“Saying things like that only proves what an idiot you are,” Toga said, taking a step back. She ran calloused hands through the thick, choppy hair and laughed—harsh and hoarse. “You don’t know a thing about me.”

Kurogiri’s warp opened behind the two of them.

Shigaraki walked through, one eye intense and focused through the fingers of “Father” on his face.

“I’d say it was nice knowing you, but that’d be a lie,” Dabi said, tugging out another cigarette. He lit it with his Quirk and took a drag. Blowing the smoke in Toga’s face, he said, “I’m surprised Newscast isn’t with you.”

“He’s at the apartment,” Shigaraki said. He turned over his shoulder and stared down his butler-babysitter. “Leave.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to remain in case something happens?” Kurogiri asked.

“Leave now,” Shigaraki repeated, already glaring eye narrowed. “I have this.”

“As you wish,” Kurogiri said. He glanced at Toga before bowing. “Please remember Master’s words.”

He left, leaving Shigaraki alone with Dabi and Toga.

“Take that off,” Shigaraki said, waving his hand at Toga’s Quirk. The disgust dripped from his voice as he sneered. “I see his face enough in Midoriya’s room. I don’t want to see it here.”

“Heh,” Toga said, leaning back on one leg and dropping her hands on her hips. “Fair enough.”

Dabi nearly dropped his cigarette when Toga’s form shuddered and she shook out her hair. The blond strands curled and changed to green. Freckles popped on rounded cheeks and red eyes blinked to green. The confident pose of the U.A. student dropped as Toga turned into Midoriya.

Shigaraki didn’t so much as blink. Dabi smoked to cover the discomfort. It was one thing when she turned into total strangers.

Wearing Newscast’s face was an entirely different ballgame.

Toga curled her shoulders in and bit her thumb. She couldn’t quite hide the mania in her disguise this time and her eyes twinkled with amusement. “This better?”

“Shit!” Dabi yelled as he jumped back and away from Shigaraki’s darting form placing himself between Dabi and Toga. That guy was quick when he wanted to be! “Watch it!”

In the time it took to wave away the loose smoke, Shigaraki had Toga pinned to the ground, her face in the concrete and her arm twisted behind her back. Shigaraki’s knee dug into her spine and his fingers dug hard into the green curls, pinky raised.

“Guess you’re not in the mood to play,” Toga said in Midoriya’s voice. “Are you, Tomura?”

“Your solo quest ends today,” Shigaraki said. He leaned down, continuing to twist her arm in an unnatural direction behind her back. Any further and it might straight up snap. “But you did earn a few rewards from it.”

“Rewards sound nice,” Toga said, groaning under his hold. She spoke through gritted teeth. “What’d I get?”

“First, Master’s approval. He’s very happy with your skill demonstrations, so keep it up.” Shigaraki yanked Toga up and dropped her on her back, keeping his hand in her hair. He moved his knees between her legs and kept the one arm twisted. “Second, you’ve earned a new objective: Find another target. You’re done with Midoriya and anything associated with him.”

“I’m not sure I earned that one,” Toga said, pulling her knees up. She tapped her thighs against Shigaraki’s sides, almost teasing as she shifted and raised “Newscast’s” hips. “Izuku’s still my baby.”

Dabi wondered if he should still be watching this—it certainly wasn’t going the direction he thought it would.

“When you get bored, you kill your targets,” Shigaraki said, tone dry. “You were going to kill him tonight, so pretend like you did. No going after Midoriya. No touching Kacchan. Your ex isn’t worth another thought. Find someone else to entertain yourself, or else.”

“At least someone around here knows me,” Toga said, looking at Dabi. She watched him as she tapped her knee on Shigaraki’s hip. “What’s my third reward?”

Shigaraki let go of her hair and arm, though he stayed kneeled in that far too intimate position. Dabi held his breath as Shigaraki dropped and grabbed the sides of her face between his hands, thumbs digging hard under her eyes. His index fingers raised and he laughed, “My thanks. You should have seen him. Midoriya was so beautiful and I’ve never been so proud.”

Dabi flinched as the cigarette burned his finger. He dropped it and waved his hand as he stared at the giggling Shigaraki.

“The closest he’d ever come to really crossing the edge was when he tried to kill that Kirishima boy, but it was nothing like this,” Shigaraki said, voice full of awe. His mouth stretched into such a wide grin Dabi could see it past the edges of the hand mask. “He had real bloodlust in his eyes: A desire for murder and torture that I’ve been trying to beat into him for ages, but it never worked.

“I liked him too much. I could never break him the way I needed to really recreate him,” Shigaraki said, voice hushed. He squeezed Toga’s cheeks, drawing his thumb on a circle over the imitation freckles. “But you? You destroyed him. You did all the hard work for me!”

Dabi had literal fire burning through his veins and he still felt the chill.

“Kacchan and Midoriya are still off limits from now on though,” Shigaraki said. He let go of Toga’s face and patted the side of her cheek with the back of his hand. “If I have to listen to him cry like that again, I might have to kill him myself and that’d be a shame now that he’s finally turning into the Villain I want.”

As Shigaraki moved to get up, Toga grabbed his sleeve, rolling on her side. “You know, Tomura, I still have this face for the rest of the night.”

Shigaraki stood, staring over her. He looked far too interested and it only increased as Toga stretched out her spine. “So you do.”

“Okay, this is officially getting weird, you two need to stop,” Dabi said, throwing his hands up. He swallowed and ignored the way Toga had started giggling before looking at Shigaraki. “Seriously. Stop it.”

“Someone sounds jealous,” Toga said. She sat up, throwing her arms between her feet, smiling brightly and throwing on that face Newscast used for the cameras. “Does someone have a crush of his own?”

“You know what?” Dabi said, looking at Shigaraki. “Never mind. Do whatever you want to her. Just promise me it’s gonna’ hurt.”

“I can do that,” Shigaraki said, cracking the joints in his fingers.

Toga only grinned.

Katsuki focused on the blur above his head. A few blinks revealed it to be a dim light fixture attached to a white ceiling.

A slow beeping caught his attention next and he flopped his head to the side and saw the steady heart monitor. The wires crawled down from it and roped up over the side of the bed and ended in a small attachment to his arm. Katsuki stared at it before breathing in.

Coming further into proper consciousness, Katsuki felt light and fuzzy. On the opposite side of the monitoring equipment, he spotted the IV needle hidden under a bandage on the back of his hand. The clear tubes led to a hanging bag and he guessed painkillers were mixed in with the fluids.

That would explain why he didn’t hurt more after being stabbed.

Aside from the monitors beeping and the soft whirl of the ventilation system, there wasn’t any other noise in the room. Katsuki looked around and grunted as groped around the side of the bed looking for a button to raise the back. He was too tired to move, but he didn’t want to stay staring at the ceiling forever either now that he was awake.

Katsuki didn’t find the bed controls, but he did manage to find the nurse call button and used the last of his energy to smack it.

A man entered a moment later, dressed in pale scrubs and a friendly smile. He greeted Katsuki with a soft “It’s good to see you awake” before checking the monitors to his left. The nurse picked up his chart and asked, “How are you feeling?”

“Like hell,” Katsuki said. He hated being this groggy; this tired. Katsuki smacked the side of the bed rail. “Can I sit up?”

“You can, but only a little,” the nurse said. He moved and pressed a button far out of Katsuki’s reach and raised the back headrest a few inches. “You had a fairly intensive abdominal surgery and we’d like to let that area rest as long as possible without strain.”

“I’m going to be here a while aren’t I?” Katsuki asked. The nurse nodded with a strained smile and Katsuki groaned. “Perfect.”

“I’ll go get the doctor so he can fill you in on what you missed,” the nurse said. “Try and stay relaxed.”

Katsuki didn’t think he had much of a choice.

Tomura called Kurogiri to pick them up in the early morning after a long night of surprisingly good company. The butler remained in the bar while the rest of them returned upstairs.

Toga liked it a little too much when Tomura hit her and Dabi made enough rude comments that it was hard not to laugh. The three of them spent the night together bickering and shoving each other around and it reminded Tomura of a party in his favorite RPG. The group had all hated each other when they joined together, but through shared experiences and a single goal, they became a team.

He and the others had to be on the first step now, didn’t they? Nothing bonded like a little rough housing.

Stepping into his home, he looked around the cleaned living room. Mustard sat on the couch, tapping away on one of Tomura’s controllers playing a fighting game.

He looked over his shoulder and froze. Mustard swallowed and blurted, “I was really bored and you just had so many games here there wasn’t much else to do. I made sure not to overwrite any of your saves so don’t be mad.”

“I don’t care about that,” Tomura said. He looked around the room and glanced into Midoriya’s open bedroom. It was empty, save for the photographs taped to all the walls. “Where’s Midoriya?”

“I have no idea,” Mustard said. He leaned on the back of the couch, pressing the ‘pause’ button on the controller. “The dude said he needed to go see someone and left with a small backpack and wearing some casual clothes.”

“And you didn’t stop him?” Tomura asked, grabbing Mustard’s shirt. He yanked the kid up and hissed. “He was in no state to be alone! You saw that for yourself!”

“Yeah! And I also saw him when he left!” Mustard shouted right back. “Midoriya looked ready to murder someone and slammed the door behind him when he went down to the bar. I’m not an idiot! I wasn’t getting in his way—no way, no how.”

“Drop the kid, Shigaraki,” Dabi said. “He’s been here like a day. How’s he supposed to stop Newscast on a warpath?”

Tomura dropped him and breathed in and out slowly. He closed his eyes and concentrated on his thoughts. The answer came soon enough and Tomura snorted. He walked around the couch and sat down, grabbing a second controller. “Let’s play a different game.”

“Sure,” Mustard said. He saved the current game and exited out. “What about Midoriya?”

“I have a good idea of where he went,” Tomura said. He pulled up his favorite RPG and went into the multiplayer menu to switch it on. “Dabi and Toga, grab a controller. We’ll play four person.”

“I am not playing video games,” Dabi said.

“I will!” Toga said, jumping over the couch. She shifted in Dabi’s jacket, still naked underneath after removing her Quirk. “I’ve never played a game like this before!”

"It's a fun one,” Tomura said. He glanced at Dabi and nodded his head toward the chair. “You can watch.”

“Fine,” Dabi said. Like a good dog, he wandered to the couch and collapsed in the seat. He watched the television screen, scratching the underside of his chin. “Don’t blame me if I fall asleep.”

Tomura waited for the loading screen and hummed. This would kill time while he waited for Midoriya to come back.

Hopefully he got this one last thing out of his system.

Then they could really start something new.

Katsuki woke the second time to a dark room and the instinctual feeling that he wasn’t alone.

(Not even the drugs could stop that.)

He glanced down his body and came to a halt upon spotting the intruder. The invader hunched next to his hospital bed, half out of a chair he’d dragged over. Green eyes watched him from a head cradled in his arms on the mattress, loose curls falling around his face in soft waves. He looked serene—quiet and small. It reminded Katsuki of what his friend used to look like in middle school on the bad days when he curled up at his desk before class.

“I am so tired of not being able to tell when I’m awake or asleep,” Katsuki said, reaching up and grabbing a curl. It felt real as he tugged it, letting the loose strands fall through his fingers. “What are you doing here this time?”

“I’m so sorry, Kacchan.” He took Katsuki’s hand before it could pull away and held it against his cheek. His fingers touched the wet surface and the light from the window illuminated Izuku’s glassy eyes as he shifted. “But I had to see you were alive for myself.”

“Of course you did,” Katsuki said, breathing out. The painkillers continued to dull his senses and he kept his hand on Izuku’s face. “What now?”

“I don’t know,” Izuku said, leaning into Katsuki’s palm.

At least that made two of them.

Chapter Text

Izuku didn’t let go of Katsuki’s hand. He held it between his own, playing with Katsuki’s fingers and knuckles at first before he slowly started massaging the hand properly. It felt good and didn’t do much for helping Katsuki to wake properly.

But he was awake enough.

“How’d you get in here?” Katsuki asked, forcing himself to sit up on the pillow. He looked around, spotting a backpack on the ground near Izuku’s feet. Someone had to have noticed him entering the building. He wasn’t even wearing a disguise! “There’s security everywhere.”

“My broker had a connection to a nurse smuggling out prescription drugs,” Izuku said, rubbing his thumb into the palm of Katsuki’s hand. “I had her sneak me in and she’s going to help me leave in another hour or so when her shift ends.”

Katsuki tugged his hand back out of Izuku’s grip and set it on his chest. He felt resigned to it all and ignored the stretch of pain in his side that snuck through the painkillers. “Is this your latest plan to kidnap me?”

“No,” Izuku said. He deflated and went back to resting his head in his arms on the side of the bed. “You’re still recovering and I don’t exactly have a hospital room back at our hideout. Besides, I’m already in trouble with Shigaraki’s Ma—Shigaraki. I need to start pulling off some successful jobs or I might be banned from seeing you at all, so this might be the last time I see you for a while.

“I’m going to miss you so much, Kacchan,” Izuku said, looking up. He bit his lip and glared into the blankets. “It’s bad enough I only get to see you when we’re fighting, but now I can’t even do that. It’s not fair! I can’t even make Toga suffer for hurting you because she’s been declared off limits.”

“I thought Shigaraki was your buddy?” Katsuki asked, feeling the confusion grow. “Wouldn’t he pick you over her?”

“Shigaraki would, yes,” Izuku said, staring into the blankets. “But there’s someone bigger than him behind the League that I can’t talk about who thinks I should be doing better.

“I’m not sure what you think my rank is, but the truth is I’m a bit of a grunt in the League, Kacchan,” Izuku said, huffing into the blanket. “Shigaraki’s been humoring me with all my attempts to take you home, but all the failures have added up and now they want real results to benefit the League as a whole or else.”

“If it’s that bad, why don’t you come back?” Katsuki asked. He grabbed Izuku’s hand and squeezed. His head still felt woozy from the painkillers but Katsuki forced himself to stay in the moment. “I know you’ll have to go back to jail, but if you start actually cooperating like they’ve been telling you the entire time maybe you can earn an early parol or house arrest.”

“Kacchan, there’s blood on my hands. The only thing waiting for me if I turn myself in is life in prison,” Izuku said, shaking his head. He dropped his forehead onto the back of Katsuki’s hand. “If I’m stuck in jail, I’ll never be able to see you again and that is not an option. If I leave the League I’ll have nowhere to go. Shigaraki is my best bet, Kacchan.”

Blood on his hands. Was that all that was keeping Izuku from coming back? But Izuku hadn’t killed anyone. There was only their classmate and he—

“Izuku, you didn’t kill anyone,” Katsuki said, leaning forward. He shook Izuku’s shoulders. “You tried twice, but you didn’t actually kill anyone. That brat you tried to suffocate survived the explosion, they just reported that he died to stop you from looking for him again. There’s no blood on your hands, I swear.”

“Kacchan,” Izuku said, soft and slow. He reached up and squeezed the back of Katsuki’s wrist. Izuku sent him a fond, but strained, look. “I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that. You’re tired and not thinking straight, so for your sake I won’t go after that boy again even if he deserves it.

“But I’m still guilty,” Izuku said again, eyes going dark. He squeezed Katsuki’s arm tighter and whispered. “I killed a lot of people before I tried to murder Kirishima, Kacchan.”

Katsuki stilled, wondering if he’d heard that wrong.

“Shigaraki thought I should have some practice before I tried to kill Kirishima,” Izuku said, cracking a half smile. Katsuki’s heart fell into his stomach, his limb shaking in Izuku’s steady grasp. He shrugged, like he was talking about the weather and not innocent lives. “So I did.”

“You seem pretty calm for having your favorite pet run away,” Dabi said, sitting next to Tomura on the couch. Toga and Mustard slept on the floor, their faces glued to their controllers after a gaming marathon that had Kurogiri grumbling before he turned in for some sleep. Dabi and Tomura were the only ones still awake at the late hour. “Surprised you’re not running out to drag him back by the ear.”

“He’ll come back on his own when he’s ready,” Tomura said, dropping his head on the back of the couch. “Midoriya chose me and he knows where he belongs.”

Dabi clicked his tongue. “That guy’s going to choose ‘Kacchan’ if he has to pick between the two of you. I’ve only known him a short while and I know that much.”

“Midoriya will come back on his own like I’ve said before,” Tomura said. He reached over and pinched Dabi’s ear, tugging it. The fire-user glared at him out the corner of his eye but didn’t remove the hand. Tomura grinned behind Father’s hand. He liked it when his pets let him touch them. “You’ll see.”

“Let’s say that’s true,” Dabi said, “then what are you going to do with him? Toga might be nuts enough to flip a switch and stop caring, but I think he might be holding a grudge.”

“I just need to point that grudge in another direction,” Tomura said. He held his hand toward the ceiling light and rolled his fingers. “Maybe I’ll encourage him to kill people that remind him of Toga. Any form of chaos he can create will be good enough.”

“You have no idea what to do with him, do you?” Dabi asked, inspecting his nails. He used his thumb to dig the dirt out from under them. “Newscast is kind of a one trick pony when you get down to it.”

“He spent a year doing Villain analysis for Giran before he got obsessed with Kacchan,” Tomura said, glancing out the side of his eye at Dabi. He continued to tug on Dabi’s ear, moving it back and forth. “If we make him do all that analysis for himself instead of others, I think he’ll be just fine taking any job I give him.”

“Which will be?” Dabi asked, reaching up and pushing Tomura’s hand away. He rubbed his ear and crossed his arms. “What’s your end goal, anyway?”

“Kill All Might,” Tomura said. He paused and rubbed the back of his neck. He dragged his fingers down and scratched at the skin. “I’m sure I’ll figure out the rest after that.”

“I can’t tell if it’s sad or fun that you’re as clueless as the rest of us,” Dabi said. He reached for the remote and clicked on the television, keeping the volume settings low as to not wake the other two on the floor. He stopped on a twenty-four-seven shopping channel. “But hey, as long as I don’t have to pay rent, I guess this is better then what I was doing before.”

“A true stray to the end,” Tomura said. He patted Dabi on the head, keeping his fingers up. “I like that.”

“Woof,” Dabi said.

They didn’t speak again after Izuku’s admission.

Kacchan continued holding this hand, but went quiet in his internal conflict. It hurt to disappoint him that way, but Izuku knew it was better than to hide it from him. Kacchan looked pained, both from his newly gained knowledge and from the stab wound in his side. He kept holding it, like the stress of the situation by itself had aggravated his physical injuries as well.

Izuku breathed out, counting to ten. Kacchan was fine. He was alive. He was here and hurting but he wasn’t dead. Izuku had always known Kacchan hating him was going to be their future, but as long a he was alive they could still be together.

He wasn’t going to be picky, but he had run out of time for the night.

“I need to go now, Kacchan,” Izuku said, whispering under his breath. He got up from the chair and stepped next to the side of the bed. Izuku stared at his face and the hurt and he felt his own chest ache. His eyes fell on Kacchan’s pursed lips and an intrusive thought escaped from his mouth. “I forgot to ask something earlier.”

“What?” Kacchan asked.

“Did you really kiss Toga when you thought she was me?” Izuku asked. “She bragged about it when she said that she killed you.”

Kacchan looked away, staring at the blankets. He tugged his hand to take it back, but Izuku tightened his grip again. Kacchan breathed in and closed his eyes.

Izuku rubbed his thumb against warm knuckles. “Kacchan?”

“Yes,” he whispered.

Izuku dropped his hand and leaned over the side of the bed. His body moved by itself and he cupped the sides of Kacchan’s face and whispered, “Then I hope you won’t mind kissing the real one.”

He pressed their lips together and Kacchan kissed him back, soft and gentle.

The world fell away and there were no Villains or Heroes. No stab wounds of any kind, whether by Izuku’s hand or Toga’s. No Shigaraki. No All Might. No Parents. No friends. No anything.

There was only Izuku and Kacchan, kissing in the dark on a hospital mattress to the sound of a heart monitor.

Chapter Text

Kissing Izuku had been a mistake.

Because now the little shit didn’t want to stop.

“Stab wound,” Katsuki grunted into Izuku’s mouth as he knocked into Katsuki’s waist with his knee. Halfway into Katsuki’s lap, he’d straddled one leg, kneeling on the bed with his arms around Katsuki’s shoulders. Katsuki shoved his leg away. “Watch it. That hurts.”

“Sorry, Kacchan,” he muttered against Katsuki’s lips. He scooted back, sitting on Katsuki’s thigh opposite the stab wound. The warmth and want was unmistakable against his leg. Izuku whined as he kissed Katsuki again, opened mouthed and greedy. “It’s not fair. I finally get to kiss you for real and I have to leave.”

“Yeah, you do,” Katsuki said, mumbling against Izuku’s cheek. He swallowed as he caught his breath, wondering why no one had notice his heart rate had increased on the monitor. Maybe the corrupt nurse was distracting them. Katsuki squeezed Izuku’s hips and ignored how good it felt to have Izuku on his thigh. “Any longer and I’ll have to turn you in.”

“Because you’re good like that,” Izuku said, knocking their heads together. He slumped against Katsuki, careful not to disturb the lines and wires monitoring his vitals. Izuku kissed his neck and said, “I don’t want to go.”

Katsuki didn’t know how he felt.

This was a chance he’d regret missing later—to keep Izuku here. To scream for help. To shout and draw attention to their private moment. To have the Villain arrested and pray that maybe this time it would stick and keep Izuku in one place and from hurting anyone else.

But it was also Izuku. Katsuki’s childhood friend who had gone astray for reasons that Katsuki didn’t know. Shinsou had ratted Izuku out to the authorities, but he’d kept the details to himself, respecting Izuku’s privacy at least that much. How much had Izuku done willingly and how much had been Shigaraki?

Katsuki honestly didn’t know and his waffling behavior ate away at his insides.

It shouldn’t matter.

Izuku was a self admitted killer with future intent.

Katsuki should have slammed the nurse call button.

But he didn’t.

He allowed Izuku to hold him, tired with bags under his eyes. Katsuki could let him have this moment.

They’d be at each other’s throat again soon enough, as soon as his wound healed and wasn’t half asleep on painkillers.

Izuku sighed into his shoulder, breath too warm and heavy. He sat back, still sitting on Katsuki’s thigh and patted Katsuki’s cheek. “I really do have to go. If I keep the nurse waiting too long, she might not be there to let me out.”

“This isn’t going to happen again,” Katsuki said, hand still on Izuku’s waist. His fingers squeezed and he caught his breath. “We can’t be together, Izuku.”

“No, we will be,” Izuku said. He slipped away from Katsuki, turning his back to him. Izuku avoided looking at him as he walked around to bed to retrieve his backpack. He slipped it on his shoulders and returned to Katsuki’s side. He put his hand on Katsuki’s head, fingers digging in tight though his gaze remained locked on the heart monitor. “I have to leave you alone for a while, but I haven’t given up on us. Have a little more faith in me—I will absolutely make it happen and you’re going to be mine, there’s no doubt.’”

Izuku dragged his fingers away and went to the door. He looked over his shoulder, green eyes wet and smile faked. “See you soon, Kacchan.”

He slipped into the bright hallway, closing the door behind him and leaving Katsuki in the dark once again.

School was too quiet.

The reality of their classmate nearly dying weighed everyone down like they were drowning in a sandstorm—a constant stream of small pinpricks that came with every reminder Bakugou wasn’t with them from his empty seat to the lack of explosions throughout the day.

Eijirou spent his day counting down the minutes to when school released and he could go visit his friend. The first few days, Bakugou’s condition had been too unstable for visitors but Aizawa had informed the class he could start receiving visitors this afternoon.

The class had created small rotating schedule so everyone could get a visit in without overwhelming Bakugou all at once in the small room with such a fresh and serious wound. Eijirou, Todoroki, and Iida were first on the list to visit. He bounced his leg under the desk as he chewed the end of his pen. He wanted to go now. Eijirou had hated being in the hospital before when he was the one who’d been hurt.

There was no way that Bakugou wasn’t going stir crazy.

“Pay attention in class or I’m giving your visitation spot to someone else,” Aizawa said, tapping the board with the back of his knuckle. “I know about the list and I can veto it.”

“Yes, sir!” Eijirou said, shooting up in his seat.

He swallowed and paid attention to the board and what the teacher was saying. He couldn’t afford to lose focus. They were here to learn how to be Heroes, and Heroes fought Villains.

The next time he saw Midoriya or Toga, he was going to be ready.

Someone was going to pay for what they did to Eijirou’s best friend.

Tomura sipped a drink at the bar downstairs, flipping through the pages of a gaming magazine. Dabi and Toga had taken Mustard to meet Giran and look into proper support gear for their newest member. Kurogiri went with them, meaning to catch up with the information broker as well.

That left Tomura alone at the bar to his peace and quiet, save for the static of the television he’d turned on to fill the room with white noise.

As he browsed the release schedule for the upcoming quarter, the bell above the bar door jingled as it opened. Midoriya dropped his bag on the ground and took his place on the stool next to Tomura. He put his elbows on the bar, resting his chin between his hands.

“How’s Kacchan?” Tomura asked, flipping another page.

“He was out of it due to the painkillers, but alive,” Izuku said. His head slipped down his arms until he cradled them on the bar top. Izuku’s mouth stretched into a sleepy, pleased grin and touched his fingers to his lip. “He let me sit in his lap and kiss him.”

“Let the details end there, please,” Tomura said. He ripped out a page of the magazine, advertising a game he couldn’t beat last week. Tomura crumpled it into a ball, rolling his fingers to keep one raised at all times, before clutching the ball in his palm. The dust slipped through his hand and made a small pile on the counter. “Did you get what you needed out of your system?”

“I think so,” Midoriya said. He reached over and dragged over the pile of dust, shifting it around with his fingers. “I reminded myself that Kacchan is worth it, even if I have to play nice with Toga in the future.”

“Good,” Tomura said.

He crumpled another page to add to the dust Midoriya played with, covering his hands with it. Once upon a time, Midoriya had looked upon the leftovers of his Quirk with awe or fear, depending on how it was used. Now he didn’t blink at the destructive force, comfortable and used to it. Tomura adored that casual acceptance and Midoriya was one of maybe two people in the world to no longer flinch at his Decay.

It was a good thing Midoriya had come back on his own.

Dragging Midoriya back by the ear, kicking and screaming would have ruined everything.

“Are you ready to do some real work?” Tomura asked, rubbing his fingers together to compress the leftover dust.

Midoriya pushed up on the counter, sitting straight on the stool. He pushed his long curls back, in desperate need of a trim, before he graced Tomura with a dry laugh. “What did you have in mind?”

“We’re going to recruit,” Tomura said. He threw an arm around Izuku’s shoulder and leaned on his favorite pet. “The League needs weight behind it. Real power. No more expendable bodies and grunts—we need some hands on support to tear this city to the ground.”

“That’ll certainly keep the heroes busy,” Midoriya said. “But where are we going to recruit?”

“On the news,” Dabi said, kicking the bar door closed behind him. Toga hung on his arm, smiling brightly as she waved. Mustard stood on his other side, clutching a small bag to his chest. Dabi laughed and lit a cigarette with his Quirk before blowing smoke into the room. “Your name is Newscast, ain’t it? Where else are you going to make grand declarations on behalf of the League?”

Midoriya snorted, covering his mouth before he burst into giggles and dropped to laugh into the counter.

Tomura liked that.

It was about time one of them had an official Villain title instead of just using their birth names. Heroes weren’t the only ones who should get cool codenames.

“Newscast,” Midoriya mumbled under his breath. He drummed his fingers on the counter and snorted. “I like it.”

“You’re welcome,” Dabi said, taking a seat on Tomura’s other side. He pulled over a drink and tossed it back. “I want royalties.”

“You wish,” Midoriya said.

He ignored Toga as she dragged Mustard upstairs to play a game and that was good. If Midoriya could keep his head on straight now, he could keep it there later.

Tomura could work with this.

Now he just needed something for Midoriya to do.

Something big.

Something flashy.

Something to make Master realize that Midoriya belonged with Tomura.

Chapter Text

“Hey, Bakugou! Ready to get out tomorrow?” Eijirou asked, dropping his school bag next to his friend’s bed. The television played in the background, but his friend ignored it. Bakugou sat up against the raised back of the bed, a textbook in his lap as he did early morning reading. There was color back in his face and Eijirou felt grateful for the forced week of recovery in aiding his friend’s health. “It’s been a long week.”

“Yeah,” Bakugou said, staring at the page. He copied a few sentences onto his notes on the small side table attached to the bed and kept his head down. “I’m counting the minutes.”

Eijirou sat in the chair next to him and put his hands in his lap. Bakugou hadn’t said much during anyone’s visits when they came to see them. Eijirou didn’t know what was wrong with Bakugou to make him so quiet, if it was the stabbing attempt or something else, but whatever had come over him had infected Todoroki, too. He’d come back from his visit home solemn and just as quiet. They were both too tight lipped for his taste.

He hated it when friends kept secrets.

The hope that Bakugou would talk to his friend about what was specifically bothering him kept Eijirou’s spirits up, but as the week went by with not so much as a word about the stabbing, or Midoriya, or his own feelings and Eijirou started to wonder if they weren’t going to have a “study session” between the two of them to talk about this at all.

If he wouldn’t start the conversation, then Eijirou would have to do it himself.

“You look like you’ve got a lot on your mind,” Eijirou said. He pulled the chair closer to the bed and crossed his arms on the side. Bakugou stared at Eijirou’s arms and swallowed before looking back on the books. “Are you going to be alright after they discharge you?”

“I’ll be glad to get out of this bed,” Bakugou said. He closed his school book and put it aside on the table. Bakugou rubbed the side of his face, scowling as he slumped into the back pillows. “I know that much.”

“You get another few days off from school afterwards, don’t you?” Eijirou asked. “It’ll be good to relax and rest in your room over this place.”

“Screw that,” Bakugou said. He curled his lip and smacked his hands into the covers. “I’m going back to school. If I have to sit by myself and ‘rest’ for another day, I’m going to snap.”

“I’m sure you’ll have enough visitors to keep you busy if you took it easy in the dorm instead of going to class,” Eijirou said. He tapped his finger on the edge of the sheet and looked toward the television to give Bakugou a little room. “Everyone’s been worried.”

“I’m fine,” Bakugou said. Eijirou could see him clutch harder at the sheets from the side of his eye. His friend shifted his knees under the blankets. “I almost wasn’t, but I am.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s why they’re worried,” Eijirou said, laughing under his breath. He reached over and put his hand on Bakugou’s knee, pushing it back and forth. “Let them worry about you.”


“I don’t think that’ll deter—”

The television screamed with static.

Eijirou and Bakugou jerked their heads up to watch the screen. The static continued, loud and obnoxious.

“What the hell?” Bakugou asked. A small number countdown popped up in the middle, indicating that the static was part of an intentional video. The number counted down until it reached zero and the screen flickered. Bakugou’s eyes widened at the figure in the center of the screen. “Izuku.”

Midoriya waved at the camera, his hands hidden behind black leather gloves, eyes grinning bright behind the hood pulled over his head.

His costume had changed since the last time Eijirou had seen it. He kept the half-mask metal muzzle, but his one-piece suit had been traded out for a new outfit. He wore a hooded jacket with multiple, closed pockets over a black, fitted v-neck shirt with orange stripes crossed across the front like on Bakugou’s Hero costume. His black belt remained with his explosive accessories, leading the eye down to a pair of black cargo pants and a pair of matching boots.

“Hello viewers,” Midoriya said, his mask shining in the light. He threw his hands out and stepped back, revealing a small studio set up like a talk show. “This is Newscast, here to bring you a special announcement!”

“Newscast?” Bakugou asked. He stared up at the screen, clutching at his sheets so hard the fabric stretched. “That brat is going by a Villain name now?”

Eijirou sat up against the back of the chair, glaring at the screen. What was Midoriya up to now?

“And to all those Pro Heroes out there scrambling to find out what station I took over, don’t worry!” Midoriya said, holding his arms out. “This is my own, new personal broadcasting station coming to you live. Isn’t that nice? The League of Villains sure does its best to take care of me. They know how to treat their members right.”

“Liar,” Bakugou whispered.

“Which is good to know, because our recruitment efforts are still going strong,” Midoriya said. He pulled in his arms and put them over his chest, the black glove right over a stolen orange stripe. “In fact, we’re going to hold a special event for the occasion!

“One week from today, we’re going to shake Musutafu City up with an open invitation to anyone interested in joining the League!” Midoriya shouted. He hopped up on the desk behind him to stand. The camera panned to stay on him. His jacket fluttered as he moved and increased the dramatics. “Consider that night your audition to show us the best you can do. Starting at six o’cock in the evening, we want you to cause as much mayhem, destruction and trouble as you can muster! Work solo or work together, it doesn’t matter: Get out there and break something!”

“Hell,” Eijirou said, staring at the television.

“The wonderful Pro Heroes are all invited, too, of course,” Midoriya said, dropping to sit on the edge. He pulled a knee up and leaned forward to the camera. “Do your best to stop our applicants, Heroes! You’re important for weeding out the weaklings—because that’s how you’ll pass the test: Anyone who hasn’t been arrested by midnight is in! Don’t worry, we’ll be sure to pick you up.

“And that’s it!” Midoriya said. He crossed his hands over his knees and tilted his head to the side. “To the rest of you civilians out there, if you don’t want to die, make sure to hide and stay out of our way. To everyone else: Good luck and I’ll see you there.

“This is Newscast, signing out.”

“I should have reported him,” Bakugou said. His breathing turned ragged and he scrunched his shoulders up as he hunched forward and put his hands over the back of his head. “Shit!”

He threw his hand out and exploded the television.

Eijirou was shoved aside as the room filled with concerned staff.

Bakugou wouldn’t elaborate later when Eijirou asked him what he meant.

“Good work,” Shigaraki said, strolling onto Izuku’s set from the sidelines. He patted Izuku on the head through his hood and grinned as he helped himself to a seat in a plush arm chair. “Very professional and entertaining. I can just imagine how the Heroes were squirming during that entire broadcast.”

“Glad you enjoyed it,” Izuku said, crossing his legs on the desk. Giran had done good work getting their resources together over the past week to put this small studio together in one of the League warehouses. It had become Izuku’s new official base of operations, complete with a new room off the side of the set for his pet Nomu to live. He even had a new tech consultant, hidden from view behind a dark outfit and a plain mask, typing away at his computer across the room. “Thanks for your hard work!”

The quiet man held a hand up and went back to typing.

Izuku had no idea what his name was, what his Quirk was, or how long he’d worked with Giran, but the guy had done his job taking care of all their hacking needs to interrupt the television feeds and keep the technical side of this operation running.

It was part of his contract that he stay anonymous and Izuku let him have his privacy.

“How’s the rest of the plan going?” Izuku asked.

“Good,” Shigaraki said, rolling his fingers out. “Toga and Dabi are working hard to make connections and make sure we have access to security cameras and aid to make picking up the winners easier.”

Izuku leaned back on the desk, placing his palms flat and stared at the ceiling. “You think the Villains will come out to play your new game?”

“Of course they will,” Shigaraki said. He put his hand in his palm and smiled at Izuku, his chapped lips breaking. “With a poster boy like you, how could they not?”

“I wonder how many will survive your game,” Izuku said, thinking of all the capable Pro Heroes. The majority of Villains and wannabes out there wouldn’t stand a chance against the Heroes if they’re ready and have time to prepare. “Or is that the point?”

“The only people that will win this game are the sneaky ones that know how to stay away or the strong ones that finally have an excuse to let loose,” Shigaraki said. He reached over and tugged on the end of Izuku’s jacket. “The rest is fodder we don’t need and they can rot in prison.”

Izuku breathed in and put his hands in his lap. He’d managed to bring up the energy for the announcement, but he felt numb. The week of planning and prepping had been exhausting and draining and all Izuku wanted was to see Kacchan.

Even the new uniform from Giran and Shigaraki hadn’t made him feel better.

Looking like Kacchan wasn’t enough.

Izuku wanted to hold him again.

But that couldn’t happen until Shigaraki and his Master got what they wanted first.

“It’ll be interesting to see who makes it through the trial,” Izuku said. He put his chin in his hands and watched the man across the room type. “It’ll be a fun show to watch, whatever happens.”

“I can’t wait,” Shigaraki said.

“Tell me everything that little shit told you when he confessed to being a Villain,” Katsuki said, cornering Shinsou in the stairwell. He’d barely escaped his other friends and teachers, all concerned for good reason, but Katsuki didn’t need them right now. He needed information on Izuku and there was only one person holding out on him. “Right now.”

“I know you’re upset, but you should be talking to a counselor, not me,” Shinsou said, dropping his shoulders.

Katsuki grabbed Shinsou’s arm and pulled him up the stairs toward his room. “I’m talking to you and you’re going to tell me every, single word that came out of Izuku’s mouth.”

“Bakugou, let go,” Shinsou said, voice stern. Bakugou threw open the door to his floor and kept dragging the other teen. Shinsou pushed at his hand, his frustration growing with his voice. “I’m not ratting him again—”

“I had him!” Katsuki shouted, stopping in the middle of the hallway. He let go of Shinsou and gripped his hands into fists. He whispered, “I had him. He came to see me in the hospital and I let him go, Shinsou. I let him go and now he’s doing this and I need…I need to know if the shit he said to me was true.”

“What’d he say?” Shinsou asked.

“I’ll tell you if you tell me,” Katsuki said, glaring over his shoulder. “Deal?”

The other boy rubbed his arm and looked to the side. The bags under his eyes were dark and worn, like they had been since Izuku had first been arrested. He pressed his lips together and nodded.


Once safe in Katsuki’s room, they sat side by side on the bed, reminiscent of their talk on the amusement park bench the last time they had a serious talk about Izuku.

“Izuku said he was a nobody lackey in the League,” Katsuki said, after explaining how Izuku had come to see him and he’d failed to report him. “And that if he didn’t step up his act that he’d be in trouble.”

“That’s true,” Shinsou said. He squeezed his hands together and breathed out. “You really want to know what he told me?”

“Everything,” Katsuki said. He was done being out of the loop, he was done being ignorant, and he was done underestimating Izuku. Katsuki’s voice felt hoarse as he said, “I want to know all of it.”

“Alright,” Shinsou said. He rubbed his mouth and rested his arms on his knees. “I guess if it’s you, Izuku won’t care I blabbed anyway.”

He spoke, telling Katsuki every gritty detail of Izuku’s pained confession and fears.

When he was finished, neither of them had much to say.

But Katsuki had a much better idea of what sort of world Izuku had fallen into, which meant he could start making plans to get the idiot out of it.