Chapter 1: Breaking Apart
Sometimes, Izuku had good days. Days where his smiles were bright, and his eyes shone, and he felt energetic and like he’s gotten enough sleep.
But there are other days, too. Days when his past haunts him, where he finds himself clawing at all the old burns and scars and wounds, and he flinches at every movement and panics at every shadow and winces at every voice and waits for the other shoe to drop.
It was days like this that he choked to death on his own words because he remembered how irritated people got with his mumbling, days where he clawed at his own head and tried to rip himself apart and be put back together perfect because Shouta called him ‘problem child’ and it felt like hatred.
It’s days like this where his own justifications ran dry, and his head was suddenly a desert with painfully bright awareness beating down on him, telling him he was disgusting, weak, vile; that he shouldn’t have mates that were older than him because it didn’t follow society's ideals; and that they were taking advantage of him, or he was taking advantage of them… And suddenly he’s drowning in his own hell that no one can see.
He wondered why his friends were so okay with it, sometimes, because clearly somewhere along the way he fucked up, somewhere along the way he became detestable, weak, worthless, gross disgusting stupid useless useless useless--
It was days like this where he felt like he was choking to death on his own existence, and where he almost wished he had taken Bakugou’s suggestion, back in middle school.
It was days like this, where no one looked at him during lunch and he wondered how easy it was to fade into the background. Where Toshinori called him a prince of nonsense for all his mumbling, and he bit his tongue so hard he tasted blood, a silent reminder to himself that no one wanted to hear him. Where Shouta affectionately called him a ‘problem child’ and Izuku froze up, waiting for the the pain or the bullying or the teachers’ familiar, willful ignorance.
“Man, the world’s such a shit place, isn’t it?”
Shinsou’s voice suddenly rang out hollowly against the buildings, through the strange maze Izuku found himself retreating to. It had cameras, but they were always turned off unless the training ground was in use, and Izuku found it was a great place to stretch his wings.
“What are you doing here?” Izuku asked, feeling his own voice clog up his throat, expending an enormous effort just to get the words out.
“Looking for you. Your mates are flipping their shit while trying to make it seem like they aren’t flipping their shit, and it’s honestly a miracle you three have kept this secret for so long.” Shinsou said, and Izuku let out a breath at the breezy sarcasm. He could do this. Deflect, laugh it off, pretend. Fake a smile.
“They’re worried about you, Midoriya,” Shinsou continued, close enough that Izuku could see him: his reflection danced in the metal, his voice echoing around the empty space. Izuku gave a noncommittal noise, letting himself slip into the shadows of the maze, seeking the tiny hidey holes he found himself in often.
“It’s thirty minutes past curfew, and no one knows where you are,” Shinsou said, and Izuku backed up, pushing himself farther into the darkness.
“The only reason I’m here is because Alex saw you wandering off towards the training fields several hours ago, and she told Uraraka. No one has seen you since.” Shinsou passed underneath his spot, where he had attached himself like a parasite to the pipes, shrouded in darkness.
“I’m fine, you can go tell them that. I’m not stupid enough to leave the school grounds without a teacher,” Izuku replied, wings shifting and ruffling, feathers poofing up against the cold. Shinsou glanced backwards, backtracking slightly.
“They aren’t going to calm down if they don’t see you in person. Hell, Uraraka and Todoroki were already pitching a fit when I left, I don’t want to know how much more shit they’ll destroy in their panic,” Shinsou said, wandering back towards Izuku’s hiding spot.
He shifted slightly, grabbing the poles, debating what he wanted to do. Really, he knew he just wanted to be alone, to let himself fall apart so he could shove himself back together into something vaguely resembling the others’ expectations . He couldn’t do that around other people, not without judgement and hate and pain flying his way, not without the worry and fear and anxiety he would end up giving those who cared.
“I don’t want to talk,” he replied, and Shinsou stopped under his hiding spot, looking up into the shadows.
“Come on, little bird, come down,” he said, and Izuku couldn’t help his confused look.
“‘Little Bird’?” he asked, and Shinsou shrugged.
“Alex called you that, when she watched our fight in the sports festival. She said you looked like a little bird who hadn’t yet learned to fly,” Shinsou said, and Izuku dropped to the ground, crouched low and ready to bolt.
“So, is there like, a specific reason you’re avoiding your mates?” Sinsou asked conversationally, and Izuku frowned.
“Do... do you think it’s bad? My soulmate bond?” he asked quietly, and Shinsou paused.
“No, I don’t think so. It’s not as if you have any control over who you’re bonded with. And you aren’t hurting them, right?” Shinsou said, and Izuku shook his head.
“And they aren’t hurting you?”
Izuku paused for a second, and Shinsou went from tired to murderous.
“Izuku. Are they hurting you?” he asked, and Izuku shrugged.
“Not any more than any other person would. It’s not… it’s not intentional, but sometimes they say or do things that remind me of…. Well, it’s just--. I don’t know, it’s stupid.” Izuku tried to explain, tripping over his own tongue as thoughts collided in his head, breaking apart and bouncing back together in a fragmented segment of self that Izuku couldn’t understand.
“It’s not stupid, and you need to talk to them if they’re making you feel bad or uncomfortable in any way. Something Alex taught me is that relationships are a two way thing. You have to make sure that you’re comfortable, first and foremost. Communication is key, even if it’s awkward or scary or anxiety inducing,” Shinsou said, and Izuku took a second to marvel at him. He had changed so much since the sports festival, and Izuku wondered who was to blame.
“It’s not their faults, it’s just something I have to get over,” Izuku said in response, and Shinsou sighed.
“Listen, Midoriya. Even if it’s not meant to be hurtful, it still is. That won’t change overnight, and you can’t expect them to read your mind. You have to tell them what’s bothering you, ” Shinsou instructed, and Izuku could feel the encroaching numbness, the strange out-of-body experience that always came with Shinsou using his quirk. He felt panic bubbling in his throat, clogging airways he had no control off, suffocating him in his own head as his voiceless screams bounced around his skull.
He felt himself collapsing inwards, every point and pinprick of anxiety condensing into a fearsome monster, something that would tear him apart from the inside out until he was only a semblance of his former self, until he crumbled under its weight.
He felt the release of Shinsou’s hold, the way the world yanked him into focus. Suddenly everything was overwhelming, and he wanted it all to shut down and stop please just stop--
“Shit!” Shinsou’s voice sounded far away and blurred, and Izuku felt pain rearing its head, scraps and scratches on his knees and hands as he fell to the ground, the world fading out of focus and back in, like a camera lense adjusting itself. He could feel every breath in his lungs, tainted and vile, curling through every exhale and forcing the world to acknowledge his disgusting existence and--
-- his mates were there and he yanked himself back, anxiety fear pain rage fearfearfear fear--
“Izuku, Izuku, it’s jme, it’s just me--”
-- Ochako’s voice broke through, and he saw the girl, his best friend, sitting in front of him, felt the coil of pain in his chest release, giving him a second to breathe--
“-- come on, breathe with me. It’s okay, you’re safe, I’m not going to hurt you. Just breathe with me, in, out, in, out.”
His lungs shuddered in his chest, heaving gasps of air he didn’t deserve racking his frame, as he collapsed forward, Ochako’s arms catching him, grounding him.
“In, out, in, out, it’s okay, you’re okay, just breathe, alright? I got you.”
He felt his breathing slowing, the tears he hadn’t known he had been crying stopping, the world shimmering back into focus. The exhaustion hit him like a truck, and he felt his limbs go limp, the panic subsiding and leaving nothing but a void in its wake.
He could see everyone else - his friends, his classmates - standing a little ways away, their faces all looking worried and concerned. He could see too, just behind them, his mates standing, looking scared, hints of a fierce protective rage overshadowed by helplessness shown in every line of their postures.
Izuku felt guilt clawing up his throat, even as he dropped his head against Ochako’s shoulder, even as he let Todoroki and Iida and Tsuyu near, let them help him up and let them lead him back to the dorms, back to his room, and he felt the guilt crescendo as he asked them to stay, because he shouldn’t trust them more than his mates, he shouldn’t he shouldn’t--
-- but, he does, as they all pile onto the bed with him, and he feels the world slipping from his fingers as sleep consumes him.
Chapter 2: A Heart To Heart- The First of Many
Izuku finally starts to communicate.
Waking up in the morning was not what Izuku would call a pleasant experience. His throat ached, his eyes strung, and in general he felt like he had been run over by a truck. He let out a small groan as he blinked awake, forcing his sleep-crusted eyes open, wincing at the light flooding into the room. He looked around, realizing he was in his dorm room. The memories of the night before came crashing in, and he muffled another groan, eyes sliding shut again as he tried to block out the world. Maybe he could sleep for a few more years…
“Oh, Izuku, you’re awake!” Ochako whispered, and he forced his eyes open with a sigh. It was only then that he realized that he wasn’t alone.
Ochako was staring up at him from her spot laying across his stomach, and Tsuyu was curled half over her girlfriend, half over his legs. Todoroki was pressed against his side, Iida against his other, both their arms stretching across and capturing him in a cocoon of warmth and safety.
“You look terrible,” Tsuyu said, and he let out a surprised giggle. Ochako looked at her girlfriend with horror, but Izuku waved it off.
“That’s probably to be expected, after everything--” he started, only to get cut off, a shout from the hallways invading the carefully quiet atmosphere.
“No, you cannot go in to see him! His friends are in there, and he’s still sleeping!” Alex’s voice rang out. It startled Todoroki and Iida out of their slumber, but Izuku slapped a hand over both their mouths before they could say anything.
That was Toshinori’s voice, and Izuku frowned in confusion. Why was he…?
“No buts! I don’t give a rat’s ass what you say! God himself ain’t getting through me, so if you think you’re any better, than you can go shove it!” Alex’s voice was laced with fury, and Izuku wondered what had gotten her so riled up.
“ Leave .”
Shinsou’s voice was dark and venomous, and Izuku recognized him using his quirk. True to form, not a second later he heard the dull thud of someone walking down the hallways, leaving him and the others in shocked silence. A moment later, he said quietly, “Jesus, Alex, I’ve never seen you so angry.”
Izuku shared a look with the rest of his friends. What had happened while he was asleep?
“It’s just…” she sighed, and everyone shifted closer to the door, trying to hear. Even Iida seemed curious enough to eavesdrop.“You told me, last night, that when you asked about it, he said his soulmates were unintentionally hurting him, right? Have you seen him the past week? Whenever he started mumbling, everyone always gives him this Look, and he just… shuts down. Like he’s choking to death on his own words, but doesn’t want to bother anyone about it.”
Izuku frowned. He hadn’t thought anyone had noticed him that week.
“It’s, I don’t know! I used to mumble to myself a lot, too. I still do. But I always got... these looks, that were, like, half-amused and half-degrading, like I was some sort of fucking idiot just because I was talking to myself, and let me tell you: That shit is far more damaging to your psyche than anyone gives it credit for,” Alex explained, and he heard Shinsou give a small hum in response.
“You know his history. Hell, even I know some of it! And to be bullied and abused for years, and have people call him out like that? Even unintentionally? It cannot have been easy on him,” Alex said with a sigh, and Izuku wondered when she had time to psychoanalyze him.
“You don’t know that they were the ones doing it though,” Shinsou countered, and everyone jumped a bit at the dull thump on the wall, the sound startling in the silence.
“I heard Aizawa call him ‘problem child’ once,” Alex said, so quiet that everyone strained forward to hear. An oppressive air followed her words, and Izuku felt everyone tensing up, looking to him. He was frozen, feeling his muscles lock up, his breath catching in his throat. Ochako gently grabbed his hand, everyone moving closer, the contact grounding him and pulling him back to the present.
“It was affectionate, but… Well, that shit hurts, even when it’s not meant to,” Alex whispered, and Izuku shuffled slightly. He wasn’t as tired anymore, wishing he could be somewhere, anywhere, else.“And they kept trying to get in, and I know they want to make sure he’s okay and all, but the last thing I wanted was for him to wake up with anyone in there but his friends.”
In that moment, Izuku’s stomach growled loudly, and he frowned, the thought of actually eating making him nauseous. It broke the heavy atmosphere, though, all his friends turning to look at him. He blushed, shrugging at their questioning looks.
“Do you want us to go get food for you?” Ochako asked quietly, and he felt his anxiety spike, clawing its way up his throat at the thought of any of them leaving. He shook his head vehemently, despite his still-growling stomach.
“Do you want us to ask Alex to get something for you?” Todoroki asked, and he felt a little anxiety leave. He really didn’t want his friends to leave, but he also didn’t want to see anyone.
He nodded slightly, slipping out of the pile and making his way over to the door, the others trailing behind him. He cracked it open, peering hesitantly out into the hallway.
“Alex?” His voice was still raspy, and he struggled against the exposure of seeing the empty hallway, the need to find a small space and hide away in the darkness. Alex was standing next to the door, leaning against the wall, and Shinsou across from her.
They both jumped slightly, Alex turning almost faster than his eyes could keep up with. She smiled brightly at him, but made no move to approach, for which he was grateful.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you guys. Do you need something?” she asked, and Izuku nodded again.
“You didn’t wake us. Can you get some food from the kitchen please?” he asked, and she nodded, seeming relieved to do something.
“Sure. What do you want me to tell the rest of the class?” she asked, and he frowned, thinking.
“Tell them I’m alright, and not to worry, but also that I really don’t want to see anyone today,” he said, the steady presence of his friends behind him giving him courage.
“Okay, cool; I’ll leave Shinsou on guard duty. Be back in a bit,” she said, turning to make her way down the hallway. Shinsou took up her now-empty post, looking at him out of the corner of his eye.
“I’m sorry. About what I did last night. I shouldn’t have used my quirk on you without permission,” he apologized abruptly. Izuku blinked at him, feeling Ochako and Iida pressing closer to him, supporting him.
“Thank you. I accept your apology, and I forgive you, but please don’t do it again,” Izuku settled on finally, after several moments of silence. Shinsou slumped a bit, looking relieved.
“You feeling any better?” he asked, and Izuku shrugged.
“A little. I still want a day to recoup though,” he responded.
“You still need to talk to them sometime, though. Letting all that stuff build up in you isn’t going to end well,” Shinsou said, and this time Izuku didn’t respond. He knew he had to talk to his mates, and his friends, and hell, probably even his classmates at some point, but not yet. Not today.
Alex, in different circumstances, would have been amused at the way Izuku’s friends had clustered around him at the door, like four fearsome dragons protecting their hoard. As it was though, she simply pushed down her own wish to protect him, and made her way to get him food.
She would have laughed at the way everyone jumped when she appeared, at least half the gazes in the room turning to the staircase, but at the moment she just felt irritated.
“I left Shinsou on guard duty. No one goes in, period. Izuku told me to tell you he’s fine, and not to worry, and also that he really just wants to be left alone today. I would also like to politely remind everyone here that he has endured years of bullying, abuse, and isolation, and if you think it would somehow be good for him to try and invade his safe space, I promise you your body will not be found ,” she snarled at them, her classmates looking properly chaisted. Her teachers were sitting together on the couch, Aizawa trying to grade papers, and All Might appearing to be crocheting, both of them giving off a heavily territorial and worried vibes.
She didn’t understand how the entire world hadn’t figured out that Izuku was their mate, because honestly .
It was easy enough to reheat the leftovers from the night before, while also keeping a careful eye on everyone while she waited, to make sure none of them were going to try and bother Izuku.
She grabbed the food once it was done, carefully making her way back over to the stairs. As she passed her teachers, they both froze when she muttered quietly to them,“Listen, I know you’re worried, and I know you want to see him, but respect his boundaries in this, and for god's sake talk to each other, alright? The three of you are garbage at communication and empathy, I swear.”
She breezed past them after that, not sticking around long enough to see their reactions, rolling her eyes.
Men . Honestly.
Alex made two trips down and back, delivering the food with a smile.
“Do you want us to keep guarding the door or do you think you’re okay?” she asked after handing over another plate of food for his friends. Izuku frowned.
“Can you stay, please?” he asked, and she gave him a bright smile.
“Sure Izuku! Whatever makes you more comfortable!” she said, and he gave a small smile, retreating back into his own room.
He and his friends sat in silence for a little while, eating and dozing, piled up on his floor. He wasn’t sure where his torso ended and everyone else's began, but it was warm, and it felt safe, and he felt loved.
“Hey guys?” he spoke up quietly, the muffled voices of Alex and Shinsou outside making him feel more secure. “Can I talk to you about something?”
“Of course, Izuku. You can always talk to us, about anything,” Ochako reassured, Iida and the others offering their own assurances.
“It’s just…” he leaned back, catching his breath, forcing himself to speak the words, to lift the weight off his chest. It was always so much easier to talk with his friends, because he knew them. He knew they loved him, and wouldn’t judge hIm, and would fight tooth and nail for him, just like he would for them.
“You guys… always give me these look, when I start mumbling, and they’re…. More hurtful than you’d expect. I know you don’t mean to, but it always feels like an insult, or a mocking sort of thing. It’s--” He felt them all go still, could feel their eyes on him as he tried to gather his words and force them into something coherent, understandable. “--I don’t know, but I don’t like it. It feels like back in middle school when everyone would laugh at me and taunt me about it. I know you guys, and I know you would never do that on purpose, but it still hurts.
“I’m not saying you have to figure out how to fix it immediately, but just… if you ever notice it, please try not to? It’s not something easily changed, but I would appreciate it if you would try? Sometimes I don’t even notice I’m mumbling, so if I am, maybe just try and quietly inform me?” his voice was wavering, fear and anxiety and hurt warring with the trust he’d placed in his friends, and he felt several pairs of arms wrapping around him, pulling him into a group hug.
“Of course we will Izuku. Of course,” Ochako said, and he felt tears spilling from his eyes, could hear the sniffle in his friend’s voice.
“Ribbit. All you had to do was ask,” Tsuyu chimed in, and Izuku buried his face against someone's shoulder.
“I’m sorry for everything I’ve done that hurt you, whether it was intentional or not. You are my friend Izuku, you’re all of our’s friend. We would never want to hurt you,” Todoroki said, and Izuku could hear the determination in his voice, the fiery spirit in all of them. He knew they would do their best to never hurt him again, and he let his anxiety go, knowing they would always be there for him.
“If you ever find us doing something that hurts you again, just let us know,” Iida said quietly, and Izuku was sobbing now, a cascade of tears let free from their hold. “That goes for all of you, as well. It’s my duty as your friend to make sure you are all okay.”
“Of course, ribbit.”
“Always,” Izuku said. “I always want you all to be happy.”
It was far from a permanent fix, far from an immediate change. But it was what he could do, what they could do, and that would be enough for now.
Chapter 3: Lift
Izuku wished the weekends were longer. He only had Sunday to hide away from everything, and then it was back to the grind that was school. No one asked him about it over breakfast, although whether that was out of respect for his privacy or because Alex was looming over them, snarling like a dragon every time anyone so much as looked at him, he wasn’t entirely sure.
He didn’t see Shouta or Toshinori on his way to school, but he knew he would eventually have to face them. It was unavoidable, after all: they were his teachers. But he wished he could get another day to gather his thoughts, or at least mildly prepare himself for the emotional rollercoaster it was sure to be.
He stepped into the classroom, Ochako and Iida flanking him and the rest of his friends behind him, feeling for all the world like a criminal about to be questioned.
They were early, and he was grateful Shouta wasn’t there yet, because that meant he could put it off for a little while longer.
“So, Izuku…” Alex started awkwardly. He hadn’t talked to her much outside of asking her to guard his door yesterday, or run and grab homework for his other friends. He felt a bit guilty, treating her like a guard dog or a gopher, but she didn’t seem to particularly mind.
“Are you going to, like, tell the rest of the class about the whole…thing, or like…?” she asked hesitantly, her sentence trailing off. The air felt colder all the sudden, an oppressive weight settling onto everyone's shoulders.
“I… don’t know,” Izuku admitted, feeling his anxiety spike at the mere thought of telling his classmates about what exactly had made him freak out. He wanted to let them know, because he knew they all had good hearts and would try their best to make him more comfortable, but…
Despite all his mumbling, speaking up has never been his strong suit.
“Well… This is just an option but.. I could tell them, if you wanted?” Alex asked, and he looked to her. She was staring determinedly off to the side of him, looking awkward and fierce at the same time. “Like, I won’t, of course, if you don’t want me to, but if you think it’d be easier I could, like, maybe give them a mini crash course and stuff? We could text them to arrive early and I could explain and things? I guess?”
Everyone stared at her as she rambled, and Izuku wasn’t certain what he was feeling. It felt like relief, but also a bit like guilt. This was his problem, and something he should work towards getting over, not something he should depend on others to do for him. He had to learn to communicate, and this might be the first step.
“I-- Thank you, but no. I-I think this is something I n-need to do on my own,” he said quietly, cutting her rambling short.
“Okay, whatever you want Izuku. Just know the option is there if you ever need it,” Alex replied easily, and Izuku marveled at her ability to offer help but not be offended when it was rejected.
“Thank you,” he responded with a slight smile, getting a small one in return.
“How did you know about… it, anyways?” Todoroki asked, and Alex and Shinsou looked slightly sheepish.
“We could hear through the door. We didn’t mean to, but it just sort of happened. Sorry,” Shinsou said, Alex nodding as well.
“It’s fine,” Izuku said. He trusted them. Maybe not as much as his other friends, but they had already proved they could keep his secrets. The conversation drifted after that, everyone gathering around his desk, speaking quietly. He made an effort to be in the conversation, and they included him easily, but he was distracted.
He had absolutely no idea how he was supposed to talk to Toshinori and Shouta. The mere thought sent his anxiety spiking, choking him up and making him curl into himself. He was scared out of his mind about what they would think, what they would say. It was stupid, and he knew it, because they had already showed how much they supported him, but he was still so scared .
“Izuku?” Ochako’s voice broke through his thoughts. His friends were staring at him, worried. “You were mumbling again. You sure you’re alright?”
“I--” he started, biting his lip. “I’m not doing great, but it’s not really something you guys can help with.”
“You’re scared about talking to them,” Tsuyu said, and he nodded, ducking his head.
“Would it help if someone was there with you when you did?” Todoroki asked, giving him pause. He would feel a bit awkward, but he also could use the support. He didn’t respond for a long time, everyone giving him the space he needed.
“Just, think on it. It’s an option, if you want,” Todoroki said, and Izuku gave him a small, but grateful, smile.
“I love you guys, you know that? You were my first real friends, and you’ve done so much for me. I’ll never be able to repay you for everything,” Izuku said abruptly, struck with the realization. “I just… wanted to make sure you knew.”
The pressed closer to him, each giving him a smile.
“We love you too, Izuku,” Ochako said, wrapping an arm around him. He felt happiness bubbling in his chest, surrounded by his friends, knowing that, no matter what, they would always have his back.
The moment was interrupted by the rest of his classmates stumbling in, all glancing in his direction before moving to their own groups. Aizawa walked in a few minutes later, promptly causing a scramble from the others to get to their seats. He had ended up moving back to his old seat after Bakugou had been put in Gen Ed, and now he was grateful, ducking behind Alex.
He saw Aizawa giving him a concerned glance, and ducked further, tucking his wings into his body.
It was going to be a long day.
The day, as it turned out, was much, much longer than expected. Not only was he stuck dodging his concerned mates, he was resolutely attempting to ignore his classmates as well. Alex seemed to have gained a reputation for ‘willing to kill in defense of Izuku’, and had taken to being his personal guard-dragon for the day.
“Why are you so protective, Alex?” Tsuyu asked during lunch, and Alex blushed and looked away.
“It’s, uh, a side effect of my quirk? So I’m part dragon, the same way you’re part frog, and western dragons are typically known for hoarding things and kidnapping people, right? So, I get some of that, too. It’s less of a, ‘I’ll kidnap a princess and fly her away to my mountain cave’ and more of a, ‘this person is mine and if you touch them you die’ sort of thing. It’s hard to control, sometimes,” she explained sheepishly, a dawning understanding overtaking the table.
“So.. we’re part of your hoard?” Shinsou asked, and Alex looked as if she wanted to sink into the table. Seeing another bunch of pitiful glances shot his way by his classmates, Izuku could relate.
“I… guess? If I ever make you uncomfortable or anything though just let me know. I know I can be a bit overbearing or overprotective, so just tell me and I’ll back off,” she said awkwardly, and Shinsou bumped his shoulder against hers.
“It’s fine, Alex. If it ever bothers us, we’ll speak up,” he responded, and she gave him a grateful smile.
Izuku saw his mates walking past the lunch room for the fourth time, their eyes easily finding him, and he hunched down further. He really wanted the day to be over.
“Weather training!” Toshinori announced with a flourish, everyone collectively groaning. Izuku forced himself not to slam his head onto the table.
“Heroes need to be ready at any time, so today we will be practicing flying in rainstorms--” Another collective groan filled the air, “--with class 1-B!”
“We’re working with class B?” Yaoyorozu asked, and Toshinori gave her a blinding smile.
“That’s correct! One of the teachers in the Business Department can control the weather, but it’s extremely difficult for him. So, we’ll be training today with both classes to make the most out of the time we have with a storm!” Toshinori explained, and everyone nodded. Izuku sighed, feeling his wings sifting beneath his clothes. More flight practice, huh?
“So, everyone: Suit up and meet outside at training ground beta!”
Izuku wanted the day to be over.
Seeing the rest of his class already gathered, Izuku was quick to join them. He had been working on his wing strength lately, and Recovery Girl had cleared him for mild flying. He didn’t think ‘flying in a man-made rainstorm’ really counted as mild, but he wasn’t going to say anything.
He also noticed Class B as he walked up, all of them standing in a group a bit away from his classmates, throwing suspicious or angry looks towards his class.
“Who pissed in their cereal?” Alex asked as he walked up, gesturing to the other class. Shinsou snorted, while Iida looked scandalized.
“You should not talk about the other students in such a manner! It is our job as heroes to respect and help everyone, no matter what!” he started, before Todoroki gently placed a hand on his mate.
“Tenya, relax. She’s kind of right,” Todoroki said, sparking another small tangent. Alex and Shinsou were laughing to themselves, while Ochako and Tsuyu watched from a bit away.
It took only a few minutes before everyone gathered, Toshinori, Vlad King, Shouta, Midnight, and someone Izuku didn’t recognize stepping out to join them. Midnight and Vlad went over to Class B, while Shouta and Toshinori walked over to Class A. The stranger walked a bit farther away, closing his eyes and focusing.
“Alright! This will be a competition between classes! There are two flags, both set up on the top of the buildings! You’re job is to protect your flag while also getting the other team’s flag. The only thing you can’t do is touch the ground. You must stay airborne at all times!” Toshinori explained, and Izuku could see the clouds gathering on the horizon, building quickly.
“The only one who is exempt from this rule is Midoriya, but other than that, as long as no one dies, anything goes!” Toshinori said, while Shouta eyed the class.
“Please try not to kill each other,” he said, deadpan. The class gave an excited chorus of ‘yes, sir’, both his mates giving him a worried look before moving back to the other teachers.
“You have five minutes to plan what to do before we release you into the field!” Toshinori called. “Good luck!”
The clouds covered the sun, draping the world in easy shadows, and Izuku watched them with mild interest.
“Well, if it isn’t the detestable class A!” Monoma spoke suddenly, everyone turning to him. He swaggered over, and Izuku could hear the way the tension rose. Class B wasn’t exactly subtle with their one-sided rivalry, but Monoma was definitely the worst.
Alex let out a small growl, and Izuku was surprised when she stepped in front of Shinsou, wings flared, like she was blocking him from Class B.
“Oh, are those the Gen Ed students? How sad, that you had to replace your classmates with those lowlifes! Funny how you’re supposed to be better, yet you had two people expelled!” Monoma said
“Actually, Katsuki is just in Gen Ed now, he wasn’t expelled,” Kirishima said, hands curling into fists. Monoma just laughed.
“That’s as good as being expelled! I hear you also have someone who’s flightless ,” Monoma taunted, and Izuku felt his throat close up. Alex let out an animalistic snarl, and Shinsou reached out and grabbed her wrist, trying to hold her back.
Izuku was only half paying attention, the words sounding blurred and strange in his ears, like he was listening to something underwater. He could hear his classmates yelling, could feel someone grabbing his hand, but he couldn’t think, couldn’t respond. His brain was replaying every single insult, every time he had been called flightless, all the pain and fear converging on him suddenly.Distantly, he saw Alex lunge, snarling like... well, like a dragon, shoving Monoma to the floor. Ochako and Iida pressed up against his side, grounding him back in the real world.
“What’s going on?!” Shouta shouted, and Izuku watched as his mate dragged Alex off of Monoma, Vlad King hurrying over to his student. Izuku distantly noticed that Alex hadn’t actually hurt Monoma, instead having just knocked him over and covered his mouth.
“Let me go let me go --” Alex roared, struggling against Shouta’s hold.
“Alex, calm down, stop ,” Shinsou commanded, Alex abruptly going limp as Shinsou’s mind control took over. Izuku felt a breath shutter out of his lungs, everything coming back to semi-focus as Ochako and Iida continued to support him.
“What happened?” Toshinori asked, hurrying over with Midnight on his heels.
“He called Izuku flightless,” Ochako spat venomously. The teachers all froze, and Izuku could feel the way both Toshinori and Shouta tensed, both the other teachers watching them cautiously.
“Monoma,” Vlad said carefully, everyone turning to him. Izuku pressed himself closer to Ochako’s side, taking comfort in her presence. “Did you call him flightless?”
“Well it’s true isn’t it?” Monoma said snidely, the entire group going deathly quiet. Izuku felt his wings flaring, beating against the air. He let himself hover, half to prove it to them, and half to prove it to himself. He hadn’t felt this pressure against his wings in years, the way they easily cupped the air, pushing him away from the ground.
“No, it’s not,” he said quietly, feeling his throat close up, tears budding in his eyes as he hovered above the ground. His wings already ached in protest, but it was something. It was something .
Chapter 4: One...
Izuku still hadn’t talked to his mates. It was Friday now, and his friends were getting more and more worried, especially after what happened on Monday. (He had still decided to participate in the exercice, but had stayed relatively close to the ground, guarding class 1-A’s flag.)
He was surprised, however, that Alex was the one who seemed the most agitated about it.
“Why haven’t you talked to them?” she asked abruptly, slamming her lunch tray down on the table and nearly knocking Ochako over. Her mouth was twisted into an almost-snarl, like she was trying to keep it back but it was happening anyway. He froze, watching as she sat down, glaring resolutely at the table like it had killed her entire family.
“Sorry, it’s just--” She snarled suddenly, cutting herself off, and Shinsou reached across the table and gently grabbed her hand. After a moment, she continued, “--I’m going to end up McFreaking losin’ it if you don’t talk to them soon because there’s only so long my dragon will tolerate my hoard being in danger, yeah? And this? It counts as you being in danger and I am going to scream--”
Her words devolved into a steady growl that had everyone except Shinsou leaning back in surprise. Her eyes hardened, head swiveling in a distinctly non-human way to meet the eyes of their new table companion.
Who happened to be one of his mates.
“Hi Aizawa-sensei,” Ochako said, surprised. Shouta didn’t respond, and Izuku could barely see a hint of emotion on his face. Alex’s snarl ratched up a few decibels.
“Midoriya, we need to talk,” Shouta said, and Izuku hunched down in his seat a bit. He opened his mouth to stammer out some sort of excuse, but didn’t get a chance.
“Izuku, if you don’t go I think Alex is going to kill someone,” Todoroki said, deadpan, as all his friends gave him a Look.
“O-okay…” he said, slipping out of his seat. Anxiety pooled in his stomach, but he forced it down, trailing meekly behind his mate.
He knew he really needed to talk to his mates, and he knew he wasn’t going to be able to without choking on his own words for several minutes. But maybe, just maybe, he could try talking to just one at a time.
The thought of talking one-on-one with them made the anxiety loosen in his chest. It was not enough to make it disappear entirely, but it helped.
“Why now?” he asked quietly, thinking about how his mates had been giving him space for the past week. Shouta sighed, reaching up and tugging at his hair absentmindedly.
“Because Alex has been asking around on how to deal with her instincts, and it got back to us. We figured out what was going on, and Nezu basically forced us to intervene,” Shouta explained quietly. “So, there’s two things that we can do here. You either talk to us about what’s bothering you, or Recovery Girl is going to make you have some sort of therapy session.”
“Therapy?” Izuku questioned, trailing along the quiet hallways. He was surprised he hadn’t seen Toshinori yet.
“Yes. We agreed it would be best if I brought it up with you first. You’ve been worrying us lately, Toshinori especially. The choice is yours, so long as you have a support system, and tell people,” Shouta said. Izuku hummed thoughtfully before responding.
“Is both an option?”
“Yes. Do you want to go to Recovery Girl’s office now? You can contact your mom and set up an appointment, either with a school counselor or with another trusted therapist. The school can pay for it under a scholarship of some sort,” Shouta replied easily. They stopped walking, Izuku focusing on the light bouncing around the room, the way it glanced off the hallway and dappled it in soft glow.
“N-no. I…” he paused, his anxiety bubbling and boiling beneath the surface. One step at a time, he told himself. One step at a time. “I w-want to talk to you about what’s bothering me, b-but…”
Shouta seemed to understand, stepping forward and gently putting his hands on Izuku shoulders.
“Do you just want to talk to me or Toshinori, one-on-one?” Shouta asked carefully. Izuku nodded.
“J-just you, f-for now,” he mumbled. He loved both his mates, but there was still a part of him that saw Toshinori as a mentor, as someone he had to try his damndest not to disappoint. This felt like it would be a let down, a disappointment, and his throat closed up and tears spilled at the mere thought of it.
“Izuku, it’s alright. Hey, it’s okay,” Shouta soothed, and Izuku let himself be dragged into a hug, pressing his face against his mate’s shoulder.
“I-I’m s-sorry,” he sobbed, as Shouta wrapped his arms tighter around him.
“It’s okay, Izuku, it’s okay,” Shouta said calmingly. Izuku felt his breathing hitch, curling closer to his mate, trying to hide away from his issues. He needed to tell them, he needed to tell them , but--
-- He felt like he couldn’t, just like he felt like he couldn’t tell his mom about the abuse, just like he felt he couldn’t share his flightlessness, just like he felt like he couldn’t tell his mates that they were his mates.
Just like he never felt he could do anything right.
But, he had pushed passed those things, he had forced himself to become better, to become more worthy. He had forced himself to overcome those obstacles. So why was this any different?
( Emotional involvement, his mind whispered, but he forced that part down until he could see this as just another challenge in his way.)
“I-I don’t like the w-way y-you talk to m-me, somet-times. You c-call me... ‘p-problem child’ a-and it rem-minds me of b-back in middle school, a-and the th-things people would s-say to me,” he started. He could feel his throat closing up, anxiety choking him, every fear and thought crashing through his mind all at once, years of stockpiled pain echoing through his body, silent reminders of everything.
He could feel Shouta go still, taking in the information. Izuku bit his lip, hard enough to taste blood, wondering if he’d made a mistake.
“I’m sorry, I should have realized. I won’t do it again, and if anything I do makes you uncomfortable, please let me know. I don’t want to hurt you,” Shouta said softly, and Izuku blinked in surprise. It felt like a weight off his chest, like he could suddenly breathe a little bit easier.
One of his mates knew, now he just had to find the courage to approach the other.
“Th-thank you,” he said quietly, burying his face against Shouta. His mate hugged him a little tighter, and he felt just a little bit better.
He resolved to talk to Toshinori before the week was out, to get the issue off his chest and maybe also set up a therapist appointment. He had worked his ass off to get himself in shape physically, so now he had to work towards getting himself better mentally. He knew it’d be hard, knew it’d be difficult, but he thought of his mates, his friends, and everyone else who supported him, and he knew he could do it.
He had a long ways to go still, but at least he wouldn’t walk to road alone.
Chapter 5: ... And The Other
Izuku finally talks to Toshinori.
Important note at the end! I'd recommend reading it.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Izuku had absolutely no idea how to bring up his issues with Toshinori. After he and Shouta had talked, he had semi-floated through the rest of the day, switching rapidly between full-blown relief and gut-wrenching anxiety. He ended up going to Recovery Girl at the end of the day, calling his mom and setting up an appointment with one of the on-campus therapists. (Apparently 13 was a licensed counselor and therapist. Who knew?)
That had eased his anxieties somewhat, but he still wondered how he was going to speak to Toshinori.
The man had been his idol for as long as he could remember, and the thought of disappointing him made Izuku feel sick. Doing anything else, however, felt like a cop-out. ‘Sorry I can’t gather enough courage to actually talk face-to-face, so I’m just going to text you my issue’? No thanks. He’d rather suffer through the face-to-face than be that sort of disrespectful.
Although, the option was looking more and more tempting…
“I am literally begging you to please talk to All Might, Izuku; this is worse than a teenage pinning drama.” Ochako begged him, looking pained. He sighed, biting his lip.
“I know, I know. But I just…” he started.
“He’s All Might, and he’s intimidating in a completely different way than Aizawa?” Todoroki finished for him.
“Yeah,” Izuku sighed. He flopped backwards onto his bed, everyone sitting in various places around his room. Alex had snorted upon seeing the giant All Might plush but hadn’t said anything, and Shinsou gave him one of the most done looks he’d ever seen.
It was odd, because they had been in his room before, but they hadn’t been in his room. They had seen it, but he hadn’t actually invited the two new members of his friend group into it. As it was, he was flipping between massive anxiety and embarrassment.
So, just a normal day for him.
“I mean, you could just--” Alex started, floundering for a second before continuing, “-- force yourself to say it? Like, ‘hey, maybe don’t call me ‘x’ mildly insulting and hurtful nickname, anyways when’s the homework due’ or something like that? IDK, though.”
“Did you seriously just say ‘I-D-K’ out loud?” Shinsou asked, and Alex scoffed.
“Yes, now shut up.”
“Oh? Is that a challenge?”
“ANYWAYS!” Ochako interrupted loudly. Alex blushed and Shinsou smirked but they both went quiet. “You should really just talk to him Izuku.”
“I know, I know,” he said. He hauled himself out of the bed, pacing his room as his mind whirled with what to do.
“Just wing it, impulse style. That’s how I always get shit done,” Alex said, hand waving around lazily.
“Was that a pun?” Shinsou asked, and she just grinned.
“Shh, it’s a secret,” she replied, wing flapping.
“I mean--” he started, only to be cut off by Alex again.
“Just do it, right now, no time to think, come on!” Alex grabbed his hand, steely determination in her eyes. He made a startled noise as she promptly dragged him out of the room, the rest of his friends calling after them. He made another noise somewhere between a whine and a bark as she turned towards the stairs, hearing the rest of his friends scrambling to catch up.
Before he knew it, they had arrived at the teachers’ level, and Alex was pounding a fist on the door.
“Hey, Mr. All Might!! Izuku needs to talk to you!” Alex yelled, Izuku gaping as the door opened, revealing Toshinori. He couldn’t get any words out as Alex shoved him forward, sending him stumbling into his mate.
Toshinori instantly wrapped his arms around him, and Izuku couldn’t help but sink into the embrace, not realizing exactly how much he had been missing the proximity of his mates.
“Izuku?” Toshinori asked softly, and Izuku heard Alex beating a hasty retreat, leaving him and Toshinori alone.
‘ Don’t think, just act, don’t think, just act-- ’ he repeated in his head, wrapping his arms around Toshinori and pressing his face to his mate before pulling away.
“I need to talk to you about something! I really don’t like it when you make fun of my mumbling and it’s been really hurtful and please don’t do it again--” he breathlessly squeaked, feeling the tears abruptly burst through, anxiety suddenly catching up with what he said.
“Hey, Izuku, it’s okay, it’s okay--” Toshinori spoke softly, though Izuku was barely able to hear him over his ragged breathing or the blood pounding in his ears.
“I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt you, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again, I’m so sorry,” Toshinori continued, and Izuku curled further against his mate, letting Toshinori’s voice wash over him.
Time seemed to warp after that, blurring together and shattering apart, leaving him to come back to himself, unsure how much time had past. He was curled into Toshinori’s side, arms wrapped around his mate as the older man smoothed his hair, humming quietly.
“I’m sorry, Izuku, I promise you it won’t happen again,” Toshinori said softly, as Izuku looked up at his mate. Izuku saw nothing but genuine apology and heartfelt sincerity in his eyes.
“Okay. I forgive you,” he replied lowly. It was quiet after that, the only sounds of their breathing in the room. The silence helped Izuku feel the easing in his chest, the weight of his anxiety being lifted off.
He didn’t remember falling asleep, only waking up in his little nest, with Shouta and Toshinori in their bed.
He looked at them and realized he was so in love with them. Exhilaration and terror combined at the thought:both that he had become so intertwined in their lives, and that they had become so intertwined in his.
He only half remembered moving, suddenly standing next to their bed, getting a tired but worried look from each of them.
“Izuku? What is it?” Toshinori asked, and Izuku shuffled his feet awkwardly.
“Can I…?” he trailed off, but Shouta was already shifting to make room for him. He climbed up, curling under the covers, both of his mates’ wings wrapping around him. His eyes slipped shut, and he felt safe, and loved, and he wouldn’t give it up for the world.
This is going to be kinda long so bear with me.
First off, I’m ending the series. It’s been fun, I’ve greatly enjoyed writing it, and I might continue to do unrelated short scenes, and I will continue to work on updating and finishing the team depression fic, but other than that, I think it’s time to let this end. I’m going to being doing a short epilogue, and then putting this series to rest. It’s been fun though!
Secondly, I’ve had a few people questioning Izuku’s reactions and such during Broken Stars, and I would like to clear things up for people.
-1. No, I don’t think it’s an over-reaction, because anxiety affects different people in different ways, and what might not be a big deal to one person could be the most panic inducing thing to another.
-2. The reason for the breakdown was 100% entirely based off of my own, personally experience with such a thing. Seemingly harmless comments and things build up, and I originally wrote this as vent writing because I was unable to deal with the same situation in my own life, i.e., people who I was close to making jokes about something that I was super insecure about. I wasn’t even planning on posting this part of the series originally, and am somewhat regretting that choice currently.
-3. People react in different ways to different situations, especially considering different factors in this universe. Izuku’s emotional maturity is not the greatest, considering he is only a teenager, and one who we’ve previously established doesn’t have the best mental health. Effects of such things can be displayed in many different ways, which can vary from person to person. No one’s opinions are wrong, you might just have a different view point than I do.
Finally, I am so thankful for all the love and support I have gotten in this series. It was incredible to me to find out that so many people enjoyed my writing, and how many shipped the same things as me. I love each and every one of you guys, and thank you so much for supporting me in this!