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Lies in the guise of truth

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Traveling by bus wasn’t the style expected by the public for the #1 hero and that was the biggest reason that he still traveled that way. Despite his size and mass it was had to identify mild Yagi Toshinori as the famous All Might when he sat quietly in his seat (and partially in the seat next to himself) with a basket of groceries in his lap.

It was comforting to travel like this, surrounded by the people that he would give his life to protect. Young children hand in hand with their parents, the elderly sitting in their seats and chatting softly to one another, teenagers gossiping about school. He basked in the secondhand glow given by their peaceful lives.

The bus stopped to allow those who wished to exit to do so and allow on new passengers. This stop had quite a few, and when it became obvious that taking up two seats would be beyond rude he started to stand and offer his seats to a tired looking young mother.

“Oh, it’s fine. I can fit.” She assured him as she slid beside him. Toshinori still scooted as close to the wall as he could, almost containing himself to his seat. “Thank you for the courtesy, though.”

“Of course.” Toshinori smiled before breaking eye contact, looking instead down into his shopping basket. It never failed to amuse him or anyone that knew him, but while All Might could smile and charm his way through any situation Toshinori found himself fumbling frequently.

It isn’t an awkward silence that they share after that, at least. Just the typical silence of two people sitting next to one another on a bus. Normal. Nice. Then the mood changes to something not normal at all when a stop or two down the woman jostles to the side, her head coming to rest on Toshinori’s shoulder. She seems to be sound asleep and he has no idea how to deal with this.

A second surprising event happens that takes his mind of the first, however. The child that she held in her arms was awake, tiny little hands flailing as they tried to escape the blanket they were wrapped tightly in. And when the little one did, oh my goodness, it was the cutest thing Toshinori had ever seen. A round face baby with bright green eyes and tight curls the same shade of green as his mother, wearing an All Might jumper complete with hood. Toshinori has to bite back a delighted gasp because he wasn’t aware that clothes line had launched yet, and he hadn’t seen that they were going to make such tiny little jumpers in the line.

The child stared up at him with wide eyes, mouth falling open into a silent ‘o’ of surprise. The silence lasts only a second before the child made a delighted cry and reached out with a desperately flexing hand for Toshinori’s hair. The hero that never faltered or ran from danger froze, unable to pull away or otherwise move. The child grabs a handful of hair and holds it tight, staring at in awe at his prize for a split second before trying to cram it in his mouth.

Kids were great.

“Ah, miss?” He said softly, trying to gently jostle the woman while tipping his head away so that her child didn’t eat his hair. It wasn’t working well. “Miss?”

The woman’s head lifted and she hummed softly before realizing what predicament she was in. “Oh, Izuku, no!” She whispered, seemingly horrified at not only falling asleep on the shoulder of a man on the bus, but also that her son was nearly eating his hair. She carefully untangled the boy’s fingers, ignoring his indignant cry as his prize was taken from him. “I’m so sorry, sir.”

Toshinori tucked his hair safely behind his ear and rubbed the back of his head. Little Izuku continued to burble unhappily while staring longingly at Toshi’s hair. “Please don’t worry about it, miss. I, ah, apologize for waking you but I did not want him to actually eat my hair.”

“He would’ve, too. He’s at that age where everything goes into his mouth.” True to her words, the boy finally stopped fixating on Toshi’s hair and instead tried to eat his mother’s fingers. She laughed fondly and gently bapped his nose with her index finger. “I apologize again for my rudeness. I’m Midorya Inko.” She offered him a hand and he gently shook it.

“Yagi Toshinori. There is no need to apologize, please.” He gave Inko his best smile, not one of All Might’s inspiring ones but one that he hoped was still friendly and warm. He shook her hand carefully; she was much smaller than he was.

She looks surprised, resting her hand on her son’s head after she pulls back from the handshake. “You’re not American? I’d assumed...”

It was an easy assumption to make. He was tall, tanned, blonde, and blue eyed. Toshinori knew he looked like the stereotypical American. All Might’s theme didn’t help matters, and even in his off duty clothes he maintained the colors. He was wearing an oversized All Might hoodie today. “Aaah, I was born and raised in Japan.” Let her draw from that what she may. He wasn’t about to pour out his life details to a stranger on the bus. Time to try and steer the conversation somewhere else. “How old is your son?”

Inko’s face lights up and he’s obviously found a favored subject. “He’s almost a year old.” She said and slipped her hand under her son’s hood and ruffled his hair. The boy laughed and reached for her hands with the look of love that all babies had. “Soon he’ll be walking and getting into everything.”

Toshinori laughed softly, wiggling his fingers in a wave to the boy. Distracted by the movement Izuku’s attention turned towards him and he reached towards his hand. Toshi let the boy grab his fingers and smiled to his mother. “They grow too quickly.” He said wistfully, momentarily thinking of the few children he’d grown up with. Infants were often adopted out quickly but a few had grown up in the system. “But soon he’ll look to you to teach him everything. It will be a time to cherish.”

The woman smiled down at her son and held him tight. Soon the bus stopped and Inko rose to her feet. “Ah, this is my stop. It was nice to speak with you, Mister Yagi.”

“You as well, miss. Take care.” Toshinori waved goodbye to her and the child, who pulled himself up so he could see over his mother’s shoulder and stared at him. Hesitantly a little hand came up and waved, a tiny little voice called ‘Bye-bye’.

Toshinori got off a few stops past that, slipping off into the small empty house that he lived in. All Might might be invited to stay at the most lavish hotels and gifted the most extravagant things, but Toshinori preferred to live frugal. Growing up without much had ingrained in him the value of saving money. He took his groceries into his kitchen and put them away before sitting down at his desk to go over his notes.

There was so much to do yet. Appearances to schedule, meet and greets, training sessions with the young heroes employed at his agency, interviewing prospective interns. There was so much work to do besides flashily bursting into the scene. Charities to donate to, hungry mouths to feed, broken hearts to soothe.

He looked up to the clock and did a bit of math in his head. If there were no calls for All Might, he should be able to get through his worklog before midnight. That would leave five hours for sleep, two hours for training, then just enough time for a quick shower and breakfast before heading into the agency.

The work of a hero was never done.