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The Killing Joke

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“Coffee for...Birdbrains?” Sakura gasped as Touya and Tomoyo laughed behind the coffee bar.

“Oi Touya, that’s not my name!” Hawks walked up the bar glaring that the raven haired man.

Touya leaned into the counter, “You still responded to it.”

Hawks glared at the taller man, “You are lucky I am running for my internship today.”

They glared for a few more seconds before the winged-man ran out.

“Why must you be so mean to him?” Sakura sighed.

Touya shrugged going back to cleaning the counter.

“Can’t you see they are flirting.” Tomoyo giggled.

“WHAT!?!?” Sakura and Touya shouted.

“You are?” Sakura asked.

“No! I am not!” Touya blushed.

“I recorded everything; you want to see?” Tomoyo giggled.

“DON’T USE YOUR QUIRK ON ME!” Touya shouted at the same time Sakura shouted, “YES!”

----

“Class for our last hour of the day, we have the pleasure to meet heroes from Krypton’s Agency.” Ms. Ame said hesitantly.

“Heroes? Here?” a Ryou snickered murmured.

“They are trying to play nice with the Kamino district,” another student laughed.

“Are they that desperate.” Riku sighed.

“Class settle down.” Ms. Ame sighed, “They took of their time off their busy schedule to meet with us.”

Shouto sighed. He almost felt sorry for the heroes, and they were going to get eaten alive.

“Hello everyone!” A man dressed in a blue suit waved, two other heroes in the back, “My name is Mystic and here are my fellow interns' Hawks and Noche.”

“Hi!” Hawks excitedly waved at the small classroom. The children did not look interested. The heroes had to know that coming to Kamino Elementary. The students were mean and tough.

“I’m Noche, nice to meet you.” Noche bowed.

Mystic smiled to the class, “We came here to talk about Kamino district and mission to build a lasting bond with the residents. In order to a more just and safe community, we must build lasting and meaningful relationships with you the public, and that is why we are here today to talk to your school, my colleagues from the Krypton Agency are talking to other classrooms discussing the new policies in place for your protection---”

“We don’t need it,” Ryou interrupted Mystic.

“Yeah, this is Batman’s territory.”

“Why do you care now?”

“Are you here because of the recent murders?” Riku asked. The class grew quiet, and everyone looked at each other.

“The Jokester?”

“Shh…”

“Oi! Don’t say that name!”

“Ah, good questions everyone.” Mystic smiled widely, “You see we are taking this extremely seriously, your protection is--”

“If you have any information, any at all we would gladly appreciate it.” Noche interrupted, “This criminal will attack anyone at any time, we cannot tread lightly. This is serious, and we came here because of the lack of effort from the general public.”

Too blunt Noche, Mystic sighed internally.

“What makes you think we are going to tell you anything?” Ryou stood up, “This is our problem why do you heroes care? Is it because this criminal killed one of your own, or do you finally realize that people live in Kamino? You heroes make me sick!”

The class broke into quiet murmurs Ms. Ame tried to calm the class down.

“Actually I am from Kamino.” Hawks said smiling to the class, “I understand your resentment and believe me, I feel it too. But, I have seen first hand how my teammates work tirelessly to help Kamino and the rest of the districts. Say who likes Present Mic?”

Student all shouted at the same time.

“He is so cool!”

“He’s okay… I guess” Riku shrugged.

“But Eraserhead he is the coolest!”

“Present Mic donated to Kamino district, and he also helped build recreational facility!” Ms. Ame nodded along.

“Mystic works with him all the time, and Noche, she works with Eraserhead.” Hawks continued, making the class erupt again.

“My friends, here wanted to talk about boring stuff, how about instead we go outside and play?” Hawks smiled.

“YEAHH!” the class erupted once again.

“And that’s how you build your street credit.” Hawks winked at his coworkers.
-------
Now outside the student were all showing off their quirks to the heroes. Shouto stayed near the back while Ryou and his friends showed off their quirks to the heroes. Most were mainly interested in Noche and Mystics since their quirks were flashier.

“Shouto!” Hawks walked up to the younger boy, “You got to tell your brother to stop being so mean to me.”

“He is mean to everyone,” Souto said.

“That is not true; he is only mean to me.” Hawks smiled.

“True.” Shouto shrugged.

“Shouuutoo…” Hawks wailed, “Not you too.”

They both paused and looked at the excited class. They both knew that the second the heroes left the campus the students would go back to loathing heroes, they could not win them over just with one hour of play time. Hawks and Shouto decided to sit down near a tree, away from the noise. Shouto like the rest of the class did not care for heroes, but Hawks was a friend, he had worn both him and his brother down and Hawks turned out to be okay even though he was training to be a hero.

“Hawks,” Mystic walked up to them with flames coming out of his hands, “they want to see our quirks.”

Shouto frowned at  Mystic for interrupting their peaceful silence.

“This is my quirk.” Hawks flapped his wings as he picked at blades of grass in front of him

Mystic laughed and turned to the quiet boy next to Hawks, “What’s your quirk young one?”

The man leaned down to bring the fire near to Shouto making the young boy flinch. The man leaned closer making Shouto jumped back.

“Shouto’s quirk is Ice.” Hawks smiled was strained as he stood up. I just wanted to chill for a while, Hawks sighed. Hawks stepped forward enveloping his left wings protectively shielded Shouto, but Hawks was careful not to touch the young child.

“Shouto?” Mystic smiled widen, “My of atomic fire would match perfectly with your Ice, don’t you think?”

“No,” Shouto said.

“Ehhh?”

“Shouto doesn’t want to be a hero.” Hawks shrugged.

“Oh, then Shouto, what would you want to be?”

Shouto looked at the man straight in the eye, “Why does it matter to you?”

Mystic laughed nervously, Sheesh these kids from Kamino are no joke.

“He wants to be a teacher,” Hawks said proudly.

“Oh!” Mystic smiled, “Most kids either want to be heroes or heroes nowadays.”

Shouto walked away.

“Mr. Mystic come!” the student shouted.

“Duty calls” Mystic grinned. Mystic knew now was the only chance to win some of the children over for the hero society, but mainly for his own fanbase.

“I don't need you to pity me,” Shouto said seeing that Hawks was following him.

“I don’t pity you Shouto.” Hawks turned to the boy.

Shouto turned to face the older man. Hawks smiled, “If you saw someone in trouble would you just stand there?”

“No,” Shouto said.

“I know you hardly tolerate people,” Hawks said, “And my some odd reason you tolerate me, and Mystic was making you uncomfortable.”

“I am not weak.” Shouto said, “I can protect myself.”

“I know, and that is something I admire from both you and your brother.” Hawks smiled, “You know your brother is crazy strong right?”

“Yeah.” Shouto snorted.

“I would never dare cross him in a fight!” Hawks said.

“I will burn your chicken wings to a crisp!” Hawks and Shouto said in union.


Touya usually shouted that at Hawks, but everyone even the customers were used to hearing them shout at each other, and Hawks knew the threats were just threats. Surprisingly Hawks has never seen Touya use his quirk.

Loud explosions shook the ground as Mystic carried away showed the finally enthusiastic kids his quirk. While Noche talked about quirks to the students and strengthening them. Although most of the kids surrounded, Noche was entranced by her black eyes and at her elongated curved horns. Mystic created more explosions by using the kinetic energy around the atmosphere making Shouto flinched at the loud noise

“There goes Mystic showing off again.” Hawks sighed, “Seriously he take things too far. Eraserhead is going to kill--”

“Hawks.”

“Uh, yeah?”

“Don’t go looking for the Jokester.” Shouto flinched again at the Mystics' loud and explosive show, “The Jokester is not fond of heroes.”

“You do care.” Hawks smiled.

“I am serious. Hawks, everyone that has encountered the Jocketer has died.” Shouto said, “Leave this to the professionals, better yet to Batman.”

“Batman? Look Shou--” Hawks paused as he was his co-worker theatrics become more dangerous, “Maybe we should move.”

Mystic now fully engulfed in flames shot fire at all sides of the fields filling the area with haunting flames the class looked in awe, while Noche used to his theatrics rolled her eyes and made sure no one touched the fire.

“Isn’t this too much?” Ms. Ame asked Noche, “Ryou stay back!”

“He will burn out soon,” Noche said.

“MORE!” Riku shouted.

“YEAH!” the rest of the class laughed.

Hearing the students shout with joy Mystic shot more fire to the towards the grass fields trapping both Hawks and Shouto in between rows of flames.

“What the fuck?” Hawks shouted seeing as they were surrounded by a ten-foot wall of flames, his wings twitched as the grass burned. Few inches in front of him Shouto was rigid staring into the wall of flames.

Near the front, some of the kids shouted in fear.

“That’s enough Mystic!” Noche stood up as the flames continued to spread.

Noche lifted hands and showing the group of children next to her with a black veil protecting them from the scorching heat. Unfortunately, Noche could not reach Hawks.

Just breathe, breathe….Shouto clawed at his chest. An explosion erupted near them making Shouto unconscious shoot ice where the sound came from, but the ice quickly melted by the flames. Too weak Shouto, again. Shouto took a deep breath, his eyes wide looking into the fire reading himself for the attack, hands shook. Shouto knew he was going to attack him, Shouto just needed to be ready. Shouto, Shouto, Shouto, SHOUTO! Suddenly he felt someone creeping behind. His heart beat against his chest, if he didn’t move fast he would be burned again, he quickly shot ice at the man.

Shouto eyes were wide; frost was building up his body the stem of the ice made it had to see. He could only see him, and the red. Too weak Shouto, again.

“Shouto”

“No.” Shouto gasped falling back the flames engulfed most of the oxygen, making it hard to breathe, “Noo! Don’t, don’t!”

“Shouto it's me!” Hawks kneeled down, “Please come with me.”

“It’s me.” Hawks reached out

“I’m sorry” Shouto gasped, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s me, Hawks,” the winged man said, “You know me, it birdbrains, chicken wings.”

The boy shook his head breathing heavily.

“I promise I won't hurt you,” The boy hesitated to reach toward Hawks outstretched hand.


“I am going to carry you now, okay Shouto?” Hawks quickly grabbed the child and flapped his wings which still had some ice stuck from the previous attack. He flew up into the sky with Shouto held tightly against his chest. The boy hid his face into the makes coat and wrapped his tiny arms around the man’s neck.

Hawks quickly landed on the roof of the school.

“We are okay.” Hawks said to the now hyperventilating child. He wanted to go smack some sense to Mystic but knew Noche was already on it. Hawks rubbed Shouto back; he was surprised the Shouto let him near him.

“Shouto look at me, we are okay, we’re okay.” Hawks smiled

Shouto looked up, his glazed eyes for a second could not meet his, but when they did they wide slightly. Hawks smiled, “Hey.”

“Sorry,” Shouto mumbled. He hesitantly reached toward Hawks hair trying to remove the flakes of ice that were stuck in his hair.

“Oh, that..” Hawks laughed, “You caught me off guard, makes me think about getting some protective eye gear, say how about some sunglasses?”

Shouto frowned.

“Come on Shouto; I am okay.” Hawks said, carefully pick Shouto op making the young boy blush.

“Are you okay?” Shouto rested his head on the older man’s shoulder. His short and shallow breaths were evidence enough that the panic had passed.

“We should go to the nurse-” Hawks said.

“AHHHHHHHHHH!” sound waves blew the fire out and extinguished Mystic’s flaming body and with the power source gone the rest of the flames were destroyed.

Present Mic seemingly appearing out of nowhere sprinted his way to the reckless sidekick.

“What are you doing, we are supposed to talk to the students not to burn them!” Present Mic shouted.

Hawks smirked, “Come on Shouto, it looks like the boss has this under control.”

----

“Tomoyo stop recording me.” Touya sighed.

“But Touya using your quirk without a provisional license in public is a crime,” Tomoyo said innocently, they both stared at each other for a long second until they both busted up laughing.

Hawks walked in the cafe in full hero gear catching the eye of every customer in the vicinity.

“No heroes, in costume, are allowed in my ca---” Touya cut himself off and quickly hopped over the counter to meet hawks halfway. Seeing his brother carried into his cage shocked the young man, Shouto hated being touched especially by strangers (not to say Hawks was a stranger).

“What--”

“Shhh, he just fell asleep.” Hawks hush the anxious brother.

“What do you mean he just fell asleep--what happened?” Touya hissed.

“Long story.”

“Boss maybe you should take them to the back.” Sakura said quietly, “the customers do not feel comfortable with a hero present.”

They sat in the back next to the coffee bean cans and luckily they had decided to put a couple of chairs.

They sat next to each other. Shouto was luckily still fast asleep in Hawks arms Toura looked upset and became angrier as Hawks told him what happened. Touya took a deep breath and looked away trying to calm himself. Shouto must have worn himself out and trusted Hawks a lot to fall asleep.

Touya ran his hand through Shouto’s black hair. For a long time, they didn’t say anything.

“I am happy both of you got away.” Hawks interrupted the silence.

“What!?”

“You both don’t talk about it, but when I met you, you were both extremely wary of people, and Shouto was so withdrawn, he talks now but--” Hawks sighed, “It makes sense why you don’t ever use your quirk.”

Touya looked away. It felt just like yesterday that they ran away from Endeavor’s home.

“I don’t want to impose, but maybe talking about it may help Touya.” Hawks said, “You carry so much as if you carry the weight of the whole world on top of you.”

“I---I can’t--Touya said, “We are here now, but sometimes it feels like we never left. My quirk only causes Shouto pain; I remind him too much of him.”

“My father...he treated us like objects I was his failed specimen,” Touya laughed bitterly, “ He made sure I knew it all the time, and we Shouto came along… I… for a while I hated him too. He was all father wanted...his masterpiece. I don’t deserve him, and he is too forgiving.”

“You are too hard on yourself.” Hawks said, “We are all human we are bound to make mistakes.”

“No, I should have gotten him out earlier, I should have gotten them both out.” Touya said, “ I was selfish, I am still selfish, I couldn't’ protect him then, and I can’t protect him now.”

“Parenting isn’t easy.” Hawks smiled, “Especially when you didn’t have a role model growing. I should know my parents were total shit, and they were never there when I needed them.”

“Hawks, I don’t know what I am doing.” Touya said,“Shouto should have a real family, he should...I don’t know live in a normal home where I’m doing everything wrong. ”

“What family is normal?” Hawks shrugged, “As long as you are there for him, you will be great.”

“Thanks.” Touya snorted.

“I know you don’t like me that much,” Hawks said, “And think I am annoying, but if you need any help just give me a call.”

“Don’t pity me.”

“Not you too.” Hawks sighed, “I don’t pity you.”

“Then why are you doing this?” Touya asked

“Because I care about you, I care about you both.” Hawks said, “and a lot. A lot.”

Touya shook his head smiling reaching over flaking some ice that was stuck on Hawks hair, “Alright Hawks.”

“What? I still got some ice on my hair? Shouto is pretty strong eh?” Hawks smiled as Touya flicked more ice off his hair.

Hawks grinned widely. He knew falling for Touya was going to bring him trouble, but he had already decided a long time ago that he was going to save Touya and Shouto from the darkness that plagues them.