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Seeing Through Eyes Not My Own

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When Hawks had flown off his balcony to go meet up with the villain Dabi one day late at night, he had never expected it to turn out the way it had. Sure, he never held too many expectations for their meetings, but what ended up happening crossed a line the number two hero hadn’t known existed before then.

And he still didn’t know how to feel about it, one week after waking back up. But then again, he didn’t really seem to know about how to feel about anything when he woke up.

He had avoided the agencies and other heroes around him after the fact, saying he just wasn’t feeling up to anything yet. He’d even turned down calls from his family, and he knew that they were worried. After all, it wasn’t everyday that he missed a few days of work in a row without any contact to anyone. No one knew exactly what he had seen, and most of them would probably never even hear the proper story, if they did hear anything at all.

Because of this, he also hadn’t done anything with the League Of Villains since. Couldn’t bring himself too, because suddenly he was overthinking everything and wondering who else there had secrets they were keeping from the public, who else he naively worked alongside that had done things most would only think a villain capable of.

He was just spinning in a loop, not capable of trusting anyone right now. He liked to think he knew people, but he wasn’t sure anymore. Not after what had happened anyhow.

______________________________________

Two weeks earlier

The warehouse that Hawks was said to meet up with Dabi in was on the outreaches of the city, tucked away in a little corner that only dealers or gangs seemed to like to hang out. The occustional villain or hero would pass by the area, but never anyone of importance. The area was considered below even some of the most dirty villains, as the people struggling to get by in it seemed all too willing to turn in anyone for a bit of extra cash.

When he arrived, the only clue that the hero got that the other man was even there was the faint outline of a tall figure, and the small flicker of blue flames as he landed and began walking in his direction. “Well hello there, flames!” Hawks called out in a cheery greeting as he walked to stand in front of the man, a knife sharp feather held tightly at his side.

“And it seems that birdbrain has finally decided to show up. Good, I was beginning to think you were having second thoughts, hero.” Dabi almost purred out in reply, voice practically dripping with venom. He stood a little taller as he observed the other, eyes falling quickly to the giant feather at his side. “Prepared for a fight as always, I see.”

Hawks laughed, and let himself visibly relax, but only slightly. “Isn’t it a little late for second thoughts, flames? Shouldn’t it be more like dozen thoughts or something at this point?”

Dabi actually let out a quiet, dry chuckle at that. “Still as stupid as always, I see” he murmured, then fully turned his body to look at the number two hero. “Well, I guess now that you're here, we can talk. The boss’s thinking we should do another… Test, sometime soon, with the High-End Noumu. And that you’ll be helping us when that ‘test’ happens. Now, since your ‘so loyal’ to The League, I’m assuming that won’t be an issue, no matter when it happens, right?”

Hawks shook his head slightly, just sighing. “So you still don’t trust me, Dabi? Come on! Of course it won’t be a problem!” He added a small laugh at the end, trying to act as casual as he could in the eyes of the other male. He lowered the hand carrying his feather a little more as he spoke, and watched the piercing blue eyes follow it down.

“Of course I don’t trust you, hero. You haven’t really done anything to truly prove to me that you are loyal. I don’t care about a cover, I expected something by now. I mean, after all, The Le-”

Suddenly, Dabi froze. His whole body tensed, and for a second he looked almost like a wild animal; It both scared and awed Hawks as he watched the man. “Hey, is everyth-”

“Shut up, birdbrain!” The villain hissed out in a whisper, eyes not moving from where he had focused them. “Someone’s here” he finally whispered a beat later, moving in a slow but fluid was as he turned the rest of the way around, turning his head slightly now with his eyes never moving from the spot. Like a cougar tracking it’s prey, that’s what Hawks thought he looked like.

Coming out from his slight crouch, the villain stood tall and and cleared his throat, eyes now drifting slightly in a the narrow space he had trained them on. “I know you’re here! Step out now or get burned!” As he spoke, blue flames crept up one arm and danced alongside his sleeves, flickering around his neck threateningly. Letting whoever was there know the man had no hesitation in burning the whole building to the ground.

Hawks gripped his feather tight again, looking around just like Dabi was. If someone really was here, and if they had recognized him, his whole cover would be blown. Of course, he would stop Dabi from killing them, have a stupid excuse ready when the time came. But that was when the time came. First, he needed to figure out who exactly was watching them.

Then, out of sight and hidden the in the shadows the boxes cast from Dabi’s flickering flames, a voice called out. “My, My! What do we have here? I just wanted to find somewhere to lay low, but it looks like I’ll be able to work my magic even here! And wow, who is this? The NUMBER TWO hero? With a villain who’s wanted all across Japan? What is this, some kind of bad tragic romantic movie?”

Hawks held back a growl. Shit, she knew who both of them were. Of course, because he could just never seem to get the easy route when it came to dealing with things like this. A quick look at Dabi told him that the villain was probably thinking something a hell of a lot similar. The feathered man held his knife like feather up, Dabi doing the same with his flames. “I don’t want to have to use violence, but I’m not afraid too if you don’t say who you are right now” Hawks said, fighting to keep the quaking out of his voice.

“Ooo! Scary!” The girl laughed, though instead of saying who she was, and Hawks wasn’t surprised, she leapt at them. “You two are gonna fight me? Kill me to keep me silent? That’s what everyone says, after all!”

Dabi growled then, sending a flame rolling forward at the woman, who jumped down from her perch to reveal herself. A bit on the shorter side, she had bright neon green hair with blue star clips in it. Her eyes were a crazed brown, and she wore a bright pink ruffled skirt with a white coat and tank top. She looked to maybe be in her late twenties, early thirties. Hawks made sure to keep her look burned to the back of his mind, he would need it in case she got away.

The ‘in case she got away’ thought should have been a warning of what was going to happen next.

The side of the building was now on fire, boxes set aflame as Dabi took aim again and shot another wave of fire in her direction before Hawks could stop him. The woman jumped again, dodging the fire. “Whoops! You missed!” She called out, laughing at the angered look Dabi sent her way. Meanwhile, Hawks had shot a few of his feathers at her, cutting her but nothing more. Damn, he thought, why does she have to be so fast?

With the next feather he shot at her, he managed to get a hit in however. She yelped in both shock and pain as it struck her upper right arm, staying there. Dabi took the distraction as his chance and took a few steps in her direction, both arms on fire now as he again threw a wave at her.

Hawks took a deep breath then, and immediately started coughing. A quick look around told him that Dabi had done more damage to the building then he had first thought, as the creaking of support beams above suddenly occurred to him. The building was on fire, and was definitely going to burn to the ground with them in it if they didn’t move fast. “Dabi!” He shouted out, hoping the villain would hear him “we need to get out of here!”

The villain didn't look his way at first, but after Hawks shouted his name again he turned around. “I hear you!” He shouted, pulling back as the lady jumped passed him.

“Are the two forbidden lovers trying to flee like that?” The woman called out teasingly, now resting among the flames on a metal bar. “Well, I won't let you!”

“How would you stop us?” Hawks called back in an equally teasing tone as he avoided another growing flame, realizing all too late that the two of them had no clue what their enemies quirk was.  

The lady seemed to come to this realization as soon the two men did, because her already cocky smirk deepend. “Well, I'm really too tired to say how exactly, so why don't I show you?”

“Birdbrain!”

“Shut up! We need to get out of here, we’ll get her later!”

“Oh no you don't!”

And as soon as the two men turned tail to run towards the exit, the woman was jumping down upon them, both hands glowing in a bright gold light. She made contact with them both at the same time, and a bright flash filled both their visions before Hawks felt himself tumbling to the ground, hot from the fire around them.

Turning to look, the hero could see another form laying on the ground a foot ahead of him and recognized it as Dabi. His eyes were suddenly heavy in that instance, the growing heat from the fire too much, smoke slowly filling his lungs. A black figure that must have been the woman walked toward them, a grin visible on her face even as the rest of Hawks’ world started to dot black. Though the roar of the fire was growing louder, the number two hero swore he heard her whisper “Have fun watching the show, you two.”

The last thing that Hawks remembered before his whole world went black was thinking, desperately,

What happens now?

 

_______________________________________________

 

When Hawks next awoke, it was on a hardwood floor with what looked like a bright light above him and a pounding headache. He lay there for a second, his body sore all over, not wanting to move.  It took a second for his memory to catch up to him, though when it did it seemed like adrenaline shot throughout his body and he shot up far faster than he probably should have, given how his body reacted. Wait a second, he thought, how did I get out of the fire?

“Ugh… Where am I?” He muttered, rubbing his head as he squinted and looked around. Now that he was more alert, the hero realized he was in what looked like a house. Not any villain headquarters, like he had suspected… But the hero refused to let his guard down. Just because that woman might not work for a place with ‘headquarters’ like the league, that didn’t mean she hadn’t drug him back to her place. Though as the hero looked around at all the fancy (and expensive looking) decor, he would be the first to admit he didn’t picture her living somewhere like this.

A closer look around where he had woken up told him that he must be in a living room. Of course, whoever (or whatever) had brought him here hadn’t had the common decency to throw him on the couch, he realized bitterly. Slowly standing up, the hero looked around to see if anyone was nearby before slowly walking around the room.

The living room looked just as it might in any other home, just a bit on the nicer side, letting him know that whoever lived here was getting good money somehow. The only thing other than the obvious level of wealth was that there weren’t any personal pictures anywhere. Sure, paintings and pretty pictures covered some of the bare space on the walls, but nothing personal that told him about who exactly lived here. It was odd, but not enough to really put the hero on edge.

He walked around the room for a while more before realizing that nothing in here could tell him about where he was and who was here. Looking around, it was easy to find the exit to the hallway, and Hawks slunk toward it, still looking around him to make sure no one was around. When he reached the entrance, Hawks paused and listened for any noise.

At first he didn't hear it, but then the sounds of two voices hit his ears and Hawks’ head whipped in their direction. So someone was here! He wasn’t able to really hear the voices clearly yet, so he didn’t know if he would recognize them or not. But it proved that people were here, perhaps even the people how had taken him here or even just someone that knew what was going on. Whoever it was, he needed answers sooner rather than later.

Like how he had gotten out of the burning building when in the moment, he had been convinced that he would die there.

What had happened to the woman he and Dabi were fighting.

What had happened to Dabi, for that matter.

And what this place was. What was going on and why was he here instead of in a hospital or his apartment, or even his parent’s house for that matter.

Now getting closer, the man could make out the two voices more clearly. The first was what sounded like a child’s, maybe a young boy’s. It laughed and yelled something out. The second voice, that Hawks now concluded sounded like a woman’s, replied a second later.

The sounds were coming from Hawks’ left, more specifically a courtyard he realized as he slowly crept down the hall toward them. The child’s voice was yelling and laughing still, pure joy creeping in at the corners of it. When the woman replied, her voice sounded more tight, like it was forced in a way. Maybe she was being kept here as well? Hawks didn’t know, but he would get the best answers he could.

When Hawks finally got close enough to see the pair of voices, he stopped. He was just out of their line of sight, with the woman sitting down a few feet away from him. She had pure, snow white hair that fell down her back and grey eyes. Past her, the hero saw a small boy with bright red hair and piercing bright blue eyes that for some reason struck a familiar chord within Hawks, but he quickly shook it off. He could think about that later.

A quick look around confirmed that the two in front of him were the only ones in the courtyard, and no other sounds told him anyone else was in the nearby area. Okay, maybe he could talk to the two now and see what was going on. Clearing his throat, the hero straightened himself up and quietly called out. “Ma’am?” He said, looking across to where the woman was sitting, still looking lost in thought as she watched the small boy run around in front of her and chatter constantly about whatever came to mind. She didn’t react at all to Hawks’ words, instead saying something to the boy when he ran over to her. “Um… Mis?” The hero called out again, a bit louder this time than the first, just in case she hadn’t heard him.

Still no reaction.

Hawks took a step closer to the pair, watching as the boy came over and sat down next to the woman he now assumed was the boy’s mother. He tried calling out again, with about as much success as he had the first time.

What’s going on?

The hero took another step closer, letting himself almost shout now to no avail. Both mother and child didn’t even flinch when he yelled out, giving him not the slightlest clue about what to do. Walking closer again, Hawks came to stand about five feet away from them. Now, the boy was talking to his mother, and the hero couldn’t help but stop his attempts to get the two to hear him in order to listen in. If they weren’t going to answer to him, maybe something they said could be helpfull.

“Mom! Did you see that? I’m getting strong, aren’t I?” The boy almost chirped, kneeling in front of the woman and practically vibrating with excitement as he spoke. “When I get my quirk, I’ll be so strong! Just like Dad!”

The woman flinched at the last part of that sentence, and for a second Hawks found himself confused. Did she not want the kid to be strong? He’d figure that out later, the hero thought, as he looked back down at the young boy who hadn’t stopped talking yet.

“He said we would be starting today, I can’t wait! I haven’t seen him in forever, he’ll be so impressed when he finds out I’ve already started to train!”

At that, the hero couldn’t help but let out a snort. So, the kid really wanted to impress his father, huh? That was sweet. He had something about training, so maybe his father was going to give him a few self defense tips or something? The boy looked no older than three, but Hawks knew how persistent young kids could be if they wanted to be like the heroes they saw on TV. After all, Hawks himself had taught some kids a few basic moves in self defense so that could let him carry on with whatever he was doing.

“Of course, Sweetie” the woman said, reaching out and putting a hand on the kid’s shoulder gently. “I’m sure you’ll impress him indeed. But remember not to push yourself too hard, okay?”

“Got it, Mom!” The boy chirped again, a smile on his face so bright Hawks almost had to shield his eyes. As soon as he said that, the sound of a door opening and being slammed shut behind Hawks went off, causing the man to jump before whipping around. The sound of approaching footsteps could be heard, and the hero backed up slightly. Just because these people weren’t acknowledging that he was here didn’t mean whoever had just entered the household would do the same. “He’s here! Dad’s home!” The boy suddenly yelled, coming to stand next to his mother as she stood up, putting a hand on his shoulder like she was going to protect him somehow. “Now we can train!”

Hawks tensely watched from the side, summoning a feather out of his wings and holding it close as he watched the entrance way. Looking back to the two from before, he saw that they were both standing tall in wait like soldiers might, or at least the little boy was. His face had gone serious, despite the shimmer in his eyes. Turning back toward the door, Hawks prepared himself for a fight should the need make itself known.

What he was not prepared for, however, was the number one hero stalking through the doorway and sending a glare at the two before stopping.

Hawks let out a sound of surprise, immediately taking another step back. What was the hero doing here? Wait…

Dad’s going to train me today!

No. Way. Hawks shot a glance between the kid next to his mother and the number one hero, and suddenly noticed how similar they looked. How he hadn’t seen it before, the hero wasn’t sure. The boy had the same shade of bright red hair that his father did, and the same bright blue eyes. Was that why they had felt familiar?

Hawks could count the number of times he had seen the flame hero without his fire adding to his figure on one hand, and to say the least… It was odd. Even without his flames, though, he was still intimidating as he glared across the room at the two. “Rei” he said absentmindedly, nodding to the woman before turning to the young boy at her side. “Touya” he spoke, voice as harsh as ever but the child wasn’t flinching or tensing up in any way “I assume you know that we start your training today? You should be getting your quirk within the year, after all, and I don’t want you to already be behind by then.”

“I’m ready!” The boy said, walking forward to his father as his mother held onto his shoulder for a short while, pulling back last second. Almost like she didn’t want to send the young boy with his father.

“Alright” the man snarled, gesturing in a direction “get to the training room then. I’ll be right behind you, but I want you to find some weights beforehand. We can see where you are, and start your improvement from there.”

Hawks watched in shock as the child nodded, running off to where he assumed the training room was. When Endeavor turned to follow, however, the white haired lady (Rei, he reminded himself) reached out a hand and hesitantly grabbed onto the heroes shoulder. “Enji” she said, voice almost pleading “just… Please, remember that he’s only three. There’s still plenty of time left to train, so… Go easy on him, please.”

Hawks couldn’t say he had heard someone that desperate in a while, and now he was slowly growing confused. There seemed to be a lot of connotations around this training, like everyone in the room had two very different ideas of what was going to happen during it. Who knew who was right at this point.

“I’m not an idiot, woman! I know he’s three, so I won’t be treating him like a fellow hero. But that also doesn’t give him an excuse to slack off if he’s going to surpass me and become the number one hero someday. Now leave, I’ll call you if your needed.”

The hero shouldered the woman’s hand off of him, pushing passed her and down the hall where the boy had run, leaving the woman to fall to her knees, soft sobs wrecking her body. “Please let him be safe” she whispered.

Instead of getting answers, now Hawks was more confused than ever.

Suddenly, he felt himself getting dizzy. Black spots returned the the side of his vision, and the hero slumped against the doorframe next to him for support. He could hear calls down the hall from where the Touya kid and Endeavor had disappeared, and in front of him the woman known as Rei continued to sob.

Wait… Why is this happening again? What’s going on? He thought, sliding down to the floor as his headache came back full force, like it was dead set on splitting his head in half.  

And then, much like before, his whole world went black without a second thought.

__________________________________________________________

When the hero awoke a second time, it was again in the living room. Exsept at least this time he had awoke on a chair instead of haphazardly dropped on the floor. The pounding in his head had again slowed down to a dull ache, and the hero groaned as he lifted his head up, rubbing at it lost in thought about what he had just seen.

It was a sob that broke him out of his thoughts, making him take in his surroundings for the first time since waking up. The whole room was dark, the only thing lighting it up being the TV as it flashed past different news stories.

Turning towards the sound of the noise, Hawks froze. It seemed like he had been doing that more and more since being dumped in whatever place this was. Because on the couch to the right of where Hawks sat were two figures, one small and clearly curled in on himself while the other held him close and moved her hands slowly through his hair, reaching beside her every so often to pick up what Hawks realized were bandages.

The two figures on the couch were that of Touya and Rei.

Even in the lowlight, Hawks could make out the wounds that covered Touya’s small body. Cuts and scrapes, bruises of all nasty colors. The boy sobbed, eyes that had held a shimmering excitement last time the hero had seen them now full of sadness and… Was that fear? As tears spilled over the edges. Meanwhile, the poor kid’s mother was holding him gently, hushing him as she wrapped up his wounds, pulling off what Hawks now noticed were older bandages to replace them with new ones. What was happening to this kid that made him so injured?

“I- I’m so weak, Mom! J-just l-like he s-said!” The poor boy couldn’t even properly string together a sentence, he was so upset. Next to him, Rei tensed. That was when Hawks noticed a watery glint in her eyes, as the tears for her only child couldn’t be held back anymore and finally slipped down her cheeks.

“Your not weak, Tou” she whispered, voice steady despite the tears silently falling down her face. “Your not weak at all. Just young. I’m sure someday you’ll be even stronger than him!” She whispered, and the hero got the feeling she was grasping onto any words that came to mind when it came to comforting the young boy.

Who was ‘he’? A bully, maybe? Hawks was really wishing he had asked Endeavor more about his family, even if the man didn’t give him the right answers. Anything to try and put together what exactly was going on.

Which brought Hawks to another delema. He still had no clue what was going on. With one last look at the mother and son huddled together on the couch, the winged hero got up and left to stand just outside the room. For some reason, it felt wrong watching the two as they cried together on the couch, the young boy already thinking vicious thoughts of doubt at his age. A three year old didn’t need to be strong, but he didn’t seem to believe that.

As he stood outside the room, the hero thought over what he knew about the situation so far. It was barely anything, if he was being honest. Before being sent to this place, wherever it was, he remembered fighting the women in the burning building. She had jumped on him and Dabi from above, palms lighting up with a golden glow as she had grabbed both of their heads, bringing them down. Then he remembered seeing Dabi fall beside him onto the burning hot ground, smoke filling his lungs and pain shooting through his head as his vision became blurry and he passed out, only to wake up here. He had thought he was going to die alongside the villain, but who knew what had happened?

For right now, he seemed to be trapped at the Todoroki household, if the presence of Endeavor said anything about it. The man had also said something about ‘surpassing him and becoming number one’. Did that mean he wasn’t number one?

It also seemed like no one could see or hear him. The three he had met here so far hadn’t reacted to anything he had done, whether it be standing alongside them or talk or even screaming. He was nothing more than a ghost to them.

When the hero felt a headache slowly growing in his head again, he sighed and slowly sat down. If what happened the last time was going to happen again, and he had a feeling it might, he wanted to at least be sitting down first. A wail came from the room then, and Hawks turned his head to look in on the two, a twinge in his gut telling him he should be trying to comfort them, though he didn’t even know if he could.

“I-it’s only been a month, but I can’t take his training anymore! I-I’m weak!”

Wait.

Training?

No. Hawks had to be hearing him wrong, that or jumping to conclusions as the face of Endeavor entered his mind, the look the woman known as Rei had shot him as she pleaded for him to go easy on their son. The sobs after they both left. No, it couldn’t be. The boy must just be ranting about the training in his state.

So why did it feel like he wasn’t?

_______________________________________________________
After several more times of seeing small scenes fold out in front of him, Hawks was granted by the real turning point in this whole little mystery.

By now, the man had figured out some simple things about the odd place he was in. He had confirmed that he couldn’t interact with any of the three people in any way, and that he also couldn’t travel far away from Touya or Rei, the two always seeming to be the center of whatever happened in the little scenes he saw. Well, it wasn’t like Endeavor was around often enough for him to really follow the other hero anyhow. It seemed like the only time he interacted with his family was when he came to get Touya for training, but Hawks mostly stayed with Rei when that happened anyhow.

He was curious about the boy’s training, but also afraid to find out. After what he had seen the second time before he had blacked out, he was scared to find out if his hunch was true or not. He didn’t want it to be, but for some reason that he couldn’t shake felt that it was.

When he woke up this time, Hawks was in what he immediately assumed was the training room, if the equipment was anything to go by.

It took only about half a second for him to snap out of his daze. So much faster than it took the other few times, but how could he not when suddenly a scream of pain and horror pierced his ears, the smell of something horrid burning following behind it.

The hero shot his head up, eyes finding the source of all the commotion. It was the boy, Touya. He lay on the ground, grabbing at his side and then his arms in desperation, blue flames jumping this way and that as he fell to the ground, writhing around in pain. He screamed again, thrashing and thrashing and thrashing and Hawks wanted to run over to him but was it to late he had no clue-

Just like the flames had appeared, they suddenly disappeared with only two flickers of rebellion. Hawks, who before now had been frozen in shock and slightly shaking from where he stood, finally realized ice had crept along the floor and encased Touya in a thing layer of frost. Though he didn't like to think it, Hawks realized that the thin layer of frost was probably the only thing really keeping the small boy’s body from growing too hot and again bursting into flames.

Turning to look where the ice had come from, he saw Rei standing in the door frame, eyes wide and breath heavy as she stared at the unconscious body of her son. “Wh-what happened?” She asked, eyes flicking across the room to where Hawks now realized Endeavor stood. How he hadn't noticed the man before, the winged hero had no clue.

The man was glaring softly down at his son, a faint flicker of concern hidden underneath the curiosity that seemed to hold his vision in that moment. “We were training, like usual. I wanted to push the boy a little today, so I did. Out of nowhere though, he's just caught on fire. I think it's his quirk, though his body didn't seem able to hold it that well.”

Hawks felt anger seize his chest as he watched the other man take two steps to the unconscious body of his four year old son, kneeling beside it. He didn't look more than slightly worried about the kid, who from what Hawks could tell, had just almost burned himself to death! “Call a doctor” he said after a moment, not looking up until he realized Rei hadn't let yet. “Do it!” He snarled, glaring at her. “Or do you want the boy to die?”

That seemed to shake something within the woman, who shakily stood. “B-but what if my quirk fades when I leave? He could heat back up and catch fire again!”

The hero glared at her for a second longer before snarling. “Fine” he said standing and striding across and out of the room “he better not die though.”

As soon as the man left, Rei was rushing toward her son, kneeling as close to him as she dared as she inspected the scene. Half his shirt had been burned away, the skin underneath it blistered and bright red. Apart from the right side of his torso, which was burned almost beyond recognition.

The scene was something horrific to look at, and Hawks realized with a gag that the terrible smell from earlier had been the kid’s flesh burning. He wanted to throw up at the thought, but the hero held back. Instead, he walked closer to the two, sitting across from Rei and watching her as she touched her son as gently as she possibly could. Tears flooded her vision, and she fell forward, hovering just above her son as her body wracked with sobs. “I'm sorry Touya, I’m so, so sorry!” She wailed, not caring who heard in that moment. No, all she cared about right now was her only child’s body, burned and covered in a layer of frost, unconscious on the ground in front of her and possibly getting closer and closer to death with every minute passed.

The scene in front of Hawks refused to end for another twenty minutes, and the hero watched as EMTs flooded the training room, working on the boy and one of them using her frost quirk so that Rei could relax more. When they were assured the boy could survive it, they took him to the nearest hospital.

Who knew what would happen from there.

 

_______________________

 

The next few scenes flashed in a blur for Hawks. He watched as the boy made a slow but sure recovery, watched as Rei found out she was pregnant and announced it to Touya with a small smile on her face. The boy now held scars from the burns, dark purple ones that seemed oddly familiar, but remained something Hawks didn't want to think about.

He watched Touya grow up in a blur after that, and it was an odd thing to say the least. Though there were no more horrific moments that made the hero pull back in disgust, he felt himself wince when the boy was eleven, holding his youngest sibling Natsuo close as the youngest cried. Their mother had been busy all day, eventually collapsing from exhaustion on the couch.

“B-but what if I don't want to train with Dad? I don't have to, right? You don’t!” Natsuo whispered, shaking. He was almost four, and had confessed to the oldest sibling a few nights ago that he thought his quirk had come. Knowing exactly what their father would do if he found that out, he had his it. Who knew how long he could hide it though Hawks knew Touya well enough by now to know that he would do whatever it took to protect his brother.

“I'm… Special. My quirk hurts to use, you know? So I'm useless to the old man. But I'll make sure you don't have to train for as long as I can” Touya whispered, picking his brother up and carrying him to his room.

“Promise?”

“Promise. For as long as I can.”

 

______________________

By now, Hawks thought that the worst scenes were over with. Sure, every once and a while one would come by that made his heart skip a beat, but nothing terrible. No, after the training incident, nothing came when Touya was thirteen, almost fourteen. By now, the teen had another younger brother named Shouto, who was in UA outside of this odd, dreamlike world.

Their mother had been less and less stable lately, Hawks could tell (even if he didn't know if the kids could or not). Touya and the second oldest, Fuyumi, had taken over some of the basic things in the household when it came to taking care of both themselves and their younger siblings. It was a painful thing to see, Hawks thought, as the woman who he had seen do anything to once protect Touya become unable to be in the same room as him now without curling away in fear. The boy simply reminded her too much of his father.

So when he awoke to yelling, Hawks was at first not that concerned. Touya and his father fought a lot more recently, and while Hawks still wished he could step in and help the boy -because as each scene passed, he felt more and more distrust and anger for the current number one hero- he couldn’t. Couldn’t interact with any of the six people he had grown accustomed to seeing, as much as it pained him.

When he again felt that horrid smell hit his nose, though, he shot up with his eyes immediately turning to the size of dinner plates. The last time he had smiled that was when Touya had first gotten his quirk, when he had gotten rushed to the hospital with his side completely burned. Whipping around, the hero found that he had woken up in the hallway to the courtyard. That had to be where everything was going down.

Hawks pushed himself up, grabbing onto the side of the wall to steady himself as his head gave a painful throb. That scared the hero even more, causing him to slowly slide against the wall until he could stand on his own two feet. The reason the particularly painful headache scared him?

Because he had also found something else out, over the last few scenes he had been a witness to. The more painful the headache he awoke with, the more intense the scene often got.

Now, Hawks could make out shouts coming from the courtyard- exactly where he had thought the scene would be taking place. He didn’t even have to look for where Touya was, because the boy was located smack in the middle of the courtyard, glaring down his father. No, what took Hawks a second to realize was that the boy wasn’t just facing down Endeavor. No, he was standing between the currently blazing number two hero and his mother, who cradled both his younger brothers close to her. Rei’s eyes were wide, and she looked like she wanted to run as flames started flickering at the edges of Endeavor’s form.

It only took a second to find the source of the horrid smell, and Hawks winced as his eyes fell on the burn covering the boy’s wrist. That surely wouldn’t ever heal fully, much like the ones at Touya’s side from years ago.

“Touya” Endeavor began, glaring down at the young boy in front of him. Touya had always been a smaller boy, Fuyumi already almost as tall as him with Natsuo starting to catch up. But then again, Hawks thought, anyone would appear small in front of an enraged Endeavor like that. “I need you to step aside, brat. This has nothing to do with you. Only your brothers.”

Behind the eldest Todoroki sibling, Natsuo whimpered and clung closer to his mother. Suddenly, the thought of Natsuo begging Touya to keep him from training with their father shot through Hawks’ head, and the hero felt his heart swell with anger and desperation. Anger toward Endeavor, the man who had evoked such a conversation between his children, the oldest of which was only thirteen. Desperation toward the whole situation, because no matter how much he wanted to help, Hawks knew by now that he couldn't. Couldn’t jump in between the children and their father, couldn’t demand answers from the man he had respected until now. Now… Even if this was all fake, a figment of his imagination, Hawks doubted he could ever look the hero in the eye and think of him the same again.

“Stay away from them, you bastard” snarled Touya, getting into a fighting stance as he faced his father. A familiar one, though Hawks shook it off. He had been getting those feels from the boy more and more lately, like he knew him from somewhere, but couldn’t place it. Hawks shook off the feeling, watching as the two of them faced down.

“And you think I’ll listen to some useless brat like you, who can’t even use his quirk without getting burned?” Endeavor spat “then your even stupider than I initially thought you were. Now move!” With that, the flame hero reached out a hand and grabbed onto the boy in front of him, picking him up like he was nothing and tossing him across the room like he might do to a petty villain. The boy didn’t get up for a second, only shifted a little, and Endeavor took a few steps toward where his wife and two children were huddled.

“Didn’t you hear me old man? Stay the fuck away from them!” Came a shout, and Hawks’ vision whipped back around to see that Touya had gotten up again, running toward his father with two hands alight with an enrapturing blue fire. Again, the smell of burning was beginning to fill the room, but the boy didn’t seem to be giving a second thought this time as he neared the number two hero and jumped, trying to burn him.

Endeavor glared, dodging the attack easily. “Your sloppy. And that form? Pathetic. I could predict all your movements before you even did them. Though it seems like you’ve finally stopped being a child and used that quirk of yours through the pain.”

At this, Touya let out an angered yell, flames reaching up his legs now and coating his shoulders in the shimmering blue light. The smell was more intense now, and Hawks could already see from here that he was starting to shake. Blood dripped onto the floor, but nevertheless the poor boy still charged his father again and again as his mother and siblings looked on in horror. Pure rage filled his eyes, and for a second Hawks wondered what thoughts must be racing through his head as he shot fire straight at his father with a clear intent to at least injure him.

The fight didn’t last a minute after that. It wasn’t surprising, Hawks thought, seeing the boy get weaker and weaker with each passing second as his flames slowly started to burn him. They didn’t burn him like they had the first time he used them, but still wrapped around his skin and painfully heated it as he fought.

The fight officially ended the next time Touya lunged at his father, this time aiming for his head with two alight arms outreached and prepared to burn. However, his father seemed to have had enough fighting, for he reached out a flame coated arm and grabbed his oldest son by the neck, giving a warning squeeze as the fire jumped from him to around the boy in his grasp.

Touya let out a scream full of so many emotions the second after that happened, and Hawks jumped back at the sound. Anger. Sadness. Desperation. And, what stood out the most.... Fear?

It was sickening.

As the scream faded, Endeavor dropped the boy like he was a ragdoll. “Pathetic brat” he spat, glaring down at the form unconscious on the ground in front of him like it belonged to a villain. Like it belonged to anyone other than his own flesh and blood. Turning, the flame hero stared at his wife and two other sons, not saying anything for a moment before turning and walking away. “No need to call the hospital” he said over his shoulder as he left “just call the family doctor. Move him to his room while your at it, I don’t want to see him anymore.”

And just like that, the ‘hero’ was gone.

As soon as he left, Natsuo ran to his brother’s side, grabbing onto his non-burned side and softly shaking it. “Big bro?” he whispered, eyes wide with fear “Touya? Your going to be okay, right? Your fine, right? You’ll be okay?”

Hawks slowly walked forward now, coming to a stop beside Touya’s unconscious body, just like he had when the boy was first hurt by his quirk. Now, though, instead of standing across from Rei as she iced his burns with her quirk, it was Natsuo. Turning, he saw the mother still sitting where she had been when the fight broke out, holding Shouto closer to her chest then ever before as she watched the unconscious body of her oldest child with eyes full of fear.

A shout sounded behind him, and Hawks turned to see Fuyumi standing in the doorway, shock in her eyes. “What happened!?” She shouted, dropping what she was holding and racing across the courtyard to where her brother was laying, Natsuo at his side.

She kneeled down next to Hawks, taking in the damage left behind on Touya’s body. The worst of it being on his neck, climbing slightly up onto the left side of his face and stopping right under his eye. “It… It was Dad. He w-wanted me to go and train, b-but I didn’t go with him, and Touya found us” tears fell down the boys face like a waterfall now as he squeezed his eyes shut, struggling to keep talking “Touya protected us… H-him and Dad f-fought. He used his quirk against Dad, and Dad burned him back.”

Fuyumi sat frozen for a second, taking all that information in. Hawks saw the moment she jumped into work mode, something a child at the age of ten shouldn’t be able to do. “Are you or Sho hurt?” She asked, looking directly at her brother until he managed to catch his breath enough to shake his head. The girl let out a breath, visibly relaxing a little. But far from completely. “Is Mom?” She asked, looking passed him now to where her mother and Shouto were still huddled. Another shake of the head. Fuyumi let out a sigh, though her breath was still shaky. “Good. Now, stay with big bro, alright? You’ve done a good job cooling him with your quirk, Natsuo. I’m going to call the doctor and then we can move him to his bed. Is that okay?”

The boy nodded, still crying. Fuyumi stared at him for a moment, a far off sad look in her eyes. Standing up, she walked around Touya and knelt beside her brother. “Hey, Natsuo. Look at me.” She said, voice calm though still shaky. “He’ll be okay. Everything will be.”

Then, as Hawks felt himself grow dizzy again, he saw Fuyumi leave and watched as Natuso kept crying over his brother. Slow on unsteady feet, Hawks walked over to where Rei was sitting now. The woman was crying, Shouto looking up at her with a confused expression. Of course the two year old wouldn’t understand all that had just gone down. The woman was whispering to herself as he got closer, and it took Hawks a moment to realize what she was saying.

“He’s not his father. No, he’s my son. He’s Touya, not Enji. He’ll never be that man, no matter what kind of quirk he has. Those eyes… No! God, why can’t I help my own children? I’m such a bad mother, what kind can’t save her own children? What kind is afraid of their own son?” The tear were falling quietly, and the woman took a deep breath, finally setting Shouto down in front of her and standing up. “I have to help him. He’s my son” she whispered, turning around and calling out to Natsuo.

Now too dizzy to stand, the winged hero sat and watched as she carefully took her oldest son in her arms and moved Natsuo to the side. “I’ll take him too his room” she quietly said, not even meeting her middle son’s eye as she passed. “Send the doctor up when he gets here.”

_________________________________________________

More scenes flew past after that, and Hawks watched as slowly but steadily, the family grew more separated. Sure, Touya still jumped in to safe any of his siblings whenever he could, but more and more lately he had grown distant.

Hanging out with the wrong kind of people, stealing and committing other minor crimes. The wounds from the day he had first fought his father eventually all healed, leaving behind small, easily hideable scars apart from the one that crept up the right side of his neck and onto his face, ending just below his eye.

Eventually, Shouto got his quirk. Just like Hawks remembered, it was a mix of fire and ice- half-cold-half-hot, is what it was called. As soon as Endeavor knew he had it, the boy was ripped from his siblings and even most of the time his mother, thrown into training courses harder than even the ones that Touya had been forced to take.

And after Shouto begin training with Endeavor, Hawks also watched as Rei’s mental health crumbled. She refused to be alone with Touya now, and was only around him when she had to be.

She broke when Shouto was five, and Touya was almost sixteen.

Touya had been there to hear the scream, came rushing into the room hot on the heels of Fuyumi, and for the first time witnessed someone else screaming as the burning sensation overtook them. And when the child was only a few months older than he had been, no less.

The boy also started fighting more and more with his father. With their mother gone, him and Fuyumi took turns protecting their siblings from the number two hero (though Fuyumi tended to try and go about it more peacefully, while Touya was more prone to attacking his father at the drop of a hat). Touya would jump in between Shouto and Endeavor, and when Natsuo started following in his elder brother’s footsteps and began speaking against their father, he jumped between them as well.

He was growing older now, and becoming more violent as one scene bled into the next. He acted out, got piercings and stole from his father whenever he needed the money. And as one scene bled into another, the eldest son of Todoroki Enji also became more and more recognizable to Hawks- and not as Todoroki Touya.

No, he was now far more recognizable as Dabi.

If the quirk wasn’t enough, then the facial piercings and scars that covered him were surely a good key-in for the hero. Though he refused to believe it, for the longest time. Didn’t want to think that this was the past that stood behind the fire villain. Though what was that saying? Villains were never born, they were made?

And now, Hawks watched as the boy packed up his bag and ran downstairs in the middle of the night after getting into a particularly bad fight with his Father. The skin where his father had burned him had barely been treated, only wrapped up in bandages and cleaned. Hawks watched as he ran into Fuyumi, who was sitting in courtyard looking up at the sky and caught sight of him as he tried to pass.

Hawks watched as the now seventeen year old, still coated in blood and a burned stench from his last fight, handed his sister a roll of cash he had been saving up for months and then gave her one last hug. Watched as he promised he would return someday, and made her promise not to tell anyone - not even Natsuo or Shouto - what had happened.

And Hawks continued to watch as he left the house and boarded a bus to the edge of the city, where he booked a room at a shady looking motel and looked himself in the mirror, taking off all his bandages. Hawks watched as he dyed his hair black and then stared into the mirror at his reflection. Then, watched as his right hand burst into flames. As it slowly moved it’s way up to his face, hovering there for a second. “Heh” Touya whispered to himself “guess there’ll be no turning back after this. But whatever, I refuse to go back to that bastard. Besides” he added, a grin now appearing on his face. One like the grins Dabi wore. “After this, Touya Todoroki will be dead!”

And then he was placing the hand to his face. It was burning his flesh, and the stench was burning up the whole room. He let out a laugh sometime during as he moved down to burn his upper torso as well. Mixing old scars with new, to say.

It took all Hawks had to keep himself together as he witnessed the birth of a villain. Witnessed Dabi come into existence, leaving Touya to die and rot in the home he had left behind.

In that shady motel room late at night, Hawks believed that Touya Todoroki took his last breath as Dabi entered the world.

 

____________________________________________________

 

When Hawks next awoke, it wasn’t to another scene, like he had come to expect. The pounding in his head seemed far off and distant, almost like it was leaving him. And as he awoke, the hero found himself in a room of white. A quick look around and he confirmed it as a hospital.

He was alone, laying in a room. Ah, how fitting. For a moment, he wondered if any family members had bothered to visit, but shook the thought out of his head the next. He hadn’t forgotten any of the things he had seen, and wasn’t about to forget them anytime soon. But more importantly, he had questions. He’d had questions since the begging of all this madness, but never had them answered. And he really wanted them, as soon as he could have them.

The man didn’t know how long he sat there, simply lost and thought and looking at the white walls near him. He was only really snapped out of his seemingly endless stream of thoughts when the door to his room opened, a nurse walking in. She jumped when she turned around and saw Hawks watching her. “Hero!” She yelped, putting what she was carrying on a stand off to the side and rushing over to his bed, leaning over slightly to examine him. “Your awake!” Hawks watched as she smiled at him, shifting some things around. “How do you feel?”

He sat there for a second, not talking. Then, slowly as if testing his voice for the first time in ages, he whispered out “good, I guess. Could be worse.”

Could be burned right now.

“Um” Hawks said, clearing his throat. “If you know- can I ask what exactly happened? The last thing I remember is…” He paused after that, narrowing his eyes for a moment. “The… The burning warehouse. And- wait! That lady! What happened to her?” He demanded, trying to push himself more upright to better talk to the nurse, who seemed to be scrambling over what to say.

“W-well, I don’t know all the details, no one really does, but about a week ago someone called in to report a warehouse fire on the edge of the city. It was in a bad part of town, so luckily a few heroes went with the fire department. By the time they had gotten there, the place was mostly burned down. You were found and pulled out just in the nick of time, the building was about to collapse and if that hadn’t have gotten you then it would have been likely that smoke inhalation would have.”

“Wait, back up- one week? Is that how long I was out?!”
The nurse looked at him for a second, and then suddenly her eyes widened. “O-oh, yes, I’m sorry! You’ve been out for about a week, though haven't missed much luckily.” She added on a small smile at the end, trying to be comforting. The hero only sighed, covering his eyes with his palms.

“I can’t believe I was out for a week” he muttered, more to himself than to the nurse next to him. Then, a thought struck him. “Wait. Was anybody found with me in the fire? And- and that woman, what happened to her?” The question clearly threw off the nurse, who blinded for second before replying cautiously.

“No… I heard nothing about a woman. Was someone in the building with you when the fire started?

So they hadn’t found Dabi. Or at least if they did, hadn’t necessarily released that information to the public. Anything to help Dabi stay under the radar, the hero thought.

Dabi. Before, his opinions on the man had seemed so clear cut. Sure, he had been tolerable, and it had been fun to pick on him, but at the end of the day he was a villain. It was easy for Hawks to remind himself day in and day out that he wasn’t meant to get close to the other male, and he had been fine with that.

Now, though. Now he could feel those lines blurring, didn’t know what to think about the other male, if everything he had seen was true. If even a slight bit of it had been true.

As the nurse continued looking at him with more fear and worry growing on her face, Hawks realized he hadn’t replied. “Oh!” He said, forcing a smile as he launched into another lie “no, no one that I know of. But I just wondered if anyone else had been trapped, that would be terribal after all! And I saw a woman around beforehand, just wanted to make sure she wasn't hurt!”

The woman physically relaxed at that, the smile returning to her face. “That’s a relief! Well, how about I go tell everyone else that your finally awake? They’ll be glad, and not to stress you or anything, but I know the police have been waiting to ask some questions. And you said you had some of your own? I’m sure they can answer them better than I ever could!”

Hawks nodded, looking back down at his lap. Of course they would be asking questions, even if they didn’t have Dabi yet they still might suspect him for starting the fire. After all, at least the people in charge of him knew almost how often the two met up.

The nurse left after she had finished checking up on him, saying that she would go and tell others that he had finally woken up. Hawks lay back down, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath as thoughts raced through his head. The scenes from before raced through his head, the last one playing over and over again as hair was dyed black and skin was burned, a new identity born out of the old.

He had watched a family fall apart, with a mother driven beyond her limits along with her eldest child. He had watched children get burned, and watched as they screamed in fear as flaming fists were thrown. Watched as they huddled next to one another when the shouting started, trying their best to stay together.

Watched as Endeavor, the current number one hero, forced children no older than four or five through harsh training until he threw them aside, unwanted. Simply because they weren't 'his masterpiece’.

Hawks simply laid there for what had to have been an hour and a half, drifting in and out of sleep. He was exhausted, even though he had been unconscious for a whole week. But he didn't want to sleep, nervous that he would slip back into the horrific scenes.

He was shaken out of this state only when there was a knock at the door. Clearing his throat, the hero let out a gruff 'come in’ before the door was opened, revealing the nurse who was talking to someone. Hawks shifted slightly to better see the doorway, narrowing his eyes as a voice replied back.

“Hawks! Some people are here to ask you questions, hope you don't mind too much, they said it shouldn't take longer than fifteen minutes.”

He looked at her, nodding to show he didn't care. Better now to just get this over with, and maybe find some answers of his own in the meantime.

Hawks saw the usual men in suits enter the room, one carrying a notepad. They didn't talk, simply nodding to him as they walked in and pulled up chairs.

The number two hero had been so focused on the men in suits that he hadn't realized the nurse was still holding open the door, looking out into the hallway. Like she was waiting for someone else to enter.

“Are you going to come in, sir?” She asked. One of the men already in the room turned to her, cursing in annoyance before yelling out.

“Get in here! We’ve already discussed this, your sitting in on the talk!”

No reply for a second. Then, in an angered tone Hawks knew all to well by this point, a voice answered.

“Ugh, fine! I still don't know why, I have better things to be doing if you didn't pick that up!”

Hawks felt his breath freeze in his chest and his eyes go wide. His whole body tensed, and one of the men in the room definitely noticed. But he couldn't care about that right now, no. Not when his mind was too busy trying to grasp at straws figuring out what to do.

Flames licked at the doorway as the number one hero entered in all his twisted glory, the glare that Hawks had become used to seeing thrown at the man’s own family now trained on him and the men in suits.

The hero fully entered the room, nodding to the nurse who smiled and left the room with a slam of the door. The like sound made Hawks wince, and the men looked to one another in concern. He hadn't even said much, and the hero was known to be one of most talkative in his field.

But how could he when the man he had seen do so many horrid things was currently standing across from him in a hero uniform?

Realizing he hadn't said anything, Hawks cleared his throat.

“Um… Hello, gentlemen. Endeavor. I’m assuming you're here to ask question. What do you want to know?”

Chapter Text

The men and Endeavor stood across from Hawks, watching him closely. Like they would be able to find out what exactly had happened simply by watching him.

The hero sat upright, trying to make himself appear not so weak (or suspicious for that matter). He shot a smile at the men, hoping that they couldn’t pick up on how nervous he was. Out of the men in suits, he recognized one as one of the higher ups that knew about his spy work and often checked in with him. Hawks guessed it only made since that he was here, seeing as if what the nurse said was true and no one knew exactly what had happened in the burned warehouse, they would want to know if The League had set a trap for him. If the man ended up asking Hawks, the hero would like to think he could say what had happened- that Dabi and him had met up and were attacked, and that the man had also seemed weakened by the smoke and flames, but he wasn’t sure. He didn’t honestly want to think of Dabi right now, it made his head hurt.

“So” one of the men opened his mouth, the one sitting directly in front of Endeavor. “You are aware we want answers- now, assuming the nurse has already filled you in-”

“She has” Hawks interrupted “said I was out for about a week, and that you guys don’t really know what went down. Figured someone would be up sooner or later, didn’t expect a visit from the number one hero though!”

For the first time since the flame hero had entered the room, Hawks raised his eyes and met the man’s face with a bright smile. Endeavor snarled, glaring at him when they made eye contact. As they stared each other down for a second, Hawks couldn’t help but search the other man’s face. Was he really someone who would do such a thing to his own family? It was such a big accusation, he couldn’t simply ask the man. No, if Hawks wanted real answers, he would have to find out some other way.

“He’s here because you were found cut up and completely knocked out. There was no physical spot showing that you were hit and knocked out, but the specialists found traces of an activated quirk on you about the second day you were placed in the hospital. If there’s someone out there with a powerful enough quirk to take you, the current number two hero, out- what’s to say they won’t pose unwanted problems, or become too much for even Endeavor to handle? We don’t need the public having anymore doubt in their heroes right now.”

Behind him, Endeavor gave a grunt. Like he was curious about whatever had happened to Hawks, but refused to say that he wanted to know about the quirk user that had taken him out for the sake of some stupid pride.

“Wait. You said I had trace amounts of a quirk activation on me?” Hawks asked, feeling the ghost of a headache wash over him. He remembered it clearly now among all the smoke in his mind, the woman jumping down on him and Dabi with balls of gold light in both hands, striking them both at the same time.

“The quirk was still active, apparently. In fact, it was for all the days you were out. We tried tracking down any other reports of this quirk being found on people, and the last person that had it woke up after being out for four days straight knowing everything about the person that had been admitted with them, even though the two had apparently never met before then. Before that, someone woke up screaming delusions and accusations about a doctor from two towns over. Other cases were found of people waking up screaming nonsense. Needless to say, we don’t know the person behind this.”

Hawks sat in silence for a second, simply nodding. So other people that he assumed had run into the lady had been knocked out, then woken up knowing things they didn’t know before? The person who woke up knowing everything about a person they had never met before… Well, he knew Dabi. Kind of. Not really, now that he thought about it. The man had made off hand comments before and had a particular hatred toward Endeavor, once said that his mother had been taken away and that he had tried to visit her for a while, that he had tried to take her flowers a few times....
It scared the hero how much the few off hand things about Dabi’s past he had said matched up with the scenes that had played out in front of Hawks. Suddenly, an anger towards Endeavor seemed justified. Hawks clenched his fists tight.

“Hawks?” Another one of the men said, the one with the note pad. “Did you see something while you were unconscious?” His eyebrow was raised, prepared to judge whatever the hero said. The hero felt like he couldn’t just outright say it, not with Endeavor standing only a little more than five feet away.

“No, I was just thinking about the other cases. Wonder why I didn’t see anything” he said, trying to play off the slight scrunched up look on his face for one of confusion instead of a slowly growing anger.

“Hm” one of the men said, as if he didn’t fully believe the hero, but would take his word for now. They needed more information in the meantime. “Well, we need some answers. But tell me if you remember anything from when you were out. Now, the flames that we saw burning that warehouse down to the ground were oddly blue… Were they not?”

Oh. Straight to the point, he saw. Guess there was no tip toeing around the bush on that one. But when he opened his mouth to speak, the winged hero found he didn’t know what to say. Even he didn’t fully know what had happened, and he didn’t know what he wanted to say until he did. Didn’t know if he wanted to throw the villain under the bus or protect him until he could find him and ask if he had a better idea of what had gone down.

“I guess they were. But if your asking if the scarred villain Dabi was there, well. Can’t say I saw him, but he might of been.”

As he mentioned Dabi and the scars, he looked at Endeavor. See if even a hint of recognition flew through the bright blue eyes that reminded him so much of Touya’s, and therefore Dabi’s, so much that he didn’t know how he hadn’t even thought of it in passing before.

“Straight to the point as usual, I see” one of the men said, nodding to the one at his side that held the notebook. He paused for a moment, as if choosing his words carefully. “We got several reports of someone leaving the burning warehouse. It looked like they were carrying someone. Who else was in there with you?”

Oh. So he wasn’t going to ask if there was anyone else in the building, just who. So he liked getting straight to the point of things too. The hero cleared his throat, looking the other man in the eye with a now serious look on his face. “A woman” he started, thinking about how to phrase his words. “Bright green hair, a little shorter. She looks maybe in her late twenties, early thirties? She dressed kinda like a kid though. Seemed a little crazy.”

“And her quirk?” The man with the notepad asked, not looking up as he spoke.
“I honestly have no clue. I was just standing there, trying to fight. Eventually the building just got too dangerous to be in, so I was turning to run. She was really fast, though. Really fast. Then… She jumped down, her hands were letting of this weird golden glow. She hit me, and I kept trying to run but just fell down. Then everything started getting blurry, and my eyes started closing. After that…” After that, he had witnessed something truly horrid. Not like he could say that though. “... After that, I woke up here.”

The man with the notepad nodded in thought, though Hawks couldn’t tell if it was because he recognized the person or not, or even just recognized the quirk. Part of Hawks hoped he did, so that he could help the hero to understand what had happened. Or at least give him a clue as where to start looking for information.

In the back of the room, Endeavor was watching him with a focused look. The hero wanted to know everything about this new villain, probably so that he could start training to fight her. For a second, Hawks pictured Endeavor seeing all of those things instead of himself, pictured what would happen if the flame hero had gotten to see the moments where Touya cried himself to sleep, the moments where he took care of his siblings and learned how to treat all kinds of wounds. The moments where his mother started to pull away from his, flinching whenever she saw her son. The same son she had protected and comforted so much in his youth.

He shuddered at the thought, and that at least the other men in the room noticed. “Is everything okay, Hawks?”

 

He nodded, taking a deep breath and steadying himself. “Yeah, just… A little tired, you know?”

The other men nodded. “Well, then let us take our leave for now” one said, standing up and going to leave “though we will be back later. There are still lots of questions we hope you can answer.”

Hawks nodded, smiling best he could as he watched them all slowly leave, Endeavor being the last. The hero stopped before he left, turning and shooting the younger a look, like he could tell something was being kept from him but didn’t know what and refused to ask as of now. Hawks waved to him, calling out a ‘see you later!’ before the hero muttered something about brats and left. Normally, Hawks would have laughed off the ‘brat’ like it was nothing, thinking it was just part of the rough exterior the man wore, but now he couldn’t help but see him grabbing Touya, burning the boy, before throwing him aside and calling him a ‘useless brat’.

Yeah. That was something he would never be able to not see when someone threw the name out there.

_____________________________________________

A few days later, and Hawks was released from the hospital. A few quick scans proved that whatever quirk had been active on Hawks while he was unconscious was now gone, and he was once again feeling agile. Of course, much like they had said, the men had returned the next day and asked more questions, these thankfully not as prying about Dabi as the previous ones had been. Instead, they were about things like the woman that had knocked him out, or more detailed descriptions about what had gone down. How a fire like that one could of started, and if the woman gave off any vibes about being related to The League.

The day before he was released, the question he was expecting came up. Luckily, it was when only one of the men was in the room- specifically, the one who knew of his secret mission. He had been asking the usual questions, every once in a while bringing it back to the league. But nothing too prying. Until it finally came up.

“So, I’m guessing you were there because you were called? By The League, to be exact.”

Hawks narrowed his eyes slightly at the man for half a second, before shooting him a smile (one that was a little strained, but whatever). “I wasn’t fully lying when I told everyone else I was there on patrol, you know.” Yes. Patrol, that was the excuse he had come up with. Said that he had been passing through the area since it had such a bad reputation, and heard a scream coming from the warehouse. Said that when he had entered, that was when the woman had attacked. “I really was on patrol, I was just in that area in particular because I’d been kind of left out to dry recently information wise by The League. Heard a member was in town over there, and figured I could at least try to track them down, see why they were suddenly ignoring me.”

The man nodded slowly, as if he couldn’t decide on exactly if he should believe that or not. He seemed to decide that he could after a moment, scribbling on that notepad he always had with him whenever he came around to visit Hawks. “So” the man began when he had finished his notes, whatever they were “how fast do you plan on making contact with The League once you get out? I’m telling you now, your absence had been made public. What happened in the warehouse was also made public a few days after you were admitted.”

“I honestly don’t know. No matter how healthy I may think I am, it still wouldn’t be too hard to get taken out, I’m assuming.” A perfectly written up excuse. One he had planned out shortly after waking up one night, knowing what to expect. The man nodded again, writing down what Hawks had said.

“Smart move, I guess. If they were to attack, I’m assuming it would be while they knew you were weak. Just let me know when you decide on a date, so we can make sure your protected enough.”

Hawks opened his mouth to say something, maybe to tell the man how randomly Dabi decided to meet up, how he usually didn’t know if they were meeting up until an hour beforehand, but stopped himself short. Instead, he simply nodded, muttering something about how he would make sure to let them know the second he had an idea.

And now he was home. Sitting in his good-sized apartment next to the window. It had been officially a week since he had woken up, two weeks since he had gone under. That meant two weeks since he had last seen Dabi. In the time that he had been out of the hospital, he had a few people come over. Miriko twice, just to sit and talk about gossip to avoid the silence. A few other coworkers briefly, just so no one worried to much about him. It wasn’t like he hated having them around, he just… Had too many thoughts

Now that he had no distraction though, Miriko and some of his other work friends having left earlier in the day, he was left alone with the thoughts and questions that shot through this head. He hadn’t seen Endeavor since the first day he woke up beyond quick passings, and was honestly fine with that. If he had things his way, he wouldn’t see the man until he had the chance to corner Dabi and ask him about what he had seen.

Who knew when that would happen, though. Who knew if the man was even alive, or what had happened after Hawks had passed out, seeing as no one seemed to have captured the villain or even found a body in the rubble. Hawks knew he had seen the other man collapse in front of him seconds after the hero had gone tumbling down himself. He knew the other man had been struck under by the quirk.

So what exactly had happened between then and now?

Day after day passed, and slowly Hawks slipped back into his old life. Sadly, work couldn't be put off forever, and he eventually went back to his agency- faced with many happy greetings and 'welcome backs’. He replied back with the token smile and wave, saying he was doing great when people asked how he was. No need to make anyone more worried, he thought. He saw his newest intern, Tokoyami, his second day back to work. The kid asked how he was, but thankfully seemed wiser than to press if he noticed how off his mentor was.

He avoided Endeavor as much as he could, opting to either go out on patrol with someone from his agency or by himself, or not go out at all. He’d definitely gotten more paperwork done in the last few days than he usually would in a whole month, at least. Unfortunately, all of this wouldn't keep the number one hero away forever, seeing as how their respective people above them wanted the pair to be seen together in public. Show that 'the hero industry was as strong as ever’ or something like that. Though Hawks suspected it was at least partially to keep in eye on him.

Halfway into the second week after Hawks had woken up, he was forced to meet up with two higher ups to discuss what they had both found out about the woman that had attacked Hawks that night. After Hawks had given them a rough description of the woman, the uniformed men had gone into overtime gathering what they could find about her. They looked into camera footage to see if they could find anyone matching her looks, and jumped into past seemingly unconnected cases where a quirk much like the one used on Hawks had been found. Past criminal records, gang records, it seemed that the men were going all out. The last time Hawks had been contacted, they had even informed him of a quirk detective being pulled into the investigation. They were determined to find the woman, more determined that Hawks ever could have guessed they would be, though he couldn’t easily guess why. Was it because she had taken him down so easily? Maybe, but that didn’t seem to make up all of the reason.

Of course, Hawks had done all of the research he could by himself. Unfortunately, that wasn’t as much as he would have liked, given how little times the woman seemed to have carried out her quirk usage. And it had never been someone as public as the number two hero before, the past cases being either seemingly randomly chosen civilians or a few higher class businessmen. Almost all the information he found came in the form of public records on ‘quirk-based attacks’ from police stations, or the rare small section in a newspaper. Nothing more, nothing less.

All the cases talked of the victim being out for several days, then waking up and talking like a supposed crazy person. Reports varied in how they were carried out, one in particular that caught Hawks’ attention being a woman that had passed out alongside a doctor, waking up determined to take the man down. She had eventually had the man taken down for selling drugs on the side, all her proof being spot on despite never having even been to the town where the man worked all her life, much less knowing him. Other reports talked of two people randomly passing out together in public, waking up being able to know not only the other’s name but almost all details about them. It was an odd thing indeed, something that surprisingly didn’t get as much media attention as Hawks thought it would.

When he met up with the men, Hawks made sure to act as close to normal as he could despite the screaming thoughts in his head. He smiled, talked loudly and flapping his wings every so often. As per usual, the men in suits didn’t make any more eye contact than they needed, and gave short, clear cut answers in response in between Hawks’ blabbering. The winged hero noticed that one of them held a tan folder in one hand, tucked close to his side like the man was prepared to fight someone as they tried to steal it. Was that the information that the higher ups had found on the woman? It had to be. Hawks had no clue what else it could be.

As they neared the restaurant where they would be talkings (one similar to where they had been when the High End Noumu had attacked, but not the same. No, they weren’t headed back to that part of the city for meet ups like this for a while), Hawks could feel himself getting more and more anxious about the tan folder the second man carried close to his side. With the way he was carrying it, it must have important information in it that they had to go over with Hawks.

The three men stepped inside, closing the door behind them. After a quick nod to the person in front, they slipped to the far back of the building where a table sat waiting for them. Hawks smiled, sliding to one side and watching as the two government officials sat across from him, the one holding the folder throwing it in the middle of the table of them. The first of the two men quickly shot a look at the waiter that had followed them here, causing the woman to scramble away. Once he was sure they were alone, the first shifted, preparing to talk.

“So” he began, narrowed eyes coming to fall on the hero across from him. “We have managed to scrape together some information on who attacked you. We have to have you confirm some things first, though.”

With that, the second man reached out to the tan folder in the middle of the table and opened it to reveal a mixture of things- documents, newspaper clippings- the usual. What really caught the Hawks' gaze, however, was the pictures. They were clearly taken in the lowlight of night, and most were obstructed by crates or fishing gear. Clearly taken from old port warehouses or one like where he and Dabi had been attacked in. Despite the crates and gear though, the bright green hair was crystal clear to Hawks. It looked like the girl had tried to cover it up with a hood, and it looked like she had dialed back on the bright clothes in some, but they were still obviously there. Someone would have to hit Hawks over the head extremely hard for him to forget those details.

Realizing he had been quiet, the hero scrambled to put words together. “Uh… Yeah! That's her, without a doubt!” He said, giving a small flap of his wings for emphasis. “Just curious” he added on, eyes drifting from the blurred pictures to the documents and news clippings on the side. “What else did you guys find out? I mean, if you found anything.”

The second man nodded. “We found out a few things. About her quirk, to be exact. I'm assuming you haven't heard the details yet?”

I haven't heard anything, but whatever Hawks almost bitterly thought, but held the words back. Instead he shook his head, replying in the most casual voice he could muster at the moment. “Nope, nothin’ over here. What have you guys found out?”

One of the men looked over Hawks for a moment, almost like he was studying him before he replied. “Some information was dug up. Medical cases that somewhat matched up with yours mostly, a few documents by local police. Testimonies from victims of this woman's quirk. Just enough for us to really take a shot at guessing what it really is.”

Hawks felt his stomach tighten with anxiety as the words slipped out of the higher-ups’ mouth, though hoped it didn't show on his face. His wings twitched at his side, and his face as well as his tone dropped into one of dead seriousness. This could very well be the thing that told him if what he saw while he was out was real or not.

“What have you found?”

If the two men noticed the sudden change in the hero across from them, they said nothing. Instead, the first higher up grabbed the tan folder and pushed a few pictures and documents aside, searching for one in particular. After a second of searching, he pulled a piece of paper among several others, throwing it in front of Hawks. As the winged hero started to reach out for the paper, the second man began to talk.

“We looked into the so-called 'illusions’ of people that were affected by either the same quirk or a very, very similar one to what you were under. Found that a majority of the cases had happened in the last ten years, with a bit of a spike in the last three. Enough cases for a trend to be found if one were to look for it, but not enough for someone to notice otherwise.”

The man kept talking, but Hawks wasn't really listening anymore. Something about victims being in an average five day long coma? Yeah he definitely wasn’t fully listening. Instead, the winged hero was scanning down the page. It looked like a list, with possible theories and explanations typed out. The usual, less exciting things were at the top. Like was the gold light specifically what sent people under? Did contact need to be made for the quirk to work?

The far more interesting things were at the bottom, and that when the ball of nerves already settled in the hero’s stomach seemed to tighten even further. Sure, he had been anxious beforehand, and gone into this expecting to figure out if what he saw was real or not. But still, the theory located near the bottom of the bulleted list caught his eye and refused to let go.

It was two simple words, typed up with a slight dash at the end that read as followed:

'Quirk Theory: Memory Sharing -

In most cases, the victims of this quirk attack awoke a few days later knowing everything about a person they had either barely met or had not met at all. Everything from childhood details, to secrets that the other person confirmed to be true though they had never told anyone, victims knew off the top of their head. In most cases, this was placed as an after effect of the quirk that had struck them, and most stopped talking about it after at most two weeks. It is possible that the quirk switched up memories, allowing two strangers to get to know one another while out cold.’

Hawks felt sick as he read the brief description. It sounded to real, too much like what he had been guessing, but there wasn't enough information on the sheet. He needed more and he needed it now.

“Um” he interrupted, trying his best to keep his voice from sounding shaky. “Could you elaborate on this one?” He pointed to the bullet point, watching one of the men briefly read it and nodded, starting to speak.

“Yes. That one was one of the better ways we found that would explain the seemingly ridiculous thought that two people who had never met before could wake up knowing everything. There are dozens of records of similar quirks, those being usually ones that can share small thoughts telepathically or small events, so it's not unheard of. It would be one of the more powerful of it's kind, though, if that's the case. We think that if that were what this quirk turns out to be, it would be sharing either major memories from one to another of perhaps even someone’s whole life to that point, though it seems that the two people it's affecting have to be hit by it at the same time. If I may ask, why did you single that one out specifically? Did you get any memories?”

Hawks felt his body get stiffer and stiffer with each word, thoughts playing through his head. It made sense, now that he thought about it. That him and Dabi would 'share memories’. A nagging part of him still wanted to deny it, yet the more that both men in front of him talked the more he doubted it was fake.

They talked on and on about similar cases and why they had narrowed down the quirk possibilities to what they had, all the while Hawks only half listening. His head suddenly hurt, and thoughts were spinning around his mind faster than a hurricane. He didn't even realize the men across from him had stopped talking until one sayed his name, snapping his mind back into the conversation just in time to hear the question.

“- So that's why we’ve narrowed it down to a high possibility of this being the quirk. Hawks, you're sure you didn't see anything?”

The hero paused for a second, tongue tied and scrambling to figure out what to say. He didn't want to tell them the truth, and even if he did what would happen? Endeavor had only held the title of of number one hero for a few short months, and if he disappeared (no matter how quietly it happened) it would cause distrust and ruckuss among the public eye. And that was if the higher ups took action against the flame hero at all, because for some reason he felt that the man would be left alone for the most part.

“Hawks?”

“Oh! No, nothing. Sorry, I was just taking it all in, these past few weeks have been sort of a rollercoaster. Never met someone with any kind of quirk like that before. No one else was around when she hit me and sent me under, maybe that's why I didn't see anything?”

The second man nodded in thought, scribbling a few notes onto the pad in front of him. “That would make sense” he said after a moment, finishing up his writing.

The three of them (or more the two government officials- Hawks was still decently out of it thanks to his new revelation) talked for a few more minutes, writing down a few more things before getting up and walking to the door, the two parties waving goodbye and leaving. Headed in different directions, newfound information on all three of their minds.

Hawks didn't remember too much of that night looking back. He stumbled home on pure muscle memory, thoughts a thousand miles away. Got ready for work tomorrow and then got into bed on autopilot, the face a red haired boy with brilliant blue eyes morphing into a man covered in purple, wretched scars in his mind.

The hero drifted in and out of a sleepless state until early morning, when exhaustion finally overtook him.

It had been three weeks since he woke up.

 

___________________

Four weeks now.

Four long, grueling weeks since he had woken up in the hospital. That was when he finally heard a peep from the League, or more specifically the person he usually met up with for his exchanges with the League.

In other words, Dabi.

Luckily, the winged hero had been in his small apartment when he had gotten the message. If he had been at work… Well, the jolt of excitement that shot through him and the sound he let out when the alarm he had set specifically for the villain went off would need some explaining. Explaining he couldn't be bothered to do right now.

The text was simple, exactly like the ones he had received in the past. It simply read out an address and a time, giving the hero about an hour and a half to mentally prepare himself for the oncoming confrontation. The hero couldn't help but scoff slightly to himself as he began pacing around the house, his heart now slowly picking up in it's beat as the clock ticked on and on. So now he knew the other was alive, and knew he had the opportunity to confront him about what gone down a month ago now. Confirming his suspicions once and for all, because… Well, because if they were true, he would need to think things over.

The next hour and a half seemed to both drag on and flash by. Before he knew it, the hero had traveled outside of the city and was walking up to an older looking storage unit, windows broken and graffiti covering most of the walls. The door on the back was broken and sitting slightly ajar, just enough to let Hawks know that someone was already inside. That someone hopefully being the fire villain, Dabi. Just to be on the safe side this time, he held one of his longer feather-knives close to his side, prepared for a fight.

Slipping in through the broken door, the winged hero navigated through several rows of dust-covered boxes and random objects before he saw it. Huddled against the metal wall was the small flicker of a blue flame, only bright enough to let the other know it was there, most things around it still being plunged into the natural darkness of night.

Hawks felt his breath catch in his throat, eyes widening as he froze. There he was. The person he had been waiting to see from the minute he woke up in that hospital, the person he had been waiting a month to confront, was mere feet away from him. The hero felt like he was suddenly engulfed in a thin frost, frozen enough that he struggled to move as he forced himself to keep moving in the direction of the other male. He could hear his heart in his throat, and even though he knew it was irrational, was surprised for a second that the other couldn't hear it as well.

When he got closer, Hawks lifted a hesitant hand up in the dark, calling out. “Hey, I made it!” Although he tried to make the greeting sound cheery, he got the impression that it wasn't.

The blue flame across from him grew just the slightest bit brighter, enough that he could see the face of the other man and the other could see him. The blue light danced in Dabi’s equally blue eyes, eyes that now dragged the face of a boy named Touya to the front of the winged hero’s mind as Hawks took them in.

“I can see that.”

The reply Dabi gave was sharp and short, mistrust and suspicion making itself glaringly obvious in the four simple words. His eyes were narrowed, body tensed like he too was prepared for a fight. It took Hawks a second for the reason as to why to click in his mind.

If Hawks had been given a front row seat to what were apparently Dabi’s memories, that meant that the other had been given a front row view of-

Oh. Oh.

Hawks suddenly tensed even more, the mere thought of someone getting to peer into his past like that, view every single detail- wait. Oh no. This just kept getting worse the more he thought about it.

What if Dabi now knew he was a double agent?

Hawks was pulled out of the depths of his mind when he felt himself being watched, coming back to see that the other male was almost scanning him with his eyes, as if he was trying to pry him open with a look alone.

“So…” Hawks began, trying to soften the tense air between them. “Glad to see you got out of the burning building? I don't remember much, but I do remember seeing you collapse right before I blacked out. If I'm being honest, I didn't know if I should expect you to be alive or not after a while.”

“My quirk is fire. Something like that isn't going to take me out.”

“Ah. That right, guess I should have suspected that. After all, you already have all those burns, a few more aren't going to hurt-”

Hawks knew that going straight to the scars might not have been the best option. No matter how they were put there, the subject wouldn't be an easy one for anyone, let alone a villain. He knew that wasn't a good idea, should have suspected what would happen next, but was somehow still thrown off guard when the villain threw himself at him hands aflame.

Hawks reacted on instinct, pulling the sharp feather from his side and aiming at the black haired male. He managed to hit him at the same time a burning fist hit him in the face, knocking him back. Dabi stood in front of him, a snarl present on his face and eyes narrowed in an angry and almost… Fearful? Way. Hawks took the second he was given as the man stood back to hit again, this time a flaming hand reaching out and grabbing the feather, burning it to ash as it dug into the palm.
“I'm going to ask once. I've been told not to kill you, but I will make you wish you were dead unless you answer me. HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW?!”

As he yelled, the villain shook with rage. Hawks, meanwhile, was more confused than ever. What did he mean, how much did he know? About the League? About that night they were attacked, and how Dabi had gotten away?

Wait. No. Couldn't be.

Hawks summoned another massive feather to his side, swinging it and jumping back to avoid the fire shot his way. Quickly so they wouldn't be burned, the hero opened his wings and gave a flap, launching himself into the air so he could land on top of a stack of wooden crates. He would have to do this fast, before the villain fulfilled his promise of torturing him. Still holding the razor sharp feather out, he began to speak.

“What do you mean, how much do I know?” He tried calling out, his only answer being a yell as flames now began to dance across Dabi’s whole body. He was close to snapping. “Are you talking about the scenes? What happened after we were attacked the last time we met?”

That got the villain's attention. His eyes narrowed to angry slits, and his voice lowered as he replied. “So you do know something. That's too much for you to safely walk away, in my opinion.”

“So you know what's going on?” Hawks tried to calmly reply back, eyes not moving from where they were watching the flames moving up and down Dabi, at a slightly slower pace now.

“And you don't?” The villain spat back, still tensed in attack mode.

Hawks didn't reply for a second. This was going to be tricky, he needed to choose the right words to say or else the other would surely attack him and make sure he made a lasting impression, leaving scars to match his own on the hero’s body. “I… Think I do. But I'm not sure. I need you to tell me if it is or not.”

Dabi’s eyes didn't change from their slit form. They were calculating now, watching Hawks and judging everything he did. Weighing the options of attacking. “What do you mean?” The villain said after a minute, never moving his eyes from Hawks’ own. “What kind of things do you need someone like me to confirm?”

Hawks didn't respond for a second, afraid that if he said one thing the rest would come flowing out like a river. He wanted to ask Dabi everything, demand to know if Endeavor was really the man he had seen in those scenes. Demand to know if all the suffering and misery he had seen was true, but he got the feeling that the villain would pull back if he asked either one. Instead, he slowly asked a simple question. One that was indirect, but at the same time would give him all the information he needed. “Does the name Touya mean anything to you?”

The reaction was almost instantaneous. Blue flames suddenly coated Dabi’s whole body for a second, before going back down to what they had been before. Bright blue eyes focused in on Hawks, so much emotion swirling in them that it was hard to tell what the other was feeling. But that was enough information for Hawks.

“So. You do.”

“Where the hell did you even hear that name? And why do you think I would know something about it?” In his panic and rage, Dabi seemed to have forgotten about the scenes, logic not crossing his mind in the moment.

“Where do you think?”

“Heh. Of course, those stupid scenes” Dabi said, a dry laugh coming out as he spoke. “So what else do you know, hero? What all have you told your little ‘buddies’?”

“Whatever I know, I promise I haven't told anyone. And I don't plan to anytime soon. I don't even know if what I saw was real or not, if I'm being honest.”

Dabi still looked ready to roast him alive, but slowly took one small step back. Like he had been debating something inside his head and finally come to a decision.

Hawks stared at the man in front of him, unsure in the moment of what to say. What to ask. “So you know how the 'scenes’ work? What exactly do they mean?”

“Didn't you say you knew?”

“I said I think I know. But you seem to know better, so can you tell me what happened that night?”

“Alright, fine. I guess I can tell you. But in exchange your telling me all you know. In return… I might tell you what I saw in those scenes. Might. You can also come down from up there, you know. I won't be burning you alive quite yet.”

Hawks slowly shifted from his perch, watching the other as he lowered himself to the ground and took a small step forward, still making sure to keep his distance from the other. While the flames had somewhat calmed themselves, the hero still wouldn't trust the man across from him with anything, let alone not attacking him if he got angered by what he was told.

When Hawks had finally come to a still, the villain across from him began to speak. “I guess I can start by tell you about the bitch that hit us with that quirk. Don't know her name, but her quirk lets two people share memories, I guess is a way of putting it. Sort of 'view’ the memories that helped shape the other the most. Apparently she’s been in the area for a few months now, though hasn't made too many attacks against league members- hence why I didn't recognize her.”

Hawks stood, frozen in place as he slowly took in the information. Though the villain had glossed over the nature of the woman’s quirk, he got the feeling Dabi knew what he was doing by telling the hero that information. What he was indirectly confirming. “How do you know that?” Hawks asked after a moment of silence, watching the other.

Dabi laughed dryly. “I'm a villain, remember? So is that woman, to an extent. We’ve had problems with her in the past, though she's never flat out attacked one of us before.” A pause. “It took us a while to find out information though, it's not like they found me and immediately knew what had happened.”

“Is that how you got out of that building?”

Silence for a second. Then:

“Yeah. Someone that’s been slightly involved with the vanguard squad saw the blue flames and figured he should check it out, see if I was involved somehow. Managed to drag me out though authorities were already on the scene by the time he dragged me out. Thought it was pointless to go back in after you. Now, if you don't have any more stupid questions, tell me what you know.”

Hawks paused for a second (it seemed like he had been doing that a lot tonight) before speaking. “I… Saw a family. Family of six, in those scenes. Four kids and two parents.”

As the hero talked, he watched Dabi’s expression. Gauging it just in case he would have to defend himself. As he mentioned the family, the villain’s expression hardened, no emotions showing as he shut himself down. “And? Surely you saw more than that?” He asked, voice low and dangerous as he spoke, flames faintly dancing across his skin.

“I- I did. A lot more, though that's where I don't know if it's… How should I say… Real or not?”

“Depends. What is it?”

Hawks took a deep breath, preparing himself for what he was going to say next. “I saw a father that was selfish. He hurt his family, and trained his children to the bone before throwing them aside because they 'didn’t meet his expectations’. The children’s mother was driven mad, forced to tend to her kids wounds and hold them not knowing how bad the injuries were. She went mad in that house and was forced to leave her kids behind..”

Again, Hawks stopped, though this was only for a moment as he watched the other’s expression. Dabi’s face was still blank, but his hands were curled tight into fists as he listened to what was being said. He continued speaking, hoping the man hadn't noticed his pause. It looked like he hadn't, too wrapped up in his own thoughts- perhaps ones of the past he had been hoping to forget.

“Most of the scenes centered around the oldest kid, though, a boy named Touya.” Hawks felt he should leave out the last name for now, while he continued to talk “he tried to protect his family, and was hurt the most out of the four kids. His own mother slowly became afraid of him though, said he looked too much like his father, and when she left he had to look after everyone. He couldn't take it anymore after a while though, couldn't take the pain, the fear and the pressure put on him. He ran away, and…. And he cut himself off from his past. I woke up after that, it was hard to watch.”

It was silent for a minute after he spoke. Dabi wasn't responding, instead opting to just stand there, looking at the ground as he held himself together by a string to keep from shouting and burning the other before running away into the night.

“Do you have the last name for this Touya boy?” The villain asked after a moment, still not looking up. “You have to, given how much you saw out of that.”

Another deep breath as fear gathered in Hawks’ stomach. “Yeah. Yeah, I do.”

“And what was that?”

“... Todoroki.”

The air was static, so thick you could cut it with a knife. Neither tried to speak, instead opting to look at the cement floor underneath them. It stayed like that for what seemed like hours, though in reality was only a few minutes. Then, quietly, the voice of the man across from Hawks spoke. “Well, I can't deny any of that. There’d be no point to it if I did, huh hero?”

Hawks’ head shot up so fast he swore he got whiplash. “So- wait, so that means-”

“Yeah. Everything you saw was true. About that shitty house, that shitty bastard. Guess you know my name, too- my whole history. Does the fact that I became a villain really surprise you?”

The hero’s mind spun, and suddenly he felt ill. So it was all true, nothing exaggerated or made up… He remembered when he was little, how much he had looked up to the pro hero, not knowing that everyday he went home and trained one or more of his children to the bone. Even though he knew it was stupid, in that moment he suddenly felt… Betrayed? By who? Endeavor? Himself, as someone that had respected the flame hero for years on end without fail? He couldn't tell anymore.

“No- I guess it doesn't. I just can't believe it, after all this time and this is what he's been doing to his family.”

Dabi snarled, a scoff slipping out of his mouth. “Of course you can't. After all, that bastard’s the number one pro hero, why would he?”

Hawks didn't reply, instead just looking at the man across from him, thinking back to the one he had seen in that hotel room, fire in hand. The small boy he had first seen after waking up, on his first day of training, brilliant blue eyes glowing with joy and happiness. The eyes across from him now had been hardened by years of anger and violence, hiding emotion from the outside world.

Right then, Dabi spun around and stalked away. Hawks thought for a moment he was leaving, and made no move to follow until the villain stopped, turning back and looking at him up and down. “Well? Come on, hero. I'm not just here to make sure you haven't mouthed off about my past. I have information to pass on, it's been too long.”

Hawks stared at him for a second, then nodded and started walking forward, making sure to hold a long feather to his side in case the villain was leading him into a trap.

Dabi led him over to where two plastic lawn chairs were haphazardly thrown against a wall, pulling one out from against the wall before collapsing into the other. After a moment, he motioned for Hawks to join him.

The winged hero hesitantly sat down across from Dabi, still keeping a cautious eye on him. Looking for any signs of that anger from earlier. Slowly, the villain began to talk, filling Hawks in on everything that had happened in the month they were out of contact. He gave him a small mission, just to gather some intel on hero patrols and places. The usual, when all came down to it.

When they had finished, the villain against stood up and walked away, this time without calling the other to follow though. As Hawks watched him walk away, the other suddenly stopped.

“Oh, and hero?” He called out, looking back over his shoulder “I saw your past as well, in case you forgot. Pretty shitty, how they forced you into this career without much choice- your family’s not the best either, and that's coming from me. I guess what I'm saying is… I understand your motivation a bit more now. And I haven't told anyone on my side about your little past, either. I'll keep it that way as long as you keep it that way on your side.”

Hawks was quiet for a moment, simply staring as the villain turned and walked away, soon vanishing into the night.

When the hero finally shook himself out of the shock, he flew back home, making sure to take the longer way back. He would call in tomorrow, show up a few hours late. He just. The hero needed time to think, time to think over and ingest all of this information. That was all.

And as the young hero slowly crawled into his bed a few hours later, thoughts still swarmed his head. But what could he do? The buzzing wouldn't be going away anytime soon.

As he thought would happen, the hero ended up not getting that much sleep, the sleep coming to him in rare, tossing moments that he quickly awoke from. Because now, one question rang out over all the others in his mind.

If the number two hero had been able to get away with something like that and gone on to become the number one, what was there to say that something else like that hadn't or wasn't currently happening right now?

And now, as Hawks stumbled out of bed the next morning and called in sick to work, he made a promise to himself.

He was going to find out everything he could about Dabi, and hopefully put a dent in the dark underbelly of the hero society.

Chapter Text

As Dabi slowly exited the warehouse and stepped into the cold night air, he couldn't help but feel something loosen in his chest, giving way to what felt like the smallest bit of relief.

“Heh. So I guess the hero hasn't told anyone, huh? Guess I could believe him, but I'm not that stupid.” The black haired man muttered to himself with a dry snarl. The bird had surely seemed like he was being honest, but he was the number two hero. Lying was probably something he had grown good at doing over the years, especially with all that Dabi had seen about his past.

After all, that bastard Endeavor was great at lying. Had been for a long time now. A bitter part of Dabi sneered at the thought as he pictured a hero being sat there and taught how to lie to anyone they needed too. The terrible part was that he probably wasn't that far off from the truth, given how good Endeavor had gotten at it.

The black haired man sighed, watching as his breath came out in a puff of fog and blew away into the night. The moon was about halfway full, casting just enough light down onto the docks to let the villain see where he was going. It had taken a lot to convince the league to let him come out here tonight, and Shigaraki had practically been foaming at the mouth when Dabi had last seen him.

Given, that had been as he flipped the hand freak off and vanished out of the door that made up the league's entrance. He had slammed it behind him before stalking away, the idiotic shrieks of Shigaraki and the manic laughing of Toga growing quieter as he stalked away. But still.

The villain had learned a lot about the current number two hero while he had been out. If he had to say, he had learned just about as much about Hawks as the hero had learned about him.

And, just like Hawks had supposedly done, he hadn't told anyone.

Of course other members of the league knew what the quirk that hit him did, and each had tried in their own irritating way to drag it out of him, but he had refused. When asked why, the villain had simply shrugged his shoulders and either said some stupid, careless excuse or not one at all.

“It's better blackmail material if only one person knows it. None of you idiots would be able to keep your mouths shut. Not like there's much we could really use anyhow ”

“Aw come on Dabi! Not even one hint? Come on, it has to be good!”

“Just shut up, Toga.”

As the villain started to enter the outskirts of the city, he pulled the grey sweater he was wearing tighter around him. Sure, most of the public didn't have his face memorized or knew his name off the top of their head, but one thing over the years he had learned was that one could never be too cautious. Especially when they were a villain like him.

As Dabi walked, he thought over all that he had seen while knocked out by that bitch and her quirk. The nights where a seven year old pressed himself in the small gap between his book case and his bedroom wall, tears almost falling down his face as a bottle hit the wall the other side of the wall he lay pressed against and shattered, making him jump and pull in tighter on himself.

It had been interesting to watch, see how the hero had grown up. Screams echoed the house so much it was more concerning to not hear them, and by the time the boy was nine he was already cleaning up the alcohol bottles and shards of glass without blinking, taking more care of his parents than they took care of him.

As the villain thought and walked, he couldn't help but feel anger shoot through him. Couldn't help it when he knew at least part of the fear Hawks clearly had, the pain at the reality he called a family. After all, the differences between them weren't that big.

Where he had gotten beaten and burned, Hawks had gotten hit and bruised.

Where he had fought back when attacked, Hawks had not.

Where great things had been expected of him, Hawks had been expected by everyone to turn out like his parents- drunk, broke and miserable.

Where he had gotten thrown aside uncaringly after the first time he used his quirk, Hawks had been uncared for in the first place. It wasn't until the hero's scumbag parents realized how much money their talented son could make them that he got some love- even then though, it had been plastic, something easily broken the second their son would make the decision to stop being a hero.

But it didn't really matter how big the differences between them were, in the end. All that mattered was that Dabi could relate more to the hero he was supposed to hate and have no problem hurting more than he wanted to. Of course, he would still attack and kill Hawks without hesitation if need be, but he may not like it. Not when he suddenly understood the hero so much more, and could even look back on his own life and see that they weren’t so different after all.

It made one wonder, Dabi idley thought as he breathed in the cold night air. What would have happened if things had been different in his life- if he didn't have the scars he had, didn't become a villain. If someone from the government had come and taken him away like they had taken Hawks. If they hadn’t taken Hawks- would the hero be a villain instead? But those were thought quickly shoved into a box, thrown aside for another time. Besides, thinking them made the fire quirk user’s head hurt far too much.

Turning around Dabi found that the hero hadn't followed him, something that half shocked the villain. What also shocked him, if Dabi let himself be honest, was how desperate for the truth the man had seemed. As he had yelled for answers, no demanded them, from atop his perch the bird had looked like he was almost about to cry.

He refused to go home without knowing the truth about the Number One hero, and maybe that was one of the reasons Dabi had decided to take the insane route and tell him the truth in confirming that what he had seen was real.

Maybe that was also why Dabi slightly believed him when the number two hero said he hadn't told anyone. Well, that and the fact that he had shown up alone, and not with other heroes for backup and police surrounding the entire area.

The villain heard yelling up ahead, laughter and the loud voices of people out enjoying the nights before they got too cold. Sighing, he ducked into the nearest alley and again pulled the sweatshirt closer to his face in an attempt to cover the scars.

And as Dabi vanished into the cool and cold night, heading back to that isolated and quiet apartment of his on the bad side of town where almost no one lived, the fog seemed to roll in- covering his tracks from both the public walking by on the sidewalk and the hero slowly taking flight above.

___________________

“Hawks, sir, are you feeling okay? You look like you haven't slept in days.”

Well, Hawks thought in a slightly bitter tone, that might have been because he didn't get a wink of sleep last night. How could anyone, after finding out the true nature of their role mo- no, he couldn't think of that man as his role model anymore. Not with the things he had done.

Instead, though, the number two hero simply smiled and looked back at who had asked him- a secretary for his agency, he realized. “No, no. I’m fine! I've just been doing some night patrols lately, and it's starting to take its toll, you know? Give me a day or two of sleep and I'll be back to full speed!”

The woman looked unsure, looking Hawks over once more before hesitantly smiling. “I'm sure! Thank you so much for the work you do though, Hawks. I know it might not feel like it all the time, but everyone really does appreciate it!”

Hawks smiled at the woman, saying the usual 'no problem’ before walking away with a wave. Damn, that girl was receptive. It was like she had dug a hole straight into Hawks mind and pulled out one of the seemingly many problems floating in his head and reassured him on it. He kept in mind he would have to ask for her name and what her quirk was, just in case it was some kind of mind reading quirk.

He felt like it didn't need to be explained how bad a mind reading quirk could mess up his mission.

The hero half-walked half-stumbled to his office, practically collapsing into the chair. He let himself just sit there for a second, eyes closed before shaking his head and groaning. He needed to stay awake, just try and sleep when he got home. After all, what would be more concerning then one of his workers coming and finding him passed out on his desk? Even if nothing physically was wrong with him, there would still be a panic give that it had only been a little over a month since he was attacked by the lady.

Today was a strictly paperwork only day, that was decided early on. Sure, Hawks had to make some phone calls in to tell some current interns not to come in today, but whatever. He couldn't let them see their mentor about to pass out standing up. The winged hero would have to meet up with his superiors early on tomorrow anyhow, and knowing how long those meetings usually went Hawks knew he would probably be busy the whole day.

The hero sat there for maybe twenty minutes, slumped over his desk as he started reading through paperwork and sorting it into pile: what needed to be done soon, and things that could wait. He was interrupted by the phone on his desk ringing, making him jump. The winged hero leaned over, hesitating when he saw who was calling.

The higher ups.

The hero's heart beat just the slightest but faster, and for a second he froze. He knew they would come calling again sooner or later, asking if he had gotten back in contact with anyone from the league and filling him in on details about their meeting tomorrow. But to do it the night after he met up with Dabi?

Fate must really have it out for him.

“Hello?”

“Oh, you picked up! I was wondering if you would, your secretary said you came into work looking like death warmed over. Wouldn't have surprised me if you collapsed the second you sat down.”

He recognized the chirpy female voice as one of the higher ups secretaries, and untensed just the slightest. If it was really something important, the men in charge of his mission would have called him themselves, not left it up to someone who had no clue that an undercover mission even existed.

“I just called to pass on a message for my boss!” The woman said, and Hawks could almost see her smile through the line as she continued talking. “He wants you to make a public appearance with another hero, to show off how strong we are after the High End incident a while back. Make those pesky villains remember who's in charge!”

Hawks laughed at that, the girl's energy getting the better of his dull mood. “Okay, I'll do it. Who am I going to be working with?”

“I think you'll like this one, plus you two have already worked together- Mister Number One Endeavor!” She practically cheered over the line, giggling at her own ridiculousness. But as soon as she said the name, it was like a hand grabbed onto the winged hero's heart hard and refused to let go.

So the day had finally come, huh? The day when he would have to meet up with the flame hero again. And only a few days after his worst fears when it came to the man were confirmed, too.

Yeah. Fate really did have it out for him.

Realizing he hadn't said anything back, Hawks quickly spit out a reply of ‘I’m so excited!’ before pretending like he had another call coming in, and hung up. Almost as soon as he did, the hero fell back into his seat and groaned, covering his face. This was horrible. At least he was meeting up with the current number one hero after he knew the terrible truth about him, but…

Why did he have to see the man at all?

He already knew how things would go, how he would have to face Endeavor and pretend like he knew nothing about what the pro hero did to his family- pretend that he looked up to and respected the man just as much as he always had. Well, at least he had always been a good actor, but still… How would he ever be able to look at the man when all he could see would be a family beaten and forced apart by one man’s insane goals?

It took maybe five minutes of the number two hero just sitting, almost defeated, at his desk before he was able to force himself back into his work. Unease had made itself present in his chest, not fully letting him forget about the upcoming meeting with a man he didn’t know how to feel about anymore, but at least work helped him to forget it. The papers he worked on weren’t anything of importance, just some reports that needed signing and a few documents on villains he had recently captured. But they were boring and repetitive, the perfect thing for getting Hawks’ out of his own mind.

The hero finished up his day in thoughtless motions, numbly putting away all the paperwork that he had finished and sorting everything else that still needed to be done and putting it on the side of his desk. As he moved it, a picture caught his eye, and it made him smile in just the slightest way. In the picture, sitting, was a middle aged woman in a black dress suit. She had long, brown hair that was pulled back in a tightly wound bun, and glasses that hid her eyes from being seen by anyone who happened to walk passed her. Bright red lipstick made her slight, serious frown pop out as she looked to the side, away from the camera.

She had probably been looking at him as he did something stupid, Hawks thought with a small chuckle.

The picture had no context to it. It wasn’t taken on a special day, wasn’t taken with the idea of doing anything special with it. In fact, Hawks didn’t know why the picture had been taken in the first place if he was being honest with himself- he had gotten it after the woman in the picture had died, from a higher up who thought ‘she would want him to have it’.

 

The woman in the picture was Hawks’ old caretaker and mentor. She had been assigned to him when he was first given to the government by his parents in exchange from money, and had looked after him for most of his time growing up under the watchful eye of higher ups. She had been strong, and had possessed a powerful quirk known as Medusa- one that gave her the ability to temporarily freeze her enemies. She had given Hawks his name, and while she had never held back in training, she had always made sure he was as happy as possible. Or as much as he could be, given that he was practically sold off for money by his own parents.

Unfortunately though, she had died three years ago. Attacked by a particularly strong gang leader who learned she had been the reason his brother was thrown in prison. She had been an amazing woman, and was more of a parent in the few years that Hawks had known her than his parents had ever been- hence the reason there was a photo of her in his office and not one of the two lousy people he called Mom and Dad.

Hawks let out a sigh. What would she think of this whole situation? She had definitely hated villains, and believed that there was no redemption for them once they had chosen their path, no matter what kind of past they had. But what if she had gone through what he had, seen the history of a villain first hand and all the hardships they had gone through, the honest fuck up that the system had made by rewarding the very man that had created one of Japan’s most wanted villains of today.

Maybe she would think differently. Maybe everyone else that had her mentality would think differently. Maybe they would make Hawks feel a little less crazy about all thoughts of doubt swarming through his head after last night’s meet up.

Somehow, the number two hero doubted it.

________________________________________________

A few days later, and the time had finally come- today, the winged hero would be meeting up with Endeavor. A man he had looked up to, but now didn’t know what he thought about.

Hawks had panicked every second for the last few days, wondering what to do when he finally had to meet up with the number one hero. Of course, he was going to act as normally as possible, but what kept swimming through his head was thoughts of everything he knew. Should he confront the man, ask him what had happened with his children, why they all seemed so distant. What exactly had happened to Touya Todoroki.

Endeavor was already at their meeting place, arms crossed and the signature frown on his face as flames licked across his body. Around him, citizens were moving to the side to give the hero some distance, pretending to look at the ground while they snuck glances at the scar now adorning the man’s face. Hawks himself couldn’t help but stare, remembering back to the scars that covered the lower half of Dabi’s face. Like father like son, he guessed. Though it wasn’t first hand, both had a part in the other’s scars. Both had inadvertently put them there. And it made Hawks feel physically ill thinking of the youngest Todoroki, and how his father had also inadvertently put a scar on his face through the broken mind of the boy’s mother. And how now the youngest Todoroki would probably only see his own scar whenever he saw his father’s.

Truly something that made Hawks feel sick.

Giving the uneasy doubts in his mind one last shove, Hawks shook his head and braced himself as he shot a hand in the air, waving it around in greeting as he called out. “Hey, Endeavor!” Said man turned his head towards him, eyes still narrowed in faint annoyance. Before now, Hawks would have laughed the look off, maybe teased Endeavor about it. But now he could only see the man giving the look to his children, and that thought sent a chill down his spine. “Sorry I’m late” he said as he drew closer to the taller man, still forcing the biggest smile he could onto his face. Hopefully Endeavor would be too emotionally deaf to recognize that it was easy to see that the number two hero was hiding something. “You know the work though! We can’t really control when we work!”

The number one hero narrowed his eyes at Hawks for a moment, looking over him. Shit. It was clear that he had picked up on the fact that something was wrong, even if he didn’t plan on saying anything. Hawks hoped he didn’t say anything. “... RIght.” The two stood in silence for a moment, Hawks trying his best to act natural as he continued to smile and shift from one foot to the other, waiting for the number one hero to continue. “We have work to do, and you were already several minutes late. Let’s go.”

Hawks nodded, skipping to stand next to the taller man as the two turned and walked down the sidewalk to where they would be patrolling. As they walked, Endeavor held himself highly and puffed out his chest. No one met his eyes directly, instead watching as the two top pro heroes walked down the sidewalk. In a vain attempt to mimic him, Hawks tried puffing his chest out too. But after a minute or so of trying, he figured he would look stupid doing it anyhow and went back to simply walking next to the more serious man and throwing his feathers this way and that, helping whoever he thought needed it. Some people shouted at him from the streets, and the hero waved back. Some shouted at Endeavor, too, and Hawks couldn’t help but wince whenever they did. A few weeks ago, Hawks would understand where they were coming from. A few years ago, back before he became part of the government's ‘Future Heroes” program, he would have been one of them.

Oh, what his past self would think if he knew what Hawks knew now.

After a while, most of the crowds calmed down, leaving the heroes at peace. There was still silence between them, silence that was usually filled with Hawks talking. So of course the flame hero knew that something was up by now, even an idiot would. It still surprised Hawks, though, when the man awkwardly cleared his throat and turned to the side, looking at him slightly before looking away. “Something’s up. What is it? It better not ruin your focus for the job.”

Hawks froze for a second, surprised that the hero was even bringing up his oddly quiet behavior. “Um, well…” How was he supposed to get out of this? What was he supposed to say? “You have kids, right? Other than the one attending UA?”

The flame hero paused, before replying. “Yes. Three. Why?”

So he would admit that Touya existed. That was honestly a bit more than Hawks had been suspecting. The way he had acted towards Touya at least had sometimes suggested that he would rather have the boy vanished into thin air. “Well… What’s your relationship like with them?”

“Stop answering with more questions, brat. Why do you want to know how many children I have?”

Brat. That was what he had called Touya. The use of the word sent an unpleasant chill up Hawks’ spine, and the hero had to do his best to keep it from showing. It was too weird to think about Endeavor calling him something that he had only called his eldest child, the so-called ‘disappointment’.

But back to the main problem of right now- Hawks had to lie and fast.

He had really dug himself a grave now. What was the hero supposed to say to that!? A half truth? That was probably his best option, unfortunately. “I’m sure you know my… Situation” he began, stumbling to string words together into something believable. “Well… With the… Death… Of my mentor… My parents have been trying to get closer. She kind of kept them away, stopped them from demanding more out of the deal they made when I was part of the ‘Future Heroes’ program. Now, she can’t. But they still don’t really want to have a real relationship with me, at least it doesn’t seem like it. What’s it like with your kids?”

Endeavor was quiet for a second, and Hawks had a half a mind to think that the other man was maybe one of the few who didn’t know about the melodramatic backstory that Hawks got to call his childhood. But before the winged hero could step in and ask, the man replied. “My relationship with my children isn’t the best. I was… Gone a lot when they were young, especially when my first born was young. I’m closest with my daughter and youngest son, but my second eldest son generally keeps to himself.”

The distant one had to be Natsuo, right? There was no one else it could be. Hawks couldn't help but feel a slight pang in his chest as he thought of the small, white haired boy from those dreams. Hawks wondered what he was doing nowadays, but figured it would be too odd to ask. And what about Fuyumi? That would be nice to know as well, she was such a caring older sister to her younger siblings- especially after their mother and older brother left.

Despite having never actually met these people, Hawks probably knew more about them then most. There favorite foods, hobbies, all things that Touya had put to memory when he was still Touya, before he became Dabi.

Oh, what the winged hero wouldn't do make sure those siblings were okay still.

More silence. “What about your eldest son? You said you had three more kids besides the one in UA.”

“He keeps to himself as well.”

“Oh.”

The two fell back into silence, but this time Hawks was more than okay with it. He needed time to think over this new information, the new fact that Endeavor still recognized the eldest Todoroki sibling as his child.

He wondered, idly, what Dabi would think of that.

Probably nothing nice.

___________________________________________

 

Dabi couldn’t help but narrow his eyes as Twice sat next to him, apparently (in the other villain’s own words) ‘trying to cheer him out of the rut he had gotten himself into lately’. Needless to say, the only thing that the man next to him was accomplishing was annoying him and giving the flame user an even bigger headache. God, he had avoided the hideout for the last few days specifically for this reason. Everyone was so loud they gave him no room to think. So today he had finally given in to the calls from that stupid hand man they called ‘boss’ now and had returned to the bar- only to be greeted at the door by Toga and Twice, who wouldn’t stop screaming with joy like the toddlers they apparently were.

And of course today was also the day that the number two hero and self referred ‘spy’ (Dabi still personally didn’t trust him, even if some other league members called him paranoid for it at this point) had decided to patrol with Endeavor. Of course, Dabi didn’t know the full details of the situation- maybe it was forced, or maybe Hawks had even arranged it himself. It didn’t really matter to the villain. Hawks knew who Endeavor was as a person know, he knew what had happened in that house. Yet he was still happily walking next to the taller man, skipping even, as they talked and walked. The newscaster reporting it had called it a ‘statement that said both heroes were still as strong as ever’.

Dabi had seen what Hawks went through in his youth. He’d been more of a pet than a person, kept around because it’s owners felt a little too guilty to throw it out before being quickly tossed to someone else in exchange for money and then completely ignored until it became handy to them. So the villain didn’t understand how Hawks had been able to even stand next to that man, having gone through something of the same taste, and even managed to fake a smile, let alone talk to him.

How annoying this had all become.

“- and then I said- hey, Dabi! Are you even listening?” Twice said, stopping mid sentence to glare at the taller man through his mask. Or, at least as much as could.

“No.”

“Ouch! Hey man, could you at least try to be a little nicer? I’m trying to get you out of this little mood your in, come on, it’s not healthy to stay in a bad mood like that!”

Sometimes -no scratch that, all times- Dabi hated how easy it was for Twice to pick up on the moods of his fellow League Mates. This situation was one of the last things Dabi really wanted to explain to anyone, let alone Twice. He could already almost hear the man spewing it to Toga, and Toga to Compress, so on and so forth. That would be an absolute disaster.

“So? And I didn’t ask you to come talk to me, if you remember. You just kind of sat down and started talking. I don’t even really know what you're trying to do, but all it’s doing is giving me a headache. Go away.”

Twice held his hands up defensively, slowly standing up from his barstool next to Dabi. “Okay, Okay. I get it, you want some distance, I’ll let you have that. But seriously, you can talk to me if you want later, okay man?” The villain finished up as he stood, turning and walking away after Dabi gave one last grunt, showing that he had at least heard and recognized what the man was saying. Even if he didn’t plan on ever bringing any of his issues up to anyone, let alone one of the most gossipy members of the league.

The bar around him was almost completely empty now. Shigaraki had come down earlier, yelled a little, and then gone back upstairs to do whatever it was he did. Toga had gone out to find someone new to stab and probably wouldn't be back until tomorrow, and hell if Dabi knew where anyone else was. It wasn't his job to make sure all of them were 'making smart decisions’.

Looking at his phone again, Dabi glared at the picture that was currently shining off the screen back at him. Hawks and Endeavor, parading themselves around town like the scum heroes they were. He didn't care what that bird spouted out, Dabi still didn't believe him. Once a hero always a hero, even if you had a past like Hawks’.

While no insane news story about 'the lost child of Endeavor’ had broken the news yet, and no one was busting down the league's door, that still didn't mean the bird hadn't told anyone. Sure, Dabi hadn't told anyone about Hawks’ past, but that was only because he didn't want to have to explain his- and why he had held from telling them for so long.

There was little to nothing stopping the hero if he had or wanted to release the villain's past. Should he contact the bird hero? Make up a reason to see him, just so he could check in and make sure no one really knew about his past? No. No, he shouldn't. At least not now.

Later, yes. Sometime soon, yes. But not now. Not tonight.

Sometime soon, but not tonight.

Chapter Text

It had been over almost two weeks now since Hawks had made contact with Dabi, and almost one week since he had talked to Endeavor about his family. The Number Two hero still hadn’t hear anything from The League, but he figured that it wasn’t anything to worry over- at least not yet. They usually took breaks like this, saddling Hawks up with the mission that they saw fit and sending him on his way without any contact for anywhere from a few days to a month. The hero suspected it had something to do with discretion, and trying to keep themselves hidden just in case it turned out he was a spy (which, of course, he was).

Things had slowly but surely gotten back on track- properly, this time. Hawks still flinched away from Endeavor when the man entered a room, and avoided working alongside him whenever he could in fear that Dabi would see it on the news or hear about it through the grapevine and decide that he wanted to stop all contact with Hawks. What would the hero even say to his higher ups in that case? Obviously, he could lie and say that he had no clue. But for some reason that felt wrong. hen he knew the real reason, at least. Wrong when that reason was something as serious as years of torture and abuse inside the household of one of the most respected members of hero society today.

In his time since talking to Endeavor, Hawks had looked slightly more into the Todoroki family. It hadn’t been hard, given how big social media was nowadays, and he found out that Fuyumi worked at a school as a teacher, and Natsuo was going to medical school at the moment (the boy also had a girlfriend at the moment he clearly loved, if the dozens of photos covering his account of the two of them were anything to go off of. Yes, the two appeared to be that kind of couple, something that made Hawks honestly more than a little happy given what the boy had been through). Shouto, of course, was the easiest to track down- what with the boy currently going to UA and being plastered all across the news and all. It appeared that all of them were leading lives that they liked, even if Shouto appeared to be struggling at times when Hawks later went over some videos from the sports festival. Call him stupid, but the winged hero thought of the three younger Todoroki siblings as family of his own, people he would protect above all else and wanted to see be happy above all else. People who he would probably easily risk his own life for without a second thought, even if they had never actually met in person and the three clueless siblings probably only knew him as the number two hero, nothing more and nothing less. Still though. Hawks had watched them grow up, watched the moments that had most importantly shaped their elder brother- moments that surely must have shaped them as well.

The only one he was struggling to find anything on was Rei.

Of course, the hero had expected that going in. From the few memories he had seen, Rei had been ripped away from her family for a long time, and Endeavor had made sure to keep her away. Even if that meant hiding her from anyone (and Hawks really meant anyone) that would be going out of their way to find her… Well, that was exactly what the current Number One Hero would do. The hero subtly searched around for any hospitals in the area that might hold her, or any patient that held an even slightly similar description to her. Needless to say, after three days of looking he still hadn’t come up with much, and decided to put it on the back burner for now. Besides, the hero told himself. What would he really do if he found where the woman was living? It would be more than a little odd to walk into her room one day spouting everything that he knew- no, that would probably scare the woman more than anything.

Then she would start questioning things. And Hawks still wasn’t sure how to reply to any of that, especially if it was coming from a Todoroki. Not to mention that, for some reason… It just felt wrong, marching up to one of the few people Dabi had held close in his previous life and forcing himself into hers. He could imagine the villain now, all snarls and fire as he glared at Hawks viciously and raised a fist crackling with blue flame to strike him down.

So that train of thought had led Hawks to where he was now, standing in front of his assistant, a goal clear in his head. He just needed to do this one thing, and no one ever had to notice… It was a stupid thing to do, but the hero couldn’t help himself.

“I think this sounds like a wonderful idea, Hawks!” The peppy, high pitched voice of Hawks’ assistant interrupted his train of thought, bringing the man back to reality. She held several papers in her hand, looking over one with several excited wags of her brown, dog-like tail. “You’ll make so many people’s day! Those kids have probably never seen a hero as up close as they will be when you stop by!”

Hawks smiled at the woman, taking the paper she was offering back out of her hands. “Glad you think so!” He said, making sure to give out nothing but the confident, happy aura that people were used too. No need to let the woman know his real reason for doing this.

“So are you going to the superiors today? You should really show them this if you are! I think going to Ms. Todoroki’s class would be amazing, she’s really such a kind person!” His assistant said with a smile, rocking forward and backward on her feet as she talked, tail still wagging like it had a mind of it’s own.

Hawks smiled, happy that someone had confirmed his fears of this being a good idea or not. “Yeah, I’m thinking so. Wish me luck!” He called, starting to walk passed her as she moved to deliver some more paperwork. The girl turned again, waving to him happily before turning again to walk away, clutching the paperwork close to her chest. Hawks smiled as he clutched his own paperwork, walking now with a reassured bounce in his step as he walked down the hall, prepared to go face his higher ups and hopefully get the trip to a certain classroom approved. From there, who knew what would happen? He would just have to see, the hero thought, as he stepped into an elevator at the end of the hall and pressed up, taking himself straight to who he wanted to see.

_______________________________

It was four days later that Hawks stood outside a dark red classroom door, waiting for the que to come in.


His superiors had been all over the idea of having Hawks interact with some kids, their reasoning being that ‘he could show the public how strong a hero could be, maybe even inspire some’, though Hawks knew that wasn’t their only motive. After all, while the program that had scooped Hawks and his family out of their terrible living situation only after finding Hawks by accident was kept secret, that didn’t mean they weren’t actively seeking out more ‘talented’ kids to corrupt. By sending heroes to classrooms like this, they were basically begging for information on anyone particularly blessed with a powerful quirk. They were just looking for the next person to turn into a money making tool for them overnight.

Hawks shook his head as the thoughts filled it and he felt the anger in his chest strike out. He couldn’t afford to get caught up on that, not now. Besides. He wasn’t here to look for the next him, he was here to finally meet up with the girl he had watch grow up. While he knew it was stupid, she wouldn’t know him as anyone other than her father’s business associate, something told Hawks he might finally be able to feel just the slightest bit more at ease after doing this. Distantly, the second bell rang, hurrying the few stragglers in the hallway to class. Several kids were staring at Hawks in utter awe, but none were able to stay long enough to work up the nerve to actually approach him. The hero slightly waved at them from a distance, smiling as he did so. A few awkwardly waved back before running away, while others just stared.

Inside the classroom, yelling could be heard. Suddenly, the voice of a woman shouted above the many voices of children. “Okay, everyone! Sit down, we have a guest coming, and I think that it’s someone all of you know and love!”

Hawks felt his heart freeze in his chest for a split second, and the hero leaned against the wall to keep himself steady. He hadn’t heard that voice since it was twelve, crying in the courtyard as it's older brother of seventeen handed it a role of cash and vanished into the night, saying he would come back someday and save them all from their father’s grasp. It sounded so different now, yet there was still a bit of it that rang familiar to the hero's ears.

Listening back in on the conversation, Hawks noticed the children's voices had become quite as their attention was grabbed. A few voices shouted out, asking who it was or simply when exactly they would be here. The laugh of who Hawks could only imagine as Fuyumi followed the shouts of curiosity, before she started speaking again. “Everyone, take your seats! They're already here, just let me go get him!” The teacher called out, a smile evident in her voice as Hawks heard footsteps getting closer the door. A second later, and the nob turned.

The door was opened, and in the entrance stood a tall woman with grey eyes and white hair flecked with red. She smiled warmly at the hero, before turning back and saying something else to the classroom of energetic, curious children. Hawks was barely listening though, too busy looking at the person in front of him now and comparing her to the person he had come to label 'Dabi's sister’ in his mind. Needless to say, while she was grown up now, there were still many similarities.

And if she had seemed to give off a positive aura in that weird, dream-world, the one she gave off now was almost overwhelming.

“Hello, Hawks!” She smiled, talking quieter now so her student's couldn't hear as easily. “I'm so glad you got to come in! Most heroes come in because the school asked them too, but I heard you volunteered yourself! We're so happy to have you, I'm just sure the students will love you!”

“Thanks, Ms. Todoroki. Glad to have come- it's always fun, seeing kids inspired and excited.” The lie came out of Hawks’ teeth half-forced, the winged man smiling back at Fuyumi as the woman chuckled, nodding her head in agreement before turning back around and beckoning him into the classroom after her.

“Okay class, here he is! The number two hero, Hawks!”

As soon as the hero made his way into the classroom, the kids erupted. Some screamed in excitement, while others jumped out of their seats and raised a hand, waving it eagerly to try and get the hero's attention. A few quirks accidently went off, one shooting a green spark into the air amongst all the excitement and chaos.

At the picture before him, Hawks couldn't help but laugh for a moment, almost forgetting why he had come there in the first place. Then, Fuyumi was raising a hand up to catch her eager student's attention, trying to bring even a little order to the room. After everyone had settled down, the young teacher smiled. “Now, kids” she began, voice full of clear amusement as the students in front of her practically buzzing with excitement. “I know how exciting this must be, after all not many people can say they've had the number two hero in their class! But, we need to stay calm. One at a time, and anyone with questions can ask them. Afterwards, we can do something if the hero has enough time.”

Hawks couldn't help but look at the woman at that moment, watching the happiness and amusement in her eyes as she talked to the children in front of her. It was hard to believe almost, in that moment, the kind of place Fuyumi had been raised in and where she called home. A father that had been blinded by the prospect of being number one, a mother that had been broken, a brother that had vanished one day and two others that had long left.

Yet, looking at hero students, she still looked so happy. So content. Like nothing was wrong.

Hawks didn’t know how she did it. He also couldn’t tell someone how much of the look was forced, though it pained him to think of it.

Over a dozen kids jumping and screaming his name quickly brought Hawks’ attention back to the present as children practically jumped over the tables they sat at to get his attention. “Mr. Hero! Mr. Hero! I have a question!”

“No! I’ve been waiting longer, shut up!”

“Liar!”

“Hey now!” Hawks called out, laughing as he quickly gained the children’s attention. “I promise, just like Fuy- I mean, Ms. Todoroki said, I’ll answer everyone’s questions. And actually-” he turned to Fuyumi as he said this, smiling “I don’t have anything planned for the rest of the day. So ask as many questions as you want!”

Cheers could be heard as he finished talking, holding out a thumbs up. The roughly two dozen kids in the classroom all scrambled over each other to get to him, pure joy on their faces. Of course, once one started asking questions, the rest came like a flood. All the questions were similar to any other time he had done this kind of thing- what was it like being a hero? What was it like working with x or y hero? What was fighting a villain like? Who was the most dangerous villain he had ever taken down?

The questions came and went for an hour before the kids finally seemed to be reaching a point of satisfaction. They had started telling him stories of their own after a certain point. Some asked how good of a hero he thought they would be after showing off their quirk (Fuyumi sighed every time a student let off their quirk before telling them to remember it was against the rules to do so at school). Now, the class was outside for recess. While Hawks had gone out with them for a few minutes, mainly to see some of the kids from other classes as well, he was currently sitting in a chair by the classroom window, listening to Fuyumi grade papers several feet away at her desk. The room was quiet, and though he could feel a slight tension in the air as both wondered if they should say something or leave the other in silence, things were calm. A lot calmer than anything else in Hawks’ life seemed to be at the moment.

“Um, Hawks?” So it seemed like Fuyumi would be the one to break the silence. Hawks was secretly glad for this fact, unaware of what to say to the woman he had watched grow up in a weird kind of way.

“Yeah?” He said, turning back as he spoke.

“I just wanted to thank you again. For seeing the kids, that is. I’m sure you could tell how happy they were to meet a pro hero close and personal like this. And… It may not seem like it, given that this is a slightly higher funded school, but. Well, not all of my students have an easy life. Seeing pros like you actually come in and give them the attention you do really inspires everyone involved, I think. Makes things seem a little more durable.”

Hawks froze for a second, then couldn’t help but smile. “Thanks for letting me come” he said, shooting a look back outside to the kids laughing and playing on the concrete before turning back to the teacher. “You know” he began, letting out a small laugh as he continued “I didn’t have an easy childhood, either. Maybe that’s why I do this kind of stuff, I don’t know.”

Fuyumi stared at him for a second longer, than nodded. She looked like she wanted to say something, and Hawks kind of hoped she would, but when she didn’t he let it go. The two fell back into their silence, each at least a little lost in their own head, except this time the tension from the room had completely vanished.

Things stayed like this for a for more minutes, until recess ended and the class came rushing back in, shrieking with joy when they realized the hero was still there.

Hawks smiled, laughing at the pure, innocent joy that spread over the kid's faces. He was so caught up in the crowd that he didn't notice Fuyumi standing in the back, a sad smile covering her face, a single thought present in her mind.

Why does Hawks remind me so much of him?
___________________

The call to meet up again came a few days later, in the dead of night. Dabi wanted to meet up in a few hours, and Hawks had to sigh after looking at the time. Sometimes he swore Dabi chose these awkward times to meet up as sort of punishment for the hero, even though deep down he knew that wasn't the case. If he hadn't been on patrol, he probably wouldn't have even seen the message until it was too late.

He seriously needed to talk to the man about a stable meeting schedule, but that could come later. Maybe after things weren't as tense between the two.

Their meeting place was in the same warehouse by the pier as last time, barely visible as the mist rolled in over docks from the water. In fact, the only thing that let Hawks see at all was the brightness of the moons and it's reflection on the water. This was a good hiding place for many different things to take place in the shade of the night, that was sure.

Hawks snuck in the back door, same as always, and slowly weaved through the maze of things in the warehouse- same as always. It took a second for the hero's eyes to adjust to the pure darkness of the warehouse, but after they did he could see coal black burns on some of the surrounding things. A reminder of his fight with Dabi last time the two had met up. Hawks would be lying if he said that he wasn't a little anxious about meeting the other man again, given what had happened. Dabi had always appeared to be one of those people who was quick to anger, using fists and flames to keep people away whenever he felt like he was being backed into a corner.

It didn't take the hero long before he saw the small blue flicker of flames against the boxes and metal walls of the warehouse. The villain known as Dabi was casually leaning against the metal walls, cigarette in his mouth and blue flames dancing on his palm so he could better see. Hawks made his footsteps slightly louder and made sure to call out as he got closer, letting the villain know he was there. Who knew what burn scars Hawks would be walking away with if he scared the wanted villain?

“Hey, Dabi! I'm here, a little early but I figured you wouldn't mind. You're lucky I was even awake to get that text though! A little bit more warning next time, maybe?”

The only response he got was a grunt as Dabi took the cigarette out of his mouth and threw it to the floor, stomping it out. “Have to keep it on short notice, bird brain. That way, it'd be harder for you to bring any of your stupid hero friends along.”

“Oh come on, I want to help The League! Why would I do that?”

“I don't trust you.”

“Oh, alright.”

Dabi raised up his blue eyes then, glaring at Hawks. “Let's stop with the small talk. I don't want to be around you any longer than I have to be, pigeon.”

“Ouch.”

“Oh shut up. Now, The League wants any information we can get from you about the other top four heroes you work with. We're coming up with something, and this could be the perfect opportunity for you to prove your pathetic self to us.”

“Just the top four heroes, huh? What kind of plan is this, if I can ask?”

“None of your business, Hero.”

“Okay, okay. So what kind of information do you want? Addresses, dirt, any family stuff?”

Dabi flinched at the mention of going after family. He snarled a bit, almost like a cornered wild dog, and then spoke. “No family shit from me, hero. You should know that better than anyone. We just need things like schedules. Though” and a smirk spread slightly across his face as he continued “any dirt would also be amazing. Bring a little more doubt to public about their precious heroes.”

Hawks looked down for a second, then nodded as he thought. That meant he just had to get information on… Edgeshot, Best Jeanist, and, of course… Endeavor.

“You should be happy we're not asking for the top five. Leaves your little rabbit friend out of things, right?”

“Little rabbit friend? Oh yeah. Miruko. Yeah, that's a good thing I guess.” Hawks didn't know how to reply to the villain, confused on why he had pointed out an odd detail.

The two talked for a few more minutes, covering specifics that The League wanted from each hero, and how to contact Dabi again whenever he had the information they asked of him. However, when the two wrapped up their meeting, neither made a quick move to leave.

This surprised Hawks, as the hero had half expected Dabi to disappear the second he didn't need to be there. Instead though, the fire quirk user was looking down at the ground, clenching and unclenching his fist. He almost looked like he… Wanted to ask the hero of something, but at the same time didn't dare to. Still, Hawks just stood there and watched. He figured that the other man would just yell at him to leave if he really didn't want him here.

Sure enough, Dabi eventually seemed to make a decision and raised his head, looking Hawks in the eye for what the hero realized was probably one of the first times that night. “If you don't have anymore shitty patrolling for the night, why not hang around for a bit? I have some questions to ask… About… What I saw. Since you already know so much about me and my tragic backstory.” Without even giving the hero much time to respond, the villain turned. “Let's go on the roof. Get some fresh air, and no one should see us- it's too dark out.”

Hawks was frozen in shock for a second, trying to process what the villain had asked of him before hesitantly following. Was this a stupid idea? Probably. Would the hero still do it? Yes. So, no matter how many warning alarms seemed to be going off in his brain at the moment, he followed.

By the time Hawks reached the outside of the building, Dabi was already climbing a rickety looking ladder on the side of the building up to the top. The flame villain's long coat flew out behind him as he climbed up, casting a small shadow onto the ground. It was oddly memorizing, and for a second the hero just stood there and watched until the other male reached the top of the rusted ladder and climbed up onto the top of the roof.

Hawks scrambled up the rickiety ladder after Dabi, smiling when he reached the top and poked his head over to see the villain sitting cross legged and already lighting another cigarette with his index finger.

“So” he began, settling in a few feet to the right of Dabi. “What do you want to talk about? I'll answer just about anything if you can answer a few more questions of my own.”

The villain snorted at that, cold and without humor. “What else do you really want to know about me, hero? There's not much more to say.” The not much more that I want to say went unsaid between the two.

“Well, I think it's only fair!” Hawks said, trying to again smile, hopefully ease the villain in the slightest.

“Only fair. Ha. When has that ever mattered for anything in this shitty world though?”

Hawks didn't reply to that, just shifted back into the awkward silence as the two sat there for several minutes. The cold but at Hawks’ nose, and the hero was becoming the slightest bit envious of Dabi's quirk that was no doubt keeping him warm right now. Then, Dabi opened his mouth again.

“So why do you still work for those shitty people? The 'higher ups’? I see why you might want to join The League, but why not just leave them?”

Hawks froze. So Dabi had skipped straight to one of the questions Hawks was hoping he wouldn't ask. It wasn't that he couldn't answer it or didn't know how, it was just that… He didn't like the honest answer that came to mind when he asked the same question to himself. “C-can we start out with something else? Maybe not a question about morals or anything right off the bat?”

“Who said that the question had anything to do with morals? Are those what's keeping you there? Even after what all those cold people did?”

“... Guess you got me there. But yeah, I'm staying because I feel bad leaving.”

“Bullshit. Even I can tell you're lying, idiot. Now what's the real reason? Surely after all those years spent trapped with the same people, training everyday of your life and basically being sold off by your parents for money you'd want out.”

A pause from the winged hero. Then, so softly that Dabi almost didn't hear it:

“I want to leave. God, I do sometimes. But I can't. Not when it's almost all I've ever known. Not now.”

Dabi said nothing for a second, and Hawks flushed red when he realized that the villain had most definitely heard that. Clearing his throat, the hero asked in turn: “Do you ever want to leave The League? Go back home, see your family again?”

A dry laugh came out of Dabi's mouth, amusement glinting in his eyes. “Can't turn back now, can I hero?”

Not a direct answer. But Hawks got the message, don't press, and he didn't. Then, Dabi asked him another question, clearly trying to brush over the question that had just been asked.

“Why did you stay home all those years? You had nothing to stay for. I would have left, hell I did leave.”

It was Hawks turn to laugh at that point, the hero looking out at the city visible in the distance from the rooftop. “I was only ten when the government came and swept me and my whole family away. Not much time for a kid to really consider the whole 'running away’ thing. Besides, I didn't think I had a bad home life. The yelling and drunkenness was normal, you saw that.”

This conversation was quickly getting older and odder. Hawks had never talked to many people outside of Miruko about his home situation, after all. If you were with the program, you probably knew. Otherwise, you didn't. So to have someone else, much less a villain, talking to him about it and asking questions…

This was definitely something new.

The two talked for a bit more, Dabi drilling him with a few more questions, but none too pressing. The way most of them were asked, Hawks got the feeling the other man was simply curious. Curious in a way that because he understood some of the things Hawks had felt over the years, he wanted to understand more. And, for some reason, it put the feathered man at an odd sort of ease.

It was a half hour later that they finally fell back into the strange silence, though this time it was an oddly comfortable one. Both never talked about their pasts to anyone, simply shoving it to the backs of their minds and leaving it be. Neither really wanted to think about it, but at the same time it was all they could think about.

Amongst all the talk, Dabi's siblings of course came up. Not in name but Hawks already knew who they were. So of course, when Dabi made an off-white comment about wondering what the three were up to today, of course Hawks had to go and run his dumb mouth about Fuyumi.

“Well, I recently went in and visited Fuyumi's class. She's a teacher, and a good one if the kids were anything to go off of.”

A dangerous pause that made Hawks instantly regret saying anything followed.

“You what?”

“It was prearranged, I didn't know anything until I saw her last name. Funny how that works out, huh?” Said Hawks now, trying to backtrack on his words and calm the visibly angered villain next to him now. Again the cornered animal seemed to be coming out, and Hawks braced himself the attack.

But it never came.

Cracking open an eye, Hawks saw that Dabi was glaring at him with eyes alight, yes, but he didn't look like he was going to kill him anytime soon. Instead, he simple opened his mouth and spat out “well don't do it again, got it? Or else there'll be hell to pay. Stay out of my life, got it bird?”

Hawks nodded quickly, standing up to take his leave. Dabi watched him stand up, not moving or saying anything himself. Then, just as Hawks had started to take a step to the edge of the building and unfold his wings to jump off and fly away, the villain spoke up one last time.

“How- how was she? Fuyumi?”

Hawks paused, turning and looking back at the burned villain, who had again looked at the ground, clenching his teeth and slightly shaking. Despite the climate between the two, Hawks felt himself smile kindly at the man standing across from him. “She was doing great.” He said, then hesitated slightly before looking down “she was.smiling, laughing at those kids. I could tell with one look she would die for each and every one of them, and she puts her heart and soul into that job. I think she's really happy.”

At that, the eldest Todoroki smiled slightly, just standing for a second and looking truly at peace. “Well” Hawks said after a moment had passed. “I should probably head home. Got work early in the morning, after all. I'll see you when I get all that information that you want. Bye!”

The villain raised his head, watching as crimson red wings spread out wide behind the blonde man's back. They were vibrant and, although normally the villain would recoil at the red and all it's associations to memories of his childhood, Dabi couldn't help but stare.

And as Hawks flew into the night, he couldn't help but thinking about the villain that was on the rooftop behind him, watching him fly away. The conversations they had had. And the odd feeling of comfort that he had gotten spending time with the villain.

Yes, Hawks concluded as he landed on his balcony and opened the door, stepping inside. Today had been an odd day indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

I Promise

 

The winged hero skimmed through the five pages in his hand as he sat at his work desk, sighing. The paperwork in his hands were different things like injury updates and schedules, all for the heroes that Dabi had told him to go after. It hadn't been hard at all to get any of the paperwork, Hawks simply asking each hero for their schedules with the excuse of 'I want to make mine so it doesn't run into anyone else's too much’. Any injury paperwork he had simply gotten from some higher ups or the hero's manager.

 

There was still some information the hero had to get of course, but it wasn't anything too big. Just things like office days or meeting schedules.

 

The hero was so wrapped up in his work, slightly muttering as he put one paper aside only to grab another, that he didn't hear the door to his office open. He also didn't hear the footsteps of his newest sidekick, the Tokoyami boy from UA. No, the number two hero didn't hear anything until the raven-headed boy cleared his throat for what was probably the third time now and said “Hawks. May I speak with you?”

 

Hawks jumped slightly when he finally noticed the teen in the corner of his office, but quickly shook it off. Half of him wanted to sigh at the teen and ask what he could possibly want, but the other half -the more heroic half- forced him to smile and relax in his seat, beckoning the hero in training over. “What is it, newest sidekick?”

 

The boy's eyes flashed with slight annoyance for a second, but quickly went away. “Well,” he began “me and a few of the other sidekicks were talking, and we noticed that you've seemed tired lately. A little stressed, if you would. Are you okay?”

 

Hawks didn't say anything for a second, simply standing there as his mind processed the question. So it was really that obvious he was spending more nights up late and busy, huh? He would have to get better at acting then. Once the hero noticed that his youngest intern was still looking at him (now the slightest bit more worried) he realized he hadn't responded. “Oh. Sorry,” Hawks began with a slight chuckle, waving his hand dismissively as if to say 'what a ridiculous idea, me being stressed’. “No, I'm fine. Just hero work, you know? Now that I'm number two, I've got to put more work into it. Gotta prove myself!”

 

The bird headed boy watched him for a second longer, eyes narrowing analytically before he nodded. “I guess that makes since” the teen began. “Being in the top three must be a big responsibility. Especially if you're number two.”

 

Hawks smiled, nodding along as his intern filled in the gaps. He would have asked why it was Tokoyami specifically who had come in to ask him about the recent change in behavior, but Hawks figured he already knew the answer. That being that Tokoyami had drawn the short stick (probably even literally) and had been the one chosen to go ask.

 

Even though Hawks tried his best to make his interns and workers (and basically anyone) feel comfortable around him, it was clear that he still intimidated them to a certain extent. It was reasonable, but it made the hero's heart ache a little, thinking back to how scared of his superiors he had been as a child.

 

“Well” the hero said, smiling and setting the stack of papers down on his desk before turning to face his apprentice, only to see his apprentice looking around the Number Two hero’s office with curiosity. It took Hawks a second to figure out that Tokoyami must have never been in his office before, and was just taking it all in.

 

Hawks would be the first to admit that it was quite the sight.

 

Fan art and letters covered two of the four walls in his office, with a large window taking up a good amount of the third. There was a loveseat under the large window, and two comfortable chairs pulled up to his large wooden desk. On the desk, papers filled trays and were scattered. The only thing that didn’t seem to be related to work on his desk was the singular picture of his caretaker and mentor. Hawks saw Tokoyami looking, and couldn't help but smile.

 

“Guess you've never seen my office. I'll admit, it's a little different than other hero's places. But hey, it works right?”

 

The boy jumped when Hawks spoke, immediately trying to hide the fact that he had been looking around. The hero could tell his intern was at least semi-embarrassed, but didn't say anything about it. “I guess it does work. I was simply taking it all in.” Tokoyami said, eyes again driving around the room. Eventually, they fell on the walls adorned top to bottom in fan mail. “You have a lot of fans” he said in an even tone, though Hawks thought he could see the hint of an impressed glow in his eyes.

 

“Yeah, all comes with the job I guess” Hawks replied, looking to the literal hundreds of fan mail and art that covered his walls with a pang of sadness. Oh, if only the dozens of fans that had sent him all of this knew what he was doing now.

 

All of them would probably turn away in an instant.

 

The hero could hear them now, the muttered 'traitor’ on their lips, eyes glowing with judgement. 'I can't believe I ever liked him’ the voices would say. 'i can't believe we ever thought someone like him could be a hero.’

 

The hero shook his head, making the nasty thoughts disappear, even if it was only for now. Nobody outside of The League and the higher-ups that had give him his mission knew of it, and things could stay that way for the rest of time. They would if the hero had anything to say about it.

 

“Well, if that's the only question you had, you can go now. All this paperwork won't finish itself after all, though we all know how amazing that would be!”

 

The younger bird nodded, giving the room one last look before he turned and exited. His quirk (dark shadow was it's name?) gave Hawks one last analysing look before squawking and shutting the door behind the two of them. The number two hero sighed, walking behind his desk and sinking back into the chair, closing his eyes for a second.

 

It was true, after all. He hadn't been getting a lot of sleep lately. And saying working alongside some of the most wanted people in Japan while playing pretend to both sides in an odd way now was just stressful was the understatement of the year. So he kind of wasn't surprised that his interns had picked up on the fact that something was wrong.

 

The hero sighed, opening his eyes and looking at the new papers he had just thrown onto his desk. Edgeshot had sprained a wrist not too long ago, and that was probably still sore. Best Jeanist was still just coming back to work after being out of commision for a lengthy amount of time, so he might be a bit rusty. No one’s patrols interfered with Hawks’ in any way, but Endeavor was out late most nights. Seemed like he was going home now during the day more often to spend time with his family, something that confused Hawks to no end after all that he had witnessed. Still, the number two hero made no comment on the matter and feigned ignorance whenever it came up in conversation.

 

He was supposed to meet Dabi tonight so the two of them could go over whatever plan The League had for him regarding this information. Another way to ‘prove himself’ to them, Hawks found it stupid but whatever sped up this whole process he was willing to do.

 

The hero personally didn’t know how much longer he could stand being around Dabi knowing who he was.

 

Especially since Dabi knew his past.

 

Hawks shot one last glance at the papers on his desk. Handing all of this information -even if it was just something like injury records and schedules- over to The League felt all kinds of wrong, but it couldn't be helped. This was something he needed to do for his mission. It would all pay off in the future, he told himself whenever doubt flashed through his mind. He just needed to keep his head clear for now, put up with the seemingly endless stream of stresses for just a bit more, then all of this would be over. He could hand the mission on to some other hero, and he would never have to meet with any more members of The League for a long time. Probably not until they were tried in front of a judge, and even then he would probably only have to say a few words and spend the rest of the time in silence.

 

Yeah. He would enjoy that.

 

Or at least that was the latest favorite lie he told himself. That he wouldn’t care, wouldn’t mind turning his back on Dabi. Would be happy to forget this whole thing ever happened and slip back into his mundane life as a hero, born and raised for the job of saving the people. And that was the only thing he was still doing the mission for, anyhow.

 

Besides, Dabi had wanted him to stay out of it. His reaction when learning that Hawks had come into contact with his younger sister told the hero so, but Hawks had always been bad at keeping his nose out of other people’s business. Still, these were the matters of one of the most wanted villains in all of Japan, and he had thought he knew when to ease off the curiosity.

 

But apparently not.

 

It definitely wasn’t because something about the scarred male seemed to drag him back, the memories Hawks had seen flashing behind his eyes every time he saw the villain or the current number one hero. The yank he had felt in his chest when he had seen Fuyumi or rewatched clips of the sports festival and saw the hesitance from the youngest Todoroki to use his fire. Not to mention that scar that had adorned his face, put there by a mother driven mad.

 

Hawks shook his head to rid it of the horrid thoughts. The screams at the time of five year old Shouto Todoroki as boiling water was poured onto his face still echoed in the hero’s ears sometimes, sending chills up his spine. On that day, Touya had ran faster than he ever had before, desperate to get to his youngest brother’s side. The only thing that had made him hesitate that day was the look his mother gave him, scared and in shock as the child that looked most like his father raced into the room hot on the heels of his sister and pulled his youngest brother back, screaming for any help. He had left as soon as Fuyumi and Natsuo had things under control, knowing he was doing more harm than good by staying in the same room as his mother.

 

No, he couldn’t have helped while he still looked like his father.

 

The winged hero sighed, shuffling all of the papers for The League into order and putting them into a tan folder that could easily blend into his coat and hide out of the sight of others. Now that he had everything that The League had wanted, all that Hawks would have to do would be to text Dabi and deliver the papers. The two wouldn’t even have to talk, unless Dabi already had a different mission picked out for him (though something told the hero that he wouldn’t).

 

Pushing his thoughts of the villain completely out of his mind, grabbed the tan folder and tucked it under his arm before packing up his things for the day. His interns would be doing their portion around the office today, and Hawks had taken the afternoon off on demand of his parents, who he hadn’t seen since before this whole confusing mess with Dabi. His mother had given him a few calls after finding out he took time off to rest after being checked out of the hospital, but otherwise the pair had remained silent.

 

And honestly, Hawks wasn’t sure if he wanted to see his parents. He had been distant from them ever since the government decided he would be a hero, though even before that their relationship hadn’t been the most stable. Now, he simply met up with them because he felt guilty not doing so. They were his parents. And they had changed, he told himself, since he was a child. They certainly had the money to change after he was sold off. Fancier clothes, more nights out then in and a larger (not to mention richer) social group had that effect on people though, the hero had been telling himself this for years.  

 

Hawks exited and locked the door to his office, smiling and waving to several interns and staff as he went along. His interns all bowed as they saw him leave, calling out that they hoped he had a good weekend as he left. The winged man echoed their calls as he left, the usual trained smile plastered on his face all the while. The tan folder pressed against his chest seemed to burn with shame as he got outside amongst the public and spread his fire-red wings to take off, yet he did his best to ignore it. He would have to drop the folder off at his apartment before meeting up with his parents, because them finding out about his secret double agent job was one of the last things the hero wanted to do with his afternoon.

 

The flight was short as always and the wind biting cold, yet his hawk mutations and custom outfit easily protected him against it. When the hero arrived, he sat down the folder and glared at it for a second. He hadn’t texted Dabi yet, there was still time to turn this around and say that he hadn’t been able to get the information that The League wanted. But, no, the hero lamented with an angry huff. He had to do this for the greater good of his mission.

 

Right. The mission would always come first.

 

Turning back now wasn’t really an option, after all.

 

After sending a quick text out to Dabi telling the villain he had all of the information that The League had asked for, Hawks quickly changed into something a bit more civilian-looking and went back over to where he had entered and pushed open the doors to his balcony. The outdoor space was large, wide enough for him to fully open up his wings and take flight on, which is exactly what the man did.

 

He soared over the city and among the clouds for several more minutes, watching iduly at the street life below. Nothing that looked too out of place, nothing that other heroes couldn’t handle if it really called for it at the most.

 

After several minutes, the hero slowly started his descent to the sidewalk below. Around him, fans called out and waved, congratulating him on recent villain arrests and the like.  He smiled back to the people who called out his name, yelling out thanks as he walked along the sidewalk to where he would be meeting both his parents. A slight crowd grew on the sidewalks as he made his way down the street, stopping for photos and signing every once in a while. If it was to delay the inevitable or not, he didn’t know. Or rather the hero did , but didn’t want to admit to himself the answer.

 

Hawks rounded the street corner and walked up the steps to a slightly fancier restaurant, waving a final goodbye to his fans as he tucked his wings tight against his back and exited into the building. Upon entering the restaurant, there was a bit more of a stir from different staff and customers yet nothing nearly as big as the crowd outside.

 

After the stammering girl at the check-in finally pulled herself together and looked up the party that Hawks was with, she cheerfully told him to follow her and led the hero to his booth. As the two of them approached the table, the figures of a man and a woman could be made out. The woman was wearing gold-colored jewelry, all embedded with red, purple and green stones. The man had on several expensive-looking watches and a clearly custom fitted suit.

 

Yes, Hawks thought with a grumble as the young girl approached the table with a nervous smile, his parents certainly hadn’t bothered hiding their wealth. Not like they ever did, though.

 

His mother was a shorter woman in her fifties, though she didn’t look it. Then again, layers of makeup did tend to have that effect. Her naturally blond hair was dyed brown and her nails painted up, bright red lipstick covering her mouth. Clothes more expensive than perhaps even Hawks’ hero costume hung off her, and she didn’t even move her hands as a fork gently floated in the space between her mouth and her plate. Hawks had to keep from rolling his eyes at the blatant use of her quirk, an extremely powerful form of telekinesis. She just had to know what something looked like, then she could move it without a second glance. Next to her, the more broad figure of his father sat. The man had black hair and a neutral expression painted on his face. The black wings of a crow sprouted from his back, gently tucked against the seat. Impressive to look at, but never able to hold the man in the air for longer than a few minutes.

 

The brown eyes of his mother shifted up to look his way, and a practiced smile played onto her lips as she opened her mouth. “Oh, Hawks, there you are! The two of us were beginning to wonder, you know!” Sitting next to her, his father nodded with a more stern look to his face. Hawks turned to the girl who had escorted him over, nodding and telling her thanks as she walked away before sliding into the side of the booth across from his two parents.

 

Why did it feel like he was about to get yelled at?

 

“I see that you’re as popular as ever, son” his father said, watching the young girl go- probably to brag to her friends about how she had just met the number two hero. Hawks laughed awkwardly, nodding and rubbing the back of his head.

 

“Yeah, I guess so. With all the news coverage though, I guess it’s to be expected.”

 

“Well of course, Hawks! The people love you! Why do you think the government chose you among all the youth they were scouting out?” His mother chimed in, the smile on her face becoming wider and wider with each word. The hero cringed at the mention of the government, but quickly tried to cover it up.

 

Whenever the government was brought up in conversation (almost never by him, the hero relented), his parents saw the whole ordeal as some ‘elite chosen one’ type of program. Standards all children should try to accomplish, even though on the fateful day that had first caught local government’s attention they had both been passed out at home. The government had more than granted them their posh lifestyle, so they would bend over backwards praising both it and the program that had bought off their son at the young age of ten.

 

Hawks smiled, forcing a laugh as both parents stared at him from across the table, almost watching his every move. They clearly wanting something else here, why else would they not show up even after hearing he was out of commision for a week in the hospital, yet suddenly demand a meeting out of the blue?

 

Then again, they had never really been attached to him the same way other parents would be to their children.

 

“I don’t see any wounds on you, thought you might have at least a scar or two after being hurt bad enough to be knocked out for a week” his father grunted, not looking up from his plate. Hawks shrugged, now having to force the smile as well.

 

“It was more smoke inhalation than anything. Some burnt feathers. It was mostly a quirk-related thing though.”

 

The fork his mother had been levitating fell to the table with a loud clank! And Hawks knew within the minute he never should have made such a blanket statement about quirks.

 

“What do you mean, quirk-related? And what feathers were burnt, anything important?”

 

Ah, quirks. His parents could hide behind trained facades of parental love, but in the end it all came down to his quirk. Or, more specifically, his continuation as a hero because of it. You see, no one had ever suspected that Hawks would even fly, let alone have the quirk he was given. After all, even though his father possessed massive wings like him, he lacked the necessities for flight. His wings could never carry his body, and several feathers were too delicate to take on the skies like Hawks could. And when it had been confirmed that his quirk not only allowed him flight but a form of the telekinesis his mother had, his parents were determined to keep things that way. After all, it was a given that he would drop in the ranks until he was forced to stop being a hero entirely if something happened to those scarlet wings of his.

 

“No, Mom. Nothing to do with my quirk. What I meant was the quirk was something that caused it’s victims to be out for a week. And all the feathers that were burnt have already grown back no problem, I’m sure you’ve seen me flying around on the news.”

 

The woman across from Hawks visibly relaxed, giving a curt nod to her son as she acknowledged the words. “I guess I have. Still though, make sure you take care of them. Who knows where you would be without them? I'd imagine it'd be somewhere like where your father was before all of this.” At the mention, Hawks’ father glared at the woman next to him, showing some of the only emotion that he seemed to have.

 

“Well” Hawks’ father spoke up after a minute, looking back down at the plate in front of him. “You must be a busy man nowadays, given how much pressing it took from your poor parents for the three of us to meet. You probably have other places to be, so let’s get straight to the point, okay?” And as he spoke, his tone took on a the hint of exasperated anger it used to have, the tone that told Hawks he was about to get lectured.

 

“Yes”, his mother said as she flashed a delicate smile that poorly covered the mirrored annoyance “let’s. Now, I’m sure that at this point everything is fine, but you were out of the scene for two whole weeks. And even after you came back, it was only part time for what must have been at least another week. Do you know what that does to a reputation?”

 

Oh, so this was why Hawks had felt like he was going to get yelled at when he first arrived. It’s because, in a way, he was. But not for the things anyone else might assume, like ‘how could you put yourself in such a dangerous situation?’ or ‘don’t worry us like that!’ No, it was nothing like the conversations other parents and children might have. This was all about reputation and his quirk- nothing more, nothing less.

 

Kind of like how Endeavor had acted at some points.

 

Hawks froze for a second as the thought so naturally slipped past his defences and into his mind. No, he couldn’t think things like that. For whatever reason, that seemed like the final step to accepting a harsh reality for the hero. No, something about comparing Hawks’ own life to that of what the hero had done -especially parts of his life that he had hated- led to a bigger monster in his thoughts. One that Hawks did not want to tackle for a long time.

 

The meeting with his parents lasted only a few more minutes, mostly consisting of the hero sitting in silence before reassuring them that he would take better care of his quirk in the future. No more burnt feathers, no more days off he eventually had to promise.

 

When he went home that night, the hero collapsed onto his couch. It had been such a long day, he could barely keep himself upright long enough to make it in off the balcony. Dabi still hadn’t contacted him, but honestly the emotional drainage that came with meeting up with his parents made the hero not care about any of it in the moment.

 

Eventually, Hawks forced himself up and off the couch so that he could properly stumble into bed. From there, he was out in a matter of seconds.

 

And that was where the nightmare began.

 

____________________

 

When Hawks opened his eyes, it was to black. The only source of light that could be found spilled in from a door far away, seemingly down a long hallway.

 

The hero pushed himself up into a sitting position, looking around. Something in the back of his head told him that he didn't need to be afraid. At least… Not yet. That same something told him something to be afraid of was coming, it just wasn't here yet. And who knew when it would get here.

 

That answer seemed to be answered though when, suddenly, the door blocking out the light opened. The hall was washed in light as a result of the opening door, light so bright in fact that it took Hawks a moment to notice the small figure standing in the doorway, obviously belonging to the person who opened the door.

 

“Hello?” The figure called out, which Hawks quickly realized as the voice of young boy. The hero didn't respond, the something in his head telling him that he shouldn't. At least not yet. When the boy got no response, he dropped one hand from the doorknob he had been holding so tightly and took a hesitant step into the dark hall. “Hello?” He called out again, a bit louder this time.

 

Still not responding, Hawks stayed as still as he could. It was too bright at the door to make any real details out, so the hero would have to play it safe now.

 

However, this proved harder said than done, and when Hawks’ feathers shifted just the slightest the boy still took notice.

 

“Hello? Is someone out there? Please… If you are, please come with me. It's my Mom… She needs saving.”

 

The boy's voice rang loud and clear now, and he again took a step forward. Hawks almost wanted to run at this point, but forced himself to stay put. If he ran, the boy would definitely see him.

 

The boy called out again, letting go of the doorknob completely now and taking a few more steps into the dark hallway. “I can see you there, Sir! Please come help my Mom. You're a hero, right?”

 

The way the boy said the way hero… It was almost longing. Like he hoped Hawks would be the hero he was looking for.

 

“Why aren't you responding?” The boy called out, “you're a hero, right sir?”

 

Hawks bit his tongue, still refusing to call back. Why, he didn't know. But something told him everything would unravel the second he replied.

 

The boy was probably ten feet away from him now, and Hawks could finally make out details. Much to his horror, he recognized the mess of red hair on the boy's head, suddenly putting voice to person as well. Those blue eyes flashed up at him, hopeful but now also worried.

 

This was Touya. Touya, standing in front of him and asking over and over for help only to get no response. Hawks wanted to help so badly. Jump to action, follow the boy back to his mother and bust the two out.

 

Why didn't he move, then? Not even respond to the trembling six year old in front of him?

 

“Please… Sis is too young, and Mom can only protect her for so long. Hero, help me! Please, we need help!”

 

Tears were boiling up in the small boy's eyes, and he was staring at Hawks desperately.

 

“Why aren't you even responding? Are you going to be like all the servants? The personal doctors? ARE YOU GOING TO SIT BACK AND WATCH HIM TEAR US APART LIKE EVERYONE ELSE?!?”

 

As Touya's voice had grown louder, he'd taken a few steps closer to the hero. Tears spilled over and down his face, which was full of rage. I want to, Hawks kept thinking. I want to, but something's stopping me. I'm sorry…

 

The boy suddenly stopped walking forward, instead shifting to stand in a fighting position. Touya lowered himself slowly, both hands erupting with blue fire. The fire slowly crept along his frail body, and in it's place left scars that belonged to present-day Dabi.

 

“You call yourself a hero, but don't even bother to help? People like you deserve to DIE!” And then Touya was charging him, and Hawks didn't know what to do-

 

Turns out, he didn't have to figure that out. Because a second later, a massive figure appeared in the doorway. With it, a voice echoed down the dark hallway.

 

“Touya. Training. Now.”

 

Endeavor.

 

Touya froze, whipping around to face his father. Slowly, the boy continued to back up, shaking ever so slightly. “No…” he whispered “I can't… Not now…”

 

Suddenly light flooded from behind Hawks, causing the hero to jump and whip around.

 

“Hawks.” A voice sounded, one that was dangerously familiar. Looking at the door, the hero could make out two distinct figures in the doorway. "Training. Now. You still need to pay us off for all those years we looked after your ass before you were useful.”

 

“No…” He whispered, stiffening as he looked at the two figures in the door slowly morph from his parents to his higher-ups.

 

“Come on, Hawks. Leave the boy behind. He's too troublesome for us, there's no point in doing anything now.”

 

What?

 

Something bumped into the hero, knocking him forward gently, and he whipped around to see Touya pressed against his legs, terrified. Endeavor was still standing in the doorway, as were the higher ups. But even though neither party had moved, it felt like they were getting closer to the two. Like the hall was shrinking, getting darker as fears peered at them from the dark.

 

In that moment, Hawks decided something. Something simple.

 

Fuck it.

 

Fuck the something in the back of his head, telling him to stay out of this. Fuck the something holding him back from protecting Touya. He didn't care about it anymore. He wasn't going to play the part of the higher-up’s loyal pet anymore.

 

He whipped around, lowering and grabbing Touya, pulling the boy close and encaging the both of them in his scarlet wings. Protecting the young boy from the fears closing in around the both of them. “It'll be fine, Touya” he whispered “I'll save you. I promise.”

 

___________________

 

Hawks awoke with a start, cold sweat covering him as he practically jumped into a sitting position. Simply sitting there for a second, the hero put his head in his hands and just took a moment to go over everything that was going on in his head. Where had that dream come from? With Endeavor looming at one door, his parents and higher ups at the other, the winged man didn’t know what to think of it all.

 

He had never had a dream that involved Dabi, or even anything that he had seen while viewing his memories. Not even right after he had woken up. So why was it happening now, of all times?

 

The hero shook his head in annoyance, grimacing as the voice of Touya echoed in his head, demanding to know if he was just like the other people in his life. People who would stand aside and let Endeavor rip apart a family, ruin lives. The boy had looked so hopeful at first, asking him to back and rescue them.

 

I wonder if Touya actually ever did anything like that. Asked someone for help.

 

Hawks narrowed his eyes at the thought, shifting to get out bed. It was still only three am, but there was no point in trying to go back to sleep. Not when the winged man knew his thoughts would be buzzing far too rapidly for sleep to come naturally. Leaning over so that he could get his phone, the hero saw that he had a few new texts. Some from Rumi about how he was doing (shit, had he looked that out of it during the day? She knew he had problems with his parents, but hadn’t known he was going to meet up with them), others from his higher ups, and- last but not least, the one that made fear appear in his stomach.

 

One from Dabi.

 

It was a simple text, the villain clearly using as few words as he could to communicate with the hero. He had been closed off like this for the last few months, ever since their memory mishap. Hawks couldn’t blame him, but it was still annoying every once in a while, leaving a pang in his chest he couldn’t quite identify yet.  

 

Fire Man:

 

Want mission? Warehouse #17 by the East Pier. Villain Territory, no wings.

Tomorrow @ 2:15am, no later.

 

No wings, huh? He would bring some feathers anyhow, just to be on the safe side. Who knew if Dabi had finally gotten sick of him, decided to kill him and be done with it regardless of what the league said? Well, Hawks couldn’t say he would be surprised. Even if that meant giving up their only contact with the heroes, the emotions across Dabi’s face that first time they had seen each other after being woken up from the quirk had told him those memories were worth more to the flame villain.

 

After a quick google search of the place, Hawks groaned. Without his wings, this meant he had a long, long, walk ahead of him.

__________________________________________________

 

The next day, Hawks walked around the office like he wasn’t really there. Fought with mechanical moves that were just good enough to get him an easy win. The man still couldn’t shake his dream from last night, and in a way that had caused him to fear the meetup tonight. After all, the words he had whispered to Dream-Touya as he held the boy close still echoed in his head.

 

“I’ll save you. I promise.”

 

Even though the hero had just said those words in a dream, even though the real life Touya had never heard those words from Hawks, it still nagged at him. Even though there was nothing he could do now to reverse all that had happened, he had made a promise. And, as far as the winged man was concerned, a promise was a promise. Something to never be broken.

 

That was what his mentor had taught him, at least.

 

And now it was one in the morning, and Hawks had set out on his journey to the meeting place. Dabi had said something about a mission, asking if Hawks wanted one. Of course the hero was going to accept, and he knew that the burned villain was aware of that. After all, Hawks had told Dabi he would do whatever it took to get into the league. And the hero was far too down this rabbit hole to suddenly decide otherwise.

 

The number two hero made a few more twists and turns down back alleys that Dabi had long since pointed out to him. ‘Good for travel, no one will notice’ the villain had casually said one day, randomly weaving left and right down dirty, dumpster filled alleys away from the main street.

 

The smell of salt on the wind told Hawks he was slowly but steadily getting closer just as his phone told him it was 2:03. Perfect timing then. Dabi tended to be very punctual about time, though he surely wouldn't mind if Hawks showed up just a few minutes early.

 

Pulling his coat tighter as he took another right, Hawks felt the documents along with two long feathers that he had taken with him for this supposed mission press against his side. The hero hoped he wouldn’t need the feathers, that this would just be a simple information meet up with another maybe more complicated mission, but nothing ever went that easy, did it?

 

When Hawks started making his way back out from the alleys and finally towards the main roads again, he could see the light of the moon reflecting against the freezing cold ocean below. Stepping out onto the wooden pier, he pulled his coat even closer. Luckily the warehouse wasn't too far off from where the alleys dumped him off, so hopefully he would soon be out of the way of the biting wind once more. And, maybe, if Dabi was feeling a bit generous, there would be a small, blue, warm fire waiting for him.

 

Ha. Like that was going to happen at this point. Maybe before, but not nowadays.While Dabi had been a little nicer at their last meeting then he had been at the one before that, it certainly didn’t mean the man was nice to Hawks. He would probably still turn Hawks into a chicken nugget given the chance, despite knowing his so-called tragic backstory.

 

Voices could be heard ahead now, and Hawks slowed his walk. The hero shot a look at the warehouse number, which told him he was at warehouse #14, and getting closer. Shuffling off to the side, the hero hid behind said warehouse as he listened to the voices. After a minute, Hawks had found out that their were at least three voice in the direction of warehouse #17. Two women, and a man if he was being exact. Ah, sometimes Hawks really liked his hawk-esk hearing. Just one more perk to having hawk mutations, he guessed. Listening back in, he decided that the three voices seemed to be whisper-talking, though they were unfortunately being too loud to really be subtle, but too far away for the hero to properly know what they were saying.

 

Hawks slowly peaked back out, narrowing his eyes as he looked in the direction of the voices. Was his thought from earlier right, that Dabi had finally gotten sick of him and had gathered other members of the league to finish him off?

 

Ugh, Hawks really hoped that wasn’t the case.

 

The hero was so invested in the three voices ahead of him that he didn’t hear the figure sneaking up behind him. No, didn’t hear it over the sounds of the ocean as it dropped from an overhanging fire escape to the frozen ground behind him. Didn’t hear anything, in fact, until it spoke up. Or at least began too.

 

“Oi, birdy. You’re late, wha- WOAH! What the FUCK!”

 

Hawks had jumped, acting purely on instinct when he whipped around and kneed the voice back, at the same time pulling one of his long feathers on the figure behind him pressed the sharp end to their neck. Standing still for a second, Hawks was met with the narrowed piercing blue eyes and scarred skin of Dabi, who currently was holding his hands up in surrender and looking at least slightly annoyed. “Oh” the hero said, quickly pulling back and taking a step away from the annoyed looking villain. “Sorry about that, but in my defense you would have burned me to a crisp if I tried the same thing.”

 

“Yeah, yeah” Dabi muttered, eyes watching the scarlet feather still pointed in his direction. “Put that thing away. What I was going to say, before you rudely interrupted me, was why the hell are you hiding away over here? You do know that I said to meet at #17, right?”

 

“Well, yeah” Hawks begin “but I heard voices, and I didn’t know if they were allies or not. Can’t really go parading around to everyone I hear and assume it’s you, given who I am. Besides, you’re the one who told me to come without wings. It’s called being cautious, flames.”

 

And just like that, the two fell back into some sort of awkward friendliness. Not quite where they had been before the memory incident, but close enough that the hero was oddly happy. Not that he would ever tell Dabi that, though.

 

“I guess. Didn’t think of you as the type to think things over before jumping in, though.” Dabi said with a smirk, turning and walking back towards warehouse #17. “Now, let’s get back before those three idiots you heard come looking. I was hoping to keep you more in the sidelines for this one.”

 

“Aw, really? What is this mission anyhow?” Hawks asked, wandering after Dabi as the villain crossed back out onto the pier and over, then leaving it to start climbing the fire escape of warehouse #17. The voices were clearer to Hawks now, but he still was having trouble pinning down more than a few exact words over the sounds of the ocean.

 

“We got a trade going on with some other gangs in the area. We need to collect some things that were recently… Let’s just say given to us after the other group decided to skip town.”

 

Hawks gulped at the implications, but nodded. “So what do you want me to do?”

 

“Well” Dabi said, crossing the roof now and overlooking the other side of the warehouse. Hawks went to stand next to him, and upon looking down saw at least five people shifting large looking crates around, opening them up and then pushing them to the side. All the while yelling at each other. Curious, Hawks eyed all of them to see if he could recognize anyone. Eyes drifting over the first four, and the hero came up with nothing. The fifth, however…

 

“Hey! Compress! Get over here, I have someone I want you to meet!”

 

The villain looked up from where he was talking to a blue haired women, calling out “sure thing, Dabi!” Before disappearing into a cloud of smoke. Hawks stepped back from the roof, shooting a confused look at the flame villain. I hadn’t seemed like the villain had recognized him from down there, not with the tan sweater falling over his face and covering over half of it at least. That still made the hero on edge, though, and he wasn’t putting his guard down.

 

Wait.

 

If Dabi had called up Compress, who was a known member of the Vanguard Action Squad and League, then did that mean…

 

“Hero, I think it’s time you finally meet someone other than me. Not the boss, obviously, but this should do for now.”

 

Hawks whipped around to stare at Dabi, eyes wide, just as the tall villain made his way onto the top of the roof in another flash of colored smoke. “Yes, Dabi? What is it you- Oh hello! I almost didn’t see you there! Who are you?”

 

Dabi stepped to Hawks’ side, putting himself slightly between Compress and Hawks. Meanwhile, Hawks was so shocked at the sight in front of him -the realization that a new member of the league was standing right in front of him- that he didn’t answer the question, leaving introductions up to Dabi.

 

“I’m sure you’ve heard around about our favorite newest spy. He’s just here to do more work, prove himself some more before he meets Handsy. Figured he should meet another member though, since he’s only been in contact with me for over half a year now.”

 

“Half a year? And he hasn’t met anyone else sooner? You truly are evil, Dabi.” Compress chuckled back, sticking out a hand. “Nevertheless, I already know who this is. Nice to meet you, ‘hero’ Hawks! I hope we get along well in the future!”

 

Hawks numbly took the other’s hand, giving it a small shake. “Uh… Yeah, same here. I’m excited to get to know you more!” All the while, he was cursing Dabi in the back of his head. Why hadn’t the villain at least given him a warning before calling the other up?!

 

Compress then turned away from him, asking something of Dabi though Hawks honestly wasn’t listening anymore. He was getting closer to his goal, slowly meeting the new members of the League. Maybe after this he could meet one of the more wanted villains? As long as he had more of a warning, Hawks was up for it. Maybe even that psycho chick Toga he had heard about, the one who liked to stab people for some weird reason. Dabi had mentioned her in passing before, and the horror stories were enough to put the toughest of heroes on edge.

 

Soon though, Dabi was waving his hand at Compress and sending him back down to go help the others again. As soon as the villain was gone, Dabi turned back to Hawks. “So, what do you think? Happy to be meeting other villains finally?”

 

Hawks didn’t respond for a moment, then cleared his throat before responding. “I-uh- Yeah. Yeah, thanks for finally bringing someone else along. Oh! And I have all that information that you wanted!”

 

“‘Finally?’ Well, whatever. Figured I would bring someone along that wouldn’t go screeching your identity to every soul in the League who doesn’t know it yet, and who wouldn’t try and kill you upon sight. I think I chose well. And give me those documents, then I actually can give you the mission. Didn’t just call you here to meet Compress, after all.”

 

“Aw, really? I was looking forward to actually sleeping tonight!”

 

“What, didn’t sleep last night?”

 

Flashes of the dark hall and Touya shot behind Hawks’ vision. “Uh… No, not really. Hero work.”

 

Dabi didn’t look like he believed him, but also looked like he honestly didn’t really care. “Whatever” he said, thumbing through all the documents Hawks had passed over “your mission is to go patrol around this area. Make sure no one’s coming to interrupt us while we collect what’s ours. I’ll come get you when we finish up.”

 

“Oh, okay. Guess I’ll start on that then…”

 

“Okay.”

 

Hawks looked at Dabi for a split second longer before he turned and made his way back down the fire escape, not daring to attempt a fly down with his wings as small as they were. The villain had gone back to overlooking the other villains below, not even watching Hawks as he left. The flame villain looked almost tragic in the pale light, scars lighting up and reminding Hawks of his fiery past. About the dream, the promise he had made to a younger version of the man before him that hadn’t even existed.With a huff, the hero turned and stepped down out of sight. At least he had gotten to meet another member of the League. And who knew? Maybe this was a start to something more.

 

~~~~~~

 

Dabi turned as soon as he heard the hero’s footsteps fade away down the metal fire escape. He didn’t know how he felt about the hero, knowing what he did. On one hand, Hawks was a hero, one who worked directly under some of the people who must have fought tooth and claw to make sure people like the villain were kept out of sight and mind. Hawks knew his past, and even though Dabi knew it was ridiculous, hadn’t done much of anything about it. Though the villain didn’t know what he wanted the hero to do about it, if he was being honest. On the other hand, Hawks had a life similar to the one that Dabi himself had lead in his youth.

 

Forced to train for countless hours out of the day, pushed to his limit more often than not and introduced to things that he definitely shouldn’t have known how to do at that age. In fact, their main difference had just been how they become tools for those above them.

 

Whereas Dabi had been born for it, Hawks had been made for it.

 

And there was something odd about that fact that stuck out in Dabi’s mind, something that made his thoughts hover over the ‘fake’ hero. Made him almost wonder if he would have turned out like Hawks if things had been even the slightest bit different.

 

Well, the flame villain thought with a twisted laugh, there was no point in asking those questions now. He had changed a long time ago, killing off who he had used to have been in exchange for who he was now.

 

The villain turned away from the five idiots below him, turning to look over at the warehouse next to theirs, where the figure of the number two hero was standing and overlooking the surrounding area before moving on to check out the other warehouse. Yeah, Dabi decided, sometimes the bird brained hero made him think. Think about how different both of them could have turned out.

 

Slowly, the villain closed his eyes to the cool night air, letting it envelope him. While others might find the cold annoying or even unbearable, Dabi found comfort in it. With coldness came all of the things that he had connected to safety and love in his childhood, and it still seemed to breathe some life into his body whenever it really consumed him.

 

He really did have the body of an ice user, huh.

 

Slowly looking up to the sky, Dabi let out a breath. The night sky was cold and empty of clouds, letting the stars shine through.

 

It looked just like those night where the bird brain had snuck onto his roof as a child, trying to escape the shouting from inside. The nights when Touya had done the same, crying after a harsh training session. The two of them unknowingly looking at the same sky, wondering what things would be like if even one little thing was different.






Chapter Text

That night, Dabi would admit that he wasn't thinking when he lit his fire. The air had been dry, and the warehouse he had met the hero in had been full of burnable materials. So when the crazy memory-swap chick had shown up, the last thing he should have done was starts throwing fire.

However, he had exactly been thinking straight in that moment. The only thoughts going through his mind had been shit, this girl recognizes both of us. And that had been enough to launch the villain into action.

Dabi remembered everything getting hot, the air becoming suffocating, and the desperation in both his and Hawks' attacks. By the time half the building was coated in blue fire, Hawks had grabbed onto his wrist and yelled that they needed to get out, and now. Dabi remembered giving in after only a second, the two making a break for it.

Then after that crazy chick had hit both of them over the head with her quirk, he remembered suddenly becoming lightheaded, the world tilting on its axis before he fell to the ground. The sound of a body hitting the ground behind him told the villain Hawks had met the same fate.

So we're both going to die here, huh?

The last thing the villain had remembered before going under into what he would later learn were the memories of the man beside him was the footsteps of the crazy woman approaching him and Hawks, a sneer in her voice as she spoke.

“Have fun watching the show, you two.”

_____________

When Dabi had next awoken, it had been to a cold and darkened room, splayed out on the floor. Shooting up lightning-fast, the villain had winced as echoes of pain flooded his head. It felt like someone had taken a hammer to his skull, damn. Rubbing his skull in an attempt to get rid of the throbbing, the villain cautiously rose up and looked around.

The room itself was almost bare, small with barely enough room for the small bookcase in one corner and bed in the other. A drawer was shoved next to the bookcase, paint on it peeling from age. A carpet had been tossed onto the floor in an attempt to make the place look nicer, but other than that everything in the small room gave off an eerie aura of unease. The place didn’t look very lived in, the only thing tell Dabi otherwise being some clothes shoved into one corner of the room and various books laying on the small bed.

Where had that crazy lady taken him?

Because this had to be her place, right? It was run down, better looking than the place Dabi currently called home but still below standard for most houses. The lady wasn’t very public with her attacks, therefore not many people knew her face. She must not feel a need to escape to the more rundown places of town to live because of that.

As Dabi brushed off his coat and finished taking everything in, his eyes fell on the doorway and narrowed. The door? Well it was left wide open, almost calling for the villain to make a break for it. Come on, Dabi it sneered run, I don’t see anything here to stop you.

But Dabi had been in situations like this before. Where he had been put into a situation that was supposed to ‘test his mental strength’. Where he heard the cries of his younger siblings and mother, but couldn’t do anything about it because if he left the room his father would attack, and he was too weak to fight back-

Needless to say, the villain wasn’t going to just strut out of this room without fully knowing the situation. Who knew what would happen if he did. Who was waiting for him to leave this small room. Slowly, Dabi moved towards the door, not making a sound as he moved.

As the villain slowly got closer, he could start to make out two voices, coming from down the hall. A man and a woman’s, Dabi decided after a moment of listening. Though none of them appeared to be the voice of that crazy lady. So she wasn’t around right now? Or she was, he couldn’t tell. The tones to their voices were angry, though the way that they were speaking under their breath in hushed argument made it hard for the villain to hear what exactly was being said. If the villain strained his ears hard enough, he thought he could pick out words like ‘useless’, ‘drunkard’, and ‘annoying’ among the hushed yelling, though there was no being 100% sure in a situation like this.

There was suddenly a movement behind Dabi that made him jump, as something -or more accurately someone- jumped out of the small bed (how hadn’t Dabi noticed the figure in it earlier?) and crept along the creaking floorboards to the door. And along with it, the scared and deadly villain.

Dabi pulled back away from the door, watching with eyes the size of dinner plates as the figure didn’t even look at him, just slunk across the tacky carpet to the room’s entrance. The closer the figure got to the door, the more it stepped into the light. Because of this, the villain was able to finally get a better look at who he had been unknowingly sharing the room with.

Honestly, the villain didn’t know what to expect when he thought of a person that would be put into the same room as him. Another villain, most likely. Maybe even a hero, if the crazy chick hoped they would duke it out once both came back to consciousness. Certainly not a kid. And if it was a kid, certainly not one that looked no older than four.

The kid was blonde, a boy in a big, white shirt and loose shorts who was currently rubbing the sleep from his eyes. His back was oddly lumpy against the shirt, and Dabi narrowed his eyes before passing it off as some sort of mutation quirk. He looked right passed Dabi, not even acknowledging the presence of the tall black haired man in his room. Instead, he slowly crept until he was leaning against the doorframe in front of Dabi, and slowly poked his head out and down the hall, towards where the angry voices had been coming from. The boy tilted his head in the direction of the voices, as if listening in on the conversation. “Mommy? Daddy?” He called out hesitantly after a minute, still looking down the hall with wide, innocent eyes. “Is everything okay now?”

Dabi heard the voices down the hall stop, and couldn’t help but narrow his eyes. So the two arguing were this brat’s parents? Did they even know who Dabi was, and if so why put their toddler in the same room as one of the most wanted villains in Japan? They probably didn’t know, maybe the lady had ditched him in some alley and they had taken him in. But that didn’t explain why he had been thrown on the floor then.

None of this was making any sense whatsoever.

There was an annoyed sigh from one of the voices, and then more quiet arguments before the fall of footsteps getting closer could be heard. The boy in the doorframe scrambled back into the small room, a smile spreading across his face now. Dabi himself also pulled back, more and more unease settling in his stomach by the minute. The villain slowly fell forward into a fighting stance, waiting for the person to enter the room. There would be hell to come and questions answered if he had anything to say about it.

A woman, maybe in her late twenties or early thirties, suddenly appeared in the door. She had messy blond hair and golden eyes to match the boy’s, convincing Dabi in three seconds flat that the two were related. Those golden eyes were narrowed at the toddler in front of her, annoyance blatantly obvious. Dabi felt his own blue narrow back at her. No matter how bad the argument was with whoever she had been snarling at down the hall, there was no reason to turn that on the boy.

“Do you really need something? Or are you just yelling?”

Dabi watched as the child slowly pulled into himself, slinking back further into the room and looking down at the ground. “I’m sorry, are you two still… Is everything okay?”

The woman sighed, putting a hand to her face but now clearly at least trying to mask the anger. “I… We’re just trying to sort something out, Sora. Now stay in here, okay? We don’t need you getting into it.” At her words, the kid -Sora, he guessed?- winced and pulled in on himself, his form suddenly becoming smaller somehow as he pressed against himself.

“I can try. Sorry, Mommy. I don’t need anything.”

The woman looked him up and down for a second, then nodded. “Go to bed, Sora” she said before turning and walking away, not looking back to make sure the boy actually did it. A second later the male voice could be heard again, followed by the woman’s as she assumedly told him what their son had wanted. Slowly turning his eyes back to the boy the middle of the room, Dabi watched as slowly the boy made his way back to the bed on the other end of the room and turned on the lamp light. He leaned against the wall for a moment, putting the stuffed animal he had been carrying in his hands next to him on the bed with a sigh.

“Mommy and Daddy are too busy, huh?” The boy whispered to himself, leaning his head back. He stayed stock-still for a moment, then let out a huff. Scooting away from the wall, the kid reached an arm around to his back and yanking on the shirt. Suddenly, one of the weird lumpy things under the white shirt he wore moved, and with a few more yanks a bright red wing sprang through what Dabi now saw was a hole in the back of his shirt. Several more yanks, and a second one appeared to accompany the first.

The villain froze, eyes wide as the young boy before him smiled and spread the small wings out to their full length. Even though he was young, they were already so big on his body. Dabi watched, mind slowly turning as slowly he aged the boy in his head by several years, picturing what he would look like if they were around the same age and wincing when the only thing that could come to mind was the face of a hero.

What the hell was going on here?

Suddenly his head began to swim, the pain that had since vanished to a dull echo coming back again at full force and hitting the burned villain over the head.

Cursing, Dabi backed up and hit the wall across from the boy's bed, sinking to his knees and pulling them close to his body, all the while staring miserably across the room at the winged boy. Even as the villain snarled and clearly pulled back in pain, the boy- Sora? Dabi still didn't want to call him what he thought the boy might also go by- didn't react. Just continued humming softly to himself as he folded his wings comfortably against his body and laying on his stomach.

Despite the anger that seemed to lay just outside the room, Sora smiled and played with his stuffed animal. The last thought that Dabi had before the pain became too much and dotted his eyes with black was, distantly, I need to figure out what's going on. And fast.
________________

Dabi next awoke to shouts and snarls as two people fought, anger radiating throughout the air around him and the sound of things being knocked over following. Instincts that had been drilled into the villain at a young age kicked in, and the villain was on his feet in a second. The villain only swayed slightly as he looked around where he had woken up, taking the area in.

It was a different room this time, one that looked like a living room that lead into a kitchen instead of the small bedroom that he had woken up in last time. Dabi duly noted that just like last time, he had been thrown on the floor haphazardly. Though his head didn’t hurt nearly as much as it had this time around.

Now on his feet, it didn’t take the villain more than ten seconds to find the source of the anger and noise in the room. Maybe ten feet away from where he stood, a black haired man had his back pressed to the wall and a fist raised, other hand blocking his face from view. Standing next to the counter a few feet away from him was the woman that Dabi recognized as Sora’s mother, blond hair shaken up and ripped from it’s bun as she stood in a threatening pose, facing the man. “YOU PIECE OF SHIT!” She screamed, and it was at that point that Dabi saw the bottle hovering in the air next to her. Was that her quirk’s doing, or the man’s?

“Oh shut up, you’re no better than me!” The man spat, raising his fist a bit higher and flexing what Dabi now noticed were black, raven-esk wings. They were smaller than a certain bird’s that he knew, which was odd considering how much broader and taller this man was. Idully, the burned villain wondered if the winged man could even fly with those things.

“I’m not the one who got put up in the drunk tank last I checked, loser!”

“Not like you've never been there, hell I can smell alcohol on you right now!”

“Don't you dare-”

“Shut up, you bitch!”

At that, the hovering beer bottle slammed against the wall a few feet away from the man, glass shards spraying everywhere and scattering on the tacky white carpet below. Both parties froze at the loud sound, and Dabi saw the woman go stiff as the black haired man's eyes shot wide. Clearly something like this was either uncommon or hadn't happened before, something the villain took odd comfort in. Whenever his father had broken something, well…

He hadn't looked even a quarter as startled as Sora's mother did right now.

Dabi was suddenly pulled from his thoughts by a small, muted whimper behind him. It was so quiet he almost didn't hear it, but Dabi knew what the small cries of a child sounded like by this point.

The villain whipped around as soon as he heard the sound, thoughts that he had been trying to suppress for years suddenly jumping to the front of his head. Thoughts of his siblings, hiding and crying as their father searched the house for his next victim, snapping up and dragging whoever he saw ‘worthy’ back into the pits of hell that the training room had become over the years for the Todoroki family.

Ice blue eyes only had to search the room for a second before they landed next to an ugly brown sofa lazily shoved against one of the living room walls. Though Dabi couldn’t see the source of the sound exactly, he saw a flash of red peeking out over the arm of the couch, a foot slightly sticking out from the person’s hiding spot. And based on the glimpse of red the man had seen last time he woke up, Dabi had a guess as to who it was.

Looking back at the two adults in the room, Dabi was slightly shocked to find that although the mother had turned and looked back towards the sofa, she had quickly scoffed and turned back to the man in front of her. The man in question hadn’t even looked beyond a flash of the eyes, and those were focused back in on the young woman in front of him the second she turned back to him.

The two stared each other down for a second, anger still rolling off of both adults as they sized each other up like crazed animals. They were trying to be intimidating without actually fighting, that much was obvious to the street-veterend villain, and he might have even chuckled at how ridiculous the whole exchange looked if his mind wasn’t currently torn between the fight and the small child hiding behind the couch.

The woman was the first of the two to surrender, scoffing and whipping around to stalk away from the man still pressed against the wall. “I’m going to bed. You to, Sora. Oh, and Hisoka? Sleep on the couch you useless sack of shit.” Then she was stocking off, hair whipping behind her as she turned into the hall and vanished. The man (Hisoka?) slowly stepped away from the wall, watching her go with cautious eyes. As soon as he was sure she was gone, the man turned towards where Sora was hidden.

“Hear your mother, boy? Get to bed already, it’ll be a whole nother ordeal with the woman if she thinks I can’t even control my own son.”

Oh, Dabi thought bitterly, this 'Hisoka’ is Sora's father.

The man didn't even check to see if his son had moved, instead letting out an annoyed sigh and grabbing his coat, cigarette already between his teeth as he slammed the front door behind him and vanished into the night.

Dabi stayed where he was standing for a second longer before the sniffles from behind the couch once again drew his attention. Not suspecting either parent to come back anytime soon, Dabi slowly walked over to where he had seen the red-feathered boy, looking slowly around the arm of the couch. Sure enough, there sat Sora, knees pressed against his chest and head hiding behind his hands as he wiped away quiet tears. The kid’s body shook with his quiet sobs, and Dabi couldn’t help but feel an ache in his heart he hadn’t in a long time. This kid was clearly hurting, scared and unsure of what to do.

Something that the burned man, in a past life, would have been able to relate too.

The villain had no clue how often the couple fought, much less how often they fought in front of their son, but he somehow got the feeling that this was far from the first time. Knew it in the way that boy's hands held fast to himself, just shaking. Knew it in the way that the sobs coming from the boy we're quiet and contained, something trained to go unnoticed.

He was used to hiding while the adults fought it out, that was sure. Used to making himself invisible and waiting for it all to tide over.

Dabi stopped when he was standing in front of Sora, kneeling down so that the two of them were on eye level, even if the boy wasn't acting like he could see him. Silently, he looked the winged boy up and down, making sure he was okay. It was a habit, one that was hard to break after doing it all his life. Though if he was being honest, it had come in handy more times than one, when someone (whether that be a sibling or a member of The League) was trying to hide a wound for whatever reason. Yes, it was a particularly annoying habit, one that Toga liked to call his 'big brother's instincts (though any betraying shoot of pride that Dabi felt at the term was immediately forced down).

There was a few fingerprints bruised into the young boy's right arm, like he had been grabbed tightly and yanked by someone. Other than that though, Dabi couldn't see anything. Whether that was for better or worse, the villain guessed he would just have to find out as time went on.

Sora stayed hidden behind the couch for a few more minutes, slowly gathering himself before he finally began to move. As he uncurled himself, however, Dabi saw that the young boy had been holding something. It looked like a doll, one that he had seen ads on TV for and even seen floating around his house at one point (though it had met an untimely end soon after- burned by mysterious blue flames that everyone claimed to not know the source of).

It was an Endeavor doll. Cheap in price, which was honestly probably why the kid had it. Still though, it threw Dabi off and made the villain’s eyes narrow ever so slightly. It seemed like the kid was a fan of false idols, and while the reasonable part of the tall man told him that there was no way this kid could know what was probably happening behind closed doors as they spoke, it didn’t stop him from getting angry. Dabi tensed for a moment, wondering if he should just leave the kid after all. It didn’t seem like the small child knew he was there anyhow.

However, seeing the small whimpers of the scared and crying child broke that anger inside of him, reduced it until it was a dull annoyance. Letting out a click of annoyance, Dabi moved back to stand by the child, naturally falling back into a protective stance- something that had become a habit over the span of his life, among The League and even beforehand, when he lived on and off the streets every night stealing to get by.

By his side (though Sora surely wouldn’t notice him now if he hadn’t already), the boy began to slowly move forward. He was as silent as a mouse, stealing glances between the door and the hallways as he krept across the room. Curious, Dabi slunk ahead of him and down the hall to check things out. There were three doors, one to a bathroom and the other cracked halfway open at the end of the hall. It wasn’t hard to guess which belonged to Sora and which belonged to his parents. Sneaking to the end of the hall, Dabi was able to see through the open part of the door to where the woman from earlier sat on her bed, an empty beer bottle on the nightstand next to her and the smell of a freshly lit cigarette leaking out from the room. Her back was turned to the door, and she clearly didn’t look like she would be moving to bother Sora anytime soon. Didn’t even look like she really cared what her son was doing at the moment, if the dismissive words from earlier mixed with how she looked now said anything about it.

Dabi turned to look back down the hall, where Sora was still standing. The boy was staring at the front door with a hesitant look, then looked back down the hall towards the room where his mother sat before slinking down towards the other room that Dabi could only guess belonged to the young boy. Red wings were pressed tight against his back in what almost seemed like an effort to make himself seem smaller, and when he got close to his door Sora bolted into it. Dabi stopped for a second, watching where the boy had vanished before slowly falling into pace behind him and walking back up the hall.

By the time Dabi had entered the young boy's room, Sora was huddled on his bed. Soft whimpers slipped from the boy's mouth, and he was still shaking. The burned villain felt his heart clench in his chest, and approached the side of the bed hesitantly. Although he knew that Sora couldn't see him (that much had been confirmed by this point), Dabi still wanted to reach out and comfort the boy.

The villain watched as Sora shifted on his bed, turned to look out the small window next to him. There wasn’t much to look at outside, but the young boy looked nonetheless. Was he looking for his father, who had just stormed out? No, the look in his eyes told Dabi that whatever he was looking at was much farther away.

In that moment, the young boy looked like he was truly lost. How someone of that age could already look so unsure of everything, Dabi wasn’t sure. But it was evident in the way that he looked out the window. Like Sora wanted to open his wings and fly until he was among the clouds and across the city.

Though Dabi didn’t know it at the time, this would be far from the first time he ever saw that look on the winged child’s face.

No, this was just the first time that it had appeared on the future number two hero’s face.
______________________________

The next time Dabi woke, it was again to screaming. Though this time, something ached in the villain's gut that told him he needed to move and fast.

He was still in Sora's room, though the young boy wasn't there himself. Dabi got up and looked around the bed, behind the bookcase, and found nothing. The small kid's absence in itself was immediately concerning for the villain. After all, he had been around every other time so far.

Turning, Dabi exited the bedroom and rushed down the hall to where he had woken up last time. Maybe Sora's parents were fighting again, and the young boy would again be hiding in the living room.

Dabi wasn't questioning the angered shouts as much as he should have. He just thought the young boy's parents were yelling again, something that had seemed to become the normal whenever he came too. Something that, in a way, had been normal in his childhood house as well.

But the closer the villain got to the living room, the clearer he could make out the voices. The yelling. And in that second he realized just how one-sided this fight really seemed to be.

“What the fuck did you say to them, boy? Tell them that your mother's a useless whore, that your father's a stupid bastard? Don't think I haven't heard what you said!”

The voice was that of Sora's mother. It was loud, shaking as she screamed- at what, Dabi couldn't see yet. However, a voice shouted back that made the villain's blood turn to ice.

“No! I p-promise, Mom! I didn't say anything bad about you or Dad, I promise!”

Sora.

Dabi whipped around the corner now, eyes narrowing and preparing to fight even though the villain knew he wouldn't actually be able to do anything. What was the woman talking about?

“Then how come that stupid friend of yours’ mother approached me earlier, huh? How come she came up to me, told me that she could help with our family's 'problems?’ Your father already makes having a good reputation hard for me, what the hell kind of problems are you trying to say I have!?”

“None! No, Mom! I swear! I never said anything, really!”

Sora was tense, cowering in front of his mother with a panicked look in his eyes. Bright red wings were pulled tight against his back, and he was holding an arm up protectively. The blond haired woman was glaring eyes of gold down at him, mouth pulled in a snarled and face flushed with alcohol. The thing that made Dabi's blood boil, however, was her right arm. Raised like she was prepared to bring it down against Sora with all her might. “You better not be lying to me, Sora. Telling the neighbors horrid lies, saying things about your parents you know aren't true!”

“I-I promise I'm not! Please, I'm not lying!” The young boy was whimpering at this point, pulling in on himself more and more with every passing second.

Dabi raced the woman out of instinct, raising his fist and aiming it at her even though he knew nothing would happen. The villain's fist fell right through the woman, but he aimed again nonetheless. Too many scenes were flashing through his head, memories from someone he thought had died long ago. He couldn't think clearly in the moment.

Sora whimpered, tears falling down his face now as his mother glared him down. “Please” he whispered, eyes now shooting behind his mother before they jumped back to her when she moved slightly. “I'm not lying!”

Suddenly, from behind the woman, a familiar voice sounded. “Misumi, stop. You’re acting childish. Besides, what would the neighbors think of you if the boy showed up with a bruise tomorrow? It wouldn’t do good for your precious reputation. Grow up.”

Dabi stopped for a moment, for the first time looking behind Sora's mother -Misumi? He realized then that he had never heard her name before- to where Hisoka sat, glaring as well. Almost challenging her to question him with his eyes. Everything was quiet for a moment apart from Sora's small whimpers until Misumi broke the silence.

“I wasn't going to actually hit the boy, you idiot. Just scare him into not lying to me. Have to get the brat to respect me somehow, since apparently he thinks we have 'problems’.”

Hisoka just snorted, muttering something about how this just proved how much of clueless moron the woman was before going back to the book in his lap. Misumi stared at the blatant uncaring nature for a moment before huffing, pushing Sora roughly to the carpeted floor and storming past him to her bedroom.

Dabi glared at her as she left, holding back the urge to try and punch her again as he watched her stalk away. Once she had disappeared into her room, blue eyes immediately fell back onto Sora.

The young boy was crying quietly now, wiping tears from his eyes as his body shook with scared sobs. Sora's knees were slightly scraped, as were his palms Dabi realized upon closer inspection. When the villain looked back to the chair Sora's father was sitting in, he felt a twinge of anger at the man's blank and uncaring features. He didn't look up at his son, didn't even say anything to him as he continued to read.

After a moment, Sora got up and slowly walked to his room, still quietly crying. As he did, the headache returned to Dabi. Determined to protect the boy even if he couldn't physically do anything, Dabi followed Sora into his room despite barely being able to walk by the time he got there.

Sora slowly climbed into bed, curling up with his face in his knees. As Dabi sat down almost protectively by the door, vision dotting black, he watched the boy cry himself to sleep.
_____________________

It was after Dabi came too, got dizzy and lost conscience four more times that it happened.

When Dabi had woken up this time, the usual dizziness and annoyance still fading in and out of the villain as he followed Sora down the busy city streets. People went this way and that, and the young boy simply gripped his Endeavor doll (Dabi would rather not the red-winged boy have the doll, but since it had been present the last two times that the burned man had woken up he figured it was an important thing to the boy by now. He just wished that it wasn’t) and went with the flow of civilians around him. Cars sped by on the road, and the chatter of people all around gave Dabi a slight headache.

Sora has just reached the street corner and was watching a nearby TV airing the latest hero fight when it happened.

Dabi, who had been boredly looking around and wondering what the hell he was doing, had seen it first ultimately.

A commercial truck was speeding by a bit faster than the others when it suddenly swerved dramatically to the left, just missing a car in the opposite lane. The person driving must have corrected themselves too much, because a second later it was swerving back into its original lane, than out the side and onto the sidewalk. Dabi reared back on instinct, staring wide-eyed at the place where people had surely just been. The large commercial truck skidded against the side of a building, loud scraping sounds filling the air along with the screams of civilians. Dabi himself froze, only to unfreeze a moment later and whip around to look put eyes on Sora.

Who wasn’t where he had just been a second ago.

Confused, the villain whipped around again and spun in a circle, trying to set eyes on the boy. Had he run away? Maybe. Just as Dabi was about to leave though, a woman next to him froze. She pointed and shouted at the top of her lungs:

“Look! They’re all safe! Everyone’s okay! But whos… Whos that boy?”

Dabi turned again and froze at what he saw, heart tightening with unease. Because, there, standing next to a group of shaken looking civilians, was Sora.

Dabi slowly made his way over to where the group of shaken people were sitting, some still looking at the now burning truck like they couldn’t believe what had just happened. A man who Dabi could only assumed was the driver was standing on shaky legs and talking to the ten year old child in front of him.
“Y-y-young man, thank you so much! You're a hero! Can’t be-believe you did that, I’m so sorry! All of this is my fault. I was jus’ tired, long night out on the road and all, and oh I should have stopped and slept, not kept drivin’ like that!”

“It’s okay. I don’t mind, as long as everyone is okay.” Sora responded, face almost blank as he held the Endeavor doll close to his chest and looked up at the man. Looking closer at the truck driver now, Dabi could see a softened feather laying limp through a hole in the back of the man’s shirt, one that Dabi had no doubt Sora had put there. When the burned man shifted his gaze to the other people in the group, he found that most of them also had pierced pieces of clothing, red feathers littering the ground around them.

So Sora had done all of this that fast. The lump that had slowly been building in Dabi’s throat ever since he had first arrived in wherever-the-hell-this-place-was grew just the tiniest bit bigger in that moment. He knew someone back home that could fly just as fast, who’s feathers could detach sharpen and save in the blink of an eye. Someone who, in this same situation, would have probably done the exact same thing that the young boy in front of him had just done without even thinking. Because that was what a hero did when it came down to it.

At this point Dabi was in blatant denial, but he would stubbornly hold onto the last bit of doubt saying that this kid wouldn’t grow up into the man he knew until he saw it with his own eyes.

When the police arrived, Sora wrapped up his conversation with the people that he had saved and started walking away, blending back into the crowd until it was almost like he had never been there. Policemen ran over to the small group, EMTs joining them as they assessed the group for injuries. Dabi already knew what the results would be though. No one would be hurt, no from what it looked like people were more shaken up then anything.

“Sir, can you please tell us what happened?” One of the cops was asking the truck driver now, who had crouched down after Sora left.

“That… That kid. He saved me. All of us.” When the cop raised an eyebrow, the truck driver pointed to a scarlet red feather on the ground. Dabi could only guess it slipped from someone's clothing after everyone had landed safely. “Kid had these bright red wings,” the truck driver continued “the feathers… They went flyin’ off of him and hit everyone out of the way. Includin’ me. Kid could control 'em, maybe. I'm not sure. I just know he's one hell of a kid, that's all.”

The cop raised an eyebrow, picking up the feather and examining it before writing some things down on the notepad in his hands. The dull pounding that Dabi had come to associate with the ending of a scene slowly crept back into his head as the cop looked up. “Thank you for the information, sir. I'll be sure to pass it along to some of my higher ups, that boy sounds like something.”

The truck driver shot a wide smile back at the cop, unknowing and assuming. “Sure is!” The man laughed, “if you ask me, that boy should be a hero someday!”

As the scene faded out, Dabi swaying on his feet as the dizziness sat in full-force, the two men laughed. And along with their laughter, the fate of a young boy now sealed.

________________________

 

When Dabi awoke once again, he was back at the small house, laying on the floor of Sora's room. The ten year old boy wasn’t in sight right off the bat, but something told Dabi that the situation wasn’t as intense as it had been in the past when he couldn’t find Sora.

Standing near the door, the villain couldn’t hear Sora's parents snarling at each other like usual, instead an odd peace of sorts seeming to fall over the house. The fighting had quickly become a norm, even for Dabi, who seemed to fade in and out existence. Figuring that one of the parents must be out of the house or passed out on the couch, Dabi walked down the hall in search of Sora.

When he reached the living room, Dabi’s eyes fell on Sora’s mother who was propped up on the side of the couch. Her eyes drooped every once in a while, and he could tell with one look that she was at least slightly buzzed (as per usual, by this point. While Sora’s father was definitely the worst of the two drinking wise, that didn’t mean the boy’s mother didn’t have alcohol in her veins every other time he woke up). Across from her, the TV was on. It displayed a fight between Endeavor and some purple-scaled villain who looked like she could create a sticky sort of webbing. Dabi chuckled slightly at the sight, the woman was definitely putting up a good enough fight against the currently-number-two-hero.

Sora sat in front of the TV, watching it happily while he played with the small green soldiers that Dabi had seen earlier. When Dabi couldn’t find the boy’s father, he assumed he was at work or something. It seemed like Hisoka was only around when he needed or wanted to be, which left Sora with his mother most days.

The villain was pulled from his thoughts by a knock at the door, loud and sharp. Sora looked as well, putting his figures down and turning away from the TV to face the door. When his mother didn’t move, only giving her son a look and motioning him to go answer whoever was at the door, the ten year old put his things down and got up.

Dabi followed, slightly curious but not expecting much. Maybe another adult coming to talk to Misumi? A friend of Sora’s, coming to see if he wanted to play?

 

Dabi didn’t know what he expected, but it certainly wasn’t two men in suits with briefcases. Both looked down at the young boy that had opened the door, immediately tunneling their vision in on him in a way that made Dabi uncomfortable. Well, now that the villain really watched both of their eyes, they weren’t focused exactly on the boy. No, instead their eyes seemed to be focused completely on the bright red wings behind him.

“Are you Takahashi Sora?” One of the men in suits said, looking down at the young boy in front of him. When he said his name, Sora took a step back, shifting like he was prepared to slam the door and run. It was obvious that these were the kind of people who had never been around where the ten year old lived, and the fact that they knew his name must have set off multiple red flags in the boy's mind.

Nevertheless, Sora answered them. “Yeah… Why are you here? Are you looking for my parents?”

The two men looked to one another for a second, almost as if they were having a silent debate before the second man turned back to look at Sora. “If your parents are around, that would be best. This is… Classified information, at least at the moment. You will be aware of it eventually, but both of us would like to talk with an adult first.”

Dabi immediatly didn’t trust these men. They seemed shady, using terms such as ‘classified information’ and zeroing in on Sora’s wings. The villain himself had been around people who only valued others on the basis of quirks almost all his life, whether it be from a past life or the creeps that roamed the streets, eyeing him up and down before purring about how strong his quirk was, how impressive it made him seem. He knew the look when he saw it, and seeing that look directed at a child was incredible unnerving.

By this point, Sora’s mother had stood up from her spot on the couch. “Sora, who’s there?” She asked, stumbling slightly as she walked over. Misumi looked the two men on her front porch up and down, eyes wide with shock. It wasn’t hard to tell that the woman had just about as good of an idea of why the two men in suits were here as Sora and Dabi did. “Hello, sirs” she eventually said, one eyebrow raised. “What can I… Do for you?”

“Are you Takahashi Misumi?” One of them said. Sora’s mother narrowed her eyes, almost as if she was considering lying to the two men or demanding to know what they wanted. Honestly, Dabi hoped she challenged them- something about them made the villain’s hair stand on end.

“Depends on who’s asking. My idiot of a husband hasn’t gotten himself into any trouble, has he? I would assume you’re not here for the boy.” She laughed at the end of the sentence, clearly expecting the two men on her doorstep to be here for Hizashi.

“Actually” the second man on the doorstep said, face blank and voice void of any emotions. “We are here for the boy and solely for him. I assume you are aware of his actions five days ago, yes?”

Misumi was silent for a second, a dumbfounded look on her face before she shot a glare towards her only son. “No, as a matter of fact I am not. Don’t know what the boy did to catch the eye of someone as fancy as the two of you, but I can assure you that it won’t be happening again. I’m afraid he takes after his father in more ways than one.”

The two men shot a confused look to each other, then back to Sora’s mother. “You didn’t hear…? It was all over the news, ma’am. We would actually hope that your son continues doing what he did last week. That’s what we came here to discuss, actually. You mentioned he takes after his father? How, if you would be willing to say? Maybe we can step in and discuss this?”

Misumi stopped, looking even more confused than the two men on her doorstep. Finally, running a hand over her face, the woman stepped away from the door and motioned for the two to come inside. “I at least want to know what my son did before I kick the both of you out and tell you to never come back. Come in.”

“... Thank you, Ma’am.” One of the men hesitantly replied, looking at the other before they entered the house. As they did, Dabi watched the two men absorb the room around them. Everything from the beer bottles and cans to the other random pieces of garbage that littered the floor long abandon. How the walls had peeling paint and how the couch had alcohol stains dotting across it from years of use. Dabi watched as one man looked around with poorly masked disgust, elbowing his partner and pointing to some of the trash and beer bottles that inhabited the kitchen table. His partner just nodded back, following Misumi to the couches where she was pushing some trash off the coffee table and onto the floor before sitting in an armchair and gesturing for the two men to sit in the couch across from her.

“Sora- go to your room. I’ll call you back out if we need you” Misumi said to her son, grabbing for the remote and turning the TV off. Dabi noticed that Endeavor had captured the woman by this point, talking to police as the the reporter spitballed facts about the newly captured villain.

“Ah, Endeavor? We’ve worked with him in the past, you know.” One of the two men said, and Dabi tensed at the statement. Was that why he had gotten such a bad feeling about the two when they first arrived? He had personally never met the men in suits, but he knew that they had been aware of what happened in the Todoroki household and even helped to cover it up. What did they plan to do here?

“Oh really? Sora watches him sometimes, he’s his favorite hero.” The mention of these men possibly working alongside the current number two hero seemed to have caught Misumi’s attention, as she had dialed back on the uncaring manner and sat up a little straighter. “What did you say that Sora did? I’m afraid that he doesn’t talk to me often, what with me and his father being away at work so much.”

The shift in how Misumi acted and spoke was eerie, even to someone like Dabi. It was trained, perfected even. In that moment Dabi had no trouble believing that the woman had little struggle when it came to getting what she wanted. All she would have to do was flip on the charm and she would seem like any other kind-hearted, pretty and innocent woman- not the one that Dabi had come to know her as, not the mother that Sora thought of when he pictured her.

“I’m sure that you at least heard about the commercial vehicle crash last week?” One of the two men said, putting the briefcase down on the coffee table and opening it up while his partner took over the conversation.

“Yes of course,” Misumi replied enthusiastically “driver fell asleep at the wheel and drove the truck straight into a crowd of people on accident. Though there were only slight injuries, because an unknown civilian jumped in and saved everyone. But how’s Sora involved? Wait, was he one of the people almost killed!?” She sounded more worried about her son than Dabi had ever heard, and the villain let out a cold laugh at the thought. Of course she was playing it up once she got a good idea about who these men were.

“Well, you’re right about Takahashi Sora being involved.” The second man said, grabbed a paper from the other at his side. Dabi noticed that it was a detailed report of several eyewitness descriptions about the person that had saved them, all matching up with Sora. “After reading over this, we hope that you’ll agree with us in the fact that this sounds like your son, Miss Takahashi.”

Misumi grabbed the paper, narrowing her eyes and reading over it. Bright red wings with feathers that could detach? Sora. Blond hair with golden eyes? Sora. A boy short for his age, but still estimated to be around the age of ten? Again, that had to be Sora. There was no other way around it.

“This… Wait, you’re saying that Sora, a ten year old, saved all these people?”

“Well that’s what we were hoping to confirm with this visit. If you don’t mind, would you be willing to call him back out here? We would like to see a demonstration of his quirk, if you don’t mind.”

The woman nodded, and Dabi could only watch with a lump forming in his stomach as she called the young ten year old back into the living room. First, she interrogated him and demanded to know why he hadn’t told her about the incident. When Sora just shrugged and muttered out an ‘forgot to’, Misumi sighed and shook her head before turning him over to the two men.

First, Dabi watched as they had Sora spread his wings. How fast could he fly, how high? Had he been practicing flying? Then, they had the boy remove some of his feathers. Sharpen them, then cut something with them. Shoot them across the room. All the while, while one was telling the young boy what to do the other took frequent notes.

When the testing had ended, Sora was sent back to his room ‘so the adults could talk’. That phrase rubbed Dabi the wrong way, and he glared at the three adults left in the room. One of the two men was rummaging through the briefcase they had brought when the other said the one thing that would truly change Sora’s life forever.

“Ma’am, we are without a doubt that your son is the one that saved all of those people. He has a wonderful quirk, and can control it better than any other kid we have seen so far. Truth be told, the two of us are looking for children that we can help guide towards becoming the next big heroes, and we think that your son has what it takes. He would need to come with us, but we would be taking full care of him. I promise he would be in safe hands. Of course, you and your husband would be compensated handsomely in exchange, and we would support both of you for the rest of your lives if you chose to sign Sora on with us.”

Misumi was frozen. “Compensation?” She finally asked, eyes alight with curiosity in a way that pulled anger forward in Dabi’s chest. “What kind of compensation would it be, if I could ask?”

“Of course. We would pay both you and your husband handsomely in exchange for Sora, and put the both of you up in a nice neighborhood with a nice house close to the facility where Sora would be training as well as living. If you wanted to, we could probably even start the program with him living with the two of you-”

“What did you two say that your program was about again? Training promising kids to be the next big hero? If you’re saying that my son really did save all those people, well that sounds like something heroic to me. Besides, Sora loves heroes.”

The two men sat there, shell-shocked at the quick response. It was clear that they had been expecting at least some kind of hesitance. Not the eagerness that Misumi seemed to be showing. One of the men shifted, looking at the other before clearing his throat. “Well, your cooperation certainly makes this whole process easier. We would just need both you and your husband’s signatures saying that we could take the position of legal guardian over your son.”

He held out the paper, and Misumi grabbed it lightning fast. She looked over the page briefly, nodding along as she went. Walking behind her and looking over the woman’s should, Dabi could see that some of her future ‘compensations’ were listed. Disgusting. He could practically hear the woman counting off the zeros in her head.

“We’ll be back in two days,” one of the men said as him and his partner stood up. “Please have an answer by then. If you answer yes, make sure your son’s things are packed. We’ll be picking him up then.”

She looks like she could give an answer now, with the lifestyle you promised her.

Nevertheless, Misumi nodded and smiled. She showed the two men out of her house, waving as they left while still holding some of the papers that they had given her. Sora crept out of his room when the men left, and his mother just smiled at him before smoothing out his feathers and telling him that they would need to get him a suitcase tomorrow. “You’ll be spending some time with those men who came” she had said, eyes alight with a strange excitement. “No need to worry. I’ll discuss things with your father tonight, but I just thought I would tell you in advance.”

Dabi glared on as the ten year old who didn’t know any better, didn’t know anything that was going on around him, just nodded. A pounding suddenly entered Dabi’s head, signaling that the villain would soon pass out. He sighed, following Sora back to his room again as Misumi smiled and read over the papers she had been given.

Chapter Text

The next few memories passed by in a blur. Sora’s father signed off on the form almost as quickly as Misumi had after hearing the promise of money, and Sora was sent off with the two men in suits one week later. His parents were moved into a nice house close to the facility, though they would never make any moves to come and visit. Meanwhile, Sora was moved directly on the Hero Commission's grounds. There he could be monitored at all times and controlled in almost every aspect of his life.  

 

Dabi watched as the two men took Sora into a room full of other high-titled professionals, introducing him and explaining that the boy would be training with them until he could officially debut as a pro hero at the age of eighteen. The whole time everyone was introduced, Sora stood stock-still and was constantly looking around like he was already expecting an attack. But Dabi couldn't blame the young boy, being picked up and shoved into a whole new world for the sake of everyone but himself.

 

Training was intensive and often hard to watch for the flame villain. He had to look away more times than not, feelings of anger at not being able to do anything making old memories rear their ugly heads. For a while Sora was thrown from one ‘handler’ (as the men in suits called whoever oversaw the boy) to another. The fact that Sora was ten didn’t seem to mean anything in the eyes of the people that watched over him with their cold eyes, and Dabi felt a ball of anger shifting in his gut whenever he watched the boy get shoved to the ground, whoever was observing him yelling at him to get up again.

 

Slowly among the mess of people constantly moving in and out of Sora's life, one person became recurring.

 

It was a woman. She wore a suit and constantly had her dark brown hair pulled into a tight bun. She always seemed to have a slight frown on her face, and shaded glasses covered her eyes whenever Dabi saw her. It was probably related to the woman's quirk, though the burned man wouldn't have been surprised if it turned out she only wore them to look intimidating.

 

The mysterious woman never spoke to anyone, just watched from the corner of the training room as Sora jumped and dodged, throwing his small body into the air before being thrown violently to the ground again by his opponent.

 

The woman was there for maybe a month before she actually made a move.

 

Sora had been living in this place for three months now, training day in and day out. The boy's parents still hadn’t stopped by after the first time their son was brought to the facility, and Dabi wouldn't be surprised if they vanished all together. The two had gotten their money, and would keep getting it. Their new life. Their new social circle. There was no reason to pretend they cared for their son, and honestly that seemed to be what the Commission preferred.

 

After all, less people caring about Sora meant they could get away with doing more to him.

 

On the day that the woman had finally spoken, it was with a voice that demanded respect and deserved it. She had been standing to the side with three men in suits like usual, watching as Sora attempted and failed to dodge the stone-turned fist of his opponent. Upon being hit, the boy was thrown halfway across the training room, hitting the ground and sliding several feet before coming to a rest.

 

“Get up!” His opponent yelled, bracing himself before running forward at the younger boy. Dabi had to look away now, staring instead at the blank wall across from him.

 

It had become normal for Dabi to hang around the small group of people observing Sora’s training, listening to what they had to say about the small boy they had bought. The woman was among this small group, usually just staring down at the fight below. Every once and awhile, she would click her tongue in annoyance or scribble something down, but other than that nothing was said. Not until Sora was cornered in the training room by his opponent, fighting back with the desperation of a cornered animal, and one of his feathers flew out. The feather had struck his opponent head-on, cutting his shoulder and forcing him back so that it’s owner could have enough time to regain composer.

 

While it was still sloppy, the move was not unlike one of the stupid bird-brained hero’s that had been used against Dabi during their first meeting, after he had jumped the number two hero in a back alley. In the villain’s defence though, how was he supposed to know that the number two hero wanted to join the league?

 

Sora snarled desperately, shooting another feather at his opponent before to the side, spreading his wings and trying to lift himself off the ground and out of the other’s reach. Right as the man gathered himself again and jumped after Sora, the woman decided to speak.

 

“Both of you, stop!” She called out, commanding voice echoing across the clearing. She glared from the observation deck down to the fight below, eyes not moving neither the boy nor his opponent until they had lowered their guard. Sora was panting, wings pulled close against him and shaking as his opponent slowly lowered the spikes that jutted out of his back, coming to a stand still and looking up to where the speaker stood. “Masaru, you may leave for the day. I think the boy has had enough, and I believe that we both know what would happen if you broke The Commission's newest little toy. Boy? You’re coming with me, I’ll be down in a moment.”

 

Dabi watched with narrowed eyes as Sora’s opponent (Masaru?) nodded silently, gathering himself and leaving the arena without so much as a peep of protest. The woman turned to look at the three agents behind her, clicking her tongue in annoyance. “I don’t think the boy has learned much” she spoke coldly “I’ll be overseeing his training myself for the next week. If you have a problem with that, bring it up with someone who won’t waste my time with pointless arguing.”  

 

Slowly, the villain followed the woman down a winding staircase and into the main training hall before she opened the door to where Sora was. The woman stepped aside to let Sora’s opponent out before walking in, eyes hyper focused on the boy in a way that made Dabi uneasy. He couldn’t read this woman accurately, couldn’t tell what she planned to do with the young boy in front of her. An analyzing glare swept through her features, eyes narrowing as she approached Sora and saw the bruises that decorated him. Pressing what Dabi now recognized as a communicator attached to her ear, she spoke. “Has this boy gotten any specific one on one training yet?” There was a pause as someone on the other side of the device no doubt replied. Then she spoke again. “I guessed that. I mean, you just have to watch the boy for an hour to tell he has no real clue what he’s doing. I’m taking over for the rest of today.” Then she pulled her hand away from the device, lowering her eyes back to Sora’s nervous form. “Okay boy, time to get you some proper training.”

 

Sora hesitantly nodded, and Dabi suddenly felt a familiar thumping in his head- one that told him he would soon be passing out, only to wake up somewhere else. Why he had been shown something so trivial, the villain didn’t yet know. So the woman was going to train Sora, others had done it before. What was so special about her?

 

Dabi stood by the wall as he watched Sora get lead back out to the training field, where he stood and nodded along to whatever the woman was saying. The villain continued to watch the odd pair as he slid down into a sitting position, the thumping turning to a steady pound as his vision started to blacken at the edges and eventually he passed out.

___________________________________

 

The next scene that Dabi came conscious too was odd for a number of reasons.

 

To start off, there was laughter almost all around him. A sense of ease, like there was a moment of peace. Of course this didn’t mean that the area around Dabi was physically peaceful, and it seemed like the opposite if the villain was being honest- people were racing this way and that yelling to one another, but everyone around him seemed content.

 

Upon getting up, Dabi immediately swept the crowd to look for Sora. Searching for the young boy had become a steady habit, though the tall man would never admit to it if asked. At this point, the young boy was really one of the only things that Dabi could count on as a constant whenever he would get ripped away from one scene and thrown into another. And, honestly, he felt for the kid. Sora had no say in what happened to him, just like Dabi himself had at his age. Though this was also something that he would never tell anyone, take it to his grave in fact.

 

At first the burned man didn’t pinpoint anyone that looked like Sora in the busy office-looking room he had awoken in. People were yelling and running this way and that, trying to put something together. Turning his head this way and that, Dabi couldn’t pinpoint where Sora was until a laugh sounded from the far corner of the room. The laugh wasn’t one that Dabi could honestly remember hearing as of recent, yet it vibrated with a familiar brightness that the villain recognized in someone else (the thought of Sora and that someone else were the same person, while it was becoming more apparent day by day, was still something that made him wince).

 

Turning in the direction of the laugh, Dabi felt his blue eyes widen. There, on the edge of a table, sat a boy that couldn’t have been any older than thirteen. The blond hair, gold eyes, and massive red wings gave away immediately who he was.

 

It was in that moment that something occurred to Dabi. He had never seen the boy laugh before in these scenes, at least not like this. Maybe a soft smile every once in a while, a laugh done out of politeness. Never something like this, that was just a pure and natural laugh . It made Dabi hesitate, looking for a second at the thirteen year old that sat across the room from him. Just watching as Sora eventually stopped laughing only to start excitedly talking to someone that looked to be an intern, maybe twenty years old or so. Dabi walked over to him, stepping through the small crowd of people running this way and that in the office even though he knew they couldn’t make physical contact with him at this point. When he came to the place where Sora sat, the villain settled himself next to the boy. Sora was excitedly talking about leaving the facility later in the week, something about the way he said it making Dabi believe he didn’t leave often.

 

“Takahiro.” A voice suddenly sounded. It was strict, a woman’s, and Dabi didn’t even have to turn and look in the direction of the speaker to guess who it was. Instead looking to Sora, the burned man watched as the hero in training’s eyes brighten, a smile forming on his face as he leapt up off the table.

 

“Medusa!” He said happily, giving a small flap of his wings as he walked over to where the woman sat. “How have you been? How was the meeting?” The young teen was so at ease that Dabi had trouble believing that this was still Sora, the same boy that had hid in his room and avoided all adult’s gazes whenever he could the last several times that the villain had woken up. Dabi watched as the woman (Medusa? That had to be a name she went by, though the man didn’t know of any heroes past or present that went by that name) looked over Sora for a second, as if think about what to say before she replied. Yet, as she looked over the energetic boy in front of her, the usual unease that would normally shoot through the villain wasn’t there. Something told him this Medusa woman wasn’t a threat, despite the aura of power she gave off.

 

“I’ve been good, the meeting went effortlessly for the most part. Like always, the supervisors were impressed by your progress, though they did mention wanting to a do an official test of your skills within the next two months. I’d personally say that you’re already on the level of a third year hero trainee though, so I wouldn’t worry too much.”

 

“Last time they’re test was easy! I’ll just use my feathers again, no one ever suspects that! Especially with the new tricks we’ve been working on!” The thirteen year old said, and that moment was probably the closest Dabi had seen Sora to being a regular thirteen year old, he realized. Carefree and just a little too cocky for his own good. The man now stood next to Sora, looking lazily between him and Medusa as they talked.

 

“Don’t think too highly of yourself, Takahiro. Remember how many heroes met their end because they thought ‘it was easy’? You are more skilled than any your age, but that doesn’t mean you are above getting in danger.” Sora nodded, a look of seriousness on his face though Dabi highly doubted the teen was taking the words of the woman in front of him with complete seriousness. “Also, there are two things I need to speak with you about. And I know that you’ll want time to think about one of them especially.”

 

Sora was silent for a second, pausing, a confused look in his golden eyes before he nodded. “What is it?” He asked, nervousness edging into the corners of his voice. “Something bad?”

 

The woman called Medusa hesitated now, and Dabi felt an ugly pit grow in his stomach. “You can see it however you want, I just want you to know that I haven’t given a reply to their demand yet.” Now just what the hell did that mean? The villain felt himself tensing, preparing to fight who he didn’t know. Did it really matter at this point? “The committee says they want to start introducing the public to some aspects of your history. Mainly how you saved civilians who otherwise could have been severely injured or even died, how your training is going, and some of your life before you were picked up by the government. There would be some interviews eventually, but mainly photoshoots to start out with. Your parents would be there for some of this, public family appearances if nothing else. I argued that you should have a say in some of this, maybe leaving some of the family ones until later on. You can think about it and tell me your answer anytime. Just know that I’m prepared to fight for you if need be. After all, you know how I feel about all of this publicity shit.”

 

Sora was frozen for a second, eyes locked into his mentor’s own. If one looked close enough, they would be able to see that he was visibly shaking. That immediately concerned Dabi, who knew from personal experience the fear that could shoot through someone at the mention of their parents. Though he had never felt fear for his mother, his father had been able to bring it out of Dabi and his siblings with a single glare. “Oh…” The boy finally said, looking at the ground. His wings drooped slightly, and the smile that had been adorning the young teen’s face was completely gone. “... How soon would all of this be?”

 

The woman sighed, though it didn’t come off as annoyed. At least, not annoyed at Sora. “It would be in about a year or so, after you’ve gotten a bit older and the public will easier accept you as a hero in training. After all, you won’t be able to ‘officially’ debut until you turn eighteen. The company wants you to be able to achieve as much as possible as fast as possible, so publicity is the clear answer.”

 

Sora was quiet again. Then, softly, without making eye contact this time, he whispered: “Can I think about that? I… Don’t know if I want to do things with them yet. I haven’t even really seen them beyond for an hour or so every once in a while in a long time.”

 

“Of course. Just come to me with an answer within the next week.” Then the woman was quiet for a second, staring at the young boy in front of her before she cleared her throat. “They also asked something else be done in preparation for your publicity. I’ve talked to you briefly about  -this before, but you are going to need a hero name sooner rather than later. It’s about time you choose one.”

 

Dabi swore he had never seen someone bounce back that fast before. Sora’s wings immediately shot up, that smile (though not as bright as before) shining again. The look on his face barely contained the clear excitement that he was feeling, and Dabi nearly laughed at the ridiculousness of it. “A hero name?! I finally get to make one? Yes!” Sora fist pumped the air, practically jumping now. “I have so many ideas that I’ve come up with, something catchy and easy for the announcers to say when they’re covering me on TV!” Dabi sneered at the comment, because even though he wasn’t even officially a hero in training yet, the teen was thinking like a hero. A quick look at the boy’s teacher showed she thought something similar to Dabi, albeit probably with far less malace than how he thought it. Everyone he was around, everyone that oversaw his training had probably taught him that heroes at least half-lived to appease an audience.

 

“So do you have any ideas?” The woman chuckled softly now, a look of amusement crossing her visible features. “It sounds like you’ve been thinking about it at least a little.”

 

“Some! Like Crimson Flash! Because I’m so fast? Maybe Phoenix? Or Harpy!”

 

At this point, Sora’s mentor put a hand on the boy’s head. “Sounds like you have a lot of ideas, we’ll have to talk about it. I do think that something to do with your wings would work nicely though, they make up such a big part of who you’re going to become as a hero. At least, if everything goes well.” Sora nodded, smiling up at his mentor with that big bright look again. It was almost hard for Dabi to believe that the boy had been so hesitant and clearly distressed over the topic of his parents just a minute earlier. “Now let's go back to training. We can talk more about these kinds of things later, after you’ve finished the physical portion of you’re hero work for the day.”

 

Sora followed his mentor without hesitation, still babbling on and on. Just as Dabi was about to follow, his world spun a little and a light thumping started in his head. Leaning back against the desk for support, Dabi caught one last thing from the boy before him and his mentor were out of earshot. “How about the hero name… Hawks?”

 

That was when Dabi felt his heart freeze. So this was it, he realized. The day when Sora made the transition from just being a poor boy forced by the hands of the Commision to fight and train to a hero that would later top the billboards, stopped only by the one he had looked up to as a child.

 

Now dizzy for other reasons then the quickly growing headache, Dabi gripped the table harder and harder for balance. Though he had known by now that Sora and the hero he knew outside of this odd world of never ending memories, having it confirmed by name almost made the thought worse.

 

And as Dabi crumpled to the ground, headache becoming too much, he couldn't help but think of the man that he knew today as nothing more than Hawks. Comparing him to boy he had known until now as Sora.

 

_______________

 

The next several times that Dabi awoke were a blur of Hawks' (it felt weird to call him Sora, and no one else called him that anymore- Dabi thought he heard someone say it was to 'get him used to being referred to as his hero name', though it seemed a bit excessive in the villain's eyes) rise into his hero career. The now teen got mentors specifically for advertising, coaching him on how to look and what to say when addressing the public. Coaches in how to respond to different questions, what to say to interviews and how to rise above all the others on the billboard. It was a sickening sight, reminding Dabi somewhat of the training he had received and what he guessed most future heroes received today. It was all glamour, a huge act put on for the public. Disgusting.

 

Hawks made his first official appearance at fifteen, a year younger than most other young heroes that Dabi knew back in the real world. It wasn’t anything big, something actually smaller than what had first made the Commision aware of Hawks’ existence. The teen had simply stopped a few wanna-be robbers who ultimately posed no threat to anyone other than the unlucky cashier. No, compared to the lightning-fast reflexes that had saved multiple lives before, this was nothing.

 

By the time the red-winged teen was sixteen, he was getting his first interviews and had even been in two or three commercials from what Dabi could understand. The Commission was incredibly proud of the results they were getting, praising Hawks and ‘that beautiful quirk of his’. He spent at least two days out of the week now patrolling, while normal heroes in training his age wouldn’t have even thought about patrols yet. Three other days out of the week were spent training, with one spent on review and the last day of the week off. Though Dabi missed seeing a lot of what happened to the hero over the years, it was easy to put the pieces together.

 

And with every memory flowing, it became easier and easier to believe that he actually wanted to join The League- by doing that, he could finally take down the people that had essentially robbed him of most of his childhood.

 

Medusa was killed by a petty thug desperate for revenge when Hawks was only nineteen. It was easy to see that the hero (who was already the Number Five hero in Japan at his young age) was extremely affected by it. Dabi had been blasted into the memory as Hawks stood at her funeral, tears spilling quietly over his golden eyes. The hero took two days off for the death of the woman that had essentially become his mother figure before the Commission threw him right back into his work, uncaring of how their top hero was doing emotionally. Nevertheless, Hawks had stood in front of the flashing cameras after capturing a villain, fake smile straining as he greeted the public.

 

The last memory that Dabi saw wasn’t that old, from the looks of the man across from him. It had started with Hawks sitting outside what looked to be an office, shoulders tense as he looked down nervously at his phone. Peaking over his shoulder, Dabi could see the start of an article reading ‘League Strikes Again! Public Outcry At Lack of Heroic Response!’ Hawks huffed at the article, and for a moment Dabi wondered what the date was. If Hawks was already a double agent or not (whether that be for heroes or villains, the fire wielder still wasn’t sure).

 

After a few minutes, the office door opened and an orange haired woman appeared, smiling at the hero. “They’re ready for you, Hawks” she said. Opening the door the rest of the way, she stepped to the side as Hawks stood up. The hero was wearing that fake smile of his, the one that hid any negative feelings that he might have and covering it up with a lazy smile.

 

“Alright, thanks!” The hero said, following her through the door. Dabi sighed, clicking his tongue in a bored curiosity before following the winged hero into the massive room. Looking around, it was easy to see that the person who the office belonged too was high up in society, the room itself decorated in different plaques assigned to different pro heroes, awards in a small showcase covering half of one wall. The size of the room was immense, and a large table took centerpiece. A smaller desk stood in front of the giant window that made up one of the walls of the room with a man sitting at it, another man and a woman standing in front of the desk as all three poured over what looked to be dozens of paperwork. All three of them were talking with an insistent chatter that gave Dabi a headache all on it’s own, talking over each other and grabbing one paper after another to shove into the other’s face.

 

The orange haired woman smiled tightly at the sight, looking apologetically at Hawks before walking over to the three and softly clearing her throat. “Ahem” she said, pausing until all three heads turned to her, looking angered at first until they saw who had interrupted them. “Winged Hero Hawks is here as you requested, boss.” She said, looking pointedly at the man behind the desk. The woman in front sent a narrowed glare at the hero, puffing out a breath of fire before she turned back to the apparent boss.

 

The man himself had brown hair that curled slightly at the edges, blank yellow eyes being the only physical signs of a quirk that Dabi could see at the moment. “Aw, Hawks,” the boss said, forced smile slipping onto his face. “Glad to see you made it. The three of us -as well as many others- have been talking about something important recently. After a lot of deciding, we came to the conclusion that you would be best for the job. Your an extremely competent hero, and your history with us only makes you more qualified for this mission.”

 

The blurred edges become more intense now, and Dabi had to squint to make out Hawks’ face as the hero smiled and replied. “Of course,” he said “a mission. What is it that you want me to do?”

 

Suddenly it felt like Dabi’s head was being split open, ripped in two. The feeling was so intense that the villain stumbled back, eyes wide as he searched for something that could have caused such a heightened feeling. He hadn’t felt anything like this before, what was so different about this memory? It had already been strange with how blurry the scene had been, how distant all the voices had sounded when people spoke. None of this had happened before. Now the edges of his vision was blurring beyond compare, dots of black showing up as the fire quirk user tried desperately to stay oriented.

 

The last thing Dabi heard before he hit the ground was Hawks, bowing with red wings unfurled, saying almost solemnly: "... - then I will take this job."

 

___________________

 

When the flame villain next awoke, he shot up fast, breathing heavy. Blue eyes shot wide, he looked around quickly to establish his surrounding. Was this another memory? If so, where was he?

 

It took a minute before Dabi realized he was in one of the rooms at the League's temporary hideout. Giving himself a minute to slow his breath, the man looked down at his chest and hands to fine tightly wound bandages, messily tied at the ends like the person who had done them didn't know what they were doing. Or, well they just didn't give a shit. Dabi was willing to bet money on the latter being what had actually happened, it was too easy to picture Shigaraki doing only as many bandages as were needed before leaving the room.

 

As the villain slowly moved his arms, he winced at the familiar feeling of fresh burns. Of course there would be more he thought with a sigh, just hoping that he had enough staples back at his shitty apartment to deal with the problem. Letting out an annoyed groan, the villain slowly lowered himself back. His thoughts were running a mile a minute as they tried to catch up with everything that may or may not have happened. At this point, it wouldn't have surprised the villain if all of that was some twisted smoke-induced dream about the hero his brain had somehow formed.

 

Apparently when he had lowered himself, the groan had been enough to alert others to his awakening. Of course, the current hideout was a small place with barely any privacy, the rest of the league probably being right outside the room whether they liked it or not, but them knowing he was awake was not something the villain wanted to deal with right now. Unfortunately, however, upon hearing the groan there was an excited scream from the other room and soon Toga was standing in the doorway.

 

"You're awake! Everyone, Dabi's finally awake!" The teen yelled, jumping now as she rushed into the room and launched herself onto the bed. She didn't lay off until Dabi let out a hiss of pain, pulling away.

 

As she pulled away, still jumping excitedly, Twice skidded into the room. "Lazy piece of shit you were out for a week! Finally, you're awake! We've missed you!"

 

Dabi groaned. He really didn't want the whole League to be storming him when his head was still sore and-

 

Wait. What did Twice say?

 

"How long did you say I was out?" He asked, trying to sound cold and uncaring. Twice and Toga shot each other a look, before Toga looked back at the burned man.

 

"About a week, like Twice said. Why?"

 

"No reason, just wanted to know. Was it really a week? Something like that that fire shouldn't have taken me out."

 

Toga paused for a second, looking at him curiously before opening her mouth to speak. However, a voice cut her off before she could start.

 

"That stupid woman you fought put a quirk on you. You would be dead if one of our suppliers hadn't recognized you and or decided to leave you for dead."

 

The voice belonged to Shigaraki, who was currently standing in the doorway. A glare was evident on man's face, showing just how annoyed he was. "I was honestly tempted to throw you out at first because we didn't know how long you would be out, if you would even wake up. Compress did some digging and found out that the lady who put the quirk on you made you share memories with someone else. When we heard you'd wake up soon enough, we just put you away for the time being."

 

Dabi pushed himself up with a wince, glaring at the villain across from him. "What kind of quirk did you say that lady had? A memory quirk?"

 

Shigaraki lifted an eyebrow, looking across at the injured man. "Yes. The victim passes out, then witnesses someone's memories from the most important parts of their life. What shapes them into who they are, apparently. Who'd you see?"

 

Dabi froze in that second. Switching memories? So all those things that he saw were real? But wait. If that was true, and he had seen Hawks' memories, then…

 

"Shit."

 

"What?" Toga asked, a concerned look on her face. "Did you see something bad?"

 

"No… Just a boring normal life. Nothing of use."

 

"Then what do you think the other person saw?" Shigaraki asked then, crossing his arms and glaring across at the fire user. "Anything we should know about before shit hits the fan and the heroes target your weak points?"

 

Dabi gaped for a second, anger flaring in his chest. "No, you don't need to know anything ." He spat. "If anything comes to light, I'll kill the fucker that saw my memories before they can scream. Until then, I have it under control. Now leave me be."

 

Dabi turned away from the three in his room, hearing Shigaraki click his tongue in annoyance as he walked away. Toga and Twice stayed only a few seconds later before slowly turning and walking away themselves, a soft 'get well' on Toga's lips before they shut the door and Dabi was once again plunged into darkness, alone to ponder his panic.