Shouto blinks as Midoriya breaks down into a fit of laughter before him.
He ...doesn't know what’s going on. At first his chest pangs, slightly, in fear that Midoriya isn’t ready to accept his apology. But even so, he’d like to think he knows Midoriya well enough to know he wouldn’t laugh at him over something like this.
As Midoriya continues to laugh and laugh, that possibility seems more and more unlikely, and now Shouto is just….
Eventually, thankfully, Midoriya seems to regain his composure, meeting Shouto’s eyes with an odd smile. He coughs slightly, shaking his head.
“Todoroki I’m--I’m sorry,” Midoriya says, still trying to stifle his giggles. He blinks, clears his throat and just like that, his face takes a darker turn. Shouto’s heart lurches again, this time in worry.
“Midoriya, are you okay? Did I--?”
He cuts Shouto off with a firm shake of his head. “No, no, not at all. I was just ...I was laughing at, er. At the irony of it.”
Shouto furrows his brow, frowning. “The irony of it?”
“Yeah. Because, well. It turns out, actually, that All Might. He's ...well. He’s my dad.”
Shouto’s brain clicks a few times before whirring to a stop. He blinks once, twice, before shaking his head.
Midoriya grins, dry. “Surprise?”
“....You’re not joking. He’s really your father? Not that it matters, of course, I--”
“Not that it matters?”
Shouto cocks his head. “I mean, not that it matters as in it doesn’t matter to me, who your parents are. But ...All Might is actually your father?”
Midoriya doesn’t reply, instead gazing at Shouto intently, but with an expression he can’t quite decipher. He starts to worry again, unsure if he should interrupt whatever thought he must be processing right now, when Midoriya shakes his head, smiling softly.
“I ...that's really nice to hear, Todoroki. Thank you.”
Shouto’s throat tightens, and he doesn’t trust himself to speak. Instead he nods, hoping it’ll be enough. Midoriya’s smile lingers a moment longer before he opens his lips again to speak.
“But, yes. He’s really my dad. And no, I didn’t know until a couple days ago.”
“Wait, what?” Shouto asks, slightly dumbstruck. When Midoriya had told him that All Might really was his dad, he assumed he’d known all this time, of course, and had just been trying to hide it from Shouto during the Festival. Which would’ve been completely understandable, as Todoroki now realizes how much of a prying question it had been.
Even when he’d thought All Might may be Midoriya’s dad, he knew it was a longshot. He never felt any sort of certainty, and he understands he was mostly projecting because of his own damn father.
And now to know that All Might is Midoriya’s dad, and for Midoriya to not have known--
A sudden rage begins to prickle at Shouto, a different kind of heat than his own flames. “He never told you? Not until a few days ago?”
“And he knew? He knew he had a kid?”
It’s after the words left his mouth that Shouto realizes what a prying question it is, but before he can Midoriya nods, meeting him with something of a sad grin. Shouto clenches his left fist, taking in a deep, even breath. He can feel frost beginning to prickle at the nape of his neck.
Blinking, Midoriya raises his brows. “What?”
“I--I’m sorry, Midoriya, but he knew he had a kid, and he didn’t tell you? He wasn’t in your life? He’s--All Might is supposed to be one of the good heroes.”
Shouto shakes his head, biting down on his tongue as he darts his gaze. “I shouldn’t talk about him like that. I know how you feel about him, and I shouldn't ...assume things.”
This time, Midoriya’s smile is a bit brighter, and his laughter sounds almost genuine. “It’s okay, Todoroki. Because….it sucks. And it hurts,” he finishes, the words heavy on his tongue and he sighs after as if they’ve been weighing on him. “I get his reasons. I do. But it still hurts, even if I don’t want it to. I want to forgive him ...but I don’t.”
“That’s okay,” Shouto says. “I ...with my mom. It took me a while to forgive her, to rebuild things with her. And I think you can do that with All Might, if you want to. But you also don’t have to.”
Again Midoriya meets his gaze, and Shouto almost gets lost in the wild green of it. Suddenly he feels a pressure on his leg and he tenses, before he sees that it’s Midoriya’s hand gently grasping at his knee. He relaxes, if only slightly, his breath still uneven.
“I--er. I’m sorry for dumping that on you, Todoroki. But thank you for listening. I haven’t told anyone yet and ...I really think I needed to.”
Shouto pauses, before blinking. “You haven’t told anyone yet?”
Midoriya shakes his head. “No, not yet. A few of the teachers know, but ...that's it. I do want to tell everyone eventually, just not yet. But I know that I can trust you.”
“....Thank you for trusting me.”
Midoriya squeezes at his knee, and Shouto feels his heart stutter against his ribs.
“Of course, Todoroki.”
Shouta looks up to the emptying classroom to see three of his students standing apprehensively in front of his desk. Well, Uraraka and Iida look so, at least. Todoroki’s expression is a bit harder to decipher.
Uraraka looks around, apparently checking to see that everyone else has left before speaking. “We, well. We just wanted to ask ...have you spoken to Midoriya recently?”
Shouta pauses his shuffling of papers and frowns. “I’ve spoken to him during move-in, but other than that and in class, I haven’t. Why?”
“We don’t mean to bother you, Mr Aizawa,” Iida says, head falling into a shallow bow. “But we’re worried about him. He hasn’t been himself the past few days.”
Uraraka nods furiously in agreement. “We thought he might be homesick or something, but I don’t think that’s it.”
Well. Shouta can’t say he hasn’t noticed it, either. It’s only been a few days since the students returned to their normal routine of classes but even so, Shouta has certainly noticed a lull in Midoriya’s energy.
He knows why, of course. But it’s not his place to share.
“I can check in with him, but have you tried talking to him yourself?”
They all nod. Shouta’s frown deepens.
“And what did he say?”
“That he’s fine, but we know he’s not,” Todoroki says, meeting his eyes with a careful gaze. “I think there might be ...something more going on.”
….Ah. So he told Todoroki.
“I’m sure he’ll be fine, but I’ll talk to him. Likely he’s just adjusting to the dorms.”
They nod again, and Uraraka smiles. “Thank you, Mr Aizawa. We weren’t really sure what to do, but we know that he trusts you.”
Shouta hums, trying to ignore the heat rising on the back of his neck. “Thank you for telling me. It's ...good to know that he has friends who care for him.”
Uraraka breaks into a wide grin, while the two boys smile softly behind her. “We just want to make sure he’s okay, you know?”
“....Of course. I’ll be sure to talk to him.”
Shouta sighs before rapping twice on Midoriya’s door.
He was hoping he wouldn’t have to seek him out in his room, rather that he would run into him at dinner and quietly pull him aside for a moment. But no such luck, considering Midoriya hadn’t come down for dinner. Instead he came in to find the rest of his classmates chatting, laughing, and making a complete mess of the kitchen.
But there was no short green hair in sight. So instead he returned once the kids were done, found a bento box on the counter with the name Midoriya scrawled on a sticky note in what can only be Todoroki’s precise kanji.
Eyeing the living room he sees most of his students surrounding the TV, still laughing and chatting and still no sight of Midoriya.
Taking the stairs as to slip past the students is how Shouta now found himself standing outside the kid’s dorm, still-warm udon noodles clutched carefully in his hand.
Shouta raises his other hand to knock again when a faint Come in can be heard from inside. Twisting the knob and finding it unlocked, Shouta enters.
The room is about the same as he remembers it, although he can’t help noticing that the Eraserhead poster is now taped to the wall above his desk.
The main difference is Midoriya, who’s lying flat on his bed, blankets slung haphazardly over his form. In his left hand he’s playing with a worn Silver-Age All Might figure.
The kid doesn’t acknowledge him any further than a quick glance his way. Stifling a sigh, Shouta pulls over the desk chair to sit beside his bed.
“Your classmates left you dinner,” Shouta says, handing the box over. Dropping the All Might figure onto his bed he takes it, smiling slightly at the note atop the container before placing it onto the floor.
“I’ll have to thank them.”
Shouta nods. “Why didn’t you come down to eat with them?”
Shouta knows he’s lying--that kid burns so much energy training that he’s always hungry, and this week has been no exception.
So it’s either that he’s lying, or he doesn’t have his appetite due to external factors. Either way, not good.
“Your friends are worried about you, y’know. They say you’re not acting yourself.”
He shrugs the best he can while laying down, meeting Shouta’s eyes for a long minute before answering with, “I don’t really feel like myself.”
Again Shouta nods. “I’m sure you don’t. You can talk to me any time, you know that, right? And if you don’t want to talk to me, we can get you someone to talk to.”
“I ...yeah, actually. There is someone I’d like to talk to.”
The kid looks nervous, and Shouta’s chest clenches tight at the idea that Midoriya would be so distraught over the thought of talking with All Might, or even a therapist or counselor. “Of course. Who is it?”
“All for One.”
Shouta blinks, reeling for a moment as he processes exactly what the kid sad. He was fully prepared to launch into a speech about either how he doesn’t need to be nervous or afraid to talk to All Might, or embarrassed about seeing a therapist. But this….
“....All for One?”
Sighing, Midoriya sits himself upright, blankets falling off him as he meets Shouta with wide, somber eyes. “Yes. The villain who kidnapped Kacchan, who ...who told me about All Might. I want to talk to him.”
Shouta pauses for a moment, giving himself time to figure out how best to approach this. “Why exactly do you want to speak to him?”
“Because I need closure.”
….Ah. Well, that makes a lot of sense, actually. Shouta truly cannot imagine what the kid was feeling when he was kidnapped right off his feet, just to be told by a villain that his life isn’t what he thinks it is. And to simply be returned like that, with seemingly no ulterior motive….
And as much as Shouta understands that, he cannot in good conscious allow this kid to go to a maximum-security prison, even with an entourage of pro heroes. Disregarding the obvious physical danger he could possibly be put into, the emotional damage of going to a place like that and talking to a man like that, just to be added onto all the muddled and heavy emotions he must be drowning in….
But then again, Shouta thinks as he looks back to Midoriya’s near-pleading eyes, there must be something he can do to help the kid.
“I’m not going to say no,” Shouta says, the boy’s face falling slightly. “But, I am going to need to talk to some people about it. Including All Might. And your mom, of course.”
A brief, tight pause before Midoriya nods. “Of course.”
“No. No, absolutely not.”
Shouta raises a brow, arms crossed as he stares at Yagi. “I don’t like the idea either. But I think we should at least consider it.”
Yagi shakes his head, turning off the stove and pulling a bowl down from the cupboard. Shouta had come straight here from Midoriya’s, after making sure that the kid would be okay for the night. Yagi had let him into his apartment, surprised, of course, but not all that much. After telling him Midoriya’s request, he’d watched as Yagi’s gaunt features became darker and harsher.
“No. I won’t consider it.”
“Y’know, this is more of a courtesy than anything. You don’t actually have any sort of custody over him.”
“I get it, Aizawa,” Yagi states, and Shouta blinks. His words are ...they're almost desperate, begging, strained. “I understand he wants that closure. But he absolutely should not talk to this man. This is what he does--he manipulates people. It’s not just his immense power that makes him such a frightening villain.
“I know, I know,” Shouta shakes his head, sitting down at Yagi’s western dining table. Without a word, Yagi serves him a bowl of miso and Shouta takes it with a small, grateful smile. “I just ...I think he needs something. And if this is it, then I don’t know what to do.”
“He can’t talk to him, Aizawa. Just, please. Don’t let him.”
Shouta huffs out a breath, running a hand through his unruly hair. He leans back into the chair, pinching at the bridge of his nose before shaking his head again, rising from his seat.
“Maybe ...maybe I can go talk to him.”
“With all due respect, Aizawa. If one of us should go talk to him, it should be me. I, honestly, I was planning on doing so at some point.”
“You just said how manipulative he is. Wouldn’t it be better for a neutral party to go instead?”
This time it’s Yagi who raises a brow. “Do you really think that you’re a neutral party?”
Shouta averts his gaze. “Not when it comes to Midoriya, but I am when it comes to this villain. At most he’ll know me as a pro hero, if that. But nothing else.”
Yagi goes silent, staring down at his untouched soup as if watching it turn cold. He sighs.
“....Alright. If you think it’s best, then you can go talk to him. I still don’t think it’s a good idea, though.”
“And you talking to him is?”
He coughs as he sits down at the table in time with Shouta, crimson dotting the crease of his elbow. “I know him. I know what he’s capable of.”
“And he knows you, he knows exactly what to say to you. Now, shut up and eat your soup, you need to eat.”
Yagi huffs out a dry, humorless laugh and picks up his spoon.
“When they said a pro hero would be visiting me, I figured they’d be sending me someone more ...prestigious.”
Shouta eyes the faceless man carefully before taking a seat. The room itself is stark white, save for the silver of the various medical equipment and the scarred face of the villain.
“Sorry to disappoint,” Shouta drawls, and the villain laughs.
“Well, I’ll take the company. Eraserhead, isn’t it? I assume you’re here about Midoriya Izuku, correct?”
Shouta swallows, the feeling of it thick in his throat. “It is.”
“Ah! I figured. See, I know you’re a teacher at UA, and I heard about how that boy tried to save you when Tomura attacked the USJ. I have to say, you’re quite the fighter.”
Eyebrow twitching, Shouta says nothing. All for One smiles, all teeth.
“So I figured, of course, this was either about him or that Bakugou child. Lucky guess, then.”
“Why did you kidnap him?” Shouta states, as blunt as he can make his words. “Why did you kidnap him just to return him minutes later?”
The villain shrugs minutely. “Because he deserved to know the truth. And, to fuck with All Might.”
“Excuse me?” Shouta blurts out, beside himself. But once the words process, he finds it’s anger, rather than confusion, that begins to fester in his veins. Because Shouta had his suspicions, that this had been nothing more than mind games directed at All Might. Even with Bakugou, likely kidnapping him specifically in part due to his publicity with the Sports Festival….
That itself is enough to make Shouta’s blood boil, for him to be so cavalier about kidnapping not only one but two of his students.
But what he put Midoriya through, inflicting him with that kind of emotional trauma just to ‘fuck’ with his rival hero?
….Shouta thinks it’s the villain who should be thankful there’s glass nearly half a meter thick separating the two of them.
“You kidnapped an innocent student just to use him as a pawn against a pro hero?”
“I didn’t use him. I simply told him the truth. He deserved to know. Fucking with All Might was just a bonus.”
Shouta….he simply has no words for this man. So he says nothing, just stares past his shoulder, the ringing of the heart monitor fuzzy in his ears.
“Is that all you came here for?” All for One asks, seemingly amused. Shouta grinds his teeth before taking a deep breath. He shrugs, forcing a neutral expression onto his teeth.
“I have nothing else to say to you. You’re a villain who kills without reason. You use and manipulate people for senseless violence. You’re beyond help.”
The villain chuckles, not before his lips curl into a smile. “It’s funny, isn’t it? How all you heroes think you’re doing the right thing just because you give yourselves the title of Hero? This world is tainted, and I’m just trying to bring it justice. You’re just too blind to see it.”
Shouta stares at him a moment longer before rising from his seat. “Right. Well, I got the answer I came here for, so I think I’ll just be going.”
“I hope he’s doing well. Izuku.”
“Don’t say his given name,” Shouta snaps before he realizes he’s opened his lips. All for One laughs.
“Why shouldn’t I? I know his father very well, after all. I think that makes us familiar enough. But I hope he’s doing well. He’s going to be powerful, one day. More so than All Might ever was.”
“Whether he does or doesn’t, you won’t live to see it since you’ll be rotting in this prison.
Without a glance back Shouta turns, walking to the door. A voice makes him stop, however, just before he opens it.
“Oh, one more thing. When you see All Might, let him know that Tomura Shigaraki is Nana’s grandson, will you?”
Shouta says nothing, just exits the room as quickly as he can.
When he exits the prison gates, he gives himself time to actually process what the villain’s last words to him had been. He knows who Shigaraki is, but Nana?
….What he is certain about, is that All Might definitely knows who Nana is.
Entering into the back of the police car that had escorted him here, Shouta pulls out his phone. His fingers hover over Yagi’s contact number, before sighing and shoving the phone into the pocket of his jumpsuit.