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Symbol of Love

Chapter Text

Izuku was four when he learned what it felt like to have his heart broken.  

 

Since Izuku’s quirk still hadn’t manifested Inko took Izuku to a doctor specialised in quirks. He was an old man dressed in a white coat and big glasses. The doctor made him perform a series of test and exams, including taking an x-ray of his foot. Through all of it Izuku grew more and more anxious.

The other children already believed he was quirkless and picked on him for it. Kacchan too thought of him as quirkless and had taken it upon himself to defend the helpless, quirkless Deku from the others. Izuku should have been grateful for it, since the bullying would have been much worse without him, but he didn’t want to be looked upon as something weak and in need of protection. Izuku wanted to be a hero like All Might and a hero had to be able to defend themselves.

So this doctor could be his only chance of proving to the world that he wasn’t someone to pick on or protect, but an equal in every single way. To prove that he too could be a hero.

After all the tests the doctor asked questions about his parent’s quirks and Izuku leaned forward in his seat, always eager to hear more about quirks.

“Can you tell me about your and your husband’s quirks?”

“I can draw small objects towards me”, Inko said and waved her had in the air. Izuku’s All Might toy slowly drifted up to her. He stared with wonder at the display. Izuku had always loved seeing his mom use her quirk and had tried on a million occasions to copy her without results. “Hisashi, Izuku’s father, could breathe fire.”

“Could?” The doctor questioned.

Izuku didn't notice the way his mom hesitated before answering, to busy waiting with baited breath on her answer. He had no memories of his father and Inko almost never talked about him. She always looked so sad whenever she did that Izuku didn’t want to ask, but he hung onto every small detail. “Yes, could … he died two years ago.”

“My condolences.”

“Thank you.” Her eyes looked distant and Izuku took her hand in his much smaller one. She immediately smiled at him but he could tell that something was still off.

“And when did your quirks first appear?”

“I first discovered mine when I was about two. My mother put my favourite toy away on a high shelf and I used my quirk to draw it back towards me. Hisashi told me he discovered his quirk when he was three.”

The doctor nodded solemnly and something with his expressions made Izuku’s stomach twinge with unease. “That was what I was afraid of. You see almost all quirks manifest before the child turns four and in the rare occasions it manifests later it usually did so in the parents too.” He turned towards a screen and did something with it. A moment later an x-ray appeared on it. “Izuku does lack the extra bone in his little toe and that usually indicate the presence of a quirk. He might just be a late bloomer or maybe his quirk is just so weak it’s unnoticeable. Either way it makes Izuku practically quirkless. You should give up one ever appearing.”

The doctor continued to talk but Izuku didn’t hear a word of it. Only one thing resonated in his mind.

Practically quirkless.

It was almost funny - in an ironic kind of way - how one single, deceivingly simple word could have the power to completely shatter a hopeful heart. How one word could turn the world upside down and crush a dream before it could even solidify. But it did and there was nothing funny about the searing pain opening like an abyss inside Izuku.

Izuku went numbly through the rest of the appointment with the doctor, not really registering anything other than the feeling of his heart shattering into a million pieces that all burned like molten glass. The rest of the day was a blur.

That evening he sat before the computer screen and watched again and again as his idol, his hero saved people with a smile in his face. The pain throbbed inside with every beat of his heart, sending fire through his veins. The agony was almost more than his small body could take; it was the worst pain he had ever felt in his life.

With tears streaming down his face, burning like acid, Izuku turned towards his mother. “Can I still become a hero?” he asked, a sliver of hope still lingering despite everything.

With a cry his mother embraced him, burying her crying face in his hair, her tears like ice on his skin. “I'm sorry, Izuku”, was all she said, but the message was loud and clear: give up, this path is not for you.

The pain roared, burning through every part of his body, sending waves of pure torture through him. It would have been easier to succumb to it. It might even have numbed the pain, brought some relief. Instead Izuku fought against it.

He fought because even if the world told him his dream was hopeless and that he was nothing more than useless, quirkless Deku, his broken heart told him something else. Even shattered and wounded as it was, even while spitting fire into his bloodstream, there was a whisper deep inside of it. A bottomless well filled with so much love; for the world, for the people in it, that even while it felt like death would be a blessing something inside him refused to give up. The world could turn its back on him, but as long as any love still lingered inside of him he refused to give up on the world. He would become a hero and he would save everyone.

Izuku clung to his dream with tooth and nail, even though for the next four years all he managed to do was hang on while the abyss opened beneath him, black and hungry. The pain always lingered inside his heart and it cracked a little bit more for every day that passed. But deep inside Izuku knew that if he just endured long enough he would eventually grow strong enough to pull himself up and over the edge. And when he finally rose again he would pull the entire world up with him.

Chapter Text

 

Izuku was dodging between trees and bushes, searching every available spot after Kacchan. They were playing hide and seek. Kacchan was currently hiding and it felt like Izuku had searched through the whole forest without catching sight of him. Since the patch of trees was barely big enough to be warranted the name forest he really should have found him by now.

A sound of shuffling nearby made him freeze. Izuku listened with baited breath and a second later he heard the sound again. He smiled and turned towards the sound. Slowly he tiptoed closer until he stood at the other side of the tree he was sure Kacchan was hiding behind.

His smile turned mischievous and taking a deep breath he jumped forward. “Found you!” he yelled and the person that had stood against the tree screamed, scrambling away from him. Except it wasn’t Kacchan. It was Tsubasa.

Izuku turned cold when Tsubasa turned towards him, red wings spreading behind him in a threatening display. The other boy’s eyes zeroed in on him, fury burning in them. “You shouldn’t have done that.”

“I’m s-sorry, I t-thought you were K-Kacchan”, Izuku stammered and backed away. He didn’t get far before long, spindly fingers closed around his upper arms and held him in place. They were all too familiar and he didn’t even have to look behind him to know they belonged to Noburu.

“You’re going to pay for that, you fucking useless Deku”, Tsubasa growled and stalked towards him. The scene was all too familiar to Izuku, with Noburu holding him still while Tsubasa descended on him.

Izuku closed his eyes, tensing in the wait on the inevitable. A second later a fist connected with his stomach and it was only Noburu’s fingers that kept him standing as he doubled over to retch in the grass. Before he even got the chance to catch his breath Tsubasa’s other fist hit him over the mouth, splitting his lips and filling his mouth with the taste of iron while blood seeped down his chin. Izuku choked on the blood and his vomit before he managed to spit it out. Tears of pain sprang unwillingly to his eyes.

“Please stop”, he begged even though he knew it was no use. Tsubasa only grinned wider and Noburu chuckled behind him, fingers gripping hard enough to bruise.

“Aw is the quirkless, useless Deku crying again?” Tsubasa said and pretend to sound sympathetic. Then he scoffed. “I don’t understand how Bakugou can stand you and even less why he would defend you. If he’s going to be a hero he can’t have a quirkless nobody dragging him down.”

Izuku really felt worthless in this moment. How was he supposed to be a hero when he couldn't even defend himself from two of his peers? He couldn’t just count on Kacchan to always save him. But if he didn’t swallow his pride and called out for Kacchan Tsubasa would only continue to hurt him.

“Help!” He screamed, his voice echoing amongst the trees. The words left a bitter taste in his mouth.

“Shut the fuck up”, Tsubasa growled and punctuated his words with a kick to Izuku’s shin and anther fist in his stomach. Izuku screamed out in pain and fell to his knees.

“What the fuck is going on here!” A new voice called out and Izuku slumped over in relief as Kacchan stepped forwards, explosions popping in his hands. “Let go of Deku now!”

Noburu shifted behind him but otherwise didn’t respond to Kacchan’s demand. Izuku squirmed against the hold. There was a sense of unease in the back of his mind that had nothing to do with the current situation. He couldn’t explain the feeling but he had a sense that something was terribly wrong.

“Relax, Bakugou, we were only playing, right Deku?” Tsubasa said and backed away from Izuku with his hands raised before him. The blood on his knuckles was a clear giveaway if Izuku’s state wasn’t proof enough that they had not just been ‘playing’. Blood still dripped from Izuku’s mouth and he spit some of it out. His stomach ached with every move and bruises were already blooming across his arms and shin. He was sure that if he pulled his shirt up more bruises would be forming on his abdomen.

Kacchan’s eyes narrowed dangerously, a scowl twisting his features. “I don’t fucking believe you.”

With a battle cry he lunged at Tsubasa, his hands setting of small explosions as he swung at the other boys head. Tsubasa only managed to dodge because a powerful flap of his wings sent him out of the way. Kacchan growled and threw himself forward again.

While Kacchan and Tsubasa fought Noburu dragged Izuku backwards and out of they way. The sense of unease grew tenfold for every second that passed and Izuku continued to struggle against Noburu’s hold on him. “Please let go of me!” he shouted, tears of frustration and pain prickling in his eyes. He couldn’t even wipe them away.

“Shut up”, Noburu said and shook him harsh enough that his teeth clashed against each other.

The fight continued before them. Kacchan fought with his fist, setting of explosions that singed Tsubasa’s skin whenever they made contact. Tsubasa used his strong wings as well as his fist to fight back but it was becoming clearer by the second that Kacchan was winning.

The sense of unease grew even stronger and made it hard for Izuku to breathe. “Let me go right now!” Izuku screamed at the top of his lungs. Kacchan and the two other boys immediately stilled and turned towards him. Izuku had never yelled at them like that before and they looked upon him with shock. It gave him the opening he needed and he managed to break free of Noburu's hold.

Izuku jumped to his feet despite the pain the movement sent through his bruised body. He had hoped the sense of wrongness would disappear as soon as he was free but instead it was only getting stronger. His whole body was buzzing with nervous energy.

Kacchan shook himself from his daze and used Izuku’s distraction to land a blow on Tsubasa that sent him to the ground. Tsubasa cried out in pain and clutched his broken nose, blood flowing down his face. He scrambled backwards when Kacchan stomped towards him and flapped his wings until he became airborne. Moments later he was scrambling out of the small clearing towards the playground, Noburu only a step behind.  

As soon as they were gone Kacchan turned towards Izuku. The bleeding had finally begun to still but the pain was still considerable. Izuku stumbled to his feet and sniffed weakly. “Thank you”, he whispered without meeting Kacchan’s eyes.

“I only did it because heroes are supposed to protect defenceless civilians and who could be more defenceless than a quirkless crybaby?” Kacchan said and turned away from him.

The words made Izuku’s heart twinge in pain but he was used to them by now. He had to get used to them after four years. It didn't matter that there was a chance he could still get a quirk; to everyone else he was the quirkless child that at best was looked upon with pity and at worst got pushed to the ground by the likes of Tsubasa.

“Come on, I’m sick of hide-and-seek. Let’s go to the swings.” Without waiting for a response Kacchan turned away from him and begun walking back towards the playground. Izuku scrambled after him.

For every step Izuku took the sense of wrongness grew stronger and he could barely force himself to remain at Kacchan’s side. His nerves tingled with restless energy even while the pain in his body protested whenever he picked up his pace. He barely paid attention enough attention to his surroundings to avoid walking into trees and on the way back he stumbled over roots and stones numerous times. Kacchan grumbled at his side about clumsy people but Izuku barely heard him over the thundering of his heartbeat in his ears.

Eventually they made it back to the playground. A bunch of other kids were already playing on the swings while some others were building things in the sand or going down the slide. Bored parents stood around the outskirts of the playground, most of them looking at their phones. Tsubasa and Noburu were nowhere to be seen. They had probably hurried home so as to not risk bumping into Kacchan again.

Kacchan made his way towards the swings and a few younger kids hurried out of his way. He took one of the vacated swings and begun swinging back and forth, trying to go as high as possible. Izuku made no move to follow him.

“Oi, Deku, what are you staring at?” Kacchan called out a few seconds later.

Izuku didn’t react; he just stared with dawning horror at the cloud of black smoke rising from the direction of the apartment he and his mother lived in. The sense of wrongness that had lurked in the back of his head suddenly screamed . His legs began moving on their own. When his mind finally caught up with the action Izuku was already sprinting as fast as he could towards home. It felt like the whole world had tilted on its axis.

💚💚💚

Izuku stared up at the apartment he had lived in his whole, short life, which was currently ablaze. The fire burned high and so hot he could feel it even on the other side of the street. Black smoke spew out, darkening the sky and burning in his throat, making him cough. Neighbours and worried passerbys watched as the fire-fighters fought to quench the flames and stop them from spreading further.

Something roared in Izuku's ears; a silent scream, a prayer to any gods willing to listen. Maybe it was just his heartbeat, thundering in his chest and spreading a fire that rivalled the one before him through his veins. Maybe it was something else. Nonetheless it only screamed one thing.

His mother. Where was his mother?

Izuku had searched every face in the crowd after her, had yelled her name at the top of his lungs, and knew for a fact that she was not among them. There was a possibility that she were somewhere safe and that he just couldn’t see her but the screaming in his head told him otherwise. Somehow Izuku knew his mother was still inside the burning building, almost like he could sense the danger she was in.

He had just left for a few hours to play with Kacchan since the weather had been so nice. It had only been a few hours since he had last seen his mother. Her smiling face as she told him to have fun flashed through his head.

How had things changed so fast?

It was almost funny how the pain in his body could be forgotten so quickly in the face of something even more excruciating. It was almost funny how not even the pain the doctor had inflicted with his declaration - practically quirkless - which had hurt every day for the last four years mattered anymore. It felt insignificant in the face of this allconsuming pain. But it weren't funny in the slightest because the apartment building was on fire and his mother were still somewhere inside.

Something snapped inside him.

Izuku stepped forward, uncaring of the heat and smoke before him. Kacchan tried to hold him back with a hand around his arm but he easily slipped free. Compared to the call in his heart the strength of one small boy was nothing. Not caring about his friend’s increasingly desperate calls he continued forward. The only thing on his mind was the overwhelming desire to find his mother and keep her safe.

However when he stepped out into the street a firefighter came running and stopped him before he could come any closer. Not even with this new shimmering strength did Izuku stand a chance in a fight against an adult man.

“I'm sorry, but it's not safe to get closer. Where is your mother?” the firefighter asked, face black with ash. The man had clearly already been in the burning building, probably saving people. But not his mother.

“S-she's i-inside”, he stammered, the lump in his throat almost choking him. The firefighter cursed and turned towards someone else to yell out the news. Frantic activity begun amongst them and a couple of them ran inside. It did nothing to quench the burning in his chest.

“Its okay, kid, we're going to get her out”, he promised, a strong hand squeezing his shoulder in an effort to offer support. Izuku shrugged it off and stepped forward.

“No! I  have to get to her!” he yelled and tried to bypass the firefighter, but the man's much greater reach and strength immediately stopped him in his track. “Let go of me!”

“I'm sorry but you can't go any closer, it's dangerous.” Without caring about Izuku's protests he pulled him into his arms and carried him back to the safety line. The man called out something to the crowd but Izuku couldn't hear what he said, the roaring of the fire the only sound in the world.

He struggled in the arms holding him, struggled to get free so he could run into the burning building. He continued struggling even when he was dumped into someone else's arms. They were vaguely familiar but he didn't care enough to see who was holding him. He only cared about getting free so he could run to his mother.

“Izuku”, a familiar female voice said and he finally looked up. It was Kacchan's mother Mitsuki. Her red eyes - so similar to her son’s - were shining with unshed tears. “Your mother would want you to stay safe.”

A voice - sounding so much like his mother’s he almost relaxed - inside him knew she was right. Another voice sounding suspiciously like Kacchan’s said that even if he got free there was nothing he could do; not quirkless, worthless Deku who could only play the victim. Both of them were immediately drowned out by the screaming in his head. Every part of his being, his soul, roared that he had to get to his mother. He had to…

Izuku hadn't even noticed the tears streaming down his face until Mitsuki begun wiping them away with her spare hand, the other still holding him close. “It's okay, Izuku. Everything is going to be okay.”

But it wasn't okay and it never would be again unless he reached his mother. His heart beat like thunder in his chest and every reverberation was dedicated to his mother, like a prayer begging any gods listening that she would be okay.

“I love you, mom”, he choked out.

Suddenly the world shifted around him and if it hadn’t been for Mitsuki’s arms around him he would have fallen to his knees. A bright, green light drowned out all other colours and engulfed him, forcing him to shut his eyes. His stomach turned and a sharp pain shot through his head. It was over as suddenly as it begun.

The first thing Izuku noticed was the heat. It pounded into him like a wall, immediately scorching his skin and forcing sweat from every pore on his body. The water evaporated the moment it met the hot air.

The second thing he noticed was the heavy smoke that hung black and suffocating in the air. When he drew in a breath it immediately choked him. Falling to his knees he coughed, lungs contracting, trying to force the poisonous gas from his body. Down on the floor the air was clearer, though the smoke still burned his throat with every breath.

The third thing he noticed was the fire. It burned from every direction, bright and blinding in its intensity. He could only keep one eye open and everything was bathed in an orange light. Therefore it took him a few confused seconds to recognise the room he was in as their living room. He was in the apartment and it was on fire around him.

“Mom!” he called out, coughing again. The fire crept closer for every second and the heat was unbearable, but the only thing Izuku could think about was finding his mother.

“I-Izuku”, came the weak answer from the hallway. Izuku moved before his mind even registered the sound. He crawled over the scolding floor, dodging the fire, towards the source of the voice. The floor burned his hands and knees but he continued unperturbed forwards.

Sprawled along the floor in the hallway with a piece of cloth over her nose and mouth was his mother. Her face was black with ash and her clothes singed where fire had touched her. Through the clothes he could see the blistering skin. Between them was a wall of fire.

Izuku hesitated for a second, studying the fire that separated him for his mother. Taking a deep breath he stood and leaped over the fire. In the second he passed the fire he could feel the hairs on his arms go up in flames. Luckily neither the hair on his head or his clothes caught fire.

A second later was he by his mother’s side, hugging her close. Her arms weakly encircled him. “Izuku, y-you have to g-get out of here”, she rasped, voice so weak he barely heard her over the roaring of the flames. They were coming steadily closer. Soon there would be no escape for either of them.

“I'm not leaving you”, he said with every ounce of conviction in his young heart. There was a pulsing in his chest, next to his heart, thumping in tact with it but simultaneously utterly different. He heaved her of the floor and managed to drag her a few steps towards the door before the smoke became too much for him. Izuku fell to his knees, coughing out his lungs. Inko fell to the floor next to him.

“P-please”, she whispered but we're interrupted by a fit of coughing. They rasped through a throat obviously already hurt by the smoke. When they finally stopped she didn't seem to have the strength to hold onto him, even less to move. “Please s-save y-yourself.”

“No, I'm going to save us both.” The pulsing grew stronger, fierce yet somehow gentle even as he felt the strength in his body leave him.

“I love you, Izuku...” her voice died down and she became limb in his embrace.

The tears evaporated the instant they fell, the pain a white-hot knife in his heart. It should have been incapacitating. Should have left him powerless and unable to do anything but lie down at her side and accept their horrible fate. The fire, already so close, licking at his heels, and the suffocating smoke should have bred nothing but terror in his heart. Instead the pulsing grew so strong his entire body vibrated with it. It felt warm, but contrary to the heat of the flames it was a comforting warmth, like sunshine.

“I love you too, mom”, he whispered even though she could no longer hear him. Izuku reached into himself to the place he could feel the warmth and felt a wall separating him from a well of power. He pounded on the wall with all his strength and it broke under the force of his desperation. Power flooded through him and he forced it under his command. Izuku didn’t know how he did it but he forced the power out of him and into his mother.

A blinding green light engulfed them at the same time as a piercing pain cleaved his head in two, concentrated in his right eye. Warm liquid flowed down his nose and ears, even his eyes, scorching his skin. Every molecule in his body throbbed with pure torture and he screamed, immediately choking on the smoke. Darkness embraced his senses and he went into it willingly. The last thing he saw was an orange light shining steadily in the darkness.

Chapter Text

When Inko woke up she was panting after air, remembering the taste of ash in her mouth as smoke choked her. Her body remembered the feeling of heat overwhelming her as fire burned her skin. Her heartbeat thundered in her ears and to her left a persistent beeping sped up. She searched in a blind panic after Izuku. He had been in her arms just moments ago! Where was he?

Hands grabbed her arms, trying to hold her down and she fought against them. She had to find her son, nothing else mattered.

“Ma'am calm down, you’re safe”, a voice called in her ear and Inko stilled long enough for the hands to press her down in the bed again. Wait… bed?”

Inko calmed enough to actually take in her surroundings. There was no smoke, just the smell of disinfection. Instead of the crackle of burning wood she heard the soft beeping from before and when she looked towards it she saw a heart monitor. There was no heat beating against her skin, just cool and soft fabric against her skin. The room around her was not on fire. It wasn't even her apartment. Rather it looked like a hospital room. And the person that was holding her down was dressed as a nurse.

“F-fire! T-there was a fire and I was t-trapped. Then I-Izuku-”, she gasped and tried to sit up but the nurse pushed her down again. When she moved she noticed a IV bag connected to her arm and that she was dressed in an hospital gown. She forced herself to stay still in the bed. “Where is my son?”

“Calm down ma’am, everything's alright”, the nurse said. His smile was probably meant to be reassuring but Inko only grew irritated. How could he smile in this situation? “Your son is in intensive care. Focus on yourself instead. How are you feeling?”

“There’s nothing wrong with me”, Inko insisted, and it wasn’t even a lie. She felt great in every single way. It was surprising considering what she remembered from the fire but she assumed someone had healed her with their quirk. “Now please tell me about my son.”

The nurse sighed. “I’ll go get the doctor. She can explain while she examines you.” Without another word he left the room. Inko forced herself to breathe while she waited. It took some effort but eventually she got her thundering heart under control again.

A minute or so later the door opened again and a middle aged woman dressed in a white coat stepped inside. She had pink hair pulled into a bun on top of her head and eyes in the same colour. She had a clipboard in her hand. “Good afternoon, Ms Midoriya, I’m Doctor Suzuki. How are you feeling?”

“As I’ve already told the nurse I’m feeling absolutely fine. Thanks for healing me.” Even though Inko was still desperate for news about her boy she did remember her manners.

Suzuki frowned and gave Inko a confused once over. “We didn’t heal you. Except for the fact that you were unconscious and covered in ash when you were rescued from the fire there was absolutely nothing wrong with you. There was not a single burn on you. Neither any sign of smoke in your lungs. You weren't even dehydrated. The IV is more a precaution than anything else.”

“Wait, no burns?” Inko exclaimed and examined herself once again. Unblemished, pale skin covered her arms without a trace of the serious burns she remembered so clearly. “But I remember getting burnt all over my body. You’re telling me they’re gone?”

“Yes, there were absolutely no injuries on you when you were pulled from the fire. Are you sure you didn’t just imagine things?” Suzuki asked and wrote something on the clipboard.

“Of course not!” She huffed; affronted by the doctor’s question, even though she understood where they came from. If it weren’t for the vivid memories of the burns on her body she would have doubted herself. Because who could have healed her if the doctors didn't?

“Strange …” the doctor mumbled and stared into nothing.

Inko felt her patience running thin as the seconds ticked by. It was strange, but since it had nothing to do with Izuku Inko couldn’t care less. She didn’t mean to sound so bitter when she spoke, she was just worried about Izuku and frustrated that no one was telling her things. She snapped at the doctor. “How is my son? Can I go see him? I need to know now .”

Suzuki smiled one of those comforting smiles health professionals seemed so fond of and Inko bit back a frustrated scream. “Your son Midoriya Izuku is currently in intensive care for the injuries he sustained during the fire.” Inko’s blood froze in her veins. Her son got injured? “I only know he sustained second and third degree burns, but the moment we know more you’ll be alerted.”

Second and third degree burns, she thought with a growing sense of dread. It felt like the world had come to a screeching halt and she couldn't breathe . Inko could as well have been back in the burning apartment, choking on smoke and with fire closing in on her. Somewhere distant she noticed a frantic beeping.   It’s my fault. Izuku was in the apartment because of me. Because I was weak .

“Ms Midoriya, you need to calm down. Breathe with me”, Doctor Suzuki’s voice reached her through the ringing in her ears and she forced herself to take a shuddering breath. Suzuki begun counting breaths and Inko tried to follow her. It took several long, painful minutes before she managed to get her lungs to function as normal.

“Thank you”, Inko panted. “What now?”

“You’ll have to stay here until the IV bag is empty. I’ll administer some light sedatives and recommend you rest while you wait. Hopefully in a few hours you can be released and by then we should know more about your son's condition.”

“I … okay.”

The doctor left the room and a moment later the nurse from before entered with the sedatives. He administered them through the IV line and not before long Inko felt them take effect. Her eyelids grew heavy and an unnatural calm settled in her bones. She let the sleep that pulled on her take her under.

💚💚💚

It was late afternoon and Inko had been awake about an hour. The nurse had removed the empty IV bag and given her some dinner to eat. She had forced it down even though she was so nauseous it felt like the food would come right up again. Suzuki had come and checked on her and brought news that Izuku was still in intensive care. It was frustrating to not be told more.

Afterwards she had been given some clothes to replace her own destroyed ones and she had quickly dressed. Inko was at least finally allowed to leave the hospital room and made her way to the waiting room.

The moment she stepped into the waiting room a familiar figure rose from one of the seats. Mitsuki rushed to her side and it wasn't until arms closed around her that Inko realised she was crying.

“How are you Inko?” Mitsuki asked and her voice was quiet and careful in a way it never was. It sounded wrong.

“I’m f-fine but Izuku is in i-intensive care and I’m not allowed to s-see him.” Inko cried into her friend’s shoulder, not caring about soaking it.

Mitsuki hugged her closer and stroked calming circles into her back with one hand. “It’s going to be alright. Izuku is strong; he’ll get better in no time.”

“You think so?”

“I know so”, Mitsuki said and the firmness in her tone made Inko pull back a bit so she could look her friend in the eyes. Her red eyes shone with determination and conviction. It managed to calm the worst of Inko’s fears. “Let's sit down while we wait for news.”

Mitsuki guided her over to a pair of empty seats and they sat down. Inko leaned her head on Mitsuki’s shoulder and let her friend pull her into a sideways hug. Occasionally a sob made her body shudder and tears continued to stream down her face but Mitsuki’s presence was comforting.

It could have been hours of only minutes when Doctor Suzuki finally stepped into the waiting room, caught sight of them and made her way over to them. Inko almost vibrated in her seat by the time Suzuki stopped before them.

“Any news about Izuku?” She asked, barely allowing herself to hope in case it would turn out to be something else.

Suzuki smiled a real smile that made her pink eyes shine and Inko’s heart immediately calmed. “Midoriya Izuku is allowed visitors now. If you follow me, Ms Midoriya, I will take you to your son.”

“Really?” Inko exclaimed, tears immediately forgotten. Restless energy flooded her and if it hadn’t been for the fact that Mitsuki still had her arm over her shoulder Inko would already be on the way towards the door.

“Of course.”

Together they walked through the hospital, Inko barely able to contain herself to a walking speed. Mitsuki hovered over her like she was worried Inko would fall over any second and she was grateful for the support. Inko didn’t know what she would have done without her.

Eventually they stopped outside a door and to Inko’s surprise she noticed detective Tsukauchi waiting for them. Unease immediately rose in her. She hadn’t seen Tsukauchi since Hisashi’s trial.

“Hello Ms Midoriya, it’s been a while”, he said, eyes serious.

“What’s happened?” She demanded to know, not bothering with a greeting. He would only come and see her if something serious had happened.  

He glanced at all the people around them and her suspicion only grew stronger. “Let’s talk inside.” He opened the door to Izuku’s hospital room and Inko almost forgot about him and whatever he wanted to talk about when she caught sight of her son.

Izuku was in a hospital bed. Several tubes and sensors was attached to his small body including an IV with a red liquid in it and a heart monitor counting out the beats of his heart. He had a breathing mask over his mouth and nose and was covered in several bandages, including one over his right eye. The skin she could see looked sickly pale, his freckles standing out more than ever before. If it hadn’t been for the shallow rise and fall of his chest and the beeping of the heart monitor he could as well have been dead.

“I-Izuku”, Inko cried and hurried to his side. She wanted to touch him to make sure he really was there but there were so much tubes and bandages she wasn’t sure where she could touch him without hurting him. She settled for stroking his left cheek, the only part that looked completely unharmed. Inko couldn’t help but notice that there was a bit of dried blood in his green hair. She angrily dried away her tears with her free hand, not wanting them to blur her sight of him.

“How is he?” She bowed her head over Izuku’s body. A hand settled on her shoulder and she recognised it as Mitsuki’s.

“Please calm down Ms Midoriya and I’ll tell you what I know”, Doctor Suzuki said from the other side of the bed. Inko hadn’t noticed that she had moved. “Izuku has several second and third degree burns on his back, legs and arms that unfortunately will scar but otherwise should heal. There could be some nerve damage but we can’t know for sure until he wakes up. Then there's the bleeding and his eye.” Something with Suzuki’s expression made Inko’s breath catch. “According to the firefighters that found him he was bleeding from his ears, nose and eyes. It stopped as soon as the two of you were safe but he had already lost a lot of blood. We had to give him a transfusion and his blood level is still alarmingly low so we're still transfusing blood to him, though slower than before. And … we think some of the blood boiled in the fire.”

“W-what do you mean?”

“We don’t know the extent of damage yet, but we think his right eye was damaged by the boiling blood. It also scarred the skin under his eye.” Suzuki looked upon her with sorrow in her pink eyes. “As with any possible nerve damage we won’t know for sure the condition of the eye until he wakes up but you have to prepare yourself for the possibility that Izuku is blind in one eye.”

Sharp fear stabbed her in the chest and she could barely breathe. Her baby boy was … blind? It was only on one eye but it was still one eye too much. And possible nerve damage on top of that? She felt out of place in her own body and didn’t know if she wanted to scream and rage or curl into a ball and cry her eyes out. It wasn’t until Mitsuki’s arms closed around her that she noticed she was sobbing, her entire body shaking with them.

“It's okay, Inko. He's alive and that's all that matters. Izuku's strong and will get through this”, Mitsuki said but her words weren’t as comforting as before now when Inko knew there was a risk her baby had permanent damage.

“Ms Bakugou is right, Izuku will recover. Considering what I heard of the state of the building I'm surprised your both as unharmed as you are. By all accounts you should both be dead.”

“Y-you're right, I-I’m just w-worried.”

“There's one more thing of notice”, the doctor said, her voice softening when Inko's breath hitched. “Nothing to worry about, really. Just … strange. After you told me that you had been burned I decided to search after the clothes you had arrived in, Ms Midoriya. Imagine my surprise when I discovered almost all of Izuku’s burns matched up with the part where your clothes had been burned off.”

“W-what does that mean?”

“I don’t know, maybe detective Tsukauchi knows more?”

Tsukauchi stepped forward, standing at the bottom of the bed. “Mitsuki has already told me Izuku suddenly disappeared from her arms in a flash of green light. Next time anyone saw him he was in the apartment. The firefighters that found you said you were curled up on the floor, protecting Izuku with your body. Could you tell me what happened in between?”

The room fell quiet for a moment as Inko collected herself enough to speak. The memories were painful and so far she had avoided thinking about them but she knew there was no putting it of any longer.

“The fire alarm never went of and I didn’t notice the f-fire until it was t-too late. The smoke was s-smothering me and the fire b-burned me in several places. I … had given up on getting out”, Inko confessed and heard the Mitsuki’s hard intake of breath next to her. Mitsuki hugged her closer. “And then Izuku appeared in a blast of green light in the apartment. He crawled to me and I b-begged him to get out, but he … he refused. He tried to pull me out of the apartment but wasn’t strong enough. Soon the fire s-surrounded us and I tried to protect Izuku with my body. It was about then that the smoke overwhelmed me and I passed out.”

“That actually makes a lot of things make sense”, Suzuki hummed in thought and they turned towards her. “His journal notes him as quirkless but my guess is that the high-stress situation made Izuku’s quirk manifest. It somehow transported him into the apartment and then protected you. He must have overused it - that would explain the blood. And … now that I think about it it could explain his burns too.”

“W-what do you mean?” Inko asked.

“Well, as I said most of Izuku’s burns match the places your clothes were burnt, Ms Midoriya while his own clothes had almost no burns on them. I have a theory that his quirk maybe … transferred the injuries from you to him.”

“Y-you mean that it was m-my fault he was injured?” Guilt had boiled in her stomach ever since Izuku first appeared in the apartment. Inko felt that if she had only gotten out from there herself Izuku would never have gotten hurt. But to hear his injuries was a direct result of her made the guilt strengthen tenfold.

“No, Inko”, Mitsuki said sternly and shook her by the shoulders. “It is not your fault. And even if it had been your fault do you really think Izuku would rather lose his mother than get a few scars?”

“I … of course not.” Inko knew that Izuku without a moment of hesitation would risk his life for her. But as his mother it was her job to make sure that never happened and she couldn’t help but feel like she had failed.

“Then stop feeling guilty over something you couldn’t control.”

“You should listen to Ms Bakugou. If it’s anyone’s fault, its mine”, Tsukauchi said and something dark passed over his face.

“What? Of course it's not!” Inko exclaimed. She wouldn't let anyone else take on blame they didn’t deserve.

Tsukauchi sighed and looked down at the floor. His shoulders slumped. “No it is. You should sit down, Ms Midoriya.” He looked at the doctor. “Please leave us.”

Suzuki left quietly, her eyes worried as she closed the door behind her. It made Inko realise that this was what Tsukauchi had come to talk about. She had almost forgotten about it underneath her worry for Izuku now a new kind of fear reared its head.

There stood a chair in one of the corners of the room and Inko moved it to Izuku’s side so she could still be near him. She carefully took Izuku’s hand and held it in her own as support. Mitsuki rested her hand on her shoulder and Inko forced a small smile in her direction. Inko took a deep breath and met Tsukauchi’s eyes. “Tell me.”

“This morning I got the news that a group of villains broke Hisashi out of prison.” It was lucky Inko was sitting down because otherwise she would have fallen to her knees. It almost felt like she would pass out. Fear she hadn’t felt for six years suddenly overwhelmed her again. Mitsuki swore under her breath and looked a bit wobbly on her legs too. She had after all been there all those years ago and knew the truth. Mitsuki put her arms around Inko in silent support.

“We can’t be sure yet but it's too much of a coincidence that the he would break out of prison only a few hours before the apartment you lived in burned down. It must have been him.” Tsukauchi paused and seemed to steel himself. “I knew of his escape two hours before the fire started and if I had only acted sooner maybe I could have stopped it from happening. So it’s my fault Izuku got injured.” Tsukauchi bowed towards her. “I’m sorry.”

Inko didn’t know what to think, even less what to say. It was like one of her nightmares had come to life. She looked at her son’s unconscious face, covered in bandages and so sickly pale. If Hisashi was to blame for his injuries ...

She still remembered the years of emotional and verbal abuse from Hisashi that eventually culminated in physical abuse. But not even when he hit her yellow and blue and burned her with his fire had she been able to leave him. Instead she had hid the bruises and burns and hoped he would treat her better if she could just be the perfect wife. Nothing seemed to help.

She remembered the drastic change in his behaviour when it turned out she was pregnant. Inko had been so foolish to actually believe he had bettered himself and had continued to believe so until Izuku turned one. That was when she by mistake had found some alarming notes in his study while cleaning it. They seemed to be parts of a secret correspondence between her husband and some other person about Izuku.

Fear had gripped her then, unlike any she had ever felt before. Not even when Hisashi had threatened and hurt her had she been so afraid. Because this time it was her baby, the light of her life and the thing she loved the most in the entire world that was at risk.

A part of her she hadn’t know she had in her had taken over and ice cold focus had replaced all fear. Inko had meticulously and carefully gone through the entire study while Hisashi was away, examining every document and searching for any hidden compartments. She had found two hidden compartments; one in the desk filled with documents and one under the floorboards.

The documents were mostly correspondence between Hisashi and various shady individuals, all using code names she vaguely recognised as belonging to criminals. Among them she found plans on separating Izuku from her and taking him to someone called AFO. It had made her blood turn to ice.

However the hidden compartment under the floorboards was even more alarming. Because there she found various weapons, ammo and a large amount of cash. And … she found a body suit she recognised from the news. It was the costume of the villain Dragon, a class A villain with several murders under his belt.

Somehow she hadn’t realised until that moment just how dangerous her situation actually was. The old Inko would have panicked and probably tried to forget what she had discovered. She would have hoped everything would turn out alright and would have been too afraid to stand up against her husband. But that Inko died the moment she found out she was pregnant. Because from that moment it wasn’t just her life anymore, but the life of her son too. And Inko would do anything for her son, even stand up against her greatest fear; her husband.

Inko had taken all the documents and photographed the weapons and costume and then she had hurried straight to the police department with Izuku in his little carrier. He had been asleep through it all. Not even ten minutes later had she found herself face to face with detective Tsukauchi and together they had begun the long and precarious proceeding to capture and imprison Hisashi.

When Hisashi one year later finally was behind bars and all the divorce papers filed Inko had thought she would finally find peace. She still had nightmares about him of course, but she had always believed that would be the worst of it. And now she learned that Hisashi somehow had broken out of prison?

Inko didn’t know whether to scream and cry or to grab Tsukauchi by the front of his coat and demand answers. Part of her even wanted to hunt Hisashi down herself and make sure he could never threaten her son again. She wanted to hurt him as he had hurt her, wanted to tear him apart with her very hands. And afterwards she wanted to burn whatever remained of him and bury the ashes. Hatred and violence burned inside her and only Izuku’s small hand in hers kept her grounded.

Tsukauchi seemed to get her conflicted feelings and continued talking without waiting for a response from her. “We have already started a manhunt on him and the villains that helped him. One of the best underground heroes right now is leading it. We are investigating the fire as we speak and if Hisashi was behind it maybe we can get a lead on him. In the meanwhile you and Izuku will get a police escort. I also suggest staying in protective custody.”

“No”, Inko said immediately. “No protective custody.”

Tsukauchi frowned. “The apartment burned down and it isn’t safe for you to stay at a hotel. Protective custody is the only solution.”

“I know”, she said and grinded her teeth in frustration. “But Izuku doesn't know about Hisashi; I’ve always told him he died when Izuku was two. If we get protective custody Izuku will figure out something’s wrong and I won’t be able to hide the truth anymore. It would break Izuku to find out his father is a villain. I … I can’t do that to him.”

“I think I have a solution”, Mitsuki said, the first time she spoke up in a while. “Why don’t you stay with me, Inko? That way Izuku won’t suspect a thing and the police will still be able to protect you.”

“I … I can’t let you do that”, Inko protested. “I can’t put you and your family at risk because of me.”

Mitsuki huffed and gave her a look . “Stop being a fucking idiot. I won't let you sleep on the fucking streets or anything equally stupid. Besides-” her smile was violent and sort of terrifying, “if that fucker tries anything I will rip him a new one.”

Inko couldn't help the snort that escaped her. Somehow she was certain Mitsuki would actually be able to go through with her threat if she ever encountered Hisashi. It made the fear subside a little bit at least. “... okay.”

“That sounds like a good idea. I’ll begin preparing by scouting out the area”, Tsukauchi said.

“Great, then it’s decided. As soon as the little squirt gets released from the hospital the two of you moves in with me.”

Mitsuki made it sound so simple that Inko for just one second actually believed that maybe everything would turn out alright. Then she looked down at her son in the hospital bed and all her hope turned to ash in her mouth. With Hisashi it would not be that simple and her baby had already been hurt badly. Inko decided then and there that she would do anything it took to make sure that Hisashi didn’t get anywhere near Izuku ever again.

Chapter Text

Shouta, aka Eraserhead, sat perched on top a rooftop across the street from a burnt apartment complex. Blackened walls and broken glass told of the intensity of the fire. Smoke still rose from the destroyed building. There had only been two hours since the building was ablaze and both firefighters and police officers were still at the scene. Not even half an hour had passed since he got called here by detective Tsukauchi and he had already talked with the police about the fire, gotten what information they had so far from them.

As an underground hero he had never carried people out of burning buildings or put out flames. He left that to the firefighters and regular heroes. Instead he specialises in prowling down dark back alleys in search of sketchy individuals and sniffing out crimes that went underneath the noses of the mainstream heroes.

So while the fire itself was of no concern of Shouta's the person the police suspected was behind it was another thing. Dragon, real name Tatsugami Hisashi; the fire breathing villain locked away six years ago with charges like murder and arson, had escaped from prison. And it was his job to sniff him down. If things went well he might even be able to smoke out the people that had broken Dragon out and bring down a crime syndicate.

Shouta grinned - Hizashi always said he looked especially scary when he smiled like that - and stood up. He used his capture weapon to swing himself from the building over to the next one, already beginning his search for traces of Dragon.

This would be an interesting hunt.

💚💚💚

Hisashi paced the floor of an abandoned building to close from his ex wife's apartment for comfort. The windows were broken and boards had been nailed over them. A thick layer of dust covered the floor as well as an assortment of broken bottles and other rubbish. Every step he took left a print in the dust. He had already searched the house to make sure he was alone and even though there were signs that people sometimes came here to drink and take drugs it was empty for the moment. A perfect temporary hideout except for its location.

His skin was crawling with the need to get further away from the scene of his crime. Normally he would have already been halfway across the city, not just a few blocks away. But this was the place he had been told to wait in and not even he, the Dragon, would dare to ignore an order from All for One.

All for One ...

What the fuck did he want from Hisashi? He had performed a few jobs over the years for him but had never been a part of his gang of misfits. They hadn’t even really been business partners. It was only because All for One was the uncrowned king of the underworld that they interacted at all.

Though that had somewhat changed when Inko - the bitch - had turned out to be pregnant. Suddenly the idea of a successor had sounded really tempting to him and he had begun making plans to separate them and train the child to be the perfect villain so he could take over his business after him.

Hisashi wasn’t sure how All for One found out about his plans for Izuku but since very few things went under the crimelord’s radar he hadn’t been all that surprised when he got contacted by the man’s underlings and inquired about his son. At first he had been hesitant - it was his goddamn successor - but All for One never took no for an answer, so he relented. Hisashi had begun planning on how to bring Izuku to All for One. It had only been a few weeks before the plan was supposed to play out when, like a bolt from the blue, he was betrayed.

Fire slipped from between his lips and he tasted smoke on his tongue. Hands curled into fists at his side and he growled as he thought about the day heroes and police officers suddenly surrounded him right outside his house. He has been cuffed with quirk suppressing cuffs before he could react and not even ten minutes later was he brought into police custody.

And it was all because of that bitch. Hisashi let out a breath of fire and it burned away the dust in front of him, leaving a blackened circle behind.

Hisashi had thought he had Inko covering and under his control, had spent years breaking her down into the weak, submissive wife he desired. So when he saw her at the trial, testifying against him, he had felt a rage unlike any other. If his quirk hadn't been suppressed he would have burnt her into ashes right then and there.

If it hadn't been for her he would never have been caught.

But it had been six years since then. Six long years spent in a miserable prison, unable to feel even a spark of his flames. He had spent the time planning out elaborate ways to get his revenge and fantasised about Inko’s death.

All for One breaking him out had been unexpected. Since they hadn't been closely associated with each other he hadn’t expected any help from the man and during six years of imprisonment he hadn’t seemed to care about the Dragon at all. All for One also never did anything without an ulterior motive, though Hisashi would have been willing to do anything to to never spend another day in prison. So when he had been given the task to kill his ex wife and bring his son to All for One it was like all his dreams had come true. He had laughed with true glee and accepted without a moment of hesitation.

Hisashi smiled to himself. From afar it could be  mistaken for one of Izuku's sunshine smiles, but up close there was nothing warm about the expression, only cold cruelty. Not even the flames flickering behind his teeth managing to make it warm.

As he continued to pace in what had probably been the living room in the abandoned building the feeling of uneasiness grew stronger. He had been here a few hours already. The predetermined meet up time had already passed. Kurogiri should have been here by now. Where was he?

… Had they abandoned him to be discovered by the heroes? No, they couldn’t have done that. Inko might be dead but he hadn’t brought them Izuku yet. They still needed him.

Nonetheless he felt his fire burn a bit hotter in his stomach in preparation for a fight. If the pros found him he would go down in a blaze of glory. No fucking prison for him. Never again.

The minutes ticked by and a crawling sensation made its way up his back, like he was being watched. All of a sudden black mist appeared before him and Hisashi sighed in relief, a small flame slipping past his lips. Kurogiri was finally here.

“Greetings, Dragon”, Kurogiri said, his yellow eyes turning towards him.  

“You’re late”, he grunted. Fucking finally , he thought but didn’t dare say out loud. Kurogiri was ranked high among All for One’s underlings and he couldn’t afford to anger him.

“Ah, yes well something came up. Now hurry up. All for One is waiting for you.”

Hisashi wondered what could be more important than picking him up before some hero managed to find him but kept his thoughts to himself. He stepped up to Kurogiri and the black mist surrounded him. The feeling of falling still made his stomach turn with unease but he just continued to walk until he stepped out of the mist into All for One’s secret lair.  

💚💚💚

Shouta followed the lead he had gotten from an old lady out on a walk with her dog. He had been searching the area for hours now, going over a wide stretch of the city. Eventually all his questioning of civilians and the occasional dodgy individual had led him towards the area he was currently in. It was a run down part of town with several buildings in disrepair. Amongst them was one building that was particularly ramshackle. The old lady had told him it was abandoned and had been so for years but that she had noticed a man enter it earlier that day.

The man had matched the description of the Dragon and if Shouta was lucky he was still in the building.

Shouta crept up to the house and pressed himself against the wall beside one of the windows, peaking between the boards. He couldn’t see anyone inside and it seemed completely abandoned, but he had to make sure. Years of training made his steps soundless as he tiptoed to the closed door. He opened it slowly, winching slightly at the squeak from the hinges. As soon as the gap was big enough for him to slip in through he entered the house.

There was a thick layer of dust on the floor, which made it easy for him to see the footprints moving from the door further inside. The footprints were fresh and about the same size as Dragon’s. Shouto prepared his capture weapon and silently stepped further into the house, following the footprints.

Every little sound made him tense and he barely blinked at all in case he needed to use his quirk in a moments notice. Slowly he made his way to an open doorway, pausing right before stepping into it. Preparing himself for everything he jumped into the room, capture weapon in his hands and eyes glowing red.

The room was empty.

Shouta relaxed a fraction and scanned the room. There were multiple footprints overlapping themselves back and forth over the room as if someone had paced in here. No footprints led out of the room, meaning the person that had left them should still be here, except they weren't. Among the footprints there were the dust had been burned away. A thin plume of smoke rose from it still, meaning it had been made recently. It all but confirmed Dragon had been here within the hour. The question was; where was he now?

Moving closer he noticed a strange line in the dust a few steps long and one step wide. The footprints led towards it but disappeared afterwards. As if the person had stepped into something and been transported elsewhere.

A warpgate? Warpgate quirks were rare and villains with them even rarer, but it were the only explanation. That made things a lot harder. The warpgate villain must have taken Dragon away from here and there was no way Shouta would be able to track him further.

The question was who the fuck was Dragon working with? Only someone powerful would have a warpgate villain on their team. Dragon himself had technically been powerful enough to have one before he went to prison. But if he’d had one why the fuck hadn’t he used it to get free earlier? The only explanation was that another powerful villain had used his resources to break Dragon free. It still didn't explain why it happened now and not earlier. Nor what this other villain wanted from Dragon.

Shouto felt a headache build behind his eyes. He had to report this to Tsukauchi and then he had to start over in his hunt after the Dragon. Something told him this was going to be a lot harder than he had expected. He was going to have so much overtime.

Oh god … Hizashi was going to be whine so much when their cuddle time got cut short.

💚💚💚

“Sit”, All for One said in lieu of an greeting, not even bothering to turn towards Hisashi as he stepped forward. He made a gesture towards a chair positioned in front of the huge desk.

Hisashi immediately sat down, scrutinizing the room after any clue of where he was. It looked like a typical office for some hotshot businessman, except for the fact that there wasn’t a single window in the room. There were bookcases lining the walls and a thick rug on the floor. The walls were made of a light wood and the desk was made of mahogany. The floor was polished marble and reflected everything in the room. A chandelier hung from the roof and provided light. In a corner of the room there stood a pair of sofas made of black leather. An expensive looking computer stood in one corner of the desk and hanging on the wall behind All for One there was a television screen.

All for One himself looked more like a CEO in his pressed, black suit than the most powerful villain in Japan, if not the whole world. He was tall and broad of shoulder with obvious muscles beneath the suit. His black hair was slicked back, tickling the pale skin visible at his neck. He finally turned towards Hisashi. He had a strong jaw and handsome features. Fear, strong and primal, flowed through Hisashi when he looked into those ancient eyes, filled with a bottomless hatred. Hisashi had never feared more for his life than he did in this moment.

“Care to explain to me how you managed to fail your mission?” All for One said calmly, and the offset between his voice and the look in his eyes made him shiver.

“I don’t understand, master”, Hisashi said. It still felt wrong to call him master, never before in his life having to bow down to anyone. But prison had changed things. “I followed your orders to the letter.”

“Oh, did you now?”

“Yes, master. I made sure Inko was in the apartment and that Izuku wasn’t anywhere near it. Then I set it on fire in such a way that Inko was sure to burn to death but without raising any suspicion towards myself.” Hisashi had actually been a bit disappointed with the latter part. He had wanted to watch Inko burn before his very eyes, hear her screams and breathe in the wonderful smell of burning flesh. But All for One had his own plans and Hisashi would never dare to disobey them.

“Then how come my spies reported that Midoriya Inko is not only alive but unharmed?” Hisashi gaped up at him, at a loss of words. “Or how come Midoriya Izuku is admitted to a hospital, gravely injured?”

“I-I ...impossible!” Hisashi managed. “I … I did exactly as you told me to!”

All for One hit his fist against the desk and Hisashi flinched backwards, nearly falling of the chair. The look on his face was one that promised a slow death. “Don’t lie to me! Don’t forget who it was that pulled you from that miserable prison. I can put you back there whenever I want. And if you defy me you’d be thankful if that's the only thing I do.”

Hisashi’s knees hit the carpet. His fire churned in his stomach, wanting to be let out but he swallowed it down. If any fire spilled from his lips now it would only ensure his doom. “P-please, I promise that I’m not lying! I don’t know h-how Inko escaped unharmed or how Izuku got injured, p-please believe me!”

All for One hummed and sat back down in his chair. He leaned his chin in one hand and stared down at Hisashi who still kneeled on the floor. Hisashi barely dared to breathe while he waited for All for One’s judgement.

“Alright, I believe you.” Hisashi sagged in relief, bowing his head in gratitude. “But that doesn't change the fact that you failed.”

“Allow me to try again”, Hisashi begged, sweat running down his back and his knees trembling beneath him. He would crawl on his stomach and humiliate himself if it meant he got another shot.

“Very well”, All for One said after a moment of thought. “I will give you one more chance. But if you fail again nothing on this earth will be able to save you.”

“Th-thank you.”

The smile that spread over All for One’s face made him choke on the fear he had just managed to swallow. His stomach felt frozen, not even a flicker of his flames warming his insides. “Unfortunately you still have to be punished for your failure. You see, I have to make an example out of you to make sure people understand that failures have consequences. It’s nothing personal.”

All for One stood and rounded the desk. Hisashi crawled away from him when he neared, the flight instinct taking over his rational thoughts. He didn't manage to get far before something shot out of All for One’s fingertips and ripped into his chest. Hisashi screamed.

Chapter Text

The world was dizzy and muted around him as Izuku slipped in and out of consciousness. It felt like he was floating on a cloud. Or maybe submerged in water would be a better analogy since his body felt heavy, groggy and he was unable to move a muscle. It was like a weight on his chest, pressing him down.

Slowly he climbed towards awareness, the world sharpening around him, and brought with it a dull pain throughout his whole body. The pain felt distant, like something blocked him from feeling it to its full extent, but it was still unpleasant. He couldn't find the energy to move, to even open his eyes. And yet … he saw something.

It was a steadily shining, bright orange light among a sea of darkness. It evoked a number of feelings in him. Warmth and comfort. Gentleness and strength. A sense of … everlasting devotion. It felt like a warm hug and his favourite meal after a long day. Somehow he knew it belonged to his mom.

The reminder of his mom brought a flood of memories to him. Memories of fire and blistering pain all over his body. Memories of fear and desperation as he tried to protect the person he loved the most in the world. And yet, even though Izuku remembered the horrors of the fire in excruciating detail his body remained unresponsive, even his feelings felt muted. He struggled against it, more violently than before.

Omg I finally got my quirk! And it somehow got me into the apartment. What more can it do? What happened after I passed out? What happened to mom? Did I save her? Izuku was beginning to panic as he began to break through the fogginess in his brain. He had actually rushed into a burning building! He could have died!

Suddenly the orange light gave of a gentle pulse, momentarily turning the darkness completely orange before it returned to its blackness. His thoughts were brought to a stop as he focused on the light. It continued to give of the same pleasant feelings, spreading its light and warmth though the darkness in his mind. Something about it made him sure that his mom was alright, almost like he could feel that she was safe. It calmed him down and pushed back the panic, making him able to think clearly again.

I … actually have a quirk. If his body hadn’t been so heavy he would have laughed.

When he calmed down the sound of muffled voices began reaching him and Izuku strained to hear them. It was like they reached him from underwater and he was unable to make out words. But there was one voice among them he would recognise everywhere; his mom’s. She was there, right beside him and she sounded alright, though somewhat worried. Izuku wanted to reassure her that everything was alright, and to be able to do that he had to open his eyes.

Inko continued to talk and another voice he recognised answered her. Kacchan’s mom was here? It sounded like she consulted his mom and he was glad there was someone there for her. Suddenly he felt soothing touch his left hand. Fingers closed around his, squeezing gently. Except for the pain it was the first sensation he had felt since he fell unconscious and it suddenly pulled his mind to the surface.

Izuku drew in a deep breath, like he indeed had been deep underwater, letting his body adjust for a second. He opened his eyes - or tried, his right eye seemed to be covered in something and wouldn’t open. The bright light in the room was blinding and he blinked rapidly against it before his left eye adjusted. As he had suspected he was lying in a hospital bed in a white, bland room. Different tubes and sensors were attached to him. There even was something that looked like a heart monitor on his right. It counted out a steady pace. Outside the windows the sun was settling.

He turned towards the voices he’d heard and to his left sat his mom, eyes red and filled with tears, Mitsuki with an arm around her shoulders and next to them a middle aged woman with bright pink hair, dressed in a white coat. Izuku squeezed his mom’s hand and her head turned towards him so fast he worried about her neck.

“Izuku, you’re awake!” Inko exclaimed and opened her arms as if to hug him only to hesitate. In the end she settled for stroking his cheek. He was a bit disappointed as he could have used one of her hugs but at the same time was he relieved, the pain in his body protesting against any movement. Tears fell on the white bedcover he was tucked beneath and his own eyes grew wet in response.

“Mom”, he cried and reached out with his left hand towards her. His right hand felt strange and was covered in so many bandages that he didn’t dare move it. She took his hand in hers. “Are you alright?”

She let out a wet laugh and rubbed at her eyes with her free hand. Mitsuki placed a hand on her shoulder and smiled down at him. He managed to smile back at her, but it felt weak. “Don’t worry about me, baby, I’m alright. How are you feeling?”

“Dizzy”, he responded. It was the understatement of the year but he didn't know how else to describe the strange feeling in his body.

Inko worriedly looked towards the doctor who just smiled in response. “That’s probably the painkillers. Now if you please move back a bit, Ms Midoriya, Ms Bakugou, I would like to examine Izuku.” Inko immediately made space for the doctor, she and Mitsuki stepping backwards.

“Hello, Izuku, I’m doctor Suzuki”, she smiled at him; Izuku noticed her eyes were as pink as her hair. He wondered what her quirk was and would have asked her if she hadn’t continued talking. “Except for feeling dizzy, how are you? Feeling any pain?”

He hesitated. For every second of consciousness the pain had grown a bit sharper but if he got more painkillers it was sure to bring him back under and he didn’t want that just yet. On the other hand his mom had always told him to never lie to doctors or they couldn’t help you properly. “I’m in a bit of pain but feel mostly numb.”

She hummed. “That is unfortunately to be expected. Don’t worry, I’ll give you more painkillers in a moment and you’ll feel alright again.”

“T-there’s something more”, Izuku stammered, his voice barely audible.

“What is it?” she gently coaxed him.

Izuku reached out with the hand without any bandages towards his right eye. He felt something covering it and guessed it were bandages. A glance towards his mom confirmed the thing he’d seen before hadn’t changed. “I think there's something wrong with my eye”, he whispered, voice trembling. The heart monitor picked up his rising heartbeat.

The tension in the room was so thick he could have cut through it. Doctor Suzuki broke the silence. “Do you mean that you can’t see through it? The reason for that is that it’s covered in bandages. So you don’t need to worry.”

“N-no, it’s not that. I ... I can see something with it, b-but not with my other eye.”

“What can you see?” his mom breathed and moved closer. He turned his gaze away and back to her a few times. Nothing changed.

“I … through my left eye I see the world as normal, but my right eye s-sees only darkness … and an orange light.” He faced his mom, looking into her green eyes; the same colour as his own. “It belongs to you, but I see it even when I’m not looking at you. I think it appeared sometime during the f-fire and that it’s connected with my quirk. A-and I think I can no longer s-see anything else with it.”

The tears he’d tried to keep at bay finally begun falling, burning in his eyes. Izuku wiped some away and the rest got caught by the bandages over his right eye. Inko hurried past the doctor and carefully hugged him to her chest, barely touching his bandaged back or arms. She stroked his hair. “It’s okay Izuku, we’ll manage it together. No matter what happens.“

“You promise?”

“Yes”, she said without hesitation and looked him in the eye. The orange light that was hers shone so brightly and steadily Izuku felt something settle inside his heart. “You’re already so strong, darling and you’re my hero.”

“H-hero?” The lingering pain he’d felt ever since the doctor’s proclamation that he was quirkless evaporated into thin air. He had a quirk and for one glorious moment he forgot about his burns and potentially ruined eye. His dream of becoming a hero was one step closer.

“Always.”

Doctor Suzuki cleared her throat and broke the moment. “There is something else we must discuss.”

Inko gave her a glare that could instil fear in lesser people’s hearts. “I think it can wait until tomorrow. Izuku has dealt with enough as it is.”

“W-what is it?” Izuku asked with a weak voice, clinging onto his mom with his good hand. The way the doctor and his mom spoke made him scared.

Inko turned towards him and stroked his hair. He leaned into the touch. "Don't worry about it right now, it can wait until tomorrow. Are you in pain? Maybe there's time for more painkillers."

"I … yeah that's sounds like a good idea." Izuku really wanted to know what the doctor talked about but there was no way he would go against his mom’s wishes. Besides the pain had begun to really bother him and he was willing to delay getting information to sleep instead.

Inko gave the doctor another sharp gaze and she sighed, relenting. Suzuki put something in his IV line and moments later he felt the pain melting away, and with it an incredible exhaustion overwhelmed him. Izuku gripped his mom's hand, needing her support as he drifted off into sleep.

💚💚💚

“Are you ready?” Doctor Suzuki asked, hands hovering above the first bandage - on on his arm - but not touching it yet.

Inko squeezed his hand. “It is okay if you’re not, baby, we can wait a few more hours.”

It was the morning after he was admitted into the hospital, the morning after the fire. Another doctor had used their healing quirk at him during the night, healing him as much as they possible could. It was time to remove the bandages and determine what permanent damage he would have from his wounds. The word permanent scared him more than anything - besides the fire - had ever scared him before. Izuku would never be ready to see what the fire had done to him but knew that he didn’t have a choice.

Izuku closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. “Yes.”

Suzuki begun unwrapping the bandages one after the other and he stubbornly kept his eyes closed through it all. She begun with his arms and legs and then moved towards his chest and back. When the air hit the uncovered areas his skin stung but the worst part was how his mom’s breath caught in her throat at whatever she saw. She squeezed his hand but Izuku suspected it was more for her own comfort than for his.  

“I’ve left the bandage over your face and right hand for know since they were the worst injuries”, Suzuki said. “The rest of your burns have healed as well as expected but will require a bit more care. Most of them have only caused pigmentation changes and might fade a bit with time but a few burned you deep enough to create scar tissue that will need a lot of extra care to make sure they heal as they should.”

Izuku still kept his eye stubbornly closed. The orange light shone brightly at him. Only a few hours had passed since he saw it for the first time but it was already a comfort for him. It made him feel like his mom was with him even when she wasn’t - not that she had been far from him since he woke up, but the few times she had stepped out of the room the light had made her feel close anyway.

“It’s okay, Izuku, you can open your eyes” Inko said, stroking his now unbandaged left arm from his wrist to his shoulder. He could feel when she touched the scar tissue. It tickled somewhat but didn’t actually hurt.  

Slowly he opened his eye and stared down at himself. He was clad only in underwear so the full extent of his burns was evident before him. The burns on his arms, legs and torso was red and glaring against his freckled skin, covering them in random lines that almost looked like fire themselves. Izuku already hated them.

Izuku forced himself to breath in and out in a slow pace, suppressing the rising panic. Tears gathered in his eyes but he blinked them away, though the ones in his covered right eye got soaked up by the bandages. If he begun crying now he wouldn’t be able to stop and he wanted to know he full extent of the damage before he lost control of himself.

But if his arms were wounded in such a horrible way he didn’t even want to think about what could have happened to his eye and hand.

“How are you feeling?” His mom asked, worry evident in the line of her eyebrows and the downturn of her lips.

“I-I’m o-okay”, he stammered and failed miserably in sounding like it. He forced his feelings even deeper down. It wasn’t healthy but in that moment he didn’t care. “B-but how come s-some of them are w-white?” He gestured towards a line of white scar tissue on his abdomen. Next to it was another scar but it was a deep read instead. They were a bit uneven; the skin tough to the touch but mostly the colour was the only evidence of the burns. Though he did have some worse scar tissue on his legs and right arm.

“Burns can cause pigmentation changes and either turns white or red depending on the damage they did to the skin.”

“O-okay.”

“Are you okay with me removing the bandages on your hand now?” Suzuki asked, her pink eyes gentle. He still hadn’t asked her about her quirk, but this wasn’t the right time either. Izuku nodded, not trusting his voice to be steady.

Suzuki begun unwrapping the bandages around his right hand and this time he forced himself to keep his eye open. Slowly the white cloth fell away and white skin came into view. The skin was white and bumpy. It didn’t look worse than other parts of his body but Izuku immediately knew something was wrong.

He could barely feel it was Suzuki removed the bandages.

“I … I think something is w-wrong”, he whispered.

“What is it?” Inko immediately asked and leaned over him to take a closer look on his hand.

“I c-can barely feel anything with my h-hand.” Izuku felt like he had been punched in the guts and gasped desperately for breath. He could hear the heart monitor picking up its speed in as his heart began to race.

“Can you feel this?” Suzuki asked and stroked a finger down the back of his hand. He felt a slight tingling in his skin but compared to the feeling in his left hand it was barely there. He told them so. “Can you move it?”

Izuku gulped. He didn’t know if he dared to. What if he couldn’t move his hand?

His mom carefully pulled him into a hug. “It is okay, Izuku, just try to move it. I’m here.”

He slowly curled and uncurled the fingers of his right hand. They felt a bit stiff and when he closed his hand into a fist he couldn’t feel the usual sensation of skin touching skin. All the while small trembles went through his hand, making some movements hard to do. But he could use it. Tears of relief sprung into his eyes. Inko’s head fell onto the mattress and he suspected she was a lot more scared than she let on.

“Unfortunately it seems the burn caused some nerve damage to your hand”, Suzuki said. “But it’s a good thing you haven’t lost the use of it. With some physical therapy it could be returned almost to normal, though I suspect the tremors will remain for the rest of your life. I suggest you learn how to write with our left hand as it will be a task to great for your right hand.”

“I w-will”, Izuku sniffed and dried some tears from his cheek. The bandage over his right eye felt uncomfortable, wet as it was from his tears. He almost wanted it to get off. Almost.

“Are you ready for me to remove the last bandage now?”

“Can’t it wait?” Inko protested. “He has already gone through so much. Surely we can wait at least until this evening.”

“N-no”, Izuku immediately said. “I t-think it’s better to do it all now. It’s like r-ripping of a band aid, right? It’s better to do it fast then to drag it out. S-so please do it n-now.”

“Don’t worry, it will all be over soon and then you can rest while I discuss some things with your mother.”

Izuku closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. “P-please begin.”

Suzuki begun unwrapping the bandages one after the other and he stubbornly kept his eyes closed through it all. He focused on the orange light instead, letting the warm feelings it evoked calm him. When the last of the bandages fell away he still kept his eyes stubbornly closed. Considering the damage the fire had done to his body he didn't want to know what it could have done to his eye.

His mom stroked his hair with the hand he wasn’t holding. “I’m here for you”, she said and her voice was filled with so much determination the panic in his heart settled a bit. The orange light shone steadily, lighting up the darkness.

A deep breath to ground himself before he opened his eyes.

Through his left eye he saw the world as he’d always seen it. He saw his mom, lines of worry on her pretty face that deepened when she met his eyes. He didn’t want to know what she saw. Next to her stood Suzuki, her face kept professionally calm but even in her face could he see the distress.

Their apprehension was warranted, the panic coiling in his core had been right all along. Because Izuku’s worst fears had just been confirmed. Because when he opened his right eye nothing changed. Instead for the sight his left eye beheld there was only darkness. Darkness and that lone orange light.

Izuku reached up to check that the bandage was truly gone, still in denial. His fingers felt marred skin under the eye and fluttering eyelashes. It really was opened.

Tears burned in his eyes and he wanted to keep them in, but the pain in his soul forced them out in flowing streams down his face. Sobs wrecked his scarred and mangled body, almost choking him. Gentle arms encircled him and without hesitation he buried his face against his mom’s chest.

“Izuku?” She didn’t need to say anything else; he knew what his mom asked after. He suspected she already knew and just didn’t want to believe it. The feeling was mutual. Instead of answering he just shook his head. The way her breath hitched and she pulled him closer he guessed she understood anyway.

The doctor said something and his mom answered but Izuku couldn’t hear anything else than the pounding in his ears. It felt like he was suffocating on his own tears and despair.

Warm hands cupped his face and begun wiping away the tears; a futile action since new immediately fell. Yet slowly the sobs quieted down and the tears slowed from a waterfall to a gentle stream. The world came into focus around him again. Somehow he knew he was alone in the room with his mom, though he wouldn’t be able to tell when exactly Suzuki left even if his life depended on it.

“It’s okay to cry as long as you don’t let it drown you. Keep fighting”, Inko said and Izuku drew back a bit to meet her eyes. Emerald green eyes, so similar to his own, filled with determination and bottomless strength stared back at him. Her light shone so brightly it warmed him to his core. “I gave up on you once, but never again. Face the world with pride and love your scars; they are proof that you are still alive and that you saved me. You are already a hero, Izuku, prove it.”

He wiped his tears away and used her light to smother the despair, to brighten the darkness in his mind. Warmth replaced it and Izuku smiled up at his mother. It was a bit wobbly and uncertain but it stayed put. “I will become the greatest hero of all time and save everyone.”

Inko smiled brilliantly. “I know you will.”

Burns still marred his body and his right eye and hand remained broken - and always would - but now Izuku felt that he could overcome it. He would use them as reminders to work harder at everything he did; towards his dream to become a hero.

Chapter Text

“Thank you again, Mitsuki, for letting me and Izuku stay with you”, Inko said while she carried their lone bag of possessions into the house. None of their things had survived the fire. The clothes and necessities in the bag were things Inko had bought since then, during the short moments she managed to leave Izuku. “It's just until I can find a new apartment.”

“No need to thank me, Inko. And don’t stress about finding a new place, you can stay here for as long as you need.” Mitsuki smiled at her as they moved further inside the house. She stepped closer and lowered her voice so only Inko could hear her. “Beside I think it’s better for Izuku to stay at a familiar place right now.”

Inko glanced behind her. Izuku stood just inside the door and stared down at the floor, hair falling over his eyes. It was clear he tried to hide his face. The sight made her heart break, but considering not even a week had passed since he woke up and learned of the wounds she couldn’t exactly blame him. She had a hard time accepting it as well.

The t-shirt he wore didn’t cover the red and white scars covering his arms. The scars on his legs and back were covered but she remembered how he’d looked back in the hospital with them all on display. He had looked so disgusted at the sight of them. It had made her want to cry, but she had forced the tears back. If she showed anything other than positivity towards his scars she knew it would break him.

She still felt ashamed that she hadn't been able to hide her reaction when the bandage on his hand and over his eye had been removed. The sight of her baby hurt had just been so horrifying. His right hand was sickly pale, a stark contrast to his sunburnt and freckled skin, and she could see it shaking and twitching slightly. A red scar that looked like a permanent tear track covered the lower part of the right side of his face, under the eye. Though the worst thing was the eye itself.

Izuku looked up at her and Inko forced herself to smile even though she wanted to cry when she met his eyes. The left eye was a beautiful, vibrant green, the same it had always been. The right eye was a pale, milky green as if a sheen of white covered it. It stared at her without seeing.

“Why don’t you go up to Katsuki, Izuku?” Mitsuki suggested and gave Inko a look as if to tell her to pull herself together.

Izuku blinked a few times as if it took time to process what she’d said before he nodded and without a word made his way to the stairs. He stumbled on the first step and Inko wanted to rush forward and help him, but constrained herself. She knew he had to get used to his lack of depth perception on his own. That didn’t stop her from wanting to protect her baby. Izuku slowly made his way up the stairs. It was painful to watch but he’d gotten so much better after just one week of physical therapy and training in the hospital. She had to believe he would get better.

“Tea?” Mitsuki asked a bit too cheerfully when Izuku had walked out of sight.

“Uh, yes thank you”, Inko said and followed her friend to the kitchen.

Both of them stayed quiet while the tea water brewed. Mitsuki prepared the cups and a plate of cookies. The whistle of the kettle was loud in the heavy silence. It wasn't until both of them were seated at the kitchen table that Mitsuki spoke up.

“Okay, Inko, spit it out. What is troubling you?”

Inko cringed. “Was it that obvious, huh?” When Mitsuki didn’t even dignify that with an answer she sighed and relented. “It’s just that I can’t stop thinking that it’s my fault Izuku were hurt. If he hadn’t tried saving me his body wouldn’t have been burnt and he would still have two functioning eyes.”

The tears she’d forced down until now finally broke free. Inko sobbed into her hands, trying to stay quiet so Izuku wouldn’t be able to hear her. If he noticed her crying he would only burden himself further by trying to cheer her up. She had noticed him doing so during the hospital stay.

“Are you stupid?” Mitsuki barked and Inko was so surprised she stopped crying to give her friend a startled look. She had never before seen her friend look as angry as she did now - eyes burning red and a deep scowl on her face -  and yet she kept her volume down. Probably for the same reason Inko did. “If Izuku hadn’t saved you you’d have died. Do you really believe it somehow would be better for him to be orphaned?”

“I … of course not”, she replied weakly. “I just-”

“Then stop saying such idiotic things, woman!” Mitsuki interrupted. “Izuku will get over this with enough time, but it will go a hell of a lot faster if you’re there to support him. So pull yourself together and be strong for his sake.”

Inko wiped away the tears and practised taking deep breaths until she had collected herself. “You're right, I’m sorry. It’s selfish of me to ask Izuku to be strong if I can’t do it myself. From now on I’ll support him with everything I have.”

Mitsuki smiled. “That's better. Now drink your damn tea before it gets cold.”

She couldn’t help but laugh at that but before she could take a sip from her tea she was interrupted by a loud thump from upstairs. She was on her feet and halfway down the hallway before Mitsuki had even put her cup down.

💚💚💚

Izuku slowly made his way up the stairs. He concentrated on every step he took to make sure he didn’t stumble again, not while his mom’s eyes followed his every move. It was still hard. With only his left eye functioning he had trouble perceiving distances. It was something he had to get better at if he wanted to become a hero. And that was something he was more determined to achieving now than ever before.

He stopped outside Kacchan’s closed door and took a deep breath before he knocked. A second later Kacchan’s voice called out for him to enter. He stepped inside.

The room was bigger than his own but held some similarities; mainly the amount of All Might merchandise. Though Kacchan did have some other heroes’ merchandise too. There was a bed in one corner and a desk in another as well as a wardrobe and a bookcase. Izuku liked his own room better.

The realisation that he no longer had a room hit him like a physical blow. His home was literally turned to ash, he would never return to it. Izuku smothered a sniffle before he began crying again. He’d done enough of that for the past week to last a lifetime.

Kacchan was studying him but Izuku kept his eyes hidden from him. He’d finally had a chance to look in a mirror the day before and he knew his ruined eye was unsightly. A milky green instead of the emerald of his other eye. “Come sit, Deku”, he growled and made a gesture towards the space next to him on the bed.

“R-right.” He sat down, tense and with his head lowered. Even though there was no point in it he tried to hide the burns on his arms with his body.

“You’re still an useless Deku, even though you have a quirk now and saved Auntie”, Kacchan said and Izuku recoiled as if he’d hit him. “But at least your scars are cool.”

Izuku’s head flew up so fast he almost got whiplash. For the first time since yesterday he met someone else's eyes. Kacchan grinned at him. There was no disgust on his face when he saw the full extent of the damage done to Izuku’s eye.  

“All the greatest heroes have scars”, he continued and warmth blossomed inside Izuku.

“Thank you, Kacchan.” A small smile pulled at Izuku’s lips. He could barely remember the last time he smiled.

“Whatever”, he huffed and turned away from him as if that would somehow stop Izuku from seeing the way his cheeks burned red. “Just couldn’t stand your wailing. If you wanna wallow in self pity do it somewhere else.”

“S-sorry.” He picked at a loose thread on his shirt, wishing he had something to occupy his hands with. But he had nothing. No belongings except for the clothes on his body and whatever his mom had time to buy while he was at the hospital. It still felt unreal that he was homeless. He really wished his mom had gotten him a long sleeved shirt so he could hide the scars on his arms.

Kacchan’s eyes fixed on his hands and Izuku forced himself to stop fidgeting. Something unreadable passed over his face. Before he could react Kacchan raised his fist and punched Izuku in the shoulder.

“Ow! What was that for?” Izuku asked and tried to suppress his cries of pain. He was used to Kacchan’s violent nature but this came out of the blue and considering everything that had happened as of late it was too much. The only reason he didn’t begun crying immediately was because he didn’t want to seem even weaker than he already did in Kacchan’s eyes.

“That’s what you get for worrying me!” Kacchan growled and punched him again. “Never do that ever again!”

Izuku covered beneath Kacchan's punches but he quickly realised they didn't have the same force behind them as they usually did. Kacchan hesitated momentarily before each punch and the way he aimed at a patch of skin not marred by a burn combined with his words made Izuku realise something. He’d been so preoccupied worrying about his injuries and trying to keep his mom’s spirit up that he’d completely forgotten about his best friend and his feelings. Izuku also realised that Kacchan must have been waiting outside the apartment and probably saw him when he was carried out of it. Considering how terrible he looked now , healed and all, he couldn’t begin to imagine how he must have looked then. Kacchan must have been terrified.

“I’m sorry, Kacchan, my body just moved on its own accord”, Izuku said. “I promise I won’t do that ever again.”

“You better not, or I’ll kill you!”

The familiar threat made Izuku grin. It really felt great to smile again. Kacchan smiled back for a second before a bashful expression replaced the smile’s place on his face.

“I … um have something for you.” Before Izuku could ask he was already holding out an All Might plushie towards him. Kacchan looked at everything and anything except for Izuku. “I have more of these than I need, take it.”

Izuku hesitated and Kacchan scowled at him. He pushed the plushie into Izuku’s hands, forcing him to accept it. Slowly he stroked his fingers over he soft fabric, paying extra attention to the two hair tufts on top of its head. Tears collected in his eyes and he sniffed, suddenly overwhelmed with emotions. He couldn't speak for the lump in his throat.

“Well?” Kacchan said and tried to appear indifferent but Izuku could see the truth in his eyes, the insecurity hiding behind the bravado. “Do you like it?”

“I love you, Kacchan”, Izuku cried.

Before Kacchan had the chance to answer a bright, green light engulfed Izuku, blinding him. His stomach turned and a sharp pain shot through his head. When the light faded he found himself hovering next to the bed, but only for a millisecond before the force of gravity took hold of him again. He hit the floor with a loud thump, pain shooting through his backside.

However neither the pain nor Kacchan’s surprised exclamation held his attention. He was too caught up in the sight of a new light blinking into existence in the darkness of his right eye. It was weaker than his mom’s light and not even half its size. Instead of orange it was blue with a halo of yellow. The two colours seemed to battle each other. Sometimes the yellow seemed to almost swallow the blue whole while at others the yellow was barely visible. The light felt like anger and adoration. Insecurity and strength. Protectiveness and competitiveness.  It felt like the burn of explosions against his skin and bruises caused by rough play. He knew it belonged to Kacchan.

Before he or Kacchan could say anything the door burst open and his mom stormed into the room. She took in the room with one look - Kacchan sitting on the bed and Izuku sprawled on the floor before him, still clutching the All Might plushie - before running to his side. Mitsuki followed closely behind her.

“What happened, are you hurt?” Inko asked, frenzy in her tone.

Izuku didn’t mean to, but he burst out laughing, the situation was just too hilarious. Tears of laughter spilled from his eyes and he gulped down air between attacks of laughter. Oh how glorious it felt to laugh again!

“Izuku?” His mom’s confused expression only made him laugh harder. He barely got enough air and his lungs ached. She turned towards Kacchan. “Do you know what happened?”

Kacchan shrugged, trying to appear indifferent, but the blush on his cheeks betrayed him. “The idiot told me he loved me and immediately disappeared in a flash of green only to reappear in the air. He fell on the floor.”

All three of them turned towards the still laughing Izuku. He tried to collect himself and slowly gained control of his laughter. Taking deep breaths to calm down he wiped the tears from his eyes. “I’m okay.”

“Then could you tell me what happened?” Inko asked. She didn’t appear as worried as when she first entered the room. Izuku guessed his laughter had helped calm her. Both Bakugous seemed equally as interested in his explanation, though he could tell that Kacchan tried to pretend otherwise.

“It’s as Kacchan said; I told him I loved him and I guess that activated my quirk since I suddenly teleported. The same thing happened during the fire. I said ‘I love you, mom’ and suddenly I were inside the apartment. A new light also appeared in my sight, it belongs to Kacchan.” Izuku considered everything that had happened a second ago and compared it with what had happened during the fire. Everything had happened so fast then that most things had disappeared in the frenzy, but this brought things to a new light … literally. “I think … my quirk has something to do with love.”

Izuku felt he was onto something. If only he had some way to test his theories... Problem was his mom without question would be against any quirk usage at the moment. Considering everything that had happened it was only natural. He still wasn’t fully recovered and there was no way of knowing how dangerous his quirk could be. It was best to wait a while longer before he did any sort of testing.

“Izuku, what are you talking about?” Inko asked and he blushed when he realised he’d been mumbling again.

He frantically waved his hands in front of himself, as if to push away the embarrassment. “I-it's nothing. Don’t mind me, I’m only mumbling to myself.

“Wait a minute”, Kacchan said and there was something unreadable in his tone. Izuku tensed. “You really love me?”

Oh. Izuku immediately relaxed again.

“Yeah … I do”, Izuku smiled at him. He had only been able to see the lights for a short time and there were many things he still needed to figure out about them - like if the colours represented the person or something else and if the size and the brightness had any meaning - but he was pretty sure they only appeared for people he loved. And since Kacchan had a light Izuku loved him. Besides he’d said so, hadn’t he? And Izuku never lied.

“Tch, don’t expect me to feel the same”, Kacchan grumbled. However the glint in his eyes and the small curve of his lips he tried to contain told Izuku he wasn’t as against the idea as he pretended.

Izuku smiled and hugged the All Might plushie closer to his chest. Suddenly it felt like everything would turn out alright.

Chapter Text

Inko was making the bed Izuku would sleep in tonight. They were in the guest room in the Bakugou house later that same evening and she could see that Izuku was exhausted. It had been a long day. Not only had he’d been released from the hospital but he had used his quirk again. Inko knew how exhausted you could get the first few times you used your quirk. Now he could barely keep his eyes open.

Izuku was dressed in one of the new pyjamas she had bought him. It was All Might themed, like all of his old ones, and she hoped the familiarity of it brought him some comfort. He clutched an All Might plushie close to his chest. She had no idea where it had come from.

Finally finished with the bed she turned completely towards him. She smiled at him and stepped closer to card her fingers through his unruly hair. Izuku leaned into the touch. “Where did you get the plushie from?”

Izuku smiled tiredly and yawned. He looked so precious like this, half asleep and in his All Might pyjamas. “Kacchan gave it to me.”

“That was kind of him.”

“Yeah, he’s a great friend”, Izuku said and his left eye shone with fondness. She tried to not be bothered by the fact that his right eye remained dull. “He knows how much I love All Might.”

The moment Izuku finished his sentence a green light in the shape of a heart appeared in the middle of his chest. Inko gaped at it. Tendrils of green light shot out from it and spread over his entire body until he shone so bright she couldn’t look at hi any longer. The light flashed once before disappearing but Izuku no longer stood where it had been. He was gone!

Inko’s first reaction was to run to Katsuki and check if Izuku had teleported to him. When she found the boy alone in his room, sleeping, a part of her weren’t surprised. After all the person Izuku had said he loved was All Might.

Maybe she shouldn’t worry. If Izuku had really ended up with the number one hero she should have nothing to fear. However none of them knew how his quirk worked. What if he had just ended up in a random space, or worse  - with a random person?

Inko rather panicked one time too much than risk her son getting hurt. He was only eight, goddammit! Not to mention hurt and half-blind. She had the right to be worried. Especially when Hisashi still hadn’t been caught. What if he managed to get his hands on Izuku? It was almost enough to kick off a full blown panic attack. Only her need to find Izuku kept her from falling under it.

“Inko, what is happening?” Mitsuki called from the living room was she ran down the stairs towards the door.

“Izuku’s gone!” She called back but otherwise didn’t stop to explain what had happened. She didn't have the time. Inko barely stopped to pull on her shoes and a jacket before she hurried out the front door.

Next Inko ran to the civilian police car in which two police officers in casual clothes sat and kept watch over them. It only took a short explanation of what had happened before they ushered her into the car and took of towards the police station. The 20 minute ride to the police station felt like torture and Inko couldn’t keep still. If Izuku was hurt she would bring a wrath upon the guilty unlike any seen on this planet before. She would tear them apart and burn the pieces!

When she arrived to the police station Tsukauchi was already waiting for her. He ushered her to his office. She got an eerily feeling of deja vu. The situation reminded her too much of the first time she hurried to the police station after finding out the truth about Hisashi.  

“I got a call that Izuku disappeared from the Bakugou's resident, can you tell me what happened?”

“Izuku disappeared in a flash of green light! He must have activated his quirk by mistake and teleported.”

“Yes, but do you know where he went?” Tsukauchi asked, as calm as ever. It could be infuriating at times that he managed to keep so calm in the face of disaster but at the moment it was exactly what she needed.

“Right before he disappeared he said ‘I love All Might’ so that’s my only clue. But could he really have teleported to All Might ? Sure, Izuku loves him but he doesn't actually know the man! There’s no way his quirk can work that way, right?”

“I can’t answer that question, but I can call All Might”, Tsukauchi said and Inko gaped at him. There was no way all police officers in Japan had All Might’s phone number so how in the world was he supposed to call him? Tsukauchi must have seen her confusion because he smiled and explained. “All Might is an old friend of mine and I have his phone number for emergencies. But before I call him I have to explain the situation for the underground hero on the case.”

Inko waited as he called a number and spoke with the hero on the other side of the line. It was probably a short conversation but it felt like it took an eternity. When Tsukauchi finally ended the call and turned towards her she forced herself to take a deep breath and calm her racing heart.

“Don’t worry, Ms Midoriya, we’ll find Izuku and if we’re lucky he actually teleported to All Might.”

“Just … call him now”, Inko couldn’t even manage the energy to feel bad over her short tone. She just had to get this over with.

Tsukauchi nodded, not appearing to take any affront. He took out another phone and Inko guessed it was his personal one. A moment later he put it against his ear and waited as it rang. Inko held her breath while she waited. Eventually she heard a voice answer it, though she couldn’t make out what it said. “Hello All Might, I have a … somewhat weird question but please bear with me. Do you have a young boy named Midoriya Izuku with you?”

💚💚💚

“Yeah, he’s a great friend”, Izuku said. “He knows how much I love All Might.”

Immediately there was a warm, tingling sensation in the middle of his chest and he looked down to see a glowing, green light in the shape of a heart appeared in the middle of his chest. A moment later tendrils shot out of it and spread over his entire body, covering it in green light. It blinded him and he gasped when pain split his head in two. Nausea churned in his stomach. Once the light covered every inch of his body he felt a shift around him. The light faded and he blinked its afterimage from his functioning eye.

There was a new light in his right eye. It shone with a yellow light and was about the same in size and brightness as Kacchan’s. It felt like adoration and worship. Strength and protectiveness. Determination and stubbornness. It feels like a pat on the back and bright smiles. The light belonged to someone called … Yagi Toshinori. Izuku had never heard of him before. How was it possible for him to love someone he didn’t know?

To get clues of this new person he apparently loved he decided to examine his surroundings. Besides if he loved this person and had teleported to them they bad to be close by. At least the other times he had teleported they had been close. Though those times he had actually known the person he teleported to.

He was clearly in a living room, two cosy looking sofas facing a TV. Several flower pots were located all over the room. There were so many that it almost looked like a garden rather than a room. Photographs hanged on the walls but Izuku didn't examine them closer. Mostly because the view out the windows stole his breath away. The city before him was not Musutafu and if he’d have to take a guess he’d say it was Tokyo. Furthermore the building he was in was really high. He almost felt dizzy staring down at the street far below him.

A sound from another room drew his attention and Izuku tiptoed towards it. He found a kitchen next to the living room. It was filled with top-notch utilities and even more plants. Pictures littered the fridge. And there was a man by the stove. A huge, muscular man with blond hair, wet from the shower. He was dressed in loose clothing but it did nothing to hide the vast expanse of his shoulders or the mass of his biceps. Izuku felt dwarfed next to him.

The huge man hummed on some melody while he worked and the smell of something cooking filled the air. It didn’t smell half bad.

“Um …”, Izuku said intelligently and clutched his All Might plushie closer.

The man froze for half a second at the sound of his voice before he came to life in an explosion of movement and power. He turned and rushed towards Izuku faster than his eye could follow. A fist as big as his head was on its way right at his stomach and Izuku closed his eyes in front of his impending doom. The punch never landed.

Izuku opened his eyes. The huge man stood before him with a surprised and maybe a bit sheepish expression. His fist was mere centimetres from Izuku's stomach and as if he realised this he quickly withdrew it. Though Izuku was too busy staring at the man's face to really notice.

All Might stood before him.

Omg, omg, omg , Izuku's thoughts repeated like a mantra. He knew he was staring but couldn’t stop. I’m in All Might’s kitchen. I’ve met All Might.

“Are you all right?” All Might asked, brow slightly wrinkled in concern. All Might was worried for him!

“Y-yes, s-sorry for disturbing you, M-Mr All Might”, Izuku stammered, blushing a bright red. He only grew redder when he realised that he was dressed in an All Might pyjama and holding a matching plushie. Could he look more like a fanboy?

“How did you get in here?” All Might asked and looked around the apartment. Considering whom he spoke with and how high in the air they were it was a strange question.  There was no evidence of him breaking in - of course there weren't - but he couldn’t just say that he had been allowed inside either. You didn’t just walk uninvited into All Might’s apartment

“I-it was an accident”, Izuku tried to explain. “M-my quirk makes me teleport to people I l-love and apparently it happens whether I want it or not. Even when I don't actually know the person. I only have to say I love someone out loud. A-and I said that I… love All Might and the next thing I knew I was here. But it's strange cuz the new light in my eye belongs to Yagi Toshinori and you're All Might.” Izuku paused, eyes widening. “Wait is your real name Yagi Toshinori?”

“I, uh … yes it is”, All Might said and looked upon him with an unreadable expression. “How do you know my civilian name? It’s a well kept secret.”

“D-don’t worry, I won't tell anyone”, Izuku immediately promised. “I don’t really know how I know, just that my quirk apparently gives me that information after the light appear.”

“Lights? You aren’t making any sense, boy. Could you please start from the beginning? Maybe tell me your name?” All Might pulled out one of the kitchens chairs and Izuku slowly sat down. He was sitting at All Might’s table in his apartment!

“Sorry, Mr Yagi. Or is it All Might? Mr Might? Yagi Might?” Izuku mumbled.

“Just call me All Might”, he sighed and Izuku blushed.

“R-right, my name is Midoriya Izuku”, he begun before he jumped into a retelling of the last week, beginning with the fire.  

“So let's see if I understand”, All Might said. “You only discovered your quirk about a week ago and immediately used it to save your mother’s life. When you woke up you were blind on one eye but can now see lights that represent the people you love. And when you said you loved me earlier you teleported to me, but it was by mistake.”

Izuku blushed. “Y-yeah that’s about it.”

All Might hummed and seemed deep in thought. “Well I guess it’s all right then, since you didn't do it on purpose. However”, he said and Izuku got nervous at his serious expression, he had never seen All Might with anything other than a smile on his face before, “you have to be more careful in the future. I almost Detroit smashed you through a wall before I saw that you were only a kid. And what if I had been in the middle of a fight when you teleported to me? It could have ended badly. So I would suggest that you never teleport to me again and try not to say that you love any other hero.”

“I won’t!” Izuku immediately said. Just thinking about what All Might said about ending up in a middle of a fight made tremors of fear run down his spine. He was pulled out of his thoughts by the smell of smoke. Another type of fear spread through his veins when the smell reminded him of being trapped in the burning apartment, his mom hurt and unconscious by his side and painful burns littering his body. Izuku forced the impending panic away. “Um, All Might? Is something burning?”

The look on All Might’s face was comical as he jumped to his feet. “Oh shit”, he swore when he turned towards the stove and saw the smoke coming from whatever he was cooking. He ran towards it and begun putting out the fire. A few minutes later he got it under control but the food was completely ruined.

“I’m sorry”, Izuku said and lowered his head in shame. If he hadn’t distracted All Might his food wouldn’t be destroyed.

“It’s okay, young Midoriya”, All Might said with a smile. “Besides that’s not the first time I’ve burnt my food. I’ll just order takeout instead.”

Izuku opened his mouth to apologise once again when he was interrupted by a phone ringing. All might frowned and pulled his phone from a pocket on his pants. He checked the caller and his eyes widened at whoever it was. He accepted the call and put the phone against his ear. “Hi Naomasa, any reason you’re calling at this time?”

Izuku waited patiently as All Might and the other person spoke, letting his eyes wander. They landed on the pictures on the fridge and his curiosity won over his need to be polite. He stood from the chair and walked towards them. The pictures were of different people, some he recognised as current or former heroes but others was unknown to him. Among them was a picture of a woman with black hair and a big smile on her face. She was dressed as a hero but he didn’t recognise her.

“Yes, Midoriya Izuku is with me.” At the mention of his name Izuku turned back towards All Might, Who could be asking after him? And how did they know to call All Might? A feeling of dread spread through his stomach and something made him look towards a clock hanging on the wall. He’d been gone for over half an hour.

“Mom! She’s gotta be worried out of her mind! I just left without a word.” His sudden exclamation brought All Might attention to him. “I have to get home!”

All Might put a hand on his shoulder just as Izuku was about to run out of the apartment in search of his mom. “Calm down, young Midoriya, panicking won’t help you get home.”

“B-but mom must be so w-worried!” Izuku pulled at his hair and felt tears prickle in his eyes. He would never see his mom again! She must be so worried. Especially considering everything that had happened as of late. How could he be so stupid and forget about her?

“Don’t worry, young Midoriya, because on the other side of my phone is my good friend Detective Tsukauchi Naomasa and with him right now is your mother. She was worried about you disappearing and went to the police but my friend already told her that you are with me. Of course she still wants you to come home as fast as possible but she’s not worried any longer”

Knowing his mom was only at the other side of a phone call made him calm down a bit and he dried his tears. There was only one more problem. “B-but how am I supposed to get home?”

“Well … didn’t you say your quirk was teleportation? Why don’t you just teleport back to your mother?”

“I’ve n-never used my quirk on purpose before.”

All Might squeezed his shoulder and Izuku looked up to meet his eyes. He smiled down at him and it was filled with so much reassurance that Izuku immediately felt better. “It’s okay, I’ll help you.”

“R-really?”

“Really”, All Might responded. “Think about what you did last time you teleported. What did you do?”

“I just said ‘I love All Might’”, Izuku responded. He waited for a second to see if anything would happen but nothing changed. Then he tried saying he loved his mother and once again nothing happened. “It’s hopeless!”

“Calm down, young Midoriya”, All Might said and patted his shoulder. He probably tried to be gentle but still managed to use so much strength that Izuku’s knees quivered a bit beneath him. “Let’s try something else. It appears the lights you can see have something to do with your quirk. Maybe you just need to focus on your mother’s light.”

“I … maybe.”

Izuku closed his eyes so that the only thing he could see was the darkness and the three lights in it. One blue and yellow that represented Kacchan. One yellow that was All Might’s. And one orange that was his mom’s. He focused on the last light and it begun to shine brighter. The feelings associated with it grew stronger. Warmth and comfort. Gentleness and strength. It was calming and made focusing easier. All Might’s and Kacchan’s lights disappeared until only his mom’s remained.

The warm, tingling sensation in the middle of his chest that he’d felt before returned. He opened his eyes and saw a glowing, green heart appear on his chest. Tendrils shot out of it and spread over his entire body, covering it in green light. It was blinding and an awful headache grew behind his eyes. His stomach turned. Soon his entire body was engulfed in the green light. Then he felt the world shift.

When the light faded he found himself in what looked like an office. An unassuming looking man he didn’t recognise sat at a desk with a phone pressed to his ear. In front of him, with her back to Izuku, sat his mom. The man let out a surprised sound at his appearance and his mom turned to see what had caused the reaction. When she saw Izuku her eyes widened.

Inko was on her feet in a second and raced towards him. With a cry she pulled him into her arms and pressed him to her chest. He could feel tears fall on his head and hugged her back.

“Izuku, I was so worried!”

“I’m okay mom”, he said and laughed when she peppered his face in kisses. “I was just with All Might.“

Inko put him down and stared wide eyed at his smiling face. “All Might?”

He laughed again and scratched the back of his head in embarrassment. “I teleported to him by mistake and ended up forgetting the time while we talked. I’m really sorry.”

“You actually met All Might?”

“Yeah, he’s even greater in person than on TV.” He had to restrain himself from jumping up and down. He barely believed it himself, but he had actually met All Might! And if he ever doubted himself he just had to look to the new light shining next to his mom’s and Kacchan’s. “He helped me use my quirk so I could get back to you.”

“I owe him my thanks then.” She turned towards the man who still sat behind the desk with the phone in hand. “Are All Might still on the line?”

“Yes, he is”, the man said with a smile.

“Can you please tell him how grateful I am for helping my boy get home safely?”

“I will.” The man pressed the phone to his ear and spoke into it. Izuku was to busy getting kissed to death by his mom to try and listen in.

“Mom!” he complained, though he laughed and held onto her just as tight as she held him.

“I’m sorry, I was just so worried.”

Guilt turned the moment sour. Izuku sniffed. “I’m sorry for worrying you.”

“It’s okay, darling. The only thing that matters is that you’re here now. But please never do that again.”

“I won't, I promise”, Izuku immediately said. It wasn’t a hard promise to make. A yawn suddenly overwhelmed him.

Inko hummed. “It’s late and we should get you to bed. We can talk more tomorrow about what happened, okay?”

Izuku yawned again. “Okay.”

💚💚💚

Toshinori stared at the phone after the call with Naomasa disconnected with a big smile on his face. He was glad young Midoriya was okay and reunited with his mother. Both of them seemed like wonderful people and he would hate if anything happened to them.

The smile faded when he turned and examined his ruined dinner. He sighed and decided it was a lost cause. Seemed like he had to order takeout again. While he searched his phone for the right number his attention was caught by something bright on the table.

Toshinori couldn’t help but laugh when he noticed the All Might plushie sitting on the table. Young Midoriya had obviously forgotten it in his eagerness to get back to his mother. He guessed he’d just have to keep it safe in case he ever saw the boy again.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure you want to do this, Izuku? There is absolutely no shame in waiting longer”, said Inko as she helped him put on the eye patch he had begged her to get him. It felt uncomfortable to have fabric covering his eye and it made him look like a pirate, but he preferred it over the alternative. His blind eye stared creepily at nothing, not following the other eyes movement as it should. Looking like a pirate was better.

“I’m sure mom, I want to go back to school”, Izuku lied. It was almost impossible to lie to his mom but he had begun getting used to it. Izuku did not want to go to school but his mom had to work and he would be left alone in the Bakugou house otherwise. School was better than alone because whenever he was alone memories he’d rather forget surfaced. “Besides, Kacchan will be there.”

“I … well if you’re sure. But if you need me to come and get me don’t hesitate to contact me, okay?”

“Okay”, Izuku said and forced a smile.

When he stepped out of the bedroom Kacchan was waiting for him. He leaned with forced casualty against the wall and barely glanced at Izuku’s face before he said: “Nice eye patch. It makes you look cool. Like a pirate.”

A real smile broke out on Izuku’s face. Maybe looking like a pirate weren’t as lame as he’d thought. At least not if Kacchan liked it. The blue and yellow light grew a bit in size, the yellow a weak aura around the blue. “Thank you, Kacchan.”

“Whatever”, Kacchan said and rolled his eyes. “Come on, if we don’t hurry we’ll be late.”

They hurried through breakfast, Izuku constantly stumbling or knocking into things he thought were further away. At one point Kacchan took pity on him by filling up his glass with orange juice after he’d poured outside it for the third time.

Luckily Auntie Mitsuki decided to drive them to school, otherwise Izuku isn’t sure he’d manage to get there (neither of the boys noticed the undercover police car following them). His scars had already begun hurting and considering his problems with picking out distances walking would have been a disaster.  

The moment he entered the school, partially hidden behind Kacchan, all the talking stopped. Kids he’d never even talked to turned to stare at him. He ducked his head and refused to meet anyone gaze. As he and Kacchan begun walking again whisperer broke out all around them. “His apartment burned down and I heard he’s homeless now.” “Did you see the scar on his face? It’s so ugly.” “Why is he wearing an eye patch? I bet his eye got all messed up.” “Apparently Deku got his quirk, I bet it’s something useless.” “I feel sorry for Katsuki for being forced to hang with that loser.”

 “Stupid extras don’t know what they are talking about” Kacchan growled and his stormy expression combined with the small explosions in his hands made the other kids flee before his wrath could be turned on them. Izuku had never before been more grateful that Kacchan was his friend. The blue and yellow light pulsed and begun shining a little bit brighter.

He was acutely aware that Kacchan usually didn’t hang out with him at school - preferring to be with other friends of his. So even if he was left alone at the moment it was only a matter of time before the vultures descended on him.

“A-am I an extra too?” Izuku asked and hunched his shoulders when Kacchan’s red eyes bore into him.

Kacchan scoffed. “Of course you are, stupid Deku.” The words hurt more than they should considering how many time he’d heard them before. It truly had been stupid of him to think something had changed just because he now had a quirk and a blue light shining in his eye as proof that he loved Kacchan. He'd always be a Deku. “But … depending on how useful your quirk is maybe you could become one of my sidekicks.”

Izuku teared up a bit at that, a stupidly big smile on his face. From Kacchan it was basically a declaration of never ending friendship. “I’ll prove that I deserve to be your sidekick.”

Kacchan rolled his eyes. “Whatever.”

“Maybe we can test it out during lunch break”, Izuku suggested, already excited at the thought. He had wanted to test his quirk ever since he woke up in the hospital and learned he had one. If it hadn't been for his wounds Izuku would have tested it much sooner. Besides ever since All Might had guided him into using his quirk purposefully he had wanted to try it again.

“I had plans to meet up with some others but that sounds like-”, Kacchan continued talking but not a sound reached Izuku’s ears. According to his left eye absolutely nothing had changed - he was still walking down the hallways in school with Kacchan by his side while followed by the stares of other students. But his right eye told him something entirely different.

The yellow light - All Might’s light - flashed in his eye and a sense of wrongness poured from it. The feelings it usually evoked - adoration and worship, strength and protectiveness, determination and stubbornness - disappeared beneath an avalanche of fear. An overwhelming urge to get to All Might’s side and protect him overpowered Izuku. Somehow he knew All Might was in danger.

I have to get to him. Protect him, protect him, protect him! The yellow light began growing and swallowed the darkness in its path. The two other lights paled next to its brightness. The pounding of his heart reverberating like thunder in his ears and the barely healed wounds on his body burning as if the fire still kissed them.

As suddenly as it happened the feeling disappeared. Izuku blinked in confusion as the yellow light returned to its normal size and brightness in a heartbeat. The feeling of danger was gone just as suddenly and the need to get to All Might disappeared with it. The change almost gave him whiplash.

Kacchan was still talking as if nothing had happened and it appeared that only seconds had passed. If it hadn’t been for the pounding headache behind his right eye and the vivid memory Izuku would have doubted it happened at all.

Because why would All Might of all people need protection? And even if he had indeed been in danger what could possible Izuku do to help him? Maybe he could teleport to him … No, All Might had said Izuku couldn't just teleport to heroes whenever and he had promised he wouldn’t. He always kept his promises.

Izuku shook his head and shoved the thoughts to the back of his head. He had to contemplate this later when he had more time.

Izuku’s next challenge presented itself shortly after the first lesson for the day begun, distracting him from thoughts about All Might. He couldn’t write with his right hand any longer. Technically he already knew that, Izuku had just managed to repress the knowledge.

During his week at the hospital he had to do a bunch of test to determine the extent of his injuries and what physical therapy he would need to fix it. They had used his physical assessment tests from school as comparison. At the moment he’d been more focused on the complete blindness of his eye and his loss of depth perception, but it wasn’t the only thing that had been discovered. His grip strength was a fraction of what it had been and the first time he tried to use chopsticks it had become apparent his fine motor skills had been damaged. Izuku could no longer use chopsticks with his right hand.

Somehow it hadn’t translated to him that not being able to use chopsticks also meant not being able to write.

Izuku stared down at his unreadable notes. The tears in his eyes didn’t make it easier to read. He’d tried writing with both hands and of the two of them his left hand was more comprehensible! He couldn’t do this.

“Hey, nerd”, Kacchan growled from the bench next to his. Izuku blinked back the tears and turned to look at him - since he sat at Izuku’s right he had to turn his head a lot to be able to see him. “Why the fuck are you crying for?”

“I-I can’t write”, Izuku whispered back.

“Then what in all goddamn hell do you think I’m doing?”

Izuku blinked and studied him closer. He didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Kacchan was just taking notes and paying attention in class. “I … don’t know?”

Kacchan showed his teeth in an angry grimace. “I’m fucking taking notes for you, you idiot. Have been for like a week. I mean who else would I be taking notes for?”

“...Yourself?

Kacchan huffed and rolled his eyes. “Only nerds need notes. I just memorize everything.”

Izuku laughed into his hand. “Thank you Kacchan.”

“Whatever”, he said and turned back towards the teacher but Izuku saw how his lips curved upwards a bit.

Without the frustration of trying to write either with his off hand or a hand that didn’t work properly Izuku could focus all his attention on the teacher. The focus was short lived though as suddenly the strange occurrence from before returned. All Might’s light began burning several times brighter, almost blinding in its intensity. There was a screaming in his head that he had to get to All Might right now because he was in danger. Izuku bit back a cry of pain and pressed his hands against his head as it throbbed with each scream.

The pain persisted for several long seconds, dragging out into a minute, before suddenly disappearing. Izuku gasped as All Might’s light returned to normal and the pain just stopped. He looked around him to see if anyone had noticed and it didn’t seem like even Kacchan had paid enough attention to him to notice that something was wrong. Izuku didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want to disrupt the class over something that might only be his imagination. But if All Might really was in danger shouldn’t he do something?

Don’t be stupid Izuku; you can’t do anything to help him. You're just a worthless Deku. He just had to suffer in silence and then maybe talk to his mom after school.

💚💚💚

During the following hours All Might’s light flashed in his eye more times than he could count, the voices screaming about danger always accompanying it. Every time Izuku got the overwhelming urge to protect him. The feeling lasted at most for a minute or two, never long enough for him to actually relent to the compulsion to teleport to him. However for every time it happened the feeling got harder to ignore and the pain behind his eye only grew worse.

By the time lunch came around he could barely concentrate on what the teacher was saying and the only thing keeping him from teleporting was his promise. The bell rang and like a zombie Izuku stumbled out of the classroom.

“-eku. Hey Deku!” Izuku flinched as Kacchan yelled directly into his ear.

“Oh, hi Kacchan. Sorry my mind was on other things”, he smiled apologetic at the angry blond.

“Whatever. Are we doing this or not?”

It took a second before Izuku remembered what Kacchan was talking about but when he did the pain behind his eye was immediately forgotten. He would be testing his quirk! “Of course!”

Together they hurried outside to a secluded but open place - a small meadow in the forest at the school’s border. No one else was around and someone could only really see them if they came close. It was as secluded they could get. Kacchan stopped at the other end of the meadow and faced him.

“Okay, Deku, Show me what you got”, Kacchan said and grinned.

“Right!”

He still wasn't sure what exactly he could do with his quirk, the only lead he had was the four times he had teleported so far. And of those four times only one had been intentional. Izuku focused on that one. If he could only recreate what he had done then.

Izuku closed his eyes and focused on the lights. All Might’s yellow light thankfully shone steadily without giving of any feeling of impending doom. He still wasn’t sure if the feeling was real or only his imagination. But for now he ignored All Might’s light and all question marks surrounding it. Instead he focused on Kacchan’s blue and yellow light.

When he focused on the light he felt the feelings it evoke. Anger and adoration. Insecurity and strength. Protectiveness and competitiveness. The burn of explosions against his skin and bruises caused by rough play. Izuku focused on those feelings until it was the only things he could feel. The light begun to shine brighter and the darkness succumbed to it. Both All Might’s and his mom’s light got engulfed by it, but this time Izuku could discern that they didn’t disappear completely. He simply couldn’t make them out against Kacchan’s bright light. It was like how the stars didn’t disappear during the day, you just couldn’t see them since the sun was shining too bright. Electricity tingled over his body as the green light covered his body like a second skin. Pressure built in his head and his stomach turned.

When the green light dissipated Izuku found himself staring at Kacchan’s back. “It worked!” Izuku cheered.

Kacchan twirled towards him. Even though he tried to maintain a bored expression Izuku could see the truth in his eyes. He had managed to impress even Kacchan! His heart thundered with excitement. “What did it look like from the outside?”

His mother had described it already but a new pair of eyes cold detect details someone else would miss. “Well first you only stood there like an idiot”, Kacchan huffed. He wasn’t entirely wrong, Izuku had taken several seconds to focus before he teleported. It was something he had to work on if he wanted to become a hero. “Then this green light begun glowing in the middle of your chest-”

“Wait my chest?” Izuku interrupted. He had seen it himself, how a green, shining heart appeared in the middle of his chest and shone even though his clothes. Izuku just wanted to confirm that others saw it too.

“Don’t interrupt me or I’m not gonna tell you”, Kacchan said and tiny explosions went of in his hands

“S-sorry.”

“So as a said before you so rudely interrupted me, a green light in the shape of a heart - lame if you ask me - appeared on your chest. From there it spread to cover your whole body and when the last of you was covered it flashed bright enough to temporarily blind me and then you were gone.”

Izuku really wished his hand functioned as it should right now so he could write down everything Kacchan said. He wanted to document everything about his quirk so he could learn as much as possible about it. Maybe he could ask his mother to buy him a recorder. “That actually match what I felt when activating my quirk! Let me try again.”

Repeating the process Izuku closed his eyes and let the yellow and blue light spread again. It happened a bit faster this time, however the pain in his head returned and he had to repress the nausea. Izuku was becoming increasingly certain that those negative effects were a permanent part of his quirk.

When Izuku opened his eyes he found himself centimetres from Kacchan’s face. He exclaimed in surprise and stumbled backwards, only for his foot to catch on something. He went down and cried out in pain as he landed on the ground. Blushing he jumped to his feet and brushed himself down while Kacchan was busy howling with laughter.

“It’s not that funny”, he said with a pout.

“Yes it is”, Kacchan laughed and clutched his stomach.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m gonna do it again.”

A bright green flash later and Izuku stood by the tree line a few meters from Kacchan. This time bile rose in his throat and he forced it back down. It took a few seconds before the pain in his head settled.

“Interesting, it seems I teleport to a random space around the person I want to get to. I wonder if there is any limit to how far away from them I can end up and what would happen if there is no open space big enough for me within that range. Could I get stuck in a tree or something? Or end up in the air? I also wonder if there is any way for me to control this. I’ll have to test it more.”

“Oi, Deku, what are you talking about”, Kacchan called. “What is this about randomly teleporting?”

“Oh, right”, Izuku said and stepped closer so they didn’t need to yell, not that Kacchan wouldn’t yell anyway. He explained what he had discovered about his quirk.

“So what you’re telling me is that you can only teleport to me and your mom?”

“... right.” The lie tasted horrible on his tongue. Izuku hadn’t told Kacchan about his meeting with All Might, he had been asleep through it all and hadn’t even noticed that Izuku was missing. He had even asked his mom not to say anything. Izuku wasn’t even sure why he kept it from Kacchan, by all accounts he should be eager to tell his friend about meeting his hero. There was just something within him that wanted to keep the encounter secret. He wanted to keep that yellow light shining in his eye between himself and All Might.

Izuku actually had a similar feeling for all the lights he could see. They felt … private. Like something between just him and the person the light belonged to. They were after all the proof of his love.

“That's a useless quirk”, Kacchan said and scoffed. Izuku felt something sink into his stomach. “You can literally only run back to your mother. A coward can’t be a hero.”

“T-that's not true”, Izuku tried to argue. Tears pricked in his eyes. Kacchan’s blue and yellow light flickered and dimmed a bit. The yellow almost entirely swallowed the blue. “I’m not a coward and this way I can always help you.”

“Help me?” Kacchan said and his voice was eerily calm. Izuku would have preferred if he had yelled and set of explosions. “I don’t need help from anyone and least of all from you. Worthless Deku, you could as well have stayed quirkless.”

He could no longer hold back the tears. Pressure began building behind his right eye again.  “I’m not worthless.”

“Then prove it and teleport to that spot by the bush”, Kacchan said and pointed at a small bush at the edge of the meadow.

Izuku bit his lips and tried to force back the tears. He had no idea if his quirk let him teleport to places. In fact he was pretty certain that it didn’t. But he would try.

This time he kept his eyes open and his left eye focused on the spot he wanted to teleport to while his right eye focused on the darkness and lights within. He tried to force forward the green light without directing it at one of the other lights. Seconds passed and the only thing that happened was that the pain built in his head.

Suddenly All Might’s light begun flickering again and the feeling that he was in danger returned. Izuku tried to ignore it while still trying to teleport to the spot Kacchan had  pointed out. The need to protect All Might grew until his whole body pulsed with anxiety. The pain behind his eye grew tenfold for every second he ignored it and begun spreading throughout his head until it felt like someone was hammering against it. The yellow light suddenly flashed so brightly the darkness momentarily was overtaken by light.

Danger, his mind screamed. Protect him!

His body was shaking and waves of heat alternatively cold flowed through him like he had a fever. The pain in his eye increased tenfold and Izuku screamed as it felt like a knife had been stabbed through his eye socket. He fell to his knees and puked.

From somewhere far away he could hear Kacchan call out his name and felt a hand on his shoulder. However the world in his left eye seemed so irrelevant and distant compared to the battle in his mind.

All Might’s light had completely overtaken the darkness by know and compared to when he teleported to Kacchan he couldn’t even feel the other two lights. The only thing that existed was the light and the screaming in his head.

You have to get to him! the voices screamed. Izuku screamed with them, the pain reaching torturous levels. More bile forced its way up his throat and he almost choked on it. He is in danger! He will die if you don’t help him! Protect him! Protect him! PROTECT HIM!

Izuku relented to the pain and the screaming of the voices inside his head. All Might - Yagi Toshinori - needed his help and Izuku had to get to him. The promise he had made, the fact that a eight year old boy couldn’t help a hero like All might, not even his own safety mattered. Only getting to All Might.

He felt the world shift around him as he teleported.

💚💚💚

Katsuki stared at the space Deku had been only moments before, hand still outstretched to rest on his shoulder. The only evidence Deku had even been there was he pile of vomit the grass was rapidly soaking up.

Things had happened so fast. One moment everything was fine and the next Deku was gone.

Something other than the puke in front of him made his stomach turn with nausea. He couldn't name the heavy feeling that seemed to choke him and as with any feelings he didn’t understand he channelled it into anger instead. Small explosions went of in his hands and he stomped his foot.

“Deku were the fuck are you?” he yelled at the forest and waited with suspended breath for an answer. When the seconds passed without an answer he felt his heartbeat pick up. A new emotion that he actually could name flooded his senses; fear. Something was terribly wrong.

Katsuki was running before the thought had even registered. As fast as he could he sprinted back towards the school. If he could only find a teacher - anyone - everything would be alright again. The nerd would return and Katsuki would yell at him for being stupid and they would go back to acting as normal. Deku would probably even be a bit annoyed - even though he wouldn't admit it - that Katsuki got the teachers for something so stupid. They would laugh together and continue the day as if nothing had happened.

The sound of Deku’s screams echoed in his head as he ran. He saw his tearstained face and spasming body before his inner eye. Deku had even scratched at his own right eye as if clawing it out of his head would have been a relief. He had never seen someone with such an expression of pain on their face before. It had looked like Deku was being tortured. It haunted him and made his legs move faster than they had ever done before.

Deep inside Katsuki knew things wouldn’t be alright - that there was a real possibility Deku wouldn’t return. That they would never get a change to laugh together again. And he knew it was his fault.

Please be alright, Izuku.

Chapter Text

All Might had been on patrol through Tokyo all day. For most of the time it had gone by without any fuss. Just some petty crime here and there and when the criminals saw All Might coming towards them most just immediately gave up. Frankly he could have left them to some of the other heroes. Probably should have even but All Might could never not respond to a cry for help.

At worst he'd had some robberies. One attempted assault. They had all ended within seconds of him arriving. Nothing serious. Though the victims were all very grateful and that made it worth it. The media had been a bigger nuance frankly, though he could handle them too.

One message from Nighteye changed everything.

“All Might, there’s been an earthquake downtown”, Nighteye’s calm voice spoke to him through his earpiece. He’d been in the middle of an interview but the call from his sidekick immediately put it on hold. The reporter seemed disappointed but he didn’t really care. “A skyscraper was caught in it and is threatening to topple over. Hundreds trapped inside. People at the scene described an individual that is without doubt Quake.”

“I’m on it”, All Might replied and took off from the ground with a jump powered by One for All. It managed to bring him to the roof of a nearby building and from there he jumped in the direction Nighteye pointed out.

For the past month an elusive villain dubbed Quake had been running rampant in the city. His earthquake quirk had already killed dozens of people and hospitalised many more. Not to mention all the damage to property. This however was the worst incident so far. All Might couldn't help but wonder why the sudden change from relatively small targets to this.

Worst thing was that Nighteye had managed to find connections between Quake and All Might nemesis; All for One. That meant Quake was even more dangerous. On the other hand if All Might managed to capture Quake he might finally get a decisive lead on All for One. Anger boiled inside him at the mere thought of the villain that had killed Nana. Maybe he’d finally be able to avenger her death and bring an end to the greatest terror in Japan.

As All might neared the skyscraper he could hear the sounds of sirens beneath him, police cars and ambulances rushing towards the site but still a few minutes away.. The skyscraper was leaning dangerously. It was one of the smaller ones in Tokyo but it was still at least 20 stories tall. Since it was an office building and it was the middle of an ordinary workday it would be filled with people.

All Might landed on the building's roof. He took a second to collect himself before rushing down into the top floor of the building. Inside people were screaming and crying. Some was crawling towards a door labelled stairwell but most seemed to afraid to even move.

His smile was already in place - as it almost always was in this from - as he addressed the people in front of him. “Fear not, because I am here!” The panicking almost immediately died down and cries of relief replaced screams of fear. He scooped as many of the people he could carry into his arms and jumped through one of the broken windows. The people clung to him as he fell towards the ground in a terrifying speed but he could tell that they trusted in him in the way none of them screamed in fear. All Might hit the ground softly a safe distance away from the crumbling building and put the people he’d carried down on the pavement.

“Stay here, the police and paramedics will be arriving shortly.” Without waiting for an answer All might jumped back towards the building and continued the evacuation from the top downwards. He was extremely grateful that at least there would be no children in this caught in this catastrophe considering it was an office.

The first of the police arrived a few minutes later and sat up a safe perimeter. They began leading the people on the street away from the building. All might landed in front of them with the newest load of civilians. He turned his smile towards the officers.

“Thank you for your help. I’ve managed to evacuate the top third of the building and haven’t seen the villain so far. I would appreciate it if you could try and get some intel on his position.”

“Of course All Might. We are counting on you to save everyone.”

“Don’t you worry, I will”, All Might said with his signature smile on his lips before he launched himself back towards the building. While still in the air he contacted his sidekick. “Nighteye, where are the other heroes?”

“They are delayed and will unfortunately not arrive for a few more minutes”, Nighteye immediately answered.

“What! Why?” Last time he had spoken to Nighteye he had assured him the other heroes were on the way.

“Several villains laid in ambush for them on the way to you. They have enough trouble keeping them from hurting anyone else so you’re on your own for now.”

“That is … suspicious”, All Might said as he burst through one of the windows in the building. He smiled at the people inside and begun collecting them in his arms, all the while continuing to talk with Nighteye.

“I think so too. This all but confirms that Quake is working within an organization of villains. Even though we can’t be sure its All for one his intel would be priceless. It's more important that every that you manage to capture Quake.”

 

“I will”, All Might grit out through his teeth.

Suddenly a loud groan went through the building and a new array of cracks opened up along the outer walls. The few windows that hadn’t already broken splintered, raining razor sharp shards upon the ground. The whole building began leaning as a drunkard staggering home from the bar. The people still trapped inside screamed even louder. All might cursed. Time was running out but he refused to stop until he had saved every single civilian from inside the building. He called forth even more of One for All and with the extra speed boast begun clearing the remaining floors.

A few minutes later he had evaluated all but the bottom five floors and except for a unfortunately few whom had been hurt by rubble most people seemed to have escaped.  All Might breathed a bit easier, knowing no serious injuries had befallen anyone. At the same time he got even tenser. There had not been a sight of Quake since the beginning of the attack. It either meant that he had escaped … or was planning to ambush him.  

All Might honestly hoped it was the latter.

“How is the heroes' situation?” All Might asked Nighteye, tiptoeing down to the second floor. Most villains didn’t realise that a man as big and boisterous as All Might could be near silent when he wanted to, something he had used at several occasions.

“Most of the villains are subdued and those not needed to fight are on the way, mostly just some rescue heroes.”

Before All Might could answer a loud cracking noise went through the building. As he watched the cracks in the walls spread even further and widened. The building would be going down whether Quake used his quirk again or not. All Might had stood completely still until the sounds quieted down and the eminent threat of the building collapsing stopped.

“That’s good. It seems all civilians have been evacuated. I’ll just sweep through the last two floors and see if I can find any traces of Quake.”

“Be careful”, Nighteye said, the exasperation in his voice clear as day and he could almost hear him roll his eyes. They both knew All Might was incapable of being careful if someone's life was on the line.

“I'll try.”

He finally reached the ground floor and peaked out into the lobby. Glass as well as broken part of the walls and furniture covered the floor and big cracks had opened in the walls, floor and ceiling. Through a row of broken windows could he see the police cars a couple of hundreds meters away, marking the safety line.

All might was pretty sure there would be no civilians on this floor unless Quake had managed to take a hostage, but he had to make sure. So he ignored the alarming creaking from the building and walked further inside, searching the interior rooms.

That’s when things went to hell.

There was a bright, green flash a few meters from him. It was bright enough to temporarily blind him and he blinked green spots from his eyes. All Might immediately fell into a fighting stance, prepared to face down a villain, One for All buzzing beneath his skin. Though there was something familiar with the light that made him hesitate, which was lucky. Because from the light the young boy from the other day - Midoriya Izuku - stumbled forward.

The boy was sickly pale, making the freckles stand out even further. There was tears tracks running down his face and the one green eye visible was dull with pain. The other eye - the blind one, he thought - was covered by a black eye patch. Bile covered his chin and the front of his school uniform. All Might’s heart broke at the sight.

“All … Might”, Midoriya whispered and staggered a few steps towards him.

He was about to step forward and catch the boy before he fell but someone else beat him to it. The floor in the lobby burst upwards, making debris fly through the air in all directions. From the hole in the floor a muscular man with black hair and strange growths on his knuckles - almost like brass knuckles - jumped out. All Might immediately recognised him as the earthquake villain. He grabbed Midoriya around the throat and pointed a gun against his head before All Might could move closer. Blood dripped into his bad eye from a cut on his forehead, the result of a piece of debris hitting him.

“Don’t move or I’m going to kill the boy”, Quake said sand sneered, almost like he wanted All Might to come closer so he’d have an excuse to kill the boy. If he’d been pale before Midoriya now looked like a ghost. A pained expression distorted his face and he looked like he would faint at any moment.

All Might froze in place, almost not daring to breathe in fear it would make the villain hurt Midoriya. He was fast, really fast, but not even he was faster than a bullet. There was no chance in hell he would risk someone's life on his ability to reach them before the gun went off.

“It going to be okay, I’ll get you home to your mother”, All Might promised with his trademark smile firmly in place on his face. He hoped Midoriya would get the hidden meaning behind his words. If the boy could simply teleport to his mother everything would be fine.

“Shut up”, Quake growled. He let go of Midoriya's throat and the boy gasped for breath, coughing slightly. The gun remained pointed at his head. Quake reached after something in his pocket and All Might tensed. When he pulled out an all too recognisable collar he felt his blood turn cold. Only pure willpower kept the smile on his face. It was a quirk suppressing collar the heroes and police used to comprehend villains. Quake threw it at All Might’s feet and said: “Put this on.”

All heroes had to test wearing one before they were allowed to use it on someone else. Because of this All Might knew that most quirk suppressing collars didn’t work on him, or only weakened him. If this had been a regular case he wouldn’t have hesitated to put it on. But Quake’s suspected allegiance with All for one changed everything. If anyone was able to create a quirk suppressant strong enough to make One for all stop working it was All for one.

Once the collar was around his throat there was a big chance he would basically turn quirkless until someone could unlock it. If Quake decided to destroy the building he wouldn’t be able to stop him and who knew how many people would get hurt by the skyscraper toppling down. On the other hand…

Quake squeezed Midoriya’s airway and he panted as if he couldn’t get enough air. If he didn’t do something and did it quick the boy would die. He couldn’t stand the thought of those bright eyes - even the blind one had been shining with an inner light - he remembered from the other day go dark. He couldn’t stand the thought of telling his mother that he couldn’t save her child. He couldn’t stand the thought of losing such a good and bright and simply loving child. Besides, All Might had a plushie to return.  

If he could just buy a little bit of time the other heroes would get here and maybe be able to stop Quake.  

“What guarantee do I have that you’ll let the boy go if I put the collar on?” All might took a gamble and looked away from Quake to meet Midoriya's gaze. He tried to tell the boy to teleport to safety with nothing but his eyes. In response he was only fear and pain. Either the boy didn’t understand the message or he was too afraid to move - a common reaction.

Quake laughed. It was not a pleasant sound. “I guarantee that if you don’t put it on the boy will die.” Midoriya looked a bit blue in the face and struggled weakly against the chokehold.

“He’s just a child”, All Might tried to plead.

“I’ve killed kids before, this one isn’t any different. So if you care about his life you will. Put. On. The. Collar.” Quake’s ruthless, red eyes held no hesitation nor remorse in them.

All Might had been involved in hundreds - maybe even thousands, he’d lost count - of hostage situation during his time as a hero. Of all those only a handful had ended badly and all of them early in his career before he become the number one hero and Symbol of Peace. In that moment, staring into Midoriya's, fearful and pained eye, All Might relieved ever single failed attempt. Except the victims faces had all been replaced by Midoriya’s.

Midoriya with his brain blown out after All Might had stormed a bank and one of the villains robbing it had instinctively reacted by squeezing the trigger.

Midoriya with a cut throat after All Might had rushed at a villain he thought was bluffing only to realise too late he hadn’t.

Midoriya blown to pieces after a terrorist had detonated his bomb west, killing himself in the process, because All Might refused his demands.

Midoriya killed in hundreds of different ways flashed before his eyes, all of them his fault.

All Might slowly bent down to pick up the collar from the floor. “No, don’t do it”, Midoriya choked out, voice barely audible. What an incredible boy. Even in the face of his own death he tried to protect others. Midoriya was braver and more heroic than many - too many - pro heroes he had met and worked with. It only strengthened his resolve.

“Shut the fuck up kid or I’m going to pull the trigger”, Quake said and pressed the muffle harder into Midoriya's temple. He whimpered and the sound sent a flood of protectiveness and almost blinding anger through All Might.

“It’s going to be alright”, All Might reassured with a big smile even though in his heart he rather felt like crying or raging.

Without further hesitation he put the collar around his neck and locked it. Immediately he felt the strength drain from his muscles as One for All left him. It felt like the collar weighed a ton and he sagged. In just a second he went from All Might, the Symbol of Peace and the most powerful hero in the world to quirkless, worthless Yagi Toshinori.

And since the collar worked Quake’s connection with All for one was all but confirmed.

The grin on Quake’s face was triumphant. He removed the gun from Midoriya’s head and he felt relieved for all of one second before the villain instead pointed the gun at Toshinori's face. He sucked in a breath as he realised what was about to happen. Quake pressed the trigger and the shot went off.

Only to hit him in the shoulder instead of the head. Toshinori bit back a scream as the bullet tore into his shoulder, hitting the bone. Blood immediately began flowing from the wound.

Quake roared in anger and pain as Midoriya followed up the shove he’d given his gun arm with a punch in the groin. The pain made Quake drop both his grip on the gun and on Midoriya and the boy used the moment to kick the gun out of sight and leap towards Toshinori. Toshinori caught him in his good arm. The other screamed with pain at any movement but adrenalin almost drowned it out.

“That was very brave of you”, he said and carefully lowered Midoriya to the floor. “Are you alright?”

Midoriya nodded, tears prickling in his eyes. He was breathing heavily, his throat beginning to bruise. “W-why did you do it?”

“Because you’re precious to me.” His smile turned soft, genuine, when Midoriya looked up at him with wide eyes, one still hidden behind the eye patch.

“Oh, how sweet”, Quake interrupted with a growl, seemingly having recovered from the pain. “You’re going to regret doing that, brat. I think it’s time to renovate this place.”

Toshinori tried to hide his fear when he realised what Quake meant. He could no longer keep the smile on his face. “You promised not to hurt him.”

“I did?” Quake said and pretended to ponder about it. “You know, I can’t remember making any such promise.”

Quake closed his hand into a fist and punched the ground. Tremors went through the earth from the point of contact, at first weak but soon more and more powerful. The earth heaved under them in a powerful earthquake and the building shook over them. The cracks groaned and creaked, spreading rapidly. Debris fell from the roof. Midoriya screamed in fear and clung to him.

“Goodbye All Might and good luck. You’re gonna need it”, Quake said with a laugh and walked out of the building as if the floor didn’t go in waves under his feet.

Toshinori clutched Midoriya to his broad chest with his injured arm, ignoring the pain, and tried to crawl towards the exit. The building was falling apart around them but if they just made it outside there was a chance they could survive. He could see the wall of broken windows just a few meters from him. A piece of the ceiling hit his back and he felt something crack, pain suddenly radiating from what he assumed was a fractured rib. He just kept crawling. It was just another injury to ignore. The heaving ground made it almost impossible to get somewhere and he had barely managed to get closer to the exit. Even so Toshinori refused to give up. He would get the boy to safety.

A deafening groan from the building made him pause. His blood turned to ice when he looked up and saw the building leaning forwards as if drunken. Leaning in the direction they were headed. If it continued on its current trajectory they wouldn’t be safe even if they made it out the door. Toshinori began crawling impossible faster.

“All Might, look out!” young Midoriya screamed and clutched his small arms tighter around his neck.

Toshinori looked over his shoulder. “Oh fuck.”

A huge crack rapidly spread over the wall behind them up to the ceiling, the sound it made audible even over the groaning ground. For a second the world seemed to still but then the building begun collapsing inwards. The ceiling fell towards them and Toshinori pressed Midoriya to his chest as if his back would be enough to protect the boy from the unavoidable death rushing towards them. He closed his eyes.

The building fell over them with a deafening roar and Toshinori braced himself for the searing pain to come. For the death that awaited him. His only regret, except for the not being able to save the boy in his arms, was that he never passed One for all to the next generation.

Death never came. Not even as the building buried them, dust filling the air and making him cough. He couldn't even feel the pain from the gunshot or fractured ribs any longer. Instead a tingling feeling spread over his skin and warmed him.

Toshinori opened his eyes. He … was glowing with a green light.  

The light covered his entire body like a second skin and it provided enough light to illuminate the small space they found themselves in. The rubble rested against Toshinori’s back and he should be crushed under the weight. Instead he only felt a faint pressure. He slowly shifted and the concrete over them shifted with him, it groaned and gave of a cloud of dust. A sense of incredulity filled him when he realised that the rubble didn’t rest on him, but on the green light. How the hell could a soft light keep away the weight of a whole 20 story building?

A whimper pulled him from his thoughts and he looked down at the boy sheltered underneath him. Midoriya looked even paler than before and the scar under his right eye stood out like blood against snow. A glowing, green heart had appeared in the middle of the boy’s chest. His gaze was immediately drawn to the slow trickle of blood that began running from the boy’s nose.

“Are you alright?” Toshinori asked, worried about the blood on the boy’s face.

Midoriya opened his eye and Toshinori recoiled in surprise. The movement sent tremors through the building above them and he instinctively froze. A bloody tear sprouted from Midoriya’s eye and slowly ran down his cheek. Soon more followed and within short it looked like he cried blood.

“C-could you p-please stop moving, it makes it h-harder to keep the s-shield up”, the boy said through gritted teeth.  

It took a few seconds before Toshinori understood what the boy was saying. “You created a shield around us? The one stopping the building from crushing us?  I thought your quirk was teleportation.

“No, the shield is only around you”, he said and couched. Blood covered his lips. “And apparently my quirk lets me do more stuff than just teleport.”

Toshinori worriedly studied the blood running from the boy’s nose, eyes and ears. Not to mention the blood coating his lips. He gave the boy a once over in search after any visible wounds and stiffened when he saw the bloody wound on his shoulder. When did he get that wound? Maybe when the building fell? But the wound didn’t look like anything a piece of rubble could have created. It looked like a bullet wound.

Toshinori carefully moved his injured shoulder. Except it wasn’t injured any longer. Neither could he feel any pain in his ribs. He had a creeping suspicion that if - when, he refused to think anything else - they got out of here an x-ray would reveal the boy had fractured ribs. Apparently his quirk did even more than just teleport and create shields. This ability to apparently transfer wounds was frankly horrifying. Toshinori wished with all his heart he could be the one to take all the wounds instead.

Toshinori also realised that he had to get them out of here.

“Nighteye?” he called out, hoping that the rubble above them didn’t jam the signal.

“All Might!” came Nighteye's panicked call a second later and Toshinori breathed out in relief. The signal was far from the best but it still worked. “What happened?!

“I’m trapped beneath the building with a young boy who's bleeding.” He took a deep breath. Calm down. “I have a strong quirk suppressing collar around my neck so I need you to dig us out immediately.”

Horrified silence met him for a second before he could hear Nighteye call out frantically to people in the background. “Hand on All Might, help is on the way.”

“Thank you. Hurry” He turned back toward the boy.

“Are you alright?” he repeated. It was a stupid question. Of course the boy wasn’t alright, not with those wounds and the blood flowing from his eyes and nose. Toshinori just had no idea what else to do.

Midoriya coughed again. “I’m not d-dead.”

That answer didn’t really set Toshinori at ease. The boy’s breathing was laboured and a puddle of blood had begun forming around his head. He should have been panicking. That would have been the normal reaction from a  - eight year old was it? - boy in this situation. The calm was eerie. With a sinking feeling in his stomach Toshinori realised why the boy was so calm. He was in too much pain and had lost too much blood to have the energy to panic. “You should teleport back to your mother.”

“I c-can’t”, Midoriya said and weakly shook his head. He closed his eyes. “My s-shield is the only thing keeping the building from c-crushing you. I can’t l-leave you.”

“You’re bleeding because of the strain put on you by your quirk, aren’t you?”

The flinch was answer enough. “W-well I’m not entirely s-sure. It's only happened once before and I don't r-remember it.”

Toshinori sighed. It really was a horrible situation they currently found themselves in.

As if reading his thoughts Midoriya piped up again. “I’m s-sorry about this.”

“You have nothing to be sorry about, young Midoriya?”

“Yes I do!” he exclaimed and immediately begun coughing blood again. Toshinori gently wiped it away from the boy’s mouth. “It's just that … i-if I hadn’t teleported to you the v-villain wouldn’t have taken m-me and you wouldn’t be trapped. But … I couldn’t stay away. N-not when I knew when you were in danger. My quirk wouldn’t l-let me.”

“What do you mean by your quirk not letting you?” Toshinori asked slowly.

Midoriya opened his eye again but Toshinori doubted he could see much since it was literally swimming in blood. “All d-day I could feel that you were in d-danger, but mostly only for a s-second at a time. It made my head hurt t-though. T-then during lunch I wanted to test my q-quirk and while I did the f-feeling of danger built in my head. It hurt so much”, he cried. “A-and I couldn't ignore it any longer. I’m s-sorry, I’m so sorry”

“No, young Midoriya”, Toshinori interrupted, tone serious. His heart clenched in his chest at the thought of the pain the young boy had endured and was enduring because of him. “I’m the one that is sorry. You shouldn't have had to go through that.”

“B-but you … couldn't have known!” Midoriya protested and waved his hand weakly around his head. “I didn’t even k-know my … quirk did that.”

“Yes, I couldn’t have known, but as you said neither did you. So if I don’t get to blame myself then you don’t get to do that either.”

“I … okay.” He couched again and almost choked on the blood in his mouth. Toshinori gently put him on his side to help him breathe. The heart still glowed brightly on his chest.

The puddle of blood had grown alarmingly in size in the last couple of minutes. It seemed like Midoriya only clung onto consciousness with his fingertips. Toshinori gritted his teeth. The young boy was dying before his eyes and he couldn’t do anything but stare at him. The other heroes should have arrived at the scene minutes ago and the tracker he wore meant they would find him and begin digging him out. But it would take minutes, if not hours and that was a time Midoriya didn’t have.  If he could only get the collar from his neck …

With one arm and carefully so he didn't jostle the rubble above him and therefore put more strain on young Midoriya, Toshinori examined the collar. It sat tight enough to make it a bit hard for him to breathe. He pulled at it but the lock didn't budge. If only he could use One for all. With it he could have crushed the collar between his fingers. Though that was the whole thing wasn’t it? The collar was made to stop him from using his quirk to break free. It was so frustrating!

“Midoriya, please teleport back to your mother. I’m going to be fine, but you need to get out of here”, Toshinori said and hoped the boy wouldn’t notice his lie. He knew that the moment the shield disappeared the full weight of the building would crash down on him. It would slowly crush his ribcage, suffocating him. In fact Toshinori would have preferred to have died when the building toppled over - as he thought he would - than the slower death that now awaited him.

“Can’t”, Midoriya mumbled.

“Why not?” Toshinori desperately tried to make the boy continue talking. As long as he kept responding he was still conscious. And as long as he was conscious he wasn’t dead.

“Quirk … won’t l-let me.”

Toshinori frowned. “Yes, you said that before, but what does that mean? Quirks can’t force us to do something we don’t want to do. We are in control.”

Midoriya opened his bloody eyes and looked unseeingly at him. “I can … feel the d-danger you're in and it h-hurts to even … t-think about l-leaving you.”

Toshinori was at a loss at what to do. He was supposed to be All Might, the hero that saved everyone with a smile and that never doubted he could win. But right now he felt powerless. Quirkless… Useless.

“Young Midoriya!” He exclaimed, not wanting the silence to settle, but cringed at how his loud voice echoed through the small space. He continued, more quiet, asking the first thing that came popped into his brain. “What do you want to become when you grow up?”

“I’ve … always w-wanted to b-become a hero … like you,  All Might”, Midoriya panted out. The puddle of blood was so big it had soaked his green hair and his clothes was dark with blood. He was so pale he already looked like he could be dead. “B-but a doctor … said I was p-practically q-quirkless. Everyone said that … a quirkless boy c-couldn’t … be a hero. But I d-didn't … give up.”

Toshinori remembered all to well his own dream of becoming a hero and he huge obstacle being quirkless was. Before Nana came around he had begun despairing that his dream would never come true. He understood the pain hidden beneath Midoriya's words.

“Then what?” he gently prodded. The boy had already told him about how he discovered his quirk just a short while ago while saving his mother from burning to death. It didn’t really matter though, not as long as the boy kept talking.

“Then … I got my q-quirk and I was … so happy cuz I c-could … be a hero”, he panted and a frown appeared on his face. “B-but Kacchan … said I s-still … can’t be a hero. He called it … a c-coward's quirk.” Midoriya's voice was so quiet Toshinori could barely hear him. It seemed the blood loss was winning the fight about his consciousness. “D-do you … think I can b-be a hero?”

A water droplet landed on Midoriya’s face. It wasn’t until a second one joined it that Toshinori realised he was crying. He couldn’t remember the last time he had cried. Maybe it’d been after Nana died. “Kacchan is wrong, you are the bravest person I’ve ever met. And … you already are a hero, my boy.”

Midoriya smiled up at him with blood coating his lips. “T-thank … you.”

The boy fell silent and from experience Toshinori knew he was unconscious. And yet the green shield protecting him remained in place and the green heart on his chest continued glowing. Somehow young Midoriya kept it in place despite not being conscious. Blood continued to collect on the floor.

How had things changed so fast? Just two days prior the boy had been so vibrant, almost glowing with life. Now he lay in a puddle of his own blood, one foot already in the grave. Toshinori didn’t even care about making it out alive any longer as long as the boy survived.

“Nighteye?” he couldn’t stop his voice from reaching a scream. “Hurry Nighteye!

“We are working as fast as we can but we have to make sure nothing moves and crush you. Besides, even with the tracker we can’t be sure about your exact position.” His sidekick’s and friend’s voice didn’t calm him down in the slightest.

Toshinori bit his lip, contemplating. Midoriya wouldn’t survive until they could dig them out with normal methods but if they didn’t have to worry about them getting crushed they could get Midoriya out of there in time. However this all depended on Midoriya’s quirk. Toshinori only hesitated for a second before he made his decision. “No, don’t worry about that, we have a shield quirk protecting us!”

A short pause. “Alright then. Thirteen, get your ass over here, we need your quirk!” Toshinori’s arms almost buckled under him. But he kept upright by sheer force of will, not wanting to jostle the debris

“Yes, sir”, a new voice could be heard in the background. “Black hole!”

At first nothing seemed to happen and Toshinori felt his heart sink. But then it was like he could feel the weight over him diminish. It made the rest of the crumbled building groan and shift over him, but the green shield remained steadfast. Toshinori pressed Midoriya to his chest with one arm to make sure the shield protected him too by proximity. Soon light began flowing down on them and fresh air made it easier to breathe.

“Slow down, Thirteen, I can see something. There a green light!”

“That’s us!”

Suddenly the huge concrete block directly above them shifted and a loud crack almost deafened him as it broke in two. Bright light flooded into the hole and Toshinori blinked against it. A hand touched his broad back and he slowly sat up and revealed in the feeling of being able to move freely again. That’s when the green light around him died out.

No, No, NO, NO! He can’t die now! Not when we’re finally safe! Toshinori pressed his hand against Midoriya’s neck, frantically searching for any sign of life. He almost buckled over when he felt the faint heartbeat under his fingers. But before he could let his tired limbs rest he needed to get the boy to a hospital.

Toshinori rose to his full height with Midoriya in his arms. He hung there limp, like a rag doll. His face and upper body was covered in blood. Above him stood a hero in something that looked like a spacesuit and more heroes stood behind them. Toshinori recognised Nighteye standing slightly behind the first hero, a look of worry on his otherwise stoic face.

“A-All Might!” The hero - Thirteen? - before him stammered.

He forced a smile to his lips. Now that he was free and in front of other people he had to become societies pillar again. “Yes, I am here, but if you excuse me the boy needs medical attention immediately. He has lost a lot of blood.” With that he took off towards the nearest ambulance.

A few minutes later the ambulance was already rolling down the makeshift road through the rubble towards the nearest hospital. Toshinori wished he could have been in it but the work of a hero never ended and he was needed here. There was nothing more he could do for young Midoriya at the moment. Later he would find which hospital he was taken to.

Toshinori turned and saw that the heroes were still searching through the building he had been trapped beneath. He also noticed that the skyscraper seemed to have fallen over a smaller building sitting right next to it and felt guilty over not having been able to stop Quake from using his quirk. Hopefully the building had been evacuated but they couldn’t take anything for granted.

He walked up to Nighteye. “There is no need to search the skyscraper after more survivors. Except for the boy I managed to get everyone out before it went down.”

“I’ll pass the news to the others”, he said and talked into his earphone. Soon all the other heroes were on their way to the other crumbled building, the one the skyscraper landed on.

“Is there anyone present capable of taking this off”, he said and gestured towards the quirk suppressing collar around his neck. Having it on made him want to crawl out of his skin. It simply felt horribly wrong not being able to asses One for all. He felt weak, vulnerable.

His eyes widened. “So you really had your quirk suppressed then. Why did you put it on?”

“The villain Quake threatened to kill the boy if I didn’t put it on.”

“You survived having a building fall on you with your quirk suppressed?” he asked and his eyes shone. Toshinori recognized the look by now. He had it every time he did something amazing and against all odds.

Toshinori hesitated. He didn’t want to put too much attention on Midoriya, wanting to protect him from the media storm that would surely follow. But at the same time he wanted to give him the credit he deserved. Besides, he’d have to tell his sidekick about Midoriya. He already knew about the visit the other day. “Only thanks to the boy. He has a shield quirk.”

“That is one hell of a shield then”, Nighteye cursed and it was a real testimony of how impressed he was because Nighteye never cursed.

One hell of a shield indeed, but dangerous for Midoriya if the side effect was bleeding out. Toshinori felt a bit in awe himself when he thought about it. If it hadn’t been for the boy he would have died. He had truly meant it when he called Midoriya a hero and he couldn’t wait to see what he would grow up to be.

“Yes, but I’d prefer to keep his involvement as quiet as possible. This incident has been traumatising enough; he doesn't need the media after him as well.”

“Of course.”

“Good. Now, the collar.”

Some searching and a starstruk police officer later and the collar was finally removed from his neck. One for all immediately flowed through his veins again and he felt like he could breathe for the first time in hours. The changes between his ‘normal’ form and All Might form were blessedly small and barely noticeable. He only needed to pretending to fix his hair, as if his normally tousled hair was only the result of having a building fall on him.

All Might rolled his shoulders and laughed, though secretly he was pissed. He hid the burning hatred for Quake deep in his heart. The Symbol of Peace couldn’t afford such feelings, but he did wow to find the villain and bring him to justice no matter what.

“Now then, let’s search for more survivors.”

Chapter Text

Inko felt like she was going insane. Two days, two days , has passed since she last sat in front of Tsukauchi in his office, waiting with bated breath of news about her son, who’s gone missing, again .

Except this time was worse. So much worse.

Last time Izuku disappeared he had been smiling right beforehand. He’d been happy. And they had had a really obvious lead about where he was. Plus they had been able to contact All Might quickly and get his whereabouts confirmed. Within the hour Izuku had been back in her arms.

This time … this time Izuku had been in pain when he disappeared. Katsuki had told them what happened and that Izuku had been puking and crying, looking tortured , when he disappeared. And this time he hadn’t said anyone's name before he went up in light. They had no idea where he was. And that terrified Inko more than anything else. Not knowing. For all they knew Izuku could be in Hisashi’s clutches right now.

Tsukauchi had tried calling All Might but had not received any response no matter how many times he had tried. Hours had passed since Izuku’s disappearance and still nobody knew where he was. Inko didn’t know what to do. So she just waited… and waited ... and waited.

The shrill tone of a phone ringing made them jump and Tsukauchi reached for his phone. It took a second of confusion for them to realise that it wasn’t Tsukauchi’s phone that was ringing but Inko’s.

She frantically pulled out the phone and stared at it.

[Unknown number calling]

Inko hesitated for a moment longer before accepting the call and pressing the phone against her ear. “Hello?”

Is this Midoriya Inko ?” An unfamiliar voice said through the line, voice professional and to the point.

“Y-yes this is I”, she stammered out. “Who’s calling?”

I’m calling from Tokyo central hospital on behalf of your son, Midoriya Izuku .”

The world began spinning around her. There was a loud noise in her head, almost drowning out the rest of the conversation. She only heard snippets. Villain attack. Injured. Unconscious. Operation.

Eventually the call ended and Inko clutched the phone to her chest, staring at nothing. This couldn’t be happening, not again.

“-riya. Mi- ... riya. Ms Midoriya!” She finally snapped out of her mind, Tsukauchi holding her gently by the shoulders, a worried look on his face. “Are you alright? What happened?”

“... Izuku is in a hospital in Tokyo.” It wasn’t until she said the words that it finally sunk in. She got on her feat so quickly she almost bumped foreheads with Tsukauchi. “I have to go this instant.”

Tsukauchi’s eyes filled with sympathy. “I understand. Go to your son, Ms Midoriya.”

She didn’t need any further prompting. Inko ran.

💚💚💚

Shouta took his first deep breath since Tsukauchi called him about the kid's disappearance. He’d just gotten of the phone with the detective and had it explained to him that Midoriya Izuku had been found. He was in a hospital in Tokyo of all places, but at least he wasn’t in the grasps of the villain.

Sitting down on the edge of a roof Shouta allowed himself a moment to collect himself. The sun was still up and it felt strange being out in the sunshine. He usually only worked at night, except for in special cases. This was one of those cases. He’d been searching for the kid for the last few hours even though he knew there was no way he’d be able to find him. Shouta just hadn’t known what else to do.

I’m going to grow old early if this continues, he thought dryly. Why did the kid have to have a teleportation quirk of anything? I’m not paid enough to deal with this bullshit.

Midoriya Izuku really was a problem child.

With a sigh Shouta got back on his feet and stretched. Since he was already out and about he could as well continue searching. Maybe he’d be able to find a clue about Dragon’s whereabouts.

💚💚💚

Toshinori stood outside hospital room 137. Next to the door was a plate with the words Midoriya Izuku written on them. He’d gotten to the hospital as quickly as he could but it had taken longer than he’d wanted to help in the cleanup after the villain attack. Maybe that was just as good. Midoriya had just gotten out of surgery and wouldn’t have been allowed visitors earlier. The only reason Toshinori was allowed to see the boy despite not being on his list of emergency contacts was because he was the number one hero. It had not taken much convincing for the hospital staff to agree to him seeing the boy.

He opened the door and quietly stepped into the room. His eyes immediately fell on the small from resting in the hospital bed. IVs was connected with him and a heart monitor beeped softly by his side. An oxygen mask rested over his face, hiding most of it. The boy was sickly pale, though not as pale as he’d been while trapped beneath the skyscraper. Toshinori guessed it was a small mercy. At least the blood had been washed away.

There was a chair placed next to the bed and Toshinori sat down in it with a tired sigh. He finally let himself let go of his All Might form and though not much about his appearance changed, his ‘bunny ears’ now hung limply in front of his face. His smile slipped from his face. In this form it was no longer a fixed part of his face and it took energy to keep it up. Energy he currently didn’t have.

Toshinori placed the All Might plushie that Midoriya had forgotten at his place carefully on the bed next to the boy. He had finally gotten the chance to give it back, though he wished it was under different circumstances. It had also hit him, while he had been at home to change clothes and caught sight of the plushie, that he could have sent it back to the boy through Naomasa. But he hadn’t. And the moment he saw the plushie Toshinori had realised that it had been because somewhere deep inside he had hoped to see the boy again.

But … not like this.

Had he hoped that young Midoriya would teleport to him despite his promise not to do so? Yes. The way Midoriya was just filled with so much light and goodness had lifted Toshinori’s spirit in a way no one had managed since Nana died. However he had never wanted the boy to get caught up in one of his fights. This was what he had feared when he made the boy promise not to teleport to any heroes.

The memory of the boy covered in his own blood and with a tortured expression on his face would plague him forever. Guilt churned in his stomach. It didn't matter that the boy shouldn't have been there. It didn't matter that he, without the boy's appearance, would have been able to both comprehend the villain and stop the building from falling. None of it mattered, because he boy had appeared and from that moment on he was responsible for his safety. And he had failed . Toshinori would do everything in his power to make it up to young Midoriya. Whatever the boy asked for he would give him. He deserved it.

Toshinori sighed and his shoulders slumped. He was exhausted after the day's events and longed for his comfortable bed. But he would stay here until the boy woke up or someone chased him out. It was the least he could do.

💚💚💚

The green light died down and Izuku forced down the bile in his throat. His head was pounding and he was dizzy, barely able to regain his bearings. His quirk was still screaming at him that All Might was in incredible danger and it hurt .

Izuku forced his eyes open and gasped. He was standing in what looked like a lobby, except it looked like it had been hit by an earthquake. Broken furniture and glass covered the floor and big cracks went all over the walls, roof and floor. The ground beneath him shook slightly.

Before him stood All Might in his hero costume, slightly dusty. “All … Might”, Izuku forced out and took a few staggering steps towards him. He had to get to him. He had to protect him.

Suddenly the floor burst open right next to him, debris flying everywhere. Something hit him in the forehead and he could feel blood begin dripping down from a cut, but he barely felt the pain. It was nothing compared to the pain his quirk enforced in him. A hand closed around his throat and something cold pressed against the side of his head. Izuku instinctively froze.

“Don’t move or I’m going to kill the boy”, the man holding him said and pressed the cold thing harder against his head. Izuku immediately knew that he meant it and his knees wobbled beneath him. The only thing holding him up was the grip around his throat.

“It's going to be okay, I’ll get you home to your mother”, All Might said and Izuku forced himself to look at him. He was smiling but something about it didn’t seem sincere. There was something in his eyes that seemed to tell him to get out of here.

Mom … Izuku thought. If I can just teleport to her I’ll be safe.

Izuku gasped for breath when the villain finally let go of his throat. He wanted to do as All Might had told him; he wanted to teleport back to his mother. This was dangerous and he was only a liability to All Might. But his quirk screamed at him that All Might was in danger and Izuku couldn’t just leave him! Just thinking about it sent a wave of pain through his right eye, like he had been stabbed. He barely managed to bit back a pained whimper.

Then the villain threw something to All Might and demanded he put it on. A collar? What was that supposed to do against the greatest hero of all time? The villain was delirious.

The chokehold returned and Izuku tried desperately to draw in breath. His heart was racing in his chest and his blood was rushing in his ears. He could hear All Might and the villain talking but he could barely hear the words. Though he could hear the villain threaten to kill him if All Might didn’t put the collar on.

Izuku tried to focus on All Might’s face and what he saw … was fear. He was still smiling and it was barely there but Izuku just knew that the hero was afraid. That’s the moment Izuku realised the collar wasn't an empty threat. Pure terror coursed through him, burning like poisoning through his veins.

All Might bent down and picked up the collar. His quirk immediately screamed at him. He had to do something. “No, don’t do it”, Izuku choked out with what little air he had.

The villain growled a threat in his ear and pressed the gun so hard into Izuku’s head he couldn’t stop a whimper of fear and pain from slipping past his trembling lips.

“It’s going to be alright”, All Might reassured with a big smile that only managed to make Izuku’s heart beat faster. All Might put the collar around his neck and his hair immediately fell into his face. At the same time blinding pain split Izuku’s head in two.

DANGER ! His quirk screamed at the same time as he felt the gun withdraw from his head. As in slow motion he saw he gun get pointed in All Might’s direction and Izuku didn't think. He just moved.

He could feel All Might’s pain as if it was his own when the bullet burrowed into his shoulder. Instinct took over as he punched the villain in the groin. When the villain let go of him and the gun he just kicked it as hard as he could. The gun disappeared out of sight and Izuku immediately leapt towards All Might and was caught in his arms.  

Izuku felt a moment of safety. His quirk was still screaming at him and he could feel All Might’s pain on top of his own but in that moment, in All Might’s arms, he felt secure. And then … then All Might said that Izuku was precious to him! His heart soared and he allowed himself a moment to relax.

That's when the villain hit the earth and everything begun shaking. The earth heaved under them in a powerful earthquake and the building shook over them. The cracks groaned and creaked, spreading rapidly. Debris fell from the roof. Izuku screamed in fear even though it hurt his throat to do so and clung to All Might. All the while the villain just calmly walked away, as if he was just taking a stroll through the park. As if the world wasn't falling apart around them.

All Might picked him up and began crawling towards the exit. He was slow. Why was he slow? A piece of the roof hit All Might’s back and he grunted in pain. Izuku felt the pain from a fractured rib mixing with that of a shot wound. He couldn’t bare it. He couldn’t bare the thought of someone he loved being hurt. Something burned in his chest and without thinking he reached out to touch All Might and … transferred the pain to himself.  Immediately he felt his rib splinter and a piercing pain burrow into his shoulder. He bit his lip to stop his cry of pain, not wanting to worry All Might. Besides the pain felt weaker now when it was his own compared to when it had been All Might’s.

Then, as if in slow motion, he saw the wall break and fall towards them. Green light flashed in his head, screaming: ALL MIGHT IS IN DANGER, HE IS GOING TO DIE!

Without even thinking about it Izuku threw that light outwards and wrapped it tight around All Might, who immediately begun glowing with that same green light. Izuku would protect him if he so died trying!

The wall fell and he could feel every bit of the weight that hit the shield. It seemed to reverberate through his very soul. It was too much for his body to handle, far too much. It was like torture. The pain felt like every molecule in his body was being ripped apart, one by one. His vision went white for a moment and static buzzed in his ears. Izuku wanted to scream his lungs out. But he bit his tongue and forced it back.

Izuku would not scream. Not when All Might tried to cover him with his body. Not when he had a look on his face ... like he was expecting to die and still was dead bent on protecting him. Izuku couldn’t let him know just how much pain he was in. All Might would never forgive himself if he knew. So even though Izuku had rather died than endured the pain for one second longer he kept the screams in and clung onto consciousness so as to not worry All Might.

But Izuku could do nothing to stop the blood leaking from his ears, nose and eyes. He coughed and tasted blood on his tongue, the taste heavy and coppery. In that moment, with the weight of the building wearing down on him and the pain in every cell in his body, Izuku knew he was going to die.

I’m sorry mom . His only regret was the pain this would cause her. The tears mixed with the blood in his eyes and ran hidden down his cheeks. He couldn’t even see her or Kacchan’s lights; All Might’s shining so bright nothing else was distinguishable. He could barely even see with his other eye. Izuku couldn't even feel if his mom and Kacchan were alright.

All Might was still talking and Izuku tried hard to listen to him and respond but he felt himself getting weaker. The smile had completely disappeared from the hero's face. It was the first time Izuku had seen him without one. The change was frightening. It made the gravity of the situation hit him full force. Izuku wouldn’t last much longer and when he died the shield would disappear, killing All Might too.

Izuku was a failure.

It was his fault All Might would die. If … if he hadn’t come All Might would have fought back against the villain. It was his fault All Might was going to die. That fought pained him more than anything else. More than the feeling of being torn apart and crushed. More than the burning feeling his quirk sent through his body. More than the thought of dying himself and leaving everyone he loved behind.

But then … then All Might called him a hero. Him … a hero ! Izuku let his consciousness escape with a smile on his lips. Darkness finally took over, but the pain didn’t numb in the slightest. Unable to see, hear or feel anything, unable to even know if All Might was alive, pain consumed him and Izuku screamed into the darkness.

The nightmare - no the memory - played on repeat in his mind and Izuku wanted to wake up. He wanted to wake up so badly. But no matter how much he fought against the veil of sleep the nightmare kept him in its grasp and he was forced to relive it again and again and again…

“Young Midoriya!” A big hand closed around his arm and Izuku startled awake, gasping for air. There was a frantic beeping sound coming from his right side and there was something familiar about the sound. Something covered the lower part of his face and Izuku clawed at it, wanting it gone . Another hand closed around his wrist and carefully pulled it away. “Please calm down, my boy.”

Izuku would recognize that voice anywhere. He tried to look for All Might but the tears made even his functioning eye blind. Panic gripped his heart. If he couldn’t see All Might he couldn't tell if he was alright or not. If they were safe or not.

“Breathe, young Midoriya”, All Might said, voice softer than Izuku had ever heard him be before.  “It’s alright now, I am here.”

Those words, though spoken in a different tone than they usually was, managed to reach through the panic in his head. The hands remained on his arm and wrist and the touch was grounding. Izuku took a shuddering breath and then another. His ribs ached for every deep breath but he continued to fill his lungs until he felt his heart slow down. The beeping sound slowed down.

Once he calmed down he noticed the three lights shining in the darkness behind his eyelids. One orange, one blue with an aura of yellow and one yellow. Though… All Might’s light seemed to be a different shade of yellow than before. Before it had been the exact same shade as the yellow in Kacchan’s light. Now it had a more deep and saturated colour. It was kinda orange-yellow and he had no idea why it had changed.

Izuku latched onto the lights, letting the feelings they generated wash over him. It was a bit confusing, feeling all of them at the same time, and he could feel a slight pounding in his head as a result, but it was worth it. It meant that all of the people he loved were safe.

Eventually Izuku opened his eyes and took in his surroundings. His bind eye continued to see the lights though, and that was a comfort. He immediately knew he was in a hospital room, familiar with them after the week he had spent in one. He recognised the beeping for what it was now; a heart monitor, and the thing on his face as a breathing mask. He could even feel the telltale tug of an IV line in his arm.

Izuku sighed. Not again. It hasn’t even been a week since I was discharged from the hospital.

Though there was some very obvious differences between now and last time. For one thing the room he was in was bigger than the last. There was no feeling of burned skin - though his burn scars still hurt slightly - instead there was a pain in his shoulder and ribs. Most obvious though was that All Might was sitting in the chair next to him, not his mom.

“How are you feeling?” All Might asked and smiled at him. He had darks circles under his eyes and his blond hair was messy, the two ‘bunny ears’ hanging down over his face. Instead of being dressed in his hero costume he wore a white t-shirt and green cargo pants. He looked exhausted and far from the always smiling and bright hero he was used to.

He forced a smile on his lips, bleeding exhaustion on the edges and so far from genuine the hero surely saw right through him. It was the best he could do right now. “I-I’m f-fine.” The look All Might gave him made him duck his head to avoid his eyes. “M-my shoulder and ribs hurt and I’m dizzy, but I'm m-mostly okay.”

“That’s a relief to hear. You had me worried, my boy.”

“Y-you worried about … me?” Izuku asked, barely able to believe the words. Of course All Might would worry about anyone that was hurt but it still didn't connect that his hero could somehow be worried about him .

All Might’s smile disappeared and it felt unnatural to see the hero without it. Like the sun had stopped shining in the middle of the day. “Of course I was. You got hurt trying to protect me while I was the one who should protect you . If you had died I would never have been able to forgive myself.”  

Tears sprung to his eyes and he hiccupped. He avoided All Might’s gaze, not strong enough to face the disappointment that surely awaited there. “I-I’m s-sorry. I-I’m so, so s-sorry. I-if it hadn’t been for me n-none of it would have happened. Y-you almost died because of me.”

“No, young Midoriya”, All Might protested and Izuku dared to peek at his face. His eyes were sad and his smile rueful but there was no anger there. No blame. “The villain would have taken someone else hostage if you hadn’t been there. It was only because of you and your shield that I got out of there unharmed. So please don’t blame yourself. You are a hero.”

“Oh”, Izuku breathed, his cheeks burning and his heart making somersaults in his chest. Tears of happiness burned in his eyes and he wiped them away with his arm. The guilt didn’t disappear but it got easier to manage. “T-thank you.”

“Thank you for saving me”, All Might said and ruffled his hair. Izuku leaned into the touch, heart soaring at the praise. All Might’s smile shone as brightly as his light. It was almost blinding - for both his eyes.

“W-wait”, Izuku said and eyed All Might's civilian clothes. “Why are you here?” Izuku immediately wanted to smack himself over the head and begun backtracking. “U-um I don't want you to think I don't want you here, because I do! I … uh I-I mean who wouldn't want you here? You're All Might! Not to imply I wouldn't want you here if you weren't All Might. Though I guess I never would have met you if you hadn't been All Might? Ah! What I wanted to say was that I don't want you to think you have to forsake your duties as a hero because of me.”

Izuku was cut of by All Might’s laugh, though it didn't sound anything like the bolstering thing he usually let out during interviews and stuff. Rather it sounded kinda … awkward? He scratched the back of his head and seemed suddenly bashful. Was All Might embarrassed ? “Don't worry about that young Midoriya. My agency has been bothering me lately about taking time off so I decided to listen to them and take the rest of the day off. Besides I wanted to talk with your mother and she'll be here in a couple of hours.”

“Oh, alright”, Izuku said and smiled, feeling relieved. He really didn’t want to be responsible for the Symbol of peace being pulled away from his work. Then the other thing All Might said finally sunk in and all relief went up in smoke. He sat up in the bed, ignoring the pain that shot through his body when he moved. “Wait! Mom! She must be worried out of her mind!”

Izuku was ashamed he hadn’t thought about her before but since her light had felt like normal he hadn’t worried about her. Now he realised that even though she wasn’t in physical danger she would be freaking out about him disappearing without a word.

“Don’t worry, as I said she’s on her way here at this very moment. Just breathe and calm down, she wouldn’t want you to freak out.” All Might gently pressed him back into the bed. He should not have sat up like that.

Izuku did as All Might had asked of him and forced air back into his lungs. His hands blindly searched for something to hold onto and felt something soft and squishy sitting next to him. He gripped it without hesitation and pressed it to his chest. He numbly blinked down at it and it wasn’t until the tears cleared from his vision that he recognised the All Might plushie Kacchan had given him a few days before, that he had forgotten at All Might’s place. His eyes immediately misted over again and he hugged it closer. Even though Izuku had had it in his possession for such a short time it was his greatest treasure. Not because it was the only thing he owned; Izuku was actually certain that he would have treasured it above anything else even if the apartment and all his stuff remained. It was the connection to two of the people he loved that made it so precious.

Because of the plushie Izuku had not only worded his love for Kacchan, but had gotten the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet All Might. It was like his love for those two had pooled into the plushie. He’d been devastated when he realised he’d left it behind.

“Thank you”, he sniffed and tried to pour every ounce of gratitude he felt towards the hero into the words, his chest filled with so much emotion he almost felt like it would burst.

All Might’s smile was soft, eyes shining with understanding. “No need to thank me.”

A lull settled over them. It should have been awkward and Izuku’s mind would normally have been going a mile a minute trying to think of some way to fill the silence. Instead the silence felt comfortable. It was the soft calm between two individuals that was comfortable with each other rather than that between two strangers, whereof one worshipped the other. Izuku guessed after having bled all over the man and then had him comfort him in the place of his mom that feeling awkward in All Might’s presence just wasn’t possible.

“I should probably go and get your doctor so he can check on you”, All Might said eventually and rose from the chair with a quiet sigh. Izuku panicked for a second and reached out before his mind realised what he was doing. His hand gripped All Might’s sleeve, stopping him before he could step away.

Izuku blushed bright red but forced his mouth to work. “W-will you come back afterwards?”

All Might’s surprise immediately melted into understanding. “Of course. I was planning on staying until your mother arrived.”

“Thank you”, Izuku said and calmed, releasing his sleeve.

“I’ll be back shortly”, the hero said with his signature smile before walking out of the room.

💚💚💚

Toshinori walked back into the hospital room the moment the last doctor exited it. Midoriya was sitting up in the bed, propped against a big pillow and with the plushie in his arms. The oxygen mask had been removed, which was good. It meant he was stronger. He smiled when he noticed Toshinori, one functioning eye shining with an inner light. The sight made his heart warm. He carefully sat down in the same chair as before, mindful not to break it with his weight.

“So, young Midoriya, since you will be stuck in the hospital for a while longer I thought that I should entertain you”, Toshinori said and let his smile turn mischievous.

“W-what is it?” Midoriya’s eyes were wide and he bit at his lower lip in worry.

Toshinori laughed. It wasn’t his All Might persona's loud laugh but a quieter and more genuine one. “What’s with that worried face? I just thought that since you want to be a hero I could answer some of the questions you might have about the profession.”

“Really?” Izuku exclaimed and lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. He bounced in the bed for a second before a pained expression twisted his face and he stilled. Toshinori was just about to ask if he was alright when the pained expression melted away. The smile returned in full force. “You’ll answer any question I have?”

“Well, I won’t answer anything that’s classified. But sure, anything else.”

“Okay!” The boy seemed lost in thought for a moment, as if mulling over which question to ask first. “Did you have any hero role model when you grew up? When did you first decide to become a hero? What heroes did you go to school with? Wait how old are you? Who was the first villain you fought and what was their quirk? How did you defeat them? When you were in America what did-”

The questions just kept coming without a pause and Toshinori felt himself blanching at the never ending stream. He had known the boy was a big fan from the moment he appeared in his apartment, clad in an All Might pyjama and with an All Might plushie in his arms. Despite that he felt utterly unprepared for this kind of questions. “Slow down, young Midoriya! One questions at a time or I won’t be able to answer any of them!”

Midoriya blushed a deep red and hid his face in his arms. “S-sorry.”

He was so endearing that Toshinori couldn’t stop himself from reaching out and ruffling his green curls. Midoriya glanced up from between his fingers and he smiled down at the boy. He gave the hair one last ruffle before retrieving his hand, not wanting to make him uncomfortable and a bit worried that he had crossed a border. “It’s okay. Remember we have a few hours to kill before your mother arrives. We have time.”

“Right”, Midoriya said and smiled back. Slowly he lowered his arms and even though the blush still remained he didn’t look nearly as embarrassed. Luckily he didn’t seem the slightest bit uncomfortable with Toshinori’s earlier show of affection. “Okay so who was your hero when you grew up?”

“Well”, Toshinori began, thinking back to his own childhood all those decades past. His true role model was of course Nana but he couldn't really talk about her for obvious reasons. Instead he thought of one of the heroes he had admired as a young child. “Her name was …”

💚💚💚

The sun had set hours ago and Izuku could barely keep his eyes open. All Might’s retelling of his most legendary battles was thrilling, but eventually the pain medication combined with the utterly exhausting events that had taken place that day took its toll. Still he refused the call of sleep. He wanted to wait up until his mom arrived, needing to see her with his own eyes – or rather eye. Her steadily shining light wasn’t enough to convince him that she was okay.

Despite his efforts his eyes had began drooping by the time the door finally opened. Izuku startled into full awareness as his mom rushed into the room. Her clothes were rumbled and her green hair was falling from her usual bun. Her eyes were puffy and red with tears, stained by smudges of mascara. He felt a deep shame for causing her stress but repressed it for now.

“Izuku!” Inko cried and hurried to his side. She almost knocked All Might to the floor when she pushed herself between the chair he was seated on and the bed. Inko didn't even seem to notice it. She carefully pulled Izuku into a hug, her tears falling into his hair. It of course made him cry too. He clung onto his mom with all his power, not caring about the slight pain in his injured shoulder.

Once he began crying he didn’t seem able to stop it. The traumatizing events of the day were finally catching up to him. Every breath of air felt like fire when it slipped into his crumbling lungs. The tears ran hot and heavy down his face, sobs closing up his throat that still stung form the bruises marring it. His body trembled; his mom’s arms the only thing keeping it from falling apart into a million sharp pieces. Inko slowly rocked him back and forth, mumbling comforting words into his ear. Izuku was a bit ashamed about crying in front of All Might and wished his hero wouldn’t have seen his breakdown. But there was no way he’d be able to keep his tears in any longer. Not with his mom finally there.

“It’s okay, darling, I’m here now. You’re safe”, Inko murmured and pulled back slightly to look him in the eye. Her eyes were red and puffy but shone with so much strength that it calmed him. She gently dried the tears from his cheeks and combed her fingers through his unruly hair. “How are you feeling? Are you hurt?”

Izuku forced a pitiful smile on his face. It was cracking at the seams and held together by pure willpower, but it was a smile nonetheless. “I’m okay, just tired.”

She gave him a look that told him she didn’t believe him one bit. He faltered a bit under it, smile slipping completely off his face. He gulped and fiddled with a corner of his comforter nervously. His small, plump and emotional mother could be absolutely terrifying if she wished to be. “I talked with your doctor before coming here. He told me you had a shot wound, a fractured rib and had lost a significant amount of blood. That’s not what I call okay. What happened?”

Izuku blushed and avoided her gaze. He forced air back into his lungs in deep breaths, not caring that his rib hurt a bit from it. “I … may have gotten caught in a villain fight that ended in … a building falling on me.”

A surprised exclamation from All Might made Izuku look up in time to see his mom fall directly into All Might's arms, body limb and face pale. All Might stood from the chair and carefully lowered Inko into it. He patted her hand, a worried look on his face. It would have been a bit surreal having All Might worrying over Izuku’s mother if he himself hadn't been so worried.

“Mom, are you alright?” Izuku asked and tried to reach for her, but a sharp pain in his back reminded him that he shouldn’t move. At least his quirk didn't detect any dangers towards her. Otherwise futile things like fractured ribs and shot wounds wouldn't have stopped him.

“A … a building!” Inko panted and fanned herself with her hand. Suddenly her eyes zeroed in on him and her green eyes turned to stone . Izuku leaned backwards, trying to escape. “How exactly did you get caught up in a villain fight?” She turned towards All Might and the look on her face made the great hero stumble backwards and hold his hands up before him in the universal gesture of surrender. “This it your fault isn’t it?”

“No, mom, it’s my fault!” Izuku hurriedly explained. He didn’t want All Might to be blamed for something he did. He would take full responsibility even if that meant being grounded for the rest of his life. “My quirk told me that All Might was in danger and it hurt to ignore it so I teleported to him. That’s when the villain caught me. He had some kind of earthquake quirk and made the building we were in collapse. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get All Might in trouble or worry you, mom! I just … needed to make sure he was alright. And ...” Izuku turned to look at All Might, the man standing awkwardly next to the bed, “I’m sorry for not teleporting to my mom when you asked me to, All Might. It just … hurt too much.”

"So you didn't teleport to me on purpose?" All Might questioned, one brow raised.

"N-no I promise! I had no idea my quirk could do that and tried to resist its call all day. It just became too much in the end. I’m so, so s-sorry for putting us both in danger."

Inko sat quiet, still processing everything, but All Might smiled and put his hand on Izuku’s shoulder. His hand was big enough that Izuku’s shoulder got completely swallowed by it, but the weight and warmth was comforting. “I already told you, young Midoriya, that there is no need to apologise. I'm the one that should be apologising for not protecting you better. It was only thanks to your shield we both got out of there alive.”

“Shield?” Inko’s voice was sharp and Izuku cringed. He wished All Might hadn’t said anything about that, hoping to keep the latter part of the event from his mother.

“Yes, it seems your son’s quirk are quite versatile, Ms Midoriya”, All Might answered. “He created a shield that kept the building from crushing us. Though I strongly suggest you never use it again, young boy, considering the side effect.” Seeing the look Inko gave him All Might continued. “It seems overusing his shield causes massive bleeding. Young Midoriya bled from his eyes, nose and ears.”

“Again?!” Inko cried and buried her face in her hands. Izuku wanted to reach out and comfort her but she was too far away.

All Might blinked and looked between them, “Wait, this has happened before?”

“Didn’t I tell you?” Izuku thought out loud and tried to remember what exactly he had told All Might that first time they met. Apparently not, judging by his confused expression. “Well I … um told you about the fire, right? W-well I was bleeding from my eyes, nose and ears back then too and lost so much blood I needed a transfusion.” Izuku gasped. He had just realised something. “I made a shield back then too! It's what saved mom from the fire! The side effect was the same too, though we couldn't figure it out last time. But I’m sure it was the same. Now that I think about it I felt a great need to protect mom right before I teleported to her. Not being able to reach her felt like torture. Did my quirk activate because mom was in danger? Or had it been activated before but I simply didn’t know it? Wait, there's something more that's similar!”

“What is it?” Inko asked and looked up from her hands.

“I think my quirk can do even more things!”

“More things than just teleport, detect danger and create a shield?” All Might wondered and looked fascinated.

Izuku nodded eagerly and winched when it made his head throb. “Mom, remember what Doctor Suzuki said? Your clothes had been burned of in the same places my scars are.” She nodded slowly, eyes glossing over momentarily at the memory. “While I could have hit something hard enough to fracture a rib I certainly never got shot today. All Might on the other hand got shot and then a piece of the roof fell on his back. Both times I could feel his pain as if it was my own and I just reached out … and took it. I’m sure in that moment the wounds transferred from All Might to me. Isn’t that wondrous?”

When Izuku looked up to see their reactions it didn't seem they felt the same. Both had matching expressions of worry and … was that anger? It didn’t seem directed towards him but it still made him hunch in on himself. His breath rattled uncomfortable through his airways as he tried to force himself to calm down.

“Izuku”, his mom said and her voice made him still, all excitement dying. It was completely joyless and almost devoid of emotions. “Promise me that you don’t ever use that part of your quirk again. The same goes for the shield.”

“B-but-”, he tried to protest, tongue tripping over his words.

“Listen to your mother, young Midoriya”, All Might interrupted him. He looked stern, eyes hard sapphires in his face and smile down turned. In the short time he had personally known All Might he had never levelled him with such a look. Izuku wilted beneath it.

Despite him wanting to just agree to his mom’s and All Might’s demand he just … couldn't. Every part of him protested at making such a promise. “I can’t promise that! What if you’re in danger again or hurt? I can’t just ignore that because of some minor side effects.”

“Minor?! You have almost died two times already, Izuku!” Her bottom lip wobbled and she tore at her frizzled hair, making it even more disordered. Shame and guilt pooled into his stomach at the sight. It was his fault his mom was so worried.

“She’s right. There was no need for you to take upon yourself my broken rib or shot wound. I can take the injuries better than you can. Don’t worry about others and start worrying about yourself. You are a child and shouldn’t even have to think about making such choices.”

Izuku’s lip wobbled and he tried to repress the tears threatening to fall. They were right. He knew they were right. He had been close to dying twice in about as many weeks and had been seriously injured - he still hadn’t really processed that fact. His body couldn’t handle using his quirk and it should be easy promising to not use it. And yet … what if All Might or his mom got injured or worse died because he promised not to use his quirk? Could he really do it?

Closing his eyes as to not see the adult’s stern yet worried expressions, the three lights of his loved ones shone brilliantly at him. One orange that filled him with such security and love his heart felt ready to burst. One blue and yellow that was filled with friendly rivalry. One yellow that made his head swim with admiration just by thinking about it, but also made him feel like he could do anything.

All Might and Inko was still looking intently at him when he finally opened his eyes again. Green and blue eyes both filled with concern, his mom’s face streaked with ears and All Might’s missing his signature smile.

“I promise I’ll do my best to not use it”, Izuku sighed, lowering his head so he didn't have to meet either of their eyes. It was the best he could manage and it still had his heart throbbing in pain. Izuku would do everything he could to keep his promise. But in his heart he knew the moment something happened that nothing could stop him from using his quirk to save the people he loved. Whatever the consequences he couldn’t stand the thought of losing any of his lights.

“One more thing, Izuku”, his mom said with a wavering voice. “You have to promise me that you won’t declare your love to any more people than you already have.”

“I-”

“Wait, what?” All Might demanded and interrupted Izuku. “You can't demand that of the boy, Ms Midoriya. Love is the most wondrous things in the word and nobody should be forced to repress it.”

Inko’s eyes turned to steel and All Might - All Might , the fearless hero! - took a step back as if afraid of Izuku’s small, plump mother. Though he had to admit she could be a bit frightening when she went into mama bear mode. “And what if he declares his love to another pro-hero and once again ends up in the middle of a fight? This time he might die! I know it’s cruel of me to deny him that, but it’s for his safety.”

All Might opened his mouth to say something but Izuku interrupted him. It made his heart do strange things to interrupt his hero and he could barely believe he dared to do it. Though after nearly bleeding out in his arms interrupting him didn’t feel like a big deal.

“It’s okay mom, I understand.” A deep breath. It actually hurt a bit to force out the words. But considering he intended to break his first promise if anything happened this was only fair. Besides, his mom had a point. The more people he loved the greater the risk that he would lay down his life for one of them. “I promise that I won’t tell anyone else that I love them.”

Inko stroked his hair and kissed his forehead. There were tears in her eyes and of course that made him cry too. “I’m sorry.”

“Its okay mom, I love you.” He forced his wobbling lips into a smile even as tears began tickling down his face.

“And I love you.” She carefully pulled him into a hug, mindful of his injuries and he hid his face in her shoulder, letting his tears fall on her shirt. It was already wet from his first crying session but he didn’t complain.

A few minutes later he pulled back. With a start he noticed that his mom’s orange light had grown in size and brightness. All Might cleared his throat and Izuku looked to him. He would have time to analyze his quirk later and write it all down in his hero analysis books. Maybe he should start a new one just for his quirk. There were so many things he had learned about it in the short time since he got it and he wanted to write it all down before he forgot it. Wait … he couldn’t write things with his right hand any longer. What was he supposed to do? Train it? Train his left hand? Maybe he could get his mom to buy him a recording device instead so he could talk about his observations instead of writing them down. That could work.

Oh right … All Might wanted to say something. Izuku forced himself to pay attention. Maybe the pain medication made him even more absent minded than usual.

“There is one more thing we have to talk about, young Midoriya”, All Might said and his face went serious once again. Izuku swallowed, the bruises on his throat making it painful. “It’s about you feeling pain whenever I’m in danger and my continued hero career.”

There took a few seconds before Izuku realised what All Might was hinting on. But when he did he almost jumped out of bed - would have done it too if All Might hadn’t predicted it and held him down with a hand on his uninjured shoulder. His heart pounded loud enough he could barely hear his voice and the sunken feeling in his stomach made him nauseous.

“NO! You can't retire yet! Y-you're the number one hero, the Symbol of peace! That's much more important than one boy. I can take the pain; you have to continue being a hero. It … it doesn't even hurt that much, I-I can take it.” The last was a lie. Just remembering the pain from earlier made his head pulse in phantom pain. But Izuku would take it without a single word of complaint if it meant ensuring All Might continued to be a hero. He wouldn’t be able to stand being the one that retired the number one hero. Especially since All Might hadn’t had a say in the whole situation. Everything was Izuku’s fault.

“Are you sure?” All Might asked and looked uncertain. It only made Izuku even more convinced he had to keep the pain a secret. The fact that All Might cared enough for a boy he barely knew that he was considering ending his career was enough for Izuku to be able to stand the pain for every day of the rest of his life.

“Yes, you are too important.”

“I … okay then”, he smiled down at Izuku and patted his shoulder. It jostled his wounds slightly but Izuku bit back a pained whine. He had to get used to pain regardless. Might as well begin now. “Then I suggest we figure out a system.”

“S-system?”

From his pocket All Might pulled out a phone. He gave it to Izuku who turned it over in confusion. It was the newest model, the one he had seen some older kids' wave around at school, bragging about it. “I took the liberty to buy this for you.”

“F-for me?” Izuku asked and looked up at All Might with wide eyes, clutching the phone to his chest as if it was a precious heirloom.

“Yes. I figured since your quirk has connected us it would be a good thing for us to be able to keep in touch. I’ll also have my support team work on a gadget that will make it possible to warn me whenever you feel I’m in danger. That way I’ll always know when there’s a risk you might pop up.” The look in his eye made it adamant to Izuku that he had noticed his lie but that he too knew there was nothing to do about it.

“Yeah! That sounds like a great plan!” Izuku exclaimed and giggled at the thought of getting to contact his hero so often. Sure it was only to ensure both of their safety but it was still more than he had expected.

“Plus this way we can set up times for you to teleport to me. I can help you get more control over your quirk.” All Might’s smile turned blinding and a matching one set on Izuku’s face. “But only if Ms Midoriya allows it, of course.”

Both of them looked up at Inko, Izuku giving her his best puppy eyes. She sighed and smiled a bit. “Of course I allow it. How could I not considering all the other things I’ve already taken from you? Though I will need a bit of oversight over these meetings. It’s not that I don't trust you, All Might, I just worry for my son.”

“Of course, it’s only natural.”

“Then … I get to see All Might and train my quirk with him?” Izuku asked, not able to fully take it to heart until his mom confirmed. If he believed only for it to later be revoked … his heart wouldn't be able to take it.

“Yes.”

“Woho!” Izuku cheered and fistpumped the air. Only too late did he realise his mistake as his injured shoulder protested loudly. He groaned and curled in on himself. Immediately two sets of hands worriedly examined him. Panting he let them help him back against the pillows. It wasn’t until he had regained his breath and the pain had subdued that he managed to look up at the adults, matching expressions of worry on their faces. He forced a smile. “D-don’t worry, just g-got a bit too excited and f-forgot about my wounds.

“Maybe … I should call in the nurse so you can get more painkillers and a sedative. You need to sleep”, his mom said. She fixed his comforter with slightly trembling hands and he immediately felt bad. It seemed he couldn't stop worrying her.

“B-but …” he looked at All Might and couldn’t bring himself to finish the sentence. Izuku didn't want to sleep yet. Nightmares surely awaited him and he didn’t want All Might to leave just yet.

“She’s right, get rest young Midoriya and get strong.” At Izuku’s crestfallen look his face softened. “Don’t worry; I’ll stay until you fall asleep. And remember that you can always contact me now. As long as you ask beforehand we can always meet again.”

Tears flooded from Izuku’s eyes and he tried to fruitlessly wipe them away with his good hand. “Y-you promise we’ll see each o-other again?”

“I promise”, All Might said and leaned down to give him a careful hug. Izuku’s heart almost exploded with happiness and he hugged back, savouring the moment. In the darkness of his right eye All Might’s yellow light changed its tone a bit, turning a warmer yellow. It now shone even brighter than Kacchan’s light, but was still far from the blazing strength of his mom’s. The hug ended far too quickly. “Oh right, I have to ask both of you to keep all of this a secret. If it came out that I had any kind of connection to the both of you villains would do anything to use you against me. I wouldn’t be able to bear it if you got hurt because of me.”

“Of course we’ll keep it a secret, right Izuku?” He nodded solemnly. After already having been used against All Might once he would do anything to stop it from happening again.

His mom called for a nurse and a few minutes later one entered the room. She smiled at them and made a bit of small talk while adding a new dose of painkillers and sedative to his IV. It only took a few seconds before he began feeling the effects streaming through his bloodstream. It wasn’t until the pain dulled that he realised just how much pain he’d been in before. He also suddenly felt exhausted and his eyelids grew heavy.

A small and soft hand took his searching left hand, squeezing gently. A much bigger and calloused one took his other hand and he looked up in surprise at All Might. He could barely feel the squeeze All Might gave his damaged hand but appreciated the touch nonetheless. It was grounding. Both of them smiled down at him and he felt a responding smile tug at his lips. With them at either side of him his lingering worry faded away and he closed his eyes without hesitation.

The last thing he saw before falling asleep were the three lights of the people he loved.

💚💚💚

Toshinori smiled at the sleeping form of the young boy and carefully slipped his hand from his much smaller one. He pulled the thin covers up to the boy's chin, careful to not jostle any of the equipment attached to him.

The sun had slipped beneath the horizon hours ago and the room was mostly dark. Toshinori leaned back in the chair, utterly exhausted but unwilling to follow the boy into the land of the sleeping. It had been a really long day but he still had things to do.

Ms Midoriya sighed and her shoulders slumped as if the last of her energy had been drained from her. He could not even begin to imagine how she must be feeling, her only child confined to a hospital bed.

It really was incredible how much mother and son looked alike. When she first entered the room he hadn’t needed to ask her who she was, the answer obvious. She didn’t have any freckles but her green hair and eyes was almost the exact same colour as the boy’s. Though there was something familiar with her, like he’d seen her somewhere before. Toshinori couldn't put his finger on it but considering the huge amount of people he’d met during his years as a hero - some he had saved, some had been fans wanting to meet him and some he had only met in passing - it wasn’t strange that he recognized her without being able to place her.

Toshinori cleared his throat and she looked up at him imploringly. Her eyes were filled with the same admiration her son's always contained, but more subdued and controlled, mature. Her cheeks blushed with colour, the red mixing in a complementary way with her green colouring. “I wanted to discuss your son a bit more. Maybe we can talk outside so as to not disturb him?”

She glanced at the sleeping boy and her expression immediately softened. She stroked some of the hair back from his forehead. The worry still lingered in her eyes but it was no longer the mild panic it had been when she first entered the room. “Of course.”

Together they stepped outside. Standing in front of the woman he couldn't help but notice how he towered over her. It made him feel awkward and clumsy in a way he wasn’t used to. He saw a bench a bit further down the hall and led her to it. Sitting down the size difference wasn’t as noticeable and the air between them felt less tense.

He was extremely grateful for the fact that nurses and doctors alike were sworn to secrecy and held away from this room unless needed. So the corridor was empty except for the two of them.

“What do you want to know?” she asked and fiddled with her thumbs.

Toshinori let his All Might persona take over. He had never known how to be, well, ... Toshinori. Not many people knew Yagi Toshinori and of those few who knew he only regularly spent time with Nighteye. All Might was infinitely better at interacting with people. But in this case even his All Might persona couldn’t really help him. He’d never been in this kind of situation before. Not the ‘consoling mothers' thing’, but the ‘being rescued by eight year olds’ thing. This was entirely new to him and it made him unsure of how to proceed.

“Well I have a suspicion young Midoriya lied about the pain level his quirk causes. When we were trapped together he said the pain made it impossible for him to even think about teleporting to safety. So I'm concerned for his well being if I continue my career as before.” Despite already having discussed this with young Midoriya he wanted to talk it over with his mother too just to be sure.

Ms Midoriya was instantly serious, all embarrassment and bashfulness forgotten. “I know my son in and out and you're right, he lied. In fact I suspect the pain is even worse than he has let on. And as his mother I want to keep him safe so badly I actually considered begging you to retire. But as his mother I also know that if you retired because of him that he'll never be able to forgive himself. It's … horrible to even be thinking the thought but I know Izuku would rather be tortured every day for the rest of his life than force you to retire. So … even if it pains me, as his mother I can't let you retire.”

“I … understand”, Toshinori whispered, horrified at what she had told him. At the thought of hurting the boy even more than he already had. But he understood her point of view and deep down he knew that even if she had tried to make him retire he wouldn't have. The Symbol of peace couldn't afford to retire because of one person, no matter how it pained him to continue. He was supposed to save everyone he could reach and here was one boy that he couldn't help no matter how close he was.

“However there is one thing I'll ask of you”, Ms Midoriya said and looked up. Her eyes shone in the sharp hospital lights and he suspected only willpower kept the tears at bay.

“Anything”, he said and knew he would try to keep it no matter what it was.

She looked up at him and he was baffled at the strength he saw in her at that moment. Even with tear in her eyes there was an unmistakable core of pure willpower inside her. It actually reminded him of Nana. What a woman . “Izuku wants nothing more than to be a hero like you. Even though the thought scares me senseless I promised myself that I would never again give up on his dream. So please take your promise to train him seriously. It would mean the world to him.”

“I promise to train young Midoriya to become the hero I know he can be. I see a lot of potential in him and would have wanted to train him even if neither of you requested it."

“Oh…” She blushed, something he was finding more and more endearing. It made her whole face light up and made the family resemblance even stronger. “W-well good. But you should know it's not a request I take lightly on. It feels extremely frightening to let a strange man have access to my son. The only reason I can allow it is because you’re All Might and he loves you.”

Toshinori felt a soft, completely genuine smile spread over his face. “Don't worry Ms; I won't let anything happen to him. And I’ll give you a lot of updates on what we’re doing so you’ll be in the loop.”

She puffed out a breath and her shoulders slumped. “Thank you.”

“It's the least I can do considering your son will have what could be considered chronic pain because of me.”

Silence settled between them after that statement, the only sound the ticking of a clock further down the hallway. Guilt still boiled in his stomach and Toshinori felt he should be doing more for a boy who had risked his life for him and will have to suffer daily for years to come because of him. Training him felt like too little in return.

Ms Midoriya nervously wrung her hands and Toshinori could see there was something else she was thinking about. He smiled at her and tried to gently compel the words from her. “Whatever is on your mind you can tell me.”

She gaped up at him in surprise before quickly closing her mouth and blushing. “T-there is one more thing you should know but … no it’s not your responsibility. The police will handle it.”

Toshinori tensed, immediately on high alert. “What will the police handle?” When she only looked away he felt a seed of frustration grow in his chest that he had to force into submission. He had learned years ago that any hint of negative emotions only scared people more. He forced his body to relax and leaned down so he wasn't towering over her quite as much, everything to seem less threatening. “Please tell me.”

“M-my ex husband, Izuku’s father, Tatsugami Hisashi”, she whispered and wouldn't meet his eyes. “H-he … he’s better known by his villain name D-Dragon. He recently broke out of jail and just a few hours later my apartment burned down. I only survived b-because of Izuku. The police … suspect Hisashi started the fire.”

Toshinori sucked in a breath and accidentally shifted into his hero form. Hopefully she wouldn't notice the slight difference, but to be safe he pretended to correct his hair and used his super speed to dispense the steam. Anger boiled inside and the hero form was the only thing keeping the smile on his face, though it had turned into something dangerous. He didn’t dare speak just yet since he had a feeling it would come out more aggressive than he intended.

Now he knew why Ms Midoriya looked so familiar. He had followed the trial of the S rank villain Dragon and realised he recognised her from it. Toshinori had been interested because Naomasa had found evidence that Dragon had connections to All for one. He would have wanted him brought to justice anyway of course, considering all the atrocities he’d committed. The connection had only made his interest personal.

If he remembered correctly Ms Midoriya - though then named something else, she must have changed it afterwards - had been the main witness and the one that brought the necessary evidence to bring Dragon down. He had admired her strength at the time. Not everyone was brave enough to stand up to a villain, especially considering the abuse she’d confessed to having endured.

Now that he thought about it he also remembered a young child being involved. It must have been young Midoriya.

“As I said the police are already on it and you live hours away so I don't want you running of trying to find him. There are police on lookout outside the place we’re staying at and an underground hero is assigned to the case, so there's no need to worry. I just … thought it was something you needed to know if you are to spend time with Izuku. He doesn't know about his father and I don’t want him to know. I've always told him Hisashi died when he was young, thinking it was better to believe that than know the truth. So please don't tell him … I just felt like I needed to share it with you.”

“I won't tell young Midoriya.” All Might promised and Ms Midoriya sighed with relief. Knowing her past only made him admire her even more. Toshinori could see were Midoriya Izuku got his strength from. “But I will not promise to not try and seek up Dragon. I want to bring him to justice and stop him from hurting anyone else. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure he gets imprisoned again.”

“T-thank you”, she said and suddenly tears were streaming down her face. Considering all the crying civilians Toshinori had encountered during his life you’d think he was better at handling people crying in front of him, but he always felt just as awkward. He carefully patted her on the shoulder, mindful of his strength. After a few minutes she began calming down. She sniffed and dried the tears from her cheeks. Her eyes and nose were red, it was actually kinda endearing.

“You know… I was planning on finding a good martial arts studio in Musutafu for young Midoriya to train in as substitute for the days I’m too busy. Considering the threat level you’re under maybe you should join him?”

Ms Midoriya blushed and averted her eyes. “Just p-paying for Izuku’s lessons will be … tough. I c-can’t afford it.”

“Oh”, Toshinori said dumbly, realising he had forgot to say something important. “Don’t worry about that. I intend to pay for it.”

“I-I can’t let you do that!” Ms Midoriya exclaimed and looked horrified at the mere thought.

Toshinori smiled and hoped it invoked some calm in her. “Paying for young Midoriya’s phone and your lessons is the least I can do to repay the both of you. In fact I would even like to offer to pay for a new apartment.”

“No! That’s too much! The lessons are enough payment!” She panicked and waved her hands around as if that was going to make him change his mind. Toshinori suppressed a chuckle.

“Are you sure? As the number one hero I earn more than I can ever hope to spend. Buying an apartment for the two of you would barely make a dent.” He earned so much money both from the government and numerous other sources - like his merch and royalties from movies and other media - that he didn’t even know what to do with it. The money not needed to operate his agency was mostly just donated to numerous charities.

“I couldn’t!” She insisted.

He sighed. “All right then, just lessons for you two for now.” He really wanted to pay for an apartment but he had already guessed Ms Midoriya would refuse it. This way he at least made her accept the lessons. Maybe in the future he could persuade her to accept more money. He felt a strong desire to help this small family that ran deeper than could be explained by just wanting to repay them. He had to think about why later.

“Thank you, for everything”, Ms Midoriya said earnestly and smiled up at him. When she smiled her eyes shone like the sun was hidden behind them. It was the same light her son seemed filled to the brim with. It made him feel warm. Heat crept up his neck and warmed his cheeks in a deep blush. It'd been years since he last blushed. Apparently he hadn't grown out of it.

“It’s the least I can do. Don’t hesitate to ask if you need help with anything else.” He meant every word. If it was in his power he would do it. And as the number one hero and strongest man alive there were almost nothing he couldn't do.

She blushed but met his eyes unwaveringly, a big smile on her face. She really reminded him of Nana when she smiled like that. “I will.”

Chapter Text

 

Quake sauntered with confidence through the warp gate into All for one’s office. He’d been here a few times before and no longer shook in fear whenever he entered into the super villain’s presence. Though no one with any sense left ever completely relaxed around All for one. The very air around him seemed to be pressing down on you and choking you with instinctual fear, like the rabbit before the fox. It was impossible to forget who exactly he was. 

Stopping in front of the big mahogany desk he bowed his head in respect to the king of the criminal underworld. If All Might was the Symbol of Peace, this man was the Symbol of Despair. All for one sat reclined in his comfortable chair, hands resting on the armrests and an unreadable expression on his face. His green eyes were hard as stone and razor-edged. Behind those eyes hid an ancient hatred, so vast and deep that mere mortals would never be able to understand it. 

“So”, All for one begun, his voice devoid of any emotions, “how did it go?”

Quake grinned, showing off too many teeth. “My little show managed to get All Might’s attention just like you thought it would. The small time scum you sent out managed to stall the other heroes so we got some privacy.”

“And the collar I gave you worked?”

“Like a dream”, Quake laughed and popped his knuckles. They always got a bit stiff after he’d used his quirk. “You should have seen his face when he realised it was the real deal! I wish I’d had a camera.”

All Might’s smile had faltered in a way he’d never seen it do before and a hint of fear had shown beneath its cracks. It had been glorious. It was a shame he hadn’t been able to stay and watch him die. 

“I can imagine”, All for one smirked, the first emotion he’d shown during the conversation. But even though his lips moved his eyes stayed the same steely green. “I’m a bit curious about how you managed to get him to put on the collar.”

“I took some brat hostage and he folded like a wet paper towel.” He growled at the mere thought of that child, fists clenching at his side. “I wish I could have killed him with my own hands.”

All for one raised an eyebrow and leaned forwards subtly in his chair, the leather creaking beneath him. “Even with a quirk suppressing collar it would have been impossible for you to defeat him with your hands alone.”

“Not All Might, the brat! I would have shot All Might in the head if it hadn’t been for him. He hit me in the fucking balls!” When All for one’s eyes narrowed in warning he was quick to bow in apology. Silently he cursed his temper. Of all people in the world the man before him was the last to quip at. At least if you wanted to live. He changed tracks. “I think they knew each other.”

“All Might and the brat?” A twinkle of interest glimmered in All for one’s expression, but it only managed to make it even more frightening. Like a great shark catching a whiff of spilled blood. Quake involuntarily backed down a step and hunched his shoulders. 

“Yeah, they talked like they had some kind of history, but I couldn't figure out what.” He’d actually been a bit surprised when threatening the kid was enough to make All Might put on the collar. Sure All Might was supposed to be all high and mighty, always ready to sacrifice himself to those in need. But still, it had barely taken any coaxing at all. And Quake was sure that he saw fear in All Might’s eyes when he threatened to kill the kid. 

All for one hummed, a sound like church bells ringing in for a funeral. “That is … interesting. Tell me, what did the child look like?”

Quake scratched his chin, deep in thought. He’d not been particularly interested in the brat and never got a good look on him, but some things he remembered. “I think he was around eight, nine years old? Not sure. He had a mop of green, curly hair and a green eye. He wore an eye patch for some reason. Oh, and he had a scar on his face.”

“... a scar?” Quake immediately felt a chill go down his spine, feeling like someone walked over his grave. All for one’s voice had gone from largely uninterested, maybe vaguely amused, to dangerously intense. He couldn’t tell if it was a good or bad intensity, only that he had to tread lightly. Walk on eggshells so to speak. 

“Y-yes, from beneath one of his eyes down to his chin. Kinda looked like a tear track.”

All for one hit his fist against his desk hard enough that the wood creaked and groaned. He rose from his chair, towering over him. A shadow had fallen over his face, only his electric, green eyes visible in the darkness. Quake hunched in on himself, heart lurching in his chest like a mouse in the owl’s claws.

“What did you do to him? Tell me everything, from the beginning” He demanded, his cool and collected appearance cracking for the first time in Quake’s memory. Through the cracks pure malice and hatred poured out. The cool exterior had only hidden the maelstrom of fire beneath, like the earth's crust hid its burning core. 

“I … I was just about to jump out on All Might to slam the collar around his neck when I kid appeared out of nowhere.” All for one raised a disbelieving eyebrow and he gulped down the ice jammed in his throat. When he spoke it was with a stammer Quake had thought he’d left behind when he became a villain. “I s-swear, one m-moment me and All Might was a-alone and the n-next he was there. Like f-from thin air!”

“Alright, then what happened.” All for one was still towering over him but at least for now he was listening to what Quake was saying. Maybe he still had a chance to appease him. If only Quake could figure out what had caused the reaction.

 He gulped in a breath. “I t-thought he c-could make a great hostage and jumped out of the ground and g-grabbed him.”

How did you grab him? Details!” All for one loomed ominously, his presence almost suffocating. 

“B-by the t-throat and t-then I put a g-gun against his head. I t-threatened to k-kill him if All Might didn’t put on the collar.“ 

“Yes you said that but I want to know exactly what you, the child and All Might said and did. All of it”, All for one demanded and stalked around the desk until he stood right in front of Quake, towering over him. And Quake told him. He told him every detail he remembered down to how the bloody room smelled. All for one’s expression remained unchanged but for every word his oppressive atmosphere became a little bit more crushing. Quake stammered through the tale, sweating rivers even while shivers went down his spine. 

“... a-and then I h-hit the floor, c-creating another earthquake and w-walked out of the building. I-it collapsed b-behind me. I d-don’t know what h-happened to them after t-that.”

All for one didn’t say anything, he just stared Quake down with his gleaming, green eyes and somehow that was even more terrifying. It was like watching a tsunami coming closer. Like catching sight of a pouncing predator. Like being caught in the middle of a forest fire. It was watching a natural force moments before the horrible happened. Quake couldn’t breathe, his lungs constricting as if an immense force was pressing down on his ribcage. 

Still utterly silent, like the calm before a storm, All for one walked back around the desk and pressed a button, speaking into a microphone. “I want you to look into something.”

“Of course, master”, Kurogiri’s voice immediately responded, filled with the deepest respect.

“I want you to check if Midoriya Izuku was caught in Quake’s latest attack and if he was, what happened to him. Be quick but meticulous about it.”

“I’m on it, master.”

All for one turned back to him and Quake’s knees gave way under him, hitting the floor with a muffled thud. It felt like his body had frozen solid from looking into eyes cold as absolute zero.

“P-please, m-master”, he begged, voice rasping like razor blades through his throat. “I d-didn't know y-you were interested in the b-boy.”

All for one stalked forward, gracefully and deadly as an avalanche and just as unavoidable. He didn’t even spare a look for the quivering Quake, walking past him to sit in his chair. He sunk into the leather chair and leaned backwards until his face was cast in deep shadow. “If the boy is dead then so are you.”

The words weren’t spoken like a threat. It was a statement of absolute truth as if it was as inevitable as the passage of time. Quake knew with every fibre of his silently screaming being, that if All for one really wanted to strike him down that there was no place on earth he could hide. 

Silence settled over them as they waited for Kurogiri’s return. Quake stayed kneeling, waiting to see what his fate would be. 

 

💚💚💚

 

All for one sat reclined in his chair in the now empty office, looking down at the picture Kurogiri had managed to get a hold of. It depicted Midoriya Izuku, bloodied and unconscious, being carried away from a crumbled building towards an ambulance by All Might. On the desk was a report from the hospital about his injuries; loss of blood, fractured rib and puncture wound. 

Going by what Quake told him of the incident it was possible that Midoriya Izuku and All Might had been in contact with each other before. He had no way of finding out for sure. But one thing was certain; they were in contact with each other now. 

Among the papers on his desk was a report that All Might had entered Midoriya’s hospital room and not yet left it. Hours had gone by since then and he had still not gotten All Might’s departure confirmed. 

All for one growled and had to resist the urge to burn the picture and reports to a crisp with one of his many fire quirks. It was not like him to lose his temper, over two centuries of living having given him incredible patience. But if it were one thing he hated it was his plans not going the way he wanted. 

Quake was no longer in the room. He’d been dragged out after his punishment. All for one bared his teeth in disdain at the memory of the man’s tearful gratitude when he’d told him that replicating the boy’s injuries on him was punishment enough. Even while screaming in pain had he been grateful. 

The man was little more than a tool, and not even a particularly important tool. All for one was actually surprised by the outcome of Quake’s interaction with All Might. To be honest All for one had been sure that Quake would end up caught after this latest attack. Had counted on it even. He had a quite powerful quirk but was otherwise useless to him. Quake was nothing more than a nuance to the heroes and had zero information that could be used against him. Besides the man was a coward and feared his retaliation far too much to reveal anything. Quake was nothing more than a nail in his toolbox. But if All for one played his cards right Quake could become one of the nails in All Might’s coffin. So he’d let him live even though he’d rather have killed him.

But if Quake’s actions - one of many villains that was to lead All Might in circles until he was in a position ideal for All for one to attack and kill him in - led to his nemesis becoming a protector of Midoriya Izuku … 

Of all his ploys and plans the ones he did absolutely not want to mix were those does involving All Might and the Midoriya boy. And now it seemed like they had. All of his plans had to change to accommodate this.

“Kurogiri”, he called through the microphone. “Send Dragon to me, if you please.”

“Immediately, master”, Kurogiri’s voice responded not even a second alter. 

All for one leaned back in his chair and braided his fingers together in front of him. Not even a full minute later a black void opened up in the middle of his office and Dragon stumbled out. Fear slopped around behind his brown eyes and he bowed his head down to his knees in greeting. All for one smirked for half a second before he forced his face into a neutral expression.

“Please sit down”, he said and when Dragon looked up in surprise he made a gesture towards the chair in front of his desk. Dragon neared it with wary on his face, but when All for one didn’t move he slowly sat down in the chair. All for one had noted it before but Midoriya Izuku had not inherited his appearance from his father; except for his freckles and curly hair. Otherwise the boy looked almost exactly as his mother. 

“Y-you called for me, m-master?” he stammered out, head lowered in submission. He looked truly pathetic. All for one hadn’t even hurt him that bad and it had been a while ago. Dragon just didn’t have any spine. What Midoriya Inko had seen in him was beyond All for one. Though he did remember that Dragon had been quite tough before his prison sentence. 

“Yes, I wanted to discuss your second chance at getting to the Midoriyas. New information has revealed to me that extensive planning and caution is necessary. Especially now when you have lost the element of surprise.” He let a bit of bite into his voice at the last word and watched in satisfaction as Dragon quivered. “Let’s discuss our options.”

“Y-yes master”, Dragon mumbled. 

 

💚💚💚

 

Katsuki paced back and forth in his room, palms crackling like tiny fireworks, smoke and light emitting from them. He scowled at an All Might poster, even his hero's smiling face pissing him off (guilt, strong and suffocating was barely hiding beneath the anger).

Where the fuck is Deku? More than a day has passed since he disappeared and Katsuki was forced to spend the whole day without the nerd by his side. His other "friends" - those useless extras only hanging around him for his strength - had pissed him off all day. 

Had something happened to him? Otherwise he should have already returned. Not that he was worried for the nerd. Of course he wasn't. Deku wasn't worth his worry.

Vomit poured from Deku's mouth and he choked back a pained cry, his one seeing eye dim with pain.

Katsuki roared in anger to drown out the memory. He picked up an All Might figurine and hurled it across the room. It hit the wall with a loud thud and broke into several pieces. Katsuki screamed profanities at it. 

“Stop screaming, brat!” his mom screamed from somewhere else in the house.

“Shut up, old hag!” he screamed back, hitting the wall hard enough to bruise his knuckles. He hissed and cursed some more as his hand throbbed with pain.

If only Katsuki hadn’t pressed Deku so much to prove himself. If only he'd stopped it when he saw that Deku was in pain. Then maybe Deku wouldn’t have disappeared. He’d still be here, annoying Katsuki to all hell with his big eyed admiration and constant muttering. It was all his fault. 

Guilt closed in over his head like a storming sea, drowning him in misery. He couldn’t find his way out of it, wherever he looked only more water met him. There was no light to show the way to the surface and he was drowning. It hurt

Katsuki gasped after breath, his chest constricted and his throat closed so tight no air could reach his screaming lungs. He sank to his knees, clutching his shirt in a white-knuckled grip. He couldn't drown, couldn’t go down. Not like this. He had to breach the surface and draw breath.

So he did as he always did when emotions threatened to drown him. He let his anger become his lifebuoy. It ignited the sweat that’d collected on his palms in a small explosion. The sound and light led the way towards the surface and he followed it. More explosions followed as his anger rose, and he, too, rose towards the surface. Suddenly he breached the waves of guilt, drawing in his first breath in far too long. Breathing deeply to force back the panic in his body, his anger got a life of its own. 

It’s not my fault Deku is so weak that using his quirk just a little makes him break down, Katsuki thought, mind dark and bitter like the coffee his mom drank.  His quirk is just as cowardly and weak as he is. Stupid, useless, weak Deku, crying over the smallest of things and always running to his mother. I bet that’s what happened yesterday too. His quirk became too much and he teleported to auntie. Yeah that’s what happened. It wasn’t my fault, Deku is just weak.  

The waves stilled completely and his anger held him afloat without any issues. He let of a few minor explosions to vent some of the anger - besides; it always felt good to use his quirk. It made him feel powerful. 

Katsuki rose from the floor and went to his desk to start his homework. If he was to become a hero his academics had to be top notch. Half assing things just weren’t possible for him.

Pointedly ignoring the notes he’d written for Deku, Katsuki delved into his work. 

 

💚💚💚

 

“Alright, what are you doing?” a sharp voice called out and Toshinori jumped in surprise. The chair he was sitting on creaked in protest at the movement. He turned towards the door and just as he’d dreaded there stood Nighteye. His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes  narrowed in suspicion behind his glasses. His lips were white lines of displeasure. Without invitation he stepped into Toshinori’s office and placed himself in one of the chairs on the other side of his desk. 

“I’m just working on paperwork”, Toshinori lied and tried to discreetly hide what he was really working on. 

Nighteye raised an eyebrow. “You really think I’d believe that? I always do all your paperwork. You’ve been acting strange all day. Usually I’d have to force you to stay at the office, so why are you willingly here now?”

He was right of course. Toshinori cringed and looked away from his friend's and sidekick’s piercing eyes. “I’m technically not here because I want to.” Every second he sat here instead of begin out saving people ate at him and he had to force himself to stay in the chair. But whenever the restless energy became too much his thoughts returned to young Midoriya in his hospital bed. 

His eyes slipped towards his phone, lying face up on the desk. He already knew the messages there by heart.

[From All Might]

Hello, young Midoriya!

Unfortunately I will not be able to visit you in the hospital today since hero work is keeping me busy. Do not worry though, I’m keeping away from danger for today!

How are you feeling today, my boy? Are you any better?

Tell your mother I said hi!

He’d sent the message hours ago, before he even went into work, and he’d yet to get a response. It had worried him senseless until he remembered that he could text the boy’s mom instead.  At least she had answered quickly and brought him some relief.

[From All Might]

Hello, Ms Midoriya! 

I am texting you since young Midoriya isn’t answering his phone. Is everything alright?

[From Ms Midoriya]

Sorry for worrying you.

Izuku is sleeping at the moment. Everything that happened yesterday combined with the healing quirk from one of the doctor’s here tired him out. But don’t worry, the doctor thinks that he will be released later today.

[From All Might]

I’m relieved to hear that, please tell me if anything changes. 

I’m keeping from doing anything dangerous today to let young Midoriya rest, but if I’m called to a catastrophe today I will make sure to let you know so you can prepare.

[From Ms Midoriya]

Thank you so much! I’m grateful for everything you've done for the two of us.

[From All Might]

It is nothing, don’t worry about it! And if there is anything else I can do don’t hesitate to ask. Take care.

[From Ms Midoriya]

I will. And please be careful while working.

A smile came unbidden to his lips at the memory of their conversation. Especially Ms Midoriya’s parting words. No one had asked him to be careful since he’d become the number one hero and it made him warm inside. She was such a kind woman. 

“Then why are you here?” Nighteye asked and pulled him back into the present.

Toshinori sighed. There wasn’t really a point of keeping the Midoriyas’ a secret from Nighteye; the man already knew all his secrets and was completely reliable. Maybe he could even help Toshinori with the situation. 

“Do you remember the boy I saved yesterday?”

Interest glimmered in Nighteye’s eyes. “The boy that stopped the building from crushing both of you?”

“Yes, him”, Toshinori took a deep breath and leaned back in the chair. He combed a hand through his hair, not sure how to start. “I’m keeping out of danger for his sake.”

“Why?”

“Because his quirk can sense whenever I’m in danger and it pains him. If the pain gets too much he can’t help but teleport to me, putting both of us in danger. That’s what happened yesterday. He ended up in the hospital because of me and I want to give him at least one day of respite from it.”

Nighteye frowned and leaned back slightly in his chair but his posture was as explicable as always. One finger rested on his chin as it always did when he was deep in thought. Suddenly his eyes zeroes in on the paper Toshinori worked on and before he could stop him he’d pulled them towards himself. Nighteye studied the simple sketch he’d done and the notes written around it. 

“So your solution to this problem is to create a support item that … will warn you whenever the boy feels that you are in danger?”

Nighteyes incredible tone made Toshinori feel defensive. He knew that Nighteye was the true brains in their duo, but he’d really been thinking hard of a solution and this was the best he could come up with. “It is better than nothing.”

“Well I guess it isn’t half bad, but why don’t you just give him a quirk suppressing bracelet that he can turn on whenever the pain gets too much? Maybe we could even combine the two so that you’d both get a warning and he won't have to feel pain.”

Toshinori straightened his back and grinned at his friend. “That’s a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Nighteye huffed, lips quirking upwards slightly. “Because you’re the brawns, not the brains.” That was his way of nicely saying that Toshinori was an idiot. He couldn’t even disagree. One of the reasons he had accepted Nighteye as a sidekick despite never having wanted one was the man’s keen intellect.  

“So you’ll help me with the boy then?”

“Of course, but I want to meet him soon to create my own opinion on him.”

“That can be arranged. I’ll have him teleport to me when he was recovered from his hospital visit. We can give him the support item then as well so I don’t have to think about endangering him.”

“I don’t know”, Nighteye said with a rare smirk on his face. “Maybe it would be good for you to be forced to think before rushing into danger.”

Toshinori huffed and tried to be offended but his smile widened despite his efforts. “Point taken. Can we focus on the support item now?”

“Alright, tell me everything you know about the boy’s quirk and I’ll design something. When we’re done I’ll take it to the support department and hopefully they will have something finished by tomorrow or the day after that.”

Toshinori grinned and leaned forward, eager to get started. “So his quirk …”

 

💚💚💚

 

Izuku stared up at the Bakugous’ house, hesitating at the gate. It was evening and the sun’s last rays were colouring the horizon in different shades of red and orange. Inko waited patiently at his side, carrying a small bag with things she’d brought with her to the hospital. He held the All Might plushie in one hand. It calmed him and reminded him that he was loved. 

“Do you remember the cover story we agreed on?” she asked him and placed one hand on his shoulder - the unharmed one - and squeezed gently. The touch was grounding.

“I remember, it just feels wrong to lie”, he admitted. Izuku wasn’t even sure he could lie to Kacchan. It was one thing to keep things from him - not that he liked that either - but outright lying?  It didn’t feel like a heroic thing to do and Kacchan was his friend. He deserved to know. But he had also promised All Might and knew why it was necessary. He felt so conflicted. 

“I know”, Inko sighed and stroked his bangs from his face. Dark circles rested beneath her eyes and there seemed to be new wrinkles in their corners. Izuku felt guilty about causing his mom such grief. “I don’t like it either but it must be done. Come on, let’s get it over with.”

Before they reached the door it opened to reveal Mitsuki and, slightly behind her, Kacchan. Mitsuki hurried towards them and closed first Izuku and then Inko in a tight hug. Kacchan just remained in the doorway, not looking up to meet anyone’s eyes. The tension in his shoulder made Izuku’s heart clench in worry. 

“Are you alright? What happened?” Mitsuki demanded to know.

Inko offered up a smile but it was obvious that it was fake. The fatigue hid right beneath it. “Maybe we can go in and talk over a cup of tea. And Izuku could use some quiet after this ordeal so he should rest.”

“Yes of course!” Mitsuki exclaimed and ushered them into the house. She took Inko’s bag without asking and helped them with their coats. “Katsuki, can you go with Izuku?”

“Sure”, Kacchan grumbled. He still hadn't met Izuku’s gaze. “Let’s go.”

Without a word the two boys made their way upstairs. Izuku almost tripped over a step he’d thought was further away but otherwise they both stepped into the guest room without incident.  Izuku gingerly sat down on the bed and tried to read Kacchan’s expression. It was closed off in a way he wasn’t used to and that made him nervous. Anger he knew how to deal with but whatever Kacchan currently felt was something new. Izuku didn’t know how to prepare for it and pressed the plushie close to his chest, seeking comfort. 

Kacchan sat down in the bed next to him and stared intently at the wall in front of him, brow slightly furrowed. When he spoke his voice was unnervingly calm. “So … what happened?”

Izuku swallowed. The cover story he and his mom and agreed on on the way home from Tokyo was that the extended use of his quirk had triggered his chronic pain. It had made him panic and he had teleported to his mom. She had been on her lunch break and had been walking down a pair of stairs when he appeared, resulting in him unfortunately tumbling down them. He had injured himself and his mom had rushed him to the hospital. It was a believable enough story that wouldn’t cause anyone to look closer into what happened. Now Izuku just had to say it out loud. 

He opened his mouth to lie but abruptly stopped himself. Kacchan’s eyes … were filled with suffering. He was in pain, because of what had happened to Izuku. His heart broke at the sight and all his caution was thrown to the wind. There was no way he could lie to Kacchan. 

“A few days ago I teleported to All Might. Apparently I don’t have to know someone to love them so my quirk took me to him. Yesterday while All Might was fighting villains my quirk could feel when he was in danger and it hurt. It wanted me to teleport to him but I resisted. Then during the lunch when we tested my quirk the feeling of danger returned, stronger than before. I couldn’t resist it and teleported to him.” Izuku took a deep breath. He didn’t dare look at Kacchan while he talked and he was ashamed to break his promise to All Might already. “A villain caught me and said he would kill me if All Might didn’t put on a strange collar. All Might put it on and the villain shot him. He got hurt!” Tears began falling from his eyes at the memory. “T-then he villain u-used his quirk to make the b-building fall on us. S-somehow I used my quirk to m-make a shield that protected A-All Might. I took his in-injuries t-too. We were t-trapped beneath the b-building for I d-don’t know how long. I passed out. Woke up in the hospital.”

He rubbed his eyes dry from tears. It wasn't until he finished talking that Izuku dared peak up at Kacchan. His face was completely blank but his red eyes … Izuku saw a hint of guilt and shame and beneath it hurt and worry. But all those feelings were almost drowned out by the intense rage burning in Kacchan’s eyes. It was so intense Izuku recoiled in fear. 

“Deku … stop fucking lying to me”, Kacchan slowly growled out, teeth bared in threat.

“I … I’m not!” It hurt that Kacchan didn’t believe him after he’d betrayed All Might’s trust by telling him the truth. 

“Shut the fuck up!” Kacchan roared and Izuku curled in on himself. “There is no damn way you met All Might and saved him from a villain! I bet you made it up because you don’t want to admit that you're a coward. But guess what? You are! You are a useless, worthless coward, Deku! Your quirk is a coward’s quirk and you can never be a hero with it! What are you gonna do when facing a villain? Run to mommy ?” Kacchan laughed a cold, mean laugh. Izuku’s stomach churned with hurt. “Just give up on your pathetic dream. What was I thinking, saying you could be my sidekick? You’re nothing more than a pebble at the side of the road.”

Izuku abruptly stood up and levelled one green eye on Kacchan. He shut up as if Izuku’s gaze had slapped him. With strength and determination he didn’t know he possessed he pointed at the door. “Get. Out.”

Kacchan stared up at him with an incredulous expression, anger seemingly forgotten. Izuku didn’t relent. He had faced down a villain and saved All Might , he could make Kacchan leave. After a few tense seconds that felt like hours Kacchan finally stood from the bed. He took a hesitant step towards the door before stopping and looking back at Izuku. The hurt in his eyes almost made Izuku waver but ultimately he managed to keep his expression stern. Showing his teeth in a grimace, Kacchan slowly walked out of the room without a word. 

Izuku carefully closed the door behind him and then slowly sank to the floor, back leaning against it. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. As he did the first of a flood of tears fell from his overflowing eyes. As he began crying the yellow in Kacchan’s light completely swallowed the blue. 

 

💚💚💚

 

Inko was worried. Of course she was. In just three weeks time her son had gotten hospitalized twice and disappeared just as many times. On top of that her villainous ex-husband was still at large. It would have been stranger if she hadn’t been worried. 

Her instincts screamed at her to never let Izuku out of her sight again. To cover him in bubble wrap and keep him locked up from the world so nothing could hurt him ever again. But she knew that Izuku would never be happy living like that. His greatest wish was to be a hero and help people. There was no way she could take that away for him, not when he’d finally gotten his quirk. As the years had passed by without it manifesting she had begun thinking that maybe it was best to stop Izuku from pursuing his dream. Now she was ashamed that the thought had even appeared. So instead she had decided to support him with everything she had. That didn’t stop her from worrying though. And Izuku was only eight. He was still her little baby. 

That was why she had agreed to All Might’s suggestion that she too took up martial arts. If she learned how to fight then she would be able to defend him until he got old enough to be a hero in his own worth. 

Asking Izuku to not tell anyone else he loved them had been a precaution to stop him from getting hurt again. But it had left an awful taste in her mouth. Her baby was just filled with so much love and it was cruel to force him to keep it to himself. But she couldn’t stand the thought of seeing him in a hospital again … or worse, in the morgue. She … she just couldn't . So Inko was prepared to be the bad guy and force such a promise on her son, despite even All Might’s protest. She … she could stand him hating her as long as he was alive and safe. 

Inko furiously wiped a few escaped tears from her eyes. Izuku was currently in the bathroom, brushing his teeth. She didn’t want him to see her cry again. It would only make him cry too. That was the way of the Midoriyas; always so emotional and it seemed all emotions had a direct connection to their tear ducts. At lest her mother had been the same too, so she guessed it was genetic. Her father she barely remembered. He had left shortly after her quirk had manifested. 

The door opened and pulled her from her spiralling thoughts. Izuku walked into the room, head hung low. She mustered a smile for him but it was fragile and cracking at the corners. “Ready to go to bed?”

“Yeah…” he mumbled and crawled into the futon on the floor. Inko stood to turn of the ceiling lamp and then climbed into her own bed. As she was about to turn off the bedside lamp Izuku reached a hand out to stop her. She blinked in surprise at him. “Can … can we leave a lamp on?” He twisted the comforter between his hands and wouldn’t meet her eyes. 

Inko’s expression softened. Izuku hadn’t been afraid of the dark for a few years but she couldn't blame him for wanting some light after everything that had happened. “How about I turn on the lamp in the window instead? Would that work?” 

He was quick to nod and she climbed out of bed to turn it on instead. The lamp was still a bit bright for her tastes but it was much better than having the bedside lamp shining all night. “Better?”

“Yeah, thank you”, Izuku mumbled.

“There is no need to thank me, darling”, he said and reached out to ruffle his hair. He leaned into the touch and a small smile lit up his face. “Try to get some sleep, okay? Good night, Izuku.”

“Good night, mom.”

Inko tried to find a comfortable position and after having turned around in the bed for a while she finally stilled. She yawned and pulled the comforter to her chin. It had been a long few days and she was exhausted. She was halfway gone when a small hand carefully shook her shoulder and raised her from her half slumber. Inko blinked the sleepiness from her eyes and looked up to find Izuku standing next to the bed with the All Might plushie pressed to his chest. He looked so small like that. 

“What is it?” she asked and smiled gently at him to signal that she didn't mind him disturbing her. 

“C-can I sleep with you?” Izuku mumbled and stared down at the floor. 

Another thing he hadn’t done in a while but Inko didn’t even hesitate before pulling back the comforter to give him space to climb in. He did so, curling into her chest with the plushie still in his arms. She pulled him closer and combed a hand through his hair. It was comforting for her to hold him so close. This way she could be sure that he wouldn’t just disappear during the night. Maybe she needed the closeness just as much as he did after everything. 

Izuku sighed into her chest and hid his face against her shoulder. She could feel the tension bleed from his body and pressed a kiss into his hair. “It's okay darling, I’m here. You’re safe now and I will never let anything happen to you. I love you, Izuku.”

“Love you too, mom”, he mumbled, the words barely audible. 

Even though she was so tired she fought to stay awake until she felt Izuku’s breath even out and his body completely relaxing. She gazed down at his little sleeping face. There was no fear left in his expression, only peace. Even with that scar creating a red path down his face he looked like a little angel. She truly would do anything to protect him.

Chapter Text

The day after Izuku returned from the hospital he had insisted on going to school despite his mom’s reassurance that he could stay at home. He felt like he had already missed too much and was lagging behind everyone. 

The short walk to school with Kacchan had been completely quiet and tense, none of them having said a word to the other since their argument the evening before. Izuku almost broke it a few times - to say what he didn’t know - but in the end refrained. It wasn’t he that had done wrong and it was up to Kacchan to take the first step. 

Kacchan’s light remained a stubborn yellow. 

At school Kacchan left Izuku behind without a backwards glance to go be with his ‘friends’. It did not take long before the news got out that Izuku was unprotected. During the lunch period he tried to hide as he usually did when Kacchan wasn’t around but was caught by his bullies before he could get away. When next period began he walked into class with bruises hidden beneath his clothes and degrading words ringing in his ears. 

Classes were awful too but for another reason. A reason revolving almost completely around his right hand. He knew that even in their society of miraculous quirks that there was no way his hand would just go back to normal from one day to the other. It still frustrated him immensely that his handwriting was so bad he couldn’t even read it himself. His only hope was that his hand would get better with enough practise. At the hospital the physical therapist had recommended writing as a means to train his fine motor skills. Though Izuku had a suspicion his hand would never be completely up to the task again. So he also trained writing with his left hand - he would have to get used to using that hand instead for most things. 

If that had been the end of it Izuku would have called his day miserable but still manageable. But that morning All Might had warned him that he no longer could stay away from patrolling. And sure enough before school even started the first episode of his ‘chronic pain’ blossomed up as his quirk suddenly registered that All Might was in danger. This continued throughout the day. Izuku was at least grateful that the sessions only lasted a few minutes at most and weren’t even near the pain level from a few days ago. But combined with the bullying it was too much. 

Lastly his sleep was plagued by nightmares. His mind seemed to especially like to torment him with images from the fire and the villain fight. Except in his dreams instead of saving his mom and All Might they died right before his eyes. It had him waking with muffled screams. Not even crawling into his mom’s bed completely stopped the fears. Though at least the comfort of her hugs calmed him down enough to fall back asleep… only to wake up from another nightmare a few hours later.  

The day after that continued in much the same way.  It seemed his quirk, Kacchan, the bullies and his nightmares were working together to make sure he was in constant mental, emotional and psychical pain. 

As he returned from school that day with a silently seething Kacchan by his side - Izuku knew he only walked with him because auntie Mitsuki had demanded it - Izuku was so put down from everything that he went directly to the guest room and laid down on the bed. He didn’t dare sleep though - not as long as nightmares lurked at the edges of his consciousness just waiting for his guard to drop. He hugged the All Might plushie close and sighed through his nose. 

Izuku had always dreamed about finally getting his quirk and how things would change afterwards. Not only would his dream of becoming a hero be one step closer, but he had imagined that the bullying would stop and that Kacchan would regard him as an equal. In his fantasies getting a quirk was supposed to fix everything. Instead … everything seemed to have gotten worse since then. 

Kacchan and he were fighting. The bullies had found different things to hate him about - they had called him scar face today and joked that his quirk was a coward’s quirk. He had absolutely not counted on the immense backlash from his quirk. Not only had it brought him extreme pain but permanent injuries on top of it. His quirk had put not only himself but others as well in danger. He could have died. All Might could have died. 

At the same time …

Izuku closed his eyes so he could focus on the lights. The world around him faded away. One orange, one yellow, and one whose colour was in between. They shone so gently at him. As long as they were around he would never have to live in darkness. He would never have to be alone. 

Whenever he felt bad he just had to focus on the feelings they emitted. It immediately made him feel better. When he awoke at night from nightmares he only had to focus on them to know the people he loved was safe and it would chase his fears away. When his bullies called him awful things and hit him he could escape the present by thinking about them. Even when he was in direct pain because of the lights they still brought him comfort. Because the pain was a testimony of his love. 

Getting the lights was the best thing that had ever happened to him. They made everything else bearable. 

A noise came from his phone, signalising a message, made him perk up. Only two people had his number; his mom and All Might, which meant only one of those two could have messaged him. With his heart beating a bit faster and the worst of his misery suddenly lifting from his shoulders he turned his phone on. 

All Might has created a group chat with you and mom. 

All Might: Hello!

I have finished patrolling for today and was wondering if young Midoriya could teleport to me now so he can test out his new support item. 

Izuku’s heart sped up. All Might wanted to see him now? It just … felt so surreal. It didn’t matter that he’d already met the man twice and he’d promised they would see each other a lot more, he was still surprised. It was not that he doubted his hero’s words, but this whole thing felt too good to be true. Like a dream he would wake up from any moment. Just having All Might text him was more than he’d ever hoped for. 

All Might: That is if you feel recovered enough to use your quirk, young Midoriya. I don't want you to strain yourself. 

Tear came unbidden to his eyes. All Might truly cared about him. Not only did he ask for Izuku’s health, but he’d thought about how his quirk brought him pain and tried to minimise it. All Might truly was the greatest hero in the world. No, not only that. He was the greatest person in the world, next to his mom. 

Izuku: I feel fine so I can come

All Might: That is great news!

Do you allow it Ms Midoriya?

Izuku waited with bated breath for his mom to respond. It took a few minutes but the message finally came.

Mom: As long as you both promise to be careful

Izuku: I promise 

All Might: I promise

Izuku smiled at the fact that he and All Might responded to mom's message at the exact same time and within seconds of her sending her message. It seemed the hero was just as eager about this as he was. 

Mom: Then I’ll allow it. I’ll message you when dinner’s ready, Izuku, be sure to teleport back when I do.  

Izuku: I will 

I'm teleporting now

Izuku rose to his feet but paused when he was about to put the plushie away. So much had happened since then that he’d forgotten it but now he suddenly remembered. When he'd first teleported to All Might he had somehow brought the plushie with him. And now when he thought about it whatever he was wearing always teleported with him - which he was immensely grateful for. This suggested that he could move objects with him. 

Pulling at his lower lip Izuku’s thoughts ran a mile a minute. Is there some limit on how big or heavy the objects I can bring with me can be? Could I for example move things too heavy for me to lift by teleporting with them? Is it limited to only objects or could I move living creatures with it too? I have to test it! But for now …

Izuku took his phone from the bedside table and put it in his pocket. He looked at his school bag for a moment before shrugging. He might as well try his theory. So he put the bag on his back and held on tight to the straps. 

He closed his eyes and focused on the shining lights. He’d only teleported to All Might twice; once when he first imprinted (the word he had began using to describe what happened after he confessed his love to someone) on him and once when he’d been in immense danger. Those times had been mostly involuntarily. So this time felt very different. 

Of the three lights shining in the darkness behind his closed eyes he focused on the one belonging to All Might - or as his quirk preferred to put it; Yagi Toshinori. How his quirk knew All Might’s true name was still a mystery to him. 

The light’s colour seemed almost a mix between his mom’s and Kacchan’s. It was neither orange nor yellow. In size and brightness it was situated between the other two’s as well; not as big and bright as mom’s but bigger and brighter than Kacchan’s. The colour, brightness and size must have some meaning. , Izuku thought. Maybe it depends on the kind of relationship I have with the person? The more he thought about it the more plausible it felt. You could love people in several different ways and that love could change. Izuku just didn’t know what kind of love the different colours signified. He wished there were more of them but with the promise he made to mom there probably wouldn’t be in a long time. 

Izuku sighed and shook his head to chase away the depressing thoughts. He had to concentrate if he ever wanted to teleport to All Might. So he let the feelings All Might‘s light emitted surround him and sooth him until it was the only thing he could feel. Adoration and worship. Strength and protectiveness. Determination and stubbornness. It feels like a pat on the back and bright smiles. The light began growing and shining brighter until it was the only thing he could see.

The somewhat familiar tingling sensation returned in his chest. He opened his eyes and saw a glowing, green heart appear on his chest. Tendrils shot out of it and spread over his entire body, covering it in green light. It was blinding and an awful headache grew behind his eyes. His stomach turned. Soon his entire body was engulfed in the green light. Then he felt the world shift.

When the light faded he found himself in what he immediately recognized as All Might’s apartment. Izuku was relieved to find that his backpack was still firmly placed on his back and that his phone was in his pocket. It seemed he could indeed bring some objects with him. Maybe he and All Might could test his limits during training?

Izuku looked around himself with growing excitement. Last time he’d been here it had been confusing and a bit frightening just appearing in an unfamiliar place. But now when he knew that it was All Might’s home he could feel his fan boying go into full overdrive. All Might’s home was a huge mystery and no one knew what it looked like. This was an opportunity he would not waste. 

Izuku had appeared in front of a wall of windows and like last time he almost felt dizzy staring down at the very distant street bellow him. This time however he was able to recognise the surrounding skyscrapers - he had seen them many times before in pictures. There was only one building he could be in that would hold both All Might’s apartment and have this view. He was in Might Tower. Might Tower! All Might’s hero office! He couldn’t help but squeal in excitement. 

The sound of someone clearing their throat behind him had him jumping high in the air and twirling around. Unfortunately he was so startled that his foot caught on the corner of a plush carpet and before he could even blink he was eating the ground. At least the carpet was thick enough that it didn’t really hurt. With his face burning up in embarrassment Izuku considered just staying facedown on the floor for all eternity. At least down here he couldn’t embarrass himself even more in front of his hero.

“Are you alright, young Midoriya?” All Might’s voice rang out, the concern in his voice making Izuku’s heart do happy somersaults. A big hand entered his line of sight and after a moment of hesitation - he really wanted to just sink into the floor and disappear - he accepted it. All Might pulled him to his feet without any apparent strain and smiled bright enough to blind him. 

“I-I’m fine”, Izuku mumbled and hid his blushing face in his hands. 

“So this is the boy that saved you? I am not impressed”, a new voice, much colder than All Might’s, called out. Izuku immediately tensed and slowly looked up. A man, almost as tall as All Might himself, stood before him. He wore a plain white suit with gold buttons, a white dress shirt and a red dotted tie. He was lean with elongated and quite sharp features. His shiny hair was worn smoothed down and parted to his left, and was of a dark green colour, with three yellow streaks towards the front. A pair of glasses rested on his nose and intense eyes stared him down from behind them. Izuku immediately recognised him. 

“S-sir N-Nighteye?” Of course he had to trip and embarrass himself not only in front of All Might but his sidekick too. He almost considered just teleporting back to his mom to never again look anyone in the eye. But he was already here and there was no way he’d just turn his back on this once in a lifetime chance. A moment later he remembered his manners and bowed low. “It’s an honour to meet you, sir. I am Midoriya Izuku.”

“I know who you are, All Might have told me about you.” Izuku shot a wide eyed look at All Might, who was still grinning his signature smile. All Might had talked about him? When he looked back to Nighteye he almost flinched at the harsh gaze the man was levelling him with. “He told me about how you saved him but so far I’ve seen nothing that suggests you’d be capable of such feats.”

“Now, now, Nighteye, he is still just a boy”, All Might stepped forward to clap the man on the shoulder, making his tall frame rattle slightly with the force. His booming laugh rang through the room. “I do not think you were any more impressive at his age.”

Nighteye huffed but at least he turned his intense eyes away from Izuku. He finally felt like he could breathe without it weighing him down, judging him. “Let us talk over some tea.”

“Yes, that sounds like a great plan, follow me, young Midoriya.” Izuku obediently followed in All Might’s footsteps into the kitchen. 

The kitchen looked like it had done the last time he’d been here. It was filled with top-notch utilities and even more plants. He’d noticed the plants last time too but had not really thought about it, too caught up in the realisation that he was meeting All Might to really remember anything else. Now he couldn’t help but wonder if All Might had some special interest in flowers. The big dining table they had sat at last time still dominated the room, teacups already waiting for them. Pictures littered the fridge. Izuku really wanted to sneak a peek of the pictures but didn’t dare as long as the two heroes were present. 

All Might pulled out a chair for him to sit on and after slinking out of his backpack he sat down in it, almost stubbing his toe on the table leg in the process. Nighteye took a kettle with boiling water from the stove - it was clear they had planned on drinking tea and that Nighteye only had worded it as a suggestion out of politeness. The two heroes sat down at the other side of the table, facing Izuku, and he couldn’t help but gulp. It felt like he was in an interrogation. At least the tea gave him something to do with his hands. 

“Before we go into the reason All Might called you here I would like to talk with you about something, Midoriya”, Nighteye said in his deadpan voice. 

“O-of course”, Izuku stammered. “W-what did you want to talk about, sir?”

“All Might have already told me about your interactions and I know about your quirk, but I would like to hear about it from you as well. It seems All Might let out some details”, he said with a sideway glance to the hero in question. “For example he never told me your quirk’s name.”

“Oh! Well that’s because I hadn’t named it yet”, Izuku responded and blushed when both adults looked at him with surprise. “W-well it did just manifest a few weeks ago and so many things happened during that time that I didn’t have time for it. But I’ve named it now!” 

Without really thinking he opened his backpack and pulled out the notebook his mom had gotten him the day before. It wasn’t until both adult’s eyes landed on it that he a bit belatedly realised that it was All Might themed. All Might laughed at the sight and even Nighteye’s lips turned upwards into a smirk. Izuku blushed bright red but it was far too late to pretend he wasn’t a huge fan of All Might. Not when he had been wearing an All Might pyjama and carried an All Might plushie the first time he met the hero. 

Turning the notebook so the heroes could read the text written on it - by his mom on his request. Even though the rest of the book would be filled with barely readably scribbles he wanted the title to be clear at least. 

Quirk analysis: Guardian Angel , was written with big, bold letters at the front. He had decided that this notebook would be dedicated exclusively to his own quirk. 

“I … I thought Guardian Angel was a fitting name since my quirk seems made to protect the people I love.” Izuku scratched the back of his neck. He really liked the name but couldn’t help but feel self conscious. What if they hated it?

“Yes it does indeed seem quite fitting”, All Might beamed down at him, smile so contagious that Izuku couldn't help but smile back. It eased his worries. 

Nighteye only hummed and took the notebook from Izuku’s hands. Izuku almost reached out to take it back but forced his hands to be still. Nighteye opened it and frowned down at the text. “This is barely readable.”

Izuku flushed a bright red and ducked his head. He held out his right hand and all three of them could see how it trembled slightly. “My dominant hand got badly injured in the fire that force manifested my quirk. I can’t really write with it and my left hand isn’t better.” He clenched his trembling right hand into a fist, determination rising in him. “But I’ll train until I can use both hands without trouble. I won’t ever give up”

Something flashed through Nighteye’s eyes and a smile curved his lips. Next to him All Might grinned proudly and gave him a thumbs up. It made Izuku blush again, but this time not with embarrassment. His heart felt like it would burst with happiness. 

“That is admirable but I do suggest you start using some kind of code while writing about your quirk. All Might told me that you want to be a hero and if you do manage to accomplish that it would not be good if this information got out.”

All blood left his face at the implication. “I will be careful.”

“Good.” Nighteye flashed him a small smile. He pushed to book back towards Izuku and he was quick to take it into his hands. He really hadn’t counted on him actually reading it. So far not much was written in it but … he didn't like the thought of people reading some of the things in it. Using a code sounded like a really good idea. 

“Maybe we should get to the point of why we gathered here today?” All Might suggested and gave Nighteye a pointed look. Something passed between them. All Might’s smile was stern while Nighteye’s lips were set in a stubborn line. After a few seconds of staring at each other Nighteye turned his gaze away and lowered his head the tiniest bit. Izuku had no idea what had just happened.

“Yes, you are right”, Nighteye said and pulled out a small packet from inside his suit jacket. He placed it on the table in front of Izuku. “Open it.”

It almost felt like his birthday when Izuku carefully opened the top of the packet. Excitement as well as nerves battled inside his stomach for dominance. When he opened it both feelings died a gruesome death. “A … watch?”

The object looked exactly like a regular wristwatch, silver in colour and with two pushers on each side of the crown. There were two subdials within the main dial. Except for the fact that it had a timer he couldn’t figure out what was special about it. 

“Yes it is designed to look and work as a regular watch so it won't raise any suspicion. It takes a lot of scrutinizing from an expert to notice the ways it is not regular. The glass is actually a Palladium microalloy that makes the glass many times harder and stronger than steel. All metal on the watch is made by Maraging steel. It is also waterproof and has a long battery life. Basically you’d be dead long before the watch breaks.” Izuku paled a bit at his words but nodded along to show he was listening. “Put it on.”

The watch felt really lightweight when he picked it up and placed it around his right wrist. It fit perfectly. 

Nighteye leaned forward and pointed at the two pushers on the side. “Now if you press the upper of these pushers once the regular timer will start. If you wait and then press it once again the timer will stop. If you press the lower pusher once the timer will reset. But if you press the upper pusher twice it will instead send a warning signal to an earpiece All Might will be wearing.” All Might held up the small earpiece and put it in his ear. “At this point the quirk suppressant abilities will also activate. You can regulate how strong this ability is by pulling out and twisting this”, Nighteye pointed to the crown which was situated between the two pushers. Normally you only change the position of the hands with it. “If  you again press the upper pusher twice All Might will get a message that the danger is over and it will cease to suppress your quirk. Now if you instead press the lower pusher twice it will send out a distress signal to All Might as well as local law enforcements. It will also begin tracking you. So if you’re ever in danger just press it twice and help will come your way.”

Izuku looked down at the watch with newfound respect. It really sounded incredible and would be useful to keep both All Might and himself out of danger. “Thank you so much!” He exclaimed and bowed towards Nighteye and All Might. 

“Don’t mention it”, Nighteye said and when Izuku opened his mouth to thank him again he held up a hand. “I’m serious; don’t ever mention it to anyone other than your mother. This support item has to be kept top secret, do you understand?”

“I u-understand.”

“Good. Now I think it would be best to test it. Go ahead.”

Izuku smiled and did just that. He pressed the upper pusher once and the hands in the subdials began moving. He stopped the timer a few seconds later and reset it. Next he tried pushing the same pusher twice in rapid succession. Nothing changed. Confused he looked up at All Might. 

All Might smiled reassuringly. “Don’t worry; the quirk suppressant is at its lowest setting so you shouldn’t notice a change. But I got the warning on my end so it works just fine. Why don’t you try and change the suppressants strength level?”

“O-okay”, Izuku agreed. He pulled the crown out and turned it. At first he only turned it a bit and when he still felt no difference he grew restless and in one big sweep turned it as much as he could. One second his lights shone brightly at him and the next they were gone . The effect was immediate.

His heart stuttered and it felt like a hand was squeezing his heart, pressing it against his ribcage with enough force to shatter the ribs. He couldn’t breathe. It was as if Quake was once again cutting of his airflow and choking the life out of him. His hands began scratching at his neck in a futile effort to bring some oxygen back to his screaming lungs. Something wet fell from his eyes.

From a great distance he could hear someone call out to him but the words were muffled and distorted. They could as well have been speaking a different language. Something touched his back and without thinking he struck out against it. His instincts were screaming at him to either run or fight back and trapped at the table as he was fight was his only option. The touch disappeared for a second only to grab hold of his hands. Izuku trashed against whatever was holding him and he could barely make out someone yelling something. It almost sounded like his name. 

It ended as quickly as it had happened as suddenly his quirk returned to him. The lights blinked back into life and he latched onto them. Running mental fingers over the lights he felt no difference to them. There was no danger or feelings of pain and all of the people he loved were still alive. They were alright. With the light’s return the pressure in his chest disappeared and Izuku managed to draw his first breath in what felt like forever. 

Arms gently pulled him into a huge chest and Izuku cried against it. A big hand threaded through his hair and a voice he would recognise anywhere asked him to breathe with him. There was no way Izuku could say no to that voice so he tried to match the slow and steady rising of the chest he rested against. The beating of a heart against his ear calmed him further. It confirmed what his light already told him. All Might was still alive and he was right there. Everything … everything was alright. 

It felt like several hours had passed when Izuku finally managed to lift his head from All Might’s broad chest. His breathing was even and the tears had stopped but his body still trembled slightly. His head felt heavy when he looked up into All Might’s worried eyes. Huh … he had never noticed their electric blue colour before. They were really pretty.

“Oh … uh, thank you, young Midoriya”, All Might said, a slight blush appearing on his cheeks. “Your eyes are pretty too.”

Izuku blinked. He said that out loud? Immediately heat rushed into his own cheeks and he ducked his head in embarrassment. He cleared his throat and rubbed beneath his eyes, wiping away a few tears.

“Are you feeling better? You had a panic attack.”

“I-I had?”

All Might nodded, face solemn. His smile had disappeared. Izuku had noticed that it had happened a few times before and almost all of those times the two ‘bunny ears’ on his head had been hanging limply into his face. “Do you know what triggered it?”

“I … I’m pretty sure it was the quirk suppressant. I turned it up to its highest setting and it made the lights I always see disappear. F-for a second I th-thought it meant the people they belong to had d-di-”, he cleared his throat; suddenly choking on tears yet again, ”had died.”

He was immediately pulled into another hug and he let the soothing feeling of being held close by someone he loved wash over him. It was more reassuring than he could put into words.

“Don’t worry, I am here and I promise I won’t let anything happen to me.”

“R-really?”

All Might gently ran his big hands over Izuku’s cheeks, catching the few tears that managed to escape. His smile was far from his signature big, bright grin but it felt much more genuine and comforting. “Really. I won’t leave you.” And Izuku believed him. 

Someone cleared their throat behind him and Izuku turned - still in All Might’s arms - to look at them. Nighteye sat at the other side of the table, back stiff and face unreadable. Izuku had frankly forgotten about his presence until now. He forced down the urge to hide against All Might. He didn’t like the fact that he’d had an audience for his panic attack and the following comforting. 

“I changed the quirk suppressant back to its lowest setting until next time you use it”, Nighteye said and held up the wristwatch. Izuku had no idea when it had been removed from his arm. “Next time we meet I will make sure to bring it to the support department to permanently make sure it can’t go that high. Unfortunately at the moment you’ll have to live with it as it is.”

“O-okay”, Izuku took a deep breath. “I can manage for now.”

A wave of exhaustion hit him and he slumped against All Might. He was thankful that the hero was there to support him when he didn’t have the energy to even keep his eyes open. Gentle fingers threaded through his hair and he hummed at the pleasant sensation, rubbing his face against All Might’s chest. 

“Would you like to go home to your mom?”

“... yes please”, Izuku mumbled, low enough that only the hero would be able to hear. He really wanted to go to his mom and make sure she was alright too. The lights might tell him that she (and Kacchan) was alright but he wanted to see that with his own eye. Problem was he didn’t want to leave All Might either. At the moment he wanted all the people he loved close - and yes that included Kacchan, they might have had a fight but Izuku still loved him. Though that was an impossible thing to accomplish at the moment and since he knew All Might was safe he felt kinda okay with leaving him. 

“Then I’ll text her a warning that you’ll soon be there.” Izuku made an uncommitted sound and felt All Might move slightly - presumably to take out his phone and text. A few minutes later he gently shook Izuku from the half slumped he had slipped into. Izuku blinked up at him and without thinking reached up to tug on one of the long bangs hanging in front of his face. He really liked them, it was cute. Based on the way All Might blushed slightly Izuku guesses the words had slipped past his lips but he couldn’t bring himself to care at the moment. “Your mom is ready for you. Do you think you can teleport now?”

He forced himself to sit more upright and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “Yeah, I can.” 

With a little help from All Might he stood and put his backpack on. Nighteye gave the watch back and he slipped it on - a bit reluctantly after the whole panic attack ordeal. Remembering his manners he bowed towards the man. “Thank you for the tea and the watch, Sir Nighteye. It was a pleasure to meet you”

“The pleasure was all mine”, Nighteye said and smiled. It was nowhere near as big or warming as All Might’s smile but he liked it nonetheless. It made him look softer. 

He turned towards All Might. “Will we see each other soon?”

“Of course”, All Might said and ruffled his hair. Izuku really liked it when he did that. “Now go home and rest up, alright?”

“Alright.” With a last smile at the two men he closed his eyes and focused on his mom’s orange light. When he did Izuku noticed that All Might’s light was slightly bigger than before. Huh, Izuku thought, I guess I love him even more than I did before. The realisation made him feel light, almost like he could float away at any moment. He anchored himself by focusing on his mom’s light. Warmth and comfort as well as gentleness and strength filled him and a moment later he felt the green light cover his body. His head pounded and nausea made bile rise in his throat but the ignored it and when he next opened his eyes his mom stood in front of him. 

Tears were collecting in the corner of her eyes - All Might must have told her about his panic attack - and she pulled him into a hug without hesitation. He held onto her like his life depended on it. 

When his last strength abandoned him he let his mother’s arms hold him up and gently lie him down in the bed. Her touch left him for a second and he whimpered. Immediately her arms returned but this time they hugged him to her chest. Breathing in her familiar sent - flowery and clean but not overpowering - he felt himself drift to sleep.

💚💚💚

The moment young Midoriya disappeared in a flash of green Toshinori let his shoulders slump. Seeing the boy look so scared had made something deep inside of him hurt. He was not used to this kind of feelings. Except for Nighteye and a few trusted friends he wasn’t really close to anyone. And except for Melissa he certainly wasn’t close to any children. He had no idea what he was doing.

“I do not like this”, Nighteye spoke up, interrupting his thoughts. 

Toshinori turned towards him, eyes narrowed in warning. If he meant what Toshinori thought he meant ... “What do you mean?”

“I do not like the influence the boy have over you”, he said and confirmed Toshinori’s suspicion. “You barely know him and have already allowed him not only into your apartment, by into your life?”

“I do not like what you’re implying. Midoriya is a sweet and loving boy.”

“Or he is only manipulating you.”

Anger, white hot and burning, lit up inside of him. “How dare you say such thing!? He is just a boy.”

“Yes, but he is also the son of a villain.” Nighteye didn’t raise his voice but his eyes turned cold. “You shouldn’t trust him.”

“I will not hear one more word against young Midoriya! He damn nearly died for my sake! Son of a villain or not, that boy has a bigger heart than anyone else I’ve met and a heroic streak a mile long!”

Nighteye did not back down in the face of his anger - admirable considering it could make the most awful of villains pee their pants, but also insufferable. “Very well, but I will keep an eye on the boy from here on out.”

“Fine, but don’t you dare do anything against him. He’s already traumatised as it is.”

“Alright”, he said and held his hands up in surrender. “I won't. Now can we please go back to discussing my latest intel about All for one?” 

It was clearly mean to be a distraction but Toshinori allowed it. After all their fight was long overdue.

 

💚💚💚

 

Friday was better. It was far from good, but it was better than many the previous days. 

The support item Izuku’s gotten worked wonders. Every time his quirk acted up and warned him about the danger All Might was in Izuku would just press the upper button twice - it made him feel better that he could warn the hero at least - and the quirk suppressant would kick in to dampen the pain. He didn’t completely take it away since he couldn’t stand the thought of not seeing the lights or knowing if the people he loved were safe. But it helped a lot. 

Somehow he managed to dodge his bullies for most of the day and the times he couldn’t the teachers were nearby and they didn’t dare hurt him much. He only got a few bruises and it was much better than he was used to. 

Though the real change didn’t happen until school ended and he and Kacchan began walking home for the day. Kacchan’s expression had changed. For the last couple of days shimmering anger had prevailed over anything else - not that he usually wasn’t angry but it had been much more intense lately - but when Izuku glanced into his red eyes now some conflict shone through. 

During their walk Izuku opened his mouth to speak several times but every time he closed it again. He was desperate to talk to his best friend again but had absolutely no idea what to say. It shouldn’t be so hard to talk to him, to someone he loved, but it was. Izuku didn’t want to say something that would only strain their relationship even more. Staring down at the ground in front of his feet he sighed at the hopelessness of the situation. 

“Oi, Deku”, Kacchan growled and Izuku almost hurt his neck with how fast he looked up. Kacchan’s red eyes bore into him and Izuku had to resist the urge to make himself smaller. 

“Y-yes Kacchan?”

“I talked with our teacher today and she said you have chronic pain or whatever and that it acted up on Monday. She said you teleported to auntie and she took you to the hospital, that it was the reason you disappeared for a few days. So why the fuck did you lie to me? And with such an unbelievable story about meeting All Might!” 

Anger, hot and burning, coursed through his veins but Izuku was quick to suffocate it. This was he wanted … right? Kacchan believed the cover story, which meant All Might’s connection to them was safe. Izuku should have felt relieved. Instead he just felt hurt. He had told Kacchan the truth despite everything and he had rejected it for the lie. It meant Kacchan sooner believed that Izuku was weak and worthless; that he ran to his mom at the first setback. Rather than believe that Izuku could be strong, could be a hero. 

“I just … wanted you to think I’m strong. Ever since you got your quirk a-and I d-didn't I’ve only wanted you to see m-me as an equal. Then suddenly I had a quirk and you said I could maybe be your sidekick. I just … didn’t want to go back to being a weak, useless Deku.” Izuku sniffed and tried to stop the tears from falling. It was fruitless. 

Kacchan looked at him with an unreadable expression for a few seconds before tsking and turning away. “Stop fucking crying. A crybaby can’t be a hero.” 

Izuku blushed and tried to stow the flood, rubbing furiously at his eyes. The scar was lumpy beneath his fingertips but the scarred skin felt nothing. Suddenly a bunch of papers were shoved into his face. Izuku glanced at Kacchan in confusion and the other boy wouldn’t meet his eyes, a slight blush on his cheeks. ”Your notes for the week”, was the only explanation.

It was the only apology he would get, the only acknowledgement that Kacchan still thought them friends. Izuku accepted the papers with a big smile, some tears still clinging to his eyelashes. “Thank you.”

“Whatever”, Kacchan grumbled, voice indifferent. But when they arrived home that day Kacchan invited Izuku into his room and they played together for the first time in days. 

 

💚💚💚

 

On Saturday afternoon Inko walked with Izuku to their first martial arts lesson. As All Might had promised he had signed the up for lessons and then paid for the whole ordeal. The dojo was not too far away from Mitsuki’s house (and their presumed future home since she didn’t want to move too far away from her friend) but had excellent credentials. 

Izuku seemed a bit nervous but mostly he was so excited she was a bit worried that he would float away if she let go of his hand. Self she felt none of Izuku’s excitement but all of his worry and was beginning to regret accepting All Might’s proposition that both of them took up training. Sure, she had practised a bit of Karate in her youth, but it had been years since then and she had ... gained a bit of weight during the years. Inko worried about making a fool of herself.

As they entered the dojo a middle aged man greeted them with a warm smile. He had black hair and hazel eyes and no mutations that could give an insight as to what his quirk was. “Greetings, I am master Kobayashi, owner of this dojo. Are you the Midoriyas?”

Inko bowed to him and Izuku was quick to follow. “Yes, that is us. It’s a pleasure to be here.”

Kobayashi’s smile turned into something dangerous, too many teeth showing to be friendly. Inko swallowed. “You say that now, let’s see how long that last.” He turned and led them further into the dojo. “You’re going to start in a beginner’s class for adults and children respectively but since all our classes started a few weeks back you’re going to have to work hard to catch up.” He suddenly turned towards Izuku. “Why do you want to learn karate?”

When Izuku had been younger his eyes had been alight with so much life. As the years passed by they had dulled until only the embers of his fire had remained. But ever since the fire that burnt down their apartment the embers had gotten new life. Even with one eye permanently milky his eyes shone brighter than they ever had before. Now when Inko looked down at her son she was almost blinded by the power hidden behind his eyes. Clenching his hands in determination Izuku met Kobayashi’s eyes head on. “I want to be a hero and I will need to know how to fight for that. So throw everything you got on me, I can take it.”

A small grin appeared on Kobayashi’s face but he turned towards Inko without acknowledging anything Izuku said. “And you, Ms Midoriya. Why do you want to learn karate?”

Inko hesitated. Why did she want to learn karate? She didn't really. She was only here because All Might had insisted on it. But she couldn’t really answer him with that. Why had she wanted to learn karate when she was younger? It had mostly been because Mitsuki had wanted to go and she just followed her friend. Sure it had been a good way to keep in form but not much more. Hisashi had demanded she stopped about a year into their relationship. He had claimed it was unfeminine to know such things and that it was unbecoming of his girlfriend. So she had stopped without any regrets. But now when she looked back at it it was obvious Hisashi had wanted her to stop because he wanted a wife who couldn’t defend herself. 

As always the thought of Hisashi lit a fire in her. Ever since she discovered that Hisashi and Dragon were one and the same he had become a strong motivator. She had fought tooth and nail to make sure he would never again sully her and Izuku’s lives with his presence. Everything she did was either motivated by her undying love for Izuku of her fierce spite towards Hisashi. And now … he was out on the streets again. He was a threat towards her and her baby. 

She remembered her promise to herself in Izuku’s hospital room shortly after the fire, just after learning that Hisashi was loose. Inko had promised herself that she would do anything it took to make sure that Hisashi didn’t get anywhere near Izuku ever again. This … learning Karate … was a step on the path to make sure that never happened. 

Inko straightened her back and held her head high - she still barely reached the man’s shoulder - and looked him in the eye (if she had been able to see herself she would have noticed that her green eyes shone just as brightly as Izuku’s). “I want to learn karate so I can protect my son until he is old enough to protect himself.”

Kobayashi grinned at the two of them, seemingly satisfied by their answer. “Then I have no doubt that both of you will work hard to accomplish your goals. Regard today as the first step on your journeys.”

And that was how Inko and Izuku started training karate. 

Chapter Text

Izuku sat in the waiting room in the hospital. The chair was uncomfortable and no matter how much he wiggled on it he couldn't find a comfortable position. The smell of disinfection was strong in his nose and far too familiar to him at this point. It made him nauseas, thinking about all the time he had spent in hospitals. The flowers were plastic - probably because of allergies - and therefore did nothing to dilute the awful smell. The room was empty except for him and his mom and the only sound was that of the ticking clock. It counted out every insufferable slow second of waiting.  Izuku couldn’t stand the silence but neither did he want to talk to his mom. He had a feeling the only thing that would leave his mouth was nervous word vomit. 

It was time for his first session with the eye therapist that would help him deal with the loss of the sight on one eye. Since it was his first time both him and his mom had been really nervous and had ended up going to the hospital half an hour early. He was beginning to realise that had been a mistake. It left him with far too much time to think.

At least he had brought his notebook with him to keep himself busy. His mom was not as lucky. She sat next to him, reading a magazine about fashion. By the lazy way she turned the pages and how her eyes every now and then swept around the room Izuku could tell she wasn’t really into it. There just wasn’t anything else for her to do. 

It was Monday afternoon and since his meeting with All Might and Nighteye last week he had managed to fill out a bit more in the notebook. At least his basic powers. It took a frustratingly long time with his messed up hand. 

He read through it for what felt like the millionth time in the least quarter hour.

Midoriya Izuku

Quirk: Guardian angel

The quirk have several powers that at first seems like completely different quirks but all combines to fulfil a single goal: to protect the people I love. 

Imprinting :

For the quirk to activate I have to ‘imprint’ on people - this is accomplished by a declaration of love. It appears the declaration does not have to be completely conscious, though a verbal response seems to be needed. This was discovered after I said the words: “He knows how much I love All Might“, which was really about Kacchan but I still ended up teleporting to All Might. This suggests that even indirect declarations of love, as long as they are true, count. 

After the first declaration I teleport to the person it was directed to and as I do a new light appears in my blind eye (I guess that if I'd never been blinded I would only see the lights when I close my eyes). This completes the imprinting process. 

Lights :

So far I have imprinted on three people and I can therefore see three lights. The first person I imprinted on was my mom (Midoriya Inko), and it was at that same moment my quirk manifested (see further down for the full retelling of the event). Mom’s light is orange in colour and the biggest and brightest of the three. All lights also emit feelings that seems to be connected to the person. Mom’s light feels like warmth and comfort. Gentleness and strength. It feels like a warm hug and my favourite meals cooked with love. Mom feels like home. 

The second person I imprinted on was Kacchan (Bakugou Katsuki). Kacchan’s light was at imprinting mostly blue with an aura of yellow. It was a bit smaller than mom’s. Since then the yellow and the blue have ‘battled’ and after a fight between me and Kacchan the light became completely yellow. Kacchan’s light feels like anger and adoration. Insecurity and strength. Protectiveness and competitiveness. It feels like the burn of explosions against my skin and bruises caused by rough play.

The third and last person I have imprinted on is All Might. Strangely enough my quirk registered him as Yagi Toshinori, which I learned actually is his true name. I for sure did not know this before and this suggests my quirk holds some kind of awareness outside of my consciousness. All Might’s light was completely yellow at imprint but has since then gotten a more orange shade. It has also grown somewhat in size. His light feels like adoration and worship. Strength and protectiveness. Determination and stubbornness. It feels like a pat on the back and bright smiles. 

I’m sure the different colours and the size of the lights mean something but since there is so few of them I can’t be sure (I wish I was allowed to imprint on more people but also understands mom's point). Though I do have a few theories. I think the colour signifies the kind of love while the brightness and size signifies how strong my love is. Mom's light is the only one that hasn't changed in colour while both All Might's and Kacchan's have changed as our relationship changed. Based on the fact that All Might's light was yellow before I really knew him and that Kacchan's light have become yellow after our fight I guess yellow is not a good colour. But I think that both blue and orange is good colours.

Teleportation :

After the lights appear I can teleport to any of the people I love by focusing on the right light. While doing so the feelings the light emits begins to fill me and the light grows in both brightness and size until it completely overtakes the darkness and the other lights. At the same time a glowing, green heart appears in the middle of my chest and from it green tendrils spreads until it covers my whole body. When all of me is covered I will teleport to the person I focused on. 

All my current explorations points to the same conclusion: when teleporting I will appear in a random, open space within 10 meters of the person. I have no idea what would happen if there is no open space big enough for me within that 10 meters radius and I'm not exactly eager to try. 

Side effects of teleporting are headache and nausea. If I teleport several times in a row these side effects gets gradually worse. 

It also seems I’m able to bring things with me. My clothes always remain on my body as well as any things I’m holding onto. I want to test if there is some kind of limit to how big or heavy the objects can be .

Detection :

Guardian angel can detect when one of the people I have imprinted on are in danger or hurt. It makes me feel a great need to protect them that can be so overwhelming my quirk activates on its own. The greater the danger the greater the need to protect. The pain for ignoring my quirk gets worse depending on how long I ignore it and how great the danger is. 

The pain is like all the molecules in my body are being ripped apart and fused together again and again for all of eternity. I would rather die than feel it again. So if All Might or any of the other people I’ve imprinted on is ever in that kind of danger again I will break my promise to mom without a second notice. Dying to protect the people I love is the better alternative to the torture. 

Shield:

When the people I’ve imprinted on are in danger I can create a shield around them. The shield glows with a green light. So far it doesn't seem to be a limit to how much damage the shield can withstand. It have protected mom from a fire and stopped a skyscraper from crushing All Might. The shield remains even if I fall unconscious but disappear once the danger ends. The backlash seems to be bleeding from my nose, ears and eyes and in more extreme cases even in my lungs. 

I wonder if the strength of the shield can be changed so that I don’t have to use it to the fullest in situations in which it isn’t necessary. I also wonder if I can have multiple shields up at once.

Healing :

The last power is the ability to transfer wounds from one of the persons I’ve imprinted on onto myself.  It is really hard to ignore the urge to take the wounds upon myself. Negative effect on me is of course that I get injured.

Next he would write down all his experiences using his quirk but considering it included both his rescue of mom and All Might it might take a while. Especially with his messed up hand. He was also considering coming up with some kind of code as Nighteye had suggested. After that he would write down all future experimentation and thoughts he had about his quirk. 

Humming while he thought Izuku turned towards his mom. She was still idly looking through the magazine and absentmindedly brushed a green strand of hair behind her ear. “Mom, could I get another notebook soon?”

She blinked down at him, eyes flickering towards the notebook in his hands. Not even a quarter of it was filled yet. “What for?”

“This notebook is for my quirk only; I would like another one to write down my analyses of heroes in.” It felt better to separate the two.

Inko smiled and ruffled his hair. He leaned into the touch and felt an immediate sense of loss when she removed her hand. “Of course, daring, I’ll get you one as soon as I can.”

“Thank you!” He gave her a sideways hug and practically melted into her arms when she returned it. She smelt of laundry detergent and her flowery perfume. It was an achingly familiar and comfortable smell. Few things could make him feel more at peace.

The sound of the door opening made him pull back, cheeks reddening a bit at being caught hugging his mom in public. At almost nine years old Izuku couldn't decide if hugging his mom was embarrassing or not.

First a teenage girl entered. Izuku guessed she was about 15, maybe 16 years old. Her hair immediately caught his interest. It was shoulder length and mostly white but with red patches here and there, like blood splattered in snow. The thought made him shudder. A pair of red glasses rested on her nose and grey eyes glinted behind them. She was dressed in a white blouse and blue jeans. Her movements was timid and there was something skittish in the way her eyes flickered around the room, as if she expected someone to jump out at her at any moment.

Next a boy stepped into the room, of about the same age as Izuku, and he immediately caught – and held – all of Izuku's attention. His back was straight and poised like a king walking down the halls of his castle. The curve of his shoulders was confident and relaxed. His steps were careful and precise as if he stepped on shattered glass, but at the same time with an assurance behind them that suggested he was not afraid of getting cut. The colouring of his hair was the same as the girl's and Izuku guessed they were brother and sister. But instead of her white with flecks of red his colours were separated cleanly down the middle, as sharp as if a blade had cut the hair in two. The right side was white as newly fallen snow, as the clouds up high, and the boy seemed just as cold and unreachable. The left side was red as blood, as fire, and warned of the blistering heat that could lash out if needed. But at the same time the hair seemed soft as silk and Izuku felt a sudden desire to card his fingers through it - no matter how biting cold or searing hot it might be.

The boy's skin was pale and unscathed except for a deep red scar around his left eye. His face was expressionless and Izuku was unable to read any emotion from it. But when Izuku looked into his eyes - one grey like a great storm with winds strong enough to tear roofs from houses and carry men high into the air, the other a blue turquoise of warm waters hiding dangerous currents that could drag a man to sea and drown him, if not the sharks ate him first - he saw a profound sadness of the like he had never seen before. It made his heart ache and tears springing to his own eyes as if some echo of that same sadness had lodged itself into Izuku. In that moment Izuku wanted nothing more than to lend a helping hand and lift some of the sadness. If he could lighten the boy’s burden only a smidge it would have made him the happiest person in the world. Struck with this sudden desire Izuku knew what he had to do.

He waited until the siblings sat down in a pair of chairs and made themselves comfortable before rising to his feet. When his mom made a questioning noise he turned slightly to give her a reassuring smile, but otherwise didn't stop. He was on a mission.

Izuku approached the siblings the same way you approach a wild rabbit; slowly and carefully but with a certain amount of confidence; since wild things could smell fear it was not an emotion you should allow to linger even a second in your heart. He stopped a few steps from them, as you never force your presence directly upon a wild creature.

The girl glanced at him and offered up a small smile but otherwise didn't pay him any attention. The boy looked up as Izuku stopped in front of him and met his eyes, one storm grey and one sapphire blue. It was then Izuku realised his mistake; this boy was no skittish rabbit. He was a proud wolf, though one wounded too many times to be trustful of others. Still it was far too late for Izuku to back down, and neither did he want to. That profound sadness still sat deeply in the boy's heart and the thin sheet of dangerous steel covering it could not sway Izuku’s desire to help.

“Hello”, Izuku said, his voice soft, a small smile on his lips; though he wisely showed no teeth, as that could be taken wrongly. “My name is Midoriya Izuku. What is your name?”

Those eyes scanned him from the top of his curly, green hair to the bottom of his red sneakers. Nothing about his face revealed what he thought of the sight before him. He shifted slightly in his seat, almost like the wolf does before pouncing, but Izuku still felt no fear. “I am Todoroki Shouto”, he said and though his voice was as devoid of emotions as his face it sounded like the most beautiful of songs to Izuku’s ears. He tilted his head slightly to one side and Izuku fought back the smile that wanted to burst through. Todoroki might be a wolf, but when he tilted his head like that he looked more like a puppy than anything else. “Pleased to meet you.”

“The pleasure is all mine, Todoroki-kun”, Izuku said and allowed his smile to become wider, to show some teeth. (If he could have seen his face he would have noticed the way his emerald green eyes crinkled and shone like they indeed were some precious gemstone). “I was wondering if you wanted to be my friend.”

For the first time since Todoroki entered the room some emotion entered his face. His eyes widened slightly and his lips slackened the tiniest bit. A bit of red appeared on his cheeks. The change was so minuscule that Izuku never would have noticed if he wasn't studying the boy’s face so closely. But to him Todoroki's surprise was as obvious as if he had shouted it out loud. During the next second a number of other emotions flickered over his face; surprise, hope, happiness and then disbelief and distrusts before that deep sadness settled into his eyes once again. Oh how it hurt to see it return. At least the expressionless mask had cracked enough for him to see the emotions beneath.

“Why would you like to be my friend?” Todoroki asked, eyes slightly narrowed as if he suspected some ulterior motive to Izuku's request. As if he was used to being used and then discarded when he had fulfilled his purpose. Like a wolf trapped in a cage and only brought out to do cheap circus tricks before he was imprisoned again. It made anger burn inside of Izuku and it burned hot and sharp enough that it probably could have cut through steel. But this cage was much harder to crack than any made of such a mundane thing as steel. A cage of the mind could not be cut through without hurting what lies inside. The only way to free the wolf was to find the key and unlock the door. 

Izuku tasted the words Todoroki had spit out. Why did he want to be friends? Well the obvious answer was that he wanted to free him, to take some of the sadness away. But there was no way Izuku could say that out loud. It would only make him more distrustful. If the wolf saw him as a threat unlocking the door would do no good as it would not trust him enough to dare step outside. So what could he say instead? The obvious answer seemed to be to make himself appear weak and the one in need of saving. So he decided to show his belly.

“W-well this is my f-first time here and I’m really nervous.” It was the truth, Izuku was actually really nervous about being here. And telling a falsehood would only make the boy more distrustful in the long shot. “And I c-could really use someone to t-talk to. Besides … I would really like a friend.”

The pause was long and pregnant. Silence, heavy and choking spread through the room. Except for the sound of the clock and Inko turning a page in her magazine nothing disturbed it. Izuku had never really liked silence. Especially not this kind if silence that seemed to swallow up everyone around it and stop their hearts in their chests. But somehow Izuku also knew not to be the one to break the silence. He didn't dare look away from the other's eyes.

"I …" Todoroki eventually said, splintering the silence into sharp edges that bore the threat of cutting the careless. Hope fluttered in his heterochromatic eyes again for a moment and the sharp edges softened. "I would like that."

This time Izuku smile was no small, nervous thing. It resembled the sun rising from the horizon. It was nothing bashful about it. Lips spread wide in a huge, overjoyed grin that shoved of many white teeth and made dimples play on his freckled cheeks. Emerald eyes glittered and shone. Everything about it spoke of happiness.

"I'm glad!" Izuku exclaimed and sat down in the chair next to Todoroki. His legs swung back and forth and a happy little hum escaped his lips. Todoroki sat tense next to him but after a few seconds the rise of his shoulders relaxed slightly and the furling of his brow smoothed out. 

“So … what do friends usually talk about?” Todoroki asked and averted his gaze. Those intense eyes were suddenly bashful and shy. His fingers fidgeted subtly but soon stilled as if he had forced them to stop. A smidge of red rose upon his high cheekbones, like the first red light of the sunrise. It made the stony planes of his face soften into something vulnerable. Izuku realised that he probably was embarrassed. His words sent a pang right to Izuku’s heart. The implication was almost too much. Izuku was not the best on these sort of things either, considering Kacchan was his only friend, but something about what Todoroki said made Izuku sure he had no friends at all.

“All sorts of things”, he hummed in thought. Absentmindedly one hand reached up to play with his bottom lip “What to you want to be when you're grown up?”

“I’m going to be a hero”, Todoroki said with a strange kind of exhausted certainty. Normally Izuku would have felt exhilarated about meeting someone else that wanted to be a hero. But the wording … it implied Todoroki had no other choice, no other option, than to be a hero. As if he didn’t actually want to be one but was forced into the role nonetheless. Sure, Todoroki could just have an overwhelming confidence - Kacchan was always so sure that he would be a hero - but something felt wrong about it. It left Izuku’s heart heavy, but he still mustered up an exited response.

“I want to be a hero too! All Might is my favourite. He is just so strong and fearless, always saving people with a smile. And he doesn't only save people physically, he saves them mentally too! Thanks to him ordinary citizens can feel safe at night, knowing there is a hero out there that can overcome anything! I want to be just like him!” Izuku suddenly realised he was rambling and cut himself off with a blush. It rose up his neck up to his cheeks and to the tips of his ears until his whole face felt red like a strawberry - fitting with his green hair. 

“I like All Might too”, Todoroki said and there was a faint glimmer in his eyes that almost could be called joy. It made the grey seem less a chaotic, deadly storm and more the gentle grey of clouds that only brought a soft drizzle and doused the world in droplets that made everything glitter and shine when the sun finally peaked out from behind the clouds. The blue eye seemed less a deadly stream threatening to drag you out in shark infested water and more the warm turquoise of a tropical ocean, in which you bath to cool yourself from the sun and play with your friends. If Izuku had found Todoroki’s eyes beautiful before now they were so breathtaking he had to look away out of fear that he would otherwise faint.

When Izuku finally looked back the glimmer of joy was long gone. For just a second he glimpsed a profound pain in Todoroki as heat burned behind his eyes. It reminded Izuku of being surrounded by fire with no way to escape. Of the feeling of his skin melting and smoke making his lungs burn. For the first time since laying eyes on the other boy's fear permeated Izuku's heart. Then as he watched the heat cooled down and ice began to replace it. Eventually nothing but icy coldness and that seemingly permanent sadness returned. Izuku's heart slowly calmed down. The fear was beaten back and drowned by his great desire to help.

The glimmer of joy had only fluttered in those eyes for less than a second and when it disappeared the sadness seemed even more profound. But it had been there and that gave Izuku hope. Izuku wowed that he would do everything in his power to bring it out again. 

“Did you see the fight between All Might and Toxic Chainsaw? It was so cool!!” And so Izuku began his quest to make Todoroki Shouto his friend. To make the sadness in his eyes lessen and to free him from his cage. Because that’s what heroes do. 

 

💚💚💚

 

Shouto did not know what to think of Midoriya Izuku.

It had been four years since his quirk manifested and four years since his training started. Endless, painful training that tore his body, mind and quirk into pieces only to be forced back together in a form his father desired. The training usually left him lying in a pile of his own stinking vomit, more burning in his throat and with unbearable pain all over his body. But there were no tears. Never any tears. That was a lesson Shouto had learned early on. 

I had been three years since his mother looked at him like he was a monster and poured boiling water over his left side. His father’s training had been nothing compared to the pain he had felt then, as the skin around his eye melted and burned and then even the eye itself seemed to boil in its socket. But the physical pain was nothing compared to the pain of losing his mother. It was like his heart had been torn from his chest and magma had been poured into the gaping wound. No matter how much ice he tried to enclose his heart in to numb the pain the searing heat always managed to melt them down. So he continued to build thicker and thicker walls to hide the weak and vulnerable hole where his heart should have been. Eventually his whole body felt numb with cold, but still that core of magma remained, refusing to cool down into stone. 

That day Shouto had sworn that he would do everything in his power to resist his father and fight to not end up like him. Even if that meant he one day might have to kill himself to stop the venom to flood into him and poison everything he held dearly. 

In the three years that had passed since his mother burned him he had only ever had one sanctuary. One place safe from his father and the long shadow he cast over Shouto. Home had become a cage, a golden one, but still nothing more than a prison. School was no better. His father might not be there but all of the children and the teachers knew who he was, who his father was. His father held the teachers in the palm of his hand and they were eager to lick it in hope of getting any kind of scraps. That meant everything he did in school was reported to his father. And it meant that there was no way telling a teacher about what happened in his father's dojo would end well. The children were not better. They too knew who he was and the only reason any of them ever tried to befriend him was out of the hope of gaining something in return. It was better to be friendless than to be surrounded by those that would only use him and then cast him away the moment he was no longer useful to them. 

Neither home nor school was safe for him. Only the hospital was. 

In some ways he was thankful that the water his mother had poured over him damaged his eye and left him mostly blind. Otherwise his sister - and he was eternally grateful towards her, despite his … lacklustre ability to convey this - would never have been able to persuade their father to allow Shouto to attend physical therapy for his eye. She had argued that his perfect creation couldn’t have a damaged eye if he were to overthrow All Might. That he would need every advantage he could get. Father had agreed to that startlingly easy, but on the other hand Shouto had many times heard him curse his mother about damaging his successor. Though Shouto hated that he was only allowed to the hospital because his father couldn’t accept a damaged tool, he was still grateful. It was the only place in which he was truly out of his father’s control.

And that was part of why he found Midoriya so puzzling. 

In the years he'd gone to his physics no one except for Fuyumi had ever bothered to speak with him while he waited. At first he had found the place mind numbingly boring, a useless waste of space, a parenthesis in his life. But soon he had begun to appreciate the quiet. Especially since it was a quiet unlike the one always penetrating his house (it was not his home and hadn't been since his mother was sent away). The silence in his house was heavy and suffocating as he and his siblings tiptoed around in the hope that their father wouldn't notice their presence. He had memorised every loose floorboard, every safe step. He moved like a ghost from room to room. The silence in the Todoroki house was sharp as a knife and always held the threat of violence.

The silence in the waiting room was difference. It was not nearly as heavy and though it wasn't really comfortable nor gentle, it was the silence between words, between sound. In fact some might say the waiting room wasn't silent at all considering you could hear the sound of distant activity in the hospital. There was a ticking clock on the wall that loudly counted out every second of silence. Some days, when other people than the two of them were present, the room was filled with the sound of silent conversation or the turning of blades in the magazines. Though despite these sounds silence always surrounded Shouto. He and his sister never talked - or at least very rarely. Their father had forced them apart at a young age and the chasm between them had only grown bigger since then. Despite the fact that his sister had accompanied him here every Monday for many years the silence between them had never been broken.

Therefore the sudden sound of a voice breaking through his silence had been shocking. And what a wonderful voice it was! It was soft, as if afraid of breaking the fragile silence and filled with much more care than he'd ever heard from a stranger. But at the same time the voice resonated through his body, deep down to his bones. It was a pleasant feeling. Shouto looked up at the person that had addressed him. He had of course noticed the boy and woman - he guessed they were mother and son - sitting in the room when he entered, but had not paid them any attention besides that. The boy had at a glance been utterly plain and, frankly, kind of boring. But looking up at him now Shouto was forced to admit he had been wrong.

The first thing he noticed were the eyes. Big and round and dominating in his round face. One was a deep emerald green, the green of forests and things alive, it reminded him of rare days out in the garden when he was still allowed to do such things. From before his quirk came in. The other eye was a milky green, jade rather than emerald. At first he thought the boy might be heterochromatic like himself but the truth was quick to reveal itself as his eyes trailed downward slightly and he caught sight of the red scar trailing down like a tear track from the milky eye down to the boys rounded chin. The boy - who introduced himself as Midoriya Izuku, and what a fitting, lovely name! - was blind on one eye. Well of course he was! Shouto almost felt stupid for not realizing sooner. You only went to an ophthalmologist if you had a problem with your eyes. 

Midoriya's injury mirrored his own in an almost disturbingly familiar manner. The red scar was mangled and bumpy like the skin around his own eye. It covered a bunch of the freckles covering Midoriya's round cheeks. Though there were still thousands of them left. Shouto felt a fleeting but strange urge to count the freckles, the same way you might want to count the stars in the midnight sky. Maybe if he looked long enough he would begin to see constellations. His trailing eyes soon landed on the other boy's mouth and the small smile that quirked it. It was as soft as his eyes and clearly pointed at him. It made him feel strange, to have such softness directed at him. It made him feel …. seen, and appreciated. Those brightly shining eyes - even the blind one was somehow filled with so much light - combined with that smile made him feel like something precious. 

At the same time he couldn't help but be wary. Far too many people had only approached him because of the Todoroki name. He did not dare lower his shields for even one second. So when he was asked for his name he almost wanted to lie. If he lied then maybe this boy would treat him like anyone else - that was the only thing he wanted. But he was quick to dismiss the idea. Better to get it over with. Besides, his sister was sure to react if he lied. 

But then… Midoriya didn't react at all to his name. Of all reactions he had expected this was not on the list. Shouto was used to either boot licking or scorn depending on what people thought of his father. Never before had he met indifference. Or not exactly indifference. Midoriya seemed quite happy to know his name, judging by the way his smile widened and his eyes sparkled. Rather it was like he was ignorant of the fact that there was more to the name than it being just a name. Shouto would not be the one to correct him. 

And then … then Midoriya had asked to be his friend. No one had ever asked him that before. Especially not with such sincerity. After a youth filled with people that licked his boots in the hope to win Endeavour’s favour, it was refreshing. Tentative warmth filled him and began to melt the thick layers of glacier ice inside of him. As the ice thawed feelings that had been frozen solid for years began to surface. First he felt surprise bubble up. It had always been buried near the surface and had a relatively easy time breaking free. Next came hope. Hope was a weak and fleeting emotion that he had early learned not to trust, but it was still far too eager to break free from its icy prison. With hope awakened the ice thawed even faster and from its frozen depths came happiness. When was the last time he had felt happy? Shouto honestly couldn’t remember. The last time was probably the day his quirk manifested, since his training started the day after. 

The happiness was so warm the ice melted faster than ever before and the more it melted the stronger the happiness became. And the stronger the happiness became …

The warmth felt pleasant after the years of bone aching coldness. Shouto revelled in it. In the warm water he was suddenly floating in. But then other emotions began to rise to the surface as the ice melted. Emotions he had tried to lock away deep down in his frozen body. The heat became scorching. As his anger was finally freed from the glazier the water became so hot it boiled. It hurt . It was like the time his mother had poured boiling water on him all over again. And suddenly he remembered why he had frozen his body over and over again so many times. He remembered what lies beneath the layers of cold. But it was far too late. The boiling water melted away the last of the layers of ice and suddenly the burning core of magma that rested in the place of his heart broke free. All the emotions hidden in that searing heat was released as well. Burning rage. Searing pain. An inferno of hatred . All of it rose through the water and began to vaporise it. In that moment Shouto knew that if all the water vaporized fire would replace it in his body. The same fire that had driven his mother to madness and that had burned him so many times. The fire he feared over all else. 

In a bout of panic he used his sadness, cold as absolute zero, to begin covering his heart of magma in layer after layer of ice. At first it melted faster than he could layer it but as the water began to cool he managed to keep the ice from melting. More and more ice he poured into himself until he could no longer feel his burning core through it. Until his emotions once again became trapped in it and numbness spread through his mind and body. Until nothing but ice remained. Ice and the sadness it originated from.

During all of this his conversation with Midoriya had continued. It had taken far longer than Shouto liked to freeze his core over again. How he had managed to keep up with the conversation and keep a (mostly) neutral face while battling the fire deep inside was beyond him. A voice in the back of his head that sounded uncomfortable similar to his father’s told him that being friends with Midoriya would only make him weak. Hadn’t the last couple of minutes been proof enough? The boy had somehow managed to melt in seconds what had taken Shouto years to build. If they kept talking there was no way of knowing when it might melt again. The thought was frightening.

On the other hand … This was Shouto’s sanctuary. The only place where he was free from his father’s influence and the only place he could truly be himself. This was the one place in which his decisions was truly his own. And Shouto decided then and there that he wanted to be friends with Midoriya, no matter the risks. 

It was only one thing he needed to make sure of before he dared to jump into a friendship. 

Ten minutes later Midoriya and his mom were called into one of the ophthalmologist's offices, breaking of his conversation with Midoriya about heroes and leaving him alone with his sister. 

When he looked up at Fuyumi she was already studying him. Her grey eyes and mostly white her reminded him so much of their mother it made the constant pain of loss that was hidden deep in his core ache. How many times hadn't he wished he could have looked more like her? Then maybe mother wouldn't have grown to hate him.

Sometimes, late at night, Shouto dared to admit to himself that in many of his memories of his mother, Fuyumi's face had begun to replace that of mother's. Without any pictures of her in the house his exact remembrance of her face was slipping away from his mind. The realisation always left him crying into his pillow.

Shouto almost ducked his head and swallowed his words, but he needed to do this. Squaring his shoulders he forced himself to continue on forward. “Please don’t tell father about Midoriya”, he said, or rather, pleaded. 

He knew without a doubt that if their father heard about him interacting with someone he hadn't approved of that the trips here would immediately end. And Shouto couldn’t lose his sanctuary. He ... he just couldn't.

Fuyumi’s grey eyes looked so sad when she responded. Even her voice sounded like their mother's. They both had the same musical lilt to their words and spoke with such gentleness – or at least his mother had used to speak to him with gentleness until that fateful day she burned him. “Of course I won't tell him.”

That was not good enough for Shouto. He had to - no he needed to be absolutely sure. “Promise me.”

“I promise”, Fuyumi immediately said. She laid one delicate hand - it was the hand of an artist, the same their mother had, the one Shouto himself had - on her chest. “I promise on my love for mother that I will never tell father about this.”

The promise had to be enough. In those precious few moments Shouto allowed himself to feel anything the love for his mother always remained strong. It didn't matter that she had burned him and then abandoned him to his monster of a father (though somewhere deep inside a smudge of hatred for what she had done boiled and festered). If he could still love her so much then Fuyumi that had both known her longer and never been hurt by her must love her even more. Shouto had to believe his secret was safe with her. 

Chapter Text

Izuku sighed as Kacchan walked out the classroom without even sparing him a glance. Seemed today would be another day Kacchan decided to ignore him for his other ‘friends’. But … but it was no big deal, Izuku had dealt with it many times in the past and knew what to do. It was time to escape for the roof. It was the one place his bullies never found him.

As fast as he could he began putting his stuff back in his bag so as to not get caught in the classroom. Once the teacher left no on would be there to stop Tsubasa. Izuku had to be out and on the way to the roof before that. He only fumbled a little with his notebook and pen and but was soon out the classroom. Keeping his head down he walked as fast as he dared through the corridor.

"Oi, Deku, where the fuck are you going?" The sudden shout made him flinch in surprise. He stumbled and his efforts to keep from falling only made him overbalance. A pained groan escaped through his clenched teeth as he hit the ground. Instinct honed from years of bullying kicked in. Staying on the floor where he was vulnerable was not an option. Grimacing he scrambled to his feet to face the person who had yelled. It was Kacchan. He stood a few steps from the classroom door and was practically fuming.

"How dare you fucking ignore me?! I was waiting for you but if you just wanna walk away then I will too." He bared his teeth in a violent grimace, like a predator seconds before leaping at its prey. His red eyes glowed like fire, a furnace hidden behind them that only fed his rage. Every puffing breath made it burn hotter. Sparks rose from his clenched fists as his sweat ignited. Without waiting for a response he turned his back on Izuku and stalked away. Classmates and teachers alike stepped out of the way in much the same way you move when a spiralling train is on the way towards you. The only thing you can do is run away and hope it won't derail enough to hit you. 

"Wait Kacchan, I didn't see you…" Izuku called after him but was quick to realise it wouldn't change anything. With a great heavy sigh that deflated his whole body he lowered the hand raised towards Kacchan's back and let his head sink down. 

One hand involuntarily reached up to clutch at his blind eye. The eyepatch felt smooth against his touch. Izuku had truly not seen Kacchan as he'd been on his right side, but there was no way Kacchan would accept that. He'd only see it as an excuse or get even angrier at Izuku for it. As if Izuku had chosen to get blinded. 

Well nothing had really changed and he'd have to carry out his original plan of getting to the roof. Ignoring the stares, side glances and snickers from his classmates Izuku took off, leaving all those judgmental eyes behind. 

Only a few more weeks, Izuku thought . I can survive a few weeks . Summer was on its way and everyone except for him was already wearing the summer uniform. He really wished he did too as he was sweating in his long-sleeved shit and full length pants but he really didn't want to display all his scars. He even made sure to change in the bathroom for gym class and showered when everyone else was done. He wasn't ashamed per se ... he just didn't want another thing to get bullied over.

To reach the roof he had to climb a bunch of stairs and walk through several corridors. Ever since the accident stairs had become the bane of his existence. Somehow he managed to stumble every single time before he remembered to be extra careful with how he placed his feet. It was extremely frustrating. It had been weeks since his injury and yet he was still as clumsy as the first days afterwards. His ophthalmologist had explained to him that it was normal and expected considering his loss of depth perception. He’d have a harder time doing a lot of things that he before didn't even need to think about. That it could take years to fully get used to his new life. Still Izuku felt like he should already have mastered all of it. How was he to ever become a hero if stairs was enough to trip him up? 

All Might’s amber coloured light suddenly flashed brightly and the corridor around him faded out of focus as a wave of pain flooded into him. The pain was nothing compared to the time All Might had faced down Quake, but it still left him gasping for air and clutching at his eye as if he hoped a new kind of pain would relive the one his quirk put him in. Pain was the only thing he could focus on as his quirk tried to persuade him into protecting All Might. 

It was not even the first time it had happened today. All throughout the morning his quirk had flared up again and again and every time All Might had managed without Izuku’s involvement. The hero could take care of himself. If there was anyone in the world that definitely didn’t need Izuku's help it was him. And yet … what if this was the time All Might got hurt - or worse, died - because Izuku wasn’t there? The pain really was nothing and that usually that meant the danger was nothing as well, but could he really be sure? Maybe he should just check. It couldn’t hurt if Izuku just teleported to him quickly to check up on him. Right?

With trembling fingers he pressed the upper pusher twice and a second later the quirk suppressant kicked in, making the pain fade until he barely noticed it any longer. At the same time the desperate need to go to All Might faded. His breathing was unsteady and his heart a bit too loud in his ears. Nighteye’s support item was blessing. Without it Izuku couldn't be sure that he wouldn't teleport to All Might during dangerous situation. The need to protect was just too strong. He still didn’t suppress his quirk completely though. Partially because he wanted to know when the danger stopped but mostly because he didn’t want to relive his panic attack from last week. Just thinking about it made his pulse quicken. 

Izuku was so distracted that he didn’t even notice the person standing in the hallway until he walked into them. It was like walking into a wall and Izuku fell to the ground, unable to catch himself in time. He had already bruised himself the first time he fell to the floor today so the fall was far from pleasant. He forced back a pained groan. An apology already on his tongue he looked up only to choke on the words. 

Of all people to stumble into it of course had to be his bullies. Tsubasa stood before him in the hall, Noboru and two other boys at his side. “Oi, watch where you're going!” He exclaimed and turned towards him. When Tsubasa saw who exactly had walked into him his angry grimace turned into a dangerous grin. Izuku felt his heart sink into his stomach where it burned in the acids. His stomach in turn clenched painfully as if it remembered all earlier instances when fists had been beaten into it until his heart was forced up his throat together with bile.

“Well, well, well, who do we have here? We have been looking for you, Deku. Haven’t we, boys?” He said with a look over his shoulder towards the other boys. They snickered and agreed with him. Tsubasa’s big, red wings spread out menacingly, making him look much bigger than he was. 

Izuku desperately searched for someone else in the corridor that could stop what he otherwise knew was inevitable. A few girls stood a bit further down the hall but when he looked at them they immediately turned their backs on him and hurried away. He wasn’t even surprised. Other than Kacchan and maybe the teachers no one was willing to step in on Izuku’s behalf. With Kacchan whit his friends and the teachers in the break room he couldn't count on getting saved.  

Shaking from the top of his curly hair down to his toes Izuku rose to his feet. He had walked through fire to save his mom and faced down a villain for All Might. He could face his bullies while standing straight, head held high in defiance.  

“Oooh, have Deku grown a spine?” Tsubasa mocked, causing the others to laugh.  His face turned cruel a second later. “You should be crawling on the ground. It’s where you belong, among the vermin.”

“S-shut up! I-I’m not vermin and I’m not worthless”, he balled his hands into fists - ignoring how his right one seized up a bit - and stared them down. Noboru hesitated beneath Izuku’s withering look but the other boys only laughed. 

Tsubasa pretended to wipe a tear of laughter from his eye. “You crack me up, Deku, thinking you're worth something. Now grab him.” The last was an order to the other boys. Izuku only managed to take one single step backwards before Noboru's long fingers closed around his arms and the other two boys grabbed hold of him. 

Sauntering closer as if he had all the time in the world Tsubasa smirked as Izuku fruitlessly fought against the hands holding him in place. “It seems I’ll have to teach you a lesson about your place in the world.” 

The fist hit him seemingly out of nowhere. It made contact with his stomach and for a moment Izuku was grateful he hadn't yet eaten his lunch. Otherwise it would have come up his throat again. Swallowing down bile he gasped for breath. A foot swept his feet away from under him and his knees hit the floor. They protested painfully and Izuku bit back a whimper. It was too much. He was already in pain from his quirk and couldn’t take it. 

The lights shone oh so tempting in his eye. They were much dimmer than before because of the quirk suppressant and he wasn’t even completely sure he could teleport at the moment, but it was tempting nonetheless. If he just focused on one of them he would be safe. He could get away.

As if reading his thoughts Tsubasa spoke up. “I heard you finally got your quirk. I heard it allows you to teleport to people. But I’m not sure I believe it. The only one who has ever seen you use your quirk is Bakugou and he calls it a coward's quirk. Which means you’re either still quirkless and lying about it - and don’t you know it's wrong to lie? Or you have a quirk that you don’t want to show off because Bakugou is right about it being cowardly.” Tsubasa smirked and kicked Izuku in the side, stealing his breath again.

“So go ahead and teleport to your mom. Or better yet to Bakugou! Prove that you are a liar and a weakling or prove that you are nothing more than a spineless coward. Either way maybe it will finally make Bakugou see just how big a waste of space you really are. Come on, do it. Do it !” Tears sprang to Izuku’s eyes as the next hit forced him to double over. Only the grip on his arms held him upright.

Tsubasa was right. Even if he didn’t teleport to Kacchan the rumour would get out and he would know just how cowardly Izuku was. He couldn't stand the thought. He wanted to face his tormentors and fight them off himself. If he did he would prove not only to himself but to Kacchan that he could become a hero. I would also make the bullies back off. Kacchan defending him only worked in the short term. On the other hand it would make the bullies believe he was still quirkless. Though truth be told Izuku didn't really care about their opinion on him. No matter what he did they would find something to bully him for - unless he stood up for himself and proved he was stronger than them. 

So Izuku forced himself to turn away from the lights and tune back into reality. Tsubasa’s grin was predatory and he petted Izuku on the head in the same way you would a submissive dog. It made Izuku’s blood boil but he couldn't even move an inch with the way he was held back. Izuku still tried to bite him. Tsubasa’s face darkened for a second before an idea seemed to hit him.

Going down on one knee in front of him he gripped Izuku’s right wrist, bringing it closer to his face. “What is this?” He asked and poked at the wristwatch. “A gift from your mommy?”

In one swift move he gripped the watch and pulled it off Izuku’s wrist. “No!” Izuku yelled and tried to break free from the hands holding him. The only thing he earned from his efforts was a few scratches and more bruises. “Give it back!”

The second the clock was removed his quirk returned full force. The dimmed lights returned to full brightness and the pain that had been suppressed returned stronger than before. But … compared with the pain currently coursing through his body it was nothing. The physical pain grounded him in his body. 

In horror Izuku watched as Tsubasa raised the clock high above his head and threw it at the ground as hard as he could. As Izuku screamed he laughed and went to expect the damage. Frowning in surprise he looked down at the clock, not a single scratch on it. With a relieved sigh Izuku remembered what Nighteye had told him about the watch being almost indestructible. 

“What the …” He threw it again. And then again. Then he stomped on it. Still not a scratch. “Well that’s disappointing. I guess I’ll just have to take it out on you then, Deku.”

The next few minutes were a blur of punches, kicks and pain. He’d stopped trying to keep his tears in long ago and was not so quietly sobbing into the floor - Tsubasa was currently pressing him face first into it.

Above him Tsubasa sighed and shook out his hands as if they were hurting. Hurting because they had been beaten bloody and bruised against Izuku’s body. “This is actually getting tedious. How the fuck do you manage to make beating you up boring, Deku?”

“Yeah and we haven’t even eaten lunch yet”, Noboru complained, voice annoyingly high and whiny. His long fingers loosened a bit around Izuku’s arms and as the feeling returned in them the pain actually worsened. “I’m hungry!”

Izuku sobbed in relief when Tsubasa let go of his head. It seemed like they might have finally gotten enough of using him as a punching bag. His entire body was throbbing with pain and he could already feel the bruises blooming blue and purple all over his skin. His stomach cramped in pain and his throat burned from the many he had to force the bile back again. His lungs felt too small, like they couldn't take up enough oxygen to sustain him. Combined with the pain still coming from his unsuppressed quirk it was nearly too much. And yet … it was nothing compared to the time he had saved his mom from the fire or All Might from the villain attack. 

“But we can’t just leave Deku here. I’m not sure he has learned his lesson”, said Tsubasa and kicked him in the stomach, right at one of the blooming bruises. Izuku screamed as pain tore through him. “Are you ready to beg now, worthless Deku?”

“N-never”, Izuku spit out, in both senses of the word. Blood was mingled in the saliva on the floor and he tasted copper in his mouth. He must have bit himself sometime during the beating. 

Suddenly his quirk grew quiet and somehow that was worse. Without his watch he couldn't tell All Might that the danger was over. Neither could he warn him when it returned. What if All Might was caught unaware because of this and got hurt? Izuku wanted to scream for Tsubasa to return the watch but knew it was fruitless.

“Yeah I thought so. Vermin are usually hard to get rid off.” He turned towards the other boys with a bloodcurdling smile. “Do you guys have any idea of what we should do with him?”

 “I’ve wanted to see his eye ever since that freak accident”, Noboru said with a snicker. Izuku felt his blood go cold and he tried to struggle out of Noboru's grip. The only thing he got for his efforts was more bruises. “I’m sure it’s super freaky. Just look at him squirm! That basically confirms it.” 

“Good idea”, Tsubasa said and stepped closer. He grabbed Izuku’s chin and no matter how much he struggled against it his head remained trapped. He took hold of the eyepatch and ripped it off his head, taking some hair with it. Izuku pressed his eyelids together in one last ditch attempt to keep some dignity. “Stop that”, Tsubasa growled and forced his eyelid up. 

Izuku didn't need both eyes to see the disgust on Tsubasa’s face as he stared into his blind eye. It was clear as day. Above him he heard Noboru make a noise as someone pretending to barf. “That is freaky! The scar on his face made him look ugly but these make him disgusting to look at.”

"He looks like a villain!" Another of the boys exclaimed and thought Izuku couldn't see him he heard the revulsion in his voice. All of the bullies agreed with him. More words of abuse followed.

Shame trickled down his spine, red hot and searing. Except for the doctors only the people closest to him - his mom, All Might, Kacchan and Kacchan’s parents - had seen the full extent of his injury. To be forced to show it in this way was more than he could bear. Despite everything he had never actually hated his bullies before. But now … now hatred so hot it was freezing poured into his heart. 

Baring his teeth he glared right into Tsubasa’s eyes, fury making emerald and milky green eyes glow with a dangerous light. “Let. Me. Go.”

Noboru and the other two boys recoiled a bit at that, their grips loosening on his body, but Tsubasa threw his head back and laughed like Izuku had just told the greatest joke ever. "You crack me up, Deku. I can't decide if you've actually grown some balls and a quirk or if you're a lying, quirkless coward desperately hoping you can intimidate us into leaving you alone."

"I'm not a coward and I'm not quirkless", Izuku growled through clenched teeth. He pulled his head from Tsubasa's grip and closed his right eye to hide it from the bullies. 

Tsubasa leaned close enough that their noses almost touched. His breath was awful and Izuku curled his nose in disgust. "Then prove it."

Izuku just glared at him. No way would he give in to his demand. Besides they couldn't do anything against him they hadn't already done. If they hut him any more the teacher would notice and there would be no way they could get away with it. Taking of his eyepatch and beating him blue was as far as they could go. 

“Well I guess you leave me no choice.” When Tsubasa stepped away from Izuku he had to swallow down a relieved sigh. It would be over any second now. They would let him go and he could limp his way up the roof and spend the minutes he had left tending to his bruises and eating the lunch his mom had made him. 

Tsubasa stepped up to a nondescript door in the corridor that Izuku had never paid any mind to the many times he’d passed through. He opened it and dread immediately filled Izuku’s stomach. He fought to get free from the bullies grip but they only snickered and held on harder. 

It was a janitor's closet; small, dark and filled with cleaning supplies with only one way to exit it. One way that would surely be locked behind him. Leaving him alone. In the dark. 

“If you really have a teleportation quirk you’ll get out of here no problem. And if you don’t … well guess you’ll just have to hope the janitor checks this closet before he goes home today.” Tsubasa’s face was nothing but hard lines of cruelty; there was no mercy to find there. His eyes were dark and unforgiving and his red wings spread wide behind his back made him look like a demon from the depths of hell. Izuku didn't even have to look at the other boys to know they would follow Tsubasa without hesitation. “In with him.”

Izuku fought back with everything he got in his tiny body. He fought like a rabid animal caught in a snare; willing to chew of its own leg if it meant getting free. He kicked wildly around himself and dug his heels into the floor. He clawed and bit every bit of flesh he could reach. He wiggled and struggled with every bit of desperation in him. He screamed, at the top of his lungs in hope against hope that someone would hear that actually cared. But three boys - all bigger and stronger - against one were unfair numbers in the best of cases. Beaten and hurting as he was Izuku really had no chance. He barely even managed to hurt the others and in return earned even more bruises and scratches. And in the end he still ended up thrown into the closet, the door closing behind him before he’d even managed to catch his breath. The sound of the lock clicking into place was loud in the small space. Like a prison door closing behind him. Still Izuku threw himself against the door again and again until his shoulder ached with a deep pain. The door refused to budge. 

Sobbing he sank down onto the floor. The only light came from the small gap between the door and the frame and it barely gave enough light for him to see the outline of his hands when he held them in front of his face. The room was barely big enough to take a step in and smelled of dust and chemicals. His body ached all over and he tasted metal. 

Suddenly All Might’s light flashed and a different kind of pain flooded into Izuku from his quirk. Danger , his mind screamed. Protect him! 

Izuku was in a dark, enclosed space, in pain and with blood in his mouth while his quirk screamed at him to protect All Might. Tears, warm and thick - as if they were made of blood rather than water - ran down his face. Air wouldn’t enter his lungs, as if something extremely heavy was pressing into his chest. Memories flashed through his mind, the same memories that haunted his dreams and suddenly the janitor's closet disappeared around him. Instead a crumbling building flashed behind his eyes.

The ground heaved beneath him as All Might tried to bring them to safety. He was slow. Slow in a way All Might wasn’t supposed to be. Something was terrible, horrible wrong.  

A piece of the roof hit All Might’s back and he grunted in pain. Izuku felt the pain from a fractured rib getting added to the pain that radiated from All Might’s shoulder. He couldn’t bare it. He couldn’t bare the thought of someone he loved being hurt. Something burned in his chest and without thinking he reached out to touch All Might and … transferred the pain to himself.  Immediately he felt his rib splinter and a piercing pain burrow into his shoulder. He bit his lip to stop his cry of pain, not wanting to worry All Might. 

Then, as if in slow motion, Izuku saw the wall above break and fall towards them. They would not get out of the way in time. Green light flashed in his head, screaming: ALL MIGHT IS IN DANGER, HE IS GOING TO DIE!

Some deep instinct that had been buried deep in his subconscious mind but had been released that day when Izuku saw his apartment burn took over. He grabbed hold of the green light filling his head and threw it outwards. He wrapped it tight around All Might, who immediately begun glowing with that same green light. Izuku would protect him if he so died trying!

The wall fell and he could feel every single bit of the weight that hit the shield. It seemed to reverberate through his very soul. It was too much for his body to handle, far too much. It was like torture. The pain felt like every molecule in his body was being torn apart and fused back together again and again in rapid, eternal succession. His vision went white for a moment and static buzzed in his ears. Izuku wanted to scream his lungs out. But he bit his tongue and forced it back.

Izuku would not scream. Not when All Might tried to cover him with his body. Not when he had a look on his face ... like he was expecting to die and still was dead bent on protecting him. Izuku couldn’t let him know just how much pain he was in. All Might would never forgive himself if he knew. So even though Izuku had rather died than endured the pain for one second longer he kept the screams in and clung onto consciousness so as to not worry All Might.

But Izuku could do nothing to stop the blood leaking from his ears. From his nose and eyes. He coughed and tasted blood on his tongue, the taste heavy and coppery. The shield would kill Izuku if he kept it up; far too powerful for his young body as it was. The shield would not break for anything. It would hold up against an atomic bomb dropped directly unto it. It would remain even if Izuku fell unconscious. The shield would only - could only - disappear in one of two ways. If the danger ceased. Or if Izuku died. 

In that moment, with the weight of the building wearing down on him and the pain in every cell in his body, Izuku knew he was going to die. Still Izuku would protect All Might into the bitter end. His own death was a small price to pay.

Distantly he could hear explosions ring out. Explosions? But there weren’t any explosions … no I’m mistaken, that is not explosions but the building collapsing further. The wave of pain that coursed through his body dispelled his conscious thoughts and his memories took over again. 

Though this time the memories only managed to hold onto him for a few agonizing seconds until further explosions rang out, followed by angry yells and pained screams. The explosions were achingly familiar and so was the angry voice. 

Gasping for breath Izuku looked around himself in confusion. He wasn’t trapped beneath a collapsed skyscraper with All Might, his shield the only thing keeping them alive but also slowly killing him. Izuku was locked in a janitor's closet. 

Even so his head felt disordered and fuzzy as he tried to separate his memories from reality. The dark and confined space was filling him with dread even without the flashbacks and he could barely breathe. It felt like he was drowning in the darkness. Furthermore the pain was still real. The way All Might was in danger was real. Nothing had really changed except for the fact that he didn't feel like he was dying any longer. 

It could have been minutes or hours later but eventually the sounds outside died down and the doorhandle rustled as if someone tried to open it. Izuku heard a muffled curse and then another explosion rang out, this time much closer. Then the door was swung open and light assaulted Izuku’s eye. Pained tears blurred his vision but Izuku didn't dare close his eyes out of fear that the light would disappear and he’d discover that he was indeed trapped underneath a building. 

Blinking the tears away he looked up at his hero. A part of him had expected a towering, muscular frame, electric blue eyes and a wide smile. Instead he was met by someone only slightly taller than him with glowering red eyes and a furious scowl on his face. 

Izuku had never in his life been happier to see Kacchan.

Chapter Text

Katsuki wasn’t completely sure what it was that compelled him to abandon his lunch halfway through to try and locate Deku. Maybe it was because the extras around him irritated him more than normal today. Maybe some other reason (like guilt over abandoning Deku, not that he’d ever admit it, not even to himself). Either way he soon found himself on the way towards the roof where he knew Deku usually hung out when he weren't with Katsuki. 

He was walking up the second pair of stairs when he came across Tsubasa and his gang of losers. Every day, every time he saw them, Katsuki was eternally grateful that he’d stopped being friends with them years ago. They were just pathetic extras. Pebbles at the side of the road he’d use to step on to become the greatest hero. Even Deku had been better when he was still quirkless.  

The losers hadn’t noticed him yet, busy laughing about something. It was probably something lame. Katsuki scowled. Noboru’s laugh in particular grated at his ears. 

“Did you see Deku’s face when he realise we we’re going to lock him in the closet?” Noboru, the long-fingered weirdo, made his face look terrified for a second before he cracked up. “He looked like he was going to shit himself!”

“Ha, yeah it was pathetic”, stretchy neck bastard said. 

“At least he has a great taste in watches”, Tsubasa, the absolute bastard, said and held up a familiar watch. It was the same watch Deku had gotten for medical reasons. Like from a great distance Katsuki noticed the way Tsubasa’s knuckles were bloodied and bruised as if he’d been fighting. 

One moment Katsuki was walking up the stairs in a leisurely pace, the other he stood right in front of those losers, holding Tsubasa up in the air by the front of his shirt. His other hand was held close to his face, explosions going of in his palm, almost close enough to singe. Tsubasa choked on a scream, going pale in the face. His ugly little eyes widened in fear. His loser minions fell all over each other in their effort to get away from Katsuki.

“What the fuck did you do to Deku?!” Katsuki screamed in his face, spittle flying wildly. He yanked the watch from Tsubasa's clammy hand and stuffed it into the back pocket of his pants.

“I-I d-didn’t-”, Tsubasa began to stammer. Katsuki only held his exploding hand closer to his face, making him shut up. “We j-just r-roughed him up a b-bit and l-locked him in a c-closet.”

Katsuki saw red, as if a veil of blood had covered his eyes. There was a taste like sulfur in his mouth and sweat poured in great quantities into his hands. Without hesitation he ignited the sweat, burning a hole in Tsubasa’s shirt and burning his eyebrows right off. “YOU FUCKHEADED, MOTHERFUCKING BASTARD! I’LL KILL YOU!”

Tsubasa squeaked like a little bitch and looked like he would pass out. Katsuki wouldn’t allow him until he’d taught him a lesson. He dragged the winged bastard with him up the stars, simultaneously making his minions back up in fear. Tsubasa was flapping his wings around wildly as he tried to get out of Katsuki’s grip, the draft from the powerful wings almost enough to pull him free. Katsuki refused to relent and only tightened his grip, almost choking the other boy.

When he stepped out of the stairs and into the corridor his eyes were caught by something yellow. Deku’s obnoxious yellow backpack was lying on the floor with all its contents spread out. Immediately the burning rage turned into an inferno. 

He threw Tsubasa to the floor and spent the next few minutes kicking and punching him, explosions going of in quick succession. Tsubasa was screaming bloody murder and his bootlickers were covering in a corner, crying. When Katsuki finally stepped away from Tsubasa his nose was bleeding, fresh bruises bloomed over his body and a bunch of burns were littered over his arms and chest. None of the injuries were serious though. Even in his rage Katsuki knew better then to hurt someone seriously. Not even someone who deserved it as much as Tsubasa did. 

The bootlickers got their turn, though he didn’t bother as much with them. They were a bunch of losers without their own will just following Tsubasa around. They never did anything without Tsubasa's permission.

A little like the bootlicker ‘friends’ following you around , a voice whispered in the back of his head that he pointedly ignored. Besides he didn’t have time to properly pummel the extras into the ground. Deku was still locked in the closet

Tsubasa was trying to crawl away when Katsuki grew tired of punching stretchy-neck. He took the time to stomp on his leg so he cried out in pain. “Take this as a lesson about what happens if you ever fucking hurt Deku again. I’m the only one that gets to hurt him. Next time I won’t fucking hesitate to break your ugly ass nose. Now scram!”

Without looking back Tsubasa and his three minions turned tail and fled down the stairs, limping as fast as they could. Cowards all of them. But never mind them now. Deku was his priority. 

The door to the closet was locked and he’d forgotten to demand Tsubasa to open it. With a curse Katsuki realised what he’d have to do. Destroying a lock was worse than exploding some desk but whatever. He needed to get Deku out of there right now. 

An explosion was enough to break the lock and he swung the door open. The closet was dark and seemingly empty. Katsuki looked around in confusion before a quiet sniffle made him look down. 

Deku was curled in on himself on the floor, tears streaming down his face. He was pale as a ghost and his eyes - Katsuki realised with a jolt that the eyepatch was gone - were glazed over. His breathing was erratic and he was clutching at his throat as if he couldn’t get enough air. There was blood on his face and a bruise was blooming on his cheekbone. He looked absolutely wrecked. Somehow even worse than that time in the forest when they messed around with his quirk and he ended up puking before disappearing. 

“K-Kacchan”, Deku mumbled and tried to climb to his feet. He wobbled and began to fall. Katsuki jumped forward to catch him before he could hit the floor. 

“It’s okay, Izuku, I got you”, Katsuki whispered. It was the first time in years he’d actually called him Izuku but … calling him Deku just felt wrong right now. 

He pulled Izuku out of the closet as gently as he could before putting him down on the floor by the windows. Izuku glanced back at the still open closet door and shuddered. Katsuki’s gaze shifted as well towards the dark, tiny room and a second later he got to his feet and closed the door firmly. He didn’t know why Izuku reacted in such a way towards a room but his gut told him it was the right thing to do. 

Izuku clung to Katsuki's shirt when he kneeled in front of him, his grip surprisingly strong. His eyes swam over with desperation and pain. “M-my w-watch”, he gasped out, voice barely audible.

“Don’t worry, I have it”, Katsuki said and dug it out of his back pocket. Izuku began crying all over again when he saw it and clutched it to his chest for a second, as if it was something precious, before slipping it on his wrist. He pressed some button on it and gave of a big, relieved sigh afterwards. As if he’d been in pain without it.

Katsuki’s rage returned all over again. If Izuku hadn’t needed him in that moment he would have hunted Tsubasa down and to punch him into tomorrow. That fucker had not only stolen a thing, the thing he had taken was a medical watch that Izuku needed for his health. Katsuki would make sure Tsubasa paid for that, he and all his minions. Violence was after all Katsuki’s speciality. 

Izuku was still crying and his breath was laboured. It seemed like he didn't get enough air. Katsuki had no idea what to do in this situation really. He’d seen Izuku cry many times before and usually ignored it. The only other time he hadn't ignored it was when Izuku came home right after the fire. He had been kinda depressed but it had been enough to give him the All Might toy to cheer him up. Katsuki didn’t have any toys at hand at the moment. Plus Izuku wasn’t only depressed this time. Wasn’t only crying. He was straight out panicking. What the fuck was you supposed to do with panicking people?

“Calm down, Izuku, just … breath or some shit”, Katsuki grumbled and tentatively put an arm around Izuku’s shoulders. Izuku tensed at the touch and Katsuki almost withdrew his arm, but then he leaned into Katsuki’s side and hid his face against his shoulder. He could feel tears and snot get on his shirt and it was frankly disgusting, but he just sat there and let him. Hopefully this would be enough. 

Minutes went by painfully slow as Izuku continued to sob. It didn't seem to be any ending to it in the near future. Katsuki had to hold tightly onto his patience. Getting angry probably - definitely - wouldn't work. He sighed and pet Izuku’s fluffy, green hair, letting his eyes wander. Something black lying on the floor a short distance away among the rest of Izuku’s belongings caught his eye. It was Izuku’s eye patch. Suddenly he had to swallow down his rage all over again. 

Those fucking bastards, he seethed, wasn’t it enough to beat him and lock him in a closet, they had to take his watch and eye patch too? They are not getting away with this. I’ll make sure they get what they deserve and afterwards no one is ever again going to lay a hand on Izuku. I’ll make everyone so afraid of my retribution they won’t even dare look at him funnily. I’m the only one that’s allowed to be mean to him. 

“Do you want your eye patch?” he asked with as gentle a voice he could. It was still hard and brusque compared to normal standards but for Katsuki it was bloody impressive. Izuku looked up from where he’d kept his head buried in his shoulder. His eyes were bloodshot and his face blotchy but at least it wasn’t deathly pale any longer and his eyes were in the present. He slowly nodded. 

Katsuki carefully removed himself from Izuku’s grip to retrieve the eye patch. He then reluctantly let Izuku attach himself to his side again and handed it over. Izuku stared at the eye patch for a few long, heavy seconds with an unreadable expression. 

“D-do you th-think my eye is f-freaky?

Why the fuck was his heart clenching painfully? Was he having a heart attack?

“Are you fucking stupid or something? It's not freaky, it’s cool! Makes you look like a badass.”

Izuku giggled. It sounded broken, like he would start sobbing at any moment, but it still filled Katsuki with relief. If he could laugh then it probably meant he was feeling better. 

“I mean it. It meant you survived... or something.”

“Th-thank you Kacchan”, Izuku smiled up at him. It was wobbly but actually reached his eyes, making the emerald one shine brightly. Somehow even the blind one seemed to brighten. 

“Don’t get sappy on me now”, Katsuki grumbled and looked away before Izuku’s smile managed to infect him. He would not smile. When he turned back Izuku had put the eye patch back on. Katsuki hadn’t lied when he called it cool, that it made Izuku look like a pirate, but some part of him didn’t like it. He didn’t want Izuku to feel like he had to hide. 

“Have you eaten?” He already knew the answer considering the bento box Inko had packed that morning lay a short distance away unopened, but it was probably best to ask anyway. 

“N-no.”

He retrieved the bento and put it in Izuku’s lap. “Then eat.”

Izuku obeyed slowly, taking a careful bite of food and swallowing as if his throat hurt. Katsuki glanced at Izuku’s neck out of the corner of his eye but didn’t see any bruises or red marks on it, indicating he hadn’t been strangled. But he probably hurt it by screaming for help … help that arrived too late. Because Katsuki hadn’t been there. 

If Katsuki just hadn’t turned his back on Izuku over something as childish as the other not seeing him. Especially since there was a possibility Izuku really didn’t see him with that eye of his …

(Katsuki did not feel guilty. He refused to acknowledge the heavy feeling in his gut.)

Questions buzzed in his mind like furious wasps but he could be patient. He could wait until Izuku felt a little bit better. At least let him get some food in his stomach. 

His decision to be patient lasted not even ten minutes. It was almost a new record for him. Besides, Izuku was barely crying any longer, just quietly sniffing while he slowly ate his food. Katsuki had an important question to ask so he judged that Izuku was recovered enough to speak. 

“Why didn’t you teleport?” Katsuki asked and averted his eyes when Izuku looked up at him. 

“B-because I don’t want you to th-think I’m a c-coward”, Izuku mumbled and hunched his shoulders.

It felt like Katsuki had been hit by a million volts. He sat up straight and stared at Izuku with incredulity. This time it was Izuku that wouldn't meet his eyes. “What!?”

“Tsubasa tried to make me use my quirk because he didn’t believe I had one but he also said that you’d told everyone it was a coward's quirk so if I used it that would only prove to you that I am a coward. And I really didn’t want to do either of those things. I wanted to prove to him that I do have a quirk but I would rather be seen as a liar and quirkless loser by him than to be seen as a coward by you. So I didn’t use my quirk and now he surely thinks I’m quirkless and the bullying will get worse again and I couldn’t even prove to you that I’m brave because you literally found me crying in a closet. You must think I’m worthless. Just a worthless and cowardly Deku that isn’t worth your friendship. And I-”

“Shut up, Izuku”, Katsuki growled and Izuku immediately closed his mouth, face ablaze with shame.

Katsuki really didn’t know what to think. Izuku allowed himself to be beaten blue and bloody despite being able to get out of there whenever, just because he cared about Katsuki’s opinion of him? When he’d told Izuku that his quirk was cowardly and worthless for heroics he hadn’t thought this would be the result. He had spoken from a place of anger and though he’d meant what he’d said he had thought it would motivate Izuku to train harder, to not rely on his quirk. Instead it only made him unwilling to use his quirk when he needed it. What if because of Katsuki’s words Izuku would get caught up in a villain attack, only to refuse to teleport to safety and die as a result? 

The guilt that had been boiling in him for weeks reared its ugly head and tried to drag him beneath the surface. It was his fault that Izuku was hurt, in every way. If he hadn’t abandoned Izuku today the bullies wouldn’t have been able to get to him. And if he hadn’t said those things to Izuku he wouldn't have felt the need to repress his power. It was all his fault. 

Guilt closed in over his head like a storming sea, drowning him in misery. Every breath burned as the water forced its way into his lungs and he was choking on it. But Katsuki couldn’t drown now. Not when Izuku was still barely keeping his head over the waves. He had to save him first and then he could let the guilt consume him. 

So as always he used his anger to force any other emotion away. Katsuki thought about the bullies who had done this, about how he would punish them. He visualized how Tsubasa’s nose broke beneath his fist and how his skin blistered from the heat of explosions. The image was immensely satisfying and the guilt slowly sank away until he could breathe again.

“You are so stupid, Izuku”, Katsuki said and grabbed Izuku’s shoulders to force him to look him in the eyes. “If you are in danger or hurt of course you should teleport to safety. I will make sure Tsubasa never dares to even look at you again but if something like this happens again you teleport straight to me. You hear me?”

A small, wobbly smile quirked Izuku’s lips. “Thank you, Kacchan.”

Katsuki looked away. “Don’t thank me, I should have been here. I promise that I will do everything in my power to make sure you are safe from now on. But … you should tell Auntie about this.”

“No!” Izuku exclaimed and jumped forward to grab Katsuki’s wrists. Katsuki almost recoiled in surprise. “Please don’t tell my mom, or your parents. I don’t want to burden her with this as well. She pretends to be fine in front of me but I’ve seen her cry in Aunties arms several times when she thinks I’m not around. I can’t tell her, and you can’t either.”

Katsuki had also seen Auntie Inko cry several times while his mom did her best to comfort her. So he could understand Izuku’s wish. At the same time Katsuki could really use the adults help in protecting Izuku. He could only do so much. The teachers turned a blind eye on the bullying but if Inko went to the principal they would be forced to act. And after everything that had happened today Katsuki just couldn’t break Izuku’s trust by going to the adults against his will.

“I promise not to tell.” 

“Thank you”, Izuku said and relaxed. 

“Just eat the rest of your damn lunch.”

 

💚💚💚

 

Izuku smiled through the pain throbbing in his body and head as Kacchan led him towards their classroom. He kept giving anyone that even glanced at Izuku dirty looks. Everyone kept their distance, looking slightly frightened. Considering Kacchan looked like a rabid animal he could understand. And yet he felt completely safe glued to Kacchan’s side. 

In the permanent darkness of his right eye Kacchan’s light shone blue and yellow again. 

Chapter Text

It was Friday, he’d finished his patrol about an hour ago and young Midoriya would soon come by for his training. Toshinori hummed as he prepared some healthy sandwiches and snacks. He was also cooling some water in the refrigerator. For some reason he’d felt the sudden urge to make sure the boy got enough food in him.

His training sessions with Midoriya had quickly become the favourite part of his week and he was a bit bummed out that he couldn't schedule for more than one or two a week. Midoriya was an absolutely delight to be around, so devoted to his training and determined to get better yet simultaneously so sweet and loving. He seemed to be surrounded by this light, like a halo marking him as something too good and pure for this world. Toshinori wanted to protect that light with everything he got, to make sure the evil and darkness in the world would never get a change to snuff it out. 

Midoriya’s mother was equally as big a delight. They hadn’t met in person since the hospital but they would talk for long stretches of time on the phone after every training session he had with the boy. At first these talks had been nothing more than a concerned mother wanting to know how her child was faring. But with time they had began talking about more things than just young Midoriya. Talking with her was a highlight in his life. She was one of the rare people he allowed to see the real him. Just listening to her lovely voice was enough to make him feel relaxed after a long and stressful day of saving Japan. 

Toshinori placed the sandwiches in the refrigerator and moved to the gym. There was another gym further down in the tower that all employees were allowed to use but he preferred to train in his own gym. It was in here he was training Midoriya. Though he had been forced to get some lighter weights when they started out, since all the equipment was built with him in mind. 

Most of their training sessions Toshinori guided Midoriya through some light body building. They had to be careful since he was still so young, but Toshinori was steadily building up Midoriya's strength and endurance. Strengthening his body would hopefully make it more capable of bearing the backlash of his quirk. Toshinori's reasoning was that if strengthening the body’s muscles was needed for someone to use One for all without backlash then the same must be true for other quirks. 

The rest of their training sessions were spent training Midoriya’s control of his quirk. So far they only focused on his teleportation; on making him able to use it more times in a row and to carry things with him. It was enough for now. Maybe when his body got stronger Toshinori would dare to let him use his shield again. 

His phone buzzed and he was so eager to check it for messages he almost ripped a hole in his pants. 

Young Midoriya: I’m teleporting now

All Might: 👍

A grin spread over Toshinori's face as the telltale green light of young Midoriya’s quirk lit up the room. When the light died down the boy came into sight. Toshinori’s smile fell from his face like a stone through the waves. He was by the boy’s side a second later and carefully put an arm around his shoulders to support him. 

“What happened?” He asked and gently traced a finger against a fresh bruise on Midoriya’s cheek. His one visible eye – the blind one hidden behind a black eye patch - was bloodshot as if he’d been crying. “Let's go sit down.” He began to guide him out of the gym towards the kitchen despite the boy’s protests. Toshinori immediately noticed the slight limp he walked with and felt his stomach clench. 

“I-it’s nothing”, Midoriya said and waved his hands round as if that would dispense Toshinori’s worrying. “I j-just fell down a p-pair of stairs at school. Lack of d-depth perception, y-you know.”

It was true that the boy was extremely clumsy because of his partial blindness. In the relatively short time Toshinori had known him Midoriya had constantly been sporting bruises. He’d seen the boy fall more times then he’d count and was so used to it by now he’d catch him without even having to stop whatever else he was doing. But for some reason warning bells were going of inside Toshinori’s head and he had long ago learned to trust his instincts. It was what kept him and others alive out in the field. So he just knew something was different this time. 

“Sit down”, he said and pulled out a chair for the kid. He pulled out a water bottle as well as a plate of apple slices from the fridge. The sandwiches followed. He’d meant for them to eat it after the training but Toshinori had a feeling there would be no training today. “Eat something. I’ll get the first aid.” 

Before the boy could protest he was already headed towards the bathroom to collect his big bag filled with medical supplies. Being a hero meant he always kept it well stocked, just in case. 

Midoriya was slowly munching at an apple slice when he returned. Toshinori retrieved some ice packs from the fridge and a couple of towels and then sat down next to him. “Do you have more bruises?” The way Midoriya averted his eye was answer enough. “Would you be okay with me taking a look at them? If you're not comfortable you can do it yourself in the bathroom or I can send some supplies with you back home so your mother can do it.”

“I …” Midoriya swallowed with some difficulty and fidgeted with his fingers. Toshinori waited patiently for him to regain his voice. “M-my scars are u-ugly. I don’t want you to see them.”

Toshinori could feel his heart break a little at that. “Your scars are not ugly, young Midoriya, but if you’re not comfortable with me seeing them then I won’t force you. Even though I’d prefer to treat all your bruises as soon as possible I’ll just do the one on your cheek right now. You can press some of the ice packs against the bruises through your shirt” 

Once Midoriya nodded his consent he set out to carefully treat the bruise. He pressed a small ice pack against it and put it on place with a small compressor. Midoriya took hold of two ice packs and pressed them against his stomach. A relieved sigh escaped his lips. 

After a second of hesitation Toshinori reached out to replace his hand against one of the ice packs. Midoriya looked up at him in surprise. “You should eat so I’ll hold it for you”, he explained.

“Ah okay.” Midoriya hesitatingly picked up one of the sandwiches and started to eat. He took a bite but stopped to look up at Toshinori with a self-conscious little smile. Toshinori sighed and forced himself to smile. He picked up a sandwich and began to eat as well. A second later Midoriya followed his lead.

Silence settled over them. Toshinori’s mind was working overtime thinking about what exactly could have happened that left Midoriya with so many bruises and it kept coming up with worse and worse scenarios. He also tried to figure out a way to ask the boy about it but came up blank. 

He had been bullied for being quirkless in middle school before he met Nana and she gave him One for all. It hadn’t been as rare to be quirkless in his generation as in Midoriya’s but it had already been seen as a major weakness. He’d heard it's only gotten worse since then. Technically not quirkless any longer it was still possible that Midoriya was being bullied. The bullies would just find something else to torment him about.

Toshinori could even understand why Midoriya didn’t want to tell him. He had after all never told anyone himself. Though that had mostly been because he'd been orphaned at age eleven. Until he met Nana a few years later he hadn’t had any adult to trust. None of the teacher’s cared and the foster parents replaced each other so quickly he'd stopped hoping for one of them to adopt him, so he had no one to turn to about the bullying. Once Nana came into his life everything got better, but he still never told her about the bullying. A hero had to be able to defend themselves from bullies. So he had feared Nana would reconsider him as her successor if he told her. 

“All Might?” Midoriya said and pulled him from his thoughts. Toshinori blinked down at the boy and noticed that all the snacks and sandwiches were gone. It was enough to make a small smile appear on his face.

“Yes what is it, my boy?”

He began fidgeting with his watch, avoiding Toshinori’s gaze. “W-would it be possible for Sir Nighteye t-to make sure th-that no one but m-me can take off the watch?”

Toshinori felt his blood turn cold. What had happened that made the boy want to take that precaution? Had someone stolen the watch earlier today? Now when he thought about it something strange had happened around noon. After a short fight against some robber he’d been surprised when the usual ‘danger over’ message hadn’t come through. As the minutes went on he’d gotten more and more paranoid but tried to convince himself Midoriya had simply forgotten to turn the watch off. But not even when he began another fight against some small time villain did he receive a message from Midoriya. He had gotten worried and put his guard up, preparing for the boy to suddenly teleport to him or maybe even send out an emergency alert. But within half an hour the messages had resumed as normal and he’d put it from his mind. Now Toshinori couldn’t help but wonder what exactly had happened during that time. Had Midoriya been hurt and in need of help, waiting for a hero to come that never showed? Had he been waiting for All Might?  

None of his turmoil showed on his face or was audible in his voice when he spoke. “Why do you want such an upgrade?” 

Midoriya laughed but it sounded more nervous than anything else. “Oh you know, just worried someone might try to steal it. But maybe I’m just paranoid.” 

“No, I think it sounds like a good idea and one we should have thought about from the beginning”, Toshinori assured him. In fact he was thinking about a few more updates that should have been in the original design. The watch already had a few abilities Midoriya didn’t know about, like a tracker that activated if the emergency button was pressed - and that could be activated from afar if needed. Maybe Nighteye could also add some recording devices that would begin record Midoriya’s surroundings if he pressed the emergency button. Considering the villains interested in him it would probably be a good idea.  

… Maybe he should ask Nighteye to make a similar watch for Ms Midoriya. 

“I’m sure Nighteye will be able to do that. He’s busy with paperwork right now but I’m gonna talk to him later today. Then next time you come in for a training session he can take the time to upgrade it.”

“Thank you, All Might!” Midoriya exclaimed with a big smile that made his whole face light up. His green eye was shining brightly. But just a few seconds later the happiness dispersed and an unhappy frown replaced the smile. 

Toshinori felt his heart break at the sight. He couldn’t stand seeing the boy so sad. There had to be something he could do to make the boy happy again. Think, Toshinori, think … oh I know!

Toshinori leaned closer to Midoriya as if to tell him a big secret and whispered: “Would you like to go to my secret hideout?” 

Midoriya lit up like a kid on Christmas, eye widening in delight. Still he managed kept his voice down when he replied. “You have a secret hideout? I thought this was your hideout.”

“This, my secret hideout? No way!” Toshinori laughed loudly and clasped the boy’s shoulder, though he was quick to let go when he noticed his pained wince. “No, I have a much more secretive place I go to when I don’t want anyone to find me.”

“Then are you sure you want to take me there? I don’t want to intrude.”

How was it possible for a kid to be so sweet? “I wouldn’t have offered if I weren’t sure. Come on, let's go.” 

Midoriya followed without hesitation when Toshinori stood from the kitchen table. The boy still held the ice packs against his stomach but didn’t seem to be in as much pain as before. Toshinori let out a quiet, relieved sigh. 

Quickly he collected some blankets, pillows and the last bottles of water before leading the way to a pair of stars at the back of his apartment. Toshinori carefully helped Midoriya up them so he wouldn’t trip and hurt himself more. Then he entered the code that opened the reinforced door at the end of the stairs. He and Nighteye were the only ones that knew the codes to his apartment.

They stepped out onto the roof of the building. Below and around them Tokyo spread out into the horizon, gleaming in the afternoon sun. Above them towered the planet with its two rings that topped Might Tower. It was a sight he’d seen a million times before and grown rather numb to, but the way Midoriya looked around him with awe made Toshinori see the beauty around him once again.  

Towering buildings made out of steel and glass glimmered like diamonds in the golden sunlight, stretching towards the distant clouds like fingers of a giant beast. Patches of greenery marked the parks, colour indicating flowering bushes and trees. Millions of people and cars moved on the streets, far enough away they looked like ants moving along the forest floor of a gigantic manufactured forest. Fluffy clouds passed by above them at a lazy pace, casting shadows below them.

Toshinori spent all his time saving Tokyo and cities like it from villains, but he barely ever had the time to stop and just take the cities in. To appreciate the beauty around him. He allowed himself a moment to just breathe and felt his shoulders slowly relax. A genuine smile spread over his face, softening its edges.

Moving the objects he was carrying into one hand he crouched down a bit and held the other hand out towards Midoriya. “I have to carry you to my secret hideout. Teleporting there would probably not be a good idea.”

Midoriya tore his gaze from the view and blushed as he looked at Toshinori. He immediately got worried he’d overstepped some boundary and was about to withdraw his hand when the boy surprised him by jumping into his arms. Toshinori almost stumbled, but it was more from surprise than anything else as Midoriya barely weighed anything. He could easily hold the boy with one arm. When Midoriya put his head against his chest with a content sigh he could feel himself blush in turn. He didn’t know how to react to the blatant sign of trust. 

Clearing his throat he held Midoriya closer and then took a leap up into the sky. Midoriya screamed in surprise and fright and Toshinori realised too late he should have warned the boy about this part. Luckily their flight only lasted for about a second before he landed them safely on top of the planet, where the two rings formed a cross. There he had created a small ledge to sit on by punching in the metal until a space about twice as big as him and half a meter deep was created. He spread the blankets and pillows out in the space and carefully placed Midoriya among them before sitting down himself.

“Is this your secret hideout?” Midoriya asked and looked around curiously. Even when both of them was sitting down the boy was so short his head barely reached Toshinori’s elbow. For an outsider they must look ridiculous; the huge hero All Might with a tiny child sitting in what was basically a pillow fort. 

“Yeah, no one but me - and you now - know about it. Usually I come here at night to look at the stars when I can’t sleep.”

The boy grew sombre at that. “Do you ever have nightmares about your fights with villains?”

Toshinori looked at him in surprise. No one had ever asked him that during all his years as a hero. Everyone just assumed that the number one hero and Symbol of Peace was infallible and unable of feeling fear. Since Nana died no one had really worried about his mental state. Gran Torino had only trained him to be a fierce warrior. Furthermore ever since the moment he graduated from UA he had cultivated his image to appear invincible, always smiling in the face of danger.

Then he looked closer and recognised the expression on Midoriya’s face fro what it really was; suppressed fear and shame. He asked that because he himself had nightmares. He wanted assurance. 

Sighing deeply and forcing a small smile on his face despite the sad expression it wanted to take on, he turned completely towards Midoriya. “I have nightmares almost every night.” Midoriya looked up at him with a wide eye. Despite his question he hadn’t really believed that All Might could be afraid of anything. “I see all the people I’ve failed to reach in time. No matter how fast and strong I am there is still some people I’m too slow to help and every one of them haunts me. I can’t help but think that if I’d just been a bit faster, or noticed something was wrong earlier, I could have saved them too.”

Behind his closed eyes Nana smiled, bloodied form her fight with All for one. Behind her hundreds of people he had failed to save looked at him with sadness and accusation in their eyes. He remembered every single individual that had died because he wasn’t fast or good enough.  

Taking a deep breath he opened his eyes again and looked down at young Midoriya. Tears glittered in his eye, a wet patch spreading over his eye patch. Toshinori smiled sadly at him and put an arm around him.

“It is normal to have nightmares about traumatic events and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, my boy. I won’t assume to know what you sees when you close your eyes at night, but know that I have had nightmares about the time we were trapped beneath that building. I think I’ll dream nightmares about it forever, despite it ending at a happy note, because I can’t help but think about what could have happened. I could have lost the light that’s shining brightly right next to me right now, and I would never have been able to forgive myself for it.”

Midoriya sniffed and scrubbed at his eyes, pushing the eye patch away at the same time. It almost fell of his head, only hanging onto his hair. “I see the fallen building in my nightmares too. It and the b-burning apartment. I see the p-people I love d-dead. I see y-you crushed to death and m-mom burned to ashes." He hung his head and lowered his voice as if admitting to a great shame. "A-and ever since then I’ve b-been afraid of the d-dark and I t-think I might be clausto- clastophobic.”  

“Claustrophobic?” Toshinori gently suggested. 

“Yeah”, he sniffed and hid his face in his hands. “I got l-locked in a c-closet today – j-just as a joke-”, he was quick to add. Toshinori didn’t believe him one bit. He new form experience that you didn’t get locked in a closet just as a joke.  “-and I p-panicked. It f-felt like I was b-back there … beneath the b-building. I th-thought you were d-dying.”

This time Toshinori didn’t hesitate to pull Midoriya into a hug, holding him gentle against his broad chest. He could feel a wet patch spread over his shirt and just hugged the boy closer. Maybe he couldn't save Midoriya from his nightmares or fears, but right now he could hide him from a cruel world that seemed out to hurt him.  

“E-every second I feel you b-being in danger is a s-second I c-can’t help but fear will be your l-last. The very i-idea of l-losing any of my lights … I c-can’t bear it.” 

“Listen to me, young Midoriya”, Toshinori said and moved back just enough to meet the boy’s eyes. One was an emerald green while the other was pale, but both was overflowing with tears. He gently dried some away with the sleeve of his shirt. “Heroism is the most dangerous profession out there. Death always lies around the corner. It was something I had to learn when I was just a teenager.”

“I-is that supposed to be r-reassuring?” Midoriya asked with an almost accusatory tone. 

Toshinori laughed, though it was much subdued. “I’m telling you I know exactly how dangerous it is to be a hero, but it’s also a danger I’ve survived for longer than you’ve been alive. In all my years I’ve never met anyone that was my match. You don't have to worry about me.”

“B-but what if one day you do meet your match?”

Toshinori never fought against All for one, being shoved out of the way by his mentor, but he knew exactly how dangerous he was. His match was out there and for every day that passed their fateful meeting came closer. Seven holders of One for all had faced the villain and every single one of them had met their demise at his hands. No one had ever managed to defeat All for one. Toshinori knew that his chance of surviving that fight was slim. And yet ...

“Well that’s the thing about being a hero; you have to fight with everything in you. You can’t afford to lose when a villain is threatening the lives of innocents around you. Even if I one day have to fight someone stronger than me I will not be defeated. I will give everything I’ve got and I am going to win. That is a promise.”

Midoriya’s eyes turned fierce, a strong, green light seeming to shine behind them. The determination in them was almost frightening. “Promise that you won’t only win if that day comes; promise that you will also survive.”

This child is really something extra , Toshinori thought. 

“I promise I will do everything in my power to survive.” Toshinori meant every word. He didn’t know if he could keep his promise when he finally faced All for one but he would do everything in his power to keep it. “I promise to survive for you.”

The fierceness disappeared from Midoriya’s eyes and tears filled them once more. He sniffed and snuggled closer. Toshinori held him gently and combed his fingers through his fluffy hair.

“I’m still scared.”

“To feel fear is to be human. Everyone is scared sometimes.”

“Even you?”

“Yes, even me. I smile to hide it but I’m scared almost every time I face down a villain. Scared that I will lose and people will die as a result. Being brave is not about not feeling any fear. It’s about facing your fear straight on, with a big smile and a laugh.” Toshinori forced a wide smile upon his face. “Laugh in the face of your fears, Midoriya, and you will be able to do anything. I believe in you and know that you will be great. Because you are already great.”

Midoriya looked up at him and even though tears still trickled from his eyes a smile appeared on his face. It made his whole face light up and looked so hopeful that Toshinori felt his heart grow bigger in response. “Thank you, dad.”

Toshinori froze. Midoriya froze. The whole world seemed to freeze.

A wave of heat rushed up to his face and thawed him. At the same time Midoriya’s face turned redder than a strawberry - fitting considering his mop of green hair. He let go of Toshinori and waved his hands around in the air frantically, as if he tried to catch the word that had slipped out. 

“I-I didn’t mean- w-well I kinda mean, but it’s not like I see you as my f-father or anything! S-sure you’re like a father figure to m-me but you’re not my actual father and I s-should not have said that. W-wait no your n-not my father figure either. Y-you're just a … a mentor figure! Yeah!” He laughed awkwardly. “I totally don’t picture you as my dad. That would just be strange, r-right? So I didn’t mean to call you dad, it j-just slipped out on its own. Pleasedontbemadatme-”

More and more words just poured out of the clearly panicking Midoriya. Toshinori barely heard a single one of them, his brain busy screaming.

He called me dad? He called me dad. He called me dad! Midoriya don’t have a dad and therefore don’t use the word regularly, ergo he must really see me as a father figure to use it by mistake. Holy shit. He sees me as a father figure! I’m .... I’m really happy right now! But oh shit I have no idea how to be a good father to anyone! I can’t even have real plants in my apartment cuz I just end up killing them. Oh god I’m going to forget to feed him and he will die! I’m not ready for this! Abort, abort, abort!

Outwardly Toshinori didn’t show any of his panic, he just forced a laugh and gently squeezed the boy's shoulder, stopping his panicked muttering.

“Don’t worry, my boy! I know it was just a slip of the tongue, it happens to the best of us. I don’t take offence at all." He really didn't. Being called dad made his insides squirm with happiness, no matter how panicked it made him feel at the same time. "Though it does make me think. We have known each other for a while now and I’ve even showed you my secret hideout, so I think it would only be fair for you to call me Toshinori. Only in private of course - gotta keep my identity secret.”

“R-really?” Midoriya asked, stars in his eyes.

“Of course!”

“Then you have to call me Izuku.”

“As you wish, young Izuku”, Toshinori said, his smile turning completely genuine. 

Their phones buzzed at the same time, interrupting any further conversation. Just as good considering how awkward Toshinori felt in the situation. Nothing had prepared him for the prospect of being called dad.

Exchanging a surprised look they turned towards their phones. It was a message from Ms Midoriya in the group chat the three of them were in. 

Ms Midoriya: Izuku have to teleport to me right now, I’m afraid. I just came home from work and Katsuki seemed very concerned about you, Izuku. He said you were resting but wanted to go check on you. I managed to convince him to let me do it. Sorry to cut your training short but I need you home now. 

All Might: Don't worry about it, Ms Midoriya. Keeping our connection a secret is more important than training.

Young Midoriya: Don’t worry mom, I'll go back right now

Izuku glanced up at him shyly, cheeks reddening. Gingerly he leaned forward to wrap his arms around Toshinori in a hug. Considering the size difference Izuku didn’t have a chance to reach around Toshinori’s chest, while Toshinori’s arms in turn completely swallowed the boy.  

“Thank you, All M- I mean Toshinori.”

Toshinori smiled and looked up at the clouds passing by above. “No need to thank me. Now hurry back to your mother before she grows worried.”

Izuku withdrew from Toshinori’s arms and gave him one last smile before he disappeared in a flash of green. The moment Toshinori was sure he was alone he drew a deep breath and let it all out in a scream towards the indifferent sky. “Holy shit! Izuku just called me dad!”

He was in desperate need of help and pulled out his phone. “Don’t fail me now, Google."

 

All Might search history

 

Okay, so googling was a mistake. Now he had one more problem than he’d had before. There was no way he had a crush on Ms Midoriya, right?

Toshinori needed to talk to someone about all this, but whom? Nighteye was out of the question. David would have been the best option since he had a partner and a child of his own, but Toshinori hadn’t yet told him about the Midoriyas and this being the first he told David about them probably wasn't the brightest idea. Naomasa it was then. Hopefully talking with him would clear some things up, or at least making sure he could talk on the phone with Ms Midoriya later today without making a fool of himself. After all he did have some really important things to discuss with her. Like the fact he suspected her son was being bullied at school.

Besides, he had a few more things he wanted to discuss with the man. Like improving the security detail for Izuku and his mom. He felt a desperate need to protect them.

💚💚💚

Izuku had to suppress a scream as he finished teleporting back to his mom. His face burned brightly and he couldn’t help but fear that it was going to be stuck like that forever now. Forget Deku as a nickname, everyone would call him strawberry. 

“Izuku, what’s wrong?” Mom asked, voice shrill with worry as she pulled him into her arms.

“Could the earth just open up and swallow me right now, please?” Izuku hid his blushing face against his mom’s chest. “I can’t believe I called All Might dad just now! This is the most embarrassing day of my life.”

“... What?” Mom asked, sounding kind of choked. He couldn’t blame her.

“I just called All Might dad! And then I totally panicked and only made it worse. But he was cool about it and even asked me to call him by his first name!” Realisation finally caught up with him. “Oh. My. God. This is the best day of my life! All Might want me to call him by his first name, and then he called me by my first name. I can die happy now.” 

“I’m happy for you?” The way she uttered the words made them sound like a question. “But why do you have a compressor on your cheek? Are you hurt?”

“Oh.” In his embarrassment and then following excitement he had completely forgotten what happened at school today. The pain from his many bruises slammed into him full force and he had to repress a wince. “I fell down a pair of stairs today at school.”

“What?! Why?” Inko immediately began to examine him. She pulled his shirt up to expose his bruised abdomen and gasped in horror. 

Izuku forced himself to laugh and scratched the back of his head as if he was embarrassed. He really didn’t want to think any more about what had transpired earlier today and he hated lying to his mom. “I was just careless and didn’t watch where I was going. Lack of depth perception can be really hard sometimes.”

“Oh baby, please be more careful in the future”, she cried out and carefully pulled him into another hug, mindful of his bruises. “I can’t stand seeing you hurt.”

“Sorry, mom. I’ll try to be more careful.”

“I’ll go get you some ice packs for the bruises and some painkillers for the pain.” She patted his cheek and walked out of their room. 

Taking a deep breath Izuku sunk into the soft mattress of the bed. He closed his eyes to try and relax, only to immediately sit up straight. He blinked in shock, not sure what he was seeing was a trick of his mind or real.

All M- Toshinori’s light had turned completely orange, the same colour as his mom’s. 

Chapter Text

Shouta sighed as he stepped through the door into the apartment he shared with Hizashi. It was dark inside with only a sliver of light coming in through the windows from the street below. Silence lay heavy in the dark apartment; the heavy kind that only really settled late at night when the whole world was asleep. It was the kind of silence that made you sneak around on your toes, barely daring to breath out of fear of disturbing the quiet.

An almost silent meow welcomed him home as his cat Snuffles walked up to him. Black as she was only her glowing, green eyes were visible in the deep darkness. She pressed her face into his legs and began purring. The soft sound didn't disturb the thick silence. It merely augmented how thick it was.

Shouta squatted to scratch Snuffles behind the ears and her purring grew even louder. He allowed himself a moment here to let the last of the tension bleed from his rigid shoulders and his pulse to settle. Breathing in deeply through his nose he savoured the unique smell of his home that he always missed during long days out on a mission. 

When he rose to his feet again his joints popped like he was an old man (Hizashi would always joke that he actually was an old man, even though he was a few months younger than the other). Shouta didn’t bother going into the kitchen to make himself something to eat. He probably should have considering it had been hours since his last meal and he’d been on patrol all day. He just didn’t have the energy to spare for it and only wanted to sleep. Hizashi could scold him for it as much as he wanted in the morning. 

Stepping into their bedroom he was greeted by quiet snoring. A smile came unbidden to his lips, a small soft one he reserved to Hizashi. No matter how much he would argue the opposite - and frankly grumble about it - Shouta loved to hear Hizashi’s snores. It was something soothing about them. Whenever Shouta’s insomnia kept him awake at night or a nightmare woke him up, hearing those snores was like music to his ears. If he could hear them it meant that he and the man he loved were both safe. They always managed to relax him and were among the only things that could make him actually sleep on bad nights. Combined with being in Hizashi’s arms and hearing his heartbeat, of course. 

Since he didn’t want to wake his fiancé Shouta didn’t bother turning on any lights. He could see well enough anyway with the light sneaking in through the curtains. Besides, as an underground hero he was used to working in dark environments (what was it with black market deals and keeping a dark aesthetic? You’d think they would want a lot of light so they could actually see what they were doing). He managed to undress almost soundlessly, except for the slight sound of fabric rustling. Naked he crawled under the covers and sighed in relief as he was finally allowed to rest. Carefully he snuggled closer to Hizashi until he could press his face into the curve of his neck. Taking a deep breath of the smell that was just Hizashi’s - their laundry detergent that simply smelled ‘fresh’ on Shouta’s insistence, plus the smell of his cologne, which was a heady mix of pineapple, birch, and musk - his entire body turned into putter as he relaxed. Snuffles jumped into the bed after him and curled up at their feet. In the morning she'd end up on Shouta's face.

Without really thinking about it - since he did it like every night - Shouta pressed his cold feet against Hizashi's warm calves. What he did not expect was for his fiancé to wake up with a half formed shout. Green eyes shot open and searched the room with rising panic until his eyes landed on Shouta. 

“SHOU-”, he began to scream, quirk activated, but Shouta was quick to activate his own and cut Hizashi off. The interrupted scream seemed to echo around the dark bedroom and out into the world beyond. The silence had been brutally torn apart into bloody, dripping pieces. It wasn’t until the last echo left with a bloodless whisper that Shouta let his burning eyes fall closed. 

“It’s the middle of the night, Hizashi, stop screaming”, Shouta grumbled out. His voice was barely above a whisper. The night might have been disrupted but it still felt wrong to talk too loudly. 

“Sorry, babe, I was just really surprised to see you. I didn’t expect to see you at all until your mission is completed.” His eyes widened and a grin spread over his lips. “Wait, does that mean you’re already finished? Did you catch Dragon?”

“No I didn’t. In fact I’m not even a bit closer to finding him. You can thank All Might for me being here.” He bit out the last part, the words sour on his tongue. Shouta had thought there would never arrive a day when he would express any kind of gratitude towards the obnoxious number one hero. Don’t get him wrong, Shouta was grateful for everything the man had done to keep the peace in Japan, he just couldn't stand the man and would rather swallow his own tongue than admit to any kind of admiration. 

“Wait, did you say All Might?” Hizashi exclaimed and Shouta cringed at how his voice rang in the quiet room.

“Volume, Hizashi.” Snuffles meowed her agreement.

“Sorry”, he said and ducked his head. His long, blonde hair fell over his face and hid it, but Shouta knew his fiancé and best friend well enough to know he was grinning and not in the slightest apologetic about his volume. Though on the other hand he also knew that Shouta didn’t mind it as much as he pretended to do. 

“Anyway, yeah thanks to All Might. He somehow heard of the case and though he is too busy himself-” Shouta had to keep himself from growling, “-he made sure to give Tsukauchi all the resources he needed. A bit more than really needed to be frank. So a bunch of other underground heroes, as well as a few regular heroes, are now on the case as well. As a result I’ll get a bit more downtime every now and then. But since I was the first hero assigned to the case I’m the leader, together with Tsukauchi, so don’t expect me every night, alright?”

“Oh, that’s great, babe! I’ve really missed you the last couple of weeks. Just talking to you on the phone isn’t enough.” Hizashi pulled Shouta closer and he pretended to grumble over it but he was actually quite pleased with the attention. In the privacy of his own mind he could admit to having missed Hizashi a great deal. 

“Didn’t you hear what I just said? I’ll still be very busy with this case.”

“Yes, but you will be here a bit more and that’s everything I can ask for”, he cheered and pressed his face into Shouta’s chest. If the laughter hadn’t made Hizashi’s happiness absolutely apparent then the big grin he felt against his skin would have been revealing on its own. His giddiness was contagious and Shouta couldn’t help but huff out a laugh, a grin spreading over his face.  

“You are an idiot”, he tried to grumble out, but the affection was obvious even in his own ears. 

“I love you, Shouta”, Hizashi said and kissed him, still grinning all the while. Shouta shoved him away with an amused shake of his head.

“Yeah, yeah, love you too or something. Now go to sleep, I’m tired.”

💚💚💚

Hisashi grinned as Kurogiri dropped him off in a quiet neighbourhood in a suburb to Tokyo. It was the middle of the night and everyone was asleep. The silence lay heavy over the street; the only sound that of the whispering wind and the nocturnal animals shuffling around in the bushes. The closest animals fled when he appeared but the wind seemed to embrace him, dancing around his body in joyful fits. He opened his arms as if to embrace it back. 

It was a dark night, the stars and moon hidden by dark clouds, but luckily there would be no rain tonight. That would have thrown a wrench in his plans. The only light came from the streetlamps. All of the houses were dark, curtains drawn over the windows. There were not a soul to be seen. 

Decked up in an upgraded version of the suit he’d worn as Dragon - courtesy of All for One - Hisashi looked up at the building in front of him. The suit was mostly black with red flames along his forearms and shins as well as over his chest. It was made of fire resistant materials. Since his identity was already revealed he didn't bother with the mask he’d worn before his sentencing. A cooling mechanism was built into the suit around his chest and neck to help combat his problems with overheating. Multiple weapons were hidden in the suit as well. It really was a work of art and one of the benefits of working with All for One. 

Another benefit was the extensive network of informants All for One controlled. It hadn't been hard to get his hands on some information through it. Like where the judge who had sentenced him to prison was currently living. 

He had survived his time in prison by imagining himself killing every single person who had had a hand in his sentencing. Inko was at the top of his list of course, but after he’d failed the first attempt she had gained an extensive security detail that stopped further attempts. He had been lucky that All for One agreed that killing everyone on his list would make a great distraction for the heroes until they found another opening to get to the Midoriyas. 

There were dozens of people on his list, including police officers, heroes, journalist and members of the court of law - All for One had added some extra people for him to kill, but Hisashi didn’t really count them. It would take a few weeks considering he had to be careful not to get caught, and he was looking forward to every single minute of them. 

The burning of the apartment Inko lived in had been supposed to look natural, but these burnings were about making a statement. Because of that he was allowed to follow his old procedures from back in the day. He also made sure to smirk at a security camera positioned nearby. There would be no question about who had burned down this house.  

Hisashi hummed quietly as he blocked all exits to the house. He poured out gasoline in strategic places and made absolute sure no one would be able to escape the fire. 

When everything was to his standards he breathed deeply to fan the fire inside his stomach. Once it burned violently inside he opened his mouth wide and let out a stream of white-hot fire. Within seconds the house was ablaze and he stepped back into the street to watch as the house burned. Screams sounded from inside as the judge and his family woke up to find themselves trapped in a fiery hell.  It was music to his ears.

Hisashi threw his head backwards and laughed up at the dark sky. He had to stop himself from doing a victory dance. One of the people on his list had finally met their fiery doom at his hands. He hadn’t felt this exalted since the day he was freed from prison. 

“It’s time to go”, Kurogiri said as he appeared behind him, rudely interrupting Hisashi. Hisashi scowled at him. He wanted to stay until the house burned to the ground and his victim was nothing more than ashes. Kurogiri remained unfazed by his anger. “We still have two more places to visit tonight.”

That last bit managed to bring a smile back to his face. It was time to visit his good for nothing lawyer and the prosecutor who had damned him to that hell. 

And soon he would have his second chance to finally burn his traitorous ex-wife into a crisp.