Actions

Work Header

Ashes Rise

Chapter Text

The raindrops turned to hailstones as they touched his right side and evaporated immediately as they landed on his left. Well hidden in night’s shadows, Shoto sat in a crouch against the chimney of the building across the street from the one he’d set aflame. Only his eyes reflected the glow of the fire before him, the rest of his carefully impassive face hidden behind his black mask.

 

He didn’t want to stay and watch the destruction he caused, but when had it ever mattered what he wanted? No, he had to stay to make sure his fire wasn’t put out by the rain...although there wasn’t much that could douse his flames once they were ignited. The firefighters below were certainly trying.

 

There was no satisfaction in the way he watched his work, only numbness and a thoroughly beat-back sense of regret. There was no reason to care, today. He’d done his job, and he’d hurt no one, having made sure the Representative’s family was out of town that night. The things of theirs he burnt could be replaced. All he’d needed to save were the four files he kept tightly under his arm.

 

He only had one more target after this, that night. Then he could stop. Then he could go home and Dad might say “good” and he might get to sleep.

 

He was just considering the consequences of falling asleep right where he sat when he heard it. A noise.

 

A scream.

 

It was muffled by layers of walls, the shouts of the firemen, and crackling fire, but it was there.

 

Shoto turned his head sharply, eyes scanning the house for the source of the scream. He didn’t know whether to be relieved when it stopped. Either this person had realized that screaming was a waste of air when you’re in a fire, or...or—

 

Where were the heroes? This was the only thing they were supposed to do. They were supposed to save people like this when people like him— villains—put them in danger!

 

A cold rush of realization told him that no one was coming . The firefighters were useless, completely unaware of the danger this person was in, the danger that he had put them in—

 

His body seemed to act of its own accord as he flew from the edge of the rooftop and across the street, propelled by a jet of ice. He froze and then shattered the glass of the large, frontal window of the burning house, landing nimbly in what appeared to be the master bedroom. Stomping his right foot, he created a path of ice for himself through the deteriorating door frame. Nearly the entire room was black, specked with flickering tails of fire that climbed upwards and grew. He heard a starchy groan from the planks of the ceiling, and threw himself through what had been the door just as the room collapsed.

 

He landed on his side, absently noting that the ice he’d crusted the floor with was rapidly melting. He wheezed a cough, having inhaled sharply when he had jumped, bringing thick smoke into his lungs. Looking back where he’d entered from, Shoto saw that he no longer had an exit that way. He tried not to panic; he needed to remain functional and control his breathing. He stood up, again spreading ice throughout the...hallway. Yes, it was a hallway. He turned to his left and tried to kick in one of the doors, but his foot, then entire body, went right through it because of its burning, softened state.

 

He looked around the room wildly, freezing its edges in a thick layer of ice. “Any—” he coughed again, bringing a piece of his shirt to his already covered mouth. “Anyone in here?!”

 

Receiving no answer, he ran to the center of the room and turned a few times to scan it for any people. This room was so burnt that he couldn’t tell what it once had been. Satisfied it was empty, he ran out and through the hall once more, bursting through another door on the opposite side.

 

He paused when he saw a mobile, dangling charred cartoon-like stars and planets, remarkably still in place on the ceiling. This was a child’s room.

 

Of course he’d known this family had children—two—but to see this kid’s room burning with his own fire made his actions so much more real. So much more cruel. This was wrong. Thiswaswrongthiswaswrongthiswaswrong.

 

He shook himself back to reality when a burning piece of wood fell, brushing his shoulder. What was right was stopping someone from getting harmed by his actions. He looked around. There was no one in there either.

 

Running from this room as well, Shoto tripped on what remained of the bottom of the door.  He caught himself before he fell completely, but as he righted himself he felt so dizzy and light-headed that he could hardly see. He needed to work fast, before the smoke overcame him.

 

He breathed ice into his mask, frosting over the fabric to that it would melt into water and stop some of the smoke from getting into his lungs. Just as he was trying to build up strength to kick through the third door, he faintly heard another cough from somewhere further down the hall and...he listened for it again...to the right.

 

He barreled towards the sound on weakening limbs, coughing dryly the entire way. This time, he didn’t waste a second trying to bust through the door with his body, instead shooting a low ramp of ice through the bottom, effectively shattering the wood into crumbling black splinters.

 

The person—a blue-haired woman—was in his immediate view, and their eyes locked for a moment before hers fluttered closed. “Help me,” she coughed weakly.

 

Shoto did just that, somehow finding strength to lift her into his arms despite hardly having enough strength to lift his own body. She was carrying something herself, he noticed. Something soft was in her arms. He figured he’d take that with them too as he looked around, somewhat sluggishly, for an exit.

 

There were no windows that he could see, and he really didn’t have time to look. Knowing how easily the structure of the house had been crumbling, he decided he’d have to bust through the wall. He quickly  froze all the planes of the room so that rubble from the collapsing ceiling could not trap them underneath.

 

Using his last burst of strength, Shoto’s ice erupted into a massive glacial wall that created a wide opening in the the building. He stumbled forward into the cool, wet, air, throwing himself and the lady he carried out of the building through the nearest crack he found. They had to fall farther than he’d expected, but he created a smooth ramp of ice to slow their impact as he rolled out the landing.

 

Once they lay still, Shoto reached up and felt for a pulse on the woman’s neck. He sighed with relief, but it came out as a dry wheeze. This triggered a coughing fit that left more and more gray spots in his vision as it went on.

 

“Hey, over there!!”

 

The firemen were coming. He had to move. Fast.

 

He started to sit up, but fell back down again as his vision fuzzed out. It felt like one of those dreams when his body didn’t work like it was supposed to. He rolled himself over into his stomach to and tried to get up using his arms. He made it to one knee but heaved over again, coughing uncontrollably.

 

The last thing he saw was a slowly tilting image of a few neon-striped firemen rushing forward.

 

———<>———

 

Shoto awoke to the sound of his own rapidly beeping heart monitor. He didn’t recognize that at first, confused and disoriented by the bright lights and the nightmare he’d snapped awake from.

 

Immediately alarmed by the unfamiliar setting, he tried to move, but a searing pain in his head kept him down. His eyes darted around as he forced himself to calm down.

 

He was not where he was supposed to be. He’d screwed up somehow and now he was in the wrong place. He was in a...hospital, the room and the mask on his face told him. He’d never been treated in a hospital, wasn’t supposed to. He needed to leave. There was only one right place he could be and that was showing Dad proof of the success of his missions.

 

Why was he here anyway? It took more effort than it should’ve to remember, probably due to his possible head injury and whatever drugs the hospital had plugged into him, but he recalled his last few waking moments. He’d retrieved the files, burned the building, and...saved that woman, getting himself caught, apparently, in the process.

 

He noticed his wrists secured to the sides of his hospital bed, and reflexively tried to activate his quirks to break out of them. Nothing happened. Quirk suppressing drugs, he guessed. He was well and truly trapped.

 

Oh, he was in so much trouble.

 

He could hear his panic increase by the sounds of his breathing and the heart monitor. No nonononono he couldn’t do this now! He needed to leave! Somehow, the worry of losing processing ability because of his panic only fueled it, and before he could fully process it, he had lost himself in a panic attack.

 

*

 

It died out as he exhausted himself, and he was oddly thankful for the breathing mask

on his face because it must’ve helped. He fell back asleep.

 

*

 

When he woke up again, it was slower. When his eyes did crack open, he immediately saw that he was not alone in the room. He hurriedly closed his eyes again, hoping no one had noticed.

 

“Ah, he’s awake,” a low male voice commented.

 

Shoto tensed. This person sounded close, on the left side of his bed. He heard light footsteps from across the room, so there were at least two people in there with him. Well, he’d know better if he opened his eyes, he supposed.

 

Right in front of his face was a slender hand holding something white...his eyes focused...a plastic cup. He looked at it quizzically, also noting that he was no longer wearing a breathing mask.

 

“Drink,” a woman instructed. Someone who appeared to be a nurse.

 

Sure, he was thirsty; his throat was so dry he must’ve swallowed that entire house fire . But he didn’t know what they might’ve put in the water. So no, he wouldn’t drink it.

 

Another hand was suddenly on the back of his neck, trying to push him forward. He flinched away. The man on his left murmured something, and the nurse backed off.

 

“It’s just tap water,” the man said.

 

Shoto ignored him. “Touch me again and I’ll kill you,” he said to the nurse, trying to pin her down with the icy glare he’d perfected. He felt as stupid as he’d probably sounded, saying that, knowing he was in no position to be making threats. Still, he needed to let them know that he would not be cooperating.

 

“No, you won’t,” the raven-haired man said. Grumbled, more like. Shoto turned his head to see the man held a slight smirk. “Leave us,” he said to the nurse, who hurried off, setting the water on the table at the foot of Shoto’s bed.

 

The man continued. “You burn, you fight, you steal, you sabotage, but...you never kill.”

 

“Killing’s wrong,” Shoto said simply, never breaking eye contact. No matter how many times he’d been punished for saying so, that was one thing he just knew.

 

“So’s arson.”

 

Shoto stared at him harder, waiting for the man to avert his eyes. He didn’t. Shoto couldn’t stop the hints of confusion that reached his face. “Who are you?” he demanded.

 

“Aizawa Shota. Pro hero: Eraserhead.”

 

“What do you want from me?”

 

“That’s not how this works. What’s your name, kid?”

 

Shoto hesitated, but this man intrigued him. He went forward. “Todoroki Shoto.”

 

“How old are you?”

 

“Why does that matter?”

 

“It just does.”

 

“Fifteen. How old are you?”

 

Aizawa chuckled. “Thirty.”

 

“And why are you here?”

 

“I’m here to make you an offer.”

 

Shoto tilted his head slightly, squinting his eyes. Did this man want him to work for him? Turn over his dad? In exchange for what, a shorter sentence?

 

“Look: either you can spend the next ten to twenty years in a reform prison without your quirk…”

 

Shoto shivered, and he never got cold.

 

“...or you can stay with me and my husband as we teach at the UA high school.”

 

Shoto looked forward again, scowling at the large mirror in across the room from him that he knew hid people behind it. Aizawa let him process for a moment.

 

“Why would you do that for me? Why would you care?”

 

Aizawa exhaled. “What I do...is look for potential in young people. And you...well, you’re smart, you’re powerful, you’re thoroughly misguided, and somewhere...somewhere, you’re good. I can tell.

 

He could tell, huh? Shoto scoffed, although on some level he knew Aizawa was right. He was different from his dad, and his brother; he didn’t possess the same kind of hatred for society that they did, but he was angry. Angry in his own shielded, refined way, and not for the same reasons.

 

After a moment, he was starting to seriously consider this offer. He wasn’t sure exactly why, though, yet. Either this was his chance to get out of the life he’d been living, or else a better chance at escape from his current predicament. It was way easier to escape one man, after all.

 

Aizawa could probably sense his indecision. “You saved the Iwaskis’ housekeeper, and their cat, putting yourself in serious danger in doing so. That’s more the behavior of a reckless hero than a ruthless villain, wouldn’t you say?”

 

“A...hero?” There was no way he could ever be a hero. Not after what he’d done. After what had been done to him. Even his mother, the woman who had paid so dearly for ever suggesting to him he could be something different, had given up on seeing anything other than evil in him.

 

“It’s not beyond your prospects, if you work hard to become better. You’re young.”

 

This Aizawa man was beginning to annoy him. It was like he didn’t even know who he was talking to. “I’m a known villain!”

 

“Yes, and I’m on the team that’s been looking for you for the last four months. You’ve done a great job giving us the impression you’re two different people.” He frowned. “Scary good, actually.”

 

It was somewhat gratifying to learn that his efforts had payed off, at least in that area. All for naught though, now. “What exactly are you saying?”

 

“Only your agency and the government would have to know your history. It would be easy to prove to them that you were forced to do what you did by your father. Hellflame, right?”

 

Shoto nodded carefully, not entirely sure what exactly he was affirming. What surprised him was Aizawa’s quick assumption regarding his connection with his father. Did he not seem like he had his own motives? Did he just come off as weak that way? “How’d you know?”

 

“How did I know?” Aizawa raised an eyebrow. “You...share a quirk, your targets match his agenda…”

 

“You know what I mean! What says I don’t want to do what he tells me, or that I don’t work on my own?”

 

Aizawa pursed his lips and sighed through his nose. He chose his words carefully. “You’ll find all of your injuries have been seen to.”

 

Shoto froze—or his insides did, as he’d hardly been moving to begin with—, mind immediately trying to close off the flows of hollow panic. It wasn’t just the idea of someone else—an enemy—knowing about his weakness that caused his discomfort. It was also the reminder of what would happen if he were to return to his father having revealed his identity and his affiliation, having been so foolish as to get caught, having failed. He couldn’t imagine.

 

Actually, he could.

 

He just shouldn’t.

 

“I’ll go with you,” Shoto said quickly, before he could regret it entirely. He watched Aizawa in the mirror.

 

He saw him smile.

Chapter Text

“My mother was a pro hero,” Shoto said as he and Aizawa finally left the hospital that afternoon.  Shoto was dressed in some light-colored loose jeans and a white v-neck the hospital had given him. He knew they wouldn’t give him his costume back, so he hadn’t even asked.

 

He fiddled with the medical bracelet on his wrist, wishing for his fire quirk so he could do away with it without such struggle. He felt so vulnerable like this, although he did understand why the authorities felt the need to make him wear the quirk suppressing bands “for at least a week,” Aizawa had said. Frankly, he’d be a little offended if they didn’t.

 

“Oh?”

 

Shoto nodded, following Aizawa into the parking garage. “Her name— hero name—was ‘Frost.’”

 

“Ah, your ice quirk.” Aizawa pulled his car keys from his pocket, then stopped in his tracks, just for a moment, when he realized the implications of Shoto’s words. “I knew your mother. Well, of her. She was a popular hero when I was a kid, until she went missing…” Aizawa stopped talking, looking cautious.

 

Shoto wanted him to keep talking. To keep telling him about his mother and who she used to be before when he knew her. He looked at him intently, but Aizawa looked uncomfortable in his drawn-out pause.

 

The older man sighed, leaning against a small black car—which Shoto assumed was his—with one hand. “I’m sorry, but I have to ask: do you know where your mother is now? Is she alive?”

 

Somehow, this question caught him by surprise. “No. Well, yes, I know where she is: she’s dead,” he stuttered.

 

         “ She hurt you, my masterpiece, so I disposed of her.”

 

“And...for the time that she was with you, was she there willingly?”

 

Why would he ask that? His mom was dead, so it couldn’t matter now. Not to Aizawa, at least.

 

He couldn’t say anything, anyways. Nothing that related to Dad.

 

However, there was an undeniable urge to defend his mother’s integrity, if Aizawa was questioning if she’d fallen into a supervillain’s arms willingly. She had been an angel on earth; the only goodness his life had ever seen.

 

“My mom was a hero until the day she died,” he said forcefully. Proudly.

 

Why would a villain be proud of a hero mother?

 

He’d been raised to hate heroes, to fear them, tofightthemtokillthemtodestroytheirhierarchy—

 

Aizawa seemed to recognize that he’d lost Shoto in his thoughts. “Shit. I gotta go pay for parking…”

 

Shoto wasn’t entirely sure how the whole “paying for parking” thing worked, being a villain and all, but he thought it was a little weird to have it at a hospital. Anyways, that didn’t matter.

 

What mattered was that Aizawa was stalking away to a machine on the side of the garage.

 

He was a good five meters away, with his back turned.

 

Shoto was fast, even without his quirk.

 

The public didn’t know what he looked like.

 

This was his chance.

 

Shoto darted forward, trying to keep his footsteps as quiet as possible. He knew Aizawa was a pro hero, and would notice, so he’d have to hide close by and wait for him to pass—

 

No.

 

 

This was his chance.

 

His chance to leave; to stop doing things that deep down, he knew were wrong. His chance to escape his inevitable future of being forced to fight and be killed by All Might. His chance to get away from Dad’s hot-iron grasp. His chance to be free.

 

He wasn’t sure he deserved this second chance, but now he had it, and he was not going to waste it.

 

He stopped dead just as he ran into the outside light, shaking and twitching forward as his subconscious told him he had to run back to Dad. Because if he didn’t, he’d pay.

 

He heard someone’s slow footsteps come up behind him. Aizawa, who just stood there for a while. So did Shoto.

 

Eventually, it was Shoto who broke the silence. “Can you keep me…ss” he regretted the words as soon as he started to speak. They sounded pathetic.

 

“Safe? Hellflame wouldn’t dare attack UA. He can’t hurt you as long as you’re with me. With us.”

 

Shoto hated how it sounded like Aizawa had known what he was going to say and had even prepared a response. He seemed to have trusted that he wouldn’t go anywhere.

 

Shoto bit his lip and looked down, unwilling to face the man he’d just betrayed the trust of and tried to flee. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled.

 

“Don’t apologize. That was a test, and I’m glad you made the right choice.”

 

Shoto turned. “You think you could’ve stopped me?”

 

Aizawa just raised an eyebrow.

 

“Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get in the car.”

 

Shoto followed him as he walked in the other direction, still eying him warily. He didn’t like being “tested,” and Aizawa had better learn that.

 

“You hungry?” Aizawa asked.

 

Shoto shook his head no.

 

“Alright.” It sounded like Aizawa didn’t believe him, but the pro didn’t push any further.

 

The two opened their doors and got in the car almost in sync. It was strange for Shoto to open a car door that was already unlocked; he usually relied on his ice to break the mechanisms open the handle or else shatter the glass. He might have even done so just then if he didn’t have the suppressor bands on, just as a reflex.

 

Aizawa pulled out of the garage. “Seatbelt,” he instructed glancing over at Shoto who had his head leaning against the window.

 

Shoto mumbled  a “no” after a brief pause, probably one of confusion. He’d never been told to use a seatbelt before, or even really considered it. Now, he just didn’t like the idea of being stuck to a chair.



Sighing and continuing to drive, Aizawa figured he’d just have to use his capture weapon in the case of an accident, which was very unlikely.



As they drove through the city, Shoto found it strange how different it looked in the daylight. Much more colorful. Loads more people. He supposed that maybe, in his mind, the only people who existed we who he saw at night. Other villains, heroes, the occasional cat or civilian working a night job.  

 

“Hmm,” Aizawa grumbled after a bit. “Suppose I’d better tell you exactly what’ll happen when we get there.”

 

Shoto said nothing but slowly turned his head, showing his attention almost tiredly.

 

“First I think I’ll show you to where we’ll be sleeping. Then you’ll need to meet the staff, because I can’t watch you 24/7. They all know your situation.”

 

The idea of ‘meeting the staff’ did not appeal to Shoto. Part of him wished he could just hide away, only Aizawa even knowing he existed.

 

“So...there will be people watching me ‘24/7’?”

 

Aizawa actually took a moment to look over to Shoto apologetically. “Not watching , per se, but...nearby. And it’s not just because we think you’ll get up to something. It’s also to protect you.”

 

Shoto huffed and looked out the window. Sure, he wouldn’t trust him entirely in this situation, either, but shouldn’t the fact that he hadn’t run away just a few minutes prior when he had the opportunity prove that he wasn’t going anywhere, at least for the time being?

 

“I’d also like to show you around the school. I know it might be too soon, but if you take and do well on the entrance exam, I think I could convince the principal to enroll you.”

 

Shoto kept his somewhat shocked expression facing the window. He couldn’t imagine himself attending a school like a normal kid. He didn’t even know what that looked like.

 

“A hero school. Hero course.” He was beginning to think that Aizawa might be delusional. Maybe he thought Shoto had potential, but surely the rest of the staff wouldn’t bother with him.

 

“Mm. Well, you’d be wasted in business or support.” He left it at that.

 

*

 

They arrived some twenty minutes later at the backside of a building near the school, and Shoto was pretty sure Aizawa had driven in purposefully by the front gates of the school on the way  to make it look as grand as possible. And it did look grand. It looked almost menacing in its proudness. Shoto felt like he shouldn’t be there.

 

They parked in a sort of high-ceilinged storage area with a large garage door. It closed noisily behind them as they left the car, Aizawa going back and retrieving a duffle bag from the back seat. He saw Shoto watching him.

 

“Paper work, mostly,” Aizawa explained, slinging the bag over his shoulder.

 

Shoto’s eyes widened almost imperceptibly. He was rather surprised there was paperwork already created to fill out for this situation, and from the looks of it there was quite a lot.

 

As he started after Aizawa, his eyes traveled forward on the line of the hero’s trajectory to a small door on the far wall. Out if it stepped a small, white figure as they approached.

 

Shoto didn’t have the best eyesight, but the person before him was recognizable. He had become quite a problem for villains, one it was important to think of before creating plans. His status came from outwitting villains, and he had become quite notorious.

 

Shoto smirked, feeling a small surge of pride; he himself never been outwitted.

 

He didn’t know the tiny polar bear man’s name though. Started with an ‘N’ and was relatively short, he was pretty sure. Actually, as Shoto moved closer, polar bear man looked more like a mouse or rat.

 

“Hello!” the rat-bear called in a cheerful, somewhat nasal voice.

 

“Principal Nezu,” Aizawa greeted, much less enthusiastically.

 

Right, Nezu— Shoto had known that, somewhere. He was somewhat grateful to Aizawa for letting him know the principal’s name without downright telling him, and was almost certain it had been intentional.

 

“This must be young Todoroki!”

 

That was a rather stupid thing for someone so smart to say, Shoto thought. Who else would he be? Clearly Aizawa had been communicating with him that morning if Nezu knew his name.

 

Shoto saw Aizawa bow as they stopped in front of Nezu. He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to as well. Probably was. He leaned forward slightly, but then tried to catch Nezu’s eye to show that he wasn’t intimidated.

 

“Let’s go in, shall we?” Nezu waved them through the doorway. They entered a plain, cream colored hallway.

 

Despite his subtle attempts to walk in a formation where Aizawa was in between himself and Nezu, he ended up sandwiched between the two, following Nezu. The principal clearly knew where he was going, and walked swiftly. Shoto memorized the turns they took, now knowing that they led to an exit. He didn’t necessarily want to leave...but he did like having options.

 

He trusted Aizawa enough by this point that he didn’t feel the need to look over his shoulder every few seconds, but he did glance periodically.

 

“You may want to stop by your students on your way to your quarters. They’ve been missing you,” Nezu called over his shoulder.

 

“I’m sure.”

 

“There’s been a lot of speculation as to why you’ve been absent all day. You may owe your kids an explanation.”

 

Aizawa sighed, again. He seemed to do that a lot.

 

All three of them stepped into the elevator, and Shoto placed himself tightly in the corner for the short time they were in there.

 

“This is where we part. I will go tell the other teachers you are here.” Nezu pattered away.

 

Shoto swallowed, reminded of the impending meeting of the staff. They’d hate him.

 

Aizawa turned to him, adjusting the strap of his duffel bag. “We’re on the same level as the commons, where my class stays before and after school. Would you like to meet my students?”

 

Shoto shook his head harshly, wondering why Aizawa would even ask such a question. He didn’t seem like a very sociable guy, despite how often he talked to Shoto.

 

“Thought so. Our rooms are this way.” Aizawa turned the corner to the left, and Shoto followed. “My husband, Present Mic, and I have rooms next to each other, with a door that joins our walls. We keep our marriage a secret, apart from the other teachers here, so don’t tell anyone.”

 

“Who would I even tell?”

 

Aizawa smirked. “Yeah, I’m not terribly concerned about that. I will move into Hi—Present Mic’s room for the time being while you sleep in mine. The cats wander in and out.” He turned the key and pushed the door in to reveal a comparatively barren room with a dark comforter and curtains.

 

There were a few scarves on a coat rack by the door, and a desk that, despite its neatness, was still covered in papers. Looking back, Shoto saw that there was indeed a rather large cat flap on the door. He remembered having to squeeze through a dog door on a mission, once, in order to not give himself away with damage—it was not one of his most dignified moments. He briefly entertained himself by wondering whether or not he could fit through this one.

 

Shoto saw Aizawa crouch down and touch the floor, frowning when he picked up what Shoto assumed was cat fur. “I told Present Mic to tidy the room, but I guess he forgot to vacuum.”

 

Good thing Shoto literally couldn’t care less.

 

“S’pose it’s better than the time he had Thirteen come in and…” Aizawa trailed off, grimacing and standing up again. He seemed to think for a moment as he looked about the room. “You’ll need clothes, won’t you.”

 

Shoto had forgotten all about that. He didn’t have money to buy any, and he knew Aizawa probably wouldn’t let him steal clothes or money to buy them with. He supposed he could wear Aizawa’s clothes—the black thing he was wearing looked suitable, if a bit large. It was his hero costume, so he would probably have spares.

 

Although it might just be wrong for him to wear a hero costume.

 

“We’ll fix with that tomorrow, I guess. I have some clean sweatpants you can wear to bed, and maybe a...school uniform in the morning. You want to rest here a bit before we greet the teachers?”

 

Shoto nodded. Anything to put off this meeting.

 

“And...ugh, there’s something I’ve been putting off. Sit down.”

 

Shoto considered refusing, or at least resisting, but thought better of it and sat carefully on the edge of the bed. His heart was in his throat for no obvious reason while Aizawa rifled through his duffle bag, eventually pulling out some sort of silver band in a plastic bag.

 

“What is that?” Shoto asked, first coughing to try and get the thickness out of his voice.

 

Aizawa pulled it out of the bag. “Tracker,” he said, stepping closer. Shoto scootched away a bit, just reflexively, and looked looked closely at the tracker.

 

It was a pretty thin and bendy metallic bracelet that looked rather too large for his wrist.

 

“Goes on your ankle. Pick a leg.” Aizawa crouched down in front of him. For some reason, it made him slightly more comfortable when Aizawa was in a lower position.

 

Why was it suddenly so hard to remember what legs he had to choose from? After a flash of complete mental emptiness, Shoto ended up making his decision based on which side it would be easier to break the thing off with if he regained access to his quirk.

 

“Left,” he said. Aizawa started froward, paused for a moment, probably because he caught on to Shoto’s reasoning, then continued. When his fingers brushed the hem of Shoto’s left pant leg, Shoto jerked back. “Can—can I do it?”

 

Aizawa shook his head. “No, sorry. There’s a bit of a trick to it, and I need to make sure it’s on properly.”

 

Shoto bit his lip, nodding his acceptance. He bent down and rolled his pants up past his ankle—hating the bruise it revealed—so that Aizawa wouldn’t have to.

 

“This material is supposedly indestructible, but every teacher will be alerted if you somehow manage to break it, or if you leave the campus. You can, however, leave if you’re accompanied by a UA teacher.”

 

Aizawa made quick work of fastening the tracker, nimbly locking the mechanism and activating the device in only a few seconds. Shoto used Aizawa’s words to try and distract himself during that brief time.

 

When he finished, Aizawa pulled away and stood up, going to arrange the new papers from the duffle bag on his desk. Shoto took the time to stick his leg out and examine the bracelet on his ankle.

 

He couldn’t help but realize he had at least one bracelet on almost all of his appendages.

 

Aizawa watched him from the corner of his eye. “You’re all bejeweled now.”

 

Shoto huffed a laugh, again setting to work pulling on the medical bracelet.

 

*

 

Shoto’s heart thumped all the way over to the staff room in the main building.

 

All of the teachers were pro heroes. That was one of the things UA was famous for. Instinctually, they’d find adversity in him, and there was no way he could keep it out of his form.

 

As much as he hated to admit it, he wasn’t just nervous. He was afraid.

 

“They’re heroes. All they want to do is help people.” Aizawa sensed his trepidation.

 

Shoto was surprised at how much Aizawa had left his statement so open to antagonistic response. He could’ve said so many things, most along the lines of the less honorable motivations lots of heroes had.

 

“They also want to take out villains,” is what he did say. It sounded harsher than he’d intended.

 

“I told you they know your situation. They believe that they can help you.”

 

“None of you would give a damn if I was 2 years older.”

 

Aizawa remained irritatingly calm. “We can’t know that.” He paused, and Shoto felt almost dismissed. “And I disagree.”

 

“You can disagree for yourself,” Shoto mumbled. “Not for them.”



When they entered the room, Shoto tried to keep his eyes down, but failed when his protective instincts wouldn’t let him. He was glad Aizawa let him stand right in front of the door.

 

“Welcome!” a dark haired woman greeted, R-rated clothing distinguishing her as pro hero Midnight. Shoto knew more about heroes that worked at night, so he immediately recognized Ectoplasm and Snipe. He knew most of the others, too—not their names, but their quirks and defeats.

 

“My name’s Midnight, this is Present Mic, Vlad King, Snipe,” she gestured to each teacher as she said their name, and many of those named waved. “You know Principal Nezu...and that’s Thirteen and Ectoplasm. Power Loader is on the job right now.”

 

Their names and apparent attitudes registered somewhere in Shoto’s subconscious, but at the moment all he could really comprehend was the overwhelming force all the heroes standing together in a room created.

 

“And this...is All Might!”

 

A hulking figure dropped from essentially nowhere, a confident and powerful smile bright like the gleaming irises that shown through the shadows of his eyes.

 

Most people his age would feel nothing but overwhelming excitement.

 

All Shoto could feel was a gripping panic.

Chapter Text

All his life he’d been trained for the day he’d meet All Might. From a young age, he’d been forced to withstand powerful blows from his father and his father’s accomplices, told that All Might’s strength would be one hundred times that power. He’d always been told how fast All Might was, how relentless, how quickly Shoto would be crushed if he didn’t get stronger.

 

“I am here!”

 

Yes. And so was Shoto. It was time to-to fight. He had to fight. That was all he knew.

 

His heart pounded in his ears and his breaths shook. There were voices around him; he heard the noise and not the words.

 

He tried to activate both quirks at once—his first show of intimidation—but nothing happened except a brief sting through his veins. His mind went blank for a moment, then static when he realized that he was going to die.

 

Worse, he’d disappoint dad.

 

The vice on his heart and lungs tightened further, the change enough to clue Shoto in that he was losing control of himself.

 

No. No. Fuck. No, he couldn’t do this now!

 

The world was too fast and too deafening. He was putting himself at more of a disadvantage with his panic. Stupid. He couldn’t think straight. His peripheral vision blurred and he felt like his eyes wouldn’t quite fixate on anything.

 

He started backing up towards the doorway for better range. He just needed to focus; only one thing mattered: All Might.

 

All Might moved forward a little, looking calculating. Shoto took another step back and tried to fire off an ice attack. There was the sting again. He couldn’t use his quirk. He couldn’t use his mind. Everything he was good for was gone.

 

He glanced down at himself. What was wrong with him? A flash of something came back to him when he saw his wrists, the dull metal a contrast to his pale skin. Yes...they took away his quirk.

 

In a flurry, he swung his right arm with all his might against the doorway, trying to break the bracelet off. And again. And again.

 

Something cracked.

 

He looked at it.

 

Not the bracelet.

 

He tried harder.

 

Something larger than himself came at him. On him . He kicked it—them—away with every ounce of remaining strength he could call upon.

 

Moments later, someone else was there, grabbing his forearms tightly and pushing him back. No matter how hard he struggled, he couldn’t break free. This person was blocking his view of All Might, and that couldn’t happen.

 

He was forced around the corner of the doorway, where he couldn’t see anyone except this—oh, he was familiar.

 

That didn’t matter.

 

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

 

When his back hit the wall and the remaining air was forced from his lungs, whatever had been keeping him standing temporarily failed and he slid down the wall. The person in front of him sunk down with him, and Shoto’s eyes stayed glued to the spot on his chest where he could see the twitches that would predict this person’s strikes.

 

He was overwhelmingly aware of his vulnerability. His sides were unprotected, and he wasn’t used to not being able to fix that quickly with his quirk.

 

He felt skinless. Boneless. Breathless.

 

“Shoto.”

 

This brought his attention up to his eyes. This was...Aiz—on his side. Maybe.

 

Regardless, he wanted him to go away. He needed to see , to have something. Where was he anyways? Where was All Might?

 

Shoto reached to push Aizawa away but found he was already out of arm’s reach.

 

That was good, right?

 

But it didn’t feel good. It felt like he couldn’t do anything, because he couldn’t touch anything. He slammed his right wrist against the wall behind him, because he knew on some level that it hurt.

 

“Shoto, stop. Please stop. You’re okay.”

 

Something in Aizawa’s tone made him want to believe his words, but he knew he couldn’t; he wasn’t okay.

 

He had never been okay.

 

It was good he was processing words—that was usually the second sign of his “coming back” right after regaining feeling.

 

He wasn’t exactly sure what he was supposed to “stop” doing. He wasn’t doing anything , that was the problem. It seemed like All Might hadn’t came after him, which didn’t make a lot of sense. Although he couldn’t quite be sure of how much time had passed anyways.

 

Maybe he hadn’t seen him worthy of a fight and just left him to his associate, because he and Aizawa worked together.

 

So was Aizawa tasked with taking him out?

 

“No one’s going to hurt you.”

 

Fuck off. Everyone hurt him.

 

He tried to stand up and regain himself but his muscles failed quickly. He realized he was shaking violently. Despite himself, he let out a sob. He was such a failure.

 

“What do you need?”

 

Something! Anything at this point, because he had nothing.

 

Shoto. What do you need?” Aizawa asked again, voice flat and calm.

 

“I-ice. Ice. ” He choked. He could protect himself with his ice. And fight.

 

Shoto was surprised when Aizawa actually reached for his wrist and he pulled it back automatically.

 

Was he actually going give him his quirk back? Why would he do that? It seemed like a stupid move.

 

Shoto hesitantly reached his arm out, preparing to retract it instantly if necessary. If Aizawa was going to be stupid, he would sure take advantage of it.

 

Just as soon as the bracelet was unlocked and deactivated by Aizawa’s key and deft fingers, a rumble shook the building as the floor, walls and ceiling froze over completely in a split second. The ice glistened in a strangely cheerful way as the light from the windows was reflected.

 

Shoto certainly hadn’t made the decision to use his quirk in such a way, but he couldn’t regret it. It was like breathing again after being suffocated. He closed his eyes and basked in the safe feeling ice provided like no other thing. He remembered the times he saw his mother, her cold arms his only respite ever found in the hellfire he lived in.

 

He hated feeling grateful to Aizawa, because he’d been responsible for taking his quirk away in the first place. He opened his eyes to see Aizawa’s reaction.

 

Oh. Aizawa had been frozen too. Luckily his head had somehow been avoided, along with the hand he’d extended, which now held the quirk-suppressing bracelet. Other than that, he was entirely encased in ice.

 

On some level, he felt bad. Aizawa had trusted him enough to return his power.

 

On another, much more present level, he was glad. Aizawa was working with All Might, who was…

 

Not attacking him.

 

That’s right. Aizawa worked with All Might at the school, and he’d been meeting the staff.

 

Shoto had fucked up.



Still, messing up socially was a much less immediate danger. He allowed himself a moment to breathe, the vice grip on his lungs at last released with the build up of cold in his body.

 

Aizawa remained calm even as his lips began to turn blue, never unlocking eyes with Shoto.

 

Someone ran through the doorway, and Shoto resisted freezing their feet in place because he didn’t want anyone next to him.

 

This person—Midnight—gasped in astonishment. “ Wow. Do I need to…”

 

“No,” Aizawa responded gruffly. “I want you all to leave down this hallway. I will speak with you later.” He spoke through his teeth, which were clamped together so they wouldn’t chatter.

 

Midnight said nothing for a moment, then “are you sure you can handle th—“

 

“Yes.”

 

Midnight turned slowly and re-entered the room.

 

Shoto heard their muffled voices. He hated it that they were talking about him.

 

The crowd of teachers emerged a few seconds later, all turning slowly so that they could look at him.

 

Shoto refused to look at them, only glancing at their feet as they stepped through the doorway and then down the hallway.

 

Shoto flinched when he saw All Might’s brightly colored boots, shoulders and back heavily rising and falling when he took deep breaths. He felt All Might linger longer than the others, and he was the only one Aizawa redirected his gaze for.

 

He tried to use Aizawa’s expression to determine All Might’s, like a reflection or backwards reaction.

 

He didn’t know what the look in his eyes meant.

 

But All Might left, heavy footsteps crunching ice as they faded.

 

“...I’m sorry for freezing you.” It felt like a dumb thing to say, especially after not being able to speak for so long. His voice was still brittle and wobbly, like he was the one stuck in a block of ice.

 

“It’s okay,” Aizawa said calmly.

 

How could that be okay?

 

“You’ll die.” And despite what the situation may have looked like, Shoto didn’t really want to hurt him.

 

Aizawa kept looking at him. How could he stay so unaffected when Shoto knew his blood was freezing, cells dying off?

 

“If you give me my fire, I can unfreeze you.”

 

It would’ve been a smart plan if he’d thought anything through. Having both his quirks would be nice, but he did not need his fire so much as he needed his ice.

 

Aizawa chuckled. ( How?? ) “Can I trust you?”

 

Shoto asked himself the same question. He didn’t feel the same desperation to regain his fire, so he was confident he wouldn’t lash out in such desperate ways. Aizawa could take it away again if necessary with his quirk. Shoto jerked a nod. “You can.”

 

Aizawa jerked his frosted over fingers that held the bracelet, and a tiny, mostly cylindrical key fell to the ground.

 

Shoto reached forward for the key with his arm but kept his head and torso as far back as he could. He snatched it, the small motion sending a hold of pain up his forearm.

 

It was then that he realized his wrist was bleeding where the edges of the cuff had apparently cut into his skin. The whole area was throbbing, and there was some sort of slicing pain that he’d definitely felt before.

 

None of this showed on his face, however. He was such a master at masking pain that he didn’t even need to think about it anymore.

 

Droplets of blood hit the ice on the ground periodically as Shoto fumbled with the key, creating a faint hissing noise as they froze instantly. Finally something clicked and the bracelet slipped off, clattering to the ground, and Shoto felt the heat run back through his body.

 

He wasted no time in creating a massive heat wave that would permeate through the hallway, not just melting the ice but evaporating it. He heard Aizawa hiss at the flash of overwhelming heat, then grunt when it ended and he shifted positions.

 

“Impressive, Shoto. They’ll have felt that.”

 

“That’s your only comment?” Shoto slumped back against the wall again. “You’re hypothermic.” He kept emitting a much more mild heat to try and warm Aizawa up.

 

“We’ll be taking a trip to Recovery Girl anyways. Then I guess we’ll get dinner and—“

 

How could he talk like nothing had happened? Like Shoto hadn’t just ruined everything and turned him in a glacier? Suddenly, he was angry.

 

“Why are you doing this!? All I do is hurt people—hurt you— and you’re not even mad!?”

 

“You can’t hurt me,” Aizawa said simply. Calmly. Infuriatingly. “And I’m not mad at you for something I don’t think you can control.”

 

I am in control. I am.

 

He didn’t like Aizawa making judgements on him, even positive ones. He’d judged him to be “good”. Based on what, exactly? Shoto hadn’t given him anything!

 

“What...do you want from me?” Shoto emphasized every word, because he knew that this was exactly the question he needed the answer to.

 

“I want you to try. Try to change, try to understand yourself better, and try to become the best... you... that you can.” Aizawa sat back down.

 

Shoto nodded, but he still didn’t even understand what Aizawa was asking. Did he want him to become more powerful, but work for heroes instead?

 

Frankly, he just wanted to stay still and silent for a while. He was still breathing heavily and shaking, but at least he could think again. But Aizawa probably needed to go see “Recovery Girl” quickly. Shoto didn’t want to be responsible for any long-term damage. He wondered how long he’d actually been frozen, because he knew he tended to lose track of time when he was...like that.

 

That was the thing, though. He wasn’t allowed to get “like that.” It showed weakness, and it was not tolerated. So far, he’d always been terrible at stopping it, especially with the fear of punishment making it a million times worse. Aizawa...didn’t...seem to care, which was odd. He’d said Shoto couldn’t hurt him, having essentially proved it by not even reacting when he was frozen.

 

“I don’t understand. I just ruined everything.”

 

“No, y—“

 

“I attacked All Might!”

 

“No, you didn’t. The quirk suppressors kept you from doing that. You didn’t hurt anyone. Except yourself...”

 

Shoto bit his lip, thinking. He kept staring Aizawa down as if trying to get him to admit something else.

 

“Do you want to tell me why you wanted to hurt All Might?”

 

Shoto started shaking his head. What for exactly, he didn’t know. No, he didn’t really want to tell Aizawa everything, and no, he didn’t...actually want to hurt All Might.

 

He just had to defeat him.

 

That’s...what he was for.  



Shoto sat against the wall for another ten minutes, posture relaxing slowly. And Aizawa let him.

 

He didn’t know what he felt about Aizawa.

 

Thought, he corrected himself; it didn’t matter what he “felt.”

 

He couldn’t tell if he should fear, respect, or think the man an idiot for remaining so calm in the face of Shoto’s power. He was... kinder?...to him than anyone had been in the past ten years. Still, he felt like he was just waiting for the other ball to drop.



It occurred to him how pitiful his display had been. All Might probably hadn’t engaged him because he didn’t seem to be a threat.

 

All Might had no idea who he was.



“Are you ready to go?” Aizawa asked quietly after a while.

 

Shoto shrugged.

 

When Aizawa extended a hand, Shoto bared his teeth. Not out of fear but as a warning. The hero’s arm was loose and slow, but Shoto couldn’t think of a reason for his action unless he expected him to put his wrist back out for the quirk suppressor or else...was there a weapon? He was confused.

 

Why did he even need the bracelets if Aizawa insisted on being next to him all the time, considering that his quirk was erasure?

 

Like, sure, he’d admit it was probably good that he hadn’t had his quirk a few minutes prior, but this was just redundant.

 

Shoto stood up, trying to come off as if he wasn’t relying on the wall for support. Aizawa put his hand down and turned to walk, perplexing Shoto further.

 

As the two made their way over to Recovery Girl, they walked in a similar slurk. Shoto noticed the steam collecting on the ceiling and dripping back down and hoped Aizawa wouldn’t. He felt it hit his cheeks a few times, but never anywhere else.

 

He didn’t purposely memorize their turns because he never intended to visit “Recovery Girl” again. He wasn’t that pathetic.

 

“Mmmm MCHWA!” they heard as they approached the door. Shoto nearly recoiled at the strange sound. He saw Aizawa glance back at him before quietly pushing the door open without knocking.

 

Shoto followed him in, making his presence as quiet as possible. He closed the door behind them, keeping a heel against it.

 

It was a light room with cool colored walls and floors, neatly made beds lining the walls, a few with white divider curtains. Closer to the door was a grey desk and swivel chair. On the chair sat a tiny person in white and pink, grey hair tied in a bun. This person faced a... boy with huge, expressive green eyes, a smattering of...those were called ‘freckles’...and the bushiest, fluffiest green hair Shoto had ever seen. He was sitting on one of the beds, indicating that he was probably injured or sick.

 

He supposed he should’ve expected to see teenagers in a high school...but he was pretty sure this was the first time he’d seen someone his age up close.

 

His mind supplied the word “beautiful” when Shoto started looking the boy over for any indication of what quirk he may have and how he might fight. Not...not helpful.

 

“Aizawa-sensei!” the green-haired boy yelped. He seemed very surprised. Shoto supposed he must be one of Aizawa’s class who’d been missing the teacher, given his concern.

 

He could take him back; Shoto kinda wanted to be alone.

 

The elderly person turned around. Presumably “Recovery Girl.”

 

“Just finished fixing your problem child’s toes...I suppose I shouldn’t complain, considering the damage he’s had before…” Bush boy let out a sigh of relief, and Recovery Girl turned back to him. She whacked his shin with her cane. “But I will!”

 

Bush Boy winced even though Recovery Girl had barely even hit him and had just said that it was his toes that were injured. Strange...Shoto had just determined he was in a hero class. He shouldn’t show weakness like that.

 

“Where have you—who’s that? Sorry: who are you?” Bush Boy shifted his attention from his teacher, looking intensely curious.

 

Shoto glared at him. Why should he care?

 

To introduce himself, Shoto released small burst of fire from his left side—leaving faint char marks on the door—and let ice crystals crust his right side.

 

Aizawa whipped around, hair and capture weapon seeming to lose gravity. Shoto felt his quirk erased. He didn’t know what about what he was doing Aizawa thought was dangerous, but accepted his fate.

 

Bush Boy gasped in amazement. “Do you have two quirks? That’s so cool! What’s your name?” He produced a journal seemingly out of thin air, pen poised to write.

 

Shoto glared harder. ‘Cool’?

 

He saw Bush Boy gulp. Was he afraid? That was easy.

 

“Is this…” Recovery Girl started. She was answered by a nod from Aizawa. Shoto wondered exactly what had been discussed about him before he came. “What happened to your hand, young man?”

 

Shoto jerked his left hand over to cover his right wrist.

 

“Let her see, Shoto,” Aizawa said gently. Somehow, he made it sound more like a suggestion.

 

On some level he wished Aizawa would use his obvious power over him to give orders. It would take away some of the blame for his defection.

 

But Shoto had never been great at following orders anyways.

 

And his wrist wasn’t all that bad. It’d heal, considering he probably wasn’t going doing much this next week due to the lack of his quirk and Aizawa wasn’t nearly as physically strong as Dad.

 

He wished he could’ve come just a little bit earlier in order to see what Recovery Girl had done to Bush Boy. But he supposed it was his own fault he hadn’t.

 

“Please leave us, Midoriya,” Aizawa grumbled as he sat down on one of the cots.

 

“O-okay. Yes, Sensei.”

 

Now he knew Bush Boy’s name. Something told him he’d need it later.












Chapter Text

Shoto had to move aside from the door in order for Midoriya to leave. The wonder that the green-haired boy’s eyes held was not so much threatening as strange. Shoto held his flare but was starting to learn that maybe it wouldn’t get him out of every situation.

 

“N-nice to meet you!” Midoriya said as he shrunk out of the door. He then looked to Aizawa and gave an awkward bow.

 

“May I please take a look?” Recovery Girl sat forward in her chair. She smiled warmly. “It’s my job to make sure everyone on campus’s health is looked after.”


In the end, Shoto let Recovery Girl heal his wrist. He might need it functioning later if he couldn’t rely on his quirk in combat. She was old and small, which helped, and her quirk was clearly only healing.

 

He felt ridiculous though. Asking for help like he needed it.

 

He watched Aizawa the whole time, a little annoyed that he couldn’t see Recovery Girl in his peripheral vision when he looked to the right. Damn left eye.

 

Recovery Girl was so foreignly gentle as she wrapped his hand. He felt tired. He’d refused to sit, but now he felt like he had to balance his weight right in the middle to avoid falling over.

 

“Just a light distal radius fracture. I’ve seen worse.”

 

Shoto gave a pointed look to Aizawa as if to say “see, not so bad.”

 

“Thank you for seeing me. It might’ve healed badly on its own. And you had a nasty gash, too. Get some rest. It’ll be healed by the morning.” Recovery Girl hopped out of her chair.

 

Aizawa returned the look and Shoto glared.

 

He thought about how useful it would’ve been to have had Recovery Girl in his past. They had a healer, but Shoto usually had to work pretty hard to have the privilege of being healed. Even then it hurt like hell.


Shoto was wobbly on the way back to the dorms, but refused help from Aizawa. The two of them were pretty sneaky, so even when they passed a group of boys with yellow, red, and black hair throwing an old sandwich back and forth, they weren’t noticed. But Shoto noticed them.

 

He couldn’t help but stare at them like zoo animals. So boys his age could laugh.


Shoto wanted to collapse somewhere as soon as Aizawa closed the door to his room, but he kept just trying to do that balance thing.

 

Aizawa let him sort himself out for a bit, slurking over to the door between the two rooms to do something on his phone. Shoto edged closer to the bed.

 

“I’ve sent Present Mic to get us some food. I hope you’ll try to eat it.”

 

Shoto might’ve nodded. He wasn’t sure.

 

Aizawa went and sat down at his computer. Shoto unintentionally caught probably half of the characters he typed in as his password.

 

After about a minute Shoto sat down on the edge of the bed. He decided that he didn’t want to know what Aizawa was doing on the computer.

 

“So….everyone at once...was too much, yeah? I’m sorry we did that to you. I should know better.”

 

Shoto’s eyes widened slightly. Why was Aizawa apologizing?

 

He didn’t like it that he couldn’t deny it had been “too much.” He was supposed to be able to handle anything. Conquer anything.

 

“...sfine.”

 

“Mm?”

 

Shoto just shook his head in confusion.

 

Aizawa scrutinized him for a moment and Shoto kept himself blank.

 

“Sit down, you’re tired.”

 

There really was no reason to keep standing. Shoto sat down on the very edge of the bed for a second before standing up again and walking towards Aizawa.

 

He held his arms out, so tense they shook. Aizawa looked him in the eye meaningfully, drawing the bracelets out of his pocket. One still had blood on it.

 

Aizawa stood up slowly and walked over to the bathroom. Shoto watched and followed him a few feet away. The pro carefully rinsed the blood off of the suppressor and dried it with a hand towel.

 

“I’m glad you understand, kid.”

 

I understand that if I had my quirk I’d wipe you all out, his mind responds almost automatically.

 

But if he really thought about it, he hadn’t had the desire to hurt anyone since he got here, not really. Besides All Might. And that wasn’t desire, it was...compulsion.


About ten minutes later there was a knock on the door. Shoto jumped up from the bed yet again and Aizawa went to answer it.

 

“Delivery service!” sounded an animated voice once the door was open. In came a skinny, tall man with a blond ponytail.

 

Present Mic, without his costume. Aizawa’s husband.

 

That was strange to Shoto. Aizawa seemed like him—someone who didn’t need anyone.

 

And he was not delivery service. How dumb did he think Shoto was?

 

“I brought cold soba. You like that, Shoto?”

 

Shoto didn’t know how to respond. Food was fuel. He didn’t “like” or “dislike” it.

 

Present Mic set the bags of food down on a small table near the door and scratched the back of his head.

 

“I’d like to apologize. We came on a little strong, huh? To—All Might can do that. He wasn’t gonna hurt you, you know. He was excited.”

 

Yes, he knew that. His intact body was proof enough All Might didn’t intend to harm him. He hadn’t even registered as a threat.


~Aizawa POV~

 

He’d been hoping he could let Hizashi take over for a bit while he went to give Toshinori a run-down, but he could see by the way the kid eyed his husband that that wasn’t going to happen for a while.

 

They got him to have dinner eventually, which was good. The boy really looked like he needed to eat. Shota’d asked Hizashi for cold soba because he could tell that cold things brought the kid some sort of comfort. He thought it probably had to do with his mother.

 

He still can’t believe what happened to her, her mystery disappearance having baffled authorities for years. Now the answer was so simple, yet so cruel. Hellflame had kidnapped her and forced her to have his children to create the perfect weapon.

 

While Frost was still active, she was always being pitted against Hellflame in the media because of the contrast of their quirks. It hurt Shota somewhere deep that it turned out like this.

 

Hizashi went into the other room to grade papers, where he worked more quietly then Shota had ever thought possible for him. The only sound that came from him was the occasional sigh or snort of laughter.

 

He and Shoto ate in silence, or as much silence as there could be with the kid’s pleased slurping of his noodles. Shota wondered what he’d been eating all this time.

 

“You might want to take a shower before you go to bed. Wash the hospital off,” he suggested. Shoto raised his eyes. “I can show you how it works.”

 

The kid didn’t move or respond, but somehow he still didn’t get the feeling he was talking to a wall.

 

“You trust I’ll protect you while you sleep, right?”

 

Shoto still had a far off look in his eyes.

 

After a moment he responded, but not what Shota had been expecting. “They’re going to hit Mountain Lady’s agency.” His eyes looked glazed over.

 

Aizawa shifted easily into pro-hero mode, and struggled to keep his voice gentle. “When.”

 

Shoto shrugged. “3 AM? I don’t know. It was supposed to be my next target…they’ll keep the operation small. Just to replace me. Dabi’ll be there.”

 

Shota stood up and went to call the chief of police and then Nezu. He himself had to stay with the kid.

 

When he turned back around, Shoto was shaking slightly and his eyes went far beyond the room.

 

“He’s-gonna—k—“ his weak voice sounded like static.

 

“No, he won’t. Not so long as I’m around. Thank you, Shoto. You’re going to save people tonight.” He was proud. This showed commitment.

 

Shoto heaved a big sigh, which was good because it meant he was getting air.

 

“This is why I believe in you.”


~Shoto POV~

 

Shoto felt like he was feeling more relaxed than he should. He’d convinced himself that the deed had been done and there was nothing more he could do but wait. He’d also decided that if he was going to spill, he’d do it all the way, complete with exactly how he had planned to break in. He had no problem whatsoever screwing with Touya.

 

And at least Aizawa seemed happy with him. That seemed like a good place to be.

 

However, it would be obvious that the trap was set up because of him. It wasn’t a big target, but his betrayal would—

 

He was at UA. He was safe.

 

But hadn’t UA been attacked before?

 

But would Dad even know to look here? He could very well be in a prison. Aizawa had kept his arrest very quiet.

 

He could just imagine Dad interrogating policemen and finding out he was staying on his own free will too weak to fight back and then killing them out of anger and—

 

Eventually everything sort of mixed together into a state of numbness, which at least was familiar. He didn’t like being surrounded by people so he decided to go into another room; the bathroom. He figured he’d shower while he was in there.

 

No, he wasn’t going to have Aizawa explain to him how to use the shower like some sort of...he supposed the only physical thing he’d ever had explained to him was how to snap someone’s neck, and when had he ever needed that?

 

He stripped as soon as he closed and locked the door, feeling strange in commoner’s clothes. As much as he tried not to look in the mirror he caught himself glancing.

 

He hated that Aizawa knew about the ugly purple bruises mottling his hips and shoulders. Marks of his failure.

 

But maybe Aizawa would like knowing he had shortcomings—at least in his dad’s eyes—as a villain?  

 

Still, Shoto didn’t feel like explaining that.

 

And when did he start caring about what Aizawa liked?

 

He went to turn on the shower and found that there was some weird thing where he had to push it in and turn it at the same time. The water came out all of a sudden and scalded his right arm, however he kept it in place. It just felt normal— natural— to be burned when he was doing something wrong.

 

But he wasn’t even burning properly. Dad was going to be so much worse.


Eventually he switched the water to cold and stayed underneath it for a long time. It was weird being without his quirk, so he thought of this as a substitute.

 

No one bothered him for a long time. Already, he had a lot more privacy than back home.


Shoto was even more drained when he came back out. He knew it was a side effect of Recovery Girl’s quirk but he still felt uneasy. He did want to sleep. Then he could be awake around the time Dad’s guys would strike the agency.

 

He couldn’t tell if Aizawa’s presence would make it easier or harder to sleep.




Chapter Text

The occasional patters of Aizawa’s keyboard were actually somewhat relaxing. It was such a gentle touch that created it.

 

He wasn’t used to gentle. Dad could never be gentle, always breaking pencils or bones if he so much as twitched. It was strange to see that a pro hero would do anything other than rival that uncontrolled, unhinged strength. 

 

Shoto did eventually move onto the bed, just so he wouldn’t collapse onto the floor. He remained on top of the covers, and with his eyes as open as he could keep them. Aizawa would glance at him occasionally, undoubtedly to check if he had fallen asleep. Shoto made sure to catch his gaze each and every time, as difficult as it was.

 

He knew he would fall asleep soon, even against his judgement. He had this cold, sick feeling in his stomach, something that told him that as soon as he left himself exposed, Aizawa’s and Present Mic’s unthreatening exteriors would melt away and reveal the darkness Shoto knew to live in anyone he’d ever met. 

 

The thing was, though, Shoto was already vulnerable. He was powerless, exhausted, limp. Aizawa could take whatever he wanted from him, but he hadn’t yet. 

 

One one hand, there were his instincts to trust; on the other was everything he’d learned about the world.

 

But Shoto didn’t have a choice, did he? What exactly could he change about his situation? He’d had his chance to get away, and found that he had no place to go, or no place he knew to go. 

 

He was trapped. Or...secure?

 

~Aizawa POV~ 

 

Aizawa Shota was no stranger to sleepless nights. And weeks. As a nighttime hero and daytime teacher, sleep was never an option a lot of the time. Even in his sleeping bag he had to keep his ears attuned in case danger arose. 

 

Now he sat in his wooden chair in front of his desk, where he had been for the past four hours. The kid had fallen asleep probably two and a half hours before. It was a relief—not because he didn’t need to worry about looking plenty alert every time Shoto opened his eyes but because it had been painful to be in the same room as the intense struggle between Shoto’s mind and body as tiredness took over. 

 

The kid had actually moved underneath the bed at some point. He’d felt vulnerable up on top, probably. Aizawa had layed out a sleeping bag next to the bed, hoping Shoto would take it. He probably didn’t know how to regulate his temperature without the aid of his quirk.

 

He hated that Shoto felt the need to hide even further.

 

Aizawa, of course, knew they were perfectly safe, there at UA. 

 

It would’ve been easy just to fall into a light sleep, the opportunity being so rare in his life. It wasn’t like Shoto would ever know.

 

But he’d made a promise. Somehow, this scared, distrustful child had imparted some fraction of trust onto him. Aizawa needed to earn that trust, to deserve it. So...he’d stay up all night. It wasn’t like he didn’t have enough to do—he could plan lessons, grade that quirk limits test. This way he could keep up with the stakeout via text with Hizashi.

 

Aizawa wanted to be there. He wanted to see everyone—anyone—involved in Shoto’s upbringing taken down. He wanted to stomp on their faces, give them scars—

 

He chuckled wryly. That wasn’t very heroic. Honestly, it was probably best he didn’t go.

 

 Anyways, he knew he was probably a lot more useful where he was. 

 

He got another text from Hizashi. YH: All quiet here :/

 

Aizawa smirked. Hizashi hated the kind of mission where he had to sit still and stay quiet. Personally, he’d be more bothered by the probable presence of Mountain Lady.

 

AS: stay alert.

 

YH: How is he?

 

AS: sleeping.


Aizawa had to start thinking about what he would tell 1A if Shoto were to join the class, wondering who would be supportive and who...would not. What kind of smart-ass remarks would he give to questions? Could he potentially work in a team?

 

It was almost a daydream at this point.

 

He wasn’t going to force the kid to be a hero if he didn’t want to be. But he did think that if someone has a strong enough spirit to keep so much humanity under what he could assume of Shoto’s circumstances, they were something special. This kid possessed something Aizawa had learned to recognize in his years working with aspiring heroes—the spark of a hero.

 

It wasn’t just a gut feeling.

 

After learning the truth about Shoto’s identity, Aizawa had had a chance to review case files that could pertain to the “two villains”. 

 

The kid had taken down four pro heroes during his five months active, despite an obvious intent to avoid confrontation. Three were attributed to “Frostbite,” and one “Flamethrower.” (Aizawa really thought they should start giving villains less showy names).

 

The first three weren’t very famous heroes, despite each being decently powerful: Sunbender, Ink, and Thunderman.

 

The fourth was Kamui Woods. 

 

From the reports, it became clear that that last fight had been a match of endurance. Woods had a limit to how much wood he could produce while Shoto, apparently, did not have a limit to the amount of blazing flames he could make to incinerate that wood. With the amount of firepower involved, investigators had suspected Hellflame himself, but witnesses drawn to the fight placed a much smaller figure at the fire’s source. Kamui Woods would later confirm this.

 

Sure, this showed impressive power. His being able to go through an intense fight using only one of his powers showed discipline. But that wasn’t what Aizawa cared about.

 

Shoto would’ve had a chance to kill each of these heroes, or at least take them permanently out of action.

 

But he’d left them unconscious and/or trapped, all relatively unharmed.

 

Aizawa had never known a villain who would even hesitate to kill a hero. The #6 hero for that matter.

 

There was another report, too. A whole different type of thing.

 

According to an interview of a victim, “Frostbite” had broken into a Quirk Regulation company building in the dead of night, this time accompanied by another, less “stable” villain. 

 

This victim and another witness had said that Frostbite only showed himself when his partner needlessly attacked the victim on the way out, and had fought the accomplice off. 

 

The initial attack had created a deep wound in the victim’s leg, and according to that victim, Frostbite had cauterized the wound with “some sort of weapon concealed under his sleeve” just before leaving. The man likely would’ve bled out without this happening.

 

When he first went over this file a few months before, Aizawa hadn’t known what to think. He hadn’t been the one to interview the victim, for obvious reasons, so he’d been unable to get a very good read. The man had suffered some head trauma. Aizawa had thought he could’ve been looking for a hero when no one came.


Overall, there was a pattern in Shoto’s behavior. If it wasn’t heroism, it was remorse; Aizawa could work with either.

 

Even if the kid didn’t become a hero, there was one less dangerous villain on the streets—and one less victim in the hands of a sick, manipulative abuser.


Aizawa checked the clock on his computer. 1:26 AM.



3:44 AM. Aizawa had moved into the middle of the room and was working with some weights to pass the time.

 

Shoto’s breathing had finally evened out again. He had been careful not to wake the kid, not knowing what the consequences would be, but he’d spoken to his sleeping form for a good twenty minutes to pull him from what had presumably been a nightmare. 


His phone started buzzing, jarring one of the cats, Kage, out of his sleep on the desk. Aizawa hurried over.

 

He declined the FaceTime from Hizashi with a groan, but he knew it meant good news. Either his husband was bored out of his mind or he wanted to show off his hero  work.

 

He received a text shortly after. YH: Three villains in custody. It was followed by a blurry photo of a few police cars driving away.

 

AS: Dabi?

 

YH: Escaped

 

YH: empty handed

 

Could be worse, Aizawa supposed, although having captured them all would’ve put Shoto’s mind more at ease.

 

AS: what were they after?

 

YH: Computer drive. Police are examining it


Hizashi was back in half an hour, entering in the quietest way Aizawa had ever witnessed. His hair stood tall, almost completely un-mussed indicating an easy job. He held two alarmingly blue energy drinks.

 

Aizawa grunted his thanks and grabbed them both in his hand, but Hizashi only let go of one, gently kissing the top of Aizawa’s head as he walked past. 

 

Aizawa had assumed they were both for him.

 

It was sweet that Hizashi wanted to stay up with him, but it was impractical.

 

“You’ll wake him...get some sleep,” Aizawa grumbled softly. He took the second bottle from Hizashi’s hands and tugged his jacket off his shoulders.

 

Hizashi looked thoughtful, then yawned. “Mmm alright. Wake me if you need help,” he said in a much unpracticed whisper. He turned to look at the bed where he thought Shoto would be and Aizawa watched as his eyes widened comically. He took a breath, like to loudly exclaim his absence but Aizawa stopped him.

 

“He’s under the bed.”

 

Hizashi looked at him questioningly but relaxed. Aizawa didn’t have an answer.

 

“Is he hiding or..?”

 

Aizawa shook his head. “I don’t know. He was mostly asleep when he moved.”

 

“Can’t be nice under there.”

 

“No,” Aizawa breathed. “Go on, get changed.”

 

He followed him through the open connecting door to Hizashi’s room, setting down both drinks on his desk on the way.  He sat down on the bed he’d readied just before Hizashi returned, looking absently out the window in a crack between the curtains. 

 

Hizashi showered and brushed his teeth before Aizawa felt another weight on the bed and his husband’s presence near his back.

 

“I want to help him, Shota…”

 

Aizawa sighed. “We will. It’s our duty as heroes.” To combat the doings of villains.

 

“As people,” Hizashi added, crawling across the bed and then under the covers. 

 

Aizawa turned and saw that he was wearing that oversized nightshirt for an old band that he’d bought for him when he was dragged to a concert.

 

The incentive to go to such a loud, people-filled place had been a “surprise” at the end—something Hizashi had seemed so impossibly excited about that Aizawa had had to go along with it.

 

That surprise had been a wring.

 

Something he never got to wear to work or around town. Sometimes he’d wear it around a chain on his neck when he went out on dangerous missions.

 

Sometimes it hurt him that he couldn’t show the world his devotion to such an amazing, ridiculous man.

 

So many times when Ms. Joke had suggested they get married—be it a joke or not, not that Aizawa really knew—he’d just wanted to tell her that he was already married to someone so unique and precious. But he wouldn’t trust her to keep her mouth shut, as he had never witnessed that happen.

 

He lied down next to Hizashi on top of the covers. It occurred to him that he had to grade that in-class discussion from three days before, but he resolved to watch Hizashi fall asleep. It was rare to see his husband’s face without creases formed by ridiculous, crackheaded expressions.

 

Jarring Aizawa’s trance, Hizashi readjusted his head and opened his eyes, murmuring “oh yeah...the police want to question Shoto.”

Chapter Text

Shoto woke up slowly, which was a strange sort of luxury, and most unfamiliar. It took him about six minutes to fully remember where he was. Only vaguely could he remember rolling underneath the pro’s bed, but the cobwebs, socks, and cat hair confirmed his location. 

 

Soft light filtered underneath the edges of the bed, revealing specks of slow-moving dust in the air.

 

If the sun was up, it meant that the night had passed.

 

It meant he’d betrayed the Convection Force. He’d betrayed dad.

 

Did that make him worse than a villain? How bad were villains anyways?

 

He considered rolling out from underneath the bed but allowed himself a few more moments, rolling to face the underside of the bed. There was a lot of static electricity down there. His eyes stung— probably the dust —and he felt choked. 

 

He was a traitor.

 

His insides crumpled under the weight that seemed to push down on his chest.

 

He felt a droplet carve a path from the corner of his eye down his temple.

 

A tear. Tears weren’t allowed, he could at least stay loyal that way...he clawed the tears away fiercely and took a deep breath.

 

He peered out from under the bed before coming out.

 

Across the room sat the pro—Aizawa—in an armchair. He was reading some paper and sipping from a steaming mug. He had a black cat draped over his head/neck and a white and black one with longer hair nestled in his lap. 

 

It looked like he’d been awake for a long time. He’d kept his promise.

 

“Mornin’, kid,” Aizawa said without looking up.

 

Shoto startled, slithering out from under the bed and pushing onto his feet in a split second. He hadn’t known Aizawa could see him.

 

He rubbed his eyes, getting rid of the crust and then pulling a spider web from his hair. “Umm...morning.” Yes, it was morning. He already knew that.

 

“What…” time is it? What happened last night? What was going to happen now?

 

“We apprehended three villains last night, thanks to you.” Aizawa set down his mug on a side table.

 

Shoto narrowed his eyes. “...We.”

 

“Well, not me,” Aizawa grumbled. He stretched as he stood up, assisting one of the cats to the floor. “The police, Present Mic, and a few others.”

 

Shoto wondered who exactly he’d damned. “Who was there?”

 

“Hmm...someone with a wolfish quirk, I think. I didn’t check. We can find out though, if you want.”

 

Shoto lifted his head in a way that might have been a nod. He was sure Aizawa would’ve heard if someone so high-profile—if you could call it that—as Touya had been captured.

 

“Dabi got away, though.”

 

Surprise, surprise.

 

“Is he your…” Aizawa started.

 

“Brother, yeah.” Shoto couldn’t see why that mattered. He looked out the window. A few scattered groups of students milled around the campus in the distance.

 

“Do you...get along with him?”

 

Shoto scoffed. 

 

“I see.” Aizawa knawed on his lip for a moment.

 

Shoto barely knew Touya, really. Occasionally he’d see him lurking around the hideout or in alleyways. They rarely did jobs together because of their redundant quirks and the fact that Dad didn’t want Touya to influence him. 

 

For the most part, Touya did as he pleased, always trying to win Dad’s approval. Shoto knew Touya would always resent him for being Dad’s favorite.

 

Stupid bastard didn’t know that such a place came with a price. 

 

Shoto had had a bit more interaction with his older brother in the past two months, though.

 

Touya knew that he had spared another hero, that thunder guy. It was something that Dad disapproved of greatly and had brought Shoto a few of the worst punishments he’d ever had to endure. Touya had been eager to get Shoto in trouble, but luckily Shoto had recently discovered his brother’s secret relationship with Tomura Shigaraki of the rival villain group, the League of Villains.

 

And Dad would always believe Shoto over Touya.

 

However, nothing could keep the secret of Kamui Woods…

 

“You want me to help you get him? I’ve got no qualms about screwing him over.” That seemed to be what Aizawa was going for.

 

Aizawa seemed somewhat surprised. The best actors kept their faces still most of the time, Shoto knew.

 

“Of course I do, but that wasn’t…” Aizawa closed his eyes and his eyebrows scrunched together briefly “...why I was asking.”

 

“Good morning, good fellas!” ‘Present Mic’ announced, appearing in the shared doorway.

 

Aizawa greeted him but Shoto remained silent. He wished it was just him and Aizawa. He couldn’t look two different directions, after all.

 

Present Mic seemed more like the pro heroes he’d been accustomed to hearing about. The ones who became heroes for the fame and money and love making spectacles of themselves. 

 

Aizawa was different. While he’s well known to nighttime villains, he kept a low public profile. It seemed like he was actually trying to make use of himself for what he thought was right.

 

Shoto wondered if he was just another of Aizawa’s secret missions. They didn’t want to kill or imprison him, ‘cause he’s a kid, so they decided to “recruit” him in order to not have to fight him and maintain the moral high ground.

 

“Do we want to get breakfast or relax for a little longer?” Present Mic inquired. Shoto assumed he was talking to Aizawa and moved a decent distance away from the two before turning his attention to yet another cat, who was sitting just under the edge of the bed.

 

This one was a tabby, with mottled brown and black fur. Both of its ears were torn and it’s fur was patchy around one milky eye and the back leg that he could see.

 

Aizawa crept into his vision, crouching down in front of the cat. Shoto didn’t like the implication that he would’ve had to disturb the other cats’ slumber in order to move.

 

“You’ve found Tora.” Aizawa reached forward and held the back of his fingers an inch or so before Tora’s nose before carefully petting her. She leaned into his touch, head turning sideways. Shoto crouched down onto one knee, glad that the cat was drawing all of the attention. 

 

“She was a stray. I found her on one of my rounds—starving, cold, terrified, untrusting. So I tried to help her. I gave her food, warmth…it was all she needed to get back up again.”

 

“Shota insisted we take her home after a few days of her following him, said he’d start sleeping outside unless I let him keep her, not that he needed to I love the cats I was just worried I wouldn’t be able to keep track of them all,” Present Mic blabbered, plopping right down on the floor.

 

Shoto didn’t notice himself scoot back but he did catch Present Mic’s slightly wounded look.

 

The pro recovered quickly. “She looks kind of like you, doesn’t she?” He ran his thumb over the bared skin above her eye.

 

“She blind on that side too?”

 

Shit.

 

Why was he so stupid? He could’ve just left off at five words and they would never have to know yet another weakness.

 

The heroes didn’t comment at first—at least not on his admission, only murmuring “yes” as to the cat’s condition—but Shoto could practically see them filing away that information.

 

He was glad he hadn’t specified that he was only half blind on his left. Now they would underestimate his sight—slightly—if they tried to use this against him.

 

Then Aizawa did something strange. He pointed to the scar below his own eye.

 

“My quirk relies on my vision…” Aizawa huffed, like he couldn’t believe he was saying what he was. “After my injury, the duration I can maintain my quirk has been shortened. Dry eye—I need to blink frequently.”

 

Shoto was stunned. Why...why would he tell him that? His weakness? If it came down to it, of course Shoto would use it to his advantage. It was like an exchange. ‘Eye for an eye.’

 

Why had he made them equal?

 

It was an extension of trust. Aizawa trusted him. He actually believed in his goodness.

 

Shoto found he didn’t want to let him down.

 

He moved forward to pet Tora gently. Very gently.

 

His skin crawled and his muscles tensed on the side that was close to Present Mic, but he tried to focus on the cat, who was pressing into his hand just as she’d done to Aizawa.

 

He couldn’t help but eye Present Mic, but when he did the pro moved a foot or two away, a gentle look in his eyes. 

 

Just like how they were all looking at the cat. He was just another stray to them, huh.

 

Why didn’t he hate that?



Shoto stood up abruptly, accidentally drawing a bit too much attention to himself.

 

He supposed he’d had their attention before, too. They weren’t really that focused on Tora.

 

He should do something normal. “...this is...we eat breakfast...now?”

 

That was awful.

 

The pros stood up nonetheless, Aizawa exhaling heavily as he did so.

 

“We don’t have a lot in here. I’ll go to the staff kitchen and get somethin’.”

 

Shoto didn’t want to be left in the room alone with Present Mic. He didn’t exactly want to leave the room either, but he figured being with someone without Aizawa was worse than being with someone with him.

 

“I’ll go with you,” he said quickly. Aizawa looked at him for a moment, then nodded. 

 

He shoved his feet in the too-small sneakers the hospital or something had given him, annoyed when he was reminded of the tracker anklet. He heard Present Mic start to complain about how he might die of loneliness but ignored him.

 

Shoto had slept in borrowed sweatpants and a simple long-sleeve shirt, both black. It was way more comfortable than what he usually wore and he found he could hide in its bagginess much more than he could in the hospital clothes.

 

He rolled up the cuffs of the sweatpants so he wouldn’t trip—still leaving the tracker covered—and left out the door with Aizawa.

 

It was cooler in the hallway. Shoto wasn’t used to noticing such things, what with his quirk. He made sure to stay behind Aizawa as he lead him to the kitchen, making note of what he saw in the sitting room and guessing how many people stayed here.

 

Someone ran by them the opposite way—that lady, Midnight, from the day before. She clutched a thermos and a book bag to her chest and looked to be in a flurry.

 

“Running late—hey, Shoto!”

 

Shoto didn’t like being acknowledged—no, greeted— by the pro as if they were friendly, but his heart was beating annoyingly fast and he missed the chance to formulate a (likely caustic) response. 

 

They made it to the kitchen without encountering everyone else. They were probably all teaching. He looked at the clock up on the wall: 7:52.  School probably started at 8. 

 

Aizawa wasn’t heading over to the main building, despite having a class. He was staying with Shoto rather than teaching. Present Mic hadn’t gone anywhere either.

 

“Doesn’t Present Mic have a class to teach?” Shoto hung just to the side of the doorway—a habit he’d learned in order to see people entering a room before they see him. He wasn’t sure what to do with himself, completely unfamiliar around a kitchen. Kitchen stuff was what Fuyumi was for.

 

Aizawa bent over as he looked in the refrigerator, finally pulling a large bowl of something brownish. “His homeroom students will have a joint class with Midnight and we pulled a sub for English.”

 

Aizawa seemed to sense why Shoto was asking.

 

“I trust him completely, you know,” Aizawa said, filling a pot with water. He had to pull out a lighter for the stove, which makes Shoto feel...weird...for some reason.

 

“Well obviously,” Shoto responded. They were married after all. “Doesn’t mean shit to me; I don’t trust you completely.”

 

‘Completely’ was a powerful word. He would, however, admit that he was probably safer near Aizawa than with anyone else he’d ever met. 

 

Despite himself, Shoto found himself experiencing a degree that strange feeling that usually accompanied reviewing the damage he’d caused. 

 

“Dabi,” he said. Aizawa seemed to like it that he’d talk about that.

 

“Mm, right.” Aizawa barely looked away from the soup he was preparing. Pretty shitty interrogation—didn’t he care?

 

As the silence stretched, Shoto became somewhat unsure. He’d expected pointed questions. He decided to just summarize.

 

“He works at night, obviously. He’s out quite often, surveying, but he keeps a low profile. I think...um...if you let smaller villains go—the dumb ones who just want cash—and follow them instead, you might find him. He picks off the small fry with no vision.”

 

Aizawa’s phone started vibrating from deep in his pocket. Aizawa fished it out and declined the call immediately, scowling.

 

Shoto waited for a moment. On some level, he wanted Aizawa to pick up the call so he could listen in and find out more about his situation. It dawned on him that Aizawa had probably initially suggested he get breakfast alone in order to speak with whomever the caller was.

 

Aizawa looked up at him, nodding his head to tell Shoto to continue.

 

“He’s taking my place for now, probably won’t last a month.” Aizawa’s glance was enough of a question. “Dumb bastard’s always been jealous. He’s a failure, in dad’s eyes. You see his scars? His body can’t handle his own heat—poor constitution. If he goes too long, pushes too far, he’ll burn himself.” This was the first time Shoto’s spoken about Dabi to anyone else, not that he’d ever really spoken to anyone about anything. He found himself almost enjoying it and continued.

 

“Oh yeah, he’s fucking that crusty bastard, Shigaraki. If dad finds out, he’s actually dead.”

 

“So...there’s no collusion between Hellflame’s organization and the League of Villains?”

 

“Not really. We’re not exactly warring, but Dad thinks they’re aimless bottom feeders, and weak for not having taken out All Might when they had the chance. That they’ve humiliated our cause by being bested by teenagers.” Shoto chuckled to himself. “Rather ironic, as his plan depends on one.”

 

“His plan?”

 

Well, the one that Shoto knew the culmination of. “Me.”

 

Aizawa looked at him squarely. “You’re his plan?”

 

“To defeat All Might; do what he never could. It’s why I was born, why we were all born.”

 

Shoto stopped speaking. He felt disconnected, like his mouth was speaking without his permission. Without His permission too. 

 

It was the first time he’d really heard his voice. Not the sound, but what he was saying. 

 

Aizawa let the silence go on and poured the soup into three bowls on a tray. “All? Not both?”

 

“I’ve got a sister, too. And I had another brother.” He didn’t elaborate. That was none of Aizawa’s business. 

 

He remembered Natsuo. The first to truly raise a hand against father, but far too weak to do so physically. He had been a reject, an example, and a casualty.

 

The screams that always echoed in the back of Shoto’s mind grew louder and obfuscated whatever Aizawa said next.



They were almost back to the room when Aizawa’s phone rang again. As he was carrying a tray, he couldn’t decline it. Aizawa was clearly intent on ignoring it.

 

It stopped for a few seconds then started again just as Aizawa stopped in front of the door. Shoto realized that he’d have to be the one to open it, seeing as he was only carrying a box of...crackers?

 

Here he had some form of control here, because Aizawa either had to stand there or set down the rather precarious tray. He didn’t want Aizawa to open the door for him. He didn’t want to open the door for himself, putting himself somewhere where he was under the control of those he’d learned to hate. 

 

But he didn’t hate Aizawa. For some dumb reason he couldn’t understand, he simply couldn’t hate Aizawa. 

 

Aizawa indicated with his eyes for Shoto to open the door. Or knock, or something.

 

The phone kept ringing. Given Aizawa’s current assignment, this phone call was either about the pursuit of the Convection Force or Shoto himself. Aizawa was being patient. 

 

Aizawa shifted his weight. “Can you please open the door, Shoto? It’s unlocked.”

 

“Aren’t you going to answer your phone?” The words slipped out—Shoto couldn’t help but test his boundaries. 

 

“No,” Aizawa said simply.

 

“Why not?” Shoto knew damn well why but he wanted to hear it said.

 

“It’s private.”

 

“Right. Just about you…” Shoto begrudgingly pushed open the door, shrinking a little when he saw Present Mic hovering near the door.