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Logical Ruse

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Izuku stared after Ochako, blinking at her sudden departure and then sighing. 

Great.  The first outing with most of the class together, and he was alone.  Again.  He was sure if he looked hard enough he'd see a pattern here and be more offended by it.

"Oh, it's someone from UA!  Cool, let me get your autograph!"  Izuku looked up just as someone slung their arm around him.  He tensed at the sudden invasion of personal space, but tried to be polite about it.  "You were the one who got all beat up at the UA sports festival, right?"

"...yeah," Izuku answered, keeping his fluster at the attention and the closeness quelled down as best he could, inwardly not wanting to make an idiot of himself in front of an apparent admirer. 

"And weren't you also one of the guys who ran into the hero killer in the Hosu incident?" the person spoke further, his words giving Izuku a bit of pause. 

"...you sure know a lot..." he murmured.

"Man, I seriously can't believe it..."  The air around Izuku seemed to thicken.  "I can't believe I'd see you again in a place like this."

Izuku froze, beginning to recognize the voice that was speaking.

"It makes me feel like there's something to it.  Something like fate..."

Cold fingers wrapped lightly around his neck as he chanced a glance up.

"...or destiny."

Oh shit oh shit oh god oh shit.

"But from your perspective, I guess we haven't met since the attack on UA, huh?"

Izuku was able to see now, familiar bluish-grey hair and red eyes on a face unobscured by a corpse hand grinning down at him.

"Why don't we have tea or something, Izuku Midoriya?"

Tomura Shigaraki.

The two stood still in the middle of the bustling mall, everyone going by like they were invisible.  Izuku was trying his hardest not to panic or scream or maybe even punch his way out of this.

"Act natural," Shigaraki said, keeping his voice low, "like I'm an old friend.  Don't make a fuss, okay?"  He kept his grip mercifully loose on Izuku's neck.  "Calm down and catch your breath.  I want to talk to you.  That's all."

TALK to me!? Izuku screamed in his head, though he took Shigaraki's advice and willed himself to untense slightly, though his mind was racing to find a way out of this clammy hold on his neck.  "Just TRY and do something funny," the other man spoke again as though sensing his thoughts, "it's simple.  The instant all five of my fingers touch your neck, you'll start crumbling from the skin of your throat."  Izuku could feel the other fingers twitch as a fifth yet-unfelt finger flexed temptingly.  "You'll turn to dust in less than a minute."

SHIT.

Izuku swallowed, feeling the fingers press against his neck and no doubt feel his pulse pounding as he fought down panic at the gruesome reminder of Aizawa's arm back at USJ, imagining that happening to his own throat and worse. 

Or worse, to other people unaffiliated with them, he realized.  He had to play this hostage game and pray all Shigaraki wanted to do was talk like he said.  It was obvious the other didn't want to be noticed, or he would've dragged Izuku away, let alone not allowed him to calm down first. 

Act natural, like old friends.

Well, if his only 'old friend' was Kacchan...

Nope.  Gotta wing it.

He steeled himself for this 'talk'.

Shigaraki was about to speak again, wondering if the younger boy had somehow passed out standing up from fright, and almost jumped when he felt an arm curl around his waist.  His eyes narrowed, ready to make another ultimatum to Izuku when the boy lifted his head and beamed at him.

What.

"Oh, Tomu, I almost didn't recognize you!" he chirped, his grin far too wide to be considered genuine even by Midoriya standards.  "Tea, you said?  I know a great cafe just over there, let's go!"

What.

Shigaraki blinked and he swore in an instant they were in line at the small cafe, feeling Izuku's arm still around his waist.  He didn't have time to hiss out a demand for this nonsense to come to an end before it was their turn, Izuku stepping up and casually asking for a matcha iced tea and a sandwich.  

"And what do you want, Tomu?" the little twerp asked, keeping his voice upbeat with the barest undertone of desperation.  Shigaraki resisted the urge to cause an upstart with a look of absolute death and clenched his teeth tightly, feeling his fingers do the same from sheer agitation.  

The barista looked between them with obvious worry.  "....young man, are you okay?" he asked Izuku, his eyes flicking to the fingers that were still around Izuku's neck.  

Fuck, Shigaraki thought, debating whether or not to let go or dust the kid right here and now and make a break for it-

"Oh, I'm fine!" Izuku chirped, his voice raised in tone and volume to mask his panic as he said the first thing he could think of: "It's just a hand kink, sir, don't worry!"  

Oh son of a- 

Shigaraki gave Izuku a look that practically screamed WTF but Izuku just returned it with one of...was that a CHALLENGE?!

"Harder, Tomu, please," he intoned.

Shigaraki and the barista had the same expression on their faces, staring at Izuku like he had just eviscerated a bunny right in front of them.  Izuku's cheeks were still pink, but he still smiled at Shigaraki, unrepentant.  

The older boy felt himself die a little inside, knowing the universe just put another tally on Izuku's side of the pwnage board, and reluctantly let his fingers go of Izuku's neck.

Fuck.

".....black tea.  Hot.  Just sesame flatbread," he said, resisting the urge to claw at his own neck, feeling indescribably dirty.  In the bad way.

The barista shakily put their order in; it was his second day on the job, why was this happening NOW?  "...that'll be 2079 yen please."

"I'll go get us a table, Tomu!" Izuku chirped, letting go of Shigaraki and, to the villain's amazement, actually sitting down at a nearby table, giving him a smile and a wave and-

The little shit left him with the bill.

God damn it.

Shigaraki crammed his hand sans this thumb into his jeans pocket and pulled out three wadded 1000 yen notes, putting them on the counter.  "Keep the change," he growled, turning to stalk over to Izuku and ignoring the poor barista calling out that he'd have their order delivered in a brief moment.  He pulled out a chair opposite of Izuku and half-dragged it to the corner closest to the boy, sitting himself down hard and giving Izuku a glare.

Izuku pretended not to notice, keeping his hands on the table folded like the picture perfection of innocence.  Bull.  Shit.  "You wanted to talk, Tomu?" he asked, smiling with a hint of strain to keep the ruse up.  

GOD, Shigaraki wanted to wring both hands fingers-down around that neck and give him something to regret, but he quelled the urge with herculean restraint and instead took matters back into his own.....anyway, he grabbed Izuku's wrist, keeping his middle finger elevated and fought to backtrack to where his train of thought had been suddenly derailed. 

"...yes," he said, collecting himself and getting down to business.  "So, I basically hate everyone and everything, but right now the Hero Killer is what really pisses me off."  He scowled, glaring at nothing.  

Izuku arched a brow.  "Wasn't he working with you?" he asked, genuinely curious.  Tomura snorted, rolling his shoulder slightly, feeling the phantom pain of having them stuck through with those blades.

"That's what society THINKS, even if neither of us agreed to it," he replied.  "And THAT'S my damn problem-"

"Here you are!" a chipper barista piped up, almost startling Shigaraki into putting down his fifth finger on Izuku's wrist as their order was put down in front of them.  Izuku's head snapped up with a beaming smile of thanks.

"Thank you so much!" he chirped, taking his iced matcha.  The barista clasped her hands together and cooed as she looked over them, making Shigaraki wondered if the years of working retail had scrambled her senses too much to make sense of a ball of sunshine with freckles being together with a corpse-pale vagabond-looking man.  "What an adorable couple you make!"

Oh for the love of-

Izuku put his tea down and despite the look of absolute DO NOT Shigaraki gave him under his hood, put his hand over the one gripping his wrist, his voice dripping with over-syrupy sweetness.  "Oh thank you, it's our six-month anniversary!"  He gave Shigaraki's hand a pat, and the older male felt the urge to break it.

The barista clapped her hands, almost hopping in place.  "Oh, how sweet!  Ahhh, young love."  She twirled around and headed back behind the counter, and Shigaraki had to clench his hand tightly and press his fist to the table to keep from launching his hot tea after her head.  

"Anyway, you were saying, Tomu?" Izuku asked casually, taking a sip of his tea through the straw.  Shigaraki felt a twitch over his eye and a migraine coming on.  He took a sip of his tea to try to ward it off.

"Our attack on the UA and the USJ are being overshadowed by HIM," he continued, swearing to every god he knew the name of if ONE MORE PERSON interrupted him, he'd go on a killing spree, damned the consequences.  "No one's looking at me.  Why do you think that is?  What makes us different?"

Izuku stared at him, then took a long sip of his tea with obnoxious deliberation, drawing out the silence before his answer just to irritate him further.  The boy thought for a moment, then shrugged.  "Well," he said, "for one, though I can't condone what he's done, I understand his reasons.  It makes a little sense, despite it all."  

He took another long sip.  

"With YOU though, I don't condone OR understand what you do or why.  You're just kinda......well, you're kind of a childish prick, to be honest."

ExCUSE him!?

"What."

Izuku felt the hand around his wrist tighten, but kept going.  "He has a REASON for what he does.  It's not for fun, and he's not playing around.  His methods are wrong, but he lives by what he does, good or bad.  You just gave up and turned tail as soon as it stopped being fun for you."  His eyes went surprisingly hard.  "No one likes a bully, but people can at least respect a guy with conviction."

Shigaraki stared at him, the dots he was connecting skidding a squire for a moment.  Bully?  What?

"Fuck, you're irritating," he hissed, his eyes narrowing.  "You piss me off, the Hero Killer pisses me off, All-goddamn-Might pisses me off!  Acting like you're righteous and so perfectly RIGHT, like there's no wrong to what you do-"

He was cut off when Izuku stuffed the square of sesame flatbread in his mouth.  He froze, giving Izuku a murderous look and twitched his elevated finger before Izuku put a finger of his own to his lips.

"You were being too loud," Izuku muttered, flicking his eyes to a small group the next table over that were starting to glance their way.  He put on a bright smile, leaning his head on his chin.  "Oh, Tomu, chew your food, you silly bean!"  

Silly bean?  What the FUCK...

Shigaraki forced himself to chew, only the legitimate deliciousness of the flatbread keeping his rage from reaching above simmering levels.  He bit through a chunk and took the rest out of his mouth, giving Izuku a death glare as he chewed and swallowed (and made a mental note to get another for the road).  At very least, it did give him time to cool down and think about what Izuku had said.  

But Izuku HAD been a little wrong; he had conviction and reason from the start.  He just needed a level head about HOW he wanted to proceed.

"What was I so hung up about anyway?" he muttered, the flatbread pressed against his lips before taking another bite.  His hand tightened around Izuku's wrist when he felt the younger boy make a move to shift it back.  "I'm glad we had this chat, Midoriya.  I AM headed down the right path for me-"

"Good for you, can you let my wrist go?  I need both hands to eat this sandwich."

Shigaraki gave him an incredulous look, his grip loosening enough for Izuku to move it, and the boy actually did grab his sandwich to start eating.  Shigaraki resisted the urge to say something about it, and washed down his next bite of flatbread with a swig of tea.  

"Deku!"

He looked up when Izuku started, seeing the boy look over the table to the walking area outside of the cafe.  He glanced from just behind his hoodie to see the girl Izuku was with just before they met up looking around.  Next to him, Izuku slurped up the rest of his iced tea and stood up.

"Well, time to go," he said, his voice clear and a little louder than it should have been in announcing his departure.  Shigaraki realized it was to avoid him making a scene.

Clever little shit; at least he got what he came for.

"Ooooh, he's leaving his boyfriend for a girl!" a loud whisper from the next table cut through, making his shoulders stiffen.  "How SCANDALOUS."

Oh for the LOVE OF-

A hand on his shoulder and a KISS on his HEAD almost made him crush the cup of tea in his hand.  "Gotta shop with my bestie!" Izuku chirped like he totally hadn't heard the group next to them talk about him ditching his 'date' for another one.  "Later, Tomu!"  He grabbed his sandwich and hurried out to meet Uraraka.  

Shigaraki watched Izuku wave away her apologies for leaving so abruptly, perhaps saying something about just grabbing lunch before they both headed off.  He wasn't stupid enough to think Izuku would just let the incident go unreported, and decided to grab another flatbread and go-

Only to realize he gave up all his money for this 'date'.

God DAMN it.

 

Shigaraki didn't look much better coming back from his outing than he did leaving; more confused, albeit Kurogiri noticed, with a hint of mental weariness.  Wisely, he chose not to comment on it and only watched at Shigaraki sat down hard on the bar stool and stared past Father's fingers at the clear counter.  

"...Kurogiri?"

"Yes?"

"I'm going to kill that kid."

Definitely no need to question who 'that kid' was, but definite question as to what 'that kid' did to put Shigaraki in such a state.  

"And I'm never going on another date again."

Wait, what?