"I beg your pardon, what?"
Aizawa had no idea how to react to that statement. Sure, he did want to take them in, and they were going to bring it up once they were well rested, but he was assuming that he would take both kids in at the same time. He thought that they would both start kicking and screaming about being a package deal, and going together.
He did not think that Midoriya would say something like this.
To think that Midoriya trusted him enough to even think he was capable of taking care of the younger brother he fought tooth and nail to save.
But the way Midoriya said it stopped him from turning red and trying to hide in his capture weapon again. It sent shivers down his spine.
Midoriya sounded like he had given up.
"I'm a horrible guardian. I let him suffer for the past ten months. I wasn't able to help him." At this point, Midoriya looked close to tears, but he was trying his best to control hinself lest he woke up his brother.
"I... I don't know anymore. I'm pathetic. These past few years, I couldn't give him what most kids his age gets. We barely have enough to get enough food and education. I... It's not fair that other kids have proper parents taking care of them and all he has is this quirkless older brother who is unable to protect him when he needed it the most."
Aizawa was not expecting this from Midoriya of all people.
Midoriya was confident in his abilities. He didn't have problems taunting opponents, and when push came to shove, he was a predator, with a single goal in mind. He was an overprotective older brother who would do anything for Shinsou, even if it meant going to hell and back.
But how much of that was a facade? How much of that was the real Izuku, and how much was there as an act, to protect himself and Hitosh. How much of it was just there to make Hitoshi feel better about their circumstances?
"When we were trapped in there... I selfishly tried to escape the pain by dissociating. I didn't think how Toshi would feel when I did that. And then he ended up doing the same to escape his own pain. I forced him to do it. I'm an utter failure as an older brother."
This Midoriya just sounded so done, so defeated, as he leaned back against the pillow.
The sparkle was gone. His eyes were dull. This was not the same kid that Aizawa knew before.
No. It's the same kid. The past ten months, Izuku has been focussing on Hitoshi the entire time. Now that they're both safe, he has the time to think about the entire occurrence.
The breakdown was just one small time that Midoriya had let out what he really felt.
Aizawa didn't want him to break again.
"No one said I could be a hero. I'm quirkless. I'll stagnate a lot faster. But that was fine. As long as I could keep Toshi safe.. that was good enough for me. I didn't need to be a hero. But this ordeal just proved that I'm not capable of doing that. I can't protect the only person I swore to protect. I'm just not good enough. And even now I know with this mindset, I'm even less suited to take care of him."
Aizawa pulled the chair up to Midoriya's side, and pat his back.
"I'm sure Hitoshi thinks differently."
"That's cause everyone hates him for his quirk. He developed it really early and his mom left him in the alleyway covered in bruises, cold and hungry. I'm the only one that accepted him for who he was. If he had a different quirk, I'm sure he would have found someone a lot better to take care of him instead of this mess of a person. I know I'm being selfish, putting my own ideals and thoughts forward and not talking with him... but it's for the best. He deserves more. Much more than I can give him."
Nezu had moved to sit on Shinsou's former infirmary bed, looking at the teenager with an emotionless face.
"If he had a different quirk, he wouldn't have been discriminated against. He wouldn't have been abandoned. You were the only one who still loved Hitoshi despite what everyone else says. You put your life on the line and pushed yourself past your limits to save him. You're doing more than enough. Taking care of kids is the parents job, not yours." Aizawa pulled him in for a hug carefully, aware that Shinsou was still latched onto Midoriya. Midoriya readily leaned into the hug, arms wrapped tight around Shinsou like he was a source of comfort.
"His parents didn't want him. My parents didn't want me. There isn't anyone else we have." Midoriya replied miserably, tears welling up in his eyes. "I don't understand why everyone hates him just because of his quirk. He's literally the sweetest kid anyone could ask for. Did you know that when I found him, he used his quirk by accident and passed out. I wanted to bring him home, but someone told me to just leave Toshi in alleyway and forget about him. Said he had a villainous quirk and I should just ignore him."
Nezu hissed. Humans and their discrimination. He was glad that Midoriya had stumbled upon Shinsou and took him in despite what everyone else said. People with Midoriya's mindset were few and far between.
Yamada was sitting on the floor, close to crying himself.
"I don't understand."
Aizawa wiped the tears from Midoriya's eyes. "Humans are like that. Not all of them are as empathetic and open minded as you."
"He's just a kid. He's better, sweeter than all the others." Midoriya whispered, sounding strangled, "Why?! Everyone has proper people taking care of them even if they don't deserve it. Why can't Toshi get that chance as well?"
Hypocrite. Aizawa growled internally.
He really just wanted to adopt them there and then.
No matter how the Erasure Hero looked at it, Midoriya himself was still a kid. A child with the burden of an adult weighing on him.
Midoriya was right when he said that Shinsou deserved more.
However, he failed to see that he deserved the same as well.
But now wasn't the time to talk to Midoriya about that.
"Sorry. I'm even more pathetic now, crying. I'm just bothering you now."
Now definitely wasn't the time to talk about it. He needed to calm Midoriya down, let them both rest and recover, before they decide on their next move and start the necessary preparations.
"It's okay to cry. You're human, and still a kid" Aizawa tried to sooth him, to no avail.
"I was a crybaby in preschool. Got bullied over for crying to much, on top of being quirkless. I haven't cried since I was seven. Sorry." He sniffled, wiping his tears.
Aizawa, Yamada, Nezu and Shuzenji hissed internally.
This was a huge problem. Why couldn't he understand that it was okay? Why was Midoriya forced to mature at such an early age? Why did so many bad things happen to two kids who just wanted to be accepted for who they were?! Why were they forced to change?
Life wasn't fair.
"Midoriya, calm down." Nezu said. "You're tired and you're letting you emotions cloud your thoughts. You're not thinking straight. We'll continue this conversation tomorrow."
"I'm sorry." Midoriya wiped his tears, as Nezu sighed, "You did nothing wrong, Midoriya. Rest up first."
Yamada and Aizawa looked like they wanted to protest, but Nezu just grabbed them and dragged them out of the infirmary.
Midoriya didn't even seem to notice when Shuzenji shut off the lights.
He lay down on the bed, wiped his tears, before he pulled Shinsou into his chest and wrapped his arms around him. He put his head against Shinsou's, and closed his eyes, desperately trying to stop the tears that were threatening to leak out.
"We can't just leave him like that. He's a wreck." Aizawa hissed once they were outside the infirmary.
Nezu thrusted a bunch of papers in Aizawa's face. Where he got them from, neither Aizawa nor Yamada knew.
Aizawa peered at the papers.
"Fill them out by the end of the week." Nezu ordered. "The hero course have their internships next week. You should be able to help both of them settle in. You do have a spare room, don't you?"
"Yeah, but - " Yamada was silenced by Nezu's paw.
"Currently, because no one knows Akatani's true identity and that he came to UA after the escape, the current story that is circulating is that both of them went missing and somehow, we rescued Shinsou. Due to him not having any legal guardians, his biological father having gone missing years ago and his mother being reported as having committed suicide a few years back, I managed to convince the police that is would be best if UA has custody over him as he was 'rescued' here."
Aizawa and Yamada gapped at the principal.
"I also managed to dig into Midoriya's records. Dad's in jail, mom is dead."
Aizawa nodded. That was exactly what Midoriya had said.
"He managed to convince the government for him to take care of himself, and I'm pretty sure they only dropped the matter cause he was quirkless." Nezu growled, "I managed to contact the government, stating that Midoriya was injured and he should not be staying on his own. They also relented and he's currently under UA's custody as well. Again, pretty sure they don't care that he's quirkless."
"That's why you have the papers?"
"Tsukauchi came to pass them to me. Being able to interrogate them would have been a bonus."
Aizawa just stared at the papers in his hands.
"I already started planning for this after he broke down after the USJ. Midoriya needs someone to take care of him, to remind him that he's still a kid and shouldn't have these kind of burdens. I figured it would be best for him to stay with someone he trusts. That is you two." Nezu sighed. "Then this entire thing about rescuing Shinsou came up. Those two need all the help they can get."
"But are we just gonna ... leave him in there like that?" Yamada asked, turning to the door in concern.
"They need to rest. Right now, they're tired, and their emotions are all over the place. Midoriya's clearly not thinking straight if he's saying all that. He's hurting himself with his own words. Worse of all is that he believes them. Once he feels better, then we'll talk to them about therapy. They need support now but in his current state of mind, he's in no position to receive it." Nezu replied.
He hated that he had to leave the children, but in order for them to help, Midoriya first had to accept that he needed it.
But being forced to be an adult, to work to feed himself and his little brother, he had to be strong. He couldn't rely on others. That in turn had resulted in Midoriya pushing help away when he needed it. Sure, when it came to Shinsou, he was willing to accept the help. But when it came to himself? He couldn't, or he'll appear to be weak.
Nezu hated that Midoriya had been forced into that mindset at such a young age.
"Just think about it, Aizawa."
"I'm going to. I just don't know how Izuku will take it."
Shinsou could tell that something was bothering Midoriya. He had woken up in the morning, feeling a lot better than he had in months. Nothing was hurting anymore, and he was actually feeling really good knowing that both he and Midoriya were safe.
But then he saw tear tracks on Midoriya's face, and paused.
He realised that he had never seen Midoroya cry before. He said it was okay to cry, but he had never done it.
Shinsou didn't know what was wrong. So he just did the only thing that he knew made Midoriya feel better.
He hugged him.
Aizawa was also in the room, and Shinsou liked how the quiet man looked at Midoriya with concern. He was glad he wasn't the only person who cared about him. Though Aizawa looked deeply troubled about something.
Midoroya had woken up a few minutes before Shuzenji entered to check on them, and she declared both Midoriya and Shinsou good to go. However, she also wanted them to stay a few more nights, until Friday, since Midoriya was still on antibiotics.
Midoriya didn't protest.
Aizawa tried to cheer him up by telling him that he was transfered to the hero course based on his performance in the Sports Festival.
He got a dull "Oh. Okay." in reply.
Shinsou, on the other hand, was really excited.
"Really? Was Izu awesome!? I bet he was!"
"You bet he was." Aizawa nodded. "He came in first for all the events."
"Izu's the best." Shinsou grinned.
Midoriya had a small smile on his face as he wore a spare uniform. Aizawa was originally going to introduce him on Monday, but with him absent and the entire kidnapping fiasco, they had to do it on Wednesday.
He didn't have any of his books, but Nezu had passed Aizawa a stack of old textbooks for him to use.
Shinsou was going to be in same class as him. Nezu didn't have the heart to force Midoriya away from him, seeing as he seemed to be the only thing that kept Midoriya going. Plus, the class were already introduced to Shinsou before, and it was probably the best for both of them to be with people they at least knew.
When they arrived at the 1-A classroom, they were all noisy and talking about something. From outside, he managed to make out the words "quirkless" and "suicide", and he hissed, but he just patiently stood outside the classroom as Aizawa silenced the class.
"Alright. Quiet down. I'm sure you all heard the news, and I don't want to hear any of you mention it. We'll go over it in the hero class later. We have a new student. Midoriya Izuku."
Aizawa gestured at him, and Midoriya carefully walked into the classroom, eyeing everyone warily. Shinsou hid behind him, peeking out from behind Midoriya.
"I'm Midoriya Izuku. Kacchan calls me Deku. It's nice to meet you."
At least he still remembered his manners. Aizawa thought.
"You're finally here, Deku?" Bakugou grinned.
Kirishima, Uraraka, and Kaminari were yelling congratulations from their seats, but the rest of 1-A was looking at Midoriya with what was akin to fear. Yaoyorozuz Ashido and Iida were looking at Midoriya with what looked like concern, while Todoroki and Asui stared at him impassively.
"Is he really... Akatani?" Sero hesitantly asked.
"I have no reason to be a vigilante anymore, so I don't really care, if you could even call me one. I didn't break any laws." Midoriya shrugged.
"What do you mean, didn't break any laws. You broke into UA when you came to the USJ."
"I'm a student here. Technically I'm permitted to enter UA."
"What about hacking?"
"You do you. Would you have preferred me to hack or die?"
The tension in the air was so thick, you could slice it with a knife.
"Cool it, problem child." Aizawa smacked his head lightly. "Sensei!" Midoriya whined, turning around to face the pro hero.
Shinsou pouted when he did do, and immediately everyone noticed the child.
"Hi!" Ashido waved from her seat, and Shinsou gave a shy wave as he tried to hide behind Midoriya again.
"Okay that's enough. You can question him later. Izuku, sit behind Bakugou and drag over the other chair for Hitoshi." Midoriya prompty did so, and Shinsou scrambled up the chair after Midoriya sat down.
"Sensei, what about Deku's hero name?" Uraraka asked. "We already chose ours yesterday."
"He'll deal with that and all the catching up while you're on your internships. He did get several offers from some heroes who offered to take him as an intern, but as a former general education student, we're not allowed to let him go for the internships until he's up to date with lessons." Aizawa replied. "Now, all of you introduce yourselves and - "
"Sensei, I already know them." Midoriya raised his hand.
"What do you mean, already know us? And it's rude to interrupt the teacher when he's talking." Iida spoke up.
"You remember how I talked to you at the entrance exam, Iida-kun?" Midoriya raised eyebrow.
"Of course. You knew how the exam worked, you knew my name even though I never met you before, you knew who my brother was and my family background."
Bakugou burst out laughing, "He scared the fuck - "
He was promptly smacked on the head by Midoriya.
"The heck, Deku?!"
"No swearing around Toshi."
Both of them glared at each other, and Aizawa sighed when Bakugou finally relented. Shinsou was trying to stifle his laughter.
"I already knew all of you before the entrance exam."
"That's a very bold claim to make, kero." Asui said, "Did you know we'll make it in?"
"Problem child, did you seriously research everyone who took the entrance exam." Aizawa groaned.
"Everyone who might take the entrance exam." He put emphasis on the word.
1-A gulped. Midoriya was really, really scary if he did that.
"Okay that's it. We wasted enough time." Aizawa sighed again, "Hitoshi will be joining us for lessons, so I expect you to be on your best behaviour. No swearing. And I mean you, Bakugou."
Bakugou grumbled under his breath.
"Izuku, after this it's Modern Literature, then English, followed by Modern Hero Art History and then Maths. After that is lunch. Then we have a homeroom lesson and then Heroics."
"That's it. Cementoss is already waiting."
Midoriya is a cryptid.
That was what most of 1-A thought.
The literature book they were covering was a different book from the one that the general studies students were learning, so Ishiyama has brought an extra copy of the book for Midoriya to read.
They didn't know that Midoriya had already read the book before, and had memorised it, word for word.
So when Ishiyama asked someone to read chapter five out loud for the rest of the class, Midoriya, seeing as no one responded, just stood up and recited the entire chapter from memory until Ishiyama stopped him in a hurry after he had recited three pages without stopping, not getting a single word wrong.
In Yamada's lesson, he had set them a quiz on the usage of grammar and punctuations. Midoriya had finished it in no time flat, and then started explaining everything to Shinsou while everyone else was struggling with it.
And he got full marks on it.
For Modern Hero Art History, he ended up in debate with Kayama, arguing about anything ranging from hero costumes to support items to history. Everyone was scared of how impassive Midoriya was as he did so, but Todoroki loved how Midoriya kept roasting Enji every five sentences and prompty dropped his dislike for the boy.
Then it was maths.
Ectoplasm had given an open book test about everything taught before, ranging from differentiation to algebra to complex numbers. The kids were allowed to work in groups, and some of them had already gotten into groups and started.
Midoriya had, once again, finished it in no time flat, Shinsou watching him do so.
Bakugou was bashing Ashido and Kirishima on the head for something, and seeing that Midoriya was done, Kaminari walked over to Midoriya's table.
"I'm having trouble with this. Please help!"
Midoriya had taken the paper from him, and the first thing that was hard was a shrill, "You can't do that!"
It wasn't from Midoriya.
It was from Shinsou.
"It's four to the power of six! That mea 4! Not 4 x 6!"
Shinsou looked completely dumbfounded at the ridiculous mistaken.
Ectoplasm had looked up from his marking to see what was going on.
Kaminari looked utterly confused.
"It's log! Not the natural logarithm! You're supposed to use base 10, not e!"
Bakugou, Sero, Ashido and Kaminari were roaring with laughter as Shinsou pointed out every single mistake, and even Yaoyorozu, Iida, Jiro and Uraraka were amused by the situation. Koda, Tokoyami and Shoji were still sightly confused on what exactly was going on.
"Pikachu's getting math lessons from a kid!" Bakugou yelled, and the entire class erupted into chaos.
"Um... what the heck?" Tokage raised an eyebrow.
"Is it just me, or do I see a toddler giving a high school student math lessons?" Kendo asked.
Shinsou was sitting next to Midoriya and Kaminari scribbling on a piece if paper as he tried to explain alegbra to Kaminari, who was horrible at it.
"You have to take away the five from both sides! No, you can't do that! Stop!"
Midoriya was looking on in amusement and pride and Shinsou huffed when Kaminari asked, "But I can divide it!"
"No! You don't know A and B! B could be zero!" Shinsou huffed, scribbling some more stuff down.
Bakugou was too busy laughing at Kaminari, "You're a lost cause!"
"I'm not! Math is hard." Kaminari retorted.
"Kacchan is right." Shinsou spoke up, and Kaminari clutched his chest in mock hurt. "Why!? How could you do this to me?!"
Shinsou just stuck his tongue out, before sipping on a juice pack, courtesy of Aizawa.
"I like the kid." Monoma spoke up.
She did notice that Midoriya was sharing his plate of fried rice with Shinsou. Maybe he wasn't hungry, or maybe he was still recovering. Who knew.
"Why can he call you Kacchan!? It's not fair!" Ashido wailed.
"Cause he's a good kid and he's smart. Unlike you." Bakugou snapped, and Shinsou's eyes lit up at the praise.
Monoma recognised himself in Shinsou, the way he acted. He was starved for positive attention.
He also noticed how much happier and energetic Shinsou was when he was with Midoriya. He was carefree, he spoke his mind, he tolerated jokes and was playful. Not like the day before when he was quiet and reserved and reacted negatively to a single, joking hint of negativity.
Kaminari finally gave up his attempt to learn his maths when Hatsume walked up to the table and started talking to Midoriya about her babies.
The entire cafeteria was packed, but there was a ridiculous amount of space around the 1-A class. Probably because of Midoriya being Akatani and all the other rumours flying around the school.
Then there was the thing about Midoriya's quirk. It had blown up the media, and while some people believed that he was quirkless, like Monoma, there were others who didn't believe that he was and he was merely trying to scare and shock the spectators for more attention.
The fact that he turned out to be a well known vigilante, and survived his captors for four days made the theory that he was quirkless even more unlikely.
Monoma wanted to find out the truth.
"What are they doing here?!" Bakugou screeched. They were supposed to be having homeroom, but they were currently seated at the viewing area of Ground Beta.
"We're having a joint class between 1-A and 1-B! We saw some amonisity between the two classes, and we decided that as future heroes, you guys should learn to work together." Yagi grinned, before he turned serious.
"But first, I'm sure you heard the news, didn't you? The suicide of the third year quirkless student in a neighbouring school. She was reported to have been bullied and teased her entire life because she wanted to be a hero. Now, we need to talk about this. First, I want your opinions of the twenty percent of the population that is quirkless and your thoughts about them being heroes."
"They need to be protected."
"Honestly... I don't know. They're human, but they don't have powers?"
"They should work normal jobs. I doubt they can be a hero if they can't protect themselves."
The statements like that came from students from both 1-A and 1-B alike, and Shinsou could feel Midoriya shaking in anger as they were all seated on the ground. Shinsou reached up to pat Midoriya's head in an attempt to calm him down.
The only decently nice statements were from Monoma and Bakugou.
"Well, I guess that they can be a hero if they try really hard."
"They have to put in the effort, or they'll be useless just like all the others."
The last statement was spoken by Shiozaki, "They were not blessed by god like the others. We should protect them, and use our blessings to help them."
"You think we need help?" Midoriya snapped, "That we're useless?! That we need to be protected!?"
"Midoriya, calm down!" Yagi tried to stop the boy, as he stood up, clearly agitated.
"Calm down!? How do you expect me to calm down when they're all practically insulting me in the face!" Midoriya growled.
"Wait, what do you - " Kirishima started, before Midoriya hissed and interrupted him.