Chapter 1: Resigned
Toshi woke up to Nighteye sitting next to him; he was doing paperwork on the coffee table, pen trapped in between his teeth. The green haired man pulled it out, circling something on the paper, before moving on to the next one.
Two weeks. The last surgery was two weeks ago- but they refused to let him leave the hospital. Toshi looked down, saw his now thin wrists, the IV drip the only thing remaining on his arm. He sighed, before calling on One for All. Halfway through his transformation, Nighteye had a grip on his forearm, fingers wrapped halfway across the oddly shaped muscle.
“You need rest, Sir.” Nighteye didn’t even look up from his paperwork.
“I’m fine.” Toshi lied, throat cracked.
“The doctors have said otherwise.”
“The doctors don’t get-”
“They’re professionals.” Nighteye snapped, “They have a job to do- let them do it.”
He wanted to cry, wanted to push his sidekick away, get up and walk out of here, away from the doctors, away from the hospital. The fight. He shrunk back down, defeated. He had already done tried that scenario- far too many times. Each time, he never made it past the hallway.
Sir Nighteye’s hand still held his arm, fingers slowly but surely wrapping around the husk he was. He went back to the paperwork, picking up a few resumes and even some current employee sheets. Nighteye gently placed the stack in front of Toshi, moving back to signing paperwork, highlighting key passages and circling titles.
Nighteye was quitting. After the last failed escape, he and Toshi had fought- the final words out of either of their mouths being that he was resigning from sidekick and secretarial duties. He was only going to stay on until Toshi was up and out of the hospital, but for now… now Toshi had to find a replacement, one that didn’t know his secret, someone one who he could trust to not ask questions.
Every paper felt like lead in his hands, the words blurring together. Half of this stuff he had no idea what it meant- sure he understood vaguely what Human Resources was, but what the hell did that have to do with Change? What did Diversity Finances even mean? What the hell does Publicity Relations with Foreign Bodies do?
“... Are you sure you won’t-”
“I can not stay if you are just going to kill yourself in the end.” Nighteye didn’t look up from his work. “If you won’t even listen to me when I use my Quirk, how do I know you will ever listen to me as a friend?”
Toshi winced, but said nothing. He moved to the next page, saw the qualifications, the experience… and the headshot. Wait, he knew this one, but from where? Your name didn’t jog anything in his memory, but it was your face… where had seen you before?
Oh! That’s right, you reported to Nighteye about internal affairs. He remembered the small joke book you had bought as a gag gift in April- Toshi looked out of the corner of his eye, saw his former sidekick, busy with paperwork.
“Are you going to be taking anyone when you leave?” Toshi asked.
“... I haven’t decided.” Nighteye flipped the folder closed, opening up a new one.
“What about, uh, this one?” Toshi held up your employee sheet.
“They’re capable.” Nighteye only glanced at the page before going back to his work. “Initially, they had little experience in the field but they have worked at Might Tower for a year now. Why do you ask?”
“Would- would they make a good replacement?”
Nighteye paused in his work, sitting up in his chair. Toshi waited, felt his already dry mouth get worse. The door opened, the nurse coming in and bowing her head before checking Toshi’s vitals. The two men looked at each other for the first time since the fight; a stand off. When the nurse left, Nighteye remained stoic for another minute before speaking.
“They could work, but not as my replacement.”
“... What about- if I replaced you, did my own paperwork. I need someone to show me the ropes and-”
“They’d eat you alive.”
Toshi waited for the punchline to come. It never did. He sighed, looking at your employee sheet, the headshot that was paperclipped in. He liked seeing you the few times he had been in the office- he doesn’t really remember if you liked All Might.
“Sir,” Nighteye’s shoulders dropped, one finger coming up to push his glasses up his nose again. “They’re a very capable assistant- they could not under normal circumstance replace me outright. And neither can you. I was able to do the work of an entire department because of my Quirk- They don’t have a Quirk.”
“I’m sure they’re fine for the job, regardless of their Quirk.”
“They’re Quirkless, sir.”
Toshi felt a lump in his throat forming, the coughing threatening to start up again. His hand came to rest on his left side, felt the scar underneath his scrubs. I was Quirkless. The thought is bitter, reactionary. Toshi keeps it locked in his throat, stares at your photo again.
“... If you’re really this determined, I can contact Might Productions to set up a new department. If you insist on having them work close to you, I’ll make them head of the department in name- unless you had another idea?”
“No, set up the new department. But I have someone else in mind for head of the department.”
“Wonderful, they can work as a direct assistant to you choice. Their job won’t really change- just the title. What was the name for the new head you had in mind?”
“He’s not qualified.” Nighteye had the tell tale signs that he was joking.
The crow’s feet that wrinkled next to his right eye, the slight turn of his lips. Miniscule, it would have gone unnoticed by anyone else. Toshi laughed, the coughing and blood finally escaping because of it. A handkerchief was offered, Toshi took it and wipe his mouth, apologizing, only for Nighteye to wave it off, already typing away on a smartphone in his hand.
“I can manage in the office.” Toshi tried to smile. “After all, I’m All Might.”
“Office politics is nothing compared to Villain fights, sir.” Nighteye was once again back to not looking him in the eye.
“Well, if they’re as capable as you say, then I’m sure to survive.”
“You’ll have to survive them first, Mr Yagi.”
Toshi wanted to grin, but it hurt to even breath; he picked up your employee sheet instead. He can picture your face, laughing as Nighteye told one of his dry jokes. The calm demeanour during meetings, taking notes without looking down at the paper. Current Affairs- Hero Affiliations and Communications. Internal Management- Senior Staff. Toshi put his hand back on his left side, the twinge of pain spiking higher and higher all of a sudden.
You had the entire floor to yourself for the last three months. At first, it was daunting- Sir Nighteye had sent a short email, stating hero work. And then, silence. You had dodged interviews, requests for photo shoots, even police calls for raids.
The other departments had no idea- work came and went, Might Tower running as smooth as it’s always had. At least, as smooth as it has in the year you’ve worked on this floor. You looked over at the large All Might logo on steel doors; doors that led directly to the hero’s office. On a whim you had gone in last month, inputting the code that you had seen Nighteye put in once. It shocked you that it had worked.
The office had memorabilia, spare uniforms, couches, a large and obnoxious desk with matching leather chair- and sliding doors that opened to the Tokyo skyline. There had been other rooms, a small doctor’s room, sleeping quarters, kitchen, sauna, two full bathrooms, even a room filled with various arcade games. All in all, it was a top hero’s office, had everything in it to wind down or get to work. It could even be considered a live-in suite- but it was clearly meant to be an office.
Last week you had decided to just reorganize your boss’ workspace, but now the paperwork was piling up again. The other desks around you usually had other department representatives. But it’s been three months- and until the big man himself made another appearance, you had stopped having people come up to the floor unless it was for a meeting.
You were bored. Three months of little to no communication from Nighteye meant no work for you. The other departments had plenty to do- All Might was popular, even if the world simply rehashed the same iconic fights over and over, there was plenty of content to keep the masses entertained, for merchandise to be based off of, for reports to file and fans to respond to.
But you had nothing to do. You were current affairs, Things-that-happened-just-now affairs. Internal Affairs… and there was nothing going on, internally. Hell, there was nothing on, period. You looked up at the ceiling, swivelling in your chair mindlessly.
“... Maybe I should get coffee.”
“If it keeps you from sleeping on the job, be my guest.”
You did not fall out of your chair. You just… haphazardly stood up from it. Yea, that was it. Nighteye had his bag slung over his shoulder, moving over to his desk. For the last few days, your boss would come in, grab paperwork or his parts of his collection, and then leave. Today you were going to ask what was happening… now.
Nighteye was shuffling papers on the desk, back turned to you. You have to ask what the fuck is going on… now!
You continued to stand like a fucking idiot.
“I’ve resigned.” Nighteye spoke up, not turning to look at you.
“A new department will be made in order to replace my office duties- you are to show the new head for this department the ropes.”
“I wish you luck, and hope that you will continue the excellent work for All Might and Might Productions.”
“Who’s the new department head?” You spoke up.
“Yagi Toshinori- a new hire.” Nighteye finished putting his stuff in his bag, turning to stare down at you.
“An external hire.” You crossed your arms.
“Is he any good?”
“Here is his resume.” Nighteye handed over a single piece of paper.
You looked it over. This was… bad. Real bad.
“The decision has already been made, I’m afraid you’re stuck with him.” Nighteye moved towards the elevator.
“Sir,” you interjected. “This guy isn’t qualified to even be a paperboy.”
“I know.” He kept walking.
“Graduated from UA, no given year, just stated Business School- what’s his specialisation? On top of that- no references, last known job was in the United States- mind you it’s WELL over twenty years ago.”
“I know.” He swiped his access card.
“This guy is a fraud on paper- I don’t even want to THINK what he’s like in person.”
“Have you ever met the bastard?”
“Yes. Once or twice.”
“And you hired him. To replace you.”
“I did not.”
“Who hired him?”
“All Might himself.”
“What.” The elevator pinged, but Nighteye turned around to face you again.
“All Might has hired Yagi Toshinori as the head for the upcoming Second Secretarial Office. He’ll be head of the department for a short time, and after an assessment by other heads of departments, it will be determined if he’s qualified to remain there.”
“What happened to the First Secretarial Office.” you asked.
“It doesn’t exist.”
“Because I had no need for it.”
You could feel a blood vessel threaten to pop. This was beyond ridiculous. Barely controlling your anger you spoke again.
“Can you even tell me what brought this up.”
“... Be specific.” He took a step back, standing in the elevator.
“Why have you resigned.”
“Can you even tell me where you were for the last three months?” you tried not to sound panicked. “Where is All Might?”
“... I can’t.”
“... Good luck.” The doors closed, Nighteye leaving for the day.
Silence. You were too shocked to move, but your body did it anyway. You were already breathing heavy, sitting back down in front of your computer.
If All Might had hired this Yagi person, that means he couldn’t be fired. Well, not really. Okay, think. Nighteye had resigned, and instead of being promoted, you were stuck in the same position. Under a guy who’s resume looked like he typed it up in an hour and called it done. And the head hero had hired him. Was All Might really that fucking gullible?
Granted, you only got this job because the last guy who worked under Nighteye quit after something known as ‘The Feather Incident’. And the guy before that quit because he couldn’t handle Nighteye’s sense of humor. And then there was the guy before that-
Maybe Yagi is the reason that Nighteye resigned. Did All Might just like collecting weird personalities? You had spent the better part of the last year learning both of their… little habits. And now Nighteye was resigning- and All Might was nowhere to be found.
You were fucking furious. A complete nobody, who probably took advantage of All Might’s hospitality, landed what was supposed to be your job. And the one person who could have given you some kind of answers just left- was in the middle of leaving. The floor was completely empty. You calmly got up, took a few breathes. And then proceeded to lift your chair up and throw it across the room.
“FUCK!” It echoed across the open floor.
You needed a plan. Yagi thinks he can just take this job it’ll be easy as? Oh, you’ll show him exactly how easy it was. Fucker. You started to make some calls, ignoring how hard your hands were shaking.
Chapter 2: Homecoming
“You have about ten hours in your All Might form everyday.” Recovery Girl patted Toshi’s hand. “Not too shabby.”
“It’s not enough.” Toshi felt like shit. “I still have fourteen hours like- like this.”
“Time that could be spent cooking your meals, taking a peaceful walk. Relaxing.”
“I can’t relax, I have to-”
“Be The Symbol of Peace, I know dear.” Recovery Girl got off her stool, already having snuck a sugar free candy into Toshi’s hand. “Eat up dear, you’ll need it.”
He was being released today. Finally, after a month of hospital care, tests and scans, followed by more tests and scans. He was going to go home. Home. Might Tower, where he was going to have to figure out… things.
“Do you need a ride back to UA, Recovery Girl?” Toshi asked.
“Oh aren’t you sweet!” she laughed, turning her around to watch Toshi get up, tying his shoes before leaving the room. “But I’ll be fine.”
“Mr Yagi, so good to see you again.” Nezu was standing outside, dressed to impress. “Just wanted to let you know that we’ll keep our eye out for a prodigy for you to train.”
“Granted, it might take some time, but we’ll keep you and Sir Nighteye updated on our search.”
Toshi almost said something, but just nodded, signing his own release papers at the counter. Nezu and Recovery Girl went one way, Toshi the other. He couldn’t risk using One for All just to get home- what if something came up, a hero was needed to save the day and he had used up his precious time?
Strange how he was only just out of the hospital and he was already thinking of how to conserve his precious time. Like some kind of coward. The train ride from the hospital to downtown seemed longer than he remembered. When was the last time he actually took the train?
A mother and her son sat across from him, the young boy playing with his All Might figure. Toshi smiled to himself- people haven’t forgotten. He coughed into his fist- blood on his knuckles. He tried to discreetly wipe it off, looked around to see if anyone had seen him. They hadn’t.
It was strange, being in public places, not being recognized. Someone would wave, Toshi halfway in giving his iconic smile- only for the person behind them to call back, joining their friend. He still had to duck underneath door frames, but his instinct to turn sideways was pointless; he no longer had the massive frame that bumped into corners. The small kiosk worker didn’t bat an eye as he asked to pay for the jello he picked up.
The walk was… nice. And unnerving. He half expected for someone to recognize him, but it never came. No one batted an eye as he walked into Might Tower. The security guard gave him an odd look as he punched in his code for his personal elevator, but said nothing as it pinged. Tokyo shrunk the higher he went. His jello was nearly done- he had left the cream alone on the top, eating around it, per the doctor’s instructions.
They’re professionals. Let them do their job. Toshi sighed. Nighteye was gone, so why was he still nagging Toshi in his head?
Their job was to keep you alive , sure but to not cut out everything that made him feel a little better. Toshi went to take another bite- but his body refused it, tried to tell him it was too much food. He had over purchased- the rest of the six pack was still in his plastic bag, mocking him. Was it going to be like this every time? The door pinged, Toshi walking out into the small hallway… Only to see you, your back to him, busy talking on your phone. He called on One for All, puffing up into All Might.
“...Yes, any information that you can aquire about-” you look over your shoulder, saw All Might standing there, awkwardly holding a kiosk bag and walking towards his office door. “I’ll call you back.”
“Mr All Might! It’s good to see you.” you walked over. “How was your trip?”
“Uh, it was great! Never better!” He lied.
“Good…” You weren’t leaving, rocking on your heels.
“Is something wrong, my friend?”
“Well, it’s about the new hire. Yagi Toshinori?”
Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit.
“Ah yes! A fine man,” All Might laughed, the pain in his left side still uncomfortable. “He’ll be a good fit for the top floor!”
“Terribly sorry, but I have to run! Things to do, people to save! Good work and remember! I am Here!”
“Sir, I need to tal-”
Toshi shut the door in your face, puffing out of his hero form the moment the latch locked. He hadn’t even started and already you were asking about… him. He had made up that resume that Nighteye had put in the files- he knew it was shit. He couldn’t exactly put down that it was actually him. Who the hell would believe that anyway? A walking skeleton who claimed to actually be All Might?
But that was the truth now, isn’t it? He stood there, palms on the door, standing in the dark. He saw your shadow underneath, watched it get closer. Waiting. He heard you sigh, leaving with heavy footfalls. He felt the pain roll back up, nearly blinding him. Toshi forced himself to stay quiet until he was in the kitchen, throwing up in the sink and not on the floor.
Damn. He pulled out the jello pack- it wasn’t the sugar free kind. Another wave of nausea hit, the rest of his impulsive buy coming up with blood this time. Then the shaking started; it was too cold in his skin. He forced himself to not just curl there, watch as the water washed away his poor decision. The couch was closer than his bed, but it was still a struggle to reach it. A throw over blanket wrapped around his center, his legs exposed to the dark- but even with the sweating, he was too cold.
His skin was too tight, his bones hurt , everything just… hurts. He took a shaky breath, before letting it out like some kind of broken doll. Just breathe. He thought. Just… breathe. His face was wet- he didn’t know when he had started crying, but he was too weak to wipe it away. Quiet as he could be, rasping and shaking through all the stress and pain and overwhelming fear he had held in check while at the hospital.
Somehow, deep inside, he knew he failed. All for One was dead- but there was a part of him that felt like he had died as well. And now, for the rest of his short life, he had this reminder- this crater on his left side. The pain was sharp, no matter how much he clung to his side it wouldn’t go away. Everything bubbled to the surface all at once, but he was quiet. It was fine. It had to be fine.
He was alive.
Alive and broken and he failed, he failed, he failed.
“I-” Toshi gasped, before his hand came up to his mouth, trying to make sure he was quiet.
I’m sorry, Master. I failed.
He passed out from the pain.
You were stupid to think All Might would just talk with you directly. Why the fuck would he? You must have looked like an idiot, standing in front of his door, like some kind of kicked dog. Your phone rang, so you quickly rubbed at your eyes and answered it.
“Hey, that name was Yagi Toshinori, right?”
“Yea, did you find anything?” you waited for an answer
“Well…” there was the sound of papers being shuffled. “Not exactly.”
“What do you mean, not exactly?”
“I took the search a little further than you asked, you sounded so concern and all that, and… well… The guy doesn’t exist past a certain age.”
“What.” you lean forward on your desk. “What the hell is that supposed to mean.”
“Well first off, he did go to UA, but- there was never a Yagi in the business school. There was one in the hero department, and he graduated with top marks. Sadly, there’s no footage available of his Sport’s Festival results, and the current principal didn’t approve our request for his records. ‘Hero Safety’, he said.”
“You told him who you work for.”
“I did- nothing.”
“You said you he doesn’t exist past a certain age… what age?”
“About eighteen- I asked a friend who’s in records at Tokyo Air and she was able to do some digging. There had been a ticket to California around the time Yagi would have been eighteen, but no return ticket.”
“... Maybe it was under a different name.”
“If it was, we’d have to know the name. This was literally decades ago! We got lucky that Tokyo Air kept the receipt! Oh, um.”
“What is it?”
“I just got a hit on the name- from a hospital.”
“... Which hospital?”
“It’s private, just outside of the city boundaries… Oh. Oh my god.”
“Sashi? What’s wrong?”
“I- I’ll send you a copy of the file. This guy… he shouldn’t be alive. Oh my god.”
“... Jesus. I’m looking at it.”
“What do you want me to do with this?”
“I’m not sure… keep this private for now- you and me only.”
“Alright, but can I ask why?”
Because something doesn’t add up.
“New hire, I’m just doing background checks for the big guy himself.”
“Oh, okay, that makes sense. Hey, congrats on the promotion.”
“I- Thanks. We still on for drinks later this week?”
“Of course! Is Suki coming?”
“Maybe, haven’t asked her yet.”
“What about Natsu? I could ask him…”
“Alright,” you laugh, “Just don’t go red in the face again.”
“I can’t help it! It’s my Quirk!”
“Sure, sure. Thanks again, Sashi.”
You hung up, looking at the attached medical bill and exam charts. Yagi Toshinori, mid-fifties, Quirkless. Stomach removal, kidney bypass, Trauma surgery, skin reconstruction, VATS for lung and liver, cardiovascular realignment and cardiothoracic surgery. This guy is a mess. And it all happened… in the last four months. One after the other. Various doctors and health-related consultants had signed off; Recovery Girl was listed as primary doctor.
And the bill had been given to Might Productions. To All Might’s private account, no less. Who the fuck was Yagi Toshinori and why did All Might pay for his medical bills? You looked over to the small note on your desk- Nighteye’s contact information. I could just call , you thought. He could tell me what the connection is.
No, he wouldn’t. He didn’t even tell you why he had resigned. There was so much that wasn’t adding up- and the one person who you could talk to, the one person who would understand is gone. Nighteye, perhaps the biggest All Might fan, someone who could never see any wrong with what the hero did- resigned. From what was perhaps every otaku’s dream job- All Might’s sidekick and personal assistant.
“... I need a drink.”
There was no response, just the empty floor. You look over at the massive door on the other side of the floor. I could ask him. You don’t get up from your chair. You think about it, about just walking over to that door, slamming your fist on it until the number one hero gave you a straight fucking answer. Who was Yagi? Why did he pay for his medical bills? How come the guy was a ghost until an hour ago when the hospital finished submitting his paperwork? What was he hiding? Why did Nighteye resign? Was it because of Yagi? Who the hell is Yagi Toshinori?
There was no phone number on the resume for Yagi. No home address- but there was an email address. A work email address, standard issue for Might Productions. Of fucking course. You sat up straight, shooting off what you hoped would be a standard welcoming email. Standard attire, when to get in, how to get an access card, who to go to about a locker.
There were some phone calls to the other departments that had to be made. There would have to be a meeting- Nighteye only gave a final brief, telling senior management about the upcoming changes. But that had left you to try and figure out exactly how to set up a Second Secretarial Office- or even what that was supposed to do- and have everything smoothed out.
Sashi, Suki, and Natsu were all going to come up to the top floor. Easy enough, they were professionals in their fields… they just happened to be your drinking buddies. But you needed other people; before All Might had shown up you had been trying to get Human Resources to send you names for people within the company to fill out the ranks.
You figured for something like you had planned, you’d need maybe ten more people? Five to keep on top of whatever crime All Might had prevented, the other five to start filling out paperwork and send it down to specific departments. Natsu was finance, could easily handle damages and the various donations that occured. Suki could handle the phones- her Quirk made it easy enough. And Sashi would be able to work as head runner- if something needed to leave the department, she would know who it would need to go to first. Which left you in charge to babysit the new ‘Head Second Secretary’, Yagi Toshinori.
If you got people from various departments it might help- maybe it would be good to have people from marketing and promotions? A clear pathway for them to ask All Might himself about product placement and potential interviews… Suki could actually be the boss for that. Sashi was already granted access to using temps as runners for her on other floors- wouldn’t want them to start arguing with who was a bigger cog in the machine. Natsu was fine, he just needed an assistant to help him crunch numbers; he had even sent over his top choices for the position.
By the time you had names and added them to the base email that included Yagi, it was six o’clock. You packed up, swiping your access card on the elevator, waiting for it to come up. All Might hadn’t come out at all during that time… was he okay? He usually tried to say goodnight, rush everyone off so they’d go home- but that was four months ago. When the floor had been filled with activity and you were just getting the hang of being Nighteye’s assistant.
Maybe you should go and knock on the door, ask if he was going to be alright. That would be the right thing to do, wouldn’t it? Was he even in? Maybe he was out being a pro hero, saving lives or something. The elevator pinged, the doors sliding open.
“... Good night, All Might.”
You walked in, holding your bag as the elevators slid shut, Tokyo starting to come alive as the sun set for the day.
Toshi adjusted his tie, the shirt not fitting his body as well as he hoped. It would have been too tight of a fit if he was a different size- at least it didn’t sag off his shoulders.
“You’ll have to get some fitted clothes.” he said to himself.
His reflection was a stranger. Sunken eyes and sharp edges, in this form his neck seemed longer. His bangs dangled next to his face, hair more like a rat’s nest… All Might was gone. This was Yagi Toshinori now, a rail thin, husk of a man. Breathe. Just… breathe. Toshi checked his watch, 5:30 am. He grabbed his key, headed towards his private elevator.
All he had to do was pretend, just walk back up to his floor, say a few words, and hide in an office. Maybe sneak out for a few hours to get actual hero work done while no one was watching him. He had ten hours a day- he had to make them count.
You had sent him an email, detailing where to go and who to see, and then another that told him to arrive thirty minutes before everyone else. Which meant six o’clock… right? He had no idea what a normal office morning was supposed to be- he had been a pro hero for the last few decades, not a desk jockey! But he needed a cover, in case he ever did run out of time. Something that wouldn’t be questioned if he came back to Might Tower.
There was a small cafe across the street, one that was open 24/7. He didn’t want a repeat of yesterday, so he followed the meal plan that Recovery Girl had given him… and while he was here, might as well have a black coffee. He could have that, right?
The morning rush had yet to start, only a few patrons were inside. He was able to actually read a newspaper for the first time in… ages. He wasn’t able to finish the small breakfast, but he was full… for now. Maybe not having a stomach has its perks. He laughed himself, sipping his coffee, grimacing at the bitter taste. Right, he actually hated coffee. Why the hell did he think this was a good idea? The clock read 6:15. He blinked, saw one of the staff come over to clean his plate.
“Excuse me,” Toshi asked. “Is that clock running fast?”
“Oh, no, it's actually kind of slow, it’s uh… 6:25 right now.”
“Thank you so much.” Toshi threw down some money and grabbed his coat.
He ran down the road, running into the front doors of Might Tower, the reception girl jumped as he hit the counter.
“I, uh, I’m new?” Toshi swallowed, why the hell was it so hard to breathe? “Could you point me in the way to, uh… hold on I have the email right here… somewhere.”
“Can I get your name? I can just look up where you’re supposed to go.”
“Yagi. Yagi Toshinori.”
Toshi felt his throat dry up, so he tried swallowing again. He felt copper in the back of his throat- he took out the water bottle he had packed, sipping from it so he got the taste out of his mouth.
“Alright, Mr Yagi.” the receptionist smiled, her Might cap tilted to the side. “You’re gonna want to take a right and head to the third floor, and ask for Tsukai. He’ll get you set up with a new access card and ID. Then you’re gonna want to come back down to this floor and you see that elevator on the far left? With the security guard? Just swipe your new access card and head to the top floor.”
“T-thank you so much.”
“No problem! The new department manager will be waiting for you there- good luck!”
Toshi bowed, grabbing his things and following the young woman’s instructions. He could have sworn she had muttered something under her breath- ‘he’s gonna need it’? He was already running late, he couldn’t waste any more time.
Tsukai looked sympathetic, which was… a little odd. Maybe he felt bad for Toshi- he was nothing more than skin and bones. But the young man would have no idea that he was All Might- he was just… Yagi. Mr Yagi. A new security guard was at the elevator- night shift must have switched over. Good, no awkward conversation there. Toshi checked his watch. He didn’t know if he was on time or late. The rest of the floor had gotten busier, a few camera crews setting up for the day. He couldn’t help but smile- maybe he would drop by as All Might, just to get his face out in the public again.
The elevator ride up was almost calming. He ran a hand through his hair, tried to tame it- to no avail. The door opened, and you were standing in front of it, arms crossed and no trace of a smile.
“Yagi Toshinori, I presume?”
“Yes, it’s wonderful to be wor-”
“Ah, so sorry about that, traffic was a little-”
“Sora saw you sitting in the cafe across the street. Reception also pinged me at the time you came in- did you not read the email I had sent you yesterday?”
“I- I did but-”
“We’ve wasted enough time with pleasantries. We have a meeting. Now.”
“I- I had no idea.”
“You would if you had read the email carefully.” You were already walking away from him, still talking. “Which had indicated that the morning meeting started at 6:45, since we start work at 7:30 for this department. You would have also been informed on our dress code- your jacket is ill-fitting and your tie is crooked, both which are unacceptable. I understand a man of your height might find it difficult to shop for yourself, but that is no excuse to dress like a Weight Watchers ambassador.”
Yagi distinctly remembers Nighteye’s parting words. They’ll eat you alive. What the hell happened to the you that was always smiling, the one that was able to laugh at the occasional pun he might have thrown you and Nighteye’s way before he left the building?
Did you do that because he was All Might?
“Mr Yagi.” you were holding a conference door open. “If you could please hurry. We have plenty to discuss.”
There were twenty people already seated, all looking at Toshi walking in late. Before he could apologize, you closed the door, brushing his back as you walked to the front of the conference table. There was one empty chair… center staged and pulled out for him at the end of the table.
“Now.” You spoke up as he awkwardly sat down. “As I said before, we will have weekly meetings on Monday mornings, in order to regroup and assess what you will all require for the week. If you have any questions you can speak with Natsu. Inquiries about specific information or supplies will be handled by Sashi, and Suki and her team will handle calls that are directed at All Might. If there are no further questions…”
Toshi watched as no one put their hand up. Shit.
“The time is currently 7:25. Thank you all for coming on time, before you leave. Mr Yagi.”
“Care to say a few words to the department? You are, after all, the head of the Second Secretarial Office.”
Twenty heads swiveled to look at him, not a single one was friendly. He got up, his hands now shaking. A coughing fit hit him- he was able to catch the small amount of blood in his fist. Wait. I can’t talk normally- they’ll figure out it’s me. Think, Toshi.
“... Thank you all for coming.” He said, switching to a heavy Kansai accent. “I do apologize for coming in late. If you need any help, any at all, my door is open.”
Toshi went to bow but you spoke up while he was in the middle of it.
“Get to work.”
They all got up from their chairs and left the conference room- leaving Toshi bowing to no one, you standing with your arms crossed on the other side of the room. He stood up, looked back as the last person left, the floor now filled with bodies. He adjusted his tie, heard you walking over, folder tucked under your arm. You opened the conference door, waiting impatiently for him to walk through.
“Don’t do it again.” you cut him off. “If you wish to enjoy your morning routine, you take it here, in the office.”
Toshi wanted to curl up into a ball. You closed your eyes, breathing through your nose; he half expected you to start tapping your foot. He grabbed his bag, following you as you walked through the floor.
“Since you missed the meeting, I’ll explain your duties to you now. As the head of the department you and I are the direct contacts to All Might. In theory, the hero will inform us of his current position and whatever crime he is stopping and we pass this information on to others; they will start the paperwork and be in contact with the correct police forces. The reality here at Might Productions, however, is a little different. All Might is the number one hero because he acts so fast- which makes our job here a little more difficult.
“We have departments here at Might Productions for each region in Japan; their job is to keep an eye out for any activity from our hero and record, report, and control the situation. In this department, they are represented by a selected member, typically someone from Senior Management. We have ten people on this floor who work with external lookouts- All Might has been known to travel to China, South Korea, and even Russia, in order to save the day. They do not have their own department because these occurrences are rare, so they have been absorbed into the Secretarial Office. That is what the majority of this floor is- we start the filing process for any activity and then have it sent down to its respective department.
“As I’m sure you were briefed in during your interview- if you had had an official interview that is- Natsu’s team handles All Might’s personal finances. Donations, sponsorships, day to day bills, even taxes. He’s a numbers man- and our boss is a very popular, and very rich, hero. Because of him, All Might won’t have to worry about finicky things like paying for his meal at a restaurant with the mayor of Tokyo or how much Damages are going to be for tearing down a building in order to save a city from an avalanche.
“We’re about to meet Suki- she’s our head communications. If, for some ungodly reason, we had a rabid fan track down All Might’s personal contact information, Suki vets them. However, it’s good for you to know what to do in a situation where someone gains your contact information, trying to get to our boss directly.”
“This is… a lot.”
“This entire department is needed, Mr Yagi.” you finally turned around, looking him in the eye. “For any other hero, this would be a department of two, maybe three people at the most. We are number one for a reason, and we are here to support All Might. If you are already overwhelmed, you can fill out this form. I’ll make sure that he gets it.”
You handed him the folder you had been carrying, and opened the door to a different section of the floor. Toshi opened it, and then immediately closed it. Resignation papers. Were you trying to scare him? It was working- he had no idea that this all happened when he wasn’t looking. But it made sense- he doesn’t remember ever pulling out his card for events. Or seeing the cost for some of his inevitable destruction. Or the last time he had someone call his phone and it was someone he didn’t know.
The pain was back, an anchor as he tried to wrap his head around the situation. The floor was mostly open, with the exception of the two conference rooms at the front and three offices in the back, all closed off by fogged glass. Toshi wasn’t able to see the elevators, the giant logo on his office- no it was All Might’s office . All Might’s office was right next to the elevators, on the other side of the floor. Someone had installed the fogged glass- and where had Nighteye’s desk gone? It was usually the first thing he saw coming out of the elevator.
You were talking to someone, he could see that much through the fogged glass. This is a test. He thought. You just have to pass. They’re trying to scare you for some reason- maybe they’re trying to impersonate Nighteye? If that was the case, he could handle this. You were just putting up a show, just like him! All he had to do was get to his new office, tell a joke, and you’d be laughing with him again, maybe even… smile again.
Toshi opened the door, saw that there were four desks in here- with a fifth in the center, you half sitting, half leaning on it, chuckling at whatever the woman sitting behind the desk had just said. She had two mouths, and a sleek black bob, and waved Toshi over. She smiled with one mouth, speaking with the other.
“Mr Yagi, so glad you could come in today. My name is Suki.”
“Nice to meet you, Ms Suki.” Toshi looked over at you. Your smile was gone.
“Well, it might be Wednesday, but we have plenty of work to do.” Suki clapped her hands, pulling out a phone from a drawer. “This is standard issue- right now only you and Suits here have these but that might change.”
“On account of my attire.” You were quick to interject- but Toshi noticed Suki suppress a laugh.
“Well, the phone is a direct line to All Might- lucky you. We can go to a private room for your… assessment.”
Toshi put the phone in his bag, looked at Suki, who had one mouth that was still smiling. He stole a glance up at you- you were still not smiling. Shit!
“What is it you do, Ms Suki?”
“Just keep the crazies at bay, that’s all! If someone is wanting an interview or have a legitimate need for All Might, I’ll transfer the call to Suits.”
“And not me?” Toshi laughed.
“Not you.” You got up from your perch, Suki quickly following. “I can manage All Might’s schedule, for now. Time is precious around here; let’s do this in my- our. Our office.”
Suki turned around, waited for Toshi at the door. He smiled, giving a small bow. For a moment there, he thought that Suki might have been trying to give him a pitiful smile back- she was probably just trying to be sympathetic.
Just a reminder, I have a Twitter @/ EAVanGeek1
The middle office was reserved for you and Yagi. It was also on the other side of the floor from All Might’s office. The reason for this was two-fold; the first was that if All Might had to cross the room, it would boost moral for people to see the number one hero, even if it was only briefly. The second was that you wanted it here. You weren’t ready to sit in Nighteye’s old desk, so why not just move it to his new place and redesign the floorplan? All Might’s quarters already took up quite a bit of the floor, but the rest was free for use. You weren’t avoiding anything, that would be childish.
From the moment you saw him, you did not know what to think of Mr Yagi. If you had to guess he was unused to his body- like he had stolen it and was afraid someone was going to catch him red handed. His clothes were not for his build, but the slacks were just on this side of being short, his socks peeking out if he stretched out his legs. His briefcase was not brand new, but it might as well have been- and don’t even get started on the hollow look of his face, the hair that desperately needed some kind of treatment. The only thing that didn’t look out of place was his tie, plain black cotton.
Suki had no idea that underneath the unkempt look was a man who only just got out of the hospital. Technically, you weren’t supposed to know that either- but all it took was one look at his cuffs, to see the small specks of dried blood, and your mind’s eye flashed back to that laundry list of issues. You pulled out your chair, let Suki sit down at your desk, Yagi taking the other chair, the one meant for clients or guests. You have a desk. You thought. Just sit there Yagi… unless you know something I don’t.
“As I was saying before,” you began, leaning on the desk like you had been in Suki’s office. “Suki here is communications- but that doesn’t mean we won’t have slip ups in the system. We need to know that if someone contacts you in hopes of speaking with All Might, you know what to do.”
“I’ll do three different scenarios.” Suki’s second mouth had remained closed the whole time. “My quirk is Double Speak; I can mimic pretty much anyone I’ve ever heard before and I can take the words they’ve said and make a new message.”
“That’s incredible.” Yagi had his hands in his lap, smiling back at Suki.
His accent had changed from what it was getting off the elevator, addressing everyone in the board meeting and now here… like he just decided in that moment to be from Kansai. You watched Suki explain the assessment, before moving into the first scenario: a public official wanting a statement. Yagi’s Kansai accent was good- too good. You might have only worked at Might Productions for a year but that didn’t mean you were new to the block.
People with regional dialects typically try to pick up the more dominant dialect and speech patterns. People in Osaka speak with the Osaka dialect- and if they move to Tokyo they use Tokyo’s dialect in professional environments. Yagi came out of the elevator with a crisp Tokyo accent- only to switch to the laid back Kansai in front of a crowd of twenty. And here with just Suki and yourself, he stuck with it, like it was somehow normal.
The second scenario was a reporter wanting an inside scoop. Yagi handled it just as smoothly as the last one, choosing his words carefully and firmly saying no when pressed for information. Maybe he is qualified… Then why the hell was his record so spotty? Was he some kind of former secret agent? It might explain the medical record… but those surgeries were all at once- as if it was a massive injury and not various others over time. Was this job just to protect Yagi from whatever had attacked him?
“Well done Mr Yagi!” Suki elbowed your leg, snapping you out of your train of thought. “Gotta admit, you know how to handle pushy adults!”
“Thank you,” Yagi laughed, deep, heavy. It didn’t match the rail thin man in front of you. “I didn’t expect this on my first day, I must admit.”
“Last one, are you ready?” Suki closed her first mouth, the second one opened to start the last trail.
“Ready.” Yagi jokingly held up his new phone to his ear, leaning into the playfulness of the test.
“H-hello?” a young boy’s voice left Suki’s second mouth. “Is All Might there?”
You watch as Yagi’s whole face dropped. He looked up at you and then back at Suki, only to look at you again. You had been expecting this- in fact you had asked Suki to do this. Your move, Mr Yagi.
“This is his secretary… what’s your name?”
“Hello Mika. Did you want to speak with All Might?”
“Yes.” Suki’s voice sniffled at the word.
Yagi would have no idea that Mika was the name of Suki’s nephew. Or that Mika was a perfectly healthy boy, who once scraped his knee in front of his aunt, or would cry to his aunt on the phone whenever he wasn’t able to perfectly mimic a bird chirping. All Yagi heard was a small boy in pain, on the verge of tears. And it was hitting him, badly.
“Mika, that’s a wonderful name. I’m afraid that-”
“Is All Might there?” Suki added a few more sniffles at the end.
You watched on with a blank face. Then something changed in Yagi’s face.
“Hello there, young Mika!” All Might said… out of Yagi’s mouth.
Your eyes nearly popped out of your head. What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck-
“All Might?” Suki’s Mika voice switched to something that wasn’t a crying child.
“Don’t be afraid, young Mika. Can you tell me why you are crying?”
“That’s enough.” you stopped the test. “Suki, you can go back to your office.”
Suki’s second mouth shut, looking at you in shock.
“Are you sure?” She asked, her normal voice back.
“Yes, Mr Yagi and I have things to attend to.”
Suki got up, looking back between you and Yagi, before walking over to the door. Yagi was out of his chair, opening the door for Suki, giving a small bow to her. Still stunned, she bowed back to him, and left the room.
“... Did I do something wrong?” Yagi tilted his head to the side, the Kansai now really getting on your nerves.
“No.” you lied. “But I am wondering how you got this job.”
“Ah… well, um.” Yagi closed the door, walking over to sit back in the chair from before. “I’m not quite sure myself.”
“You just did a spot on All Might impression- not many people can do that.”
“Ah, well I think-”
“They especially can’t get the drop in an octave when All Might asks a serious question to a minor. You’ve either spent hours watching rescue footage, or know the man very well.”
Yagi remained silent.
“So you’re either an old friend of the hero’s or an otaku who pressured the man to put you in a position that would give you unrestricted access to his person. Before you joined us here at Might Productions, we did a background check on you. Do you know what we found?”
“Nothing.” you got up from your perch, moving to stare out the window. “Absolutely nothing. You don’t exist, Mr Yagi.”
Silence. Then the tell tale signs of him suppressing a cough, a very wet one. The window’s reflection showed you that Yagi quickly yanked out a silk handkerchief, coughing into it- the blood was barely visible from this angle. Breathe… just Breathe.
“Mr Yagi… I have a duty here at Might Productions, to ensure that our hero does not need to worry about frivolous things like deadlines and paperwork. He does his job, saving people; and do mine, protecting him. You have been hired to do this as well… So you can imagine that I don’t trust someone who has not existed for the last few decades, at least, to do this job.”
Yagi put away his handkerchief, remained seated. You waited for him to say something- anything. But he remained silent, watching you, watching him through the glass’ reflection. You turned around, looked down at him.
“If you have any questions about myself…” Yagi swallowed, one hand coming up to touch his adam apple, like he was in pain. “I’ll try to answer as best as I can.”
You were so tempted to ask everything. To demand that he tell you what the fuck just happened, why the hell he was faking a Kansai accent- why up until last week he had disappeared off the face of the earth. Why did Nighteye resign, was it because of Yagi? How come you haven’t seen All Might? Or for the fact that All Might hasn’t made an appearance for the last four months, not on the news, not in the office. What the hell is going on?
“I don’t have any personal questions right now.” You stayed standing by the window. “But that cough sounds… bad. There’s a nurse on the tenth floor, have a check up and send a report up here. If you don’t do it, I’ll just ask the nurse for a copy.”
Mr Yagi got up, leaving his bag next to the chair, but instead of bowing and walking away he just… stood there.
“Can I ask you a question?” Mr Yagi spoke.
“By all means.”
“You seem to have, pardon my bluntness, but an iron grip on this floor.”
“I’ve been here for quite some time.” You smiled, professional. “I picked everyone on this floor for their skills and their ability to work with me.”
“Ah.” Yagi chuckled, shaking his head. “So they weren’t hired because they’re afraid of you?”
“What makes you say that?”
“They didn’t bow at the end of the meeting to you.”
“There’s no need to- we’re busy. A new department, a new boss who showed up late for the first meeting- it would put anyone on edge.”
Yagi’s eyes narrowed, thin lips growing thinner. You stood your ground, the small smile on your face a warning. Try me. You thought. See how far you get, Mr Yagi .
“Thank you for the warm welcome, Suits.”
“Please, Mr Yagi. We are professionals- call me Sir.”
“How about your name?”
“If you earn it, perhaps.”
“I’m your boss now.”
“That’s debatable, but if you have a complaint, I’m sure we can set up a private meeting between the three of us about this- you, me. All Might. We can sort out your past employment history while we’re at it.”
Yagi’s hand twitched, but he moved it into his pant’s pocket. Your smile grew wider, and you gave him a nod. He bowed, low, almost textbook, before turning on his heel and leaving the office. You waited until you couldn’t see his figure through the fogged glass before letting out a breath, nerves finally getting to you.
You walked over to your desk, sit in the chair, resting your head in your hands. Sashi knocked on the door, coming in with a stack of paperwork, putting it down in front of you. Her skin had a blue tint to it, but she picked up Yagi’s bag, walked it over to the other desk in the room- right across from your own.
“How’d it go?” Sashi asked.
“How do you think?” You rubbed at your eyes. “It went fucking horrible.”
“Did you ask about, you know.”
“... No. I sent him to the nurse.”
“Well, the floor is talking. Looks like you got what you wanted; everyone knows who’s really in charge.”
“Yea.” you looked up at Sashi, saw that her skin was slowly changing color, a purple hue at the edges of her ears and nose. “What?”
“He’s kinda… cute.”
“What? He is, in that sort of, kicked puppy dog kind of way.”
You rolled your eyes, laughing at her. Sashi sat on your desk, pulling out a drawer, found the stash of sweets there. She unwrapped one, popping it in her mouth before starting her personal report.
Mr Yagi didn’t show up for the rest of the day- but All Might was out in the world, protecting people, saving Japan. The first day and even with a full floor, the Secretary Office was already falling behind. Soon enough, it was six o’clock.
“Good work today, everyone.” You had a microphone, your voice not nearly as loud as All Might’s. “Thank you all for working so hard today, and I hope that you will work just as hard tomorrow. The office is closed, pack your things and go home for the evening.”
You stayed behind for another hour, waited for Mr Yagi to come back. The sun was gone, Tokyo’s nightlife roaring down below. Frustrated, you got up and grabbed your own bag, walking across the empty floor.
The doors to All Might’s office opened, a pair of bangs slipping inside. Before you even realized what had just happened, the door was closed, the latch echoing across the empty floor. Your hand was halfway up, as if to wave at the hero; it hung in the air, your breath caught in your lungs. An eternity passed, or maybe it was only a second, but you deflated, trying not to cry on the ride down.
Yagi isn't the only one having to adjust folks...
Friday came and went. The next week was a slog- but everyone fell into a pattern. Yagi would show up for morning meetings, would speak in private to either Natsu about All Might’s finances, or Sashi about what people needed on the office floor. Even Suki got a private meeting with Yagi; you had watched through the fogged glass as he spoke with her, their muffled voices distracting you more than you cared to admit.
He didn’t like being in a room alone with you. Good, was your first thought. Why? Became the second. But little did he know- they reported to you, and you report to All Might… at least, in theory. But the hero had yet to show up- maybe he only wanted to talk with Yagi? But if that was the case, then that would have meant that the bastard somehow knew All Might’s schedule- which he didn’t. You did. Only you. And maybe Sashi, but that was only because she knew practically everything that went on at Might Tower.
But here you were, going through information, the laundry list of reporters and news anchors and tv hosts that were scrambling for All Might’s attention. You weren’t putting it off, you just… wanted to know how much time needed to be allocated for this kind of thing. Would this have been easier if your office was right next to his- maybe a secret door to let him sneak in and out without the rest of the workers knowing? Suddenly Nighteye’s old set up made sense.
“... Fuck.” You pushed away from the desk, crossing your arms.
Just need to rest my eyes. Your head was already leaning back, the room empty except for you, your desk, and Yagi’s abandoned one. Maybe I should have been nicer. You winced, clicking your tongue. No, Yagi deserved it- coming in here unqualified, never showing up, not doing his work… because you had taken it on yourself to do it. But you couldn’t let things slip through the cracks- Nighteye never did. Nighteye could predict a villain’s bowel movements down to the second. So what? You were clever- you’ve surrounded yourself with smart people. Nighteye only had you back then, you were doing just fine. But paperwork was piling up, and you still hadn’t found a contact in the police in order to finish signing off the reports that needed to be filed…
Lost in thought, the sounds just outside your door never reached your ears. But the door was flung open, seven feet of brawn laughing as it entered the room, calling out your name. You didn’t jump- that would have been childish, you just… Okay, you had jumped out of your skin.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.” All Might laughed, closing the door.
“Mr All Might… it’s been awhile.” you sat up straighter, pulling your chair back in.
“Yes, terribly busy these days, but I wanted to come in and check up on Mr Yagi’s progress!”
“I’m afraid Mr Yagi isn’t in today- but if you have a moment I’d be happy to talk.”
The chair across you cried out from the weight- out of the corner of your eye you saw several more bodies trying to walk past your door, hoping to get a glimpse of the hero inside. Right, be a host. The stash of sweets from your drawer came out, you tried to be subtle, placing it at the end of your desk. All Might was looking around the room, being nice as you got papers together, waiting for you to start… but when you looked up he still didn’t say anything.
There was a pregnant pause, so you took one of the sweets, unwrapping it and popping it in your mouth, motioning for him to take one. You weren’t nervous, why would you be nervous? It wasn’t like your boss just decided to take a walk across the floor and see you for the first time since the entire department was made. That would be ridiculous. Fucking stop thinking you idoit!
“So,” All Might flashed his iconic smile. “How’s my schedule look for the next month, Sir?”
What. You almost choked on the candy in your mouth. Almost.
“That is what you go by in the office, right?” All Might pretended to peruse the sweets for a moment. “Yagi told me about it.”
“It’s best to keep a professional environment for now, until we figure out how this department will work.” you said.
“He seemed to think it was something else.” All Might picked up a sugar-free mint. “I’d have loved to been there for the first meeting- but I was caught up in something that morning.”
“Well, we can either talk about your schedule for the upcoming month, or we can talk about Mr Yagi.”
“... Let’s do the schedule first.”
“Perfect, I just need to know how much time you want to allocate towards publicity. We can do it based off of a weekly roster-”
“Is there anyway you could limit to three hours a day?”
“... Three hours a day.”
“It’s fine if it goes over by a few minutes but I’d rather keep my time open for, well, hero work!”
“I-” you closed your mouth, quickly looking over your notes. “I suppose we could do something like that… the only issue we have with that is, well…”
You let out a long breath. Most of these events, given rehearsals and make up, sometimes even the after party, they were full day events. Not three hours. Nothing was three hours! Not even pop up interviews.
“Are you… counting prep time in that three hours, All Might?”
“Is there something wrong?”
Oh god. I have to say something. Fuck. FUCK!
“Well… I think I can figure something out, but if you’re limiting your screen time and public showings to three hours, minus, of course, rehearsals, pre and post interactions with camera and crew… I think I can work around that. But there will be times that we won’t be able to squeeze it into just three hours. I-”
“Excellent! I’m sure if you give the final schedule to Mr Yagi, he’ll make sure I get there in time.”
The grip on your pen squeaked from the pressure you were holding it with; you smiled at the hero, gently putting it down, nodding.
“About Mr Yagi… I was wondering under what criteria he was hired.”
All Might unwrapped the mint, gently putting it in his mouth. You didn’t stare. If you had stared, you would have seen how his tongue peaked out, gently wrapping around the candy before escaping into his mouth, how his thumb drag just a little on his bottom lip. But you didn’t stare, so you didn’t see any of that; that would have been rude.
“He’s an old friend.” All Might smiled. “Why do you ask?”
“...We did a background check on Mr Ya-”
“I did a background check. On Mr Yagi. On behalf of Sir Nighteye, shortly before his departure.” the lie rolled off your tongue with ease, practiced as it was. “However I had been informed that Mr Yagi had already gotten the job, and that the background check was merely protocol.”
“Ah! Ha ha ha.” All Might smiled. “Did you find anything?”
“His recent hospital records, for one.”
The mint in his mouth cracked. You ignored it.
“Did you know about Mr Yagi’s current bill of health?”
“I… vaguely knew.”
“Did you know he has one lung, currently, and…” You pulled out the file, flipping to the print out that you kept. “Ah, here it is. One lung, no stomach, half of his large intestine is severely damaged with the surround small intestine removed. Cardiovascular damage, several bone fractures, and, well… it’s a lot. And most of it is recent.”
“Yes, well. Yagi was always an impulsive man.” All Might looked… uncomfortable? “But he’s a good man!”
“... His resume states that he went to UA High- you’re an alumni, correct?”
“Yes I am.”
“We called the school, had them check their records for a Yagi Toshinori in the business classes… there never was one. There was one, however, in the hero department.”
“You… have been very thorough in this background check.”
“Well it’s not really hard,” you laughed, closing the file. “Might Productions donates to nearly every hospital in Tokyo, outside of private clinics. Not to mention that every hero student clamours to work here, be it for work experience or an internship- and we did start a new charity in cooperation with seven regional school districts. I think that brings our current number up to… 26? I could be wrong though.”
“Really?” All Might coughed, his face nearly unreadable. “And they just gave you this information?”
“We are proud sponsors. They would do anything to keep us in thier books, Sir.” You smiled back, feeling a little proud. “Mint?”
“Pass, so you mean to tell me you found this all out under Nighteye’s request?”
“Does he know?”
“Know what? About Mr Yagi?”
All Might nodded, leaning forward.
“No, he doesn’t know.” you cocked your head to the side. “Like I said, this was protocol. My question, however, is why Mr Yagi was hired. You said he was a dear friend… how recent of a friend, if I can be so bold?”
“A long time,” All Might said, “nearly as long as I’ve known myself.”
“So you know what happened to make him drop off the radar after turning eighteen?”
“He… tried his hand at hero work.”
“Was he any good?”
“I’d like to think so.”
“What was his hero name?”
“... Yagi wants to leave that in the past. I offered him the job here at Might Productions because I think he would be suited for it.”
Something was wrong. All Might was avoiding the question- just like he avoided other kinds of questions. But there might be a reason for it. After all, All Might had a reason for not talking about his quirk- enemies wouldn’t have time to figure out the drawbacks, if there were any. Or his age, in order to avoid people guessing his graduate year. Or the fact that family was never discussed- wouldn’t want them to have a target on their back…
“Very well.” You pushed over Yagi’s file. “Regardless of the reason, I think we should discuss his work schedule. Given his health, and the fact that he’s not trained in secretarial affairs, we should try and compensate for that.”
“Like an internship?”
“More along the lines of on the job training, since he’s already been hired. Technically, I’ve already designed this department to be self-reliant. The only reason it needs a department head is the same reason hero groups do.”
“A spokesperson.” All Might was smiling again, leaning back in the chair.
“Exactly. But you’re a very active hero, All Might. Whoever leads this department will have to keep up with you- both in the office and out of it. If you’re limiting your publicity time down to three hours a day, your secretary will have take charge and handle the rest of the time. That will include government representation, police reports, and celebrity gossip.
“Mr Yagi might have been a hero, once upon a time, but his health doesn’t allow him to handle all of this right now- and that’s assuming he’s been trained how to handle procedures while representing you.”
“I’m sure he’ll be just-”
“He’s not just representing you though.” you cut the hero off, taking him by surprise. “He’s representing Might Productions as a whole. Whatever he says will be reflective of this agency, and our shareholders. His dress, speech, etiquette, will directly reflect what we do here, what you do out there- do you see where I’m going with this?”
“I- I do, yes.”
“As it stands now, I think Mr Yagi is unfit for the current job. If you truly wish for him to remain here, it doesn’t have to be as the head of the department, rather it could be as a personal assistant.”
“Personal Assistant… to who?”
“... Who do you think?”
There was a heavy pause. You could feel your heart beating in your chest, tried to hide the fact that your right hand was shaking. It didn’t bother you that All Might was constantly smiling- but it did make it harder to read him. Breathe, nice and slow. You had to remind yourself this wasn’t some villain- this was All Might, your boss. Confidence is key. Then he laughed in your face, the sound bouncing off the glass.
“You really are something!” All Might wiped away a tear. “No wonder Nighteye liked you!”
You had to laugh, even though you weren’t sure the hero meant for that to sound like a backhanded compliment. Sashi walked in, dropping off some paperwork, and for the first time since you’ve known her, she didn’t take a sweet. As All Might was laughing, she shot you a look. Okay?
You nodded, waving your hand underneath the desk. Just fine, come back later. Sashi’s skin was bright pink, the edges of her ears red, but she bowed towards All Might and then left the room.
“If you’ve put this much thought into it, I guess you can tell me how many hours Yagi should be working?” All Might was back to smiling at you.
He put one elbow on your desk, resting his head in the palm of his hand. You knew he was a large man, but like this… you felt like a child in their father’s office playing dress up. You tried not to let your anger spill over into your words.
“Actually that’s a discussion we should have with his doctor.” you snapped. “I may be trained in first aid, but I’m not a medic.”
“Of course!” he chuckled, before sighing. “Well, now that’s over… how’s my schedule look for the next month?”
He remained relaxed, leaning on your desk like that. You tried to concentrate on your screen, making changes to his schedule whenever he asked. At some point you did relax, leaning on the desk as well, slowly getting closer to him.
At the end of the hour, you finally looked over- and All Might was incredibly close. Close enough for you to see his eyes. Close enough that you could see the fine wrinkles around his eyes. Close enough to feel him breathing, the hairs on the back of your hands raised up from it. You didn’t breathe, watched as he made the same realisation.
“... I’ll send the final version to Mr Yagi.” you said.
“Right.” All Might said.
Neither of you moved away. You moved your hand down, away from your mouth- his eyes flickered down at the movement, resting on your lips. Instinct made you lick them, suddenly your mouth was incredibly dry. He was still watching, the hand not holding his head up twitched. His fingers were so close to your own, all it would take was for one of you to flex them.
You pulled your eyes away from how close your hands were, only to see bright blue eyes staring back. A huff, a small smile towards the hero. The iconic smile seemed to falter for a moment, something… natural. It was still a smile, but it was human, lopsided. He bit his bottom lip, before inhaling, as if to speak- but it died in his throat. You swallowed around the lump in your throat, just as he cleared his throat. His eyes were searching your face, but they settled on your mouth again.
“I… don’t want to take anymore time, Sir.” your voice was softer now.
“I don’t mind.” All Might’s voice was quiet, blue eyes finally meeting yours. “I… I like spen-”
“Suits, got a call from that charity up North, something about a… sorry am I interrupting?”
Natsu had swung the door open, the glass banging together from it. All Might jumped up, now standing directly behind the chair, the sudden movement caused you to lean forward just a little more than you had expected, trying to make sure some of the paper on your desk didn’t fly away.
“No,” You groaned, hiding your face with one hand. “No, we were just… finishing up.”
Natsu looked back and forth from his boss and the hero, before shrugging and coming over to your desk.
“Well, I need one of you to approve this, the charity was thrilled to hear from us, considering that explosion off their shores.”
“Explosion, what the hell are you-”
“Ah yes!” All Might took the paper out of Natsu’s hands as he tried to hand it over to you. “Well everything looks in order here, a job well done young man! I better get back to work! Bye!”
All Might was gone in a flash, Natsu standing in the middle of your office with some kind of smug look on his face. You were glaring daggers into his skull, but he was oblivious, thick framed glasses pushed back up the bridge of his nose before he went to leave.
“Yes?” he had one hand on the door of the handle, shit eating grin plastered over his face.
“I fucking hate you. So much right now.”
“Aww,” Natsu batted his eyes before bursting out laughing. “Were you wanting some alone time with everyone’s favorite hero?”
“What was that about an explosion up north? And the charity?” you asked, quickly changing the subject.
“Oh, Mr Yagi asked me to look into something for him, said that the big guy was wanting to help the people in the area but didn’t know how.”
“Why didn’t I hear about this?”
“Because Mr Yagi didn’t want you to?”
“Suits, it’s no big deal, it’s just a small thing really, some natural disaster or something.”
“Next time…” you sighed, going back to stash your sweets in your desk. “Just let me know, but send over whatever information you have about the explosion; want to take a look myself.”
“It was four months ago, but sure, I’ll send over the information. Anything else?”
“Aww, Suits and All Might, sitting in a tre-” Natsu didn’t finish, a hard candy thrown at his face.
He blocked it with his papers, laughing as he closed the door behind him.
I've got a Twitter y'all, that's where I am most days.
All Might dodged the next attack, slime covered machinery hurled across the construction site. The villain screamed, the sound raw and scratchy, before being drowned out by the sound of a chainsaw. He needed to think, quick. There was a crowd just outside, the police struggling to keep citizens back, the sound reaching his ears. There were beams next to his feet- perfect!
“COME OUT COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE!!!” the villain’s chainsaw revved up, the sound of hissing metal, a toxic fumes creating a fog around him. “I KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE!”
All Might grabbed a metal pole, wrapping it around his fist. His right fist burned, the slime that the villain oozed already working through his costume. He looked over his shoulder, saw the villain dragging one foot, the chainsaw in one hand, his other producing that slime, dripping it onto the moving teeth.
“TOXIC!” All Might called out. “THIS WON’T END VERY WELL FOR YOU! SURRENDER!”
The villain pauses, looks for the iconic bangs- only to see a blur of movement, bouncing back and forth off the iron beams. The chainsaw revs up again, spraying slime everywhere, whatever it touched hissing before melting away. All Might came down with his left, punching Toxic Chainsaw in the face.
He falls, the weapon kicked away, the engine still running. All Might flexes his right, shaking his first in order to dislodge the acid off before it touched his skin. The villain scrambled, his skin oozing slime. All Might saw it, how it seemed to melt and clump in odd places, like he was wearing a second skin on top of his own. The hero stopped, suddenly hit with the memory of what he looked like this morning.
A face growing gaunt, hair that was as depressing as his own health. Eyes that weren’t shadowed because he was a hero- but because he was a shadow. Toxic Chainsaw’s face was melting, showing the coward underneath- just like he was now. It’s over, All Might. You’ve lost… I always win. All for One’s voice echoed in his mind, laughing at him, at him coughing up his insides, one hand reaching down to grab him, to finish the job.
Toxic Chainsaw saw the pause in the hero’s walk, and flung his slime at All Might. It hit him in the chest and forearms, eating away at his costume. It snapped the hero out of his daze, and he moved in a flash, grabbing the villain’s arm, breaking it cleanly, slamming him on his back, the butcher’s outfit a poor excuse for armour.
The fight was over, the metal wrapped around his left fist now rusting and melted, the toxic slime that was produced from the villain’s quirk at its peak in his fear. He grabbed an iron pipe, bending it like it was nothing, wrapping it around his waist and legs, bringing the villain towards the police. Showtime.
“HAVE NO FEAR, FOR I AM HERE!” All Might laughed out loud, the shadow that was Toshi pushed to the back of his mind. “BUT I HAVE TO GO! REMEMBER CITIZENS! SAFETY FIRST! ALWAYS WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR WHEN HANDLING HEAVY EQUIPMENT!”
He laughed once more, giving a pose as he handed over the villain to the officer. And then he jumped, pushing away from the crowd, away from the fight. One rooftop to the next, the slime mostly gone but his skin was starting to burn. Might Tower came into view- the helipad and access stairs in sight. He landed, a half jog in order to not crash. He checked his phone- if his math was right, he had maybe another hour in this form. He shrunk back down to Toshi- only for the slime to start burning.
“Ow, shit, fuck dammit. Ow!” Toshi wiped his arms across the baggy uniform.
It hissed, the material eroding away. Toshi sighed, walking down the emergency stairs, past the first two floors that were meant for him but he never used, opening the door to the office with his shoulder. He looked up in time to see you, your back to him, waiting for the elevator. Oh no. Oh fuck, christ no one is supposed to be here this late- what the hell?? He ran into a trashcan, the sound might as well have been a gunshot.
He puffed up just as you turned around, an awkward smile on his face. Before he even said anything, you dropped your bag, pulling off your jacket. Hitting the button to open the doors of his office, grabbing him with the other hand. He should be impressed, really, that you recognized he was covered in some kind of toxic slime. What he was not impressed with was that once you had gotten him to the closest medic room, you had turned on the chemical shower, drenching Toshi in a torrent of water.
“... I’ll order a new uniform from Shield. Just, stay in the water for another minute.”
All Might nodded.
“You should get out of that one first.”
“I don’t think that’s a go-”
“That’s not a request.”
If this had happened months ago, he might not have objected. He would have done what you had asked, especially if you had used that tone. He wanted to obey, he really wanted to… but his scar.
“... I’ll go find you a robe.” you finally spoke up. “There are some towels on your right- wash off as best you can.”
You left the room, he could barely hear you once the door was closed. He deflated, the material so heavy now it wanted to drop, hanging off a shoulder. The water was coming to a slow trickle, but Toshi’s skin still tingled. He sighed, undoing the hidden zipper partially, the suit falling in a heap. He hit the button again, the chemical shower on full blast once more, as he pulled off the rest of his clothing. Minutes passed, it felt like an hour, before he was finally comfortable enough to step out of the water, drying himself off as best as he could. He jumped at seeing his reflection in the mirror.
Right this is me now. His face looked thinner somehow- thinner than when he first left the hospital. Was he losing weight? He was eating… he just didn’t feel hungry anymore. Anytime he went to get a snack it didn’t agree with him so he just. Kind of stopped. Toshi walked over, one rough hand moving to feel his face. The stranger in the mirror mimicked him. It was his hand, the bruising around his knuckles, cracked skin from his fight. But everything else was… off.
There was a knock on the door, your arm coming into view.
“Just leaving this here. Please wear it.” Your arm left the robe on the counter, he could see your figure leaning on the fogged glass of the door, the vest a stark contrast against the shirt.
The robe was from his linen closet- the breast pocket had his ‘AM’ logo on it. It was warm, did you throw it in dryer? Wait- how did you know where his dryer would be? Or the fact that this was in the linen closet? At least it’s warm. He pulled it on over thin limbs, before puffing up to All Might, tapping on the glass with one knuckle.
You stood up, opening the door and walking in before he could object. As if by instinct, you moved over to the drawers, pulling out rubbing alcohol and cotton balls, gauze. Even some sun cream with aloe vera. Before he could even say ‘Hello’ you had on surgical gloves, your sleeves being rolled up.
“Have a seat, Sir.” you put on a paper mask, already dabbing a cotton ball with the medical grade alcohol. “We need to take care of your wounds.”
“I’m fine.” All Might snapped, but he had his iconic smile on. “I can tend to my-”
“Sit. Down.” you looked at him, steel in your eyes.
He found himself sitting down before he processed what you had just done. You were dabbing at his neck, small cuts from Toxic Chainsaw that he hadn’t even realized he had gotten. He winced but your gloved hand rested on the other side of face. You were warm. He didn’t know why that made him stiffen up. It’s normal for people to be warm, it was expected really, but you were... warm. It was nice. Calming, almost.
You moved with a practiced ease, tweezers in hand in order to pull out small shards of glass and metal. Band-aids where they were needed, not wrapping an entire body part like he’s used to doing for himself. All Might finds himself chuckling as you move to hold his left hand, examining where he had wrapped metal around it.
“Is there something wrong, All Might?” you ask, turning his palm up to the sky.
“When you said you were trained in first aid,” All Might smiled. “I thought you were joking.”
“What kind of secretary would I be if I don’t know how to take care of my boss?” He could see the small crinkle around your eyes; you were smiling underneath the mask.
“Hmm.” All Might watched as you took care of him. “I don’t know.”
You pressed in between his knuckles, rubbing the muscle that was there. It lingered, not unlike a bruise. You took your time pressing around where the metal had clearly been, wiping with a clean cloth, even going as far as his elbow. It should unnerve him how easy this is, how your touch was a balm- something was rising up in his chest. He didn’t know how long he had like this, powered up. He hoped it was enough. Enough? Enough for what?
“Other hand.” you let go, and he gave his other over. “Yikes… who did this?”
“A villain. Toxic Chainsaw?”
“The guy who goes dressing like a butcher?”
“More like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw, the ‘79 version.”
“Well, well, you know your classics then.”
“I don’t usually like horror, but I do know a thing or two.”
Your laugh is quiet, like it’s stuck in your throat. Cotton gauze was cut with sterile scissors, before wrapped loosely around his fist. He felt a cough coming up, so he turned his head to the side, into his fist. Blood.
“... That looks bad.” your voice is even, but it shocks him nonetheless.
He panicked, laughing loudly and trying to get out of your grip- but you had a hand on his shoulder. It shouldn’t be enough to stop him. It does.
“I’m gonna call a doctor, this is more than I can do.”
“Don’t!” All Might coughed again, your phone blocked by his hand. “C-call Recovery Girl.”
“... I don’t have her number.”
“It’s fine, it can wait till the morning.”
“It clearly can’t, your bleed-”
“I said I’m fine!”
He didn’t mean to snap at you, to stand up and grab you by the shoulders, practically lifting you off the ground. Your eyes are massive, but you look more pissed off than shocked. Shit. He put you down, backing away. Another cough was coming, so he did what felt natural. He ran away, locking the door to his bedroom, before shrinking back down to Toshi. He was breathing heavy, collapsed against the door, sliding to the floor.
“... Shit!” he coughed again, more blood coming up, the bandage you had put on his hand now stained red.
He heard you in the living room, your shoes on the tile of his kitchen. The sound of gloves being peeled off. You’re cursing under your breath, before a heavy sigh. Toshi presses his ear against the door again, the robe loose on him, his other hand hiding his scar from view. Then the TV was turned on, the late news cycle quiet, but it drowned out whatever you were doing.
“... All Might defeated Toxic Chainsaw, who had an acidic base Quirk, a corroding slime was produced from his skin. After two bank robberies, Toxic had decided that kidnapping was his next step on the villain ladder. The number one hero was able to stop him in the act, with victims suffering minimal chemical burns. What you are now seeing is footage from the fight, which happened two hours ago, at 6:45 pm.”
“COME OUT COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE!”
“I AM HERE!”
Toshi sighed, closing his eyes shut, resting his forehead against the wooden door. All Might saved the day, meanwhile Toshi sat on the floor, afraid to show his face to you. Did you think he was a coward? Your hands had been so kind, even through the gloves he felt how warm you were.
And your laugh. Oh how he had missed it. The biting sarcasm that came shortly before- When Nighteye was around, it was endless. You would stand there, roll your eyes as the two of them went back and forth, terrible pun after another. Back then, it would have been Nighteye who would have scolded him for not taking care of himself after a battle- but you jumped to action without thinking, practically dragged him into the medic room, forced him to take care of himself.
Toshi gasped, brushing away tears. Tears? Oh, that’s right, he had been crying, thinking about the past. So much had changed- too much? Mr Yagi never heard your laughter- and he had so little time as All Might, he couldn’t spare a minute just to hear it, to sit across from you and forget his duty. He only had ten hours in the day. He cleared his throat, tried to force himself to stop. Stupid. Coward. All Might doesn’t cry- you have to be strong! The lump in his throat moved up, he couldn’t breathe, dammit! Why did he have only one lung now? He needed both of them, he needed a stomach, needed to be a hero! Not some sorry, useless, pathetic, fucking disgusting-
“Sir?” your voice was on the other side of the door. “I’ve… asked Recovery Girl to come by first thing in the morning. I don’t think it’s wise for you to be alone however…”
Toshi didn’t say anything, one hand over his mouth. Did you hear him cry? How long had you been standing there?
“... Knock once if you’re fine.”
Thunk. The back of his head hurt, but it worked.
“Oh thank fuck.” he heard you mutter before speaking up again. “I’m going to stay out here, the couch is… better than my bed. Heh. If you… If you need anything, I’m right here.”
You were staying? Of course they are. He thought. They care. They care. He shook his head, pulling his too thin legs close to his chest, trying to dig his eyes out with his knees.
“... Suits.” he called out, voice cracking.
“I’m here.” He felt you press against the door.
“You… you don’t have to stay. It’s okay, go home.”
“... No offense, sir, but I have to stay back in order to start the paperwork on Toxic. Besides, I… I don’t like night trains and I really don’t feel like a motel tonight.”
“Right. Course… Good night.” Toshi waited for your response.
He heard your inhale, the pause. Did you want to say something? But then the opposing weight on the door was gone, the TV’s sound little more than white noise. Toshi shut his eyes, tried to push through the dull ache on his left side. But the more he tried to ignore it, the more it came biting back. Meds, take your meds.
He got up off the floor, moving to the ensuite. The stranger in the reflection scowled, disgust on its face. Toshi brushed his teeth, climbing into bed, clutching his broken side, trying to force himself to fall into a deep sleep.
It didn’t come.
I'm pretty sure that 'Toxic Chainsaw' was just a movie reference... Kinda how 'Fourth Kind' is a movie reference... Eh.
Chapter 7: Sleepless Nights
You stretched, rolling your neck in order to work out the kinks. The news cycle was on the TV, muted. The clock in the corner read that it was eleven now. Just reading that made you yawn, tired eyes tearing up from it. This wasn’t uncommon- years of late night studying which had devolved into late night catch up at work. Last year had been a blessing in disguise- you never had to take work home, Nighteye almost guaranteeing that.
But now it was different. You were in charge, mostly. You were also still at the office, in a suit. On All Might’s couch. Doing paperwork for the hero. At least I know where he is. You look over your shoulder, the door to the bedroom still locked.
“Food. Gotta get some food.” You groaned, getting up from your little nest on the coach, papers strewn everywhere.
The fridge was stacked with fresh produce… but nothing quick and easy. You pushed a bag of apples that clearly needed to be tossed before coming face to face with some coffee jelly. You cocked your head to the side; Strange, it looked like the same bag from a few weeks ago. Had All Might not gotten rid of it? You were running on fumes, shrugging before grabbing two of the jellies, rummaging through the drawers for a spoon.
“Come to Papa.” you snickered, taking a large bite, sighing from the taste.
The TV was rerunning some gossip news, celebrity catfights and hero sightings in public. Without really paying attention you watched from the kitchen, eating your rightfully claimed treat. Then a name came up, followed by photos of a certain green haired man. You pulled the remote out of your pocket, turning on subtitles.
Sir Nighteye, former Sidekick to All Might, spotted in Western Tokyo, looking at office buildings
Sources say he’s quit from Might Productions.
“Nighteye hasn’t been with us for months, there’s a new secretary office at Might Productions to do his job, but honestly? Glad he’s gone, All Might is better without him”
“Sir Nighteye- didn’t he wear those tacky ties?”
All Might takes down Toxic Chainsaw alone- is the split official?
It was shot after shot of Sir Nighteye from publicity and hidden cameras, a few of them had him standing next to some kind of insect… shit was that a dude? You stopped long enough to think back. The last time you had talked to Nighteye was… damn. It had been That Day. When he came to collect his things, and tell you about Mr Yagi.
“... I should call him.” you said to your mostly eaten jelly. “Right?”
It didn’t respond back.
“I mean, he’d probably like an update… He’s not my boss anymore though.”
“... Fuck it.”
You grabbed your second jelly, opening it as you moved to sit back down. Technically, you still had the pro sidekick in your phone. Was it too late to call? Wait, send a text. But you couldn’t just send a text… you pulled up a new tab, quickly looking for something as an icebreaker… There!
I feel like we’re drifting apart… Maybe it’s time we Sea Otter people!
You sent the text, putting your phone down before moving onto the next file. It started ringing five minutes later- he was calling.
“Please tell me you’re at some aquarium.” Nighteye’s voice was stiff as ever.
“Was watching the news, actually.” You couldn't help but smile. “Selkie was on TV.”
“Ah.” A short response, which in and of itself sent you into a giggling fit. “I see.”
“Almost forgot, you’re a damn Vulcan.” you laugh.
“Well I am known to wear… Spocktacles.”
“Oh no,” you groan, leaning back on the couch, laughing. “Please don’t.”
“I’m afraid you’ve woken me up, I have no choice.”
It was like nothing had changed. You smiled, taking another bite of the coffee jelly.
“Was there another reason for your text?”
“How’s the search going? For your… hero office.”
“... Ah. It wasn’t Selkie on the news then.”
“No, it wasn’t.” you stopped smiling.
“It was me.”
“... Yeah. It was you.”
“It’s going fine, are you looking for a quiet desk job?”
“What? No, I- can’t I just… want to talk?”
“No one ever calls at this hour to ‘just talk’. So unless you’re trying to initiate something now that I’m not your-”
“All Might fought Toxic Chainsaw.”
“... I heard.”
“He came back to the office- I was still here and…”
“What happened?” There was concern in his voice; everything started to spill out.
“Nothing! At first, I just… I did what you would have done, cleaned his wounds, bandages and everything. But… Sir… he coughed up blood.”
“And then when I said we should call a doctor, he freaked out- ran to his room and…” you sigh, rubbing at your face. “He’s been acting strange since you left- I don’t-”
“... I know.”
“It’s probably hitting him hard, he’s trying to push himself, to be a hero.”
“He is a hero.”
“That’s not I mean and you know it.”
You winced, nodding into the phone.
“But- Sir, he was coughing up blood.” you know you sounded panicked; it didn’t matter. “I watched the footage, what was released of Toxic and the fight- That guy never came close!”
“Stress.” Nighteye’s voice was calm.
“Stress?” you snorted. “Coughing up blood doesn’t just happen! It’s more than stress, it’s- it’s-”
“I don’t wish to discuss this over the phone right now.”
You stopped, blinking. Then you close your mouth, the spoon trapped in your mouth.
“... When are you free next week?” Nighteye asked.
“Shit, no idea…” you looked through your computer for a moment. “The week after, on Wednesday- I can escape for a long lunch.”
“I’ll meet you near the building. Do you remember the comedy bar?”
“Yea, but isn’t that not open until after dark?”
“It’s open for lunch, no shows I’m afraid.”
“Right. Right, okay.” You were starting to calm down.
“Get some sleep, Suits.”
“Yea, I just need to finish this paper-”
“Don’t be a hero.” Nighteye snapped, but his tone grew gentle. “You’re not All Might, you don’t have to go full speed all the time. No one can, not even him.”
“... Okay.” you sigh.
He hung up. You listened to the phone drone on for a while. Something’s wrong. The thought was back. They’re hiding something from you. You don’t mean anything, Quirkless secretary that you are. Can’t even do something as simple as look unique. Pathetic. You yawned again.
“Sleep… I just need sleep.”
You turned off the TV, moving papers off the couch in order lay down. You had kicked off your shoes at some point, tucked underneath the coffee table. It was dark, stars and airplanes the only light pooling in from the glass. This high up, this low on the couch, Tokyo was unseen, unheard. Forgotten. You pulled your jacket up as a mock blanket.
“... Night, All Might.”
Toshi’s phone pinged as he blindly searched for it underneath the covers.
“Hello dear, mind letting me in?”
Toshi was up and at his door, the robe from last night his only saving grace. Recovery Girl was standing outside, leaning on her cane. There was a dull ache in his hand, but otherwise he was fine.
“Well, I don’t know what your secretary was so worried about, you look fine to me!” she smiled. “But pants might be a good thing to have, Mr Hero.”
“Recovery Girl! I- I’m so sorry! Everything’s fine, I swear! I just… uh.”
“You coughed up blood in front of your employee. Gave them quite a fright, had to talk them down from calling Emergency Services.” she giggled. “A good egg, I’m sure they meant well.”
He was not blushing, he was a grown man, dammit. Recovery Girl was polite enough to not say anything more, taking his bandaged hand and kissing exposed knuckles.
“There, all better!” She chimed. “Though whoever looked after you did a wonderful job- I read about the fight on the ride over! Acidic slime, enough to melt the user’s own face off, that’s quite a terrible thing to happen!”
“... Well, it was- it was nothing!”
“... Toshinori are you eating enough?”
“Of course I am.”
“Six meals a day?”
“Six! That- that sounds like a bit much!”
“You’re not in your prime, you need to take better care of yourself. If you follow my plan then you’d know that you need to eat six meals a day now.”
“... Right, of course.” Toshi didn’t feel like arguing this early.
“You know your secretary seemed to care an awful lot about you, maybe I could get them to-”
“They don’t know about the injury.”
“Ah.” The teasing was gone, Recovery Girl nodding slowly at the new information.
“I… ran out of time, yesterday. That’s why-”
“That’s why they said you were coughing up blood.” Recovery Girl let out a heavy sigh. “I see… be careful, All Might. We only have one of you, after all.”
“I know. Thank you for coming, Recovery Girl.”
“Oh, don’t bow so deeply, I’m happy to help out past students.” She started to walk towards the elevator, Toshi following. “Besides, I was heading here this morning anyway, Mr Yagi is due for a check up.”
“Wait, he is?” Toshi pushed the button down.
“Of course, it’s on his schedule!” She winked, before walking into the elevator. “I hope he’s half as handsome as they say!”
Toshi blinked. People thought he was… handsome? She’s just being nice. Toshi walked back into his office apartment, saw the mess in front of his TV. You were dead asleep, the sunrise just starting to peak over the horizon.
You looked… frail. Curled up underneath your jacket, your feet poking out. He couldn’t help but smile at the sight, the way your nose started to wrinkle before you curled in further on yourself. He went over to the linen closet, found one of his throw-over blankets, the flannel loved from so many sleepless nights, watching movies in the dark until he passed out.
You relaxed the moment the blanket was on you, a sleepy sigh escaping. He saw your paperwork, started to gather it up and straighten it, making neat piles. You mumbled, eyes trying so hard to open but couldn’t. He let out a short huff, brushing your hair back.
“It’s okay, go back to sleep. It’s okay.”
“I have to work.” you groan, subconsciously dragging the blanket up and over, tucking it underneath your chin. “I… I need to get up.”
“Sleep.” Toshi smiled. “It won’t kill you to take the day off.”
You were asleep before he could say anything again. He stood up, shocked at your tired words. His alarm was going off in his bedroom; there was no time to question it. He had a job to do.
You watched from a distance as Recovery Girl left the private nurse room, Sashi standing next to you, texting on her work phone, files resting on her hip. Thankfully, most of the elevators for Might Productions were covered in reflective metal, shined to look like mirrors. You held your own phone to your ear, pretending to be making a phone call, Sashi nodding on occasion.
“You know, we could just ask her directly, instead of doing this in such a roundabout way.” Sashi’s skin was blue, hints of green around the edges of her fingers.
“Sh, she’s coming.” you clear your throat, making your voice louder. “Yes, we’ll be sure to have a representative there shortly… I understand… We hope to continue to do business with you, good day.”
You hung up, just as Recovery Girl pressed the button to go down. Sashi finished her text, adjusting the files on her hip, smiling and giving a short bow; you looked out of the corner of your eye, pretending that you hadn’t spent the last hour standing like that, waiting for Mr Yagi’s check up to be over.
“Miss Recovery Girl, a pleasure.” You smile, a respective nod as the door pings. “To what do we owe the honor?”
“Just doing my good deed for the day, that’s all.”
The three of you walked in, Sashi hitting a random floor, Recovery Girl wanting to go to the lower levels- to the parking lot.
“Sir, we have a meeting in an hour on the eleventh floor, did you want me to set it up ahead of time?”
“Yes, thank you Sashi. Do you have that file on Mr Yagi?”
“It’s being processed, but we need a medical professional’s approval.”
“Hmm… Recovery Girl, I’d hate to ask, but…”
“Oh?” The older woman was laughing, “You don’t have to try and be coy about asking after your new boss’ health, Sir.”
Shit! Sashi snorted, before coughing into her fist. You shot her a look before trying to keep a blank face. If Recovery Girl’s giggle was anything to go by, you had failed. Miserably. The elevator pinged, Sashi leaving you alone with the support hero. She bowed; you gave a short nod as the door closed.
“... Mr Yagi’s condition is… very serious, isn’t it?” You said, looking at your reflection
“It is.” She responded “Were you the one who called on the phone late last night for All Might?”
“I was. It’s my job to look after All Might, ma’am.”
“That was very kind of you to take care of him like that.”
“It’s nothing. I’m just doing my job.” You fix your vest, smoothing it out in the reflection.
“I don’t know many secretaries that would stay the night just to make sure their boss was okay.”
“He’s a pro hero.” your answer was quick, too quick maybe? “On top of that, he’s number one. I have to be a cut above the rest.”
“Hmm, I suppose... Mr Yagi is a good man, very dedicated to his work.”
“Is that how he got injured? From his previous work?”
“How much do you know?”
You pulled out your access card, forced the elevator to stop moving. You stood up and leaned on the wall, putting your hands in your pockets. Recovery Girl raised an eyebrow at the entire thing, leaning on her cane. She waited for you to start talking, but you didn’t. Still, she was a doctor, she was used to stubborn heroes who thought they could push her around. You sighed closing your eyes as you spoke.
“Might Productions requires background checks on all of their potential employees. Mr Yagi was hired without an interview, with no references, and the resume we have on file was forged. I asked All Might about it- he simply stated that Mr Yagi was a former hero, but he didn’t want to talk about it anymore- something about personal history. UA High refused to confirm if Mr Yagi had ever attended. And the hospital that sent us the medical report only gave us a laundry list of surgeries, no x rays, no coverage, not even next of kin. We asked earlier this week for a more thorough report from the hospital, hoping that they might be able to help us design a specialized health package for Mr Yagi. We were denied.”
“Patient Confidentiality should have made it impossible for you to get the report in the first place.” Recovery Girl’s voice had an edge to it.
“I know.” You lean your head back on the wall.
“You do realize you’ve just admitted to a crime, yes?”
“I do.” You opened your eyes.
“You realize that I’m a pro hero, yes?”
“I also know that you’re Mr Yagi’s primary doctor.” You crossed your arms.
“I don’t like repeating myself dear,” Recovery Girl was still smiling, the picture of a school nurse. “How much do you know?”
Your jaw was twitching like mad, your left hand shaking as you look at the support hero. Why are you here? Is it really just for a check up on Yagi? Did you see All Might earlier? Why won’t anybody tell me anything? You took a deep breath, exhaling through your nose.
“I’m worried for Mr Yagi.” you say, keeping neutral.
“Are you? Or are you worried for All Might?”
“It’s my job as All Might’s secretary to ensure he’s surrounded by allies, here at Might Productions. There is little to no information about Mr Yagi. I know you’re a very busy hero, doctor. So I’ll be frank: do you trust Mr Yagi?”
“I do.” she said it with no hesitation.
“His injuries must be hard on him.” you kept your voice even. “If there’s anything we can do on our end to ensure he remains at peak health, I’d appreciate it.”
“He has physical exercises and a strict diet to follow, and so long as he doesn’t do any heavy lifting he should be fine.”
“He’s only just came back from the hospital. If he needs to work less hours in order to recover-”
“Do not underestimate Mr Yagi.” Recovery Girl snapped, her smile widening. “I’ll send over information on how his health should be handled but there’s no need to cut his hours down because of it. Find a different route if you do not like him working here at Might Productions.”
Recovery Girl hit the button, the elevator moving again. You didn’t move, just watched the number go down on the display instead of talking anymore. The door opened, the parking lot dark in the middle of the day. Recovery Girl started to walk out before turning around to look at you.
“All Might thinks very highly of you.” she says.
“... I’m just doing my job.” you respond.
“I know.” she pulled out a hard candy offering it to you.
“Ta but,” you pulled out a mint from your own pocket. “I’m set.”
“All Might thinks very highly of Mr Yagi as well.” She put it back, still smiling. “It might be in your best interest to get to know him before you write him off.”
“... Thank you for the advice.” you didn’t have the energy to argue with the woman. “I’m sure if Mr Yagi feels up to coming to the office at some point, I’ll be sure to do so.”
“He hasn’t shown up for work?” Recovery Girl seemed shocked to hear that.
“He arrives for meetings, but that’s it. I have never seen him work, and I have not gotten a report in the month that he has been here with us. I assumed it might be because of his health. That’s why I asked you, his primary doctor, if there was something we could do here to help him recover.”
“... I see.”
“Good day, Doctor Recovery Girl.”
“Good day, Sir.”
The door slid shut. Alone with just your reflection. A heavy sigh before you hit the button to go back up. Great. Now what? Your phone started to buzz in your pocket.
“Sashi, how do you know I wasn’t still talking?”
“I’m standing in front of the elevator, Suits. You coming back up?”
“Yea, I’m coming up… do we really have a meeting on the eleventh floor?”
“What? Oh, no I made that up.”
“You hit the seventh floor button.”
“Ah. Whoops.” you pinch the bridge of your nose at her response. “Sorry Suits, I panicked.”
“Remind me to not have you sit in on the next negotiation conference.”
“It’s not my fault that I’m a terrible liar!”
“Pretty sure it is.” you laughed, checking your watch. “Drinks tomorrow, yeah?”
“Oh fuck yes- it’ll just be us four though, don’t feel like drinking with HR again.”
“They’re not that bad, Sashi.”
“Sure, but Rei keeps trying me to hook up with her nephew- you’d think she’d learn my age at least.”
“C’mon Sashi, lots of ladies are getting with younger guys these days.”
“Yea, not my style… But, I got a favor to ask.”
“Sure, what is it?”
“You remember that guy I used to work with, the dancer?”
“It’s nothing serious, but I showed him a photo of you and he wanted to get dinner. I said I’d ask, not like you have anyone in your life.”
“I have my work.”
“Suits, for the love of- You’re not a pro sidekick, you’re just his secretary!”
“... Fine. You said he was a dancer?”
“Yea, but he’s got his degree, looking into a different profession these days. Keeps bitching that he doesn’t make nearly as much as the rest of us had but! I keep telling him, there’s always consort work.”
“I mean, it pays well.”
“You gotta dress the part for that kind of work, Sashi.”
“Argh, I know, I keep telling him that but he just goes ‘oh I’ve got gifts from past clients and they might hit me up again’, what an idiot.”
“So you agree then?”
“Agree to what?”
“Dinner! With the dancer!”
“Uuh,” you really don’t want to. “Yea, one dinner. Might be a while though, I’m busy for most of the month.”
“That’s fine, I’ve already made the booking in your name.”
“Sashi, did you just change my schedule?”
“I know.” Sashi giggled. “Did you get what you wanted from the doctor?”
“No, but she said she’d send over some information for us. This would go a lot smoother if the fucker actually showed up for work on occasion.”
“I mean,” you snorted, “Just showing up for morning meetings isn’t enough! And I don’t see that lanky bastard filing any kind of reports- the fuck is he doing anyway?”
“Maybe you should increase the workload?”
“And let things fall through the cracks that we’re gonna have to pick up in the end? Pass.”
“I’m ten floors away- but seriously! Mr Yagi shouldn’t be working here at all, I don’t give one single flying fuck if he’s old buddies with All Might- he’s incompetenet, sloppy, good for nothin-”
“Mr Yagi! Hello!”
Sashi hung up the phone on you. FUCK! How much had he heard? Was she on speaker phone the whole time? Why was he in the office? Wait, he had his checkup with Recovery Girl, of course he’d still be there, maybe you could catch him before he left the office again? Was he still avoiding you?
The elevator pinged; you walked out before the doors were open fully. You saw Sashi and Mr Yagi’s form in your office, the rest of the floor busy at work. Making a beeline, you focused on the lanky figure, saw one hand come up to his sharp face. Even with the fogged glass, you saw he was in oversized clothes. You opened the door just as Mr Yagi went to leave, one hand reached out to push the glass.
“Oh, hello Sir.” Mr Yagi smiled down at you. “What can I-”
“Sit down. Now.” You shut the door, standing in front of the only exit.
Sashi looked back and forth between the two of you. Mr Yagi blinked, before trying to laugh off the tense atmosphere.
“I’m sorry but I have to be-”
“Mr Yagi if you do not sit down right now I will consider this a resignation. Sashi, start a record.”
“Start a record. Mr Yagi. Sit.”
The anger from the last month was boiling over, your breathing was harsh, it could be heard in the quiet room, inhaling and exhaling through your nose, jaw twitching like mad while you clench your teeth.
Mr Yagi took a few steps back before finding a chair. You stayed standing in front of the door, Sashi’s skin was starting to change color- after years of working with her you knew what the red and black meant. Good, might make him scared too.
“Mr Yagi, I’m done with the charade.” You start. “I’m done with certain people trying to protect you. You are going to tell me exactly how you got this job.”
“I was hired by All Might.”
“Yes, Why.” you snapped. “Was it because you were old classmates? Are you trying to ring out his sympathy to the last drop? Maybe even twist his arm until you get a hefty bonus?”
“It’s not like that-”
“Explain your injury.”
Sashi’s eyes went wide, her pen shaking in her hand, watching from afar. Mr Yagi didn’t move, but his back straightened up.
“It’s from my previous work.”
“As a hero?”
“If you don’t answer me, I will have you arrested for identity fraud and blackmail.”
“You can’t prove that!” His voice was shocked, the Kansai thick.
“And you can’t prove that you ever existed three months ago!”
“... You want the truth?” Mr Yagi stood up, his anger rising to match yours.
“That’s all I ever want.” You planted your feet.
He took three long steps toward you, towering over you- Sashi was shrinking in on herself but you held your ground, fists balled up, ready to fight if needed. A year working alongside Nighteye meant you had to be prepared for anything- especially physical violence.
“I got hurt on the field.” Mr Yagi’s Kansai was gone, his voice barely above a whisper. “I don’t have a hero license anymore. All Might offered me a job- I just want to help people. If that’s too noble of a cause for you then fuck off.”
You never wanted to hit someone more in your life than right now. You were so mad you couldn’t even see straight, you know your hand was shaking like it was in the elevator.
“Why are you faking that accent.” you growl, teeth clenched.
“To protect myself.”
“Why work here?”
“To finish what I started.”
“And what did you start, Mr Yagi.” your jaw hurt from the pressure, too angry to keep breathing your nose. “What did you start that ended so terribly, you had to bring All Might into this?”
“You’re a smart person,” Mr Yagi had an intensity now, one that was… villainous. “I’m sure you can go snooping in the background to figure that out.”
Your fist never made contact. Sashi yelped, her skin more black than red. You didn’t care. Someone was screaming, but you were to pissed off to care. To angry to think about the fact you were fighting an injured man. None of your punches landed, Mr Yagi blocking them like it was nothing- he swept your feet out from underneath you, but as you landed on your back you kicked at his ankle, tried to bring him down to fight.
He fell to one knee as you scrambled up, grabbing a too loose shirt and bringing your head forward to his nose. He reeled back, keeping you an arms distance away. Bringing your fists together you slammed them down on his elbow, invading his personal space. Your fist finally made contact with his left- right where his stomach should have been. He coughed, blood spattering across your back as you hit him again in the same spot.
The door to the office opened, Suki rushing over to Sashi as Natsu jumped in the middle of the fight. There was a dull throbbing in your head but it didn’t matter. Natsu was struggling, trying to keep you away from Mr Yagi.
“Suits! It’s not worth it, let it go!” Natsu was shouting, “SUITS!”
Mr Yagi just watched, didn’t even bother to fix his tie. His tie! One hand grabbed at it, pulling the tall bastard down to your level. Who the fuck are!? You wished he was smug, wanted to so desperately see him be just as angry as you were… But nothing. Just deep blue eyes, full of pity. There was blood running down the side of his mouth, but he didn’t seem bothered by it- he looked at you like so many others had in your life. Quirkless Nobody.
“DON’T YOU FUCKING LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT!” you screamed.
Mr Yagi didn’t say anything, just let you hold his tie. You kept yanking at it, Natsu unable to stop you from trying to keep up the fight. The office was quiet, security standing outside. Watching. You were screaming, spitting like a cat, blood still boiling in your veins. He didn’t say anything at all, just kept staring.
When your throat grew raw, you pushed Natsu away, straightening your vest, looking around the room. Then you looked back at Mr Yagi, saw that he was still standing, watching you come down from your rage. Don’t you dare fucking pity me.
“... Sir.” Mr Yagi bowed, deeply. “I’m going to be heading out for the rest of the day.”
“... Do you have a doctor’s referral for that?” your voice was hoarse.
“I can get one.” The Kansai was back.
“Fine. Get out of my sight.”
He left, the rest of the floor watched in silence. Fuck. You took a deep breath. I did it again.
If it's not obvious yet, Sashi's Quirk is 'Mood Change'. Her skin acts like a mood ring, it changes with how she's feeling. A very aesthetically cool Quirk, but also very impractical.
Suits is Quirkless.
Chapter 9: June 1979
There's one song that I think is the main theme for this fic. There's a live version from June 1979 that's very emotional. Hence this chapter's title.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
You had a nice buzz going, Suki leaning on your right as Natsu and Sashi were singing karaoke. The wait had been over an hour- thankfully the bar next door was used to people drinking while they waited for their reservation. But maybe you should have switched to something that wasn’t Soju sooner.
“Want another shot?” Suki asked, holding the small bottle.
“Sure.” you held your glass for her to pour, her twin mouths grinning.
Natsu was singing in a shitty accent, Sashi trying to keep up with the guitar on her own mic. Suki snorted, drinking straight from the Soju bottle now.
“That’s a bit indecent.” you smile, downing your shot in one go, leaning forward to open the next one. “Cheers.”
You both took a swig together, before swapping bottles.
“Hey, leave some for us!” Natsu giggles, belting out the last part of the song off key.
“Here.” You hand over the Soju, picking up the menu. “What should we get?”
“Chicken!” Sashi flopped onto the couch, her oversized sweater sliding off one pink shoulder. “Get some Fried Chicken!”
“I want Noodles.” Suki put her head on your shoulder, Sashi grabbing the bottle from her hands. “Oh look, Hot Pot is on sale tonight!”
“Suits, where’s the candy?” Natsu was leaned over, going through the messenger bag you had brought. “I can’t-”
“Outer pocket, it’s sour though. I’m gonna get… should I get a pitcher of beer or should we do Pimms?”
“Gin!” Sashi sat up, taking one of the candies from Natsu’s hand. “OH GROSS- WHY IS IT SOUR?”
“Get a bottle of rum and a pitcher of lemonade.” Suki said. “It’ll be like college all over again!”
“That’s so gross.” you giggled, grabbing the phone. “I’m gonna order food and ask for water.”
“C’mon Suits, order more alcohol! We’re almost out!” Natsu’s pullover came off, the print tee underneath faded and worn. “Let’s crank this fucker up!”
“I don’t feel like throwing up, Natsu- Yea can I get some Hot Pot and Fried Chicken? And some water.”
“DON’T FORGET THE GIN!”
“Sashi, shh! Yea, gin and tonic with a rum and lemonade… And a bottle of soju, fuck it.”
“Damn, who’s paying for tonight?” Suki asked.
“Mr All Might himself!” Natsu whipped out a card. “Got permission for it too!”
“How the fuck did you get permission for that?” You took the bottle of Soju back, pouring shots for everyone.
“Well, when the big guy came around, he asked about Suits and I said, I said sometimes we go out drinking! But- but we haven’t done it forever, because Suits is soo busy with handling his schedule.”
“And he what, gave you that card?”
“Yeah! He wanted you to have a good time!”
“Right, how you budgeting that then?”
“Hehe,” Natsu pushed his glasses up his nose. “You’ll see.”
“Natsu you’re so bad!” Sashi giggled. “I can’t believe you did that!”
“I don’t believe you either.” Suki’s grin grew wider. “I think you swiped that card off of a certain someone.”
“Huh?” Natsu head couldn’t stay up straight. “Did not!”
“Higaraki Natsu you are a terrible liar.”
You snorted, before devolving into a fit of giggles, watch as the three of them argued. It’s true, it’s been a long time since you were able to do something like this. You were still in a button down, the tacky bowtie still on, but your jacket was gone, shirt sleeves rolled up at the elbow. Suki, every the elegant woman, was in a simple dress, wearing your suit jacket to keep her shoulders warm.
“Hey, guys…” you spoke up. “Am I… am I approachable?”
“Absolutely not.” Suki finished her shot. “You’re terrifying- but that’s a good thing.”
“Yea, let’s the rest of us look good.” Natsu flopped down on the couch, Sashi getting up to get the door. “Why?, thought you wanted to be tough.”
“Yea, I guess.” you cleared your throat, grabbing chopsticks to pick at the meat set on the table. “But, maybe it’s not so good anymore.”
“Is this about your fight with Mr Yagi?” Suki asked, pouring some water for her and Sashi.
“Kind of.” you shrugged.
“Look, it was bound to happen.” Suki added mushrooms. “After that first meeting everyone kind of expected it. Just surprised it took six weeks.”
“Suits,” Sashi dumped in the dumplings, Natsu pulling back in order to not get splashed. “It’s fine but… that was a lot of blood.”
“Isn’t he got some major injury or something?” Natsu mouth was full as he spoke.
“How’d you find out?” Sashi asked.
“He favors his left side and he’s always coughing real bad- I figured it was a cold or something but it kept happening. Thought it was bronchitis or something.”
“It’s not bronchitis.” Suki said. “Mr Yagi had some massive surgery before he started working- he told me.”
“Wait, what? Does everyone know!” Sashi groaned. “And here I thought it was a secret!”
“Well it’s not a secret anymore!” Natsu swallowed. “The office is flooded with rumors that Suits punches so hard they can make people die or that Mr Yagi is as sick as he looks.”
“There was a rumor going around that he got hit one of those weight loss Quirks, but hasn’t been able to buy fitting clothes.” Suki said.
“Well that’s not gonna stay around- Suits you okay? You’re not eating.”
“Huh? Oh.” you grabbed a piece of meat, chewing on it. “I just… maybe if I was nicer, Mr Yagi wouldn’t be avoiding me so much.”
“You did give him a cold shoulder on the first day.”
“Sure, but everyone gets hazed on the first day.”
“Don’t let HR hear you say that,” Suki ate another mushroom. “They’re already having a field day with yesterday.”
“Fuuck, I forgot.” Sashi shoved a chicken leg in her mouth. “I need to do my report about the fight.”
“Hmm.” You sipped your water, your appetite no longer there.
Suki watched you from the corner of her eye, before grabbing a piece of beef from the hot pot, holding it out for you.
“Here. Eat this.”
“Suki, ain’t you married?” Natsu teased.
“How’s the wife hunting going, Natsu? Your mother find you a good one yet?” Suki’s second mouth opened, “Natsu you’re not getting any younger!”
“Don’t mimic my mom at me.” Natsu shoved a dumpling in his mouth. “Oh fuck, that’s hot, ow ow ow.”
You smiled at Suki, taking the offered bite. Sashi sat next to Natsu, the two bickering over who got to eat what. You let out a short huff, smiling at the scene. Suki joined you, keeping her voice low as the other two bickered.
“Nothing’s changed, huh?”
“They’re still kids.”
“... We’re trying for a baby.” Suki looked down at her hands.
“Good luck.” You picked up a piece of meat, eating again.
“Good luck?” Suki snorted, “That’s not what people say, Suits.”
“What do people usually say?”
“Congrats or maybe, I don’t know, ‘hope it’s a girl’. Not good luck.”
“... Have you gone to your tailor recently?”
“I can just get the jacket dry cleaned, Suki.”
“You know that’s not what I meant.”
“... Yea, I know.”
“What are you two lovebirds talking about?” Sashi’s skin was pink, the purple hue from drinking flushing her cheeks.
“Just how cute you are when you’re drunk.” You lean back, undoing the bowtie one handed. “Also how Natsu got hot pot down his front.”
“Huh?” Natsu jerked up, the broccoli dropping from his chopsticks, landing in his lap. “Aw man, you did that on purpose!”
You shrugged, laughing, Suki covering her mouth to hide her own. Natsu pushed up his thick frames again, grabbing the ladle in order get some soup for himself. Sashi just dunked her entire rice bowl in, before slurping it all.
“Speaking of lovebirds…” Sashi sanged, wiggling her eyebrows at you. “How’s All Might these days?”
“Shut up.” you took a swig of Soju from the bottle again. “Or I’ll order beer next.”
“Gross!” Sashi stuck her tongue out, “But seriously, you two had talked for an hour! Was he nice?”
“Of course he’s nice!” Natsu spoke up. “The guy is a hero! But… he didn’t spend an hour with me.”
“Or me.” Suki spoke up.
“Nothings happening.” You spoke a little too quickly, picking up the phone again to order more drinks. “What’d people want?”
“Get some Pimms! And pear cider!”
“Whis- key! Whis- key!”
“Actually I should probably drink more water.”
“Can we get two pitchers? Pimms and Dry Pear. Hold on I’ll ask- y’all want fruit in it?”
“Kay it’ll be here soon.”
“I’m surprised they haven’t cut us off.”
“It’s because the guy who keeps bringing us stuff is a kid.”
“How the hell do you know- wait. Sashi have you been opening the door this whole time?”
“Duh. God Natsu, you’re so dense sometimes.”
“Not as dense as Suits.”
“I’m not dense.”
“Whatever! All Might was practically drooling on your desk!”
“Yea, he was giving you goo goo eyes the whole time!”
“He was not! He was just wanting to see his schedule for the month, that’s it.”
“Suki, not you too.”
“Listen, the glass is fogged, not opaque. He’s a big guy, and the shadows were very… close.”
“Nothing is happening!”
“Do you want something to happen though?”
“I’m his secretary!”
“It’ll be like a porno!”
“Wow, it’s been a while since you’ve talked with both your mouths, Suki.”
“Look, nothing is happening between me and All Might.”
“Look if anything was going to happen, I doubt he’d try something during office hours.”
“So did it happen after Toxic Chainsaw?”
“Wait, what happened after TC?”
“Suits stayed at the office- in All Might’s office to be exact. Didn’t come out until noon.”
“How the fuck did you know that?”
“I’m friends with security, they showed me the footage yesterday.”
“They showed you what!?”
“Oooooh, was it good?”
“There’s no cameras in Might’s offices, but what I did see-”
“NOTHING. HAPPENED. END OF DISCUSSION.”
“That sounds like something only a guilty person would say.”
“I’m innocent! Look, nothing happened, I just made sure he got in the shower and-”
“Did you see it? Did you see his staff of Justice?”
“His tits of Peace!”
“Oh c’mon Suki, you might be married but you’re not blind. Everybody’s thought about it!”
“Nothing. Happened.” you slammed the empty bottle on the table, scaring all three of them. “It was a chemical shower. Chemical. He was hurt after the fight and I just- I performed first aid and that’s it.”
“Nothing else happened?”
He coughed up blood and ran away. He had spent an hour talking with me and was so close I could see his eyes. He didn’t want me there, didn’t want me to help. He wanted to say something- that he liked me? I’m nothing to him. Just his secretary. He sounded so scared. I wanted to stay- I should have done something, something more. I didn’t. I didn’t and now it’s all I can think about.
“Nothing happened.” your voice was quiet.
Sashi pouted, but shrugged it off. Natsu squinted but dropped the conversation. You didn’t want to talk about it anymore so you grabbed a mic, plugging in a random song. The piano started over the speakers, the guitar and harp joining soon after. Suki stared at you- but you ignored it.
“ Love of my life, you’ve hurt me… ”
Suki waited outside for a car, leaning on you heavily. Natsu and Sashi had left, gone to sneak into some club down the block. Suki still had your jacket on, her dress not suited for the fall weather.
“Tell me the truth, did nothing really happen?” Suki asked.
“Nothing that those gossip girls would want to hear.” You had your arm around her shoulders, like old times.
“... If you had stayed in Japan, I’d be home by now.” she murmured, still drunk.
“No you wouldn’t. You would have divorced me already.”
“Hm, guess we’ll never know.”
You both laughed, the alcohol keeping you warm on the side of the road. A lull in conversation as cars passed by.
“... I’m going to see Nighteye for lunch next week.”
“Nighteye- your old boss?”
“... I want answers. I want to know what happened three months ago, that’s all.”
“Suits…” Suki stood up, wrapping drunken arms around your neck, mumbling into your neck. “Stop it. This isn’t worth the effort.”
“Don’t you remember?” You gave a short laugh. “I never learned when to quit.”
“You quit us.” It was a whisper.
“... I was scared.” There’s a lump in your throat.
“I know.” Suki sighed. She was crying, you felt the tears on your neck. “I wish you weren’t.”
“Suki… I’m glad you’re happy with him.”
She pulled back, her make up running. You brought a hand up, wiped it away. A gentle kiss to her forehead before straightening your suit jacket, making sure she was warm. Ever the gentlemen.
“Are you happy, Suits?”
“I have my work.” The answer is quick, practiced.
“That didn’t answer my question.”
“I don’t need to be happy.” You smiled at her, “I have a job to do, and I’m gonna do it. End of story.”
“... You deserve to be happy.”
She’s drunk. You thought. She’d never say this otherwise. Oh Suki...
“Yea, well…” you saw the car pull up. “I’m happy when I can work.”
Suki noticed the car, the window rolled down. Her husband was in the driver’s seat glaring at you. You smiled, getting the car door for her. She didn’t hand you back your jacket, instead she leaned over and gave her husband a kiss before turning to look at you.
“Hey, Suki.” You lean your head into the car.
“Yes Suits?” Suki smiled at you.
“I hope it’s a girl.”
“Thanks,” she giggled. “I do too.”
You closed the car door, the two of them driving off. You watched it fade into Tokyo’s traffic, the wind cutting through your shirt. You weren’t crying. It was just the rain, the rain that was an hour late. That’s all.
Are you happy?
“... I don’t know.”
The road was loud, pedistrations and drunks singing as they walked passed. High above, All Might watched the entire thing, too far away to hear the conversation. He saw you wipe a tear away, walking back into the crowd. His left side still hurt, his hand instinctively coming up to it. He hated that look on your face- next time. Next time, All Might wanted to make you laugh.
That’s what heroes do… right?
When I grow older
I will be there at your side to remind you
How I still love you
I still love you
-Queen, 'Love of my Life'
The week went by with no issues. It also went by with no Mr Yagi… or All Might. You weren’t dense, contrary to what Natsu said at karaoke. You heard the chatter, the glances that were thrown your way. How Sashi tried her best to keep it under wraps but rumours still got out.
You had fought the head of the department- you were bound to get fired. Everyone knew you were the only one throwing punches, they had seen the blood on his face, the same blood that had covered the back of your suit. The truth hadn’t really hit you until today, when you still hadn’t heard anything from All Might. Not even a short email.
“It’s fine, you have lunch with Nighteye later.” you mumbled to yourself, keeping busy. “If push comes to shove, you can just… get your old job back. Yeah. He likes you, no big deal.”
Unless Nighteye was a fan of Mr Yagi as well. What if he knew about it all already? The fight, who started it? Breathe, just breathe. You glanced down at the clock, saw the time stamp. Shit, you were going to be late at this point. You grabbed your coat and bag, walking out to the main floor. A mop of yellow hair was leaning over a desk, laughing with one of the younger employees. Don’t panic, just walk past and act like everything is normal.
Mr Yagi didn’t say anything as you walked by- his companion, however, stiffened in their chair. You ignored it, pulling your coat on and slinging the messenger bag onto your shoulder. The elevator was called, but you saw from the reflection that Mr Yagi got up and walked into your shared office. Was he waiting for me to leave?
The ride down was stressful. HR had already pulled you aside, went over the standard lecture- don’t get into fights, it stresses the employees. Mr Yagi is your boss, you need to respect your elders, blah blah fucking blah. You pulled out your phone.
Got caught in a meeting, am running late.
Don’t run too long, hate for you to get tired.
“Some things never change.”
The comedy bar wasn’t very far- if you hadn’t known beforehand, you’d have just assumed it was closed during the day. There was only one person sitting inside, the bartender not bothering to look up as you walk past. Nighteye had his back to you, the booth’s table covered in reports, a pen in one hand, a cappuccino in the other. You pulled out the sprig of herb from your pocket, putting your messenger bag on the seat opposite of him.
“Thanks for meeting me, I promise this won't be a ‘waist’ of your ‘thyme’.”
Nighteye looked up from his work, eyes zeroing in at your belt, saw what you were holding there. You stared back, trying to hold it in. He looked up at you, glasses catching the overhead light.
“That’s hilarious.” he said, completely deadpanned.
You broke down, laughing as you got into the booth. The corner of his mouth was trying to turn up, his lips pursed- a roaring success really. The one worker on the floor was sweeping but they came over and grabbed your order before leaving the two of you alone.
“No tie today?” Nighteye sorted his paperwork, pushing it to the side.
“Not today,” you sighed. “It’s… been a rough week.”
“Hm. Heard from a certain Ms Sashi what had happened.”
“Yea, uh, about that…” you paused as your drink was brought over. “I wanted to ask you about Mr Yagi.”
“I- I don’t know who or what he was before, but…” you trailed off, unsure how to phrase this.
Nighteye drank the rest of his cappuccino, watching you. The silence should be comfort; it’s not. You focus on the grain of the table, opening your mouth before closing it again- lost.
“Mr Yagi is a private man.” he started, leaning on the table. “There are some things that even I’m not privy to.”
“I found out he was a hero in a past life.” you said, playing with the glass in your hands. “That’s where he got his injury… but” you sigh again. “There’s no record of a Mr Yagi anywhere! And if he was a hero, he’d have to be underground or something- even then! There’d be a record!”
“You didn’t find anything did you.”
“Hm, that doesn’t surprise me.”
“Why is that?”
“Mr Yagi was a hero- but he was involved in various confidential missions. The kind that are off the record.”
Oh. Oh no.
“You mean- the kind you didn’t want me to work on?” you swallowed. “The kind that civilians never learn about?”
“I fucked up.”
“Yes, you did.”
“Shit.” you put your head in your hands. “Fuck, I fucked up so bad.”
“If there is one thing I do know, it’s that Mr Yagi is a forgiving man- to others at least. As for himself, he made it his duty to save everyone he could, even at the expense of his health.”
You downed half your drink, the pieces falling into place.
“All Might and Mr Yagi worked closely, and for much longer than I had ever been at Might Productions, let alone All Might’s sidekick. Now that Mr Yagi is unfit for active duty, All Might made him his personal secretary- against my wishes.
“I believed that Mr Yagi should retire, train a successor to oversee his mission. All Might was afraid of losing a vital assessment. There are others who were more than willing to place a limit on Mr Yagi’s work, perhaps even ween him out of active duty. I objected, stating that Mr Yagi had done enough, that his main goal was completed. There was an argument, and at the end of it all, I resigned.”
“That would explain the secrecy, the reason that Recovery Girl was so defensive… Fuck what I do?”
“You spoke with the Doctor?” Nighteye asked, cocking his head to the side.
“Huh, oh yea, I… might have trapped her in an elevator trying to get answers.”
“That’s more your style than trying to fight an injured man.”
“Have you been to HR about the incident?”
“On Monday I was, just a slap on the wrist really.”
“Was Mr Yagi present at the time?”
“No, the fucker wasn’t in.”
“Hm, I suppose the next time he is, Human Resources will want to get to the bottom of it.”
“He’s in today. I saw him just as I was leaving.”
Your phone pinged. A work email.
“Speak of the devil.” You gave a weak laugh, before putting it down.
Nighteye watched, silent as someone brought out lunch. You didn’t eat a bite, but that didn’t stop him.
“... Mr Yagi is handling those cases now, isn’t he?” you finally spoke up.
“I would assume so, yes.”
“... I designed the floor so that he and I shared an office.”
“Ah.” Nighteye’s eye crinkled, laughing in his own way. “That’s quite a show of power.”
“I guess!” you picked at your food now, thinking. “If I reconfigure the office now, it’ll just be a mess- people will think that one of us admitted defeat.”
“Or that Human Resources stepped in and demanded that you two work separately. The fight did happen in your shared office, yes?”
“Yea, it did… the conference rooms at the front are about the same size though. And they’re right next to the elevators.”
“Which are next to All Might’s personnel offices.”
“We only need one conference room, really.”
“Could just have our stuff moved around during the weekend.”
“Assuming you still have a job at the end of the week.”
“... Yea. Assuming that.”
“Well,” Nighteye swallowed, pointed a fork at you. “If you did get fired, I am looking for a desk jockey of my own. Someone who’s able to keep up with me in the office.”
“... I’ll think about it.” You smile, “Thank you, Sir.”
“I’m no longer your boss,” Nighteye went back to eating, not looking at you. “You can call me by my name.”
“Right! And it’s…”
“No it’s fucking not.”
He just smiled, chewing his food.
“What was Mr Yagi’s hero codename?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know, or you can’t tell me?”
“What? How does that make sense?”
“I only ever knew the man as Yagi Toshinori- if he had a codename, All Might never told me.”
“Great. Cool. Would I know anything he might worked on?”
“You are not an avid fan of All Might, correct?”
“Not as avid as some people.”
“... You can’t tell me anything about Mr Yagi?”
“He’s a man rarely seen, but he does his job quite well. How is he adjusting to office work?”
“He doesn’t show up for work- I mean, if there’s a meeting that has to take place, he’s there. But I’ve never seen him sit down and do paperwork.”
“Hm, if All Might is using Mr Yagi for his previous experience, that might not be so abnormal.”
“I guess, but- he leaves the building.”
“Can you confirm that?”
“Not… really.” you start, talking through the facts. “I mean, he doesn’t stay on the floor unless it’s to talk to specific people- ones who represent certain regions. Suki and Natsu sometimes get visits from him, usually just to ask random questions or something… If he’s still working on confidential cases, I guess he might be working from a separate location?”
“If that’s the case… when I left today, he went into our office space, like he had been waiting for me to leave. And All Might had asked me to give a final copy of his schedule to Mr Yagi, saying he would make sure that our hero got to where he needed to be…”
“... If he was so uncomfortable working in the same room, why didn’t he speak up?”
“According to Sashi, you alienated him.”
“How often do you to talk to Sashi?”
“Whenever she calls, usually about where I would place specific cases once they needed a detective's signature.”
“Ah. So everyday then.”
“Less so this last week.”
“Maybe… I should split our work spaces…”
“That would be helpful, if Mr Yagi has ignored my request that he take it easy and try to find a replacement.”
Nighteye’s phone pinged, the screensaver a rare photo of All Might in his American Era. He said his goodbyes, collecting his things.
“Suits,” Nighteye collected the last of his papers. “Let this go.”
“Let what go?”
“Mr Yagi is a good man. Stubborn, like someone else I know, but a good man.”
“You talking about me?” you tease.
“Yes.” There was no joke in his voice.
He left the building, not waiting for a response. You weren’t dense… but maybe you were a little stubborn. You looked at your phone, unlocking it to read the terse email.
Please report to Human Resource Manager Stefani about the events from a week prior. Meeting will be held at 2:30, on Floor 17, Room 179b.
Might Productions Human Resource Department
It was sent to you and Mr Yagi. Your watch read quarter past one.
“... Fucking perfect.”
I do have a Curious Cat, if you want to send me asks that way! I've also got a Twitter.
Toshi knocked on the door, a soft voice piping up from inside. He opened the door to the small office, an arctic mouse head smiling at him.
“Mr Yagi, please have a seat! The other party shouldn’t be very long.” The woman went back to shuffling papers, clearing her desk of everything except a slim folder.
Toshi took a seat, tried to make it so that his dress shirt didn’t crinkle while he sat down. The woman’s little ears were trained on him as she moved to pull out another file, looking at it for a moment, and then put it back.
“My name is Misu Yuki, a pleasure to finally meet you!”
“Hello, Ms Misu.” He smiled.
“Oh, it’s Mrs now.” She giggled, a flash of gold on her tiny paw. “But thank you for being kind.”
“It’s not a problem, Mrs Misu. Could you tell me what this is about?”
Misu’s nose twitched, her head cocked to the side.
“Did you not get my email?”
“I did, but it was very… vague.”
“I see.” Misu opened the file; he saw CCTV photo of him and you, him curled over as you made contact with his side. “We’re just following standard procedure, but this is about the fight between you and…” Misu found your name on the file, saying it out loud.
“Oh, that was a simple misunderstanding.” Toshi laughed, trying to lighten the mood. “It’s nothing we have to-”
“I understand if you don’t wish to press charges, but we cannot ignore something like this Mr Yagi.” Misu leaned forward, white fur growing into a winter coat. “We have gotten several other reports about the new department. Since you are the head of the department, I figured you would be able to help figure out how it’s working out, what you’re doing.”
“Oh, well, by all means, ask away?”
“Well, the Second Secretarial Office is the first in its kind, which comes with all the drawbacks and benefits of being first.”
“I understand you were hired specifically to fill the role of head of the department.”
“I- yes that’s correct.”
“I also heard from members of your department that you aren’t seen in the office everyday- though I’m sure that’s because All Might needs you elsewhere.”
“Yes!” Toshi jumping at the out. “All Might is very kind, I’m usually a better help on the field for him than in the office.”
“Regardless,” Misu’s nose twitched again, her smile forcing her small eyes to close shut. “There are some things that will remain consistent, even if the department is new to the company.”
“R-Right… of course.”
“Department heads are expected to show up and lead all meetings- according to our records, you do show up for meetings but do not lead them.”
“I rather have those who are experts lead the talks.”
“How western of you! Well, there’s also the fact if you are not going to be in the office every day, you should let your subordinates know your hours, so they can come to you if they have any inquiries.”
Toshi nodded. Wait, should he be taking notes? It felt like he should be.
“On top of this, I was wondering if you could explain something to me.”
“By all means.”
“As you know, we do background checks on all of our employees. We didn’t find anything suspicious, per say but… well there was very limited information. Is there any reason why?”
There was a sharp knock on the door, before you opened it, closing it behind you. Toshi looked over his shoulder, his left side getting that twitch from before. For some reason it always happened when he saw you.
You gave him a glance, before turning your attention to Misu. The change was drastic, the cold stare directed at him to the soft smile towards the mouse-Quirk woman.
“Yuki, I didn’t know you were back from your honeymoon.”
“Suits! I mean,” Misu cleared her throat. “Sir, congrats on the promotion, have a seat please.”
“Mrs Misu, surely you know I’m not the head of SSO?” you sat down, your button down undone, your collarbones on display. “He is.”
“... Right, well, let’s get started.” Misu nervously brushed back her fur, reading out the report.
Toshi didn’t pay attention, just continued to stare at you. He recognized that coat- the one that had been a gift, one All Might had given to you. You still had it? It was… good on you. He had gotten it around Christmas, since he never saw you wearing a heavy coat when you had first started working.
You weren’t looking at him, your face perfectly blank as Misu rattled off the facts. Your shirts weren’t usually this distracting- but two buttons undone, the collar itself sitting on top of the suit jacket’s lapels. He couldn’t stop staring. Misu asked you a question, your head tilting up to answer. Shit, why was he here again?
“... I did do a background check on Mr Yagi- only earlier today did I gain a full report. As a senior employee of Might Productions, it is my duty to-”
“Yes, yes that’s fine. So you’ve finished your assessment.” Misu asked.
“Then could you explain why Ms Sashi’s statement said that you had asked her to keep a record before the fight itself?”
“I did not have the full picture at the time.”
“And what was the point of having Ms Sashi in the room to ‘keep a record’?”
“I wanted to have a witness if Mr Yagi admitted to faking his information.”
“Hm?” He blinked, looking back at Misu
“Can you please tell me what it was that Sir had asked you?”
“... Something about me manipulating All Might into hiring me.”
Misu blinked, looking over at you before looking back at him.
“Anything else?” Misu asked, the cute charm now gone, the nose twitching stopped.
“They had asked about my last hospital visit, and then claimed I might be committing identity theft and blackmail.”
“That was before I had all the answers.” You interjected, cutting Toshi off. “A week ago I was working with half of the facts and was concerned about All Might’s personal life and professional image.”
“... Who started the fight?”
“I did.” Toshi leaned forward. “I started the fight.”
He didn’t see it, his hair in the way, but you close your mouth, leaning back in the chair. Watching him talk.
“I didn’t cooperate with the investigation,” he went on. “I tried to intimidate them into backing off, and when that didn’t work I accused them of being a sneak and… not very hero like.”
“According to reports, you threw the first punch.” Misu looked over at you.
“I did.” your voice was even, professional. “I missed.”
“... Okay, look.” Misu sighed. “Technically, this is your first strike for both of you. I’m going to ask you two to take the next week off- I’ll contact Mrs Suki and have her assume responsibility. I don’t want to send this report to All Might.”
Toshi tried not to laugh, nodding along with what was said.
“But you two represent the new department.” Misu’s small paw pointed at both of you. “Figure out who is ‘Sir’, or Human Resource will get involved and reorganize everything. I don’t want to do that, because if we do, I can almost guarantee that troublemakers will not have a job at the end.”
“Of course.” you said.
“R-right.” Toshi said.
“I suggest separating your work space for the future- but if All Might wants you two in the same office, then that’s up to him.”
“I’ll contact the night shift, I just need approval to transform the conference rooms into office space.”
“Granted, so long as I get a full report on Mr Yagi’s past working history.”
“You’ll have it later today. Anything else?”
“That ends the scolding. Mr Yagi, Sir, have a good day.”
You were out of the room before he could stop you. He bowed to Misu, who gave a toothy smile, waving as he left the room. He saw you standing in front of the elevator, waiting for it to come down. Toshi walked over, standing next to you, trying to keep calm.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out that you hated Yagi Toshinori. But you were wearing a coat that was a gift from All Might. Should he just not be near you in this form then? Stick with being All Might around you, so he could see you smile again? Smile at him? He wanted to see you smile again.
He had seen that soft smile you had aimed at Misu. He knew you were close to Suki- he had watched you see her off that night from afar. You had been crying afterwards. You had been crying when you had fought Mr Yagi. You never cried around All Might. Was there a reason for it? The elevator opened, the two of you walking in- you pressed the top floor, content to just stare straight ahead.
This is ridiculous. Toshi pulled out his access card, stopped the ride up. You didn’t seem surprised when to came to a halt, just looked at him indifferently. Like he was nothing. Just as he opened his mouth, you spoke up.
“Why did you to take the blame?” your voice was so quiet.
“I- I don’t know.” It was the truth.
“... Don’t do it again.” you finally turn your body, facing him head on.
“Just don’t do it again.” You said. “You’re not a hero anymore, quit acting like one.”
“And what the hell do you know about me?” He snapped.
“I know that you worked on top secret missions and confidential cases with All Might for years, decades even. I also know that you were advised to retire, but you were too stubborn to. That the reason you were hired was so that you could continue your work with All Might, but in a safer environment.”
“Who told you that?”
“Your predecessor.” you crossed your arms. “Sir Nighteye.”
He felt his heart drop. You had talked with Nighteye? When? How? Why? He hadn’t heard anything since… since the hospital. When he first hatched this crazy scheme. When Nighteye warned him about you.
They will eat you alive. He didn’t believe it back then, he had faced countless villains who wanted him dead for years. Now he was starting to understand.
“... I see.” Toshi said, rubbing at the back of his neck. “I’m sorry for causing you so much trouble.”
“Don’t apologize.” you snapped. “If I wanted to hear you say ‘I’m sorry’, I’ll ask for it.”
You leaned over with your own access card, making the elevator move up again. He tried to ignore the shiver that ran down his spine as you snapped at him. If All Might was here, would you be different? Would the two of you even been fighting? He glances over, sees the peek of collarbone. He has to look away before he starts staring again- he can’t do that to you, not when he looks like this.
“Look,” you sigh. “I don’t care what you did, or what you’re doing now. I have not lied to you once. My job is to protect All Might, to represent Might Productions. That includes against threats on the inside.”
His heart starts to beat faster. He knew that you had no idea he was All Might- but it still affected him. You wanted to protect him. Hope.
“If you try to hide something like this again,” your still going, Toshi hanging off of each word. “If you even think about lying to me about something this massive again, it won’t matter that you are friends with All Might. It doesn’t even matter that I’ll lose my job here- I will kill you. And I will make sure that everyone knows why.”
You cared. You cared about him! You cared- wait what was that last part?
“Do you understand what I’m saying, Mr Yagi?”
“... I do.” They will eat you alive.
“Good. Stay out of my way.”
The elevator pinged, the door sliding open. You walked out, onto the floor, workers talking in hushed voices, moving like the world didn’t just come crashing down around him. Toshi stood there, shocked. He didn’t get out of the elevator, watched as the doors slid shut. There was a stranger reflected in the metal- a thin, broken man in an ill fitted suit. He jumped at the sight before remembering- this was him now.
He looked down at his hand, saw that it was connected to a wrist, which was connected to too thin of an arm. Before his eyes the muscle expanded, the stranger becoming something he knew- the suit now fitting his body.
He sighed, flexing his fingers. Ten hours. He had ten hours everyday in this form. It wasn’t enough… It was not nearly enough. He looked up at the reflection. This wasn’t working out- but it was too late to back out now. I can do this. He thinks. I can do this… I have to.
Hey y'all, I'm probably going to go on a hiatus b/c July is looking real busy, Real Life Wise. I'll be back mid-August... hopefully. We'll see.
Chapter 12: Old Dawn, New Nightmares
TRIGGER WARNING:: BODY HORROR, PTSD INDUCED DREAMS
This chapter starts in a PTSD nightmare, there is descriptions of body horror and gore. I'll be editing the tags appropriately but if you are squeamish about face swapping, descriptions of graphic gore and/or bodily harm... Just skip this chapter. I'd rather you be comfortable than get triggered.
Sorry but outside of like, Slow Burn/Smut writing, I tend to do A LOT of stuff like this. 'Buir de Krayt' and 'Twins of Nazair' are both on going projects I'm doing that are like this- focusing on trauma and it's effects are a big thing for me, and I've been doing it for much longer than Slow Burn/Smut.
With that in mind, here's this weeks chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
A part of him knew this was a dream. It didn’t matter, the pain was gone. His left side whole, the scar that in waking was a nuisance, a constant reminder of his mistake. He wasn’t small, wasn’t frail- no he was whole and larger than life. But not alone, shadows in the dark that seemed to pass him by, until one lights up, walking forward.
There’s no music, but it doesn’t matter. He stands still, watching the form come forward until it’s standing inches away. Two hands reach up, the form growing larger and larger, holding him in place. The edges of his vision grow cold, and the face in front of him begins to melt off, skin that erodes and clumps together. Something is hidden underneath the layer- no. No it’s someone.
“Why did you do it, Toshi?”
Eyes that change color, hair growing longer, a cape of yellow unfurling from the shoulders.
“Why did you leave me?”
It’s Nana, underneath the nameless skin. He tries to pull away but the grip on him grows tighter. The shadowed people stop moving, looking up at him, voiceless, unmoving. The massive melted figure squeezes tighter until something pops. Another light flashes him in the eye- a change of scenery.
He’s on his knees, the pain coming back in full force. He’s coughing up his insides, deflated, more than he thought was possible. Muscle that’s non-existent, skin and bones and remorse. Two shoes click across broken concrete, across the hollow dancing floor. Then that voice speaks up, taunting- laughing - mocking him.
“Did you really think you could stop me?”
He looks up, expects to see All for One- it’s not. Not really. The ruined visage is there, peeled skin and bleeding eyes, one hand coming up to pull them out of ruined sockets. Then the palms press into ruined flesh, a face being stretched across the rotting corpse. Toshi screams, but no sound comes out. All for One looks down, a twisted mask that was on top of his own.
“Did you really think you’d find happiness?”
All for One kneels down, grabbing Toshi by the throat, lifting him off the ground. He’s pulled closer; the mask is falling apart, sewn together by various people in his life, all twisted and contorted over All for One’s broken face. Gran Torino. Nana. His parents, his colleagues, his old classmates, Nighteye, the people in the office, the barista from down the road. You. All stitched and melting off of one another, and beneath it all- All for One. What was left at least.
“You should have killed me when you had the chance.”
Toshi struggles, but there’s no energy left in his body. He calls on One for All- nothing. Just pain. Pain and Suffering and this overwhelming Fear. All for One laughs, the sound sending a chill down his exposed spine. One gnarled hand reaches up, tries to push the villain away.
In an instant, the scene changes again. A memory. You have your hands wrapped around his throat, a busted lip and a forming black eye on your face. You’re not smiling at him, tears welling up in your eyes. He can’t breathe, he can’t breathe ! But his arms refuse to move, they stay by his side. Someone has their hand on your shoulder, leaning over and whispering something.
All for One presses a lipless kiss to your cheek, bloody teeth smiling at Toshi. The edges of the broken hero’s vision is going black.
“DON’T YOU FUCKING LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT!”
He wakes up, instinct makes him reach into One for All, destroying his bed and night table in a whirlwind. He chokes on his first breath, before bringing a hand up, trying to catch what so desperately wants to come up. He gets some of it, red staining the sheets.
It’s a scramble to get out of the bed, his legs trapped in twisted blankets, but he makes it to the toilet, hurling up his guts. Three times he heaves. Three times he bleeds, his missing organs intimately reminding him that they’re missing. A cold sweat breaks across his shoulders, following down his spine, resting in the bottom of his forgotten gut.
This is not the first time he’s had this nightmare. It was the first time that you were in it. It was also the first time that it did not end in All for One ripping open his chest, pulling out parts of him, laughing the entire time. It was the first time in a very long one that he woke up horrified.
Squeezing his eyes shut, trying not to cry in agony. His left side was in so much pain, he had to remind himself to breathe and not just scream until he passed out. One weary hand fumbled to flush the bowl; he didn’t want to get nauseous from the smell on top of the dream.
“Just a dream.” he croaks. “Just a bad dream.”
His body hurt. Everything hurt. He needed to be a good patient, take his medicine. But his legs didn’t move, instead he sat there, resting his forehead on the porcelain until it grew warm from his touch. When he went to stand up, his legs shook underneath him- not even slapping them awake made them want to move.
“It was just a dream, dammit.” He clenched his teeth, forcing himself to walk.
There was no point in trying to sleep, even if his body cried out that he needed to. He went to the kitchen, looked in the fridge for… something. There were fewer coffee jellies than he remembered. Weird. He grabbed one of the pre-made meals, throwing it into the microwave, waited for it to finish cooking. As he did he ran through a mental checklist.
All for One was gone. He didn’t kill him- but heroes don’t kill people. So he left him alive, broken but alive. Just like he was now. But he doesn’t remember- did All for One go to prison? Was he still on the loose? If he was out there, somewhere, it wasn’t going to be for long. He needed a plan, something in order to track him down… in the morning.
Nana was gone. Torino was somewhere, hiding in plain sight, keeping tabs on All for One’s old empire. He had the list somewhere, the remaining dreads of that underground empire. The next target was going to be in Osaka in two weeks. He needed to make sure that he had enough time to plan.
And then there was you. You, who most likely resented Yagi Toshinori. You, who he was still on the fence of whether or not you liked All Might. Was it just professional courtesy? No, you had worn the jacket he had given you- that had to mean something… right? You had been smiling last time.
You had been so close, he could have counted the number of lashes you had- the fact that your breath had smelled like the sweets you kept in your desk and the black tea you had been drinking the whole time. You, who had no idea that he was living a double life now. What would you do if you found out, he wondered.
The microwave dinged, Toshi grabbing his food and walking to the couch. He turned on the TV, flipping through until he got what he wanted: Classic Cinema Channel. It was a Sinatra film, the singer currently tap dancing across the screen.
Pre-quirk era, where talent meant something. Where talent was all people had. Was that a cynical thing to think? Was it wrong of him to not feel guilty about the fact that he preferred these movies? Where prosthetics and talent shined through more than fancy Quirk usage and CGI effects that would date the movie in a few years?
Sinatra stops, the female lead showing up on screen, wearing a white dress with a collar. Toshi paused, watched as the actor on screen looked at the lead, how he leaned over to ask who she was, only to be told that she was not someone to be messed with.
They will eat you alive. Nighteye’s parting advice echoed over the line.
He snorted, continuing on with his meal. Nighteye had saved his skin, telling you that made up story. But how the hell was he going to thank the man? They had a falling out- Toshi doubted that Nighteye wanted anything to do with him anymore. Why would he? Time and time again, Toshi had ignored the man, went full speed ahead with a plan- even when Nighteye predicted it might not go so well. Time and time again, it was left to Nighteye to help him out, to pick up the pieces afterwards...
It was Nighteye who had warned him not to go fight All for One. He warned him that something terrible was going to happen. Nighteye had also warned him he only had six years left. Six. Years. Six years to dismantle everything that All for One had built. Six years to find an apprentice, train them, and pass on One for All to the next generation. Six years. Ten hours a day. For the next six years. It was impossible. It was impossible to have stopped anything that One for All had his talons in. And yet he had done it. He was All Might, he could make the impossible, possible.
The movie goes on for the next hour, Toshi watching but not paying attention, the words not fully reaching his ears.
“Can’t I be selfish for once in my life?” Sintatra asks. “Can’t I just have one thing that’s mine, and mine alone? I want to-”
“Yes?” the female lead leans forward, her head resting on top of her hand.
“I want to go to Rome! I want to go to Rome when bombs aren’t dropping on my head, to Paris for something other than my brother’s failing business. I want to be able to go to Vegas and gamble and drink and have a good time! I want…”
“... I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Is that selfish of me?”
“I would think so, yes.”
“But you know what?”
“I want to be selfish too. I want to live my life my way. Away from the city, from my mother and the stage… I want to run away, run far far away.”
“What’s stopping you then?”
“Well, I don’t have anyone to run away with.”
“Well ain’t that something. How about this then. Once this show’s over, I’ll take you away. We’ll go to Rome together, and we’ll never look back at this town.”
“Oh but John, are you sure?”
“Of course! We can go together; I’ll be selfish for once in my life, and you? Why, you get to go far far away. What do you say, doll?”
“I think I’d like that very much.”
Toshi sighed. If only it was that easy. The actor and lead lean into one another, every word bringing them closer. But it’s not the end of the movie- of course someone interrupts them just before they kiss. Sinatra stays where he’s seated, the female lead jumping up, following whatever is asked of her.
The movie ends the same way it’s always ended- the two of them driving off into the sunset, Sinatra singing a song as the end credits play. The next film is a John Wayne one: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. He watches the company march, the antics and love triangle between the young soldiers and the female lead. How John Wayne acts like a father figure for all of them. The next movie is Seven Samurai- black and white as the village is attacked and the shoguns show up, one by one.
The night wears on, until it’s dawn. He can’t really stay like this, sitting on the couch, watching one movie after another like this. The day was starting- it needed a hero, not a crippled man who can’t make it through one night without a nightmare.
He got up, walked into the closet in his room, past the destroyed nightstand, past the bathroom that had a trail of blood leading to the ruined bed. His uniform was slipped on, the material slightly sagging around his shoulders. The nightmare came up- the skeleton from the visage looked worse than he did now. Was that vision his future? He bulked up, staring at himself in the mirror.
There was a difference here, though it was almost unnoticeable. The way his cheeks seemed sharper, the lack of fat obvious to him. He still had his broad chest, the shoulders that were a struggle to get through doors without going in sideways- but his gut seemed… leaner. A panic set in; would his fans realize that something was wrong? That he was losing weight?
He patted his cheeks, waking himself up. There was no time to think about that- it was time to be All Might.
I'll be posting one chapter a week from here on out. This is mostly to both sate my Muse and also so I can like, focus on REal Life Shit.
If you want to hang out with me more, come follow me on Twitter!
You stood in front of the store, two coffees on a tray in one hand, your messenger bag resting on your shoulder, the other hand brushing the material across your fingertips. He had changed the sign, gold paint on dark oak now instead of weathered pine and faded green paint. The western window display showed suits on four different mannequins. One had a fox’s head, another an elephant. The other two were faceless, sporting different hats on their heads that matched the outfits. Oxford style, three button, a tux, and a haori were displayed today.
You sighed, walking through the front door. The small front of the shop had the walls lined with various clothes waiting to be measured and cut. Linen, cotton, silk, tweed, and yes, denim material for a certain fashionista. Looks like bleached was back in style… maybe. There was plenty of material of it at least. No one was at the counter, but you could hear some muffled voices in the back- in the measuring room. You set the coffees down on the counter, next to the fashion catalogues.
Behind the counter, there were drawers filled with buttons and zippers, the handles displaying whatever was inside. He must have been running low on black and opal inlay ones again- damn. Those were popular enough, you guess, but still. You had been hoping to get some opal inlay cuffs this time around.
A curtain was pulled to the side, two men walking out. Oh Sashi’s gonna love this. The Chivalrous Hero, Fourth Kind, paused as he saw you leaning on the counter. His tie was not yet done up again, his jacket hanging off one of his many arms. A short nod before you pull out your coffee from the tray, handing the other one over to the owner of the store.
“Suits,” the man smiled, his measuring tape draped across his shoulders. “It’s good to see you!”
“Tailor.” you smiled, dropping your bag on the ground. “Is this a bad time?”
“Nonsense, just let me finish this up and I’ll be right with you.” Tailor turned over to the hero, who was redoing his tie. “Now, we won’t have your special request filled out until later this month, but I can have the other two suits completed by the end of the month. I can either send the bill to your agency or we could pay now.”
“Send the bill to the agency for the-” Fourth Kind looked at you before continuing. “Special request. I can pay for the other two now.”
“Check or credit?”
You looked over at Tailor, raising an eyebrow as he pulled out his electronic payer. Fourth swiped his card, punching in his information before slipping on his jacket. He looked at you, stern, unsure. You smiled back, taking a sip of your coffee like you belong here.
“Oh that’s right, you two have never met.” Tailor chuckled to himself, finishing the payment. “Fourth, meet Sir Suits. Suits, meet Fourth Kind.”
“Sir?” the fighter sounded impressed.
“Recent promotion.” you shrugged.
“... Who’s agency do you work for?”
“Ah.” Fourth cleared his throat, accepting his receipt. “Then I suppose Sir Nighteye is gone?”
“He left.” You smile, tense. “I used to be his assistant, now I’m his successor.”
“You going to make a debut in the field then?”
“... I’m sorry.” Fourth tried to give a sympathetic smile. It was pitiful in your eyes.
“I do my job.” you say, perhaps harsher than needed. “I don’t need your apology. Good day, pro hero.”
He blinked, taken back by your words. Tailor shot you a look but you ignored the two of them, sipping your coffee, focusing on the magazine in front of you instead. A short pause, the store filling with an awkward silence. The hero bowed to Tailor before leaving the store, perhaps quicker than he would have otherwise.
“What the hell was that?” Tailor crossed his arms, the wrist pin cushion instead of a watch on his wrist.
“What was what?” you sip your coffee.
“That.” Tailor motioned with his head. “I’ve never seen that man leave my store so quickly.”
“Can I get a new suit?”
Tailor sighs, saying your real name with an exasperated voice.
“I need it fitted. Think I’ve grown an inch.” you look up, face blank.
Tailor’s lips press together; he uncrossed his arms, bringing his hands up in surrender before walking into the back with his coffee. You follow, taking off your jacket and standing on the podium in the middle of the measuring room.
The measuring room had various photos, most local celebrities. Some were Yakuza leaders, others chief of police- all ranging from various decades. The more recent photos showed off notable heroes and their secretaries. There was one of Nighteye, leaning over the counter, looking at samples for ties. The photo is in black and white but you had been there for the photo- each and every one of those fabrics was a gaudy color, polka dotted and animal print- one had even been in an All Might design.
There was one photo that didn’t hang on the walls; It was of you, with your back to the camera, Tailor measuring the outer seam of your leg. Neither of your faces are shown, but the photo isn’t framed like the others; instead it’s tucked into the corner of the mirror, the edges frayed and torn. In the photo you’re not in a suit- instead you are wearing what you used to wear every day, back before… before That Night.
Tailor takes off his measuring tape, wrapping it around your wrists as they come up. He pauses, must see where the skin is broken on your knuckles, but he doesn’t say anything at first.
“So, how’s the new department coming along?” Tailor asks. “Congrats on the promotion.”
“I’m not in charge of the department.”
“But you told-”
“I am ‘Sir’ but there’s some random nobody in charge. Guy’s name is Yagi Toshinori.”
“Yagi… Yagi… I don’t think I know that name.”
“I got in a fight with him. At the office.”
“... Oh? What happened?”
“He blocked my punch, but- he didn’t even try to defend himself. Bastard just fucking dodged the first few hits and then when I finally got a hit he… he…”
“... So that’s why you snapped at Fourth Kind out there.”
“Oh Suits,” Tailor measured your wrist before moving onto the forearm, and then the bicep. “You can’t let how people look at us Quirkless get to you.”
“I’m not their fucking pity party.” you mutter, venom in your voice.
“No one said you were.” Tailor’s voice is neutral, just like his expression.
You don’t say anything else- after all, he’s right. Like always. The lump from a few days ago is back, resting in the back of your throat. Tears start to fall, but there’s no more energy in you to fight them. Tailor measures your neck, silent as you cry, before pulling a few tissues out and handing them to you. He goes over to his book, flipping until he gets to your page.
“Your measurements haven’t changed since six months ago, that’s the good news. The bad news is that you haven’t been in my shop in six months.”
“Been busy.” you wipe the tears away.
“You know you’re supposed to be my little sponsor here- I can’t rely on just hero’s and crimelords to promote my brand.”
You snort, smiling at your old friend.
“I mean,” Tailor sighs, dramatic, arms dropping to his sides like a diva “I need at least one normal customer to come through my doors every now and again and let’s face it! I can’t get any more normal than you, Sir ‘Quirkless’.”
“Shut up.” you can’t stop the smile on your face.
“You think I like doing jean vests and waterproofing silk ties?” Tailor walked over, holding your face in his hands. “I’m a goddamn tailor! Not just some run of the mill support item maker!”
“I might have to charge you now for not coming in as often! My numbers are sorely lacking because I don’t have my model customer coming in.”
“... Thanks, Tailor.”
“Oh Suits,” the measuring tape went back to draping across his shoulders. “I’m always here. So long as you wear my clothes, my door is open to you.”
“So what’s the damage then?”
“Well, we’re going into winter, so you’ve missed the fall collection. Tweed is back in style in Europe and the Americans want to revert to their roots- leather vests with pocket watches. Personally, I think if you combine tweed and cowhide, you should be shot dead in the street- but I do not control the fashion of the western world.”
“You mean the haori outside? Hm, not really, it’s hard to change a classic… Although I do have some cherry blossom fabric left over. It's breathable cotton, not silk, but maybe if you have that as the splash of color underneath, and then have the outer layer a traditional black… It could work…”
“If it doesn’t, I’m not opposed to having some patterned button downs this winter.”
“Oh cherry blossom is not done in winter, but I can keep it in mind for spring. Actually, if I get everyone to wear the same cherry blossom fabric…” Tailor moved over to his much larger book, looking through it. “There is that upcoming ball all of my more ‘Top End’ clients will be attending.”
“Could start a new trend, and when the question is popped, people will come flocking to your store- help boost profits and put you in the black for a while.”
“Suits, I knew I liked you for more than your body.”
“Gee, thanks.” you laughed, pulling your jacket back on.
“No problem. By the way, if you do see Fourth Kind at one of those heroes events, you better apologize.”
“Can’t you just choose which of us you want?” you smile, finishing your coffee.
“Listen, I hate having to choose between customers and you know that.” Tailor started to hold different fabric samples up against your neck.
“But I would win, right?” you tilted your head up, showing off more of your skin to help him match.
“You bring me coffee and don’t come in with blood stained jackets and expect me to get it out free of charge.” He moved over, writing in a small book the numbers of the fabric that he liked.
“ Of course , I’d choose you.” He rolled his eyes, continuing to work.
You stayed the rest of the day, sitting with Tailor in the main showroom, talking about everything and nothing. Three more clients came in- you didn’t say anything to them, just sat and waited patiently. None of them said anything to you- they knew who you were. You knew one of them was on the national crimes list- you had been briefed about it at Might Productions. You just gave a short nod, going back to looking through the magazines. Everyone needs a suit. Tailor was the only one who was bold enough to do it for both sides- you weren’t about to ruin that for him.
Listen,,,,, If you thought I wasn't go through in That Cameo,,, you don't really know me lmao
Next Chapter will go up in the morning b/c I hit 100 followers on Twitter and when left to a poll, they wanted two chapters back to back as celebration.
Chapter 14: Production Instruction
This is the 'Van is an International Business Management Major' chapter.
Meaning I try to Pepe Silvia an explanation as to how Might Productions/hero agencies make the boatload of cash that they do.
There's also like, pinning I guess.
All Might was sitting in a chair when you walked in to the conference hall. It was your first day back from your mandated break- you had been expecting Mr Yagi in that chair. But he wasn’t anywhere to be seen, just All Might in his yellow pinstripe suit. You closed the door, walking around the table to get to the front of the room.
“Good morning!” All Might beamed, smile nearly as bright as the fluorescents.
“Morning, sir.” you pulled out papers, getting the projector running. “You’re… here.”
“Indeed I am!” he laughed. “Actually I’m here to cover for Mr Yagi, he won’t be making Monday meetings anymore.”
Is that so?” you couldn’t help but smirk, “I don’t believe I got the mess-”
Ping! There was an email from Mr Yagi- it was sent to everyone in the department, giving his new set hours in the office. Tuesdays through Fridays… but at erratic three hour time periods.
“Is something wrong?” All Might asked.
Yea these are some weird ass hours. And why the fuck is he not here on Mondays?
“It’s nothing,” you put your phone back in your pocket, smiling at the hero. “How was your week, All Might?”
“Never better! Crime is at an all time low but that doesn’t mean I can relax!” He gave a thumbs up.
You snorted at the pose, putting your hand up to your face to try and suppress a giggle. It only made him do another pose, an even more cliche one. You couldn’t stop yourself, laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.
“So,” All Might stood up, walking over to stand next to you. “What’s on the schedule?”
You were still smiling, but you stopped laughing long enough to go into an explanation.
“Well, as you know, Hero Rankings were released last month. We did well, or rather, you did well, All Might.”
“But specific numbers are going to be released this week- we’ll be able to assess which category we had excelled in and we’ll will be dissecting why. Naturally, popularity numbers are known well in advance, but what’s not known is the number of crimes solved, merchandise sales, group collaborations, police interference- not to mention that the American Hero Rankings are coming out in two months.
“If we know where to put Might Productions focus on for the next quarter, we’ll be able to outshine alongside you. It’ll be a huge boost to our employees moral and we can use the numbers to vouch for more clients.”
“Yes, though I guess the term ‘Franchisee’ is more appropriate.”
“Right, right, of course!”
“... Did you want me to explain that last part to you, sir?”
“Please?” he smiled at you, but it was obvious he was uncomfortable with his lack of knowledge. “I mean, if you’re not too busy today.”
“I shouldn’t be…” you paused as the door opened, Suki walking in with Sashi just behind her.
“SUITS!” Sashi shouted, before seeing who was standing next to you. “A-All Might! H-Hi!”
“HELLO!” He stood up straight. “I AM HERE! Because Mr Yagi was unable to make it today!”
That’s the second time he’s mentioned Mr Yagi.
“Yes, I got an email from Mr Yagi.” Suki nudged Sashi before walking to take a seat. “Sir.”
“Yes?” you and All Might both answered.
“... Suits.” Suki took off her coat. “It’s good to have you back.”
“Likewise.” You smile at her. “It’s… good to be back.”
“M-M-Mr All Might, sir!” Sashi was turning as pink as her dress. “It’s v-v-very nice to have you this morning.”
“Thank you!” He stroke a pose again.
You rolled your eyes but Sashi just sighed, melting into her seat. Suki blushed, looking away from the scene. You raised an eyebrow at her, to which she opened up her secondary mouth to hiss through her teeth at you. You laughed, low and in your throat. Of course you didn’t see All Might look over at you, who saw the look that you were sharing with Suki. But Sashi did.
All Might leaned down whispering into your ear, hiding his mouth with one large hand.
“I’m sorry but I won’t actually be here for the meeting. Hero work and that interview with a news channel. Can I come by later? In your office?”
“Sure,” you turn around; his tie was crooked, so you fixed it. “My door is always open.”
“... Well, duty calls! BYE!” He was gone in a flash.
Two pairs of eyes stared at the door closing before moving to look at you. You kept your face completely blank, looking Sashi and Suki head on.
“What?” you put your hands in your pockets.
“Why was All Might in here?” Suki asked.
“It’s his building.” you said.
“He was awfully close.” Sashi cooed, skin going back to blue.
“I’m his secretary.”
Suki raised an eyebrow at your response, Sashi’s grin only growing more coy. Wait, shit.
“We all are his secretary.” Suki said, her grin matching Sashi’s own.
“Well I’m ‘Sir’, so that makes me Head Secretary.”
“I thought Mr Yagi was head of the department-”
“Let’s go over last week, and prep for this morning’s meeting, shall we?.”
You were kept busy right up until the end of the day, when a whirlwind decided to hit your office, specifically.
“I AM HERE!!”
It probably wasn’t the most dignified look, but slamming your upper body on top of your desk was the only way to stop your papers from flying everywhere. You didn’t get all of them though. Now Nighteye’s collection of paperweights didn’t seem so impractical to you.
“Oh, here, let me help you with that!” All Might let the door close on it’s own behind him, leaning down to grab the stray papers.
At some point he had changed, his hero uniform on instead. It was… very form fitting. Oh god, were you staring? You didn’t have time to even try and look away as he stood up, putting the papers at the corner of your desk.
“... Thanks.” you finally said, straightening out your vest as you sat back up.
“New suit?” All Might grabbed one of the chairs, bringing it over have it next to your own. Those chairs were not easily moved, but he did it like it was nothing.
“Uh, yes.” you cleared your throat, focusing on reorganizing the papers. “It’s uh, the Winter Collection. I have a deal with my tailor so I get first picks.”
“It’s very nice.” All Might leaned on his chair, smiling. “It suits you… Sir Suits.”
“... Thank you, All Might.”
It was quiet for a moment, the two of you just staring at each other. This close you could see the crows feet around his eyes, how they disappeared into shadow. If he was closer, you might even see the blue… like the last time he had been in your office.
“... Can I help you with anything, All Might?” you asked, a small smile on your lips
“Well, you said that you could explain the ‘clients’ to me?”
“Oh! Uh, sure.”
You turned over to your monitor, pulling up some visuals before going into a description.
“Might Productions exists as your hero agency- here at the Secretarial Office, we scan through the batches that each regional police branch sends us, finding ones that are worth your time and effort. However, because you are so proactive, we also have to keep an ear to the ground on what crimes you’ve solved on your own outside of police requests. Sometimes it matches up, other times it doesn’t.
“That’s what most of this department is designated for- finding what work you’ve done, starting the reports, and then sending them down to the other departments- usually departments that are focused for a specific region in Japan. We have a specialized department for international affairs, though we absorbed them into the Second Secretarial Offices for now.
“However, the other departments are also focus on merchandise and branding for you. While the Japanese government allows heroes to take side jobs, the International Hero Committee, IHC, puts a limit on how much they can do. Otherwise, you’d have celebrities pretending to be heroes and banking on the state paycheck. Some do part time gigs, like commercials and their own designer clothing lines- in the US, as you know, there are some heroes who also do movies and TV shows.
“You don’t. Your focus has been in hero work, almost exclusively. So we make up for it through selling rights to our brand, and for those who do wish to collaborate with us have to follow strict guidelines depending on the product that they’re selling. Each regional department competes against each other- the Kanto region has the most ongoing franchise rights, varied from toys, health products, professional impersonators, clothes… How are we doing so far?”
“Alright, but what about International?” All Might asked.
“Ah, that’s a little more difficult for us- we don’t have a lot of say outside of Japan. However, you remember the international ‘department’? The other half of their job is keeping an eye out for any kind of bootleg products and if they’re of good quality or not. Depending on what they find, we either make contact with the company and work with them in order to ensure the product is up to our standards, or we shut them down.”
“Shut them down?”
“The name ‘All Might’ reaches very far- all it takes is a walk down to our Legal department and we can get in contact with the best lawyers in whatever country and put the bootleggers out of business quickly and quietly. Granted, we aren’t able to confiscate all of the bootleg merchandise, but we do a good enough job that if we sit on the bootleg products for five, seven years we can sell back the remaining product on the internet if a high demand rises.”
“... Oh.” There was a look of shock on his face but you continued.
“Most of the revenue for Might Productions comes from merch and sponsorships. Large corporations vying for the right to sell official All Might merch will bet for the rights- but local producers still have a fighting chance, since if we like what they’re doing, we’ll sponsor them through franchisement and ask for a percentage of their profits- usually at ten to fifteen percent. We get a large enough cut from MNEs that we can get away with that.”
“Multinational Enterprises. Like Detnerat.”
“Oh! Okay, so what does this have to do with rankings?”
“Well, Japan’s government placed a limit on how many rights any one agency can sell to third party corporations, in order to stay within IHC’s regulations on heroes. Best Jeanist gets away with not having to worry about this because his agency owns its own textile factory. Heroes like Uwabami or Selkie endorse products themselves, taking it as private job outside of their hero work, though the public won’t know the difference.
“Starting agencies are allowed to have ten contracts. Every year that an agency is open and solves crimes in its local area, they gain another three contracts. The higher a hero climbs in the rankings, the more contracts they can vouch for- those in the top ten ranking gain the equivalent of one contract per region. So tenth place earns forty-seven contracts, ninth earns ninety-four, so on and so forth.
“Of course, the agency will have to apply for the contracts during a specific time period, or they won’t gain them. Because some heroes don’t want to have these contracts, it gives us some wiggle room to try and earn more. But we need to prove that we’re not being greedy- so knowing how well you had done in the year, and how that’s benefitted every region, will allow us to gain more contracts and earn more clients.”
“How many do we have.”
“Currently?” You did something quickly, pulling up the record. “... About two thousand, seven hundrend, and sixty-eight so far. Depending on the regional profits for this last quarter, the next two hundred and eighty-two will be split between the regions that did the best and they’ll get more contracts than less profitable regions.”
“So that’s why you need the numbers, it’s to see where the contracts will be going.”
“That’s right- technically speaking, you have an agency in America as well, but they are entirely focused on merchandise and quality control. We assess their numbers here at the Tower, and then send the data back to them. They figure out from our assessment which state did well and where to focus their efforts for the next quarter. Thankfully, American and Japan hero rankings don’t fall in the same months. We can split our work into quarters, rather than half-yearly reports.
“Thankfully, Mr Yagi and I won’t see the dirty work of number crunching- the departments will do their respective numbers and then send them up our way. We’ll make the final decision on your behalf and then it’ll go down the pipe. But hero rankings give us more contracts to work with, and the longer that you’re a hero, the more contracts we gain, regardless of ranking. Seniority is nice, but so is being number one- thankfully we have both with you!”
FUCK I JUST CALLED ALL MIGHT OLD!! SHIT!!!
“Hahahaha,” All Might leaned back in his chair, the laugh genuine, not the one that he used for TV or for hero work. “I didn’t think there was a lot of merit to being an older hero, but I guess I was wrong.”
“I- I didn’t mean” you swallowed. “What I meant to say was-”
“It’s fine, Suits.” All Might put a hand on your shoulder. “I’m not insulted.”
His hand was warm, seeping through the fabric. When had he gotten closer? You didn’t move, just… sat there, looking at him. His laugh lines must be something- come to think of it, you don’t think he’s never smiled before. No, that’s not true. You thought. There was that one night- after Toxic. He had been shocked to see you, and he certainly hadn’t been smiling when you had asked him to take off his hero suit. But he had needed to do that- standard protocol, especially when treating chemical burns. There hadn’t been any other reason. None.
“Are you alright?” All Might’s voice was much softer than you were used to.
“I’m fine.” your voice cracked
“... Well I wouldn’t want to distract you from your work.”
The moment his hand left your shoulder you missed the heat. Instinctively your hand went up to your shoulder; it wasn’t the same.
“All Might.” you spoke up.
“Yes?” He had yet to leave his seat.
“... Who is ‘Sir’ now?”
“It’s just-” you wanted to look away, to ask indirectly- but he was close enough that you could see blue. “It’s just that usually, the secretary is called ‘Sir’. But now that there’s an entire department set up for it and…”
There was a pause. You watched the smile falter before completely drop from his face. He doesn’t have laugh lines. All Might gave out a heavy sigh, before moving his gaze to somewhere across your shoulder- towards Mr Yagi’s new office across the floor. You felt your heart drop.
“I guess it would go to the new department head.” You said, a small huff at the end. “I’ll inform Mr Yagi about-”
“You’re here everyday and before Sir Nighteye left, you were his assistant. The title belongs to you.” All Might looked back towards you. “I should have made that clearer when I came back.”
“You haven’t been in the office since you got back.” you lied. It fell flat.
He winced, before the iconic smile was plastered back on his face.
“Yes I suppose you’re right! Terribly sorry, I’ll try to pop by more often.”
“... I’d like that.”
“So I guess I should be calling you ‘Sir’ now, huh?”
“Only in front of the others, All Might.”
“Oh?” he leaned an elbow on the desk, closer still, inches away from you now. “And in private?”
“Suits is fine.”
“Well,” you smile back, “If you want to call me by my name, I guess I’ll have to learn yours as well.”
“Suits it is then!”
“Suits it is.”
“Can I do anything for you while I’m here, Suits?”
You paused, before crossing your arms, pretending to think about something. It brought a soft chuckle out of the hero, who leaned his head in his hand, staring at you. He was massive, even with sitting like he was, leaning heavily to one side. You had to look up slightly to see his face. His eyes were- He’s your boss, don’t do this.
“I can’t think of anything I’m afraid.” you say.
“Well, that’s a shame.” Why is that a shame? “I guess I’ll be going.”
“To save the day?” you tease.
“HAHA! OF COURSE!” He struck a quick pose, earning him a snort.
When he got up from his perch, the room felt colder, somehow. You watched the yellow pinstripe suit walk out, four walls now bleaker than they had been. You didn’t watch the massive shadow leave, went back to focusing on your work instead. A soft ping came from your email- it was Mr Yagi.
Congratulations on becoming ‘Sir’. You deserve it.
You leaned back in your chair, staring at the short email. The timing was… strange.
Mr Yagi came back, following the hours that he had sent in. But he was never physically in his office- instead he would walk around the floor, talking with some of the workers, occasionally sneaking into Suki’s office, helping her answer phones with his All Might impression. It shouldn’t bother you- after all, he was just doing what he could, considering that he didn’t have any official work to do for the department.
“You know,” Sashi sighs “I don’t think Mr Yagi is married.”
“Why are you bringing this up?” you weren’t paying attention, ignoring the fact that Sashi was perched on top of your desk, eating a lollipop from your stash.
“I’m just saying, the only type of guys who aren’t married are widows and workaholics- and he doesn’t strike me as a workaholic.”
“Okay, do some snooping then.”
“I did, remember? No records before he showed up here.”
“What? No way, I don’t want to get fired.”
“Sashi, why are you telling me this?” You finally look up at her. “And not asking the Tokyo police department why they haven’t sent a detective over to sign our documents?”
Her skin started to turn an amber color, the green she had been sporting changing slowly.
“I did ask.”
“Did you ghost the guy who answers the phone for the department? Again?”
The amber overtook her body completely as she snapped at you.
“You know I’m not the only one with tells around here!”
“Nope,” you went back to your work, smirking. “But you are the one who changes colors with your mood.”
“Oh yea, then what’s this color?”
“Embarrassment. But the dark red on your fingertips might be anger.”
“... You know sometimes you’re a real pain in the ass.”
“I’ll show you what a pain in the ass really means if you keep this act up.”
“What’re you gonna, huh?” Sashi grinned around the lollipop in her mouth
“Might bend you over my knee.” You finish signing a piece of paper, putting it away for filing.
“Oh I bet you really wanna punish me huh?” Sashi teased.
“Just might have to.” you lean back in your chair, putting on That Face. “If you keep misbehaving, kitten.”
“Oh but Sir,” Sashi sighed, pouting around the lollipop on her lips “You wouldn’t mean it.”
“You’re up to ten now,” you blinked slowly, spreading your legs. “Do you want it to go up?”
Sashi giggled, about to say something back- there was someone clearing their throat at the door. You leaned in your chair in order to look past Sashi. It was Mr Yagi, gripping a file in one hand, white knuckles holding the door open.
“Mr Yagi.” you didn’t change anything, not even your tone of voice. “Come in.”
Sashi flushed pink before jumping off the desk, straightening her skirt. You tried to hold in the laugh that was building- but you didn’t try to keep a straight face, especially since Sashi glared at you as Yagi started to walk over.
“I- I was told that you might want these, S-Sir.” Yagi’s stammer was in full swing, the Kansai accent heavier than usual.
“Mr Yagi, have a seat.”
Before you even finished the sentence, Yagi was seated, his back straighter than you had ever known him to stand. You blinked once, then twice. Wait, did he just- Sashi looked over at you, her eyes completely wide.
“What the hell?” she mouthed at you.
“Am I, uh, am I interrupting something?” Yagi looked between you and Sashi.
“Not all,” you crossed your legs, resting your chin on your fist “I just had a question for you. Care to answer it?”
He nodded once, short. A small part of you got a thrill from watching him obey so well.
“Are you married, Mr Yagi?” you ask, grin growing on your face.
“M-Married?” he looked up at Sashi, who was slowly changing back to a green color, still pink around her ears and nose.
“Yes, have you ever been married.” You smile at Sashi as she came around to your side of the desk, straightening up the papers she had just been sitting on. “I know it’s a rather personal question, but Ms Sashi here was curious you see.”
“I’m going to kill you.” Sashi whispered into your ear, turned away from Yagi as she did so.
“I-” he gulped. “No, I’m not married.”
“A widow then?”
“I never married.”
“... I see.” you straightened up, dropping the tone, opening up the file that he had brought in. “Thank you for answering. Are you satisfied, Ms Sashi?”
“Yes, Sir Suits.” Sashi then turned back around, facing Yagi, speaking over your shoulder. “I don’t suppose you’re seeing anyone right now, are you Mr Yagi?”
Oh no. Your pen paused as you signed the papers, keeping an eye on Yagi’s reaction.
“Oh, I-” Mr Yagi gave a soft chuckle, holding his hands up in front of him. “I’m much too old for you Ms Sashi, I’m sorry.”
That’s not what she meant. You go back to signing papers.
“Well, I do know most of the people in the building and then some.” Sashi decided to sit on the corner of your desk again, next to your elbow. “I’m more than happy to see what I can do for you.”
“I- I’m far too busy with work these days.” Yagi was trying to backpedal. “Besides who’d want to be with someone like me?”
“Oh you’d be surprised.” Sashi smiled, batting her eyelashes. “There’s lots of ladies who’d want a nice tall man like yourself. And I bet most of them are the caregiver types- I’m surprised you don’t have people hanging off you right now!”
“I- well- who’d want this w-w-when All Might is in the building?”
I should probably help him out. You flipped to the next page, skimming the article before signing. Otherwise he’ll end up on a date he regrets.
“Oh sure, All Might is great and all- but Mr Yagi I’ve seen how you are on the floor. So kind and caring, and you always take the time to listen to some of the other workers.” Sashi sighs, for the dramatics of it all. “Why, if I was into older guys, I’d want you to be mine.”
“Sashi,” you interjected. “I don’t think Mr Yagi is interested in seeing anyone. Let the poor man breathe.”
“... It doesn’t have to be a girl.” Sashi smiles, ignoring your comment. “I know some guys who would be interested as well! I got Suits a date after the US rankings come out and-”
“Sashi!” you looked up at her. “That’s enough.”
“That. Is enough.”
You were standing, no longer joking. She flinched, before looking over at the only other person in the room. You ignored him, continuing to stand where you are.
“Thank you, Ms Sashi.” Mr Yagi spoke, still sitting down. “But I haven’t dated in a long time. Maybe later, when I have my feet underneath me.”
Goddammit. You closed your eyes, rubbing at your face because you knew the look that Sashi had on her face. Now you’re never gonna be rid of her.
“I’ll keep that in mind!” Sashi hopped off your desk, grabbing another lollipop before leaving. “See you around Mr Yagi! Sir.”
You watched Sashi leave, not bothering to hide the exhaustion on your face. When the door closed behind her, you sat back down, looking at Yagi. He had remained seated the entire time.
“... You have a date?” Mr Yagi smiled, his hands in his lap.
“There any reason you’re still in my office?” you said.
“Just, checking in. Wanted to see if you needed anything.”
“I need you to not be such a pushover.” the words were out of your mouth before you could stop it.
“I’m sorry?” The Kansai was dropped for a moment.
“Sashi is part of the Social Club for the company,” you start, going back to your paperwork as you did so. “and her main event is the Singles Nights. Hope you realize that you are now obligated to go to every event- unless you can come up with a quick excuse.”
“Ah. Well I don’t suppose they’re that bad-” Pick an accent and stick with it.
“If your in your twenties, maybe. You want my advice? Fake a sick day, or tell Sashi that All Might needs you for something else that night.”
“... Is that what you do?” Yagi was leaning forward.
“I have a date, remember?” you look up, not bothering to lift your head up.
“Right,” he smiles. “A date that Ms Sashi got you.”
“I don’t like repeating myself,” you switched over to That Tone, the one you had been using when he walked in. “Is there any reason you are still in my office.”
“No Sir.” The Kansai was dropped. Interesting.
“You can stand.” You hide your smirk while continuing to work.
His body moved before he processed what you were doing. That was when his eyes grew wide; you smile at him- he knew that you knew. Your leg came back down, spreading your legs in the chair. From his height, he no doubt saw your little display.
“Are you going to take my advice?” you whisper.
“Yes, Sir.” Yagi’s voice was rough.
“That’s a good boy.”
Oh, that was interesting, the way a blush started at his neck before blooming across his cheeks. You let out a breath, still smiling. You brought one hand up, waving him away. He turned on his heel, walking towards the door with a purpose- a purpose that someone else had given him.
“Mr Yagi.” you called out.
“Yes?” He was at the door, the grip on the handle tightening.
You paused, saw that desperation. Oh. Oh no. This is too good to be true. You stopped smiling, dropping That Tone. You picked up the file he had left on your desk, holding it up for him.
“You forgot this.” You looked at him.
Yagi paused, before going back to that terrible posture he carried on the floor. The slump in his shoulders, how he would try to make himself look smaller than he was. He walked back towards your desk, carefully taking the file from you. That’s when you saw it- the faded scar on his wrist. It matched the one you had seen on All Might. You didn’t stare for too long, looked up at his face, saw that he was still looking at you that way, with some kind of desperate need. They’re the same blue.
“Have a good day, Mr Yagi.” you let go, forcing yourself not to stare.
“... Thank you,” he licked his lips. “Sir.”
He left the room, his tall frame moving away and over to his own office. You waited a minute before Sashi inevitably ran back into your office. There was a pause as the door closed, only for one of you to break down and start laughing.
“Who’d have thought-” you had to stop in order to catch your breath “Who would have thought, that THAT was all it took?”
“Did you see his face?” Sashi gasped.
“Honey, his posture-”
“What the FUCK!?”
“Shh! He might hear you!”
“GOD he was just-” Sashi was bent in half, clutching her sides. “He was-”
“This doesn’t leave this room.”
“Oh of course.”
“But,” you snickered. “He was a good boy, right?”
Sashi broke down laughing. You laughed with her but something was still bugging you. The scar on his wrist- it was a chemical burn. The same type of burn you had treated All Might for. Yagi’s eyes are the same shade of blue… just a coincidence. Has to be.
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Chapter 16: Harsh Calls
“... and that concludes the internal assessment for the Hokkaido department.”
“Thank you, Mr Ito, you may sit down.” you were seated at the head of the table, facing the last presenter.
The conference room was packed with fifty people- one for each regional department, a representative for the US offices, a representative for international affairs and yourself. Suki was standing by the door, listening quietly while one of her temps took the minutes quietly with their Quirk.
“Now,” you stood up, the lights coming on. “We did rather well this quarter, but we must remain vigilant- especially with the US rankings coming out tomorrow. While All Might may not qualify for the official rankings, you all know that Might Productions does. If the other departments, excluding international, would be willing to help the US representative, that would be appreciated.
“As for international, We will work with HR in order to find a more suitable repositioning. We thank you for bringing up your concerns on production and quality of work. Are there any questions?”
The US representative raised his hand before starting.
“From what I saw, the number of cases resolved was lower than it has been in last quarters- is there any reason for that?”
“Yes,” you put a hand in your pocket. “While pre-meditated cases are signed off by the detectives working on them, we still have other cases that are solved as they occur by our… proactive hero.”
Muted laughs across the table.
“Because of these cases, we have to find a respected detective to sign off on our paperwork.” you said. “However, the detective that we work with closely in regards to cases in the Kanto region has been on sick leave. On top of starting the new Second Secretarial Offices, we have been behind on getting paperwork processed. Are there any other questions?”
Again, the US representative spoke up.
“What about Sir Nighteye? Why did he leave Might Productions?”
“Sir Nighteye has resigned, wishing to start his own agency.”
Mumbling across the table, Suki’s head lifted at your statement, but you went on.
“We wish him the best in the coming years, and hope that he gains success. If there are no further questions…”
Forty-seven department heads stood up and bowed at the table before the US representative could ask another question. The american got up from his chair, watching the international representative for cues. You bowed, Suki and her temp standing behind you.
“Thank you all for coming.” You stood back up. “Let’s move forward, together.”
The department heads repeated their sentiments, before taking their things and leaving the room. They all waited until they had left the conference room before speaking with each other quietly. The US representative remained behind, speaking quietly with the translator about something.
“Suki,” you turned your head to the side. “Who is that guy?”
“Adam Carpenter, Gabriel Carpenter’s son.”
“Why the hell is Junior here and not his father? Did we not send for Gabriel?”
“We did but,” Suki’s second mouth open, Gabriel Carpenter’s voice coming out in a hushed tone. “It’ll do the boy good, get to know how thing’s work at headquarters. Just graduated with his MBA, should do just fine.”
“Fucking perfect.” you sigh. “I bet you this Adam isn’t even the least embarrassed wearing that shitty fucking fleece jacket and flannel.”
“It is considered appropriate attire in the United States.”
“For a tech company, maybe. We’re a hero agency for fuck’s sake- and the son of a bitch couldn’t even be bothered to learn Japanese.”
“His MBA is in Finances, not Management.”
“That doesn’t do us any good.” you looked over at the temp. “Make sure I get a copy of the minutes, and forward a copy to the other heads of the departments.”
The temp nodded, her bat like ears folding down close to her head before leaving the conference room.
“Play nice.” Suki whispered.
“I am nice.” you replied, smiling briefly as Adam walked over with the translator behind him.
“Well that was… exciting.” Adam said, in English.
Before the translator could repeat the statement you answered back in English.
“I’m surprised to not see your father here, is he doing well?”
“Oh the old man is fine,” Adam laughed. “Your English is pretty good, where did you study?”
“Tokyo, then Melbourne.”
“Oh Melbourne? Shrimp on the Barby, ay?”
“Are you done?” you snapped.
“Uh, I didn’t mean to offend, I just-”
“It’s too late for that, shall we get going?”
You walked out of the conference room that was once your office, Suki following closely behind, telling the translator to wait by the elevators. She gave you a side glance before pulling out some papers, handing them to Adam- none of which was in English.
“Here’s a summary report of the meeting’s data.” you remained speaking in English. “Thankfully, our people were able to make it easier for you to understand, considering you were somehow able to point out that the cases solved were so little compared to last quarter.”
“Well, it’s just- he’s All Might you know, and I figured that that number would only continue to climb higher.”
“While he may be the number one hero, he is still a human being. However if you wished to march down to the Kanto police station and ask them, you more than welcomed to- so long as you dress appropriately that is.”
“Yea, left my suit at the hotel, I didn’t think that-” Adam was starting to sweat, trying to play off your own harsh tone.
“That what? A meeting such as the end of the quarter reports for all of Might Productions was not a suitable even to wear a tie to?” You glared at him, before continuing. “Or perhaps you’ve gotten used to the lax work conditions that exist in America, what with your open floor plans and minimal work space for less pay. Oh but I’m sure the ping pong tables are quite nice this time of year.”
Adam swallowed, looking down at the floor. Good. Feel bad.
“Ms Suki, remind me to contact Senior Carpenter about workplace environment. We may be an ocean apart but that does not mean we cannot work the same way. After all, we function on a western outlay here in Tokyo; perhaps it’s time our American branch started to, oh what’s the word for it…”
“Assimilate?” Suki said, in a British mimic. Well done, Suki.
“Well that’s a buzzword but sure! Assimilate. Maybe we need to start offering language courses as well.”
“Oh, we already have voluntarily courses!” Adam said, perking up.
“Let’s make them compulsory then.” You ignored Adam, paying attention to what Suki was writing on her notebook.
She wasn’t writing any of it down, just her grocery list… but it was in Kanji, so Adam wouldn’t have any idea what it said. As you got to the elevator, you pressed the call button before looking at Adam. Suki bowed and left, Adam now terrified to be alone with you.
“Tell me, Junior.” you smiled- more of sneer really. “Do you only own one suit?”
“Uh, well, I. It’s just, I uh.”
“For a native speaker, your English is rather poor. We have tutors in house if you like. As for your… attire. This,” you point a finger at the fleece. “Is more suited for a walk in the park, not a hero agency. I have a tailor in town, very good, does wonderful work. Here is his card… and I recommend that the next time you come to Japan for sightseeing, do it on your own time, and not the company’s.”
The elevator opened, Adam walking backwards into it, clutching Tailor’s card. You cocked your head to the side; he quickly bowed, nearly knocking his himself out. The doors closed; you let out a sigh of frustration at your reflection.
“I didn’t know you studied in Australia.”
You did not jump. That would have been undignified, especially since it was Mr Yagi standing behind you.
“I did; you’re late.” You started to walk back, towards Suki’s office.
“Sorry,” he smiled, but quickly covered his mouth in order to cough. Something red came back up. The sleeve protectors are new . “Did I miss anything?”
“Just the quarterly report meeting. With the other heads of the departments.”
“Ah, I was… with All Might this morning.” Yagi caught up with you, keeping with your pace.
“I know. I make the schedule.” you didn’t have the energy anymore to be rude.
“R-right! Of course, Sir.” Yagi said.
“How did the interview go?”
“And did he stay for post?”
“Uh, no he had to leave shortly after- car crash on seventh.”
“Right, well be sure to send an apology to the studio, we don’t want them to try and slander us.”
“They would do that?”
“You’d be surprised. It’s been months since he made an interview, so I don’t doubt that the other studios are going to want to know how our hero acted off camera.”
“R-right, of course.”
“Don’t stammer, it doesn’t suit you.”
You opened the door to Suki’s office, hit with the sound of six clerks on the phone. One of them perked up when they saw Yagi, but quickly went back to work once they saw he was following you.
“Suki, how’s the report going?” you asked, switching back to Japanese.
“Isuro is almost done- hello Mr Yagi.”
“Morning, Ms Suki.” Yagi had his shoulders rolled forward, smiling at her. “Sorry I missed the meeting this morning.”
“Oh it’s fine,” Suki laughed. “It was actually rather boring, the only good part was when Suits decided to embarrass the US rep.”
“Wait, you mean that young man at the elevator?” Yagi looked over at you. “Why did you do that?”
“If he wants to be taken seriously, he should start dressing appropriately. And show up on time.”
“He’s just a kid, Suits.”
“I don’t care. No one is above the rules here- I don’t give a shit who they think they are, the moment they walk out of that elevator they are in my fucking territory.”
“Sure, Suits.” Suki grinned. “Speaking of ‘territory’, Endeavour’s agency called. Apparently our wonderboy managed to solve one of their cases- without permission.”
“Again?” Yagi whispered, probably to himself.
“Tell them we’ll do our end of the paperwork, I can transfer the credit over-” you started.
“He’s on the phone.” Suki spoke up.
“... You’re shitting me.”
“How long has he been on hold?”
“About two minutes now.”
“Line three, though I think that Ya-”
You picked up the phone, punching in line three, introducing yourself with Sir at the front.
“Where is he?” the voice on the other line growled.
“I’m so sorry, Endeavour, but All Might is not currently at the office. We can send over-”
“Oh, so he’s going off to steal someone else’s case too?”
“Endeavour, I promise you that that was not his intention.”
“Is that so? And who are you supposed to be then?”
“As I said before, I am Sir, we will contact the police station and inform them that your agency took point for the investiga-”
“I want to talk to All Might.” he snapped.
“He’s not in.” you snapped back.
“Well, when is he in?”
“That’s not up to me- that’s up to him.”
“If you don’t find him right now, I will come down there and-”
Suki hit the hold button. You looked up, not hiding your anger.
“Suki what the hell?”
“Mr Yagi, can you impersonate All Might for me?”
“I- Yes, of course. What should I say?”
“Just exactly what Suits was. We’ll contact the police station and tell them that Endeavour’s agency took point, so they’ll get credit for solving the case.”
“And if Endeavour refuses to let us give him the full bounty,” you say. “Then we’ll take a ten percent cut from the reward. Don’t let that flaming bastard get to you.”
“... Okay.” Yagi nodded his head. Strange, he’s standing straighter now.
Yagi held out his hand for the phone, the room completely silent. You didn’t hand it over.
“Suki, put it on speaker phone.” you looked at Yagi as you said so.
“Everyone, out.” you looked at the rest of the office. “Now.”
Everyone but the three of you left, Isuro closing the fogged glass door. It was obvious that they were hovering around the door, the shadow of Isuro’s bat ear being pressed to the glass obvious. You nodded at Suki, slowly putting the phone down on the counter. Yagi put down his file, leaning on the desk. His shirt was still baggy, but the way he was poised on the desk, the hunch to his shoulders was gone. He was wide in the shoulders.
Mr Yagi was a hero- but he was involved in various confidential missions.
You mean- The kind that civilians never learn about?
You kept quiet, watching him work.
“I’m ready.” the Kansai was gone.
Suki hit line three on the speaker phone.
“ENDEAVOUR! SO GOOD TO HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN!” Yagi said.
“... All Might.” Endeavour sounded subdued now.
“SO SORRY ABOUT SIR, THEY’RE JUST DOING THEIR JOB- HOW CAN I HELP?”
You looked at Suki, then leaned on the desk, next Yagi. He glanced over, but you were focused on him, not the machine.
“You recall that arrest you did last night? The one that my men had been caught in?”
“YES, TERRIBLY SORRY ABOUT JUMPING IN LIKE THAT, THOUGHT I MIGHT HELP IN WHATEVER WAY I COULD. I’M SURE SIR TOLD YOU THAT THEY WERE GOING TO HAND THE PAPERWORK OVER TO YOU?”
“The Hero Committee says that since you made the arrest, you get the reward.”
“WELL WE CAN’T HAVE THAT! LISTEN, I’LL SIGN WHATEVER I NEED TO- WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER RIGHT? SAVING THE DAY, KEEPING THE STREETS FREE OF FILTH LIKE THAT!”
“See that you do.”
Endeavour hung up, the tone echoing off the glass. Suki gave a sigh of relief, dropping down into her chair. You didn’t move. You saw Yagi stand up to his full height, shoulders back, a small smile on his face. Shit, he must have been scary as hell in an alleyway. You don’t stare. You especially don’t linger on the fact that this wave of confidence makes him look… familiar, somehow.
“Well done.” the words leave your mouth before you can think to stop them.
Yagi is shocked, and the facade is broken. Broad shoulders droop, the curve in his spine is back and the bumbling fool that you’ve seen for the last few weeks is standing in front of you.
“T-Thank you, Sir.” The Kansai accent is thick in his voice.
“Suits,” Suki spoke up, leering at you from in between her fingers. “Next time this happens, let Mr Yagi take the damn phone.”
“I had it under control until you stopped me.” You stood up, looking at her.
“I know you.” Suki snapped. “And more importantly, I know his agency. They’re as stubborn as their hero, and I don’t want that man to come marching in here- you will NOT win that fight.”
“Aw, you were worried for me?” you laugh, “Afraid I’ll show that flaming bastard who’s boss?”
“I’d rather not have to explain to All Might why his head secretary is a pile of ash.”
“C’mon, you know I’d win.”
“You would die.”
“Would you cry at my funeral then?”
“Only after I was finished cursing you in the afterlife.”
“How thoughtful of you.” You kept smiling.
Suki groaned, resting her head on her desk. You sigh, one hand coming over to tuck some hair behind her ear. Yagi didn’t say anything, just watched from where he was standing.
“I- I think I should go.” he started walking away.
“Mr Yagi- wait.” Suki got up, walking over with him towards the door.
You didn’t pay attention to what they were saying, instead looking over her desk. Her planner was open, a fertility check scheduled the same night as your date. Oh fuck. The date that Sashi had set up. You had the guy’s number- what the hell was his name again? You pulled out your phone and… great. Sashi just put his name under a bunch of emoji’s. Why the hell did she use the dancer one? And was that a fucking money bag next to it!?
“Suits.” Suki’s voice was right next to you.
“What are you doing?”
“What do you think Sashi means by this?”
“Let me see,” you handed over your phone. “Oh. Oh no. Suits don’t tell me you got set up on a date by Sashi.”
“She cornered me, you know how it is.”
“It’s a diva.”
“What? No it’s not!” you took your phone. A dancer and a money bag emoji. “She wouldn’t.”
“It’s Sashi, I wouldn’t put it past her.”
“Suki, she hasn’t been on that scene in years!”
“Yes but that doesn’t mean she cut all her ties to them.”
“... Oh good god.” leaned on the corner of the desk.
“You want my advice?” Suki smiled innocently at you.
“Please don’t say it.” you groan.
“Just start wearing a ring in the office.”
“Christ, Suki I’m not gonna do that!”
“Why not?” Suki smiles, with both mouths. “It worked for me.”
“Okay, first off.” you held up your hand, counting your reasons. “It was an engagement ring for a long ass time. Second, people will ask questions- Natsu especially. And third, if I start wearing a ring, how am I gonna get a real date if it’s rumoured I’m married.”
“Lots of people wear rings and aren’t married. More don’t wear rings and are married. Funny how they all go to the same high end bars.”
“What if I faked being sick?”
“I’ll tell Sashi.”
“Just looking out for you.” she planted a kiss on your cheek.
You left her office, walking over to yours. Yagi was nowhere to be seen.
You never picked the restaurant- Sashi had. She had made the reservation under ‘Sir Suits’ (bad idea), told you not to wear button down (which hindsight was also a bad idea) and out of everything so far, there was no bar in this damn thing, so there was no break that you could take by grabbing drinks.
Suki had been right. Riko was a diva. A very specific type of diva. The kind that thought it was appropriate to wear a sheer dress shirt and body glitter to a high end restaurant like this. Sure, the guy’s Quirk meant his skin was naturally going to sparkle already, but was it really necessary to add more glitter on top of that? Chestnut hair and hazel eyes, cheeks that were red from the amount of wine he’s drunk- and that was before he showed up to the date.
“So what’s a Sir do, exactly?” Riko batted his eyelashes from across the table- oh christ is he wearing glitter there too?
“I do what my hero can not.” You smiled, sipping the single malt you had ordered. “Mostly, I just do paperwork.”
“Wow,” Riko smiled, leaning over the table. His Quirk reflected the candlelight. “That’s soo much more fun than what I’ve gotta do these days.”
“Well, ballet is hard. So I’ve been told.” you smiled.
“Oh, it is,” Riko drank the rest of his wine; you poured him another glass. “But the company doesn’t let me stand center stage- not like my last job did.”
“Do you miss it? I know Sashi sometimes misses it.”
“Oh Sashi was better on the floor than the stage, people pleaser that she was.” Riko brought one pointer finger up, rubbing it against his bottom lip. “I’m more of a- well. I’m just not as behaved I guess.”
“That’s a shame.” you looked over, saw your waiter coming over.
Riko deflated- shit he had set it up so you would flirt with him. Wait, did Sashi tell him? This is a fucking disaster, I’m gonna kill her. You started to tap your finger on the table because of your nerves.
“What can I get you two for tonight?” the waiter asked.
“Beetroot salad with the Salmon.” He hadn’t even bothered to read the menu.
“And for you, Sir?”
“... I’ll have special for tonight, please.” you handed over the two menus.
“Excellent choice, more wine?”
“No.” you said, Riko pouting. “We’ll wait for the meals, thank you.”
As the waiter walked away you looked across the room, saw the other customers. It looked like Riko wasn’t the only one dressed like he was- various other white collars were sitting with people in sheer clothing, low cut dresses. Some of the larger tables had couples, older husbands and younger second wives, chatting in relative hushed voices. The booth you two were in had the option of having the curtains pull closed, in order to give some kind of privacy- they were open at the moment.
If you remember correctly, this was the mayor of Tokyo’s preferred restaurant. Now when was that dinner with All Might: yesterday or tomorrow? You felt your phone in your pocket, half tempted to pull it out to check. You are on a date, quit thinking about work.
“So what is the company putting on?” you asked, leaning
“The Nutcracker.” Riko rolled his eyes, sighing heavily. “I’m one of the background snowflakes this season- I should be the prince but the Madame likes the Russian more than me. He’s a blockhead, not at all attractive.”
“Sometimes talent outshines looks.”
“Ugh, well maybe for the cheaper seats but up close? Prettier Quirks first. You know what I mean?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Oh don’t be silly- you work with All Might! I doubt he surrounds himself with weak ass bitches.”
“... I’m Quirkless.” Riko chokes on his wine. “Sashi didn’t tell you, did she?”
“You- you’re Quirkless?” Riko’s eyes grew wide, his skin sparkling out of shock. “Wow, she really did find a unicorn.”
One of the closed curtained tables opened, a massive man with blonde hair stepping out. Wait, you knew that hair- you knew those bangs. Oh no. Oh nonononono.
“Is something wrong?” Riko asked, looking at where you were staring. “Oh my god it’s your boss. Hey, we should say hi!”
“Wha- wait don’t do that!”
It was too late, Riko activated his Quirk, the sparkles inside his skin growing brighter. Gold and silver specks that are aimed directly at All Might. Suddenly the curtain behind Riko’s shoulder was incredibly fascinating. Was it velvet? Incredible.
“Suits! I didn’t expect to see you here.” How the fuck did he get here so fast!? “Who’s your… friend.”
“Hi,” Riko giggled, holding out one hand. “I’m their date, Riko.”
“Oh!” you drained the rest of the single malt- fuck, bad idea, now you’re coughing while All Might talks to Riko. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“No, it’s nice to meet you. ” Riko winked. “You are… so big!”
“Uh, I- thank you?” All Might was laughing.
Fuck, people were staring. Oh good god. Oh no. Wow that really fucking burned. You tried to hide your face. Damn this knife was really interesting. How much force would you need in order to kill yourself with it? Maybe if you asked nicely, your boss could just kill you. Right now. Then this trainwreck of a date would be over. The press would have a field day but you wouldn’t be here. With Riko looking like a goddamn disco ball. And your boss trying to be polite. Someone please kill me now.
“Sorry, but I’m afraid I might have to steal your date away, duty calls.”
“Huh?” Riko still had his hand on All Might. “Oh do you have to? Why don’t you stay for a while?”
“Suits.” All Might pulled away from Riko, putting a hand on your shoulder. “There was a call, I need you with me.”
A call? Office hours are closed- oh. OH!
“Riko, I’m sorry but I have to go.” you reach for your wallet, pulling out all the money you had in your wallet. “Stay as long as you like, you have my number.”
“But-” your date’s eyes flickered down to the money you just put down. “O-okay! Bye!”
You got up and walked out, All Might leading the way. Even with his long legs you kept up, but the moment you stepped out on the street you were pulled into an alleyway.
“So…” All Might smiled, “Bad date?”
Please just fucking kill me. You looked up, letting out a heavy sigh, nodding at your savior. He started to snicker, trying to keep his voice low in the alley. The adrenaline was starting to get to you- you joined, leaning against the wall, laughing breathlessly.
“Oh man,” you laughed. “Sashi’s gonna kill me.”
“Yea, uh.” you swallowed. “She set it up. Blind date and all.”
“Ah, well… are you still hungry?”
“I actually didn’t get to eat. Funny that.”
“... There’s a nice udon shop about two blocks down.” All Might smiled- the one that wasn’t for TV. “I really like their tofu.”
“I ... yea. I’d like that.” you smiled back.
“Hold on then.”
All Might brought one hand to your back, bending down to pick you up under your knees. Instinct told you to grab onto his shoulders, wrapping your arms around his neck. He was wearing cologne- pine and something else. Honey? No- it was clover. This close to his face you saw the crows feet, the way that the ocean blue shined this close. You were so focused on his face that it wasn’t until you were above the skyline that realized what was happening.
It wasn’t flying. But it was close, your jacket and sweater not enough to block the wind, the distant sounds of traffic far away, blonde hair that tickled the side of your face. Someone was laughing, the two hands on you pulling you closer.
“It’s alright, I’ve got you.”
The world stopped shrinking, a pause before your stomach decided to drop. The building below was getting closer. You couldn’t breathe. You shut your eyes, curling into his chest, face shoved in the crook of his neck. Pine and clover flood your senses, laughter that cut through the sound of wind whipping around you. Three more hops, the free falling sensation your only indication, until you didn’t feel the wind on your skin anymore.
All Might didn’t say anything- just held you in his arms. One peek told you that you were in a different alley- there was an udon shop just across the road, the neon sign slowly blinking. He was staring at you. You realize you were shaking, clutching at the casual suit jacket he had over the black v-neck. Isn’t he cold? You still hadn’t let go.
“Don’t like heights?” his voice is quiet, the smile on his face not judging.
“Yea.” you lied. “Um, let me down?”
“Oh! Sure,” he leaned down, putting your feet on the ground. “There you go.”
The bastard is still smiling, even as you try to straighten your jacket, smoothing your hair back into place. A small chuckle escaped him, making you look up at him.
“What?” you ask.
“Don’t think I’ve ever seen you so casual.”
“...I’m technically still in a suit.”
“I know. It’s funny.”
“You do realize the only difference between me and you is that the fact that I'm in a turtleneck and you’re not?”
You let out a short laugh, shaking your head.
“Never seen you so formal.” you tease.
“Oh, ouch.” he laughs, head leaning back.
You laugh with him, biting your lower lip. It was nice, in this dark alley, seeing All Might be human. He is human. The thought slips forward. Everyone is human. Especially heroes. In the dark like this, the shadows on his face feel natural- like it’s from the lack of light and not just how he is. Neon lights catching the grey in his coat, soft. Whole. Human. The image is shattered as he moves, offering a hand as he steps into the street, the shadows around his eyes still there.
You nod, moving to walk next to him. He was matching your pace- he’s never done that before.
I had to split this chapter into two parts so this is part one. It's.... Real Soft(tm) y'all
The Udon shop is open air, the cook and his wife the only one’s behind the bar. A salaryman was seated on the other side of the counter, watching the news on the small TV that was jammed in the corner, the sound muted, the radio playing some pop jazz, the diva’s english rolling out into the night air.
The wife perked up at seeing two new customers, taking her rolled up newspaper and gently batting her husband’s arm. He looked up from where he was leaning, moving away from the old cashbox, turning around to make food. You ordered a bowl with beef- All Might asked for tempura, something much smaller than what you were having. Makes sense, he must have finished his meal with the mayor. The wife moves to the other side, taking care in preparing meat and tofu, dipping them in the batter before letting them drop into hot oil.
You and All Might watch, the sounds of cooking overtaking the trumpet and piano. The salaryman finished his bowl, pulling out his wallet and paying for his meal, waving goodbye to the wife as she called out. The cook poured in stock and noodles, grabbing bits and pieces for the udon, chopping up scallions and throwing in spinach for good measure.
His wife quickly gave him a kiss on his cheek before adding her part, the tempura put on a separate dish, tofu and prawn first, then pork, and finally eel. You thanked them both, digging into the udon while All Might grabbed chopsticks, holding them loosely in his hand, watching you.
“Oh my god.” you said, mouth full. “This is fucking amazing.”
He laughed, full and loud, the wife smiling wide as the cook puffed out his chest. You focused on the meal, only just realizing how hungry you actually were. The wife brought out a serving bottle of sake, setting two cups in front of the two of you, and one for herself. A toast, the wife sipping first before handing the rest to her husband. All Might didn’t drink it, quietly asking for water instead.
He watches you, unashamed. Sitting on the edge of the stall, he can lean on the wall a little, one arm up on the glass that separates him from the tempura station. That soft smile from the alley was on his face; not the wide one for the public, the one with sparkling teeth and larger than life personality. No, this was soft- his whole face was relaxed, lured into a security by the radio.
You look up, and see this, his food untouched, sake glass still full. You stop eating for a moment, looking back at him. There it is again, that feeling from before. That feeling that all the walls, everything that separates you two, is gone. Just two humans, so close but not touching at all.
It was familiar, but it’s been so long… how long has it really been. Months? Years? They way he looks at you, your heart screams out, saying that it’s been longer. Centuries, Eons. Far too long. All Might sighs, that soft smile growing, the shadows around his eyes softening, that bright blue starting to peak out.
He’s your boss. Says your mind.
He’s right here, says something else. He’s here and he brought you away. Away from a shitty night out. Away with him. Away to a date.
It’s not a date.
It’s dinner- and it’s outside of the office.
He’s a pro hero- there’s a target on his back!
If anyone can handle it, it’ll be his Sir.
You’re Quirkless. A nobody.
Not to him.
That last thought strikes you to the core. Not to him. You pull your eyes away, looking down at the nearly empty bowl.
“Still hungry?” he asks, leaning forward, his shoulder brushing your own.
“... Yea, but not for this.” you look over again, letting your gaze wander.
There’s a pause- he licks his lips. You catch it, eyes lingering on them. The cook and his wife are standing on the other side of the stall, talking with each other as they watch the news, ignoring you both. The night air doesn’t quite reach the stall. It must be the heat from the fryer. It had to be. His cheeks had a dusting of pink from the heat, that’s all it was. He swallows before looking away himself, downing his shot of sake instead.
“Yagi told me that Ms Suki is a doctor’s appointment.” He says, voice no longer soft.
“Um,” you cleared your throat. “Yea that was earlier today.”
“You must be waiting for the results.”
“Nah, it’s just a fertility test, it’s not like you can pass or fail those kind of things.”
“F-fertility?” His hand grips the small cup.
“Yea.” You’re too busy messing with the what’s left at the bottom of your bowl to notice. “She wants a kid.”
“But what do you want?”
“I want Suki to be happy, that’s all I ever wanted.” you pause at your answer before shaking your head. “Whatever she wants, she gets in the end.”
“... So why were you on that date tonight?”
“Sashi had set it up,” you look up at him. “You know, the colorful one? Changes colours- though I guess she’s always pink around you.”
“... I see.” He wasn’t smiling anymore, pouring himself another glass. “Does Suki know?”
Oh… It’s like that isn’t it?
“Of course she knows.” you lean a little away, keeping your face blank. “She probably put Sashi up to it, teach me a lesson or whatever.”
“Wait… you mean that-”
“Suki is married.” you smile. “Just not to me.”
All Might blinks. Then he blinks again. One hand comes up, pointer finger extended before it drops. Oh that’s actually cute. You try not to laugh, but you can’t hide your amusement. It’s like watching a dog, one that moves its head side to side, trying to figure out the puzzle in front of it. You sip your drink while you wait for him.
“But I thought-” he stops, brows furrowed together. “You and her- you two are so close!”
“Yeah, we are.” you smile, hiding the giggle behind your hand. “We used to be closer.”
“... I’m confused.”
You burst out laughing, leaning over onto his shoulder before leaning back. He’s still trying to figure it out, looking at you like you had gone crazy.
“I can just tell you, if you want.”
“But I thought- wait you said you were closer, closer how? Are you siblings or something?”
“NO! Fuck no, that’d be weird.”
“Wait don’t tell me.” He taps his fingers on the counter squinting his eyes at you. “You two are friends now.”
“Right.” You bite your lip to stop the laughter.
“But there was something more.” All Might mutters.
“Is it still there?”
“Only in a blue moon.”
“But what about for her?”
“Well she got married when I wasn’t looking so I doubt it.”
“... She’s married. But not to you.”
You take another shot of sake.
“But not to you… you two were engaged?”
“... No. She wore a ring, but I never asked.”
“I…” you sigh looking down at the empty bowl in front of you. “She wanted more than I could give- we weren’t kids but, shit. We were young… real young.”
He listens, blue eyes that were… familiar somehow. You half expected that dreaded sympathy- but it wasn’t there. No, it was something else. An understanding?
“I ran off to Australia.” you smile, clutching the sake glass. “Kept telling myself it was to get my MBA, to be able to provide, understand myself better. Truth is… I was scared out of my mind.”
“How long have you known her?” His voice is soft, as soft as it was before.
“Since we were undergraduates in Tokyo. She was an arts major at first you know, but her parents wanted her to be a doctor. She ended up being a pretty damn good at law.”
You were drunk, you knew that. There was no way you would have been able to say this out loud, let alone to him.
“You two dated in college.”
So now it clicks.
“Yeah. It was nice but… she wanted to get married, have kids; the whole picket fence dream.” You pour yourself another shot.
“But you didn’t?”
“I-” you swallowed, throat dry; you down the rest of your sake, pouring another. “I came back from studying overseas and she was engaged. He’s a nice guy but I don’t think he likes me very much.”
“But Suki still does.”
“It took some time but yea, Suki still does.” you let out a short breath. “I’m happy for her, you know? She got what she wanted and I… I have my work.”
“... To work then.” All Might held up his glass.
“... To work.”
You toasted, watch as he takes a sip while you finish off yours. The buzz was nice, nearly as warm as the udon you had.
The cook and his wife were dancing in the corner, her head resting on his shoulder, his stern face with eyes half closed, swaying back and forth in the small area. The radio was scratchy, the piano and saxophone muffled, the rest of the band farther away than usual. You smile, blinking slowly as the couple danced here, unaware or uncaring about their last customers for the night.
“So you never married.” All Might asked, finally putting a piece of now cold tofu in his mouth.
“Was too busy.” you snuck your chopsticks over, trying to take a fried prawn. “You?”
“Never really came up.” his reflexes were quicker than your drunk ones, blocking your chopsticks with two fingers. “A shock, I’m sure.”
“No, but you are… so big !” you both laugh at your terrible impersonation of Riko. “Must have been hard, since all they ever saw was, well…”
“A great hero?”
He stiffens at that, long enough for you to actually grab a prawn, dipping it into what was left of the broth you had. You let out a ‘hah!’, smug in your small victory. All Might pauses, before bursting out in a full body laugh, one hand landing on your shoulder. It’s warm, solid.
You lean into it, into him. His left side is the same as his hand, radiating a heat that’s a balm to whatever it is that rolls deep inside, waves across sharps rocks, the only thing safe about it being the sound that's lulling you to sleep. His hand slides across your shoulders, arm resting on you. A piece of fried tofu finds its way into your bowl, before it finds his mouth, groaning at the taste.
“Probably be better if it wasn’t cold.” you mumble, still leaning on him.
“I don’t mind.” he swallows, that soft smile from before back on his face.
This is nice. You smile back at him. It can’t last.
“Let me walk you home.” he says.
“Do you know where I live?” you tease.
“I- ha, I guess not.”
“Careful. I might just ask you to stay for a nightcap.”
“I don’t drink.” there’s a panic in his voice.
“I noticed.” your smile grows bigger.
You start to pull out your wallet- only to remember that you gave all your cash away back at the restaurant.
All Might stands up, pulling out some money from his jacket. The cook nods, letting go of his wife so that she could take it. You stagger up, shoving your hands into your pockets. The sounds of the main street reach your ears. The hero turns to see you waiting just outside the small stall.
“Guess I owe a dinner now.” you try to laugh- you’re too drunk for it.
“It’s nothing.” The night makes the shadows seem natural.
“Well, then I guess I owe you one for getting me out of that shit date.”
“Come on now, he looked… sparkly.”
“Sure, sure.” you walked next to him, breathing in the cold night air. “Still, it was pretty bad.”
“But this wasn’t, right?”
You pause, pretending to think hard on it. You look up, see that he’s waiting on an answer. The small smirk on your face only causes him to beam.
“It was okay.” you shrug, your own smile reflecting back.
“I’ll try harder next time.” he teases.
Next time? You nod, your body walking closer to his.
The main street opens up, one or both of you hailing a cab, watching as it pulls up to the side of the road. You open the door before turning around to face him. Just say it. Say you had a good time. You’re drunk enough, it won’t matter.
“... See you at the office.” Is what comes out instead.
“Right.” away from the small side street, the hero persona was back. “I’ll see you there, Sir Suits.”
The ride back to your apartment was quiet. Maybe it was the drink, but there was a part of you that already missed that soft look he had at the stall. A guilty part of you wanted to see it again, but in the morning light. He said next time. You smile. You really were drunk.
This is early b/c GUESS WHO STARTS WORK TOMORROW!!! THIS BUTCH!!!
If you follow me on Twitter, you might remember me teasing this chapter with a photo of Ella Fitzgerald and a Ramen Street Stall. I tend to give teasers to my WIPs on there... come follow me
@EAVanGeek on Twitter.
Chapter 19: Morning After
Toshi saw you walk in, making a beeline for your office. He was ‘Mr Yagi’ right now, standing in front of the copy machine. A soft smile started to creep up his face, remembering the night before. How you held on to him while he was in the air. How much you had been laughing, the fact that it felt so natural, the street stall infinitely better than the stuffy restaurant you had both been trapped in. How you had smelled- the sake that had drowned out the single malt that he had seen you chug. That scent that was undeniably you.
“Someone’s in a good mood today.” Natsu said.
Toshi jumped, the papers he had been holding flying everywhere. One of the other workers looked up, raising an eyebrow at the scene. Natsu knelt down helping Toshi pick up the rest of his papers, thick black frames starting to slide down his nose.
“Sorry man, didn’t mean to scare you!” the younger man flashed a grin, getting up with a handful of papers. “Just ain’t ever seen you like that before.”
“L-like what?” Toshi took the papers.
“I don’t know, happy? What, did you have a date or something?” Natsu pushed up his frames, pulling out his sleeve protectors and putting them on for the day.
Toshi didn’t say anything.
“... No!” Natsu said, looking excited. “You did, didn’t you? Man, Yagi you sly old dog!”
“I-It wasn’t planned it just… happened.”
“Dude!” Natsu smacked Toshi’s arm. “Nice! Were they hot?”
“Were they hot! C’mon you gotta tell me! Oh, morning Sashi!- and she’s gone. Damn she looked pissed!”
“How can you tell?” Toshi looked over his shoulder, saw Sashi marching over to your office.
“See how she’s red all over? And look at her ears, they’re turning black. She can’t help it really, it’s her Quirk that does it, but man. This is gonna be so good.”
Natsu and Toshi watch as Sashi opens the door to your office and slams it close. While the fogged glass that separates it from the rest of the floor is soundproofed, it did not, however, completely block out Sashi’s movements.
Natsu hissed when he saw Sashi’s form throw something heavy at your chair. Your figure moved, getting up and ducking from whatever was just thrown, which made a loud thunk against the wall. The red figure that was Sashi grew darker, body stiff and angry. The hair on the back Toshi’s neck stood on end, but he stayed where he was, watching whatever was happening.
It looked like you just put your head in your hand, leaning on your desk as Sashi kept yelling at you. Sharp movements followed by you walking over, trying to calm her down. It didn’t seem to work at first, but then the two blurred figures stop moving, the dark red tone of one slowly going back to something familiar, a blue greenish hue. Toshi looks over, saw the way that Natsu seemed to be enjoying whatever this was.
“Do you know what happened?” the blonde asks.
“Oh yeah.” Natsu whispered, covering his mouth with one hand. “Sashi set up Sir Suits with one of her old coworkers, way back from college right? Well, Sir walked out on the guy and get this- left a wad of cash on the table.”
Oh no. Toshi suddenly remembers the other half of that night.
“H-How much did Sir leave?” Toshi whispers.
“Let’s just say it was enough for dinner. And rent. And still have enough left over to get something nice.”
Good fucking christ. Oh no nonono this is bad. This is REALLY bad. What were you going to say?
Sashi walked out of the office, zeroing in on Toshi and Natsu. Natsu stopped talking, and then quickly started to walk away from him.
“Oh yea, forgot to mention, she’s real mad at you too. Okay see ya bye!”
Wait what? Why the hell was Sashi mad at me? A thousand questions ran through his head. Did she know? How did Sashi find out he’s actually All Might? He didn’t want his cover to be blown- it had only been a few months! Think, what the hell was he gonna do? While he stood their trying to figure out what his next move was, Sashi was gaining ground.
“We need to talk, your office. Now.” Sashi said, grabbing Toshi’s tie.
Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.
“O-okay. Um, any reason?”
She didn’t say another word until the two of them were in his office, closing the door. Toshi stared back, trying to hide himself behind the folder in his hands.
“Do you know what he did last night!?”
Oh thank god she doesn’t know.
“Uh, well, if I remember correctly he had that dinner with the… mayor of Tokyo?”
“Did you just pause?”
“Mr Yagi,” Sashi whined, before suddenly resting her head on his chest. “I try so hard you know? I tried so hard to curb Riko’s expectations. I told Suits not wear any of their fancier clothes. And then ALL OF SUDDEN!” Sashi stood up, yelling at the ceiling. “HE SHOWS UP AND SUITS LOSES THEIR DAMN MIND AND THROWS HALF A MILLION YEN ON THE GODDAMN TABLE!”
Oh my god. Toshi starts laughing before a coughing fit catches him. Sashi is quicker than him, pulling out some of the tissues on his desk so he could cough into them and not his sleeve.
“Why does someone carry half a million yen in their wallet?” Toshi teases, smiling down at Sashi.
“I don’t know!” Sashi’s hands go up in the air. “Rich fucks, I guess!? But you! You’re supposed to be watching All Might after hours, right?”
“Technically, yes.” Since I am All Might.
“So what the hell happened? Suki got a call this morning from the mayor saying All Might had left before the main course showed up! And I know that he wasn’t out saving someone because there’s nothing in the news about it this morning!”
Toshi knew he shouldn’t be laughing, but it was funny watching Sashi work herself up like this.
“I want answers, Mr Yagi!” Sashi pointed a finger in his chest- it wasn’t nearly as threatening as your hard stares, especially with the deep red being replaced by a sunflower yellow in her skin.
“I’m sorry, Ms Sashi.” Toshi said. “But all I did was drop off All Might at the restaurant. I wasn’t there for the dinner- I had no idea Sir Suits was there as well.” Technically, not a lie. “Maybe I can call All Might, put him on the phone with you and he can give you an answer?”
Sashi’s yellow hue went vibrant pink in an instant. Toshi smiled, leaning on his desk, holding the folder in front of his chest.
“You know, he’s on patrol right now, but all it would take is for me to call and-”
“No!” Sashi squeaked. “It’s fine! I- I’m just- please don’t tell him I got mad at you okay?”
“I’m sure he would be very proud of you.” Toshi laughed. “You’re just protecting your friend, after all.”
“I am? I mean, I am! Yeah!” Sashi’s skin was still pink, her cheeks rosy. “T-Thanks Mr Yagi… I think Suki is calling me.”
“Well, I’d hate to keep you waiting. Here, let me get the door.”
Toshi watched for a moment, unable to wipe the smirk on his face. He looked up just in time to see you leave your own office, quickly glancing down the hall before leaving for the elevator. He took a step to join you- but stopped.
Not like this. Some small part of him spoke. They don't like Yagi. Did she even like All Might? Doubt began to creep in- what if last night was not real? You were just being polite? He couldn’t ask as All Might- you might just say it was no trouble.
And why the hell would Yagi know about last night? Yagi hadn’t been there, at the small stall, sitting next to you as you spoke in that soft tone, the way you had relaxed after food- or how you had leaned on his side, the side with The Scar and didn’t flinch away. Yagi doesn’t know the soft smile that starts from one side of your mouth and slowly overtakes your face. How your nose would scrunch up after a terrible joke.
Wait- Sashi just came to talk with me. He dropped his file and started to walk towards the elevator, catching it just as you stepped inside. You didn’t even look up at him, just pulled out your phone, looking through emails. He looked down- you weren’t wearing dress shoes.
“Nice boots.” he said.
You grunted, putting your phone away, staring straight ahead.
“... So, half a million?”
“I’m gonna kill Sashi.” you rubbed at your face. He stopped himself from laughing. Cute.
“It could be worse, I suppose.” He says, bouncing on his toes once.
You snorted, looking at him from in between your fingers. “How so.”
“Well,” Toshi smiled, adjusting his tie. “There was this one time where I was set up on blind date and they were… very attentive.”
You stayed quiet, brows furrowed. So he went on.
“They knew quite a bit about me- even some things that I had only told people who were close to me.” Toshi sighs. “It was not the best.”
“So what did you?” you ask. He smiled, glad he peaked your curiosity.
“I faked an emergency and had left without my wallet and phone. Never got them back.”
You smirked, just a quirk of your lip, shaking your head before staring back at the elevator door. Something inside of him tugged at that. It’s the same smirk from last night.
“You got set up with a stalker. I was just an asshole. There’s a difference.”
The door pinged, you walking out without even bothering to say anything to him. The doors slid shut, a stranger staring right back at him. His tie was crooked; it matched the oversized dress shirt. The image of ‘Mr Yagi’ sighed, mimicking him as he adjusted the tie back into place.
It was a pub kind of night, Sashi unable to come out because of Might Social Club or something. Natsu was setting the billiards game on the table, you waiting with the cue ball. Suki and Misu were sitting at the booth, their husbands up at the bar, watching TV.
“Natsu, when are you gonna get married?”
“Piss off, Suits.” Natsu smiled. “I’m staying single forever.”
“You and Sashi are the worst you know that?” you set the ball down ready to start the game. “You two are gonna end up lonely like me.”
“Sure but you’re rich and powerful. Rather have that than some snot nosed kid underfoot.”
You break, the ten-ball and thirteen-ball sinking immediately. You moved to set up your next shot as you speak.
“Natsu I didn’t set out to be single you know.”
“I know, I know but still! I’m only just turned twenty-five, I’ve got plenty of time!”
“... Sure.” you sink the ten-ball.
Natsu moved to take over, lining himself up to sink the three-ball, the red solid sitting next to a striped green one.
“You sure about that shot?” You teased.
“Let him win, Suits.” Suki said, now standing on the opposite side of the table with her husband, glass of wine in hand.
“Not a chance.” you smile back at her. “Oh, and Misu? Thanks for coming.”
“Oh of course!” Misu’s white cheeks were stuffed with bar nuts. “But you said you wanted to talk about something?”
“Yea, was kind of hoping to have Sashi here but…” Misu’s husband came over, handing you your drink with his bear-like hand. “It’s about Yagi.”
“Not this again.” Natsu sunk his ball, moving to take his second shot. “Yagi’s a nice guy- do you really need to get rid of him?”
“He’s been working with us for the last six months and I have yet to see him do actual work.” sip your drink. “He’s already got one strike against him-”
“Which you forced, I might add.” Misu said, patting Natsu’s arm when he missed.
“Which happened early on, yes. Then there’s the fact that he hasn’t done a single damn report.”
“He’s the head of the department,” Suki leaned on her husband, “He only has to report to All Might.”
“And then file the goddamn report in archives. You know how many reports he’s done, in six months?” You hit the cue ball, but it scratched. “Three. Three reports. And one of them was for the goddamn fi- disagreement.”
“That is a little troublesome.” Misu sighs. “I’m sure there’s a good reason for it though!”
“Listen, Yagi is a cool guy- and Suits, you’re already running the department, and you got the title of ‘Sir’. What more do you want?” Natsu said
“I don’t want anything. It’s what Might Productions needs that’s my concern.” you said.
“What Might Production needs or what All Might needs?” Suki said.
“Isn’t that the same thing?” Misu’s husband asked. His quirk, Brown Bear, meant that he was just as fur covered as his wife- but his size did not match his shy personality.
“Don’t get them started.” Suki’s husband groaned, rolling out his shoulders. “We’d be here all night.”
“... Anyways,” You looked over at Misu. “What do you recommend?”
“Well, we’re not at the office, so I can’t say anything officially.” Misu’s nose twitched. “But, what does Yagi do for the Secretarial Offices?”
“Mostly he oversees All Might when he’s not in the office.” Suki said. “Suits makes the schedule, Yagi makes sure that All Might follows it.”
“Well, he also helps you with the kiddie calls, right?” Natsu takes a sip of his beer. “And he always comes in to help me figure out where All Might wants his charity funds to go to that week.”
“Those are things outside of his job as a department head.” you interject.
“Have you let Yagi actually do any of the work required by a department head, Suits?” Misu asks.
“... No, I haven’t. Misu you have to understand, I had to make the SSO from the ground up- I needed to oversee a smooth transition.”
“Six months in, I think the transitional phase is over now.” Suki mumbles, mostly into her glass.
“So I’m supposed to, what? Hand the reins back over?”
“Well, the whole department was built to help support it’s ‘Sir’, who supports our Hero. If you’re the new Sir, and everything is running smoothly now, then there’s no need for you to be stuck in the office anymore.”
“I don’t understand, Misu.”
“Then let me explain.” Suki said. “Stop trying to do everything- let the poor man do the job he was hired for.”
“What if something falls through?” you start. “What if once Yagi takes over, everything goes to shit and I have to come back and clean up a mess that’s bigger than it originally was?”
“Wasn’t Yagi a secret hero?” Natsu pipes up. “He’s faced down criminals before- shareholders are nothing compared to those guys!”
“You’re right, they are not comparable.” you snap. “Criminals will state that they’re stealing from you- a shareholder will try to force you on your knees and kiss their palms all so they can earn their profit for the month, arrest rates be damned.”
“Yagi won’t be alone, he’ll have the entire department to lean on.” Suki snapped back, staring daggers back at you. “You’re not a hero. You can’t do everything on your own.”
Natsu and Misu stared back and forth between you and Suki. The sports that was playing on the screen switched to an emergency news report- a massive highway bridge had just collapsed. The rest of the pub looked up, salarymen with Guiness and Coopers in front of them paused as the reporter droned out the current info.
You were listening but had yet to look away from Suki. Years of knowing each other, sometimes words were not needed.
You’re not All Might. You’re Quirkless. Suki stared, both mouths a thin line.
I won’t let him win. You lifted your chin in defiance.
There’s nothing to win. Just let it go. Suki’s eyes flicked over to the news channel, the silent conversation over.
You sigh, taking your turn while they were busy watching the news. You sink two of your balls in, moving to the eight-ball now.
“ ... Currently we do not have a count on those who are inju- IS THAT ALL MIGHT!? ALL MIGHT IS ON THE SCENE NOW!”
“HA HA HA! HAVE NO FEAR FOR I AM HERE!”
“Corner pocket, right side.” you spoke up. Natsu wasn’t paying attention.
“All Might is holding up the bridge all on his own, Wild Wild Pussycats, who were on the scene, are now evacuating who they can! Incredible! What else would you expect from the number one hero?”
You sunk the eight ball, finishing off your drink as the pub collectively sighed with relief. Natsu turned around to see the game was over, scrunching his nose before handing his cue stick over to Misu’s husband. The bear-man fumbled to grab it with his hands, round ears perking up that it was his turn now.
Natsu flopped into the booth; you handed your cue stick to Suki’s husband, sliding in on the other side. Natsu pulled out a menu, looking over it.
“You don’t feel awkward hanging out with us old folks?” you asked, smiling at the man.
“You and Suki aren’t that much older.” Natsu said. “Besides, Sashi is stuck with all the mother hens tonight; I didn’t feel like getting clucked at.”
“Hm, fair enough.” you looked back up at the TV, saw that they were replaying All Might’s rescue, cut in with various other things he had done over the week.
Each image had that iconic smile- the head thrown back as he laughed for the camera. It used to mean something, seeing him like that. But now… now you knew better. The way he was able to smile with just his eyes, how he smelled like cedar and clover and mint. The soft spoken tone at the stall, the crows feet that framed blue eyes. You let out a heavy sigh, watch as the image on the TV was nothing compared to the real thing- how the image on the screen seemed… wrong somehow.
“... Everything okay?” Natsu sat up, looking at you.
“Huh?” you blink, pulled back into reality. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“... You know, Yagi isn’t the bad guy, right?”
You leaned back in the booth, staring at Natsu.
“I mean,” Natsu rubbed at his neck, “Granted he’s not a desk jockey like the rest of us but… he’s a good dude! And All Might hired him for a reason, right?”
“That doesn’t excuse anything.” you said, your voice harsher than even you had expected. “I don’t trust him.”
“Right, of course.” Natsu took a sip from his beer.
“Natsu… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that.”
“It’s fine Suits, you’re older than me. I forget that sometimes.” he pushed his thick framed glasses back up his nose.
“My age shouldn’t be that much of a barrier,” you smiled at him. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have even considered you for your job.”
“Aw c’mon Suits,” Natsu smiled back, taking another sip of his beer. “My Quirk is real helpful!”
“I didn’t hire you for your Quirk.” you leaned forward, hands wrapped around your drink. “No one got hired just because of their Quirks.”
“I- I know that but- I mean it helps doesn’t it? I can do complicated equations at the drop of a hat because of my Quirk! And Suki was part of like, Japanese Intelligence before this right?”
“And what about Sashi?” Natsu looked down at his glass at your question. “Do you think I hired her because of her Quirk? What makes an Artic Mouse a good HR department head? Should people with Water-based Quirks work in nothing but sanitation and ocean conservation? How about your favorite hero, Edgeshot?”
“I don’t know! It just is!”
“... Should I not be Sir because I’m Quirkless?”
Natsu’s head snapped up; you stared right back, face completely blank. The young man opened up his mouth- only to close it again. You finished your drink and set to the side.
“Natsu, it’s alright.” you put a hand on his shoulder. “You’re not the only one who thinks that way- in fact you’re in the majority for it. Mr Yagi is Quirkless, same as me- but he did work for All Might in secret before joining us at Might Productions… I need to ask you and Sashi a favor. You can say no if you like.”
You won’t though. You smile at Natsu, squeezing his shoulder before patting it and letting go. Natsu rubbed at his face, looking up at you with pleading eyes. You waved over one of the pub’s staff, pointing at his and your now empty glasses. A moment passes, fresh drinks brought to you both. Natsu takes a deep breath before speaking again.
“What do you want me to do?” he asks.
“I need you and Sashi to keep an eye on Mr Yagi for me.” you start. “It’s about time that Sashi stopped pretending to be an errand girl around the office- I’m going to make her assistant to the department head. I know you’ve gotten close to the man, Natsu. You don’t have to stop being his friend- but I want written reports on everything he does.”
“S-sure but, why do you need reports?”
“Proof? Proof for what?”
“Don’t worry yourself over it, you just let me handle the details. One more thing- don’t tell anyone about those reports. They come straight to me, do you understand?”
Natsu nodded, taking another sip from his drink.
“Thank you, Natsu.” you smile. “This means a lot to us.”
“Yes, us. All Might wants to know how Yagi is doing too.” you lie.
What color does Suits where at the office?
There is a difference between All Might and Yagi Toshinori. It wasn’t just physical.
Toshi was sitting at his table, tea and a massive pile of papers in front of him. Yagi had been made head of the department last month. Which meant that he actually had to do work… like going through these reports and approving them.
“Why the hell is there so much fucking paperwork?” he grumbled under his breath. “All Might doesn’t have to do this shit.”
All Might doesn’t have to worry about his health either. Toshi took a sip of his tea- it had gone cold. He grimaced, standing up to go and make another cup for the third time that morning. A police radio was on, acting as white noise for him. So far there hadn’t been anything that needed All Might’s attention- a relatively slow Monday. Outside his door, he could hear the floor for the Second Secretarial Office busy with chatter. You were out there, most likely.
The kettle clicked off, so he poured. The clock read one in the afternoon. The radio came on but it wasn’t a high speed chase- no it was just a speeding ticket being issued. Toshi looked down at himself, his shirt baggy enough to start threatening to slide off his shoulders if he kept slouching like this. He rolled his neck, felt something pop.
“... Fuck this.” Toshi slammed his tea down, marching over to the pile of paperwork.
He started to sign off on things, no longer caring if it was correct or not. Ten minutes had passed before he realized he wasn’t signing as Yagi- he was signing as All Might.
“Shit!” he grabbed the white out- only for the small bottle to fall over and spill across the table. “SHIT!”
He got up from the table, grabbing a towel to wipe off the mess. No hero work, and he kept fucking up seceretary work… I should take a break. He looked back at the door, knew that you were out there. He left his mess on the table, walking into the closet to the side, pulling out his uniform as All Might.
It was still strange, watching the transformation from Yagi Toshinori into All Might. The other way around was too fast for him to catch, usually because he had reached his limit. But this? It was slow, muscles that contract first before expanding, filling the material until it was taunt. The shadows around his eyes growing darker, taking over his face. Squared off shoulders much larger; easier to carry whatever weight they need to. Whatever weight loss he had no longer showed in this form- but scales do not lie. He was still lighter than he has been in… years.
He wasn’t smiling just yet, the last shreds of Toshi lingering here, on his face and unkempt hair. All Might was praised, worshipped even. But Yagi… Yagi was considered human. Weak.
Must have been hard, since all they ever saw was-
A great hero?
Is that what you thought? Toshi looks at his reflection- the one with All Might staring straight back. An image . Why was that haunting him now? He had to be a symbol, a beacon! He had spent his entire career to achieve that goal. So why was it only starting to bother him now? All Might stared back at him. A heavy sigh. Then that iconic smile was back.
“And you’re sure that you booked separate rooms for the event?”
“Thank you for doing this, Sakura. You can go now.”
All Might watched the entire conversation between you and one of the clerks on the floor. He waited until you were at the door to your office before quietly moving behind you, sneaking inside. He watched you walk over to your desk, engrossed with whatever file you were looking at, not even realizing that he was in the room with you.
You sat down at your desk, pulling out a hidden candy, nodded in his direction and went back to work. A heavy pause. He laughed as you jumped up from your chair, grabbing the closest thing and chucking it at his face.
“Don’t- ugh.” You sat back down one hand coming up to pinch the bridge of your nose. “Give me some warning next time.”
He was laughing again, picking up the stapler from the ground as he walked over to your desk. He sat on the corner- the same corner he knew Sashi liked to sit on. On instinct you pulled open the ‘Sweet Drawer’, shaking your head but smiling as you started to go over your paperwork.
“What can I do for you, All Might?” you asked, not hiding your amusement
“Planning a trip somewhere?” he asked, leaning over to grab a mint from the drawer.
“We’ve been invited to the Asian Pacific Hero Association Conference.
“That’s a mouthful!”
“Hm… It’s being held in Seoul this year- a sudden change since it had been announced last year to be in Kuala Lumpur but given the monsoon season is predicted to be worse this spring, the APHA moved locations.”
“Of course! Is it really so soon?”
“Well, it is every year, sir.” you lean back in your chair, “Sir Nighteye would go for a day and then come right back in the previous years, but since Mr Yagi is the head of the SSO department now, I thought it would be okay for me to go and represent us.”
“You don’t want any company?”
“Well,” your hand came up, rubbing at your neck. “I was hoping you might come along with me. It’s been awhile since you made an appearance and all.”
Shit. All Might crossed his arms, thinking. If he didn’t go, he could still be here and keep up his cover as Mr Yagi.
But a trip with you… alone. Sure, there would be things to do during the day but after? Alone with you? But he only had ten hours in this form- he’d need a break away from you. You sat back, watching him patiently.
“All Might,” you start. “You don’t have to come with me. I understand if you have other things to do- we can’t leave Japan defenseless after all.”
“No, it’s not that.” All Might sighs, “I just… Is there anyway for Yagi to come with us?”
“... You want Mr Yagi to come?” your mood changed, no longer giving him that small smile from before. “I don’t know… the APHA Conference is reserved for Heroes and their Sirs, if they don’t have a primary Sidekick.”
“But a Sir is just a secretary, right?” All Might smiles. “I’d rather have the best with me!”
“So I’m not enough then.” You looked him head on.
“I- That's not what I-” he stood up, trying to think of something, anything. “Well, I- Yagi’s never been to Seoul! I just think he might like to go sightseeing and-”
“This is a conference for Might Productions, not a personal vacation.” You were talking to him like you would Yagi- but he was All Might right now . “Besides, I doubt I’ll be able to book three hotel rooms at this time- the conference is set for next month, and Seoul is already starting to become booked out considering the heroes who are showing up.”
“I know you have your personal restriction against public events, the three hour rule if I recall correctly.” You stood up from your chair, hands in your pockets. “This conference is a three day event- it is more than reasonable for you to simply decline the offer, sir. I can represent our agency well enough on my own; if I needed an assistant I will find one. There’s no need to drag Mr Yagi away from his important work for this, don’t you think?”
You stared him down, that cold stare he had seen you give others. The same look you would give Yagi . There was a muscle jumping in your jaw but other than that there was nothing about your posture that screamed anger. His instincts, however, told him otherwise.
“... W-What if I ask nicely?” He didn’t realize he had his hands up, like he was wanting to surrender. “W-would you consider then?”
“I would need a reason.” you didn’t move, blinking slowly. “What reason would we need to bring Mr Yagi to this conference?”
“He’s… my…” Stop being a fucking coward! “He’s my personal assistant? Outside of the agency, that is!”
There’s a heavy pause, the two of you standing off in your office. This was not what he had been expecting when he came to visit you. Eventually your shoulders drop, an eyebrow quirking up.
“Mr Yagi is your PA.” you deadpan. “That’s your excuse?”
“... yes…” his voice faltered.
“Well I guess it could be worse.” You grin, the playful look he had grown used to back on your face. “I’m afraid that I’ll have to ask Sakura to redo the bookings- see if we can’t get three rooms together. If not, I’m more than willing to share my room with Mr Yagi so you retain your priv-.”
“Wait-” his hands dropped, resting on his hips. “Were you- was that a test?”
“No,” you look up at him, the grin growing wider. “But now that you mention it, would you like it if it were, All Might?”
One hand came up to point at you; immediately you squared off your shoulders again, glaring at him. It sent something down his spine, making him pause before he spoke up again. It was gone in a flash, that simple smile, a wink before you started to laugh at him.
“I’ll make the changes- but I think it might be best if Mr Yagi found a new tailor.”
“Ah, of course.” All Might relaxed, adjusting his hero suit. “Do you have anyone in mind?”
“Well… There is my tailor. But he’s not cheap.”
“I didn’t think he would be!” he laughs. “What’s their name?”
“Tailor.” you smile.
“Yes, that’s their professional name. You’ve seen his work before- Sir Nighteye wears his suits, and during the winter months he collaborates with Best Jeanist. Rumor on the street is that Gang Orca is wanting to commission something but is having a hard time... qualifying.”
“He’s that good?”
“He’s the best of the best.” you said. “But he only does formal wear, so I’m afraid he might not see you, All Might.”
“Tailor… what’s his address, I’ll send Yagi over.”
“I’m afraid he’s going to need an invitation sir. A personal one.”
“Can you write him one?”
“Because that’s not how Tailor works.” You smile to lighten the blow. “I can take Mr Yagi on Friday at the earliest- if the man actually worked on Mondays I would take him now but… well, I have to make sure we’re prepared for Seoul.”
Good Fucking God they are so damn scary when they want to be. Thank Christ that they’re on our side. He took a step forward as you sat back down. Then another when you didn’t do anything. It took a whole minute of this, that small smile on your face not leaving while he moves to stand next to you.
“Is there anything else I can help you with?” you ask.
“H-how did you do that?” he says, barely above a whisper.
“Do what?” you tease
“That- That being angry without actually being angry.”
“... Sir” you start to laugh “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Liar. He starts to laugh as well, one hand coming to rest on the back of your chair. You pretend to ignore him, calling for Sakura again, asking her to try again with reservations.
“Of course, Sir Suits but…”
“It’s alright Sakura, you can tell me.”
“Well, I already made the reservation for two rooms, but the hotel said we would lose the deposit if we cancelled again and-”
“Not a problem Miss Sakura!” All Might spoke up. “We’ll share a room!”
“Mr Yagi and All Might will share a room.” you were quick to interject- wait was that panic? “Make sure that no one outside this office knows that last bit of information, understand?”
“You can go.”
Sakura bowed, leaving the room. All Might paused, looking at your back. Strange… He shrugged it off, asking about your day. He stayed for an hour, leaving under the pretense of ‘hero work’.
Back in his apartment, he saw the pile of paperwork left for him to look over. The police radio was little more than white noise. Nothing for him to do, no one that needed his immediate attention. He coughed into his hand, a puff of smoke as his body shrunk back down to Yagi Toshinori. He went to go take a sip of his tea. It had gone cold.
This is the last Wednesday update. I'm gonna be moving updates to Mondays since those are my day off now... Two chapters this week b/c I missed last week with the new job.
Chapter 22: Different Heights
TRIGGER WARNING::: SUICIDAL DREAM/ SUICIDAL THOUGHTS
This chapter has some suicidal imagery in the first half. If you think you're going to have a negative experience because of talks of Heights, or Jumping, then please skip this chapter. I don't want people to have a triggering experience so please skip if you need to.
You’re back at the rooftop. Staring down a hundred stories, the Tokyo skyline flickering on and off. The protective cloak of Tailor’s clothes are not there- no, your body is covered in filth and tattered cloth, a sheen of sweat coated across your body.
It’s peaceful . You’re looking down at the rest of the world from here. Is that what it’s like to have a Quirk? To stand on top of the world, at the edge of the urban cliff. Just one step. That’s all it would take.
You’re on the ledge, barefoot, the wind cutting through skin and chilling you down to your bones. Someone gets up on the ledge with you. You turn your head, expect it to be a stranger- but this nightmare is different. It’s Yagi.
You cannot move, stiff as the steel and concrete beneath you. But Yagi is standing there, body covered in marks you’ve never seen. Skin that is more surgical scars and burns than anything else, shoulders wide enough to hold the world, crumbling, broken, falling underneath him.
“It’s gone.” Yagi smiles, but you cannot see his eyes. “It’s all gone.”
The city below grows louder, the dull heartbeat echoing faster. Laughter, cries, mindless chatter. It fills your body, but you are unable to hear what is being said. His mouth moves but you cannot hear him. Then one foot stretches out, and walks on air.
Yagi walks straight out, untamed hair moving in the wind before he turns to face you. That’s when you see it- the open wound in the middle of his stomach, insides crumbling into tar and ash. There are no blue eyes, just sunken sockets that see nothing, want nothing.
“My Quirk is gone.”
The words are spoken, the spell broken. Yagi begins to fall and you do the one thing you had done years ago, for a different man, on a different night. You reach out and grab him.
But there’s no pole to help with, the ledge too far gone. You have Yagi by the forearm but now you’re both falling, not moving any closer to the ground.
A memory blends with a nightmare, flashes of that stranger clinging to you as you struggle to pull the both of you up from the ledge, Yagi’s rotting corpse passively trying to pull away. You still can’t talk, something stopping you from it. Fear? Anger? Regret?
“Just let go.” Yagi asks, barely above a whisper
“I should be dead!” the memory cries out. “I can’t do anything now! My Quirk, My Quirk-”
“My Quirk is gone. I’m useless.”
“Let me die! PLEASE JUST LET ME DIE!”
“It’s okay, I did what I wanted.”
“LET ME GO!!”
No. You pull, bringing Yagi closer. No I won’t let you.
“It’s okay,” Yagi was still smiling- he’s never smiled at you before. “I did what I had to.”
NO! Your hand reaches out, tar and ash reversing, blood and entrails held in your fist instead. No one gets to die! NO ONE!
The world opens up, the two of you falling into it. Sweat and tears streak off your body, but the blood remains. No matter how much you try, you can’t put Yagi back together. Thousand of taunts and sneers take over the mindless chatter. Everything you’ve heard before, everything you have your own scars from.
You need someone to protect you, you know.
Just give up! You can’t be a hero without a Quirk.
You shouldn’t even be here!
Grow up and die already.
“Just let me die.” Yagi’s hands are on your shoulders, long arms somehow growing longer, pushing you back up. “It’s okay.”
No… No I won’t let you.
No one is ever going to save you.
Shut up! Shut up Shut up “Shut up shut UP SHUT UP!” Your voice finally comes back. “SHUT THE HELL UP!”
“... I’m not worth it,” Yagi is crying now, your name, your real name leaving his lips. “I’m nothing-”
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”
You punch him. Again. And Again. And then your fist, the one wrapped around his entrails, comes hurling down, hitting him in the open wound in his gut.
“No one gets die.” you spit out. “NO ONE GETS TO DIE BEFORE ME!”
You stop falling.
You wake up in a pool of sweat, sheets kicked off. You sit straight up in bed, crying. The room is pitch black, quiet, much quieter than your nightmare. It takes a minute to stop gasping for air, for the tears to finally stop.
Nothing answers back. You sigh, getting out of bed, stripping it and walking over to the washing machine. You strip down, throwing everything in and starting it. The sound is a blessing, something to focus on while you try to think. But all you feel is numb. You walk back into your room, grabbing an old but clean t-shirt to put on, some random shorts as well.
“What’s the time?” You look at the clock on the wall. “... Bit early, but fuck it.”
You pull out files from your bag, the kitchen table covered in paperwork. You start the kettle, a mug set out for when the water was hot. You’d figure out if you wanted coffee or tea later. The first file was Natsu’s report, just needed your signature really, so you skimmed it, not really paying attention. The next one was Sashi’s- this one about Yagi.
You started to skim- until a passage caught your eye.
Despite medical records indicating that Mr Yagi is Quirkless, his reflexes are faster than anyone I’ve seen- outside of All Might. One of the clerks told me that while they had been taking the stairs for the last three flights up, they tripped and fell. Mr Yagi was able to pick up the clerk and the paperwork before they even knew what was happening. He was still unable to finish filing his report for the week though.
Quirkless… How could an underground hero have ever been Quirkless? Was Yagi a vigilante before All Might picked him up? You try to think back before you took over, when Nighteye had been Sir.
“... Am I missing something?”
Quirkless… You got up and walked over to your desk, pulling out the file you had snuck home. Yagi’s medical file. There it was, the marker for Quirk- the same as your own.
“N/A” You snort. “Quirkless.”
The nightmare came back with a vengeance, staring at the long list of surgeries and complications, the image of Yagi falling apart underneath you, entrails like tar and ash. You tried to block it out, closing the file and throwing it back down.
The kettle had finished, steam rising up in the dim lit kitchen.
Toshi knocked on your office door, saw you look up and stand.
“Mr Yagi, are you free now?” you asked.
“Yes Sir. Y-you wanted to see me?”
“Yes, it’s about time we did something about your attire.” You grabbed your bag, walking out towards the elevator. “Follow me.”
You look exhausted. He didn’t say anything; he didn’t think he could if he wanted to. The ride down the elevator was quiet, you only spoke when the two of you were in the parking lot underneath the building.
“There’s a conference coming up, All Might has asked for you to join him and I. The event calls for a suit and tie, but I am requiring you to have something that fits properly.”
He nods, not speaking. You pull out car keys, unlocking and starting a company car from afar. He moves to take the backseat but you raise an eyebrow when he reaches for the door.
“You can sit in the front, Mr Yagi.”
“I thought I told you that stuttering doesn’t suit you.”
You got in the car, driving somewhere. With Toshi in the front seat. You didn’t start speaking until you were out of the parking lot.
“Did you lose your Quirk?”
What? Toshi froze, staring straight out of the passenger window. He could hear your hands adjusting on the steering wheel, the plastic squeaking as you tried to not grip it. Then there was your thumb tapping on the steering wheel, growing impatient.
“I don’t want to do what I did last time,” you start. “but if you don’t answer me right now I will turn over every goddamn hospital and police station to find out.” You took a deep breath before continuing. “When you got injured, did you lose your Quirk?”
“... Yes.” he lied.
The light turned green, the cars moving now.
“... Thank you.” you said, your voice softer now. “For answering me.”
“Well,” Toshi stole a glance at your face. “You are All Might’s secretary.”
“We both are… but I see your point.”
“You’re very argumentative, you know that?”
You don’t react. You just focus on driving, winding through Tokyo, heading towards the east side. Toshi looked over- you must have not slept at all last night, dark circles underneath your eyes, your tie crooked to one side. It was never crooked like that. You pulled over to a small road, parking on the side. A Cafe? You move to get out of the car, but he moved a little faster.
“Sir Suits, wait.” Toshi walked around, standing in front of you as you stood up.
“What is it?” your shield was back up, the hard glare, the straight posture.
“Um, it’s- your tie.”
“What about it?”
There’s a brief moment where it looks like you want to object, but it fades away. He brings his hands up, adjusting the tie back into place, brushing non existent dirt off your shoulders. He pauses, waiting for you to do something. You don’t, just kept staring at him.
“T-that should do it!” he smiles, “Um, what are we doing here?”
You blink, the harsh figure that he- that Yagi- had grown used to gone. You looked… haunted.
“Sir? A-are you okay?”
“... Coffee! We need coffee, if I go in without it-” You closed the car door, sidestepping out of the way, walking inside the cafe.
He didn’t go in, watched through the window as whoever was behind the counter greeted you. He heard the barista asks you if you were alright- he wished he hadn’t heard the answer.
“Just a nightmare, can I get the usual, please?” Your back was to him.
A nightmare? Was it as bad as his was last night? Did you have them often? Was that the reason you were so tired? Toshi took a half step before, almost coming into the open aired cafe before you spoke up again.
“Oh, almost forgot, I’ll need a green tea as well. You have jasmine on hand?”
He perked up.
“Sure thing! Sugar?”
“Some honey. If not then raw is fine- half of one though.”
A few minutes passed, with you finally walking out with a carry tray, three cups on it.
“This way.” you handed him the tray.
He followed you, looking down at the tea.
“How did you know how I like my tea?” he asked
“It’s my job.” you answered, checking your phone while you moved.
Liar. He smiled, walking behind you.
Chapter 23: Piece of the Puzzle
It was… very you, the small shop. Old world charm tucked into a corner, a cigar shop on the left, a brand convenience store on the right. The door had a copper bell, the room felt warmer than it actually was. Toshi’s eyes wandered, saw the bundles of fabric that lined one wall, muted colors and patterns with the occasional pastel that was tucked in between it all. Behind the glass counter was a wall of small drawers, each one had a different handle. Looking closer, it was buttons, showing what each drawer no doubt contained.
There were three mannequins in the center of the room, dressed just like the three in the window display- immaculate. Cultured. Stiff. And each of the mannequins were a different body type. He put down the tray, taking the tea out while still looking around in awe. You sat on a barstool by the glass counter, ties and various other accessories on display inside the case, drinking your own coffee. Toshi wandered around, wanting to reach out and feel the fabric with his fingertips. There was the sound of a curtain being drawn back but he didn’t look to see who or what it was. Instead he focused on the plagues that were on the wall, the simple alias and awards pressed into wood and gold plating.
“Suits! Darling, you’re just in time!” Came a voice.
“Tailor, brought you a new client.” you said.
“That’s two in one season! My my, you’re making up for last time.”
“Give me a break, Tailor. I was busy!”
“Well, spring is upon us! And you know what that means.”
“Did you really do it?”
“Tragically no, I didn’t have enough material for a shirt… but behold! My Cherry Blossom accessories!”
“Bowties, Hankies, cloth buttons… you’ve outdone yourself.”
“Of course I have, otherwise I’d have to change my name to something else! Now, who’s the tall blonde?”
Toshi turned around and saw the man standing behind the counter. Salt and pepper hair that was slicked back, a vest that had four pockets sewn on and a measuring tape hanging off his shoulders. You pulled out the last coffee, handing it to the man who was staring at him over oval frames that sit low on his nose.
“Nice to meet you,” he smiled, teeth stained from coffee and cigarettes. “My name is Tailor.”
“I know, I know, you’re just dying to know my real name, aren’t you?” Tailor chuckled, holding his coffee close to his heart. “But I’m afraid my clients don’t get that information. Sorry, marks of the trade and all that.”
“Of course,” Toshi walked over to stand next to you. “I wouldn’t expect many Support makers use their real names anymore.”
“... Suits.” Tailor’s head swiveled at you, eyes narrowed but a playful smirk on his face.
You held your hands up in mock surrender, amusement on your face.
“Sorry, it’s just-” Toshi pointed behind him. “That plaque in the back. It’s for making specialized fabric, right?”
“I, well.” The man seemed to do well with praise. “It’s nothing really. Just some durable silk byproduct that can be woven with carbon fiber in order to make a thinner bullet proof vest, nothing more.”
“That’s incredible!” Toshi said. “That must have been hard to do.”
“Well it’s not a walk in the park, mind you, the expenses for patenting the damn thing was hell on earth! But I like a challenge now and then.” Tailor beamed. “Do you know the trade?”
“This is Yagi Toshinori.” you spoke up. “He needs a fitted suit for the APHA conference that’s being held in Seoul.”
“They changed locations again this year? You would think those pencil pushers would commit to something for once.”
“Careful,” you laugh. “You’re talking to two ‘pencil pushers’ here.”
“Oh I don’t count you, Suits. Yagi was it? I’ll have to take your measurements in the back- Suits can you-”
“Give me your designs, I’ll choose my pieces for Spring.”
“That’s my little patron!”
Tailor crooked a finger at Toshi, walking over to the drawn curtain on the side. Toshi looked at you but you were back to looking at the newspaper, reading it instead of looking at him. He set his tea down next to you, walking further inside with Tailor. The curtain was pulled closed, Tailor speaking as he walked around Toshi.
“You certainly are a tall one, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone try to hide thier build as much as you. The hair is a mess, but there’s nothing I can do about that- must be part of your charm, hm? And your hands. My my, these are not unlike some of my more distinguished patrons. Scars and calluses, it’ll pop out with a starched cuff. Well, if you can strip down for me and stand on the podium.”
“Oh you can keep your boxers but your current clothes are too baggy for me to get any accurate measurements.”
“I- I can’t.”
Because I’m hideous.
“I have a scar.”
Tailor pauses, then sighs.
“Mr Yagi,” the smaller gentlemen turned Yagi towards the three mirrors. “Do you see those photographs on my wall? Each one of them is a client of this establishment. If I didn’t make their suits, then my father before me did. I’ve done heroes, chief of police, yakuza heads, even villains who now sit in Tartarus. I’ve seen an assortment of scars and burns throughout my life. Whatever you have, however large your scar is I can almost guarantee you, I have seen someone much, much worse.”
Toshi scanned each photograph, recognizing some of them. An old enemy, a drug kingpin, the past and current chief of police. Top ranked heroes alongside smaller ones. There was one photo that caught his attention- the only one that wasn’t framed. It was you- he recognized your figure in the photo, your face not turned to the camera. He walked closer, saw the baggy clothes that you had been wearing in the photograph, the black and white ink not hiding how thin you look- something inside tugs at him.
“... If you really don’t want to take off your shirt, I do have a camisole that you can wear.” Tailor spoke up.
“... That would be good, thank you.”
“Of course, I’ve left it here on the chair. When you’re ready, just poke your head out and we can start.”
Tailor left, leaving Toshi alone in the room. He heard your voice outside, muffled by the thick curtain that separates the two rooms. He turned around, so as not to see his reflection, quietly stripping down to boxers, putting the white shirt on. This was different from a hero suit fitting- but there were parts that were similar. Toshi smiled to himself, toeing off his shoes, turning around to see his reflection.
The lighting is warm, much warmer than his bathroom light. But it cannot hide the fact that this form is still losing weight, the muscle mass that he did have diminishing rapidly. The shadows around his eyes were growing, cheeks taunt. One hand comes up to his neck, maps the way his adam apple sticks out more, the lack of muscle making him look more like a giraffe. A sickly, gangly giraffe.
The photo in the corner of the mirror caught his eye again. You were caught in this moment, not able to hide from the camera completely but just enough, just so that your face is not in view. There are dark circles underneath Tailors eyes; it’s either dirt underneath the fingernails or chipped nail polish, he can’t quite tell. Toshi walks forward, studying the image. You’re thin, skin and bone and nothing like the person outside, the one he’s gotten used to.
“Are you ready- ah.” Tailor’s voice was just behind him.
Toshi looked over his shoulder, apologizing before standing on the raised platform. Tailor held a small smile on his face, quietly going to work.
“T-That photograph.” Toshi finally spoke up after a moment. “It’s…”
“It’s Suits, yes. It was taken some years back, actually. Around the time that we first met.”
“... How did you two meet.”
“They saved my life.” Tailor got up, measuring Toshi’s neck and shoulders. “Truth is, I don’t know what I’d do without them.”
“Oh sure, they might come across as a hard ass and take someone’s head off for the smallest of things. But it’s only because they believe that someone can be better.”
“Is that so?”
“Of course! When I first met them I… well I lost something that was a part of me.”
A sinking feeling started to form in Toshi’s gut.
“I had a client once, relatively plain really but after- something had happened. I don’t know how or what, the doctors were baffled but my Quirk just… vanished.”
Toshi felt his heart stop. He scanned the photos on the wall, tried to find him, to find something- but there was nothing. Of course there was nothing. While he looked for an enemy that didn’t exist anymore, Tailor continued to speak.
“Well I got drunk, drunk enough to climb to the highest building I could find- and tried to jump. Well, Suits appeared seemingly out of nowhere, screaming their head off, calling me an idiot, among other things, but dragged my sorry ass back up.”
“W-what happened after?”
“I passed out. Woke up in some hospital with them sitting there, looking like a homeless tramp.” Tailor chuckled to himself, measuring Toshi’s inseam. “So we made a deal: I would dress them, for saving my life. And they would help keep me busy, bring in other clients, the kind that aren’t going to ask for anything more complicated than a different cut for their jacket. We’ve been friends ever since.”
Tailor finished, moving over to a small book on the table, jotting down some numbers and his name. Toshi stood there, completely still. He’s so… open. Toshi didn’t understand it.
But then again… Sashi was open as well. And Natsu, to a lesser extent. It dawned on him that you surround yourself with people who wore their heart on their sleeve- was that on purpose? Was it to make it look like you were more level-headed? Before Nighteye had left, you had been like that, smiling and laughing, speaking your mind openly… you still did but- but it seemed muted, compared to who you surround yourself with. Tailor looked up, staring at him.
“Suits told me. About your Quirk, or well, lack of one.” He said.
He wanted to be mad at you for that. But then again… Tailor was Quirkless now. Because of him. Instead he felt guilty, and ashamed.
“... If you don’t mind me asking, but what was your Quirk?” Toshi asks
“Oh, it was Scope. I was able to take one look at something and know it’s measurements without any instruments. Very useful for a tailor, no?”
The ball of dread only grew larger as he asked his second question.
“Could you, perhaps, have been able to measure the distance between things?”
“Well, I didn’t train myself for that, but sure, I suppose. Why do you ask?”
Because I think I know who took your Quirk.
“Just curious, that’s all.”
“... Alright!” Tailor smiles, already moving past the tense moment. “Well, I’ll make you two suits for the conference and throw in an extra shirt. I’ll send the finished project to Might Productions- who’s paying?”
“No he’s not!” your voice rang out. “Might Productions is paying!”
“I’ll pay, it’s fine.” Toshi whispered, quickly moving over to his pants, pulling out his wallet and handing over a credit card. “It’s fine.”
“Tailor if you take his card I’ll wring your neck!” you shouted.
“... Whatever kind of love spat this is, I want no part in it!” Tailor spoke up, winking at Toshi. “You two can sort out the bill when it gets to that fancy tower of yours.”
Toshi went bright red, before coughing up blood.
Seoul is just as you remembered it. Walking out of the airplane you were bombarded by Cantonese, Japanese, Mandarin, and English before Korean. The streets were as packed as Tokyo’s but instead of the conservative fashion on the main roads, every subculture was out on full display, groups of neon and pastels mingling and blending with black and leather and yes, business attire. And they were all here to see All Might.
“Sir Suits?” a chauffeur was waiting for you near the baggage claim.
“Right this way please, we already have your luggage.”
“Thank you. Mr Yagi, stay close.”
“Huh? Oh, um, yes. Right.” Yagi was even more hunched in this crowded area, like he was trying to hide his tall figure.
You pulled out the specialized shades that Tailor had made. A parting gift, just in case you see something I like. Something indeed- the lens kicked on, scanning the escort for weapons and armour. You smiled, saw the concealed handgun and Quirk arm bracers… along with the maker’s weak points in the product. A tap on bridge of frames turned off the programming, becoming exactly what you wanted- simple sunglasses to block out the midday sun.
Yagi, on the other hand, kept looking around the streets, mouth open slightly. It had been a month since your nightmare- long enough to have gotten over that… feeling of pity. While the two of you were here in Seoul, Natsu and Sashi were going to quietly drop a summary of their observation of Yagi’s work as the department head. Then once you got back, all you had to do was pick the better reports for specifics, write up the assessment, and send it to HR. Enjoy Seoul while you can, you won’t ever come back after this.
“Mr Yagi,” you didn’t even bother to move your head. “When is the package suppose to be arriving in Seoul?”
The escort was trying very hard to look like he wasn’t eavesdropping.
“L-later today, Sir.”
“Good, that’ll give us time to prep. Mister… I’m sorry what was your name?”
“Mr Kim, if you’d be so kind as to take Mr Yagi and the luggage to the hotel. I have somewhere else to be.”
“Of course, Sir Suits, however I was told-”
“Thank you but I’ll be fine on my own.”
You veered left, towards a sleek black car that pulled up to the side of the road. The window rolled down, someone wolf whistling. You didn’t need to look back to see Yagi’s jaw drop as you got into the backseat, the bass vibrating off the concrete from within the car. The driver put the car in neutral for a moment, cackling before speeding back into traffic.
“You better not kill me, Shin.” you said, looking over at the driver with a grin.
“AY MAN YOU WAS THE ONE WHO CALLED ME!” Shin rolled up the window, looking at you from his rear view mirror. “Ooh shit someone got some fresh threads! Who you wearing, looks custom.”
“That’s because it is- and he doesn’t leave Tokyo.”
“Tch, well he should! DAMN it’s good to see you brah! We ain’t seen each other since, shit, Melbourne?”
“Hmm, how’s the wife?”
“Divorced.” Shin shrugged, still smiling
“And the boy toy?”
“Man he was nuts! Cute but nuts! Left his ass a long time ago.”
“Oppa Shin still can’t keep anyone.” you laugh. “You going to be at the APHA conference?”
“Nah, not really. But I got you this!”
Shin’s Quirk was Oni- his blue skin contrasted his red eyes and long black hair. You had kept in touch, mostly because it was the polite thing to do. He kept in touch in order to try and get access to the Tokyo nightlife.
Shin passed over a folder, black nails filed to look like claws with a gold french finish at the tips. You opened it up to see the various events going on in Seoul at the same time as the conference- concerts, official meetings, smaller non-hero centric coventions…
“Congrats on the Minister of Justice.”
“Guy’s a stick in the mud, always going on about how pop idols are ruining Korea- can you believe that prick?”
“Then maybe you should get in the hero business.”
“And dress like you? PASS!”
“I choose to dress like this- but you could dress like a pimp if you got next to the right kind of hero.”
“Nah, I already hate dress shirts when I gotta wear them during press releases man, I’ll stick with idols thank you very much! Oh, speaking of which- I got this new idol, they need to be seen with a big wig hero but she ain’t want anything to do with OUR heros if you know what I’m saying.”
“You have a picture of her?”
“Back of the folder brah!”
“... Wings. White wings… Oh Shin...”
“Ain’t she cute! Her folks are pretty chill and all but she wants the whole purity thing for her image right now- figure you might know someone who’d look good.”
“Let me guess- you want the gossip rags to run wild with some rumour that she’s not the ‘Perfect Angel’, right?”
“Noo but now that you mention it… that’d be pretty good huh?”
“I can’t do anything this trip but if you happen to be in Tokyo I might be able to do something.”
“Aw really!? Dope brah!”
“Where are you taking me?”
“You remember that little Mandu shop we went to last time?”
“That place is still open?”
“YEA DAWG! LET’S GO GET SOME DUMPLINGS!”
Toshi waited at the bar, looking down the glass of water he had in his hands. Tailor’s work was… comfortable. It shouldn’t be- it should be stiff and pinch him in his armpits or maybe threaten to pop at the seems. Or sag off his body, not fit this scrawny frame he was in now, like a burlap sack. It didn’t. It fit him perfectly… and he wanted to hate it. Someone leaned on the counter, speaking in Japanese.
“Gin and dry. Can I get a double?”
The bartender smiled politely but pointed at the sign just above him- it was in Korean and English, asking that whoever was ordering, did so in either language. Toshi saw the cuff peak out of the suit the other patron was wearing- wait. That’s… are those cherry blossoms on his shirt?
“I- sorry I don’t-”
“Gin and Canada Dry?” Toshi asked in English, then pointed at the man leaning next to him. “Double shot?”
“Of course, that’ll be ten.” The bartender spoke back in English.
“He says it’ll be ten won.” Toshi translated, finally looking over- only to come face to face with a metal jaw.
“... Thanks!” the stranger had two sets of arms. And a button down that was covered in cherry blossoms. “Here you go.”
The bartender took the bill, making the drink in front of the two of them. Toshi blinked. He… he recognized this guy. But from where?
“So, you in for the conference?” His smile was crooked, but somehow it offset the scar across his left eye.
“Y-Yes.” Toshi sat up a little straighter, offering his hand. “Yagi.”
“Yagi… Fourth. Fourth Kind.” He shook it with one of his lower hand. “Nice tie by the way.”
“Huh?” Toshi looked down- it was the same material as Fourth’s shirt. “Oh! I- It was a gift and well, I-”
“Relax, Yagi.” Fourth laughed, nodding as the bartender finally came back with his drink. “Tailor does good work, but he’s known for… leaving his mark.”
Toshi felt some color start to rise up his neck. It was then he realized he was still holding Fourth’s hand. He let go, going back to holding his water. Fourth kept smiling, taking a sip from his drink while staring at him.
The blonde gulped, before trying to focus on anything else. Toshi caught sight of you walking into the hotel bar- with what looked like a street devil. You were laughing- the grip on his glass grew just a little tighter as he saw the blue skinned man swing an arm around you, talking animatedly.
“Something wrong?” Fourth looked over where Toshi was looking, only to choke on his drink, quickly moving to have his back to the door. “Fuck they’re here.”
Wait… is he scared of Suits? You were walking over to the bar, your companion speaking in Korean with the bartender before turning over to continue talking with you. In English. Yagi watched you through the mirror behind the bar, Fourth Kind and your companion in between you both.
“So, like I was saying, I’m standing there between the latest craze in my idol and this american rocker and I’ve gotta explain, SOMEHOW that no, we do not sell out our model idols on the low.”
“Shin you mad cunt!” you laughed out loud, head thrown back. “You think I’d ever gonna get away with something like that?”
“C’mon, surely you slipped a little something something under the feds, yeah?”
“Nope. Never.” your smile was infectious… as far as Toshi can see through the mirror behind the bar.
“I call bullshit! You were such a shit stirrer in Mellie! Not even a little?” the street devil had Oni tusks that curved out of his mouth, making him look more and more like some kind of villain.
“Well… there was one time.”
“OH DO TELL!”
“Keep your voice down, ass!” you smack him in the chest, giggling.
“Fuck off mate- hey, ain’t that your secertary?”
“Who-” you turned around, Fourth Kind blocking the view. You switched back to Japanese. “Ah. Fourth Kind, so good to see you.”
“Sir, I didn’t know you were going to be here.” Fourth said, voice gruff now.
“Hm, representing the government this time around?”
“I- as a matter of fact yes. The Hero Public Safety Commission is interested in what the Asian Pacific Hero Association is wanting to implement.”
“Oh I’m sure.” You smile- one Toshi recognized for when you weren’t impressed. “Not for any other reason.”
“What are you implying, Sir?” The fighter now turned to face you, ignoring Yagi completely.
“Tell me, did our dear Tailor send you with a parting gift? Could be a pen or maybe… some sunglasses?”
There’s a pause.
“He would and did. See you’ve met the PA for my hero. Mr Yagi.”
“S-sir. Good to see you.” Yagi stood up, standing to Fourth’s side, still holding his water.
“Bags in the rooms?”
“Excellent. Well! I won’t keep your time, looks like you two were just getting acquainted after all. Shin.”
“What?” he asked in English.
“Get your shit and let’s go back up.” you had switched to English. “I’ll tell you up there.”
Oh… this is going to be an interesting trip. Toshi desperately wished he could drink at that very moment.
IF YOU THOUGHT FK WAS JUST A ONE TIME CAMEO BOY DO I HAVE NEWS FOR YOU!!!
You knocked on Yagi’s door- only to be greeted by All Might. He quickly closed the door, bringing one finger up to his mouth. Silently you nodded, walking next door and opening it, letting your boss inside before he spoke.
“So sorry, but Yagi isn’t feeling well today. Guess it’s just us for the day!”
“... Any reason why? Mr Yagi looked fine yesterday.”
“Oh well, he…” All Might scratched at the back of his head. “He’s… got a stomach ache!”
Wow. He’s a terrible liar. You smile.
“The stomach ache wouldn’t happen to have a name, would it?”
“It’s nothing- let’s go over the schedule for today.”
All Might smiled, waving to every starstruck person the two of you crossed paths with. You were walking in front of him, two security guards walking behind. He thought it was funny- he’s the number one hero, why did he need an escort?
“The actual conference isn’t until later tomorrow, so today is just for the public and small local heroes. There’s a small booth that was given to us- but then they heard you were coming so they’ve given us a whole hall.”
“Right, just a Q&A and a photo op?”
“That’s right- There is a translator on hand but they do Japanese to Korean. I recommend you stick with Japanese today, sir.”
“And where will you be, Suits?”
“With Mr Yagi being ill today, I'll be going to the other booths in order to catch up on new regulations for the other countries. I was hoping that the two of us could split the floor but…”
Your phone started to buzz in your pocket, so you answered it before you could finish your statement. You seemed happy that ‘Yagi’ wasn’t here. All Might didn’t know why… at least they’re happy.
The hall already had a line of people waiting to go inside- it was just a glimpse as you and All Might entered in through the back, the two guards staying behind to watch the door.
You weaved through the hallway until you reached a room, walking in. He followed, saw a reinforced chair and refreshments. You were still on your phone speaking quietly in English.
“Yes… No I don’t think I can do anything this trip… Well have A.G. come to Tokyo then- first off, you’re entire business practice originated in Japan. Ass. Yeah, I’ll be out shortly… Right… Okay. I need to let go, see you near the Australian section. Right, Ta.” you hung up.
“Who was that?” he asked in Japanese.
“Not important, do you know what people are going to be asking you out there?”
“Probably the same thing as every other event.” He smiled. “Why I wanted to be a hero, what’s my quirk, favourite things, stuff like that!”
“... No.” you were laughing, the one that stayed in the back of your throat, how you would lean on one leg, cocking your head to the side. “This isn’t a fan service event- it’s a political one. Most of the people out there either run hero agencies or work with them.”
“Ah.” He swallowed. “Maybe you should be talking then.”
“I can’t- Mr Yagi is ill so I have to go out and do his job today, otherwise I would gladly sit next to you as your ‘Sir’ out there.”
Of course. All MIght smiled, before letting a big breath. Me and my fucking mouth.
“Relax, All Might.” you pulled out something- a small book? “This should help, I had someone at the agency help me figure out what kind of questions they’re going to throw at you and then wrote out some responses. I apologize for the shorthand- you have ten minutes with me before I have to leave.”
He sat down in the chair, watched as you came to stand next to him, looking over his shoulder. Your hand was gentle, resting in between his shoulder blades. It was… calming.
“Let’s start with this- Might Productions is a privately owned agency, with you holding about forty five percent of the shares, and employees holding a cumulative thirty percent. That leaves about a quarter of our shares to be traded on the Japanese stock market.”
“Okay… why is that important?”
“Basically, because of limitations from the Japanese government. Founding heroes cannot own more than half of their agencies shares- hence the forty-five for you. But by keeping seventy-five percent of the shares owned by workers inside the agency, including yourself, we’re able to control and run ourselves with little influences and pressure from outside forces.
“Anyone can purchase stocks and shares- including villains. That’s the beauty of the free market. But the flip side is that if a villain bought enough shares of a publicly traded company, they can influence what it does. So we limit how many shares are on the market, and thus limit external influence. This is more of a financial question though… Should we try the next one?”
“No, I think got this- it’s just how we’re organized right?” All Might flipped the page. Oh that’s cute. You had made a small diagram of the different departments and how the interacted. “We’re part Divisional right? We have different departments for regions in Japan which are split by merchandise, crime, and franchisement- but we also have marketing divisions and Human Resources which work with all the departments at once.”
“... That’s right.” you looked at him. “You’re a quick learner.”
“Just had a good teacher.” he smiles, leaning into the hand on his back.
“I- I’m sorry sir, I don’t remember explaining this to you.”
He blinked. Oh! You hadn’t explained this to All Might ; you had explained it to Yagi. He turned his head to speak up- you were incredibly close. He could smell your breath- coffee and mint. Your eyes were focused on his lips. He swallowed again, his eyes flickering as your tongue peaked out to wet your lips- shit now he was looking at your lips.
“... Looks like you don’t need my help for this.” you whisper.
“I- I wouldn’t mind if you stayed, Suits.”
You inhaled, holding your breath. He looked up, saw that you were staring straight back. Your mouth opened, as if you wanted to say something- but stopped. The hand on his back left; you stood up and started walking towards the door. He saw you straighten your jacket, patting your pocket to make sure your phone was there. As you turn the door handle you looked over your shoulder.
“I’ll be back after the event, someone will lead to you the hall. Good luck, All Might.”
You left the room.
“You seem to be doing better, Mr Yagi.”
“Sui- Sir! What brings you here?”
“... To the bar?” You raise an eyebrow. “I wanted a drink. Obviously.”
“R-right of course.”
Toshi tried to catch himself, but ended up coughing for a while into his sleeve. Instinctively you pulled out the pocket corner from your suit, handing it to him so he could wipe off his mouth.
“Thanks.” he croaked.
“Keep it- and get healthier faster, we need you tomorrow.”
“Yes, we. ” You had a drink placed in front of you without you even needing to call the bartender over. “You were brought on this trip to be his PA. You might as well play the part.”
“Right, sorry. I’ll be there tomorrow- I promise!”
“Good.” you weren’t even looking at him- instead you were looking at someone sitting on the other side of the bar, raising your glass to the woman. “Also, wanted to give you some… advice.”
“If you’re gonna hook up with someone, try to make it someone you might not have to see in Tokyo.”
Toshi was in the middle of taking a sip of his water when you said that. You watch from the corner of your eye, completely unfazed. The woman who you had nodded to was staring at you the two of you, but you just winked while Toshi wiped his mouth again. You probably thought he hadn’t seen it; he had, along with the way she bit her bottom lip.
“I don’t know what you mean.” Toshi finally spoke, perhaps with a bit more venom than he meant.
“Oh please, I’m not a moron.” you snap back, focusing your attention on him again. “Fourth Kind was practically drooling last night.”
Wait… he was? Why? You blink slowly, taking a rather large swig of the whiskey you had.
“I’m not your mother, so do what you want Mr Yagi.” you began. “You’re an attractive man, there’s no denying it- I don’t know what happened that made you switch to office work and quite frankly I don’t care.
“If a one night stand is what it takes for you to gain some confidence, then by all means! Sleep with whoever catches your fancy. Go hunting, as they say. But my advice? Don’t eat where you shit- stay away from people in the office, and stay away from people who are in Tokyo. We do occasionally have to work with other Pros.”
“... Stay out of my personal life.” Toshi sat up straighter, glaring down at you.
You snorted, shaking your head. The whiskey was finished in a single toss back. Toshi saw some movement by the door- it was Fourth Kind, this time in a plain white button down. When he looked back at you, you were smirking. Like you knew something he didn’t. Maybe you did .
“Happy hunting.” you sneer.
Toshi watched you walk over to the lady who had been staring at you, leaning on the bar next to her, back away from him. He ground his teeth when he saw her put a hand on your shoulder, messing with your hair. That should be me. A part of him felt like going to the bathroom, damn his limit, steal you away like he did last time, just to hold you closer, to force you to finally touch him. To love him. That should be me… It should be All Might… but it’s not. Not tonight.
Fourth came to stand where you had been, lifting a finger up and then pointing at Toshi.
“Double and refill?” Fourth’s english was broken, but the bartender seemed to understand.
“So,” Fourth switched back to Japanese, looking at Toshi. “Busy day?”
“... Sorry, just- distracted.” Toshi stopped staring at you and the woman, paying attention to Fourth. “You said something?”
“You’re funny.” That crooked smile again- somehow it soften the hard exterior. “I like it.”
“I… Thank you.”
Fourth was talking, saying something but Toshi wasn’t paying attention. Instead he watched the lady and you leave the bar, the woman leaning heavily on your arm, chin resting on your shoulder.
The man from yesterday, the one that looked like a blue-skinned demon, was at the door way. He said something to the both of you- the lady left your arm to attach herself to the other man. You gave a mock bow before leaving- towards the elevators up to the rooms.
“Hey, Yagi. You okay?” Fourth asked.
“... I’m sorry, just distracted.” Toshi took another sip of his water.
“Hey, tell me something- what’re they like? Sir Suits, I mean.”
“They’re… ambitious. Driven. Kind.”
“Really?” Fourth sipped his drink, sitting down in the chair. “Didn’t get that when I met them.”
“You’ve met them before?”
“Well, it was brief- I guess I pissed them off.”
“What did you do?”
“Said sorry.” Fourth laughed. “Can you believe it? Most people don’t get aggressive if someone apologizes, but they did.”
“Listen, the stuff here is too damn expensive but I don’t really know Korean. It might help if I got someone with me to go out on the town.”
“S-sorry?” Toshi looked up at the fighter.
“Well,” Fourth rubbed at his neck. “You know English, right? Between the two of us, we might find a good bar. Somewhere quiet... and alone. Private like.”
Oh. Oh god Suits was right. Oh no.
“That- can I get a raincheck? I’m sorry, tomorrow is the big day and I-”
“Sure. I don’t mind.” Fourth was still smiling, shrugging off the rejection with ease.
“You- you don’t?”
“They call me the Chivalrous Hero, you know.” The bastard actually winked at that. “I can go at whatever pace you’re comfortable with.”
“... Thank you.” He meant it.
“Anytime. Mind if I walk you to your room?”
“I-I’ll be fine.” Toshi got up, looking at the other hero.
“... Good night, Yagi.” Fourth smiled, raising his glass towards him.
“... Good night, Fourth Kind.”
huehuehuehuehuehue Get Ready huehuehuehue
There’s a difference between standing on the top of a building and standing on a balcony. For one, the railing that you were leaning on was solid, the glass blocking the wind from hitting your bare legs. For another, you could look up and see the next floor’s balcony, and to your left, about three rooms down, was another salaryman, smoking a cigarette before heading to bed- or perhaps to go back to whoever he had picked up for the night.
“... Man I need to get laid.” you snort, laughing to yourself.
Seoul was still running a mile a minute below your feet. A plane soared past, the engines just as distant as the cars below. There was still a lump sitting at the bottom of your throat, standing like this.
Shin had snuck in at some point earlier today, dropping off a bottle of some local distellary’s finest. It seemed like a waste to not drink it before you had to leave- not like you could take it back to Japan, knowing Shin’s taste.
You take another sip, hoping the alcohol would dislodge the ball of nerves that refused to go away. It didn’t, but the burn was nice, smooth and golden, the smoked oak and honey resting in the back of your throat.
“I thought you didn’t like heights.”
You were buzzed enough that you didn’t jump at the sound of All Might’s voice. He was in a black shirt and sleep pants. Is there anything that he owns that isn’t skin tight? You smile, shrugging a shoulder while you lift your partially full glass.
“That’s what this is for.”
“Oh, of course!” he laughs, loud and iconic. It grates on your nerves but you try to ignore it. “Sorry I ran off like that- earlier today, I mean.”
“I’m sure you had your reasons.” you take another sip watching as leans the railing on his personal balcony. “Just remember you don’t have permission to save people while we’re visiting Seoul.”
“How could I forget.” All Might grumbled, the iconic smile souring for half a moment. He moved over to stand closer, towards the edge of his balcony, looking at you. “... You’re wearing a bathrobe.”
“Hm, the tub in my room is massive- takes some time for it to fill up.”
You look over at All Might. The backlight that came from both of your rooms tried to fight the shadows around his face- but his eyes were still hidden. You stood up, moving to stand across from him, resting against your own railing. If you concentrate, you can see that hint of blue underneath shadow.
“There, that’s better.” you smile, taking another sip. “Sorry, did you want some?”
“... Sure, why not.”
The glass was dwarfed in his hands, but it gave you an excuse to watch, to study his face like this. The slight bob of his adam apple, the heavy guttural moan the moment the liquor hits his tongue. How that small fleck of blue disappeared, probably because he had closed his eyes.
The sound he makes- you’re glad that there’s a barrier in between you both. Low and deep, a hum that sounds more like a rumble as the bourbon rests on his tongue, coating his throat. He finishes, swirling the liquid in the glass for a moment, blue eyes looking at you, half mast.
“That’s- that’s really good.” his voice dropped an octave.
“Yea, it’s a local brand.”
“... you know, it’s been a while since I’ve had a drink.”
“Really?” you lean your head on your knuckles, taking back the glass, letting your fingers drag across the back of his. “When was the last time?”
“Now let me think.” He was smiling- the one that was softer, not showing his teeth. The one that you liked. “I think… it was when we got ramen together.”
“Oh yeah, the sake!” you laugh, grabbing the bottle and refiling your glass. “That was some really good food.”
“I’m glad you liked it.”
“Glad you showed me that place… even if I can’t find it again.”
“Guess I’ll just have to steal you away again.”
“Let’s take a taxi next time- I don’t…”
“Like heights, I remember.”
There’s a lull in the conversation, the soft laugh that escapes you both after a moment. You take another sip, offering the glass over again. He hesitates for a moment, before taking the offered drink. Even with the small gap in between, you can feel the heat radiating off his body.
Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the fact that you haven’t had time to be like this in a while. This... vulnerable. You’re longing for something. Something more… or maybe it was something ordinary? You refill the glass again, not sure which is more intoxicating: the drink or the way All Might would melt when the glass touched his lips.
“I’m not keeping you, am I?” he asks.
“No, why do you say that?” you ask back.
“Well, I heard a rumor.”
“Mhm…” he pauses to take another sip. “people tend to… use these sort of events to find someone. For the night. I didn’t know if-”
“I don’t sleep around while I’m working.” you smile to lighten the harsh tone.
He looks up. Is that shock on his face?
“I know what others get up to.” you say. “In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what Mr Yagi is doing right now- sort of a passage to the salaryman life, you know? But… I don’t do that sort of thing.”
“It’s not professional.” You take the glass back to have another sip before answering. “I… wasn’t very comfortable with it. It wasn’t- it wasn’t real .”
“Oh, How so?” he took back the glass.
“Call me old fashioned, but I think you should know someone first before you fuck them.”
You had to bite your lip to stop yourself from laughing as All Might choked on his sip. It didn’t stop you from chuckling when he gave an incredible look. The wind picked up, feeling cool on your bare skin.
“This is nice.” you close your eyes letting the wind take you for half a moment. “I like talking to you, All Might.”
“... I like you too, Suits.”
You open your eyes. He’s staring. It’s not the alcohol that’s making you feel warm now.
“I- I should check the bath, make sure it hasn’t overflowed.” you say, unsure as to why.
“Right.” he holds the glass close to his chest.
Neither of you moved.
“... Keep the glass. I have the bottle and all.” You make the first move, pushing away from the railing.
“Tomorrow night then? Same time?” He leans forward, resting the glass on the tips of his fingers, thumb rubbing the rim back and forth. You force yourself not to think of how it must feel.
“... Yeah. Yeah I’d like that. Good night, All Might.”
“Good night.” You moved to close the door but caught a whisper.
You think it was your name. It could have just been the drink. Yea. The drink, that was it.
I like hard liquors and ciders... but only sweet ones b/c I'm still a Huge Ass Baby when it comes to drinking.
Chapter 27: Bourbon and Gin
You were pissed. Yagi was sitting next to you in the seminar, notebook and pen in hand, looking dwarfed his hands. You were sitting with your arms crossed, leg bouncing as you tried to not grind your teeth into dust.
This morning All Might wasn’t to be found. In fact all you had was some note he had given Yagi. The ink was still wet when you had gotten it. In a rage you pulled it out, looking over the words.
Found known villain- will be out for the whole day. Will return after mission. -All Might
You were fucking pissed. You forced your jaw to unlock, shoving the note back into your pocket.
“S-Sir?” Yagi asked.
“What.” you snapped. “What do you want?”
“If you’re going to say something just fucking say it.” you growled. “I don’t have the patience to play your shit game, Yagi.”
“I-I’m sure he really wanted to be here- but work and things can get in the-”
“We don’t have the goddamn permission to be doing hero work in this country.” You took a deep breath, trying to stay quiet and remain calm. The last half didn’t work. “This is fucking childish and impulsive. I’m gonna kill that bastard.”
“The fucking nerve! Did he do this with you- you know what? I don’t care.”
Someone sat down behind next you. A quick glance told you it was Shin… in a holographic vest and black shirt.
“You look tacky.” you said in English
“Nice to see you too, Suits.” Shin smiled, curved fangs polished. “You must be Mr Yagi, nice to meet ya!”
“... Hello.” Yagi responded back in English, taking Shin’s offered hand.
“Shut up it’s about to start.” You lean forward, not caring that you broke up the handshake.
“Thank you all for coming, before we begin we ask that everyone switch on their translators…”
Shin had somehow grown more obnoxious with time. Or maybe it was the fact that he had decided to drag you out in order to ‘lighten up’. The gin bar you were currently sitting in was filled with dark wood and dim lighting- not unlike the ones you two frequented in college.
“Why the hell am I here again?” you look over at Shin.
“Uh, because you nearly took that Yagi’s guy head off.”
“So why the fuck are we sitting on the second floor?”
“Well, I’m a member here. And this is my little balcony. C’mon Suits, you gotta lighten up!”
“I’m fine.” you lied.
“Fucker, I know you are not fine- when was the last time you got laid?” Shin grinned leaning forward to look at you.
“Fucking excuse me?”
“When. Was the last time. You got laid?”
Shin’s curved teeth caught the dim lighting, the holographic vest unbuttoned, along with two buttons on the black shirt. You raised an eyebrow at the tattoos you saw peaking out, specifically around his chest.
“... Really?” You crossed your arms, pointing down with your eyes.
“What, you don’t like it?”
“Those markings have a different meaning in my country.”
“Bah, the yakuza is done in! Gone! Kapoot! Who cares if I got this! Besiides, I’m Korean man- it’s totally different here, don’t ya know?.”
“You’re a moron.” you passed on a drink- Shin ordered another one for himself. “So when am I gonna meet this ‘Angelic Grace’ you keep bragging about.”
“Soon as I get to meet your hero- in person, I might add.”
“Yea, I’m only here for the conference, Shin. Today was the only way you could have met him. Although…” you pulled out your phone. “I’m pretty sure that your idol agency had bought tickets to the little seminar that we put on yesterday.”
Shin choked on his drink, reaching to grab your phone. You leaned back, grinning.
“Ah, here it is! And look… I think that’s you in the third row! Blue horns, shitty jumper with the neon tiger on the back!”
“Dammit, give it here!”
“Nope!” you put your phone back, winking at your old friend. “You saw my man in person. Now show me your girl.”
“You’re a real hardass, you know that right?” Shin pulled out his phone, dialing a number. “You better hope that Grace ain’t studying for something.”
“A bookish idol? Really? That’s not like you at all, Shin.”
You leaned back in the small sofa, looking over at the door. The sun was starting to go down, Sunday club goers filling in for one last buzz before heading off to wait in line for the next hour. Most were salarymen but you spot a group or two of college students- even some tourists. You look at your watch- shit, had you really been sitting here for two hours now? Maybe I should get a drink… it’s not like I have anyone waiting for me.
You stand up to lean on the bannistar, waving down at one of the bartenders- two familiar silhouettes come through the front door. You pause, watch as Yagi and Fourth Kind move towards the other end of the bar, just below where you were standing. Fourth had a hand on the small of Yagi’s back. They were… talking. Well, Yagi was listening. And smiling.
“Hey, you okay there?” Shin asked
“... I don’t know.”
Shin followed your gaze, saw the top of Fourth’s head and Yagi’s face. The bartender you had been waving to moves to stand in front of the two gentlemen. He can’t drink you knucklehead. Your brow furrows as you watch the bartender make two drinks. With gin in each. What the hell?
“... Oh I get it, you’re jealous!”
“What?” you snap out of it. “No it’s- you dumbass, Yagi doesn’t drink!”
“Looks like he’s drinking to me!” Shin’s grin grew wider. “Maybe he likes a different kind of company.”
“I’m perfect company.” you roll your eyes, moving away from the bannistar. “And it’s not like that."
"Sure, sure… But it is." Shin grinned wide, cackling as you smacked him in the arm.
"I'm gonna throttle you, Shin." You sat back down, arms resting on the back of the couch. “Get me a drink, jackass.”
“Sure thing… Lover lover.”
Shin left, walking down the stairs. You pulled out your phone, staring at the empty message screen. The number was under ‘AM’. You hadn’t started anything- and All Might didn’t know you had his number.
In truth it was kind of cheating, waiting until he was distracted yesterday by the swarm of fans and questions after the seminar. So you pickpocketed him and found out he kept his own number underneath ‘Me’ on his contact list. So you might have put the number into your own phone, only to slip it back into his pocket.
It’s for business, you kept telling yourself. Strictly professional- he can leap and be on the other side of the country! What if you need verbal approval for something? Or even better, he needed to contact you for something.
Of course I never did put in my number in his phone.
The blank screen mocked you. You were sober, more so than you had been last night when you talked with him. Was that the trick? Get drunk, grow bold enough to not care, and text him?
“... That’s a mistake.” you mumbled, pocketing your phone again. “I’m not some teenager anymore.”
“Who are you talking to?” Shin was back, this time with a bottle of bourbon and two glasses.
“I thought this was a gin bar.” you raise an eyebrow at his prize.
“Eh, I’m a member- they like me enough to keep the good stuff.”
“Hm… Hey isn’t this the stuff you left me the other day?”
“Sure is! Want it straight or with ice?”
“... Is it good ice?”
“It’s ice, Suits.”
“You’re a fucking heathen- straight.”
“Yeesh, you’ve become a monster- the Suits I knew used to take ice.”
“I’ve grown up,” you shrug, smiling at Shin. “Unlike some people.”
“Yea, yea. You keep telling yourself that!”
All Might was standing on your balcony. The balcony that was directly next to his room. Well, his and Yagi's, as far as you knew. After the conference you had left, not even bothering to say anything to ‘Yagi’. So he sought out some company, to stall time and… feel better about himself? Fourth Kind was a decent man, a nice man even. But… it wasn’t the same. Not like the other night. All Might took a deep breath and raised a knuckle to rap on the glass door.
You pulled back the curtain and opened the door just as he was about to knock. You jumped, looking up to see his chest was in your way. He takes a half step back about to say something as an object flies at his face. He catches it without worry, bringing it down to see it’s a newly open pack of cigarettes. You have an unlit one between your lips, the obviously shocked look making them push together in a pout.
"These will kill you you know." He smiles, keeping his voice quiet
"Given my day, that's the least of my concerns"
"Haha, really?" He leans back on the balcony bannistar "Was it that bad?"
"... Not anymore." You pull out the cigarette from your mouth, closing the door as you step outside. "Now that you’re here.”
"Glad I could help."
He didn’t get to see you in the light yesterday. But now? With your hotel room light still on, framing you as you come to lean on the bannistar next to him? It’s… intoxicating, in an intimate way. You were in the same bathrobe from before- it was obvious that was the only thing you had on. He's never seen your neck exposed like this. He's staring.
"Yes, All Might?"
You look at him from the corner of your eye. Oh. He swallows, a soft crunching sound coming from his fist
"Wow, I get the hint" you tease "I won't smoke around you."
"Huh?" he looks down. The package is destroyed in his hands "Sorry."
"It's fine, don’t need another bad habit anyways."
He pauses, watches you while you zone out, overlooking the city. You look… sad? No, that’s not it. It’s something else- something familiar. Too familiar. He straightens up, looking over the city with you. He takes a step back, remembering old motions from college years- a pitchers pose before he throws the crunched up packet of cigarettes as far as he can. You stand up a little, hands in the pockets of the bathrobe, a small smile on your face.
"Never thought you would litter" you tease, flicking your unlit cigarette off the balcony
He laughs, soft and quiet, leaning one arm on the bannistar again.
"How do you know I didn't throw it into a trashcan?" He leans down a little to be eye level with you.
"No one is that good" You lean with him, one step closer than before.
"Not even me?"
" Especially not you" You're still smiling, just on this side of tired. "Where's Yagi?"
"Asleep." he lies.
"Hm, haven't seen him much this trip" You’re close enough he can smell the bourbon on your breath.
"I've... kept him occupied" He can’t look away from your lips now.
"Of course." your laugh is short, more of a huff really.
"... I've liked this trip" He moves closer to you. You don't move away. "We’ve been able to spend quite a bit of time together."
"Well, what's a hero without his Sir?" You’ve tilted your chin up; he can feel you breathing on his skin.
"... I liked spending time with you, Suits" He finally looks you in the eye.
You blink, quickly looking away from him. Maybe it was the gin he had- Recovery Girl said something about how he shouldn’t drink. But one drink, that’s all he had. So why did he feel so intoxicated right now? You’re looking at him again- at his lips.
"Thank you, All Might"
His hand moves before he can think about it. All Might moves to brush a stray strand of hair away, his fingers coming to rest on your neck, pointer tracing your earlobe as he speaks again.
"I like spending time with you. "
The sharp inhale as his words hit you. His eyes move down to your lips- you lick them, one hand coming up to his wrist. Your hand cradles his, pressing his palm against your cheek.
"... Kiss me?" You ask. It’s more of a breath.
He obeys, leaning down towards your face, eyes flickering close. The hand on his wrist moves up, fingers moving to his neck. Your hands are in his hair- he whimpers, wanting to melt into you, to not be in control anymore.
"All Might" It's a whisper. And it hurts.
Toshinori. Some selfish part of him thinks. My name is Toshinori . You start the second kiss, pulling him down, the chair on the balcony your destination. He drops into the chair, the wood crying out from the weight- but you have one of his thighs in between your legs, moving to stand over him, closer to him.
You've taken control- the night shirt he has on bunched up in your hands. His own hands are hesitant, until you move closer, pulling his head back so you have more access. Then he's just holding on for life, wanting to be grounded but this lifeline was going to drown him.
The hands in his hair grab at the roots, pulling him up, forcing a whimper out of his mouth again.. You moan, the tension in your shoulders melting, pouring into the kiss instead.
This is wrong. He tries to push the thought away They don't love you. They love All Might. No one loves Yagi Toshinori.
Shut up, he thinks, pulling you down onto his lap, wanting you closer now- needing it. Shut up and let me have this. Please... I want this.
All Might can not be selfish. Stop this right now!
I want this. Please. Let me have this one thing- let me be selfish for once.
Your skin feels so good in his callused hands, sliding up your thigh, underneath the robe. You’re warm to the touch. The hair on your thigh is nice, but he doesn’t move up, not without some kind of permission. His other hand moves over the bathrobe, grips the material just below your shoulder blades. He’s shaking- but he submits to you, a soft whine starting to form in the back of his throat.
You're crushing yourself against him, taking as much as he gives, going higher and higher. He loses himself like this, tastes the bourbon on your tongue, your skin a balm for his nerves. It was so good, it was everything he wanted and yet…
You stop, pulling back, panting above him. The bathrobe is threatening to fall off, your right shoulder exposed to the night air. He’s staring up at you- your lips are red. He wants to kiss you again.
"We-" you swallow, eyes frantic. "We shouldn't do this."
"... Why not?" His voice sounds broken.
"You're my boss." It falls short.
He doesn't understand.
"I don't understand."
You're pulling away, standing up, walking backwards, away from him. You pull the bathrobe over yourself, guarding against him. Against All Might. A hand reaches out for you before your voice reaches him.
"I'm your secretary." you say, voice firmer now. "I can't do this- I won’t do this."
He remains sitting there, looking at you. He doesn't know what you're thinking- but he sees the way your hands are shaking, the way your eyes are wide, wanting and afraid all at once. How every fiber of his being wants to pull you back in, forget the rules, forget the world. Forget everything except the feel of you on his skin. On his lips. Of you.
"I'm sorry but- I- I can not be- I can’t." your voice does not match the image in front of him.
"... Okay" he whispers back.
"I'm sorry, All Might."
Toshinori. The words are stuck in his throat. My name is Toshinori. You move back to the door, opening it up, leaving him alone in the dark.
"Wait-" he stands up, holding the door open "I- I-"
"This won't change anything." You don't even turn around to look at him. "I will continue to work for you... but I- we can't do this. You need to protect your image; having a one night stand with your secretary is only going to raise questions."
"... Oh." That’s not what he wanted to hear. He wanted to hear you gasp his name.
"I'm sorry." you whisper, every emotion he saw threatening to spill out of your body in your words.
"... I understand."
He doesn't. He really doesn't want to either. He could still feel your lips on his. But he lets go of the door, giving you space.
"Good night, All Might."
"... Good night, Sir Suits."
The door is closed, the curtain drawn. He’s alone again. There’s a hole inside him- deeper than the one One for All put there. He climbs over to his room’s balcony, opening the door and stepping into even more darkness. He shrinks back into Toshinori, sliding down the wall. And cries for the first time since his injury.
Gin. The kiss tasted like gin.
You didn’t have any gin- so why did that kiss taste like gin? The thought runs through your mind as you stand in the shower, trying to force yourself to calm down.
Gin… Yagi had gin… You don’t sleep that night.
There was a knock at your office door.
Sashi opened the door with her hip, coffee and tea on a platter. She put it down on the side cabinet, quietly making you a drink while you did paperwork.
“... Remind me again, what’s the name of the detective that Mr Yagi found for us?”
“Detective Tsukauchi Naomasa.”
More silence, the sound of your pen barely scratching the paper as Sashi walks over to stand next to you.
“... Can I ask a personal question?” Sashi set down your cup.
“Depends.” You sign the last paper, putting it in the out box at the corner of your desk. “Are you asking for advice?”
“No, I’m wanting to offer some.”
“... What’s your question.” You lean back in your chair, looking up at Sashi.
She was a turquoise color at the moment, her wig curled and pinned up, the white hair matching her pencil skirt and blouse. Sashi sighs, setting her own cup down, putting a hip up on the corner of your desk.
“What happened at the APHA conference?” she asks.
“Nothing,” you shrug. “We went, I got the information we needed, we came back.”
“Mr Yagi hasn’t been showing up during his official hours.”
“That’s not that unusual.” you move to go back to work, or at least pretend to be.
“He’s here more , Suits.” Sashi brought her arms up, crossing them. “I’m afraid.”
“For Mr Yagi?” You ask, one eyebrow raised.
You sigh, leaning back in your chair again, putting on a gentle smile.
“You don’t have to report his behaviour to me anymore-”
“I talked with Misu.”
Shit. You sat up straighter, face blank.
“You never sent in the report about Yagi’s behaviour, did you?” Sashi asked.
“... I thought better of it.”
“What happened in Seoul?”
“I wish you wouldn’t lie to me.”
You take a deep breath, staring at her with a blank expression. Sashi started to change color, hints of brown at the edges of her fingers and the tips of her ears- impatience. Sashi didn’t move. Most days you would relish the challenge, wait until she grew too impatient, going red and black, screaming at you… but you were tired.
“This doesn’t leave this room, understand?”
Sashi’s eyes widen, but she nods yes.
“... I kissed someone. From… work.”
Her jaw dropped.
“And- I think… it’s complicated.” you bring one hand up to push at the bridge of your nose, trying to force the headache that’s forming to go away. “I don’t want to use names.”
“... Then don’t.” Sashi finally said. “I mean, it’ll be like when I talk about my old work. But you know, the other way around.”
“... Okay. Yeah, okay let me just.” you let out a breath, standing up from your chair, pacing your office.
Sashi moved to take your seat, resting her elbows on the wood, chin resting on the back of her hand. She watched you pace for a moment before you began, continuing to circle the office.
“You know how those… trips can get. People are out of country, they look for… different company than what’s at home.”
“Well, I’m… human. So are others.”
“And, I usually don’t do that sort of thing but- but I’m not infallible. And neither is- neither are other people.”
“... Okay. Go on.”
“Well, first night I had a drink with- someone. Bourbon. And nothing happened! We just… talked. Next morning, they’re nowhere to be seen, work- their line of work is very different from mine, of course they don’t go to the conference like I do… but I didn’t see them the rest of the day.
“Well, I went to a gin bar that night. With a different friend- someone from college who doesn’t work with us. Anyways, I drink bourbon at the bar… and I see someone else there. With a companion. Drinking gin.”
Sashi keeps quiet, but you have stopped pacing the room, playing with whatever was in your pocket instead, one hand out as you continue to gesture.
“Well, I had one drink. Bourbon. And then I went back to my room. And- and the person I had not seen all day was there. And we talked. And… and we kissed… and I stopped it before anything else could happen.”
“Why did you stop?” Sashi asks, head cocked to the side.
“Because they tasted like gin.” You finally look up at Sashi. “And I know that I only had bourbon in my room. And they don’t drink. Ever.”
The last two weeks had been slowly fraying your nerves, forcing yourself to not think about it, to dive head first into work and avoid the entire situation. And now… now it was the only thing you could do. How everytime you replayed that kiss, you recall the smile on someone else’s face.
How blue eyes were torn and wanting, how desperately you wanted to do more, damn the rules, damn the rest of the world- but… that nagging feeling would crawl back, like filth that covered your skin, oozing out of every pore. It’s why you had stopped- It’s why you didn’t want to think on it. But now you couldn’t stop.
Sashi is quiet for a long time before speaking up.
“Do you think… that who you saw at the bar, drinking gin was… with your companion?”
“... I know they have a history.” You swallow. “I know they have… known each other a long time- longer than I’ve known either of them.”
“You drank bourbon… just bourbon?”
“Does- I mean, does the other one drink?”
“... Rarely. Usually with someone else.”
“Maybe he had gin with someone else before meeting you that night?”
“... it’s a possibility.”
“You don’t think so?”
“What if- I don’t want anyone to get hurt.” You try to stress.
“Well, shit like this happens all the time.” Sashi shrugged. “It’s not uncommon.”
“But I-” you sigh, closing your eyes so you don’t start crying. “It’s never happened to me. I’m… I try to be so careful- to avoid things like this and now-”
“And now you think you’re in the middle of it…” Sashi lets out a heavy sigh. “Oh Suits… I-I’m so sorry…”
“What would you do?” You know you look desperate, walking around the desk to kneel in front of Sashi. “What would- what am I supposed to do?”
“Well,” Sashi grimaces. “I know what I would have done… but I wasn’t very… nice back then.”
“You wanted to give me advice- I’m asking.”
Sashi look uncomfortable, until you took her hand in both of yours. She saw what you had been hiding, the pleading look. She let took a deep breath, before starting up again.
“Don’t say anything, not until you get concrete evidence that one- or both!- is cheating on the other. Maybe get like, video footage or put a bug in their phone so you can listen in on any conversations they have.”
“... I’m not gonna get fired for saying this, am I?”
“No,” you snort. “No- this doesn’t leave this room, remember?”
You hold Sashi’s hand in both of yours; praying or maybe even begging for her help. The brown disappear, the turquoise growing into a deep violet in her skin.
“Expose them. To their coworkers, to family members, hell even to their mailman. But not to their face- have them get paranoid or hear the rumor second, third, hell even fourth-handedly. And then when they come after you, show them the evidence, tell them you have copies and have sent it to their partners lawyers. Destroy them before they even know what happened.
“I mean, it’s different from back then, you know. This is a hero agency, not a… Well, not my old work at all.”
“... Oh.” you almost choke on the word. Almost.
“Well,” Sashi rubs at the back of her neck. “you were kinda already doing that- it just wasn’t mixed with personal life stuff.”
A pang of guilt hits you in your core. You rest your cheek on the side of Sashi’s knee. She was right. You had stacks of reports, CCTV of the building and timestamps. You wouldn’t even have to bring up the fact that Yagi might be involved with All Might- or that Yagi could possibly be cheating on the hero.
But can you do it? No… no, otherwise you would have done it already. Sashi’s hand pats the top of your head.
“...” You close your eyes, a weight off your shoulders, but now it hangs like a noose around your neck.
“... He’s a nice man- I-I don’t think he’d be the type to do something like- well, like that. ”
You thought that too. But that would mean that All Might was -
“... I need you to do me a favor, Sashi.”
“I need you to go down to Fourth Kind’s agency… and get close to the hero there.”
What you can see of Sashi’s skin turns bright pink.
“Why the hell do I have to go there!?”
“... Call it a hunch.” You get up from the floor, dusting yourself off. “Just ask if there has been any visitors to the agency for… I don’t know, make shit up. You’re good at that sort of thing- that’s why I hired you in the first place.”
“... Was- I mean-”
You look at Sashi, face back to being blank. She closed her mouth, jaw clenched and eyes still wide.
“You can bring Natsu in now,” You gave her a small smile, helping her out of your chair. “I need to look over last month’s expenses… Send him in, please?”
“... I will, Sir Suits.”
The vulnerability was gone, your armor on, the harsh facade that the rest of the world knew back.
“Miss Sashi.” you gave a small bow before going back to work.
Halloween Chapter Next Monday! So enjoy... The Cliffhanger... For a little longer... >:)
Chapter 29: Costume Contest- Halloween Ch. Special
This chapter pretty much stands on it's own, but for story wise context, it takes place after Ch.15 for the first half, and Ch. 18 for the second half.
The costumes for Suits and All Might were decided by a Twitter Poll, so if you want to have input for holiday chapters or just sneak peaks on this chapter, go follow me @EAVanGeek on Twitter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
You were in the middle of a report when three people walked into your office, all wearing Chesire grins. You looked up at Natsu, Sashi and Suki- Natsu had something behind his back.
“... Should I be afraid?” you ask.
“It’s almost October.” Suki said.
“I know. Don’t forget to finish your monthly reviews for the clerks.” you went back to working.
“Suits, the leaves are falling, pumpkin spice is in season.” Sashi came around the desk, wrapping her arms around your neck. “And all you can think about is monthly reports!?”
“We are not doing anything for Halloween.”
“We are professionals. We represent Might Productions and I’m not-”
“You know…” Natsu injected. “I was looking at the numbers- did you know that this last year we’ve fallen behind the other departments in terms of production?”
That gave you pause.
“... What are you getting at.” You push away from your desk. Sashi took the opportunity to sit on the corner of your desk, Suki mirroring her.
“I mean, I’m just a numbers guy.” Natsu was still grinning, hiding whatever it was behind his back. “So I made a few calls to other departments, tried to figure out how they were doing so good! And what da ya know, it had to with moral! The other departments have little competitions between each other, and corporate events that they host- you remember the start of the school year festival that the Hokkaido department put up?”
“... Well it was great and the department showed an increase in production during and after the event.”
“And you three want the Second Secretarial Office to do something.”
They all nodded.
Again, they all nodded.
“You do recall I’m not the head of this department, officially?”
“Mr Yagi said it was a good idea.” Sashi mumbled.
Oh well that’s just fantastic.
“So why are you asking me then?” you crossed your arms.
“Because Mr Yagi realizes that if anything is to happen, the Sir has to sign off on it.” Suki said, her second mouth opening up, Yagi’s voice coming out. “I like it! But, m-maybe you should ask Sir as well? They might have some ideas.”
“... Natsu what’s behind your back?”
Natsu slammed a box on your desk, orange construction paper and black and silver glitter covering the entire box.
“... A costume contest?” You raised an eyebrow. “That’s your big idea?”
“It will be for the whole Tower.” Suki starts. “Each head of the department will have to wear a costume that was voted for them. It’ll be decided halfway through the month, and then the next half will be a different kind of voting.”
“What kind of voting?”
“Well, couples costumes. For the hero… and his Sir.” Sashi winked at the end of that.
“Oh come on!” Sashi pouted. “Mr Yagi said he was already going to talk with All Might to get his approval.”
“C’mon Suits, lighten up a bit!” Natsu sigh. “The SSO will be hosting the Halloween party up on the top floor- no one in the Tower knows anyone up here! It’ll be good for moral and we can give the clerks a needed break!”
“All Might isn’t going to agree to this, you do realize that right?”
“What did you three do.”
The door to your office flings open, a booming laugh echoing off the glass. Your eyes grew wide as All Might started to walk forward, putting his hands on Natsu’s shoulders. Fear did not even begin to describe how you are feeling right now.
“SIR SUITS DID YOU HEAR WHAT THESE THREE CAME UP WITH!”
“... I just did.” you said, a little weak.
“IT’S A GREAT IDEA! I THINK WE SHOULD DO IT!”
You were going to kill Yagi the next time you saw him.
“Well, sir, we have quite a few things we should be focusing on right now and-”
“I always loved Halloween.” All Might smiles. “And besides! You keep candy in your desk year round! Halloween is the perfect time to give some of it away! Don’t you like the holiday?”
“I- I never said I hated it.”
“FANTASTIC! Ms Sashi, is it alright if I vote as well?”
“S-S-Sure!” Sashi was bright pink now. “Anytime All Might!”
By the time the hero had left your office, you had your head planted in your hands, trying to hide further into your desk.
“... Fine!” you say weakly. “But I don’t want to know the results until I absolutely need to.”
Grease Lightning. From the musical.
What are you on about?
That’s the costume for tonight! You’re going as Danny Zuko- I have a backup costume if I don’t like what I see.
What do I have to wear?
Black. Leather. White Shirt and belt. Have you not seen Grease?
Once- maybe… Is there an alternative?
“Oh well that’s just perfect… Hope it still fits.”
You somehow still fit in the leather jacket that was shoved in the corner of your closet. An undershirt and tight black jeans with a belt finished off your costume. You hadn’t done anything with your hair; no doubt the moment you got out of the elevator either Sashi or Natsu were going to jump you to do whatever final touches were required.
You shoved your hands into your pockets, leaning on the glass that overlooked Tokyo. The ride back to the building was… interesting. It’s not like you avoided the holiday it was just… you were usually working. And the last thing you wanted to do was go out and have to deal with more unusual and strange things in public.
If memory serves right, last year you had spent Halloween with popcorn and a bag of candy, watching some kind of marathon of horror movies. Or was it children movies? You had woken up the next morning to a call from Nighteye, having to rush back to the office- only to have the man spent the rest of the week pulling tricks.
“... Yeah that was a nightmare.” you smile. “Wonder how he’s doing.”
You felt the weight of your phone in your jacket.
“Could just call… maybe after.”
You had been right about being jumped the moment you got out of the elevator, kinda. Sashi was dressed like a Go Go Girl, Natsu’s cheap wig off skew but it was still apparent he was a classic mad scientist. They both squint at you coming off the elevator, clearly expecting more than one person.
“You do know it’s called, ‘Greaser’ for a reason, right?” Natsu said.
“I don’t have any at home.” you lie, a smug smile on your face.
“And you didn’t think to buy any?” Sashi asked.
You smile. Then shrug. They both glared.
“Sakura, watch the door.”
“Nagato, help her.”
You kept smiling as Sashi and Natsu linked arms on either side of you, whisking you away to your office. Sashi pulled out her makeup bag, Natsu pulling out a small tin. He dug his fingers into it, rubbing what looked like black oil in between his fingers. And promptly started to use it to brush your hair out of your face and on your white shirt.
A comb was brushed through your hair, followed by hairspray and Sashi standing in front of you, moving your face this way and that until she was satisfied with her work. A small bit of the black hair gel was dabbed on your cheek and temple.
“... Okay that should do it.” Sashi huffed.
“Gee. Thanks.” you grin.
“I’m not gonna help you next time!” Sashi went a little pink around her ears and polka dots.
“Uh huh. Is there booze at this thing?”
“Of course- hey should I ditch the wig?” Natsu turned around, his hair now twisted into spikes in an irregular pattern, the same black gel you had in your hair at the tips.
“I don’t see why not.”
“Are you three finished?” You look up to see Suki standing at the door, striking a pose.
“Morticia Addams, again?” you tease.
“Of course.” she smiled with both mouths. “It’s fitting, don’t you think.”
“So how long do I have to stay before I can leave?”
“After the contest- and then you can come with the rest of us to go clubbing.”
“Hmm… We’ll see.”
“Indeed. Shall we?”
This isn’t so bad. You thought, sipping a ‘Jekyll and Gin’. Because of course everything had to have a pun in the damn name. Could be worse, I guess. You looked over at the Osaka department head, who was dressed as a tempura shrimp. You couldn’t help but laugh.
“Could’ve been much worse.”
“Who are you talking to?” Sashi snuck up on you, some kind of smoking green martini in her hand.
“Myself, mostly.” you put an arm around her. “Who the hell decides to dress up like a toilet paper mummy?”
You laugh, watching the other department heads walk around in tacky outfits. Wonder what Yagi is wearing? You look over- only to see that Sashi isn’t laughing with you.
“... Suits, did you forget?” she asked.
“The heads didn’t choose their costumes- their departments did.”
“We had a meeting about it?”
“You led the meeting!? We all voted to have Mr Yagi dress like a zombie!?”
“Don’t you just fucking sip your drink at me.” Sashi hissed. “Did you honestly forget!?”
“... Might have slipped my mind.” you finally mumble.
“Suits… You- you don’t know why you were told to dress like that…”
“I just thought it was a group thing, I don’t know.”
You were pointedly not looking at Sashi- after all someone had managed to get some levitating bots to move around the room with food. You took a small eclair that was done up to look like a finger, eating it. You turned over to look at Sashi, mouth full. She was still staring at you.
“... What?” you said around your next bite.
“You work too hard.” She snaps.
“Do not.” you scoff.
“Well I’m not telling you- you’ll find out soon enough.”
“Find what out- hey! Sashi, don’t get mad! C’mon! It’s just a joke!”
It was not, in fact, a joke. You had forgotten about this whole party before Suki sent you the text earlier today. You shrugged, taking another small tiny food. It was shaped like Frankenstien’s forehead. You smiled, popping it in your mouth, walking around the room.
You small talked- you couldn’t really get anywhere without it. Everyone seemed to be in on whatever it was that Sashi hinted at. But you were comfortable, technically in the most normal clothes out of everyone in the party. In fact, you were actually starting to have fun.
That’s when the lights shut off, drowning the entire floor in darkness. Someone screamed inevitably. Then you were blinded, a spotlight shining right in your eye. And laughter. But not just any kind of laughter.
Oh. Oh no. You remembered now.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce the duo of the hour! Sir Suits and ALL MIGHT!” Suki’s voice boomed over the speakers.
Another light came on, on the other side of the room. You were stuck. A deer in headlights. But not All Might. No, he was leaning on the wall, his usually slicked back hair now in a perm, tweezed and tossed. A bodytight black leotard with leather pants and heels- was he fucking lipsyncing!?
The music didn’t reach your ears past the pounding of your heart. You clutched your glass, watched in horror as your boss actually sauntered over to you. Your jaw only dropped further when he came closer. He’s gonna rip that damn thing apart. You couldn’t stop staring at his chest, the low cut of the leotard not doing anything to hide it. A part of your brain registered that it wasn’t any different from his hero outfit- the same body hugging form but… the leotard and black leather made it feel… dangerous.
The crowd started to cheer, All Might quickly picking you up into a hug, swinging you around once before putting you back down. A camera flashed in your face and the lights quickly came back on. You were still slack jawed.
“HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!” All Might shouted, guiding you by the shoulder back to his now opened up office. “ENJOY THE PARTY!”
You had been in this office maybe twice before- but the entire place was decorated for the holiday. There was even a blow up decoration used on lawns in the middle of the sunken in living room- not that it mattered. You were still stunned about what had just happened.
There’s cool air on your face- a balcony? You’re quietly put into a chair, All Might sitting across from you. You look up, blinking once. He brings one finger to your chin, closing your mouth for you. You don’t register it.
“Are- are you okay, Suits?” All Might asks
“... Was I supposed to sing?” you stage whisper, still in shock.
It’s his turn to blink, before chuckling at you, covering his mouth with one hand.
“This isn’t funny, I- I didn’t know I had to sing.” you looked at your empty glass, saw how hard your hands were shaking. “Oh god.”
All Might lost it, leaning forward as he laughed. The shock was starting to wear off, you looked around to try and figure out where you were. Wait a minute… that’s his bedroom- did we walk through his bedroom to get here!? When you went to ask him you found yourself face to face with the hero wiping away a tear, stilling laughing.
“Oh Suits, you really are something.” he bit his lip, shaking his head. “I haven’t laughed like that since-”
He stopped for a moment. It was still hard for you to read his face but… you did recognize one small part of it. The same part that you knew came from working so hard that you forgot to breathe.
“... All Might?” you ask
“Hm?” he snaps out of it, flashing a smile.
You smile, putting your glass down, leaning back in your chair, leather jacket falling open. He was staring. You smirked, pulling out a pack of candy cigarettes from your pocket. You took one in between your teeth, yanking it out in one go before offering it over to the hero. He raised an eyebrow, taking it from your hands, pulling one out with his fingers before putting the packet down next to your empty glass.
“... It's nice out here.” you look over the Tokyo skyline, the ledge far away that you felt comfortable. “Really high up, though.” You said more to yourself.
“I suppose.” He keeps looking at you. “... Thank you.”
“Agreeing to this party.”
I didn’t agree to this. I got jumped- by you. You smile, looking back out at Tokyo. A while passes, the two of you sitting together, the rest of the party mingling between All Might’s private office and the rest of the floor.
“... Why aren’t you with crowd? I thought you would…”
“That’d I want to be the center of attention?” All Might finished the statement, having finally relaxed in his own chair.
“... Something like that.” you pull out another candy cigarette.
“I prefer the company here.” He says it so simply. Like it was common knowledge.
You snort, shaking your head. You take a bite of the candy cigarette, chewing on it instead of talking. All Might sighs, sitting up in his chair and overlooking the city next to you.
“Happy Halloween.” He looks back at you, the smile from a few nights ago on his face.
“... Thank you, All Might.” you smile back, letting the candy cigarette rest between your lips.
I missed Monday update, so I'm gonna be doing two chapters this week to make up for it. Expect something tomorrow night lol.
You were sitting across the table from a brand candidate, various stuffed samples in front of you. Suki was sitting next to you, one of her clerks taking minutes. Yagi was on your other side, seemingly fascinated by what was in front of him.
There were four animal toys dressed to look like All Might: A lion who’s mane was stylized, a rabbit who’s ears matched the hero's bangs, a golden puppy with similar stylization and…
“Why the goat?” Suki asked.
“Well, the kids have this thing, where goat stands for ‘Greatest Of All Time’.”
“I don’t think kids actually say that.” you interject. “In fact, I’m pretty sure my parents used that phrase- and even then it was old news.”
“So maybe not the goat then!” the representative went to grab the toy off the table.
“Well, the lion might be a bit too on the nose.” Suki added. “Besides, all it would take is one wash and the mane would not hold up its shape.”
“The rabbit is questionable.” you pull the dog plushie closer, lifting the limp ear with the tip of your pen. “And the ears on the dog don’t stand up- it looks more like Mr Yagi than it does All Might.”
You were sweating the representative. The truth was that Might Productions was going to go forward with the French company- but it wouldn’t do well for them to think they got off that easily.
“I- well we can add some soft wires into the dog’s ears if you want to go that way.”
“I like the rabbit.” Yagi spoke up.
The room went quiet. When you weren’t looking, he had picked up the bunny plush, cradling it in his hands. The toy was nearly dwarfed by them, the brown and yellow fur a similar color to his skin.
“It’s… cute!” Yagi smiled, looking at the representative. “Did you really make this?”
“I… well not that one, but I designed it.”
“You must be very proud- it’s very good.” Yagi looked back down at the plush. “Very cute, I’m sure lots of kids are going to like this.”
You pause, watching as Yagi plays with the plush, rubbing his fingers on the ears of the stuffed toy. Something tries to creep up on you, a thought that was dangerously… You stand up from the table. Suki follows, confusion written across her face.
“You’ll find the contract with Might Productions has already been sent to your offices in Paris.” you begin. “We would recommend that you use the rabbit prototype as your base and when the autumn season arrives to switch over to the dog- with the added soft wire. We’ll send quality inspectors from time to time. We hope this is a fruitful partnership for the both of us.”
The representative and his assistant both looked surprised, quickly standing up and bowing thanks. Yagi did not get up from his seat at the end of the meeting.
“Can I keep this?” he asked, holding the plush. “I like it very much.”
You watched as Suki eyed the dog plush.
“I’ll be keeping this.” you raised the dog plush at the same time. “In order to compare to your next model.”
“R-Right of course, you’re more than welcome to it, Sir Suits.”
“Thank you. You can leave now.”
You waited until they were gone before handing the dog plush to Suki without a word. She smiled, holding it close with her folder hiding all but it’s floppy ears and head from view. You ignored the look that Yagi gave you- I don’t care what he thinks. That thought from before was pushed back down.
“What’s next on our list.” you ask.
“That was it for today- oh. Congratulations, Mr Yagi.” Suki started walking toward the door.
“M-me? Whatever for?” Yagi stood up, still holding the bunny.
“You started work with Might Productions one year ago from today. I think we should celebrate.”
“We don’t have time.” you interjected, holding the door open for Suki. “We’re in the middle of another quarterly report. Besides, Mr Yagi has a doctor’s appointment later this evening.”
“Yes, at three o’clock.”
“... Suits, it’s three thirty.” Suki deadpanned.
“Ah.” you smiled, looking over at Yagi. “You’re late for your check up.”
He was already running across the floor, making a beeline for the stairs as opposed to the elevator. You snorted when you saw that he still had the bunny plush in his fist.
Toshi was waiting on the table, Recovery Girl finishing her last few tests analysis, away from him so he couldn’t look at the screen. He fiddled with the stuffed bunny again. It really was cute. And soft. He looked up, checking to make sure he was alone before bringing it up to rub on his cheek. He sighs, the soft fur on his face calming him down.
“Okay, I have those test results back!” Recovery Girl’s voice rang out.
Toshi put the toy down, looking at the older woman.
“I have good news and bad news- what do you want to hear first?”
“Good news is that your intestinal lining is healing! Not as fast as I would like but it’s healing!”
“... and the bad news?”
“Your time as All Might has shrunk.”
“I figured that- how much?”
“You have about eight hours every day now.”
“... Eight? But- I had ten! What- How could this happen!?”
“You’ve been pushing yourself too much.” Recovery Girl snapped. “I told you, you need to rest, let your injuries heal properly! But no, you kept going on about ‘natural-born’ and ‘Symbol of Peace’. And now look where it’s gotten you- Your side is still giving you trouble isn’t it?”
“... eight hours…”
Recovery Girl was staring at him; he could feel it. He didn’t see the older hero sigh, putting her hands in her pocket, already planning new diet plans and medication to prolong his time as a hero. When she did look up, there was a dark look on the blonde’s face.
“He’s gone, Toshinori.” Recovery Girl said quietly.
“... I still have work to-”
“I know. But he’s gone- you made sure of that. Nearly lost your life because of it… Do you have someone who can help you recover?”
He didn’t answer. Just stared down at the plush in his hands, the blue buttons for eyes staring blankly back. Hollow… like him.
“What about that lovely secretary at the office? Or maybe your new Sir?”
“Who, Suits?” He snorted, not even looking at Recovery Girl. “They… they don’t know about- about this.”
“... I see.” Recovery Girl pats his knee, sighing. “Perhaps you should find someone who you can trust with this, and have them help you.”
“I- I’ll try my best.”
“That’s all I ask for, dear. I got some candy here you can eat though! Take some before you go.”
Toshi left shortly after, the plush tucked underneath his arm. He mindlessly pulled out the sweet from his pocket, tossing it into his mouth without looking at the wrapper. He paused when he recognized the flavour. He pulled out the wrapper- it was the same kind you had. The kind you kept in your drawer just in case, mixed in with the other mints and sweets. A sugar free mint. Maybe… He stopped the thought in its tracks, crumbling the wrapper and shoving it into his pocket instead.
“Mr Yagi.” You were on your phone, thumbing through emails when he walked out of the elevator. “I understand you were able to find us a new contact at the Tokyo police department.”
“... Yes that’s correct.”
“Brilliant, I need his contact information.” You finally look up. It was then you saw that he was scowling, not at all his usual bumbling self. “Did something happen at the doctors?”
You kept your face blank- years of having to remain calm kicking in. But you had to wonder… just in case it affected his other duties. Yes, that’s the reasoning. Yagi blinks, looking at you for a long moment.
His eyes are the same blue. Were they together because of that? Which one was the narcissist: All Might or Yagi? Maybe it was pure coincidence… but Yagi was an underground hero before this job. Who was using who?
You mentally shook your head, pushing aside what was a distraction. I don’t care. I don’t care about either of them. I have a job to do. So why the hell did you keep thinking about it? Why was That Kiss still lingering on your mind? Why was it so hard to just… let go?
You lifted your chin, waiting for a response.
“It won’t affect my work here.” he grumbled.
“That’s not what I asked.” you say softly.
“Yes, it was.” he snapped.
The Kansai isn’t even there. He sounds… no. No he doesn’t. You felt your jaw muscles jumping, a tight smile crossing your face. Stay calm… Just breathe...
“Make sure to leave the detectives information on my desk. I need to talk him through his role with us.”
“He’s not one of your clerks.” Yagi snapped again. “He’s a fine man and can do his work without your meddling.”
That struck a nerve. He knew it. You knew it. You took a deep breath through your nose, keeping still, forcing your body to not slap him.
“... Mr Yagi.” You tried to keep your voice as even as possible. “This is standard procedure. You are not ‘Sir’ here. I am. I need to know the detective who is going to be signing off on the cases that our hero does in his free time- after that he’s all yours. Understand?”
“... I understand.”
“You have the rest of the day off.”
“Go. Home.” Your voice rose in volume. You closed your eyes taking a deep breath before speaking again. “Go home, you need it. Sashi can take care of your duties for the rest of the day.”
“... Sir.” Yagi bowed, turning stiffly on his heel and walking back inside the elevator.
You waited until the number started to go down before refocusing on your phone. There was a new email- it was from Nighteye.
And that's the second chapter for this week! Next update will be on Monday- see y'all then.
Hands. There were hands crawling everywhere. Some you recognized. The hands of the bartender from Seoul, the cab driver who wore biker gloves, the child who lived two doors down. Filth covered and pristine manicures, all crawling across your bare skin. You were dreaming. That had to be the explanation for this…
You tried to pull out of it, pushing your body up from their grasp. But the hands moved faster, digging nails into your skin, thick molasses and filth and sweat covering your body. They were pulling you down, grabbing your jaw and hair, dirty and suffocating. One arm breaks free, trying to grab up for something- anything!
A metal radio poll, your fingers wrapping around it. Your body is covered in filth, the hands falling away to show that you are miles above Tokyo. Wind that whips around your ankles. This… this is familiar. The feeling of being dirty, of not being clean enough, of never being good enough. The wind that cuts through your body, the cold that sends shivers down your spine. The ground beneath you begins to crumble.
You try to back away- the wall of hands are at your back, tearing at the hospital gown you have on, pushing your limbs forward, trying to force you to jump. The sole support, the radio poll you had been clinging to, gone, nothing to grab, nothing to stop the inevitable.
Someone help me- Please! Save me!
The hands form into two; tan hands with blue and yellow braces. You look back-
“This won’t change anything.” your own words mimicked back at you, the eyes in his face now demon red. “I need to protect my image.”
You’re falling. All Might is just out of arm's reach; you try to scream but that laugh, the one on TV, the one used in fights, the one that used to bring calm, the one that grates on your nerves for how fake it sounds. That laugh drowns you out. Drowns out the wind screaming in your ears, drowns out everything but the fear. Red eyes glare back, one arm raised up in a closed fist.
And you wake up.
You sit up straight in bed, covered in sweat, the sheets soaked. The room is dark, the curtains pulled to not let any light in. You scramble, falling to the floor with the sheets tangled around your ankles, yanking the curtain to the side. The full moon pools into your bedroom, nearly blinding you. You let out a sigh of relief when you see the street, a car passing by the first floor window.
“Just a dream.” you whisper. “It was just a dream.”
You stay on the floor, staring out your window as the sun begins to climb upwards, hues of purple and pink reaching your dark room, the color just a sliver in the otherwise plain room. You drop your forehead to the carpet, letting go, drowning in darkness again.
“... Just a dream.”
No one answers back.
“Just a dream… It was just a dream.”
“It’s been a while since you’ve been here.”
“Yeah… sorry. Work was busy.”
“Of course, you work with a pro hero, right?”
“Yes, I got a promotion a year ago.”
“It’s basically been a year.”
“Okay,” you lean back in the overstuffed chair. “The official promotion was about nine months ago. But I was the one who had to set up a new department, hire my head clerk and communications leader. And on top of everything, now I’ve gotta deal with… nevermind.”
“You were doing so good, why did you stop?”
“It’s… it’s complicated. I’d rather talk about work.”
“You know, whenever you talk about your work, it’s like honey and coffee. But everytime you try to hide something it turns to leather.”
“I know, you’ve told me before..”
“I don’t know what your personal life smells like.”
“I know, I know. You have your work. Did you take my suggestion from last time?”
“I can’t take care of an animal.”
“It doesn’t have to be a dog you know. Cats are pretty self-sufficient.”
“The hair would get on my suits.”
“Then a hairless one. You’re responsible enough- it might help you stay grounded!”
“... I can’t. Not right now.”
“Hmm, that’s different. Pomegranate?”
“I can’t take care of a cat. I have too much work, I wouldn’t be able to give it the attention it wants.”
The therapist stays quiet, letting you rant about your work. The pomegranate and leather start to build higher and higher, the heavy tastes nearly overwhelming until- wheat. It was replaced with wheat.
“... and now I have to worry that someone is being cheating on- with me.”
“Tell me about this person,” The therapist leaned forward, chasing this relatively plain texture that was coming from you. “What are they like?”
“... His name is Yagi. And he’s… he’s close with my boss, known him for years. Longer than me- but…”
Honey and wheat. Strange… he made a motion with his hand, letting you continue.
“Yagi got hurt, bad. Before he started working with me- and I… I don’t like him. At all. He’s a bumbling fool, can’t do paperwork to save his life, thinks that he needs to talk with every clerk who says good morning. He’s a pushover and stubborn and I-” you stop, head falling back on the couch. A heavy sigh escapes your body in the silence.
“... It almost sounds like you admire him.”
You snort, the pomegranate coming back, replacing the honey. Now that is interesting.
“I don’t. I… I just don’t want his problems to distract my boss.”
“If they’ve known each other for so long, surely you don’t have anything to worry about.”
You go quiet, the pomegranate turning sour in his mouth. It's replaced by something he hasn’t smelled from you in years. Motor Oil and Ice.
He speaks your name gently, waiting until you were looking at him.
“Have you had any dreams recently? About the accident?”
“... A few.”
“It’s been years.”
“It’s okay, thinking on it is not dangerous. People will deal with these emotions diff-”
“IT’S NOT OKAY!” You shout, one fist slamming down on the chair’s arm. “I’m better than this! I have the job, the clothes, the money! I have everything- EVERYTHING! I- I don’t need that stupid fucking memory! I. Am. Better! I’m better than this!”
“... You tried to commit sucide. That’s not something you can just walk away from.”
“Well it should!”
“That’s not how recovery works. There are going to be relapses. It’s okay.”
“I-I… I’m better now. I swear. I have my work and-”
There were tears streaming down your face. Honey and sour pomegranate. What was the honey? Was it you? No… no it was someone else.
“I thought I had- I thought I had something else. But… But now I’m not so sure.”
“... Does this have to with Yagi?”
“I-I think so.”
“You think Yagi is cheating on someone.”
“Yes. No! I- I’m not sure… It could be the other way around or maybe- I’m th-the one that. The one that is- I’m… I’m stuck in the middle but I don't know if it’s as a bystander or… or something else.”
“I see.” the therapist sighs, sitting back up before talking again. “Have you asked?”
“No.” you huff out, rubbing at your face. “No I don’t have enough evidence.”
“Who said anything about evidence? If you think you’re being used, or whoever you’ve seen using another, you should ask. No one likes being kept in the dark, and there are going to be times when things are far more simpler than they appear.”
“I- I guess.”
“One more thing before you go.”
“Sure, what is it.”
“It doesn’t have to be a cat. Or a dog. But you need to find something that’s not related to work. An old hobby, a houseplant- something you can focus on without it being linked to… your current predicament.”
“Does drinking count?”
“No. Drinking does not count.” he laughs.
“... I’ll try to think of something.” you whisper.
“Well, that’s all the time we have. I want to see you again next month but if you can’t… well, try to book me before another six months passes.”
“Right, thanks doc.”
“No problem. Did you want to know what I found in our last few minutes?”
“... Nah, save it for next time.”
“Alright, take care.”
He closes the door as you leave, hands put into his pockets. Pomegranate. He moved over to his computer, typing in a few things and pulling out your file. There were notes for the various tastes and scents from the various sessions.
Pomegranate… and wheat. One was complex, tangled and multipurpose. The other… stable. Grounded. He wrote some notes down, getting ready for his next patient for the day.
S/O to Damnit_Samnit for the therapy idea. In her fic Attachment, the therapists uses something similar and it was /pretty cool/ y'all. So I had to borrow the idea- credit where credit is due.
Chapter 32: Coffee, Sir
You had chosen the meeting place this time. A small boutique, filled with rich college kids and their international exchange friends from Europe. Upper crust American food where it was either veganized or organic- and did not fill anyone up. Overall, it was the kind of place that people went to not for the food, but the people watching, to sneer at the other high brow idiots who were overpaying for a meal that costs a tenth of its price to make.
You sat in a corner, a simple coffee in hand, reading through emails and new regulations on your phone, messenger bag resting by your foot. It was heading into fall- the vest you had was English tweed, the simple boots and brown belt matching, making the rose silk shirt and green tie stand out against the neutral coat even more. You look up in time to see who you were supposed to be meeting here.
Nighteye made a beeline to the non-existent line, quietly ordering his drink. You waited in the corner, watched as he did what you had missed for the last year and a half. He grabbed a raw sugar and a stirrer, gently tapping the stirrer on the counter, eyes flicking this way and that across the crowd. Probably using his Quirk.
You took a sip of your coffee, saw that one of the college students from Europe came up to stand next to him. He took three steps to the left, avoiding the girl as she half tripped, her stuff flying with her friend laughing but helping her pick it all up.
He was handed his order, which he took and gave a slight nod before turning to the crowd. You lifted your mug, resting it down on the comically small coffee table. You were sitting in an oversized armchair, a matching one right next across from it.
He lifted his chin, weaving through the other tables and ducking underneath the fake ferns that were hanging low from the ceiling. It was raining outside, white noise as he gave you a greeting… using your first name.
“Thanks for meeting me.” Nighteye sat down, dropping the raw sugar in his coffee after.
“Of course.” You sat forward, putting your phone in your breast pocket. “Your email was… a little confusing. Is everything alright?”
“Hm? Oh yes, things are going rather well.”
“So why did you say you needed to talk to me in person?”
“... Don’t take this the wrong way.” Nighteye looked at you, yellow eyes piercing. “But I wanted to offer you a job.”
You don’t choke on your drink. You finished rather well, putting down the mug and resting your forearms on your knees. You waited for the punchline. It never came. You took a deep breath through your nose before speaking quietly.
“How the fuck am I supposed to take that then.” you snap.
“Let me explain.” Nighteye took off his glasses, rubbing at his eyes. “I miss working with you, if only because I knew what to expect from you. Moashi is admirable and is a wonderful partner on the field. But he still struggles with paperwork. Not to mention that our intern, Ms Awata, is… young.
“I need an expert, someone who knows the ins and outs of what it takes to run a hero agency. I know I can’t offer the same salary you are getting at Might Productions… but I can offer something more.”
“Oh, please,” you sneer. “Do tell.”
“The chance to be a hero.”
You pause before you take another sip of your drink. He doesn’t move. You put down your mug, flexing your fist. Nighteye saw it. For a flash second, yellow eyes went black and purple. Then they were back, the former sidekick straightening up.
“... You can’t hit me in a public place.” Nighteye said softly.
“Try me.” you hissed back.
“... Suits. I have to ask, how much do you know about All Might.”
“You’re no longer his Sir, I am.”
“So you still don’t know.”
“I know enough.”
“Do you know why he wanted to hire Yagi? Or have you been playing second fiddle obediently?”
You slap him. He takes it, not even bothering to stop you.
“... Foresight is shit if you don’t do anything with it.” You say, taking a hold of the mug and draining the rest of its contents. “But that’s why you need a second head, isn’t it?”
“... I’m sorry.”
“Don’t. Just… don’t.”
You can’t bring yourself to look at the man, just stare down at the stupidly overpriced mug of coffee you just wasted. There’s a pregnant pause in the conversation, you trying to think through what was just said. Nighteye takes his first sip of coffee. He grimaces before putting it back down.
“This is terrible coffee.” he coughed.
“I know.” you find yourself smiling. “I don’t come here for the coffee.”
“If you say it’s for the atmosphere, I’m legally required to arrest you.”
“Oh Ha, Ha.” you sigh heavily, rubbing at your own eyes. “No, it’s for the people.”
“The people? I don’t understand.”
“Take a look,” you lean back in your chair, following your own suggestion. “What do you see?”
“... Rich people with too much time on your hands.”
“Is there something I’m missing?”
Nighteye pauses, his brow furrows as you continue.
“Everyone here, from the barista to the girl who you saw trip, is arrogant. They don’t think that a villain would attack them here in broad daylight. They don’t stop to think about the fact that just walking out that door, they put their lives in danger. Oh sure, they know there are people with the power to change thier lives forever- but they’re arrogant in thinking it will never happen today. Or tomorrow.
“This coffee shop is filled with arrogant people who do not realize it is because of people like you and All Might that they can buy shitty overpriced coffee and shrug it off. They’re arrogant because even if they do, they do not think someone like me is just as chivalrous... or dangerous.
“That a Quirkless secretary, who has access to the Tokyo police, who is able to change laws by throwing around the name of their patron, who is second only to the number one hero, that they can destroy their lives without having a Quirk of their own.
“This world is filled with ignorance and arrogance. I come here to remind myself that no matter how big I am, no matter how rich I get, or how fancy my clothes are, there is always going to be someone who will never look at me… They have no idea how powerful I am- they don’t care.”
“... That’s an awful viewpoint.” Nighteye finally says.
“Perhaps,” you shrug. “But it’s the truth. People are arrogant- that’s just how we get by these days. If we thought about every little threat that can happen, we would be paralizied with fear… So I come here, hoping to gain that level of arrogance.”
“You’re not arrogant. You have every right to be proud of yourself.”
“Do I?” you have to laugh. “Before you picked me up for work, I was- well, a mess.”
“... You’re going to decline my offer, aren’t you?”
“I… I don’t know. This is rather sudden, don’t you think?”
“I suppose. I would rather have all my ducks in a row before I take the next step with my agency.”
“And you thought of me? A Quirkless nobody?”
“You are not a nobody.” Nightye put his coffee down, leaning forward. “You were able to do more than I ever could. You are by far the most clever person I know- you can think like a villain, but you chose to work at a hero agency. I need that kind of insight… I was only effective as his sidekick because I knew I could rely on you in the background.”
Your throat was closing up. You took a deep breath. Then another. You don’t trust yourself to speak, so instead you avoid his eyes. There was a part of you that wanted to leap at the opportunity, damn the consequences. But… that would mean not getting to bottom of Yagi and All Might. It would mean abandoning what you had just spent the last year building. Of leaving everything behind, again.
“... Perhaps if we did this the old fashioned way.” you look up at him when he speaks again. “Interviews and the like. Here, this is my new card.” Nighteye pulls it out from an inner coat pocket.
You look it over. It’s professional, stock and pressed with Nighteye’s logo. You smile at the fact that he had kept the ‘Sir’ in front of his hero name. You tuck it into your breast pocket, one finger tapping it while you look at him. Nighteye picks up his coffee, grimacing at the second sip.
“Let me guess- it’s cold.” You tilt your head, a smile on your face.
“It’s terrible.” He sets the mug back down.
Your hand is still on your breast pocket. It slides down, fingers flexing on your knee. The white noise from the cafe is suddenly much louder to you. The conversation next to you about the next movie in a series, the sound of the steamer for the milk. The laughter of a woman on a date, her partner leaning forward. This is too much.
You look back at Nighteye. Green and yellow hair, brushed to the side with a part. Yellow eyes that stare right back at you- there’s something there. Hope ? Desperation ? It’s hard to tell.
“Couldn’t have just had lunch with me?” you say.
“Perhaps next week we can just have lunch.” Nighteye offers.
“Well, I’m glad to have… seen brew ?”
Nighteye pauses. Then snorts, shaking his head. You laugh, standing up from the chair, grabbing your bag.
“There’s a sandwich shop down the street that’s better than this place. Let’s say… next Wednesday at noon?” you try to smile.
“I’ll try to ketchup with you.” Nighteye says.
“Oh now that’s just cheesy .”
Nighteye put his glasses back on, walking out with you. The tense moment was gone.
“I miss having a clever assistant.”
“You’ll live, Sir.”
You came back to the office, and check your email. Already there was one from Nighteye. With a location and reservation.
Changed my mind. How about stew instead?
- Sir Nighteye
It was nice, off a small street but walking distance from the cafe today. You smile, quickly sending a response.
Sounds good. See you then.
- Sir Suits
For the last few months, Sashi was… conflicted. It came around the time that you had assigned her to watch Mr Yagi closely. Usually it didn’t take her long to find out whatever it was that some man was hiding that you wanted to know. After all, before she had met you, you had a knack for… other things. Things that weren’t necessarily illegal, but they were underhanded. But Sashi had done some underhanded things as well, so that was the shared history speaking.
Mr Yagi came in during his hours. Sometimes he was put together, clean and freshly shaved. Other times there was that whiff of B.O, the exhaustion that she knew was from extensive exercise and not a lack of sleep. But he would come in, have his tea and try to focus on his paperwork… only to, subtly, push it off onto one of the clerks. Usually the clerks who liked him enough because he was parental figure in their eyes. Or had a crush but would never do anything about it.
He was polite. Incredibly polite. Almost annoyingly polite. And he never talked about himself- in fact he had a way of dragging out whatever dirty secret or personal story from the clerk he was buttering up to take his work without ever so much as telling them what kind of tea he was drinking. That was dangerous; Sashi knew because she had done that for years.
And then there was his health. She was the one who found out for you- about his surgeries and his condition. There were days where he would spend his time in his office hacking up a lung, or trying to treat some new cut or burn without anyone knowing about it. Sashi started to keep a record of those, whenever he got hurt and what he was using. But she wasn’t a nurse- she didn’t know why he was using that green goo or sometimes just a dry bandage. But she kept it recorded. Because dammit, she was told to watch Mr Yagi and that’s what she was going to do.
That was before Seoul.
Before Seoul, you had called in Natsu and Sashi, to try and swindle more information out of Yagi. Personal information. Private life information. You had no idea that Natsu and Sashi already fucked up- well, kind of.
Yagi had caught on to what Sashi and Natsu were doing in the first month. In the second he had somehow got it out of Natsu as to why they were doing it- but not who. No, Sashi fucked up and told him who . But Mr Yagi just… laughed it off.
But Sashi knew he wasn’t as stupid as he pretended to be. She spent the most time with him, after all. At least, at the office. And he was clever. So clever that Sashi found herself talking about you to Mr Yagi more than she probably should have.
So after Seoul happened, Sashi… got quiet around Mr Yagi.
And Mr Yagi had closed himself off partially, trying to focus on his work more. But then he started not coming in at his hours, and Sashi had to cover for him and Natsu was getting worried about the old man as well and-
And then you were suddenly out of the office during lunch every day.
Sometimes it was for the full hour. Other times you would call her, tell her that you would be late- and then show up with takeout as an apology or something.
Suki noticed it.
Yagi noticed it too.
Hell, even Natsu, who’s usually buried in numbers and logistics to realize something was up, noticed it. The other clerks were starting to notice it. And you kept doing it… and she didn’t know why.
“You’re going out again!?” Sashi whined.
You were by the elevator, messenger bag on your shoulder, company car keys twirling on a finger. You flashed an apologetic grin, shrugging one shoulder.
“I’ll be back before the hour’s up.”
“You said that yesterday.”
“Was I wrong?”
“Suits, if you’re seeing someone behind my back-”
“Goodbye, Sashi.” you laughed, waving as you walked away.
The elevator door closed on her. Sashi crossed her arms, pouting at the stainless steel. That was when she saw a very familiar lanky figure in the reflection. She turned around to see Mr Yagi trying to go back to his office, lacking the heavy folder he had just twenty minutes ago.
“Mr Yagi!” she called out.
“Oh! Ms Sashi, so good to see you! H-how can I help?”
Sashi walked over, wrapping herself around one of his arms, batting her eyelashes as best as she could. The blonde grew stiff, but the nervous smile didn’t leave his face.
“Can you do me a favor, Mr Yagi? I promise not to tell anyone.” Sashi says.
I’m not the only one who changes colors, she thought, watching Yagi’s neck start to turn pink.
“W-What did you have in mind?” he asked, adjusting his already crooked tie.
She smiled, dragging him over to your office, closing the door before pushing him to your chair.
“I know Suit’s password but what I don’t have access to their emails. But since you’re the head of the department, that means you have it! It’s the same password that your computer uses- can you help me look for something?”
“Th- I- Isn’t this a little, I mean. It’s not exactly-”
“Pleeease.” Sashi whined, already throwing her arms around his thin neck. “I just want to check something! I just don’t want Suits to get hurt! What if someone is blackmailing them and that’s why they’re gone so much!”
There’s a pause, Yagi’s hands twitching. Then he nods, swallowing around what was no doubt a too-good-for-petty-crime lump in his throat. Sashi let go, quickly putting in your password, clicking through until she got to the login screen for your combined personal and corporate emails.
“... G-give me a moment.” Yagi stuttered, the Kansai thicker than ever.
Sashi bit her lip as she saw Yagi pull out a small book, flipping to a page that had several passwords and security codes on it. Well that’s really dangerous… gotta remember that. She waited for him to punch in the code, your emails eventually open for her and Yagi to look at.
“W-What exactly are you looking for?” Yagi asks.
“Suits is gone pretty much every day- I just want to know why, that’s all!”
“I-I don’t think we should be doing this…”
Then why are you looking? Sashi grinned, quickly flipping back and forth between your professional and private email, looking for… something. She doesn’t really see anything, you almost never delete any emails so there was spam, chain emails, a few department head conversations, among other things. She scrunched her nose, still flipping back and forth.
“... May I?” Yagi asked
“Huh? Oh, sure.”
Yagi leaned forward, quickly typing ‘Night’ into the search bar. Immediately, the list shrunk down to a few dozen- and almost all of them were from one email.
“What the hell is SNE Agency?” Sashi asked, moving to look at the latest one.
I have an issue with the APHA regulations- apparently something changed when it comes to correspondence with Taiwan Intelligence. Are you free now?
- Sir Nighteye
Gladly, but this time can we not go to a gimmick restaurant? I’ll bring my notes.
- Sir Suits
Sashi blinked, skimming down to one that was in the middle of the group. Yagi sat silent, staring at the screen.
I have a question about your operations. Lunch or Dinner?
- Sir Suits
So long as we can classify this as an interview rather than a private affair. I’m currently craving Udon.
- Sir Nighteye
For you? I’m sure we can make it both.
- Sir Suits
“... I fucking KNEW IT! THEY ARE SEEING SOMEONE!” Sashi yelled.
Yagi had yet to respond, reading the last line over and over. A darker shadow started to form across his face- only for his shoulders to snap to attention, anger rising across his face.
“... Mr Yagi?” Sashi hesitated, hand hovering above the older man’s shoulder.
He didn’t say anything, just clicked methodically through each email, reading them and moving onto the next one. Sashi couldn’t help but to look at them with him… but she didn’t like the dark glare that was taking over her usually cheerful boss.
“They’re being interviewed. For Nighteye’s new hero agency.” he spoke.
“Wait, you mean the guy who used to work here?”
“But that’s insane! This is Su- Sir’s dream job! Why would they leave?”
“... This is why.”
Sashi leaned over, reading the screen. Her eyes started to grow wide.
Regarding your inquiry. It’s not common, but given enough training, both physical and mental, you might be able to take the hero registration test. However they do require a Quirk to be registered- unless you can prove you have worked in a pro hero environment for more than a year, in direct service to the hero who sponsors you. The timeline would be tricky.
- Sir Nighteye
I appreciate your help. Without having a registered Quirk, it will be difficult to become an official sidekick. Given that my duties would mean I would be restricted to the office I don’t see the Hero Association outright opposing us. Dinner?
- Sir Suits
I’ll buy. Call me when you get off.
- Sir Nighteye
“... I can’t tell if they’re flirting or not.” Sashi glanced down at Yagi, saw the scowl growing on his face. “Maybe it’s just- I mean… two professionals can meet for dinner, right?”
“I have to go.”
“Wha- Mr Yagi?”
The blonde got up, slamming the door shut behind himself. Sashi flinched, moving away from the computer screen, only to stand in front of the fogged glass. She saw Yagi’s shape leave, towards the fire exit- his usual escape route.
Shit shit shit shit shit shit what have I done!?
Sashi looked back at your computer, cursing under her breath. She covered her tracks, logging off and exiting out. Even under a panic, she made sure that nothing could be traced back to her- or Yagi for that matter. A quick walk towards the security cameras, splicing footage for the last few minutes. Afterwards she left, walking to the storage room in order to clear her head. That’s when it hit her.
“His accent disappeared.” She mumbled to herself. “... It sounded almost like-”
Her phone rang, so she took the call. Sashi forgot soon after what she had been thinking of.
I love Tension y'all, soz