Todoroki Touya is four years old, and he is burning.
He inherits his mother’s frail bone structure, and her slender figure and her body that is more suited for ice and Touya is weak.
Todoroki Enji- no, Endeavor is a harsh trainer, egging Touya on and the sheer heat in the training dojo means that Touya feels like he is melting .
But Touya needs to keep trying, because Endeavor says he has to. He needs to be able to surpass the number one hero in Japan, All Might.
Touya tries and tries but in the end, he is not powerful enough, and his quirk is just not good enough.
His brother Shouto is born with a dual quirk. It seems, that after trying and trying, his father did get the perfect child he wanted, at the end. The perfect child to mold into the next number one hero.
Touya has been thrown away and replaced.
Of course, after Shouto is born Endeavor does not focus on Touya as much as he used to, instead training up Shouto, who is four years old and has suffered so much already.
But Endeavor still manages to find the time to train Touya, later in the evenings when Shouto is being patched up by Mother, or sometimes Fuyumi. Touya is still weak, not having the immunity to fire that he should have, given his quirk. His quirk is powerful, but his body is not.
When he is not training, Touya is a normal thirteen-year-old boy, in the way that Endeavor lets him go to middle school and he can hang out with his friends but he is not allowed to enrol in UA when he is older.
Because if he does, he will be a disgrace to the family name, Endeavor says.
Touya stays out for as long as possible most days after school, preferring the streets to his home. Sometimes he takes Fuyumi and Natsuo out, being the oldest Todoroki, but they are isolated from Shouto, who is the perfect child and therefore must not interact with his failures.
Late at night, her can hear Mother protesting against Shouto’s brutal training. He’s only six, she cries, but her pleading is interrupted by Endeavor striking her to the floor. Touya rushes into the room, shielding Mother from Endeavor’s strikes and he roars.
“Get out of the way, boy!”
Mother’s hand is pressed to her cheek, already icing it over with her quirk, and she puts a cold hand on Touya’s burning skin. His palms are already igniting with blue flames and he raises his arms defensively.
“Its okay, Touya.”
Mother’s voice breaks through the silence, and Endeavor turns away, rushing out the door with a slam. Touya turns to his mother, who is still using her other hand to cradle her cheek and pulls her into a hug.
“You shouldn’t let him push you around so much” he murmurs into her ear and Mother shakes her head and looks up at him, eyes slightly tearing up. “I’ll be fine, Touya” is all she says.
Touya is thirteen when he vows that he will get out of this place.
Shouto gets injured.
It’s only natural that Mother would have some mental problems, due to the stress and emotional tension in her and it just so happens that Shouto is the unlucky one who had to catch the brink of her mental instability.
Touya rushes into the kitchen upon hearing Shouto’s piercing screams and sobs, and he runs in to see Shouto’s burned left side and Mother’s crying.
He calls the ambulance, and Endeavor.
Later, in the hospital, Shouto’s left side is bandaged and Mother is in a psychiatric ward.
Touya needs to get out.
Touya is fourteen, and he gets burned.
He is fourteen, and he is yelling at Endeavor, Fuyumi pulling on his arm and telling him to calm down, and Natsuo comforting a crying and injured Shouto.
“YOU PUT MOTHER IN THE HOSPITAL! IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN MOTHER WHO BURNED SHOUTO, BUT YOU WERE THE CAUSE OF IT!”
“Enough! I will not have this yelling going on in my house!”
“Fight me” is all Touya says, and he charges at Endeavor. He can vaguely hear Fuyumi telling him to stop, but all he can feel is his burning anger and hatred at Endeavor.
He managed to slam into the man, but as soon as he starts to punch, Endeavor grabs him by the neck.
“Enough” he snarls, and Touya can see the anger in his eyes. “You are weak, just like your mother.”
He feels the burning before he can see the flames and now Fuyumi is screaming.
“STOP! YOU’LL KILL HIM!”
And Touya lands on the floor with a thump, Fuyumi screams “call an ambulance!” in the distance but he can’t quite hear it and all he can think about is the burning on his face and neck.
Endeavor puts him in the hospital.
Touya does not need to know what he looks like when they take the bandages off, because the horrified reaction of the nurses and the doctor is enough. Fuyumi cries when she sees his face, and Natsuo tries to stay strong.
His face is a patchwork of scars, dead purple skin being held together with surgical staples under his eyes and around his mouth, chin and neck. He cannot feel the skin anymore. The doctors say that the fire burned his nerves so now he can’t feel anything. Fuyumi sobs, and hangs on to him as if she is afraid he will disappear.
He still runs away though.
It’s easier for him to run away now, when he is a disgraced child and a rebel in Endeavor’s eyes.
He takes the belongings he needs from his room, like his cell phone (that he paid for himself) and enough snacks and water to last him a day or two.
He sneaks out at night out his window, with just the clothes on his back and a backpack, and he boards a train to Kamino.
The first few days in the city, he sleeps in bus shelters and ventures through dark alleys at night, looking for suspicious activity. It’s a hobby, he supposes, and it comforts him to know that he has his quirk to protect him if there are dangerous individuals.
In the daytime, he wears a surgical mask and a hoodie. Nobody notices him, because in a city filled with people bearing mutation quirks that change appearances, a single individual in a surgical mask does not stand out.
And then he makes the drastic changes to his appearance, as if the scars don’t really make a difference. Cheap hair dye from the convenience store isvsurprisingly functional, and do well to mask his very noticeable red hair. Piercings come soon after, on his eyebrows, his nose and his ears. It’s surprisingly fun, masking his appearance with various accessories on his face.
On his fifteenth birthday, which he would’ve celebrated with Fuyumi this year, he buys himself a bread roll and sticks a candle on it, lighting it with his quirk.
He gets into shady stuff surprisingly late, when he is seventeen. Surviving two years on the street is not easy, and Touya congratulates himself for staying alive. He supposes Endeavor thinks he’s dead by now, and he hates to think what Fuyumi and Natsuo would think, let alone Mother.
But Mother is in a psychiatric hospital now, and Fuyumi would be in high school now,he supposes.
He doesn’t think about Shouto.
He starts out talking to a guy called Yuu, and by some sort of miracle, gets a job out of it.
The job isn’t really legal though.
When Touya thinks about it, he is indirectly pissing off his father, so this is okay in his book.
The job requires him to kill some people who displeased a certain crime boss in the area. Yuu is one of the crime boss’s lackeys, joining after his single mother died and his sister was put into a foster home.
Yuu is alone, just like him.
That night Touya makes his first kill.
It ends up being surprisingly easy, Touya’s quirk being able to get rid of any evidence that they did it. He ignores the man’s distressed screams and his pleading.
He only feels a little bit sick afterwards, when he is washing off the blood and ashes from his hands. But the money he gets paid makes up for more than enough.
And that night, when he is going to sleep in the abandoned apartment building he inhabited downtown, he thinks that this is all his life will amount to.
Touya makes some bad decisions, and this may be one of the worse ones he’s made in his life.
He is twenty-three, and he has joined the League of Villains.
He goes by Dabi, a name that he has been thinking of since he was a kid, whether he would be a hero or a villain because he thought it sounded cool.
“Cremation” is a great name for a villain.
The company is okay, because in reality the people who most think of as villains are just people who have been abandoned by society. Spinner has a reptile mutant quirk, and he follows Hero Killer Stain’s ideals just like Dabi. Toga Himiko is a crazy bloodthirsty schoolgirl who needs blood to activate her quirk, which allows her to turn into the person who’s blood she consumes.
Magne, with the magnetizing quirk was rejected by society because of her gender and Twice is a nice guy sometimes, but his two personalities clash a lot and are really confusing.
And Shigaraki… he’s the single most infuriating guy Dabi knows, apart from his father, and he wears that stupid hand mask all the time that kind of creeps Dabi out. Also, when he gets agitated and starts scratching at his neck, Kurogiri’s the only person who can make him slightly calmer.
and their Sensei? Dabi knows nothing about him, except for the fact that he controls everything behind the scenes, and is the guy that Shigaraki practically worships.
So he must have a lot of power and influence, then.
When the Vanguard action squad comes to be, there are more recruits; Mr Compress- a showman who can compress things into marbles, Muscular- a brute who has no rational thinking, it seems and Moonfish, who is absolutely terrifying.
(Even in Dabi’s standards)
Dabi figures that Shouto probably got into UA on Endeavor’s recommendation and he is right; he watches the UA sports festival and gets to see a green kid named Midoriya urge his fire side alive with the words it’s your power!
huh. He probably refused to use his fire side because of Endeavor.
The forest is dark, and Dabi is glad that his quirk allows him to be warm in this cold atmosphere and have a source of light so that he can actually see.
Spinner chatters to him while they’re walking, and he thinks he hears a rustle in the bushes and stops, ears alert for any sign of a person hiding in there but carries on walking when he hears nothing else.
After a while of walking and surveying the chaos their invasion has caused on the training camp, Dabi heads to where Mr. Compress is while hearing him talk over the comms.
His clone is fighting that underground hero, Eraserhead and he hears over in the opposite direction and shudders. It feels strange seeing his facial scars from an outside point of view and he’d rather not.
It seems that fate is not on his side tonight, because he comes across quite the chaotic scene. He can see that Mr. Compress is holding two marbles, meaning her has acquired the target and a extra individual and one of the students is yelling at him to give them back.
He freezes, however when he sees a familiar head of red and white hair. Todoroki Shouto’s heterochromic eyes turn to face Dabi and he gives a smirk, twirling a marble between his fingers, the marble giving a luminescent blue glow.
“How sad, Todoroki Shouto.”