No one could’ve seen it coming; no one was prepared. How could they be? How could he be?
But then again, All Might knew of the warnings, he knew of the inevitable reality he would end up facing should he accept such a power, and he knew that facing off against the most dangerous and evil villain in the history of quirk existence would most likely lead to his ultimate defeat, and possible death.
And yet, All Might didn’t waver. He didn’t cower away. He stood tall and brave, wearing his trademark smile and declaring his premature victory as he gave literally everything he had just to defeat such evil. Despite his fears, despite the looming threat of death as punishment for his failure, All Might succeeded as the victor, in the end.
But at the cost of something much greater than his pride. Achieving such an enormous win unfortunately resulted in the Symbol of Peace becoming critically wounded to the point of losing his whole stomach and his respiratory system becoming severely damaged. It was a miracle the man was even alive with such grave injuries, but it wasn’t just his injuries that had turned All Might’s world upside down.
It was the realization that he would now become limited in his use of One For All, he wouldn’t be the same hero he was before, and if he continued to use his quirk as he had before, eventually, All Might would be no more.
Upon arriving at the hospital shortly after All For One was defeated, Shouta was anything but calm as he barked angrily at the receptionist demanding to see his husband, wanting to see for himself if the love of his life was okay. He was told to wait in the lobby since All Might was undergoing surgery and it would most likely be a while before he would be able to see him. Shouta reluctantly took a seat in the waiting room, trying his best to stay calm and to think positively. He didn’t care if he lost precious hours of sleep, he would camp out in that damn lobby if he had to.
After what must’ve felt like ages but was only a couple of hours, the doctors came out and approached the ever anxious man and told him the news. They explained how Toshinori’s stomach had been completely destroyed and they had to remove what was left of the mutilated organ, and his respiratory system had been severely damaged; they also explained that he would need to undergo future surgeries later on due to the severity of Toshinori’s condition.
The doctors informed Shouta that All Might had to take some time off from hero work for a minimum of 2-3 months so he could fully recover, and even after that, there may be some restrictions put on him while on hero duty.
While Shouta was shocked by the news, all he cared about at the moment was seeing his husband; he would deal with the aftermath of the past events later. The nurses escorted the man into the recovery ward of the hospital and once they reached Toshinori’s room, Shouta couldn’t contain himself as tears spilled down his face upon seeing the heavily battered and bandaged body of the Symbol of Peace.
Shouta quickly went over to Toshinori’s bedside and nearly collapsed beside the man as he wrapped his arms around the man’s neck, being mindful of his injuries and the numerous wires he was hooked up to.
”Oh, Toshi!” The Erasure Hero sobbed out as he held onto his husband for dear life, afraid that if he let go he would disappear. “I saw everything, I had no idea if you had survived or not, and even when they said you’d won, I was so afraid you wouldn’t make it! Oh god, Toshi!”
Toshinori grimaced, he couldn’t stand hearing the broken sobs of his beloved as he continued to cry and wail into his shoulder. All he could was tentatively wrap his heavily bandaged arms around the smaller man’s waist, whispering soft words to him.
”I’m so sorry, my love, I didn’t mean to worry you.” He didn’t know what else to say that would make the situation less tense, not that it was any better to say nothing, at all. After a short few minutes, Shouta pulled himself together and pulled away slightly so he could look Toshinori in the eyes; his own eyes puffy and bloodshot.
”Don’t be sorry, Toshi.” He whispered while placing a gentle hand on his cheek. “All that matters is that you’re alive. You’re alive, and you’re here. And no matter what, no matter the outcome, we’ll always be together. That’s a promise.”
It was just those simple words and the tone behind them that resulted in Toshinori unravelling and falling forward into Shouta’s shoulder; his shoulders trembling with silent sobs of his own. Now, it was Toshinori’s turn to cry.
Shouta carefully sat beside the large man and pulled him as close as he could with the wires holding him in place, and simply held the broken, crying man to his chest; his hand rubbing gentle, soothing circles on his back.
“Shh, shhh it’s okay, love. You’re okay. We’ll get through this, I promise. I’m gonna help you through this. You’re not alone, I’m gonna be by your side through thick and thin. No matter what, we’re a team.” Shouta’s voice was gentle, so gentle and so full of love that it was almost too much for Toshinori to handle. Shouta continued to assure him that he wouldn’t have to face his pain and sadness alone; he would be right there beside him to hold him close and comfort him, to help him through his struggles and hardships and to be a supporting pillar in his life.
No matter what, Shouta would always be Toshinori’s hero, and in turn, he would be Shouta’s.
It felt like an eternity before they eventually pulled apart, evidence of intense crying on both of their faces, but they couldn’t care less.
”Where are the boys?” Toshinori asked while looking around and searching for any sign of his sons. “Hizashi has them, he’s at our house watching over them until I get back. They’ll most likely be asleep before then.” Toshinori nodded, understanding his reason for not bringing the boys with him; he didn’t want them to see their father in such a critical state, especially Izuku.
”Toshi…?” His voice was hushed and it sounded unsure. Toshinori sat up as best as he could, given how much his body ached from even the slightest movement.
Shouta was silent for a beat before finally speaking, again. “Look. I know this is probably not the best time to bring this up, and I know that we agreed to wait until the time was right to discuss it with Izuku, but I…”
He didn’t even have to finish that sentence for Toshinori to understand what he was referring to, and although the timing was a tad bit inconvenient given the circumstances, Toshinori touched Shouta’s cheek and stroked it with his thumb.
”I understand, Shou.” Toshinori smiled, softly. “But are you absolutely sure that you’re okay with this?”
Shouta nodded. “I am. We can’t hold this off any longer, not after what happened today. Who knows how much time you'll have before you won’t be able to use One For All, anymore?” He paused for a bit to catch his breath, his hand resting on top of the larger hand on his stubbled cheek. “But it doesn’t have to be right this second. For now, you need to rest; you’re in no shape to be moving around.”
Toshinori took hold of Shouta’s face and pulled him in for a chaste kiss; their lips barely moving as they felt each other’s warmth through the simple touch. After breaking the kiss, Toshinori smiled at the man while still holding his face in his hands. “Of course, dear.”
With visitation hours almost over, Shouta kissed the man one last time before urging him to get some rest and promising to come by first thing in the morning.
Things were going to get a whole lot more exciting for the hero duo, and not in a fun way.
The next day, Toshinori felt ten times better than he did the previous night thanks to the high dosage of pain medication the doctors gave him, as well as Recovery Girl using her healing quirk on him, which really took the edge off of the pain. Although it made him feel even more drained due to his stamina being almost nonexistent.
Toshinori was transferred from the main ICU and moved into one of the more private hospital suites two floors above. The hospital staff were all aware of All Might’s situation, and made sure that none of his fans or the public tried to barge in and see him; only those who were on the hospital guest list, which included All Might’s husband and children, would be allowed to see the man in his current state.
Not wanting to reveal his current state to the public out of fear of the truth behind his quirk being revealed, Toshinori requested that all the news stations refrained from releasing any coverage of All Might’s battle against All For One or his life-changing injuries. Thankfully, the news reporters were very cooperative and complied with the Pro Heroes request, and told the man that they would just come up with a plausible coverup story that would explain why the Symbol of Peace was on hiatus from hero duties, and that the other Pro Heroes would take care of keeping the city safe until he was back to full health.
Now all that was left to do was for Toshinori to keep acting as if nothing had happened, and to tell Izuku and Hitoshi the news.
After school let out the third day of Toshinori’s recovery, Shouta came into Toshinori’s hospital suite with both boys in tow; a look of worry and anticipation on both of their faces.
”Dad!” Izuku and Hitoshi cried out in unison as they rushed over to the man who was sitting on the edge of the bed. Toshinori smiled and held his arms open as his boys practically threw themselves into their father’s chest; both of them hugging onto him for dear life.
Toshinori wrapped his arms tightly around the boys’ frames, feeling the front of his hospital gown becoming soaked with tears.
”Papa told us about your fight with that powerful villain, I was so scared you had died, Dad!” Izuku cried out.
”Please don’t leave us, Dad! We can’t lose you!” Hitoshi was just as overwhelmed with relief and sadness as he held on tighter to the man’s torso.
Toshinori hugged his boys close, whispering softly to them, assuring them that he was okay and that he wasn’t going to leave them. They stayed that way for a moment longer before the boys pulled away and allowed the man to adjust himself on the bed, again.
Izuku gazed up at his father and asked in an innocent voice, ”How long are you gonna be here for, Dad? When are you coming home?” His eyes were full of curiosity and hope that his beloved dad would get to come home with them soon, and they could go back to how they used to be.
Toshinori gave him a sad smile before saying, “I’m not too sure, Bunny. As soon as the doctors say I’m well enough, they’ll let me go back home.” He couldn’t help but frown at the sight of his boy’s face fall in disappointment. He took a quick sip of water before speaking, again.
”Actually, boys. There’s...something I need to talk to you two about, and it’s very important, so I need you both to listen carefully. Especially you, Izuku.” He eyed the boy with a serious look, to which he stared back at the man with a look of surprise, but he nodded yes, regardless.
Shouta took the hint and pulled out 2 chairs for the boys to take a seat beside the hospital bed while he sat on the opposite side. He took a deep breath, looked Izuku and Hitoshi in the eyes and began to tell them about One For All.
”Izuku. Hitoshi. Do you know what makes All Might so powerful?” He asked, vaguely. Izuku and Hitoshi looked at each other in confusion as if they’d been asked a trick question. It was the green-haired boy who spoke up, his voice slightly timid. “W-Well, yeah. It’s because you have such an amazing quirk! No one knows about where your power even comes from or what it’s called. It’s considered to be one of the seven wonders of the world!”
Toshinori chuckled softly at his son’s innocent response. “Well, of course, that’s just common knowledge. But what I meant was do you know specifically what makes my quirk so powerful?” Now more confused than before, Izuku wracked his brain with trying to solve something so vague.
”I’ll tell you.” The man adjusted himself so that he was sitting cross-legged and facing the boys. “There’s a major difference between my quirk and the quirks of many others, and that is, my quirk was passed down to me by another, much like an Olympic torch.”
That was not what Izuku and Hitoshi were expecting to hear; the mossy-hair boy looked stunned, even more so than his brother. “Wha-? Really?! Your quirk was-was passed down to you?!”
”Correct.” Toshinori stated before covering his mouth as he fell into a slight coughing fit. After composing himself, he continued to explain.
”Many people have speculated that my power is either super strength or a boost of power, but in truth, no one really knows what my power really is, and I’ve always avoided answering question about my power during interviews. The reason for this, is because All Might, the Symbol of Peace, has to come off as a natural-born hero. But the reality of it all, is that my quirk was given to be by my predecessor.”
The boys both stared at their father in astonishment upon hearing the truth. Who would’ve thought that All Might’s power was never his own. Was that even possible?
”I have the ability to transfer my powers to another person, and in turn, once they’ve refined and perfected it, they are able to transfer it onto another worthy candidate, and so on and so on. This quirk has been in the possession of many other powerful heroes before me, and I am currently the eighth holder of this power. And it’s name, is One For All”.
Izuku looked at the man in amazement and wonder upon learning the name of All Might’s, his father’s quirk. “One...For All…?” He smiled to himself as he repeated the name. It was actually a pretty fitting name; had a nice ring to it.
”I know this all may be quite confusing to the two of you right now, but there is a reason why I’m telling you this, mainly why I’m telling you this, Izuku.” His attention turns straight to the 9-year-old, who begins to feel a bit uneasy having all eyes on him. “M-Me?” He asks, nervously.
”That’s right, my boy! I believe that you are worthy of inheriting my power; I want you to be the next torchbearer of One For All.”
Izuku’s eyes looked as though they were going to pop out of his head, and Hitoshi looked just as shock. “Wh-What?! You-You want ME to take on your quirk?!” Toshinori nodded once. Izuku sputtered his words, trying to process why his father, why All Might, would want to give someone like him his quirk.
The man’s voice softened a bit when he saw his boy becoming flustered. “Izuku. I know what you’re thinking, and before you say anything, yes, I believe you are worthy of inheriting my quirk.” He smiled while placing his large hand on the boy’s shoulder.
”You remember that day, when Hitoshi was attacked by the Sludge Villain?” Izuku nodded, his eyes remaining as big as saucers. “And you remember when I told you that putting another person’s safety before your own made you a hero?” Another nod. “Well, I meant what I said.” Toshinori took hold of both of Izuku’s shoulders and gave him a big smile.
”You may be Quirkless, Izuku, but back then, you were more of a hero than anyone else on the scene! A person who springs into action like you did is someone I believe is qualified to be a true hero. Which is why, my boy, you are the perfect person to accept my quirk!”
Toshinori took a moment to gather his thoughts before speaking again, his voice softer, this time. “Of course, this all depends on you, Izuku.” The boy gave him a perplexed look, not understanding what he meant.
”While I do want you to be the next holder of One For All, I can only do that if you’re willing to accept my power. I don’t want to force you into something that you don’t want to do; I want you to be able to decide for yourself if this is the path you wish to follow.”
Toshinori smiles softly while petting Izuku’s unruly green curls, hoping that he didn’t make the boy feel too pressured. “If you decide that you don’t want to take on my quirk, then that’s perfectly fine, my boy! I won’t get upset, and your Papa and I will support you in whatever else you choose to do.”
Izuku was silent, as were the other 3 in the room with him. He thought, and thought, and thought some more; taking the time to process everything the man had just told them, told him.
”You really think that I’m worthy of taking on your quirk, Dad?” His voice was as soft as a whisper, but loud enough for the man to hear. “That’s right, Izuku.”
”Does this mean...that I’ll be able to be a hero, just like you? I’ll be able to save people, and become the greatest hero in the world?”
”If that’s what you want to do, Izuku, then yes. You don’t have to follow in my footsteps just because you’ll have my quirk. You can be the kind of hero YOU want to be.”
Izuku was silent, again. A minute passes before he speaks up.
”I’ve always dreamed of being a hero that protects people who need me and wearing a brave smile while doing it. I’ve always looked up to you, and now, I get the chance to do that…” Everyone in the room remained silent while waiting for the boy to give his final answer.
’He’s told me so much; he’s told me his greatest secrets and has offered me the chance to make my dreams a reality! Do I have any reason at all not to accept such a life-changing request? No! Not at all!!’
Feeling like a jolt of electricity had surged through his body, Izuku looked at his father with so much confidence despite the tears brimming his eyes.
”I’LL DO IT!!”
Toshinori couldn’t help but to laugh at his son’s response. “You’re quick to answer, my boy. But I expected nothing less.” He then reached over and pulled Izuku in for a hug, ignoring the aching pulsing through his body.
Hitoshi and Shouta both shared a smile as they watched the two hug one another. “That’s awesome, Izu. You’re gonna be a great hero, someday.” Hitoshi praised the boy, feeling nothing but pride for his little brother.
He didn’t feel at all jealous or angry for their dad not offering him the chance to inherit his quirk; he already had a quirk of his own that, with the help of Eraser Head’s training, would become quite useful when he became a Pro Hero. Izuku had been Quirkless his whole life, and now he’d been given the chance of a lifetime to change that. He deserved to have a chance at becoming a hero and living his dream.
”When do I get to train, Dad?” Izuku asked, his voice filled with excitement and enthusiasm. Toshinori chuckled while letting Izuku pull away and sit on the bed across from the large man.
”I’m happy to see you so eager to get started, my boy, but unfortunately, I’m in no condition to train you, just yet.” He motioned to his heavily bandaged torso.
Izuku let out a soft “Ohh” in a sheepish voice, feeling silly for thinking they would start training him, right away. The man patted Izuku in the head in reassurance before speaking. “Now, now. Don’t fret, my boy. Just because I’m unable to train you at the moment, that doesn’t mean we won’t start preparing you for my quirk.”
Izuku tilted his head slightly in confusion. “Preparing me?”
”That’s right. Right now, your body isn’t ready for the power that One For All produces; One For All comprises the physical strength of many people into one, including my own. If I were to give you my quirk with your body the way it is now, you wouldn’t be able to handle the overwhelming force of it. To put it lightly, your limbs would most likely pop off.”
This statement made Izuku flinch in fear, trying his best not to visualize what that would look like. Shouta was quick to comfort and reassure the boy, all while shooting Toshinori a slightly annoyed glare. The man laughed nervously while scratching the back of his head.
”I mean, of course, that’s not going to happen to you, my boy. I’m sorry for scaring you.” Izuku pulled himself together and smile at the man’s words.
”So, how am I going to get ready for your quirk?” Izuku was curious as to how his dad was going to train him in his current state. What training would he be put through to prepare for such a power? It was almost frightening to find out.
”For the time being, your Papa will be teaching you some hand-to-hand combat, as well as some self-defense techniques, and once your physically ready to accept my quirk, I’ll be the one to train you on how to use it; and I'll even consider having Gran Torino assist me in training you.” Izuku beamed up at the mention of All Might’s former teacher helping to train him.
Toshinori smirked at his boy’s excitement. “With all of the training you’ll be undergoing, by the time you enter your third year of junior high and the entrance exams for U.A. rolls in, you’ll be more than ready.” Izuku’s eyes widened when he heard his father mention U.A.
”Wait, you-you mean it? I’ll be able to get into U.A.!?” Although he had no reason to be thinking about high school when he was only in 4th grade, Izuku was still determined to get accepted into the same school both of his dads went to, it was a school where some of the greatest heroes in existence went to study.
”Absolutely, my boy!” Toshinori grinned. “As of this very moment, we’ve got 6 years to get you ready. That’s more than enough time for us to get you in tip-top shape. And I should be back to my usual self by the time the real training begins...well, as much of my old self as I’ll be able to manage.” Toshinori muttered, his voice sounding slightly deflated. He was so caught up in explaining how he would mold Izuku into the perfect vessel for One For All, he’d nearly forgotten about the possibility that his injuries would become a hindrance to his hero work.
Only time would tell what will become of All Might 6 years from now. For the time being, all of his focus would be on Izuku.
”Oh, that’s reminds me.” Toshinori stated, forgetting to mention something else, something just as important.
”Listen very closely, Izuku; you too, Hitoshi. Everything that I’ve spoken about; my injuries, the existence of One For All, the ability to pass my power onto another, all of it, it is to be kept between us.” Toshinori’s voice held a layer of seriousness, implying the grave importance of keeping the nature of his quirk confidential.
”Under no circumstances can you boys tell anyone, and I mean anyone, about what you’ve heard, today. The only ones who know about One For All are your Papa, Gran Torino, Mr. Nedzu, and a couple of other Pro Heroes and close friends. If the truth about One For All were to get into the wrong hands, it could cause other Pro Heroes, and even villains, to seek out my power and exploit it for themselves, and possibly cause you both to get hurt. You must promise me that you will not tell anyone. Do you understand?”
Hitoshi was quick to comply to his demands, but Izuku seemed...uncertain. Like he was having a difficult time with accepting those terms.
He glanced up at Toshinori with a worried look before saying, “Not even Kacchan…?” His voice was timid and soft, like he would get in trouble for even making that suggestion. Toshinori shook his head. “Not even Kacchan.”
Izuku’s eyes grew wide again, he felt an uneasy feeling forming in his chest. He didn’t want to keep secrets from his best friend; how was he supposed to explain to Katsuki how he suddenly got a quirk when he’d been Quirkless all his life? Shouta seemed to understand what Izuku was thinking and spoke up.
”Izuku, I understand that you trust Katsuki, it’s not that we don’t think he’s trustworthy. We just cannot take any risks with something like this. This is to protect not only you, but your father as well.” He gave the boy a soft smile before continuing. “And if he does ask about where this mysterious quirk came from, you can just say that it happened overnight. It’s actually quite common for some children to manifest their quirks late, just like a growth spurt.”
He then got down to Izuku’s level. “You have to promise us that you will keep this to yourself. Don’t tell anybody about One For All, or where it comes from. Understand?”
Izuku felt like he was caught between a rock and a hard place. He didn’t want to keep secrets from Katsuki and lie to him, but he also didn’t want to cause any trouble for his dads and brother. He’d been given this opportunity to inherit his father’s power, and the last thing he wanted to do was completely throw it all away from him opening his mouth.
Toshinori, no, All Might, was counting on him. He couldn’t let him down.
Looking up at the 2 men, Izuku finally nodded his head; a hint of reluctance on his face. “I understand. I won’t tell anyone.” A wave of relief washes over the men as they both share a content smile.
“Excellent, my boy!” Toshinori praises with his trademark smile. “Now that we’re all on the same page, we can begin your training to prepare you for One For All. But don’t think it’ll be easy.” He gave a slightly mischievous grin while smiling at the boy. Izuku wasn’t intimidated, though, as he flashed his own smile at the man; his feelings from earlier being replaced with excitement for what was to come.
”Bring it on!”