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little brother, we are all grieving

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Touya blinks his eyes open and stares groggily at the ceiling. It’s pale and square tiled, and that and the smell of antiseptic is all he needs to know that he’s in a hospital. He takes a few deep breaths and wheezes a little at the bolt of pain he gets. When he tries to lift a hand to prod at his aching ribs, something metal and cool rattles against his wrist.

“You shouldn’t move too much.” Someone says. Touya glances over and stares at the police officer in the chair next to his bed. He shakes the cuffs around his hands pointedly and lifts his eyebrows.

“You’re a flight risk.” The officer explains, and Touya rolls his eyes.

“What, my daddy pay you off to make sure I don’t run?” He asks, half-startled by how hoarse and rough his voice is. His throat clicks as he swallows.

“Your father is that worried about you bolting?” The officer asks, but gets up and retrieves a cup with a straw. He holds it to Touya’s mouth and he drains the water there in several pulls.

“Well,” he says, letting his head fall back against his pillows. “It’s either to keep me from running or to keep people from finding out a Todoroki is hospitalized.”

Even as Touya’s eyes slip shut, he doesn’t miss the way the officer stiffens at that. He can’t help the tight smile that pulls at his lips.

“What, Enji didn’t bother to tell you who I am?” He asks, snorts at the stony expression on the officer’s face. “Figures the old man would keep his mouth shut. Probably didn’t tell you how I wound up here, either.”

“And how would that be?” The officer asks. He leans forward, and Touya pauses at the intense look in his dark eyes. The officer is- strange, in a way that makes Touya instantly wary, now that he’s noticed. He’s all around plain looking; dark eyes, skin too dark to be native, hair dark and curly and sparkly. Something is just slightly off about him, though.

The door to the room suddenly slams open and Touya flinches despite himself, presses back into his pillows and tries to steady his breathing. His heart monitor picks up.

A slim, dark haired man steps through the door. His hair is greasy and pulled into a messy bun, and a distracting scar lines his cheek. His eyes settle on Touya and narrow slightly.

“Aizawa,” The officer says, getting up. The two shake hands and then Aizawa drags a chair over to sit as well. The two adults turn to look at him together, and Touya digs his fingers into the sheets of the bed.

“Can you tell me your full name?” Aizawa asks. He shouldn’t be threatening in a worn sweatshirt and jeans, but Touya feels the hair on the back of his neck stand up. His chest tightens around his breathing.

“Todoroki Touya.” He says, and this time he watches closely- and again, both of the men’s expressions shutter just slightly. He flicks his gaze between the two uneasily.

“Why am I here?” He asks, shifts a little more up right and grinds his teeth at the stab of pain that gets him. His cuffs squeak against the bed’s handrails.

“You were injured during a villain attack.” Aizawa says. The officer nods, and Touya frowns, tries to remember-

“You suffered a head injury, so it’s understandable if you’re struggling to remember.” The officer cuts in, and that makes Touya feel a little better about the murky well where his memories should be. He had been- had he been out? Had he been shopping?

“At the mall?” He asks, goes to rub his forehead and glares at his cuffs. Aizawa hums.

“It was organized by the League of Villains. Does that name ring a bell?” He asks, and Touya blinks a few times. It does strike a cord, faint as it is, and he shrugs a little.

“It sounds familiar? I think I recognize the name.” Touya says. “Was my father there?”

At this, the officer glances at Aizawa, who cooly lifts an eyebrow. He doesn’t look away from Touya.

“Endeavor was not part of the response force, no.” Aizawa says. “He’s busy handling other matters.”

That might explain why his father hasn’t retrieved him yet. He’s generally pretty fast about keeping Touya out of the public eye, which includes hospitals or urgent care units. If he’s busy, though, he would have probably paid an officer to keep an eye on him, and Touya glances up at the two men through his bangs.

“When will he be here?” Touya asks. Aizawa blinks slowly at him and rubs his stubbly chin with his hand.

“Do you want me to call him now?” He asks. The officer makes an aborted movement, but Touya all but misses it- his heart picks up fast enough that his monitor gives a warning beat, and he tries to shake his head nonchalantly.

“No need to bother him if he’s busy.” Touya says. He grinds his teeth as the officer glances from the heart monitor to him. Aizawa doesn’t take his eyes off of him.

“Would you like to tell me how you got those scars on your arms?” Aizawa asks suddenly. Touya sneers and wiggles his arms awkwardly.

“They’re burns? From my quirk?” He says, rolls his eyes like it doesn’t bother him- but Aizawa keeps watching him carefully and shakes his head.

“I meant the scars on your forearms.” He says cooly, and Touya- Touya freezes. His gut drops a little, sends a wave of half-hearted nausea through him. He glances down at the insides of his wrists and winces at the sight; when he was hospitalized the nurses must have removed his bracers, because his wrist to his elbow are bare, and the thick white scars that line them are uncovered.

“Before you try to think up a lie,” Aizawa says, and his tone is slow and voice soft but his eyes are hard, “I want you to know that it’s very obvious what those scars are, and I’m asking only to confirm on your chart that you’re a risk to yourself. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you say.”

Touya slumps back, tries to pull his arms to his belly and cover himself, but the fucking cuffs just rattle. He glares at Aizawa through his bangs. The officer is trying for a blank face, but Touya can see the discomfort and the way he glances down at his arms and back up.

“If you know then there’s no point.” He snaps. Aizawa just leans back in his chair and tucks his hands into his sweatshirt pocket. His eyes are bloodshot and baggy, but his gaze is unwavering, and Touya fights back the instinct to shudder.

“Do you feel unsafe in your home, Touya?” Aizawa asks. For a moment- for just a single moment, Touya meets Aizawa’s eyes and thinks about telling him, thinks about spilling about the scars. He just has to remember his siblings and his mom, though, to remind himself that it’s pointless.

“You want me to tell you my dad sneaks into my room at night and touches me?” Touya asks, forcing his voice to get harsh and cruel, and the officer frowns, but Aizawa- Aizawa just lifts an eyebrow and sighs.

“I’m a child safety advocate.” He says, as if that means jack shit. Touya jerks against his hand cuffs again and tries to swallow down the fury that’s slowly building in his chest.

“Save a lot of kids?” Touya asks. He knows what his voice sounds like- cutting and cold, just like daddy-dearest. “And you think- what? You think the kid of the number two hero Endeavor needs to be saved? From what? A hypermasculine role model?”

Aizawa’s eyes widen a little, there and gone too fast for Touya to be sure, but he stands and gestures for the officer to come with him. Touya tugs at the cuffs again pointedly but neither of the men look back at him as they leave the room.

The door shuts. Touya takes a few deep breaths to steady himself. His ribs and chest hurt to breathe, but it’s not debilitating. He can definitely make do once he gets out of these cuffs and finds some clothes to put on over his gown.

A quick scan of the room doesn’t offer anything obvious, so Touya leans over and grabs the wire to his monitor with his teeth. He tugs it closer until he can flick it off, and then awkwardly folds himself forward to peel the pads on his chest and side off. Next comes his IV- blood sprays from the crook of his elbow, but a little pressure for a moment or two stills that. 

The needle for his IV is thick. It’s not ideal, but Touya reminds himself that he could be working with a lot worse, and uses his mouth to carefully manipulate the needle in his fingers. He grabs the cuff in his mouth and slips the needle in, angles it until it snaps, and grabs the broken off piece. Then it’s all classic lock picking he picked up the first night he spent on the streets.

The first cuff takes some time- enough that Touya feels sweat start to slip down his spine, his fear that the two men would return growing, but it finally clicks open. With one hand free he makes quick work of the second cuff, and just like that, he’s free.

Touya moves slowly off the bed, unwilling to pass out or make too much noise. His vision goes dark and dizzy but he holds onto consciousness. It feels like forever, but only a few pounding heartbeats pass before he steadies against the side of the bed. Apart from his chest and aching head, he feels relatively unharmed; he searches the room for clothes with steady feet. There’s only the officer’s jacket draped over the chair, and Touya glances to the door and back before slipping it on. It dwarves him but that’s hardly surprising. He’s thin and a little short for a sixteen year old.

He doesn’t want to risk the door just yet, so he crosses the room to the window and pushes it open. When he peeks his head over the sill he could laugh for his luck- he looks to be on the third level, but there’s an empty lot below him, and thick vines criss cross the pitted brick; it’s all just visible in the dim light of the evening. Touya climbed harder walls when he was a preteen.

He doesn’t bother to jam a door under the handle, knowing it won’t hold, and wiggles through the narrow window. It’s unpleasantly breezy through his gown as he starts climbing down the wall. The brick is rough against his fingers and palms, and Touya curses his injured chest as his breathing comes harder and harder. By the time he reaches the ground he’s wheezing like he’s having an asthma attack, and he has to sit for a few minutes to catch his breath.

No one comes running and there’s no shouting, so Touya drags himself to his feet and assumes he’s still in the clear. He recognizes the hospital and sets off down the adjacent street with a relative confidence that he knows where he’s going. If he’s right, there’s a shitty thrift store two blocks down that he can snag some clothes from.

Touya doesn’t look back.



Aizawa doesn’t speak until the door is shut firmly behind him and they’ve walked a few yards down the hall. Sugimura nods at the officer guarding the door and follows Aizawa to the vending machine he’s eyeing tiredly.

“Do we believe him?” Sugimura asks, feeding a few yen into the machine. An espresso death trap falls to the bottom, and he hands it off to Aizawa.

“Why, of all things, would a de-aged Dabi claim to be the son of a hero? A renowned hero who, as that boy apparently doesn’t know, has been number one for several months now?” Aizawa cracks the can open and drains half of it in one go. He rubs at his nose.

“Does Endeavor have a son named Touya?” Sugimura asks. He remembers the layers of self-inflicted scars on the boy’s forearms and shudders.

“He had one.” Aizawa says. His tone is dark. “He apparently died because of his quirk; flame based and ill suited for his body. It burned him alive.”

For a moment both men are quiet. Sugimura drags his hands down his face and stares up at the ceiling. He’s seen Dabi’s scars. He’s read the thin file on the man and his violently hot quirk. 

“So it seems that he really did reverse age.” He finally says. Aizawa huffs and takes another drink of his espresso.

“I wasn’t sure that dock worker wasn’t on drugs when he dragged that kid in, but it seems like he’s right. He really did run into Dabi and de-age him.” Aizawa finishes his drink and drops it in the recyclable can next to the vending machine. He leans against the wall and blows a stream of air out of his nose.

“So physically and mentally, he’s back to- what? Fourteen? Fifteen?” Sugimura asks. He considers getting an espresso himself. “He referred to Endeavor as the number two hero, so he doesn’t recall recent events?”

“It would seem that way.” Aizawa says drily. “The dock worker that brought him in only knows the bare bones of what his quirk does. He says he de-aged Dabi about ten years because he had skin-on-skin contact for ten seconds, but who knows if that’s true. His quirk is being assessed and processed so we can understand it better.” Sugimura snorts and runs a hand through his hair.

“Why is it that I’m always the one who gets stuck on these crazy cases with you?” He asks, and Aizawa almost cracks a smile.

“That’s what you get for being the only reasonable officer in this entire city.” He says, tone teasing for Aizawa, and Sugimura chuckles. He gives into his tired body’s begging and purchases another espresso, cracking the can and leaning against the wall next to Aizawa. 

For a few moments the two stand in silence. It’s been a hectic few hours since the young man carried a teenager into the local office and said he had accidentally de-aged one of the most notorious villains in Japan- oh, and he had also maybe punctured a lung? We got in a little fist fight before my quirk kicked in, you see, and I had a bat on hand just for this kind of thing- lot’s of the rough type come around, you know? So I swung a few times and then grabbed his arm when he went down, and it was all scarred and wrinkled, and he kind of just went limp- and then I realised I was using my quirk and let go! But by then he had- well, lost about ten years? Or thereabouts?

Yeah. Hectic is an understatement.

“Let’s keep running with the villain attack line,” Aizawa says, pushing himself up. Sugimura downs the rest of his drink. “We’ll try and get any pertinent information we can while we wait for the quirk labs to finish up.”

They walk back down the hall to Dabi- Touya’s- room. The officer there nods as they open the door, and Sugimura slips in after Aizawa- only to stop as a cool breeze brushes his face. His eyes go to the window, wondering when someone had opened it, and hears Aizawa snarl a curse.

The bed is empty and the cuffs lay in the rumpled sheets. Sugimura can just make out the glint of a needle in them.