The man sighed as he watched the villain get apprehended and allowed himself five seconds to breathe before he started avoiding the press. Again.
Touya took a deep breath, pulled the mask better over his face and searched through the crowd for the green splash of colour he had seen earlier. Looking over reporters, he spotted the quickly retreating teen, sighed and, with practice, he disappeared before the kid had the chance to vanish.
Izuku, on his part, was exceptionally good at hiding and walking away from villain fights, but Touya had enough time chasing villains and hiding from danger himself to be fooled by a limping fourteen year old.
The man caught the teen by the hood and pulled him back.
“AAaaah!” Midoriya yelped and turned around to glare at the hero “Can you leave me the fuck alone?!” he hissed as he hugged the notebook closer to his chest.
“Well I would” Touya leaned on one of the walls, crossing his arms “If I didn’t see you at every villain fight in the prefecture. Really kid, are you sure you don’t have some type of teleportation Quirk? Moving so fast shouldn’t be humanly possible.”
“Har, har, har” the kid said mirthlessly before he started glaring at the bricks.
Touya sighed. “Ok, I’m sorry, that was insensitive” he rubbed his eyes “But can you please please please stop getting near hero fights?” he raised his arms “You could get killed!”
“So could everyone else!” he yelled and Touya took a step back. The kid had yet to lash out in any way. Seemingly realising his behaviour was out of character, he shrugged. “I’m sorry” he shook his head. “I’m tired” yeah, the bags under his eyes spoke for themselves. Midoriya looked at the redhead “Why do you care? Why do you keep following me?”
“Because you are the only one I see on a daily basis” Touya shrugged and looked the boy over. Because I care about you. And because he remembered another kid without the Quirk that was expected of him who was pushed too far and got lost. He noticed that something was wrong. His clothes were clean, but wrinkled, and his cheeks were caved in. he also had a haunted look in his eyes. The man got forward “Hey, kid, is everything all right at home?”
He had met Ms Midoriya, and the boy didn’t seem to be in any way anxious near her, so she wasn’t bad. Come to think of it, Izuku had looked down for the past few months, yet he still kept dragging himself to hero fights. A look of discomfort passed the kid’s face. “Mom’s…. mom’s on a trip right now, but she will come back soon enough.”
“I’m Quirkless, nothing worse than usual.”
“When was the last time you ate?”
“What’s with all the questions?!” Izuku stepped back, hugging the notebook even tighter. Touya sighed and stepped back. He didn’t want to scare the kid. The man couldn’t explain to anyone why he wanted to help the boy. It just felt… it just felt like he really really needed it. Touya had grown up to know people too afraid to ask, and he had seen too much to let this one child in his reach slip through his grasp.
“Sorry” was all he said “But let me take a wild guess and say that you are not the most proficient cook, am I right?” the kid pouted and looked away, but didn’t deny it. “Would you let me get you a decent meal?”
“Wow, taking an interest in a minor, doesn’t look good on you, Dabi.” The kid snarked, though there was a small smile on his lips. Touya prepared to say something when his phone buzzed.
[get your fat ass here, your fans are going to kill me]
He sighed. It looked like it would have to be left on another time “I’ll hold you on that!” he pointed and ran away.
“I never said yes!” Izuku cried after him, but smiled as the hero disappeared into the crowd. It took a few moments for the smile to slip off his face.
You can’t get attached. He’s a hero. He might get killed, or worse, give up and forget about you. Izuku shook his head and blinked rapidly, warding the up and coming tears. Dabi was one of the few heroes who seemed to genuinely give a fuck about him. One of the only people who didn’t act disgusted when he found that he was Quirkless. And Izuku really liked the guy. But he couldn’t afford to hope that anything good will come of it. And he certainly couldn’t let them find out, lest they use him as leverage.
The boy shook his head and walked into the shadows, and dark alleys, up until the lights of legality were long gone. He heard a flap of wings and turned around to see the villain he was supposed to meet again. “You know” Izuku said, shoving his hands in his pockets “A pair of horns would suit you so much better.”
“You flatter me” Hawks smiled and stretched his arm. Izuku sighed and handed over the notebook, waiting while the villain took pictures of the newest pages written. He handed it back with a smug smile.
“Are we done here?” Izuku asked, already turning to leave.
“Nope!” was all he heard before a pair of arms wrapped themselves around his torso and he suddenly found himself airborne.
“AAAAAAAhhhh!” Izuku found himself screaming for the second time in the last hour. He could feel Hawks’s laughter through his chest, laugh which didn’t stop once they landed on the balcony. Izuku pushed himself away from the villain and pressed himself against the wall. “Can you not?!”
“No. It’s too funny.” he chuckled and shook his head “Works every time.”
Izuku glared before he turned and looked at the window, recognising the polished office on the other side. “He wants to talk again?”
“Yup” hawks said before a more gentle smile stretched over his featured and he ruffled the green locks “Good luck.”
Izuku clenched his fists and prayed as he opened the door and got in.
After Touya was done rescuing his friend from rabid fans, the two adults, thank you very much headed back for their apartment.
“So” Tenko started and Touya internally sighed, knowing full well how his friend had a problem with keeping his mouth shut, “Did you manage to catch that brat?”
“I’m not trying to catch him, I’m trying to talk to him!”
“MHm” Tenko rolled his eyes and entered the apartment “And I love the hero system.” He deadpanned. Touya opened his mouth, but the other spoke before he had the time to say anything “Don’t you have a report for my old man?”
“Shit! I knew I forgot something” the redhead said dashed to his bedroom. Tenko looked after him for a few seconds before chuckling and locking the door to his room as he sat down at his computer.
“All right” he cracked his knuckles “Let’s see what the Commission had been hiding from Dad” he mumbled as he opened the previously hidden icon and scrolled through the very illegal shit on his computer. The very illegal shit Touya pretended not to notice and his dad pretended not to care about. That same very illegal bullshit the Commission was trying to hide and the No.1 hero was tying for a few decades to sue. Tenko was pretty sure that, had All for One not been All for One, those bastards in positions of power would have planned a hit too long ago. He knew exactly how happy they were and how they all prayed for his father to mentor to kick it all those years before, and it surely didn’t bring them any cookie points when it came to the silver haired teen.
But alas, what can you do.
Punching the password in the small bar, Tenko made sure to hide his traces before he dived neck deep in the deep darks of bureaucracy.
Izuku kicked the pavement as he walked to the house. He had stopped calling it home after the incident, and he wished he could spend more than an hour inside without feeling nauseous again. A pebble flew through the air and Izuku huffed in frustration. He wished for a lot of things these days. For a Quirk. For his life not to be shitty. For those fucking villains to leave him the fuck alone. For Mom not to….
The boy gritted his teeth and shook his head, trying to stop the inevitable tears from coming, even though it had long ago been proven futile.
The cash in his pockets felt too heavy, but it was enough for him to live decently, if he would have still lived in the house and not under the most convenient slide in the park. Still, he hated them, he hated that he had fallen so low as to make deals with villains, to help them take down heroes.
It’s not like those heroes ever did anything for you, Hawks had said. You are under no obligation to help or protect them, just like they never helped or protected you.
It made sense. Izuku was madder at life, but there was no love lost for the heroes that fell under All Might’s power. After all, he made sure to never hand any info he had over the few good ones out there. He wasn’t stupid as to think they had nothing on them, but Izuku could sure as hell make sure he wasn’t the cause for the good ones kicking it.
All Might. Izuku stopped, hands tightening on the straps of his bag before he took a deep breath and kept walking. He felt like laughing. Who would have thought that the world’s greatest villain, the one who almost took down All for One, would be the only person to give him a hand.
But Izuku wouldn’t fool himself. Wouldn’t allow himself to be fooled by pretty words or good actions. The villain had a hidden agenda. Izuku was a tool, nothing more, nothing less. And said tool had seen people lie to his face, manipulate him one too many times to let himself trust them again. It didn’t matter that the man had been nothing but kind so far. It didn’t matter that he had helped him, that the villains were actually decent people. They all had a hidden agenda. Otherwise, there would have been no reason to be nice to the Quirkless little freeloader who happened to pass by.
“Oi, Midoriya!” Izuku entertained running away for a few seconds before he gave up and turned around, glaring at the two kids he used to be friends with as a kid. They knew where he lived. They could just follow him. It looked like they were faring pretty well after the sudden turn towards villainy of their leader, but the greenette couldn’t honestly care less about them. He was tired, he was hungry, and he needed to get ho… back before it got dark. So no, he wasn’t in the mood for his old childhood bullies.
“What do you want?” he drawled, hands curling around the straps of his backpack, ready to use it as a weapon.
“Well” Shirakawa – the guy with long fingers – got closer. “We kept passing your house, but no one was there” the boy slung his arm over his shoulder while Tsubasa blocked the exit with his wings. “Come to think of it, I’ve never seen your old man around” Izuku tensed at that.
“Your point?” he let out through clenched teeth.
“My point is” he pulled him closer and Izuku barely kept his knee jerk reaction from elbowing him in his smug nose “he must be way too busy to pay any type of attention to you” izuku deflated and looked away. Idiots. “So” Shirakawa continued, grabbing the stack of yen from his pocket and keeping them out of his reach with his fingers “he will not notice nor care for a few yen” It seemed to dawn at him at that moment exactly how many yen he had. “Holy shit!”
“Give it back” Izuku growled in a low tone, feeling his anger boil inside him. “What is this, kindergarten?” He was in a shitty mood, and was ready to take Hawks’ advice of beating the crap out of people to vent.
“Nah man.” Tsubasa said “There’s no way you made this. Who did you steal it from?”
“I didn’t steal it, and it is none of your business.” His fists clenched in his pockets and he tried his best not to lash out. He just had to keep calm long enough do this didn’t end in violence.
A sleazy smile spread over Shirakawa’s lips. “No, he didn’t steal it. Midoriya’s too meek for that. So, who did you whore yourself for to get this cash?”
Izuku may have been a calm person, but everyone had a fuse, and the world had been cutting his shorter since day fucking one.
So he dashed towards the two. He threw his backpack into Tsubasa, while he rammed shoulder first into the skinny one. Once on the ground, Izuku elbowed him hard in the jaw before turning towards the winged one. Tsubasa was getting to his feet, staggering and trying to fly, but the smaller boy didn’t give him the chance. Izuku kneed him in the crotch and head-butted him. Tsubasa collapsed and the Quirkless kid turned towards the last of his bullies.
Shirakawa was sending his fingers towards him, hoping to keep him at distance. But, if there was one thing he had realised in his time with the villains, that was that a Quirk meant jack shit if you didn’t know what to do with it.
So Izuku didn’t dodge the fingers. No, he caught them and, in a fluid motion, he snapped them back.
Had it been anyone else, Izuku would have probably felt bad for him. But years of pain, of wounds, of almost breaking his neck from Tsubasa dropping him from too high, from heroes not giving a shit about it, all those things had wiped away any sympathy Izuku might have had for his tormentors.
Shirakawa had fallen to the ground, nursing his broken finger.
“You broke it!” he cried.
If you scare them well enough once, they will never try again.
Izuku slammed hit foot onto the other’s neck and pushed him to the ground. He added pressure, not enough for him to choke, but enough to know that he could’ve.
“Ever come near me again and I’ll break the rest.” He said in a tone too dark to dare call his own before grabbing his backpack and walking away.
The number of times Hawks’ advice came in useful was getting more and more annoying every time that fucking chicken popped up in his head.
Izuku let out a pained breath and opened the door to his house, taking his shoes off more out of habit than that there would have been anyone there to scold him. He would have brought dirt and bugs, he would have done anything, paid anyone, if that meant that the house wouldn’t have been empty, that his mom would be there to greet him and patch up his wounds.
But that would never happen. He had given up on that memory too long ago, and he had given up on any type of hope the moment that asshole didn’t even bother to read the countless emails, the countless calls, the letters and every known way to contact someone.
Izuku sighed as he dropped the backpack on the floor and threw his clothes in the basket.
Despite the lack of any adult supervision, the water kept running and the electricity was still going. Someone must have been paying the bills. No doubt, that asshole. He probably had an overworked secretary to do it for him. But Izuku wasn’t going to complain. It was his money that allowed him to wash his clothes, and charge his phone and all that useful shit he didn’t feel like living without.
The teen entered his room and tried not to stare at the empty walls, at the lack of posters, all ripped and burned and in the trash from the time he still thought that heroes were worth their salt. He grabbed a clean change of clothing and headed for the shower. His stomach growled, but the mere thought of another instant cup of ramen made him gag.
Maybe I should take Dabi on his offer. A decent meal wouldn’t hurt, and, even if it was just some shitty McDonalds, at least he would have someone to talk to, rather than stare at the TV mindlessly, waiting for something to happen.
Izuku entered the shower and let the water fall past his shoulders. The boy had never expected loneliness to hit him so hard. Even before, he might have not had friends, but he had mom. He had someone who cared. Now, all he had were the villains and Dabi. And none were all that reliable sources of affection.
Izuku sighed and turned off the water, letting himself sink in the bathtub. It would all be ok. Eventually.
Touya reached the meeting place and saw the kid wait patiently on a bench. Midoriya perked up a little before he settled on a disinterested look and leaned back, waiting for the hero to make it to him. But Touya wasn’t fooled. The boy was happy to see him.
“Didn’t think you’d show up” the redhead said and the kid scoffed and looked away.
“Whatever. You’re just so overworked all the time, I said you wouldn’t eat anything healthy without an excuse.” He crossed his arms.
“So, letting me pay the dinner is a your idea of a favour.”
“I can pay for myself” the kid went on defensive, too quick. Touya sighed. He always forgot that not all people were basking in self depreciating humour and roasting as a coping mechanism.
“No need, I invited you after all.” He started walking away and he heard the kid follow him.
“So” Izuku said. “How are things going up there?”
“We’re a hero agency, not cloud nine.”
“Still” the boy said, gaining a little bounce in his step as he kept up with the taller one “You’re working with the All for One. There must be something.”
“What can I say, he’s a cranky man in the morning. He drinks coffee like his life depends on it. Hell, I’m pretty sure his bones are made of coffee beans at this point.”
That brought a smile on the kids face as he chuckled when they entered the restaurant. It was moments like these that Touya missed, from when Izuku was a smiling little fanboy who randomly appeared whenever there was a villain attack. He still remembered how he had come bouncing, asking for an autograph from the newest intern, how he had kept popping up and stalking him, asking him questions whenever he had the time.
At first, it had been annoying.
With time, it became endearing.
Now, it didn’t happen anymore.
The kid threw himself in the seat nearest to the exit in the booth and Dabi took the other, passing the kid a menu.
“Hey, what’s the point of the mask if everyone knows how you look from the Sports Festival?”
“You’d be surprised how many people can’t tell who I am just because I have a different haircut.”
The food came, and Touya watched how Izuku tried not to inhale it. He kept his face straight, but it was obvious that the kid hadn’t been eating. A year ago, he could have demanded to know what happened, and Izuku would have gladly shared.
Now, he knew that, at the slightest sign of potential threat, the boy would bolt. Touya wanted to help Izuku. He just didn’t know how.
Suddenly, the boy pulled the zipper to the obnoxious yellow backpack he carried everywhere and pulled out some papers, handing them over the meal. Touya frowned as he took them. He knew what those papers meant, yet he still looked them over.
“I told you not to get too close to the villains” he said. His tone wasn’t scolding, neither disappointed. A part of him knew that the boy would never truly be at ease, and chastising him would make him draw away.
Izuku shrugged. “Do you want this info or not?”
Touya clicked his tongue but took the papers nonetheless. As he read further and further, he felt the frown melt. “Where do you even get this?”
The boy shrugged. “Second and third hand sources. People talk when they think no one can hear them.”
Touya sighed. He opened his mouth to say something, but that moment, the kid’s phone beeped. Izuku looked at the screen, frowned before a look of pain and quiet acceptance crossed his face.
“Sorry to cut this short” he stood up. “Thanks for the meal.” He prepared to walk away, but Touya caught him by the wrist.
“You know…. You know you can come to me if anything happens, right?”
“Yeah” he shrugged him off, an empty platitude before walking away.
Hawks swung his feet over the table as he waited to be called in. The two brats were fighting, again, which was really annoying at times. The other times, it was quite amusing, since the both of them had strong personalities and really really short fuses.
Ice and fire worked well together and even better against.
“Shut up, you fucking Elsa! You know nothing!” ahh, Bakugou. He was quite the spitfire.
“I know enough to tell that you are an idiot!” the harsh yet not yelled tone of Frostbite was somehow more threatening, having the added bonus of seeming more serious due to lack of yelling. “You can’t just barge in guns blazing! We can’t allow ourselves to kill more people than strictly necessary!” the unnamed teen villain continued.
“I had everything under control!”
“You know!” Hawks suddenly said “Yelling louder won’t make your point fly across any better” the blond waited a few seconds for the hell to break lose due to the angry Pomeranian not getting the anger management control he oh so needed. And it was his fault for that. All Might had offered, but the kid stubbornly refused.
We’ll just wait for him to lose a limb to pride or something. Or kill one of the civilians he claims to care so much about. That ought to teach him. A just reasoning, in his humble opinion.
There was a small knock on the door and that was the man’s cue to leave the angry rant that was getting louder and louder by the moment. Not paying a mind to the homicidal kids behind him, he entered the hallway and made his way to the elevator, where he waited patiently for the music to end.
Once the machine stopped, the villain stepped outside, into a very big, very well decorated office, which took most of the building’s upper floors. The city was spread wide beneath him, and, if you were to look at the skinny man at the desk, you wouldn’t be able to guess that the place was anything but the office of the CEO the villain used as a cover. The same way in which, when you looked at the building, you wouldn’t have suspected the three floors of villain lair underneath, nor the prisoners screaming behind sound proof walls.
All Might himself somehow managed to switch from menacing to fatherly with a smile. How, the young man had no idea, but he had learned long ago, shortly after he came into his care, not to question it.
“Hawks” All Might said with a smile and after a decade and a half, the winged villain was 97% certain it was genuine. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you.”
“Toshi” Hawks let himself fall into a chair, placing his ankle on his knee and leaning in the soft cushions.
The elder of the two looked over some papers before sending them over the table. “The Spy had just went silent.”
“Were they captured?” Hawks looked up.
“That’s a possibility. There’s also the possibility that they chose to remain silent.”
“Which means that either someone is onto them, or they found something and are waiting for the right time.”
“Precisely” All Might leaned back in his chair “I need you to keep your eyes and ears open, same for the kids” the man poured himself some water to alleviate his cough “Speaking of kids, managed to recruit anyone else?”
“No” he shook his head “You’d be surprised how many people are suspicious of free food and shelter” he shook his head “And the ones I managed to find are not all that bright. They lack a lot of potential.”
“I see” the man swallowed his meds and Hawks pushed the water a little closer. “Well, since we’re talking potential, can you bring in young Midoriya?”
“Why, didn’t you talk to him yesterday?”
“I did, but the kid still isn’t at ease around me.”
“What?” a sly smirk spread along his features “Are you jarred that someone doesn’t buy your façade?” at the flustered expression on his mentor’s face, Hawks chuckled and popped one hard candy in his mouth from the bowl on the desk the man always kept in reach. “You wanted him because he was smart.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it.” All Might looked away. Hawks released a smile before he looked out the window.
Hawks remembered the way he found Izuku a lot better than he remembered how he found the others. He remembered strolling through the park, after a long long day where he was trying to get the scent of blood from his feathers when he had seen something in one of the covered slides.
The person inside would have really been invisible, had it not been for the constant sniffling coming out. They seemed to be a kid, hugging the small backpack in search for comfort.
“Hey kid” he had leaned in. “You Ok, in there?”
“Yeah” they said in that tone kids used when they wanted to pretend they didn’t care. The boy pushed Hawks away and got out of the slide, preparing to leave. Now, Hawks was a villain, a ruthless one, but he wasn’t really heartless. Even Yagi, who never held back from killing and maiming was never intentionally cruel or caused unnecessary pain. So, Hawks, of course, tried to check if the kid was OK.
On a certain level, he expected the fear, the jumpiness, the scepticism. What he didn’t expect was for the kid to say his name.
“Hawks!” he whispered before he tried to run away. Now, here the villain lost precious seconds. Because people weren’t supposed to know who he was. They weren’t supposed to recognise him. He made sure to keep his face covered during missions. So why….?
He was determined to find out and no half-starved kid was match for the villain.
He didn’t get the kid, but he got his backpack. And said backpack contained a notebook Yagi had been very interested in. Once they had the name (Helpfully written on the cover) it was laughably easy to find his home, his story and coerce him into working for them.
Hawks shook his head. He didn’t want to admit it, but he did feel a little bad for Izuku. He knew how it was not to have a choice, too many kids had come from such situations, so he tried to cheer him up whenever he could. He might not be the best at it, but hey, he sometimes managed to make him laugh, thing Izuku didn’t look like he did all that much. The blond sighed before looking at his boss.
“Hey” he said in a low voice “Did you get any further in the search for a successor?”
“Unfortunately, no” the man sighed and leaned back in his chair. “My power is dwindling. I’ll have a few years to live at most” he shook his head. “One for All can barely sustain me anymore. Once I pass it, I’ll have a few more months to teach it before this frail body gives out” he spit, as if disgusted by the sorry state his arch nemesis had brought him to. He looked up, his eyes suddenly turning soft. “That’s why I need you to make sure they are ready. I’m counting on you not to let One for All go to waste.”
“You know I won’t” Hawks said, for the first time 100% serious. That Quirk was way too important to let roam free. Hawks had been offered too, but he had declined. He already had a powerful Quirk and, different from others, he had been presented all the risks.
Call him a coward, but he didn’t feel like breaking all his bones or having weird voices in his head at all times. Just because Toshinori had it easy, he had been the exception, not the rule.
The sombre air lasted between them for a few seconds before a smile spread along the man’s face. “Don’t look so grim, don’t you have a child to pick?”
“Yeah yeah…” Hawks stood up as he pulled out his phone.