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Come Undone

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Dabi had two kinds of music. For the ‘in-progress-band’. And for himself. He wrote them, figured out the music, what instruments and each note, everything. But most of the people who worked on band stuff with him only knew the songs and things he did for their band. They’d only actually rehearsed once the past few months. Dabi was trying to figure things out. Even nine years later- nine years today, exactly.

And even the only ‘one’ who knew the others existed never heard them. 

Dabi made sure Kouya couldn’t read them or hear them either- and that he didn’t know about them yet was a bonus. Years after, and what happened on that cliff still tormented each part of Dabi. Not that he’d let it show to anyone. Not truly or fully. What Kouya and Rei and Fuyumi and Shouto knew was what he’d tell them. 

But everyone was so insistent that he had to move on and let go and live his own life or whatever that he’d gradually pulled away what they were allowed to see from him. His music was the way he got it out now. And if anyone found them, it’d go right back to everyone telling him things he’d rather not listen to. Right back to doctors trying to force him to take meds for whatever they could say was wrong. Right back into therapy. Again.

He’d explained thousands of times his own reasons and why he did what he did, and still kept doing them, but no one would take that and accept it. Accept that he was healing in his own way. Accept that he’d never fully heal until what happened was final. 

He refused to accept that Naoki had died on that cliff that day. But a body never turned up. And he’d still never been found. He still wasn’t home, still wasn’t safe. Whether or not he was alive, Dabi just wanted proof. And until it was there, he’d stay in his ways and habits.

“Live your life for you.” “Give up. Move on. Let go.” “You won’t get better if you focus on him for the rest of your life.” “He’s gone. It’s time to accept that and start moving forward.” “Stop! Stop staying stuck in the past. He’s dead. He’s gone and there is nothing you can do.” Dabi had heard it all. His responses were like a broken record, but so were their complaints. 

“I am living for me. Plenty.” “I’m doing everything else for me, just let me have this one part still for him.” “When I know for certain he’s gone- when there’s a body and proof- then I’ll stop.” “I’m doing more for me than I ever thought I’d survive to do… But I still need to live some part of this for him.”

He’d stayed in contact decently with Rei, Fuyumi and Shouto. But things with them were still tentative. Dabi didn’t want to add to any of their burdens more than he did, so he avoided asking them for anything. 

Natsuo was… A completely different story. Dabi thought, of all of them, he’d get it. Maybe more than Shouto. But for reasons he couldn’t fathom, Natsuo took the entire thing the worst. As it was, he was standing in front of Dabi now, keeping him from leaving Kouya’s flat, and screaming at him.

Of all times, Natsuo showed up after Dabi found out that Enji was trying to appeal his sentence, Kouya and his flatmates were still out, and Dabi was just about to leave for the same ritual he had this time of year, every year. Only to open the door to his younger brother, get a fist to his face, then verbally assaulted again, blood seeping from the slowly healing burn scars, still needing surgical staples to keep them from retracting, even nine years later. 

Dabi didn’t want to fight, physically or otherwise. He was tired, and was already running late. And Natsuo would still beat him to a pulp. Dabi had gotten stronger, Quirk and otherwise, but he wouldn’t hurt his family. He wasn’t going to do anything that was even remotely like the bastard who raised them all.

Natsuo thought otherwise. He’d slowly gotten worse over the years, but this was the first time he struck Dabi without any notion or words first. Even his verbal lashings were profoundly worse this time. 

But Dabi wasn’t going to give in to the bait. He wouldn’t stoop low enough to hit his little brother, no matter what Natsuo threw at him.

The yelling was a few minutes in by the time Dabi sighed the first time, now registering Natsuo wasn’t going to let him leave any time soon.

“You! You and Naoki ruined everything. Our family wasn’t the best, sure, but it wasn’t that bad. You had to piss dad off and ended up messing everything up. Now he’s in jail, mom’s sick , but stuck taking care of everything. Fuyumi’s stressed and Shouto grew up without his dad. 

And you. You abandoned us after you fucked everything up. Like you won your award and didn’t give a fuck about how it affected the rest of us. You don’t come home or reach out on your own. You’d rather stay with the guy who ‘saved you’. 

We lost everything because of you! We don't have dad’s money, only barely were allowed to keep his home. Mom’s so obsessed trying to sell it because she thinks that’ll make you actually come home when we all know you’d never grace us with something so kind

You just fucked everything up and left us to figure out the mess you and that kid made. He wasn’t family! He was a kid you insisted we pull off the streets where he belonged, but you still chose him over your own family. You threw all of us to the side like trash for nothing. 

And you can’t even be thankful for the ‘freedom’ you have! All Might started a program so you people could go to school and get help and shit, but all you do is skip class, miss family dinners, drop out of school and piss everyone off. You spit at luxuries Dad would have given if you just obeyed and behaved. You’ve been given chances you never deserved only to laugh at them and us after leaving once you fucked everything up. 

You’re idea of a ‘job’ is something as worthless as music! What kind of life will you get from that? At least dad would have made sure you put your talents- whatever you had- to good use for the family. You can’t even keep a job or afford an apartment of your own, refuse help and refuse to ask anyone for anything, then complain you have nowhere to go. 

You refuse treatment and therapy and medications, hell you refuse dinner and a roof and a bed and you obviously refuse to fucking do so much as shower. You walked away from everything Dad gave you like the ungrateful ass you’ve always been.

You said the barest minimum at the trial and you never open up to anyone or talk about what was oh-so-bad- bad enough to throw dad under the bus and get him thrown in jail like a petty criminal. What was so horrible? Nothing! Nothing was wrong ! If it was so bad, why don’t you ever talk about it or tell anyone what actually happened up there? I’ve wondered since the beginning. A guy with a video camera just so happened to be right there , at the perfect time to see and record everything. And he has some rare-as-shit memory thing! You both made it all up! You faked everything. You can’t say what happened because nothing ever did. You angered dad when you acted like an entitled brat, so he put you in place, that was it!” 

Dabi was taking deeper breaths with each passing minute and holding himself back from falling for the bait or snapping anything back- not even a word- with each passing word or insult, all the bullshit spewing from Natsuo- now sporting dyed-red, opposite Dabi’s dyed-black. But the next words… Were dangerously close to crossing a line. 

“And you’re so demented and dead inside you’re obsessed with a dead street kid, ten whole fucking years later!”

“Enough.” That wasn’t a particularly comforting voice. But it was familiar. 

Dabi had hoped to get out of the flat before this particular resident got back. It was friday, so he didn’t have anything much to keep him out after classes were finished- Tomura only having one on Fridays. 

Natsuo whirled around, anger in his glare at the intruder.

Dabi glanced at Tomura, Kouya now coming up the stairs as well.

“The hell did you say, freak? You don’t have any right to get involved.”

“I’d say I can as this is my flat you’re tearing an invited guest apart in front of like a maniac.”

That surprised Dabi. Tomura standing up for him in any way.

“Do yourself a favour, Natsuo. Leave while the porch still has some light. You keep harassing our guest and the rest of the people who live in this area, I’ll lose what temper I have. And besides. All Might is just down the street. Gave us a ride ‘cause I need my computer, since it was still updating when we left. I can get him if you don’t feel like leaving of your own accord. Or call the police. Your choice.”

Natsuo glared, but shoved past the other two, but not before giving Dabi another round of words and continued glare. “I hope they never find the bitch for what you’ve done.”

Dabi slumped against the door frame. Tomura stepped past him, careful not to bump Dabi, like he was infested with disease. He was. Dis-ease. He wasn’t ‘eased’ at all. Not after that.

“You alright there?” Kouya asked once Tomura was out of earshot, obvious by the tell-tale sound when his door slid shut a little loudly in the new silence.

“Fine. Didn’t expect crusty to step in. I’d figured he’d have joined in.” Dabi spoke in a subdued, monotonous voice. He wasn’t supposed to be this drained before heading out.

“No, you’re wrong there. He’s not a fan of you- not by a longshot. But you sealed that one yourself. However, that aside, he’s not one to just stand idly by in that kind of situation. Besides… That line at the end. Tomura knew Naoki too. That’s a line, and that asshole crossed it. Might not be a line you’d outwardly react or break to, but Tomura… Yeah, it is. And you honestly looked like you were slipping. I think a blind man could have seen as much.” Kouya gave a gesture, requesting Dabi follow him back inside.

“I’d already let All Might know, that’s why I wasn’t right in line with Tomura. Anyway, I do gotta get back to campus. I’m already pushing time limits. You know… Dabi. As horrible as you tend to be towards him, I’m sure thanking him might reverse the damage, however slight. He’s anxious as hell, and a nervous wreck, but you both have Naoki in common. As much as you both hate to admit, he also wants to both ask you about the Naoki you knew, and share the one he knew. I don’t have that with either of you, so it’s not something I can help with. 

And he… Asked about the video. If I still had it. I do. A habit given my trade of choice. But I told him only that, and if he wanted to see it, he needed your consent. I know it is personal and sensitive. Oh! You almost left this-” Kouya held out a CD case, Dabi’s eyes lighting up in miffed and barely averted horror as he snatched it from Kouya.

Kouya let out a hiss at the rougher contact, Dabi apologising profusely. “Shit! Kouya, I’m sorry. I didn’t… Shit, man. Sorry.”

Kouya waved him off. “It’s fine. Only lasts a few seconds… Anyway, I gotta jet.” He bounced over to Toura’s door, sliding it open the smallest bit, not enough to see more than a dimly glowing light from his console. “Byesies, Tenshi~ Remember what I sai- Ouch!” The door was slammed shut, almost catching Kouya’s fingers, closing on black mist instead. There was, however, an old ink pen chucked at him, striking Kouya square in the face. “I love you too, sunshine!” Kouya gave, earning a grumbled, muffled “Fuck off” from the other side of the door. 

Kouya turned back, ducking out of the flat with a few final words to Dabi, the first few his normal towards his ‘interest’ and the second far more assertive and serious. “I think I’ll win him over yet! But seriously, Dabi. Try, please.”

Dabi gave an exasperated sigh, Kouya’s eyes flashing behind Dabi toward Tomura’s door as Dabi rolled his eyes and Kouya left, front door shutting gently.

“Try what?” Dabi jumped at the voice, dropping his CD case and his other hand freeing itself from his duffle bag, palm open and faced back and out. His position for an easy, fast attack that could keep him safer at such a close distance. Reflex now more than practical, given they were indoors and he didn’t really want to hurt Tomura with his fire. Enough people had been hurt by them and others like them.

“C’mon. Chill. You make me look like the less anxious of us.” Tomura taunted, bending over at Dabi’s feet and picking up the dropped CD case. “Here, patchwork.”

Dabi eyed him, cautiously grabbing the case with the hand not prepared to fight.

“T-Thank you.” 

Tomura’s eyes widened in a show of surprise, increasing further as Dabi kept talking. Kouya was right. Usually was. And for once, just today, Dabi might entertain the advice of his adopted brother. Kouya adopted him, not the other way around. Even though Kouya was approaching twenty-seven, he never stopped learning. Hence the college degree he was pursuing. This time. He had three others already. Though, one was only for messing around.

“And thank you for b-before. When Natsu was…”

“Huh. Never thought you knew the words. Anyway. Don't mention it. He crossed a line, and I’m trying to learn to stand up for myself. So, I put the lesson through a test run. If Kouya wasn’t there, I’d probably not said anything. That jerk would wreck me. I’d rather not kill anyone with my Quirk, and he was mad enough, it wouldn’t have surprised me.” This was more than Tomura had ever said to Dabi before in the three years he’d known him. In fact, it was more words than he’d ever heard the anxiety-prone guy ever say.

“What did surprise me was you. You just stood there and took all of that. Didn’t throw your normal asshole comments or verbal taunts in or usual derisiveness. And you let him hit you.” Tomura glanced at Dabi’s cheek, the seam that had taken the brunt of the hit had stopped bleeding finally. 

“And, not to mention you look kinda dead. More dead than usual. Here.” Dabi flinched hard at Tomura reaching up towards the opened seam with anti-bacterial spray and a paper cloth to wipe the blood up from burns. 

“Relax. I’ve taken care of my own for years. I’m not incompetent, and I’m not gonna hurt you. Geeze. You’re off today. It’s like when Himiko took off with your ring and you lost it.”

“I’m fine. And if you’re so skilled, why the hell’s your neck so scarred up?”

“There, that’s the Dabi I’ve seen for years. Still. You’re tense.”

“J-Just a bad day.”

“Bad day? Or string of weeks? I know Kouya says its something you don’t talk about and don’t bring it up or whatnot, but you’ve been on edge for the entire three weeks you’ve been here. Well. More than the ‘edgelord’ you already are. And today is the worst I’ve ever seen. Last night too. You woke me up. Several times.”

Tomura tossed the cloth and put the cap back on the spray. Then he settled on the couch, still eyeing Dabi, who was still standing in the exact same spot, tense and coiled.

“Sorry for the inconvenience. It’s my last night here anyway. Won’t bother you for a while.”

“I didn’t say it bothered me, patchwork. Fuck, I think I almost worried about you. They get worse this time of year, and you come here the same time of year every year. Have since we moved in to this flat. Kouya said you two lived together before now and he considers himself akin to an older brother to you, so he’s fine with you just dropping in, enough to have given you a key of your own.” Tomura waited for Dabi to respond. Or move. 

The response was a little too late to carry its normal bite, even if the tone was there, it was only barely there, and that was forced. “Yeah. Right. Like you’d ever worry. Stop lying to yourself, its embarrassing.”

“Dabi.” Tomura began, aware Dabi was avoiding his gaze. “Stop lying to yourself. It’s not working today. Kouya said to give you a chance, and I have. If you’re going on your little yearly ritual, get going. You’re going to the cliff, right?” Dabi’s eyes shot to Tomura’s, jaw set in a vice and glaring.

“Kouya tell you that?” Tomura nodded. “What else did he so charitably sell about me and my life?”

“Nothing. He said if I wanted to know anything else, or anything outside what I could glean on my own, I’d have to ask. Same thing he tells me every time. Same thing he replied when I asked about the video he shot and if you’re actually okay or why you lost your shit when Himiko took off and hid your stuff.” Tomura yawned at the end.

“Fucking… Fuck… That bastard. Just leave it alone. All of you. Stop picking at my life like a fucking psych. I’m fine .”

“Sure you are. Get going. You’re wearing on what patience I was willing to try and get to know you with. Fuck that concept.” Tomura grabbed a gaming remote, turning the TV and system on as he ended the conversation. “I only have so much patience for trying to talk to a fucking asshole who only shoves people away and bottles everything up and refuses to let others in. There’s the fucking door. You should know how to use it with how many people you piss off and doors you slam in other’s faces- physically or not.”

Dabi left. As it was, he didn’t think he’d come back for a while. Not if Kouya stayed living with Tomura, that is. The other flatmates didn’t bother, but Tomura just said things that got under Dabi’s skin like an insect in his scars. His face itched where the bacterial spray was. Maybe the creep did put something in them. Wouldn’t surprise Dabi. Much.

Tomura looked up once the door was shut, seeing the CD case he’d tried to hand Dabi still sitting where it had been set. Fucker. I bet he’ll use that as an excuse to come and stay for another week. He’s done it before, and used excuses for less. And used less of an excuse to stay for longer.

。。。

Dabi got off the bus at the same stop he’d been at nine years before exactly. Today was nine years, to the day. He’d been at the same stop each and every year for these nine years in a row. But like every year after the first, he was alone. 

The first year, Naoki had been with him.

From there, it was the same pattern as every other time. Dabi walked the mild distance to the sushi place Naoki had enjoyed a lot, and had enjoyed one last time that day.

The building was vacant. A sign in the front window gave the barest reason. For Sale Or Lease .

Dabi gulped. Everything was going off that day. This just added to the growing list. 

So, he skipped the meal. He went toward the creek, where he and Naoki would have gone if the day hadn’t gotten so screwed up. Like this one. 

There were a number of school busses, and over forty kids scattered about, a few adults in the mix. He sighed, avoiding anyone’s sight and ducking away as quickly as he could.

Why? Why is it this time? This year when things are about to go to shit again? Fuck… 

From the creek, he normally followed the river to the cliff where it would drop off haphazardly in a turbulent waterfall. The embankment to the left of the river first. There were campers already set up, so again, he dodged and ducked out, making the long descent to the river basin, where the waterfall still pounded down and nothing else could be heard. He would cross the river down a ways from there where the current was less dangerous, or if it was a particularly dry year, he’d just trekk the wall behind the waterfall to get there. 

Dabi opted for that. It wasn’t exactly a ‘dry’ year. More a shitty enough one he’d rather feel the adrenaline from the climb.

He wanted to claim his spot no matter what, and how the day was going, if he didn’t now, he might, no, he’d probably lose even that.

So, with the need for whatever adrenaline rush he could gain, and with a few hit and miss years backing his steps, as well as doing things like this in other places, and determination to make something go right in this ritual of his, for Naoki, Dabi started across.

 The waterfall was full-force, if not more than that. That year had been rainy like it hadn’t been since the year Naoki was last with him. What he was doing- Dabi was well aware it was entirely stupid. It was risky, dangerous. He had a soaked back not even two steps fully under and behind the wall of water. His bag was waterproof and sealed properly. But it’d sink if he lost it in the water or it fell or slipped off. 

Halfway across and Dabi was having to focus and pay attention. He wasn’t going to deny he was struggling now. The water was more forceful and far closer now. Every few seconds, a small torrent would catch Dabi’s head or shoulders or back, and he had to grip tighter then, had to step carefully and maintain his footing, balance and handholds. He never had more than one limb off a foot or handhold at a time.

He’d carved the safe spots to hold and step into his mind, over-writing it every year. This wasn’t that much more difficult. Just… Requiring more. More everything than normal.

When he stepped out of the heavier water flow, he almost sighed at the relief. Eight more steps and slow shuffles and he’d be at the edge he could step off of, onto the riverbank. The mud would suck his boots in greedily and he’d struggle for a minute, then be fine. 

Seven. Six. Fi-

A gunshot sounded too close and too loud for comfort and Dabi missed the fifth foothold, his knee digging in to the cliff face, hands holding tighter to their holds, and other foot trying to stabalise him. It worked. He was able to make it to the other foot placement after that, collapsing forward against the hard stone, breath finally catching up with him. 

His eyes, he was sure, were blown black. Dabi gulped and forced his breath and heart to slow and stop pounding. 

Once he was calmed the smallest bit he could focus and move and function at again, Dabi kept going. When his feet stepped onto legitimately solid ground, Dabi collapsed to his rear.

“I wanted an adrenaline rush, and I got one, alright. Fuck…” He let his breath catch up with him before reaching for his bag, aiming to set his small camp up. He got the bag off his shoulders and opened up, looking for the CD case he kept his music in. 

“The fuck… It’s not…” Dabi’s mind flashed back to Tomura having held it out to him at one point that shitshow of a morning. He had no memory of whether or not he’d even grabbed it from Tomura.

“Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. I hope he doesn’t get any bright ideas. Fuck. If they listen to that…. Fuck. Fucking damnit.” He sighed, collecting himself. He had kept his voice quiet and low, even being so close to something so loud. It was a habit of sorts. 

Dabi forced himself not to panic. He took a deep breath, calming the burning in his chest. 

Kouya knew where Dabi usually set up camp. He could give Kouya a call and message and ask for it, or at least make sure it was actually there, and threaten them into not touching it or more.

For how much everyone called him out for being irresponsible, and as few times or calls or people he’d respond to, reply to or call back, let alone answer calls from, Dabi had ritualistically maintained his phone- the same one for the past nine years. Same number too. It had never been shut off or confiscated or anything. Not even dead. Ever. He’d say it was to get certain people off his back, but he never let it die or go out of service.

It was another one of Dabi’s ‘If’ or ‘Just in case’ things. 

That was something he’d also adamantly refused to change or upgrade. But he was meticulous about it, and it was in amazing condition, even almost a decade later. 

Except now. The phone’s place hooked to the left side of his belt was empty. In fact, his entire belt loop was torn free.

“Are you… Fuck… Kouya’s gonna kill me. Fucking fuck.” Dabi put his head in his hands. He’d scream if he could. But he’d rather not draw the attention of the campers above, even if it would be heavily muted by the waterfall. 

The phone was in a waterproof case, an almost everything-proof case, actually. But Dabi wasn’t sure he could get it if it was at the bottom of a waterfall. If it did survive, it was still lost and out of reach. 

Like a lot of things, that day, lost or out of reach or… Just getting worse and worse. The phone and CD case were, again, only more things wrong on that list.

He had the tracks on his laptop, but the battery was limited. And he’d rather save it for sleeping. Out here, in this spot, he could sleep eerily well. To Dabi, it somehow felt as close to Naoki as he was capable of getting since then.

“I won’t give up. I won’t let go. I won’t forget. And if it’ll help me feel closer to you, I’ll sleep here, close to your heaven, Nao.” He forced the tears back again. He could do this once things were set up. Not yet. 

He pulled himself to his feet. His camp was always small. A small, in-ground and controlled fire, and Dabi in blankets on the ground with his laptop and moon lamp and whatever quick and easy snacks he brought each time. 

Music playing while he slept, and a solemn sense of peace when he’d leave that spot. Hike back up the right side to where the tree was still burned and scorched, now not as noticeably a human’s silhouette as it once had been, but still bearing the scars of the fire that was meant to kill a person, just like he was.

But before then, Dabi had to enjoy his one night here. And that meant firewood. Small sticks and branches, leaves and grasses. The hold he dug was as deep as his wrist, a little deeper this year. It was wide enough he could open his hand in it. Nothing more. Once it was half-filled with fuel and Dabi had enough sitting a few feet away, he used his Quirk, gently and carefully, to light a final twig and use it to ignite the rest of the material in the hole before dropping it in.

He’d noticed he’d tore a hole in his knee- both scarred skin and fabric alike. And done the same or worse to his hands. 

He still carried a first aid kit, one he’d learned how to use well, both from watching Naoki with one, and learning on his own since. 

It was one more of the ‘just in case’ things.

And it was something, some small form of self-care Dabi did, if only because Naoki did it for so long, Dabi could feel a little closer to Naoki, and honour him in that kind of thing. As Touya, he’d always had to be the caretaker, and handle his own issues himself. Naoki was one of the only people outside his mother to ever show that level of care and concern, to take care of him.

All the while he’d been prepping and setting camp up, cleaning and tending the injuries he’d gotten, and getting his food prepared, Dabi had settled into humming out the song he was stuck on. He’d get to one lyric spot, and get stuck. It wasn’t flowing quite right. Humming it out over and over eventually led to quietly half-singing and mumbling it. 

Dabi ate and settled in for the night. Whether or not he wanted to, he couldn’t contact Kouya, so he’d still make the most of his night. Laptop open long enough to get the new playlist going, then put on low-power and the lid shut, Dabi fed the fire, then let himself drift off. It was as easy as always.

。。。

“Hey, Tenshi~ How did it go?”

“Fuck off. Quit calling me that. Just because you know my real name now doesn’t mean I enjoy it being mocked like the cheap joke you are. And as for your little piece of advice. Choke on it. He’s still a fucking asshole. I tried. And that’s that. He left, and left his damn CDs here. Probably so he can come back and use them as an excuse to hole up on our couch again when he runs out of people who tolerate his bullshit.”

Tomura’s words were harsh, and they mildly hurt Kouya, considering what he did know Dabi to really be like. But his reply or any returned words stopped in his throat.

Dabi’s CD case wasn’t what caught his eye. It was the key atop the cabinets by the door for shoes. Dabi’s key. Silver with a red design burnished into the top. It was one Kouya made a copy of himself specifically for Dabi.

He was worried. The pit forming at the base of his gut when he had to leave these two alone after Natsuo’s shit, and Enji’s appeal being accepted and this day of the year was only getting worse and worse.

Kouya dug his phone out of his backpack in a rush, Tomura only glancing from the screen of his game enough to see Kouya was mildly panicked as he held his phone to his ear.

“C’mon. C’mon. Pick up, damnit…. Hey. I know it’s the worst for you today, but please please don’t do anything stupid… Dabi, please. Call me back as soon as you can.” He called again, three more times, before his phone clattered to the floor and he met the couch, both hands clutching his shirt at his chest.

Breathing wasn’t happening anymore. He squeezed his eyes shut, praying the pain would stop and just leave him be for now until he could make sure Dabi was okay.

Naoki would never forgive him. If he even remembered Kouya. If Naoki was even alive.

The shocks of pain throughout his body and clamouring in his chest finally died down, but the ceaseless ache still lingered, stronger than it was before. 

Kouya managed to creak his eyes open. He met deeply concerned red ones, a hand on his hands, pinky lifted, and the other brushing through Kouya’s dark grey hair. Tomura only showed this much tenderness when Kouya’s illness hit him hard. 

He wished it wasn’t just pity. It was nice. Unlike everyone else, Tomura’s touch didn’t feel like sandpaper on his nerves. It wasn’t painful. He didn’t feel like he needed to cough anymore, so it was a good feeling, Tomura’s touch.

“Another one?” Tomura asked, a small nod given in response, about the only thing Kouya could get his body to do. “They’re getting more frequent and more volatile. You should let All Might know and go see the doctor tomorrow.”

Kouya managed a gulp. Then shook his head. He was trying to find words and make them sound out, but he wasn’t too lucky for a few minutes.

“Give me my phone. I don’t call him like that unless it’s bad, s-so he knows to call back or let me know whats u-up. Oh fuck…. Ouch. That’s not… Fuck…” Kouya trailed off as he forced himself upright, taking the phone from Tomura, then redialing Dabi again. 

This time, he got the out of service or range or wrong number message, and that pit in his gut went right to his chest. It had barely been five minutes since there was voicemail. If Dabi was at his normal camp place for this day in the year, Kouya knew there was cell service. He’d made sure of it when Dabi started going out there alone or at all.

“I’m sure he’s fine. He’s a big boy and he can take care of himself. He’s ‘ fine ’ alone anyway. He doesn’t need anyone or thing, let alone hel-”

“Tomura. Today is the last day he saw Naoki nine years ago. He gets worse as this day gets closer. He starts having flashbacks and his nightmares come back and he hurts more than ever the more years go by without answers. 

Having Natsuo fuck with his head, and Enji’s appeal and all the shit he’s dealing with today… And he’s not answering, phone is who-knows what right now. He’s alone and I don't think he planned on coming back…” Kouya paused, getting onto his feet, Tomura scoffing.

“Ever think that might be a good thing? He’s twenty-two years old and couch surfs until he pisses everyone else off, then ends up here for weeks until he’s off whatever binder he’s on.”

“Hey. Knock it off. I made him the key. I gave it to him, and I make sure he always has a place here for a damn reason, Tomura. He’s my brother by all accounts I’m concerned with. He’s more than welcome here whenever he needs it because my home is and always will be his too. Just because he shuts everyone out doesn’t mean he’s not-”

“Calm down. He has a key, so he can come back whenever he feels like. Don’t have a conniption.”

“His key is here. He left it, and I know the connotations of that. He’s bad this time and fuck… He’s… Not good alone this year. Others were okay, but… He’s alone when he damn well shouldn’t be… I should have stayed from class and my client meetings and gone with him this time…” Kouya paused, trying to decide whether or not he should stand- or could for that matter. He’d rather not risk the black ooze and struggle it took to get it out- of his lungs or the upholstery and floor.

“Listen, Tomura. I know you tried your best and whatnot, but did you ever think to just… I don’t know. Look up the shit that happened? I know you have your own traumas to deal with. We all do, but Touya-”

“Who the fuck is Touya?” Tomura shot back, Kouya realising he’d slipped up. 

“Fuck… Fuck me… Damnit…” Kouya’s head in his hands was a rare sight for Tomura to see, so he stayed quiet and let the other male finish. “Touya is the same as Tenko, Tomura. Dabi is Touya. Touya Todoroki. Did you never even… Fuck. I don’t have time to ex-”

“Wait… Dabi… You’re telling me Dabi is Touya? That asshole is actually Touya Todoroki? So… The reason he’s so obsessed with Naoki… What happened was all over the news but they never showed any specifics…” Tomura thought aloud. 

“No. They kept Touya’s appearance after Enji Todoroki tried to kill him off of the news partially because his injuries and wounds were horrific… It wasn’t something they wanted to put on, considering the ins and outs of reasons behind the trial. 

Enji was a Hero, Tomura… So they kept the gruesome stuff covered up, as well as most specific or relevant details about the incident, and almost everything reguarding Naoki. They didn’t show the video either. 

Tomura. It was horrible. I know. I was there. What happened that day, Dabi’s tried to force himself to face alone. He bottles shit up so he doesn’t show weakness or his pain or risk people seeing Touya in him. 

But fuck… Put yourself in his shoes. Tomura, he’s not an asshole. I was the asshole he borrowed that persona from. Then he modified it and crafted it. He grafted it to perfectly mask and hide and cover his pain and scars and wounds that are still open and fucking raw. He needed to do something to protect himself while he tried to heal, and eventually, the mask just ended up staying in place permanently. 

He’s fucking terrified without it. He has panic attacks and fucking breakdowns and night terrors for weeks after anything to do with Enji comes up or when Natsuo blows up at him. He forces himself into working on anything, mostly music for the band he wants to do someday- so he gets into a mindset that he can’t sleep until ‘x’ just so he won’t have them… 

But they’re all- everything, even Dabi- especially bad this time of year… He’s… Worse this year than ever before… So if he left his key, I… I’m worried he only intends to go to the cliff. Not come back this time.” Kouya finished, seeing Tomura genuinely mortified.

“So… You’re telling me… I… Can’t believe I didn’t connect the dots until now… It adds up… But what the fuck did happen that day… Today nine years ago?”

“I’ll show you later. What I know and have but… Right now, I need to both contact the police and All Might, and I’m going to his usual spots. Fuck… I can at least get a head start with how dark it is out.” 

“Kouya. He’s fine. He’ll be alright. You’re overreacting and reading too much into this. All you’re gonna do is make yourself worse and worry everyone over-”

Kouya’s phone was already at his ear, ignoring Tomura’s advice. No matter how right he knew Tomura was, he still had to make sure Dabi was alright. Tomura, to this, all but stormed off, his door sliding closed as he went to his room. He wasn’t fond of slamming doors, none of them were, so most of them refrained from doing it. Even Dabi had that much decency.