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When Aizawa is twenty-seven, he’s already been teaching for two years. He lives in his own apartment in Musutafu, because Hizashi’s is often swarmed by reporters and Nemuri’s is the same way. He’s already decided that he hates teenagers.

Unfortunately for him, there’s a strange teenager gift-wrapped in bandages playing one of Hizashi’s games waiting in his living room.

Aizawa slams the door open. “Get the fuck out.”

The teenager looks away from the screen to give him the biggest most insincere smile Aizawa has ever seen. “Welcome home, Shouta!”

Expert use of his capture weapon quickly relocates the kid to safely outside Aizawa’s apartment and allows Aizawa to stroll in and lock the door behind him without releasing him. Aizawa will bring him to the police station for processing as soon as he makes sure for himself there’s nothing gone that he’ll miss.

“Why are you so mean!” The kid whines through the door, which should be impossible since Aizawa’s capture weapon is definitely covering his mouth. “ C’mon , let me in! You’re the worst cousin in the whole wide world.”

Aizawa opens the door. 

The kid has somehow gotten himself out of his capture weapon to hang on the doorknob like a toddler, meaning that the way Aizawa throws the door open causes him to fall and hit his head on the floor. “Ow… I really hate pain, you know. Is Shouta this cruel to all of his guests? No wonder he’s the least popular hero!”

Aizawa glares, unsympathetic. “What do you mean, cousin?”

The kid straightens up, smiling like Nezu sometimes does. He’s gotten used to seeing it on a rat, so to see it on a person is a little disorienting. “Oh, Shouta,” he croons, “Don’t say you don’t remember me! It was a very memorable weekend— unless the hero brainwashing machine takes care of childhood memories? Hmm, interesting.”

“Shuuji?”

The kid winces— the reaction might’ve been real once, but the way he leans into it makes it just another party trick. “Aha, it’s been awhile since someone’s called me that.”

“Then what?”

“Dazai Osamu,” he says. “Now, let me in! I almost beat that level!”

 

✖️

Tsushima Shuuji stands outside the hospital room under the one light in the entire hallway that’s flickering. He’s seven years old and silent, unfidgeting. 

Aizawa is standing a little too far away to be next to him. He’s sixteen years old and his mom is in the hospital and he took a three hour train ride because he needed to sign some documents as the only family member the hospital could get a hold of.

Only, it seems like his aunt and her husband have deigned to get involved, so they’re in the hospital room talking with the doctor and Aizawa is standing outside with his cousin. He’s missing school for this.

His aunt and her husband are rich, Yokohaman elites. Aizawa doesn’t know what her husband does aside from MAKES A LOT OF MONEY and he doesn’t want enough to do with the both of them to want to find out. 

Whatever it is, it’s not something that leaves room for mercy or insecurity, because when he says: “I’m not going to waste money on a useless woman. If she’s not going to wake up, let her die.” He says it loud enough that no one is spared from hearing it.

The doctors don’t argue. Aizawa doesn’t either.

Before his aunt and her husband and his cousin came, the doctors told Aizawa that her survival would depend entirely on her. That she’ll need to be strong. That she’ll need to fight to come back to him. 

Aizawa’s mom has never fought for anything in her life. She sat there and wasted her family’s money. She sat there and let them disown her. She sat there and took it as her husband beat her. She sat there as her husband found a new target in their son. She sat there and shot up while her husband went out to become a small-time villain and got himself killed. She sat there passed out on the couch while Aizawa enrolled in UA and used his contacts there to become an emancipated minor. She sat there and shot drugs into her system until it screwed her up enough to put her in a coma. She sat there and didn’t even have the courage to die without someone deciding it for her. 

When Aizawa hears her flatlining, all he can think is finally.

Shuuji stares at him from his dark, flickering corner of the hallway. He inclines his head. 

Aizawa supposes that maybe he should have even pretended to be sad, so that his audience would think of him as a human being. One of the main teachings of the hero course is to learn to be sympathetic to the media, but Aizawa’s never taken well to that anyway.

Maybe, he should have been more careful than to allow his seven year-old cousin to associate parents dying with a look of overwhelming relief. 

 

✖️

When Aizawa is nineteen, the Tsushimas die. He’s not on the case for three reasons: 1. he doesn’t work in Yokohama, 2. he would be considered emotionally compromised, and 3. it’s been ruled an open-and-shut murder-suicide. He does have enough contacts (mostly through Nezu) to get access to the case’s information though. 

Tsushima Tane, Aizawa’s aunt, died by overdosing on pabinal, a morphine-based painkiller, body found in the master bathroom. Tsushima Gen’emon shot himself in the head through his mouth, body found in study. Tsushima Shuuji died before either of them, drowned by his father (an adult man’s hands bruised into his neck), body found in the bathtub of the master bath— autopsy performed by one of Yokohama’s premier doctors, Mori Ogai. 

The story that’s been happily circulating in the news is this: Tsushima Gen’emon killed his son, who many called “freakish” and “sociopathic,” for ruining his image. Tsushima Tane found his body and promptly killed herself using an old prescription for one of her more intense plastic surgeries. Tsushima Gen’emon found his wife, realized that he would never be able to cover up both of their deaths, and then killed himself while drinking his favorite liquor.

Aizawa isn’t publicly related to the Tsushimas. He hasn’t talked to them since that weekend three years ago when they pulled the plug on his mom and then convinced him to stay with them in Yokohama for a few days. 

The weekend was uneventful and did nothing to endear Aizawa to them. The adults were awful and kept trying to convince him to drop out of UA to work for Gen’emon’s mystery organization. Shuuji was creepy for a seven year-old, and smart in a way that made his age a forgettable detail, but he rarely talked and when he did it was only to ask things like “do you hate dogs?” and “have you ever killed anyone?” Aizawa went home early and was glad to have two hours of distance between them.

Aizawa isn’t publicly related to the Tsushimas, so no one expects him to be sad when he isn’t. What he is is suspicious.

Shouta ,” Hizashi whines from where he’s sitting on the floor in front of the TV, leaning against the coach. “Come back here! Nemuri’s kicking my ass and I need someone else to lose to make me feel good!”

Nemuri laughs from where she’s sitting on the couch, legs dangling over Hizashi’s shoulders as she beats the shit out of both Hizashi and the controller. Spamming buttons— Aizawa has truly dumb friends, no iota of strategy in either of them. 

“I’m working on a case,” Aizawa calls from the kitchen table. This is Nemuri’s apartment, and since she’s both senior to them and fairly popular for a new hero, it’s big enough that Shouta has real space to distance himself from the other two. They spend a lot of time here.

“Oh? What’s this one about?” Nemuri, as the only other person with more regard for investigative work than building up celebrity status, asks.

“That murder-suicide case in Yokohama. I don’t buy it.”

“Wait— the one the gossip mags are going insane about?” Hizashi this time, of course. “That case has crazy press, bro. It’s morbid as hell, but the public likes seeing rich people die.”

Nemuri nods. “Apparently that Tsushima guy was known for being bad news, so a lot of people are actually happy about it.”

“His wife was my mom’s sister. He wasn’t the type of man who would kill himself.”

Both Nemuri and Hizashi freeze and look at him. 

Shouta’s closest friend was always Oboro, but Nemuri and Hizashi have filled the hole his death left in the same way he’s tried to do for them. As such, they understand each other a lot better than they did a year or so ago. Neither of them ask if he’s okay.

“What do you think happened?” Nemuri asks, finally beating Hizashi and getting up to sit at the table with him. Hizashi follows when Nemuri’s legs are no longer trapping him in place.

Aizawa glares at the autopsy reports. “I think that there’s no way Tsushima killed himself, and that there’s no way Shuuji would let Tsushima be alone in a room with him. However he died, it wasn’t Tsushima.”

“It’s hard for a ten year-old to kill himself in a bath, or to manufacture those injuries, or for a woman like Tane Tsushima to cause them,” Nemuri notes. “And the position of Tsushima’s body with the bloodstains and the fingerprints all point to him shooting himself.”

“Hey,” Hizashi says, looking up from his phone. “Yokohama is a crime city, right? And Tsushima was an evil rich guy?”

They nod. Yokohama is about the only city in Japan that organized crime survives in. Heroes can never gain a foothold there, but neither can modern-day villains. It’s a city that preserves the yakuza and mafia lifestyles like a nature reserve. Because it’s a self-contained issue with its own internal checks and balances that actually protects normal citizens more than hurts them, even All Might leaves it alone. 

“I think,” Hizashi starts, “that the media is onto something with all this mob shit—” he flashes his phone-screen towards them so they can see the article “—and that Tsushima was involved with some kind of Yakuza group, so a rival group killed him and his family and fabricated the evidence.”

“That checks out,” Aizawa admits. Despite his well-founded hatred of the press, they’re not actually wrong with their assessment of Tsushima. He never actually knew that Tsushima’s organization was criminal, but all evidence pointed to it. “But did they kill Shuuji?”

“He’s ten , Shouta,” Nemuri says. “No matter how smart they’re saying he was, I don’t like his odds against a bunch of trained criminals.”

They don’t find anything new about the case, and Aizawa learns to drop it. 

 

✖️

The next time Aizawa comes home from work, it’s 2:30 in the morning. He spent the day teaching, and the night on patrol. It was unfortunately eventful, which means he’s coming home three hours late and missing a lot of the blood he’d expected to come home with. He did buy groceries, though. 

The door is unlocked, and inside are the two people he wants to see the least especially in addition to each other: Dazai Osamu, coat-sleeves rolled up to his elbows to reveal his concerning second-skin of bandages; and Yamada Hizashi, hair still gelled-up from the day but losing its rigidity, sunglasses pushed up to his forehead and eyes squinting at Shouta’s tiny TV. They’re both holding scratched-up controllers and crouching forwards as if that will help their performance instead of injure their spines.

“Fuck- fuck -fuckity— HELL YEAH I GOT IT!” Hizashi yells, slipping a little and using his quirk. 

The walls shake. Aizawa’s neighbors make a discordant symphony of complaints through the limited insulation.

“SOR-ry!” Hizashi says, sheepishly. Aizawa managed to use his quirk on him halfway through, but it might not be enough to keep him from getting kicked out again. This would be a part of Hizashi’s extensive plan to get Aizawa to move in with him, except Hizashi still hasn’t developed a mind for strategy and so that plan is not nearly as effective as pissing off Aizawa’s neighbors.

Dazai tosses his controller absently backwards onto the couch. “I win!”

“What?” Hizashi screeches, only avoiding quirk use by the grace of god and Aizawa’s reflexes. “But I had you! Did you cheat, I fucking—”

Aizawa shoots his goggles directly into Hizashi’s temple. “You’re almost thirty, idiot. Act like it.”

While Hizashi is still rubbing his head, asking Oh, hey Shouta, when’d you get here? Dazai hums and says: “Yeah! Besides, I didn’t cheat.”

Hizashi jumps up off the couch to shove his finger in Dazai’s face. “Your guy was glitching all over the place!”

“Using a glitch isn’t cheating, it’s using your resources. Heroes really are dumb, huh?”

“You little—!”

Aizawa ignores them to focus on the rest of the apartment: TV running at three-quarters the volume, enough so that all the neighbors were probably already bothered even before Hizashi started throwing his quirk everywhere; bowls of chips and dip scattered on most flat surfaces; crumbs all over his carpet and his upholstery.

Both Hizashi and Dazai turn to face the darkening cloud of impending doom— Hizashi with well-earned horror, and Dazai with unmatched delight. 

“I have been working for eighteen hours,” Aizawa seethes. “I’m going to bed, and if this place is a mess when I wake up, you’re dead.”

“Really?” Dazai asks, eyes watery with delight. “You mean it?”

It’s clean at 6:40 when he wakes up. Hizashi is also-and-already awake by then, because he comes out with three plates of breakfast. 

“Ugh, that kid sucks,” Hizashi groans. “He made me clean your place up by myself! It was his mess, and just sat there eating even more chips and making me clean up that along with everything else! Also, when I got out the cleaning chemicals he tried to drink them. That’s weird.”

Dazai drags his feet as he makes his way to the kitchen, yawning. “I was supervising! No way a big dumb hero like you could figure out something as simple as cleaning without my help!”

Aizawa, largely ignoring them, brews himself a cup of coffee. A large travel-cup full. 

“So, Dazai, how’s you end up staying here? Shouta doesn’t talk much about his family, so I honestly didn’t believe you until you showed me your quirk.”

Aizawa has no clue what Dazai’s quirk is. His mom’s family has mostly nullification-type quirks, so it’s easy enough to guess, but it’s not something that’s ever come up between them.

Not that they ever talk much. Dazai’s visits are about as consistent as blue moons. He stays for a week, or for a few days, or doesn’t come for a month; he never tells Aizawa when he’s coming, or when he’s leaving, and Aizawa isn’t home and awake enough to care. 

This is what he knows about Dazai Osamu: his name used to be Tsushima Shuuji. His parents are dead. He can’t be in Yokohama, so he’s anywhere else. He doesn’t eat much, and when he does it’s only things that he can take and shove in his mouth with no preparation. Whatever he’s doing, it’s been approved of by the government.

“I quit my job recently, so I’ve been doing some alternative living,” Dazai says, solemnly.

“You’ve been couch surfing.”

“Ah, but that’s such a mean word for it!”

Aizawa finishes his coffee. Dazai hasn't even touched the food Hizashi put in front of him and probably never will. There’s canned crab in the fridge, so if he is hungry he won’t starve. “Don’t worry about him, we need to get to work.”

They leave with Dazai singing something like have a nice day! that manages to be both insulting and annoying. 

“You never mentioned anything about a cousin,” Hizashi complains. It’s a fair enough complaint for Hizashi to make, as his longtime boyfriend. Aizawa is probably supposed to communicate things like people occasionally crashing in his house. That’s on him. 

“I’ve mentioned him before,” Aizawa says, because it’s true. “Let’s just get to class.”

Hizashi whines the whole way there. Aizawa isn’t dating him because he’s smart. 

Chapter Text

Kamino Ward is a tragedy that rocks the nation. The heroes arrest All For One, they defeat the Nomus, and they rescue Bakugou Katsuki. It’s still a loss.

Too many people die. When there are any deaths it’s too many, but too many people die. 

It’s a fight involving the longtime Symbol of Peace, someone who until now never failed to save everyone once he showed up to a disaster. It’s world-breaking.

Kamino Ward is in Yokohama.

“We underestimated our opponent,” Nezu says during the meeting. “We believed that All For One would bide his time rather than pick Yokohama to stage a fight. Because of this, we neglected the unpleasant and only collaborated with those affiliated with the Hero Commission. That was a mistake on our parts, but one we will not make again.”

The teachers sit around the horseshoe table in silence. There’s no precedent for this— there’s never been a conflict All Might hasn’t been able to handle, and especially never one in a place where the Hero Commission wasn’t the main force in power. 

Aizawa vaguely remembers living in Yokohama as a kid— way before his dad got killed. Yokohama used to run a program for veterans that led most people affected by the Ability War (named after the more international translation of the word most replace with “quirk”) to congregate there. Unfortunately, the end of the war only caused Yokohama to become a battleground in itself: the return of government attention to a city that had become overrun by criminals meant rival organizations were competing for the quickly depleting resources. Only one could survive, and although the Yokohama powerhouse had always been the Port Mafia, they’d been going on something of a murder spree and wasting all their money and men. 

The Aizawas moved as soon as the Yokohama Program was discontinued and his dad stopped getting any benefit out of living in an expensive city in the middle of an underground war. It was after they moved that he was able to plan out his fatal crime— if he hadn’t, it’s likely that the remaining Aizawas would have been killed by the governing criminal organization to eliminate any future threats. That’s just how Yokohama is. Aizawa didn’t know anything about heroes until after the move, and he didn’t know he wanted to be one until even later. Yokohama cuts down on criminals by letting them eat each other— the concept of heroes is hard to comprehend. 

Nezu is a perfectionist, and as such he wastes no time in fixing the methods for their future actions: “We’ve reached out to the JSDF’s Special Ability Department and offered our help in the cleanup— Cementoss, Thirteen, Lunchrush, you are to head out to Yokohama tomorrow.”

The three nod in affirmation, already aware of their orders— they’re the No. 1 disaster team: Cementoss to rebuild, Thirteen to clean up, and Lunchrush to take care of those displaced by the event. Normally, Recovery Girl joins them, but she’s an asset that they can’t afford to trust to Yokohama just yet. 

Nezu’s Yokohama Cooperation Plan involves adding the Armed Detective Agency to the Hero Network. This is only the most modest of his proposals, but it takes weeks of convincing on the sides of the SAD, the ADA’s President, and the Hero Commission.

On the side of the SAD: “These individuals are valuable assets to Yokohama; recruiting them for jobs outside of the city will spread them out and thin their resources.”

On the side of the ADA: “My people are committed to the safety of Yokohama and her citizens, but we are not “heroes.” We handle jobs that the military police cannot, and that heroes are unsuited for. We would not work well together.”

On the side of the Hero Commission: “The ADA has members as young as fourteen, and the only requirement for entry is that you pass a test of unspecified contents. There is no requirement for training or age. Working with an agency like this would reflect poorly on the heroes in our employ.”

Somehow, Nezu got through to them with a compromise: the ADA will be added to the Hero Network, but they can deny any requests for help. “The reason I want to add the ADA to our database is not so we have more resources,” Nezu explains, “but so we can communicate efficiently during crises like the Kamino Ward incident. We cannot afford to repeat those mistakes.”

To the surprise of literally no one who’s ever met Nezu, the ADA is added to the Hero Network. The ADA posts are usually updated by a user named Kunikida Doppo, who writes things like “Fog ability covering Yokohama. Citizens are safe. Do not come near.” and “If you have to visit Yokohama, do so plainclothes and take methods of non-gifted transportation. Otherwise you disrupt the natural flow of the city, and that cannot be forgiven.” 

Once, a user labeled Nakajima Atsushi posts: “One of our Agency members has been contracted in Hosu. We can escort him onto the train station, but no one is available to accompany him. Please provide support, as he is a non-combatant and has never learned how to take the train. We apologize for his behavior.”

Manual, the hero that volunteers for the assignment, commented: “How old is he?”

Nakajima Atsushi responds: “26, sorry.”

The Armed Detective Agency doesn’t have much info up on the HN. With only two profiles, they’re missing their full roster, and neither of those profiles have their quirks listed. Manual’s communicated that the member he worked with, Edogawa Ranpo, has an enhanced intelligence-type quirk he calls Ultra Deduction, but the rest of the ADA is a mystery. 

Which is why when Aizawa gets called in to meet with the Hassaikai Task Force, he’s surprised to see four unknowns in (mostly ridiculous) civilian clothing.

The first: A man dressed in what looks like a cheap detective costume. He’s leaning back in his seat with his shoes on the table and a popsicle in his mouth. He introduces himself as “The greatest detective in the world, Edogawa Ranpo.”

The second: A young girl in traditional clothing. She’s around the age of Aizawa’s own students, and she’s holding an abundance of items only sold in tourist-traps. Her stuffed bunny is wearing a white T-shirt that says “I ❤️ Musutafu!” that she matches with one of her own, out of place over her seemingly expensive kimono. In a quiet, deadpan voice that matches her expression, she calls herself “Izumi Kyouka… I’ve never been in another city before...”

The third: An unhealthily skinny teenage boy in a white button-down, black pants, black suspenders, and a black (poorly-tied) belt. He looks like he cut his own hair blindfolded and upside-down. He bows and says: “Uh, hi, I’m Nakajima Atsushi. Please take care of me!”

The last is actually the first one Aizawa noticed, but didn’t need to pay much attention to. He doesn’t bother introducing himself either, just jumps forwards in his seat and smiles. “Hi, Shouta! I didn’t know you’d be here!”

Aizawa doubts that, somehow. “Shut up, Dazai.”

“Heroes are so mean,” Dazai complains, turning around and flopping backwards onto the table. His eyes widen once he’s facing the ceiling. “ Oooh! Atsushi, do you think you could give me a lift to that beam? Pretty please?”

Atsushi bites his lip, looking even more nervous than he already was. “Um… we’re in the middle of a job, don’t you think that would be a pretty burdensome suicide? Maybe wait till after?”

“You’re no fun,” Dazai pouts, but straightens up. “I suppose you’re right though. If I killed myself here, all these heroes would try to stop me! Burdensome indeed…”

Gran Torino is one of Aizawa’s favorite heroes to work with. This is because he’s seen pretty much everything, and so has very little reaction to anything anymore. Despite this, he raises his eyebrows at Aizawa. “You know this guy, Eraser?” 

“Dazai Osamu— he has a nullification quirk.”

“Oh?”

Nighteye interrupts their brief exchange with all the care given by a lumberjack to a tree. “These four are on loan from the Armed Detective Agency. They have vital experience in dealing with organized crime.”

That’s something valuable to the Hassaikai investigation, especially since the post-All Might era of crime has left this generation’s heroes mostly unaware of how to handle criminal organizations. It shuts most people up.

But not Rock Lock, unfortunately. Aizawa actually agrees with some of Rock Lock’s protests— he doesn’t particularly want his students on this job either— but nothing he says is going to change anything. If Aizawa, a widely-respected UA teacher, couldn’t stop the child soldiers shit the Hero Commission is pushing, Rock Lock isn’t going to either.

“That girl looks even younger than the UA brats,” Rock Lock complains. “You want her dealing with a quirk that can kill on touch?”

“I will have no problems completing this mission,” Izumi says, unflinching. “I will do what is necessary to neutralize the target.”

Nakajima flinches. “Ahaha , Kyouka please don’t say it like that—“ he turns to Rock Lock— “she’s a really amazing fighter, but she’s mostly just going to be protecting Ranpo at the base, so you don’t need to worry!”

Izumi blushes and squeezes her bunny tighter to her chest. Weirdly cute for a girl that talks like a robot, but if she’s out of the front lines then that’s just one more child Aizawa doesn’t need to worry about. 

“What about you, kid, how old are you?”

“Uh, eighteen, sir.” 

“He’s perfectly legal, Mr. Hero,” Edogawa declares. “And might I say— no one here is incapable. You don’t need to project your infant son onto them, you know? It’s a little insulting!”

Aizawa has no clue what Edogawa’s on about, but Rock Lock flinches back. “H-How?”

Edogawa stands up, taking a pair of glasses out of his jacket pocket and sliding them onto his nose. “Let me answer your next question: my ability is called Ultra Deduction. Once activated, I can solve any crime within seconds; down to the culprit and where the evidence will be found.”

It’s a little tame, as far as Yokohama quirk-designations go. Aizawa’s mom could gradually reduce the quirk of anyone within touching distance like a spinning dial. She called it The Setting Sun. Aizawa’s own quirk was listed as Territory of Light until he had the freedom to tame it down to Erasure. 

Edogawa walks towards where Nighteye presides over the rest of the table and gestures at the graphic of Japan with the Hassaikai base superimposed over it. “I can also answer your question most pertinent to the case: “If we found the girl here, he obviously would’ve moved her, right?” 

“I— Yeah,” Rock Lock admits. “If it were me, I would’ve moved her as soon as the heroes saw her. There’s no way that if we just raided their base we’d find her.”

“Sure, if it were you!” Ranpo agrees. “But I can tell you with one-hundred-percent certainty that little Eri-chan is right here!”

“That’s…” Fatgum trails off. “You’re pointing to the base?” 

“You just said she wouldn’t be there,” Rock Lock says.

“No, I said that you would think she isn’t there. You were thinking about the Hassaikai as a group that wants to keep their operations secret— and if that were the case, you might have even been right! Unfortunately, the Hassaikai are after a much bigger spotlight than the usual yakuza groups.”

Dazai’s the first to respond, gasping: “No! Tell me they’re not commercializing my talents! That’s cheating!”

It hits Aizawa next, and apparently Nighteye and Gran Torino as well, because they mirror his solemn expressions. 

“They want us to go ahead with the raid,” Aizawa infers. “They’re confident in their ability to win, and with the publicity that comes from beating heroes, they’ll be able to get funding to perfect and mass-produce their anti-quirk bullets.”

“Exactly, Not-Dazai!” Edogawa cheers. “You’re slightly smarter than the average hero, well done! Though, I suppose that’s to be expected of Dazai’s relative…”

Nakajima chokes on something like “Relative?!?!” while Izumi pats his back. Aizawa’s present students don’t look much better off, with Midoriya off on one of his quirk-ramblings and the other three staring intently at Dazai like he’ll suddenly start spouting logical ruses. 

“That’s not all, though!” Edogawa continues. “I can also tell you that the League of Villains is absolutely involved!”

“Oh?” Nighteye muses. “The profile the police and Eraserhead put together suggests that Shigaraki wouldn’t stand to put himself under anyone, and Chisaki isn’t much better. We’d used that information to rule out the League’s involvement in this case.”

“Well, you were wrong!” Edogawa unwraps a lollipop and puts it in his mouth. Around it, he says (translated from mouth muffles via the experience of living with Hizashi): “We wouldn’t be here if the League wasn’t involved. The League of Villains lost valuable assets in the kidnapping of Bakugou Katsuki: Moonfish, Mustard, and Muscular were all skilled criminals. The League got a lot of press from the Kamino Ward incident— where you all massively fucked up in not involving us, by the way— but they don’t have the numbers they need to capitalize on it. Fortunately for them, the Hassaikai does have the numbers, and they’re in the market for the kind of press the League’s name offers. It’s a chance neither of them are going to pass up.”

“So we should expect to be facing an united force of two highly-dangerous criminal organizations?” Ryukyu asks. “We’d need more higher-ranking heroes in that case.”

“Ah, you’re right about that one, Miss. Dragon!” Edogawa says, pointing at her across the table. “But the two forces aren’t united at all! The profiles are accurate, so neither of them are truly working for or with the other. My bet is that the League is only pretending to work with Chisaki, and will turn on him before the raid is over.”

“That’s good then!” Nakajima cheers, clearly recovered from the earlier reveal. “We can take advantage of the internal conflict and arrest them!”

Edogawa sighs. “Not in the way you’re thinking. We’ll likely have to split our forces if we want to grab both Chisaki and the League, and we can’t underestimate either of them. Ugh, this is turning out to be so troublesome…”

“Let’s recess for lunch,” Nighteye says. “We’ll return to planning after eating.”

 

✖️

“Go hang out with the hero kids! It’ll be fun, interacting with people your age!”

Atsushi hates Dazai, as much as he can hate the man that saved him from starving to death on a riverbank and then brought him to his new job and family in the form of the ADA. But, still— burning hatred. 

“What’s your quirk?” Asks the green-haired kid who’s around Kyouka’s age. He’s got scary eyes, and is already pulling out both a notebook and a pen.

“Uh, I turn into a tiger? I guess?” Atsushi says. That’s okay to reveal, right? “It’s called Beast Beneath the Moonlight.”

The girl around Atsushi’s age that was sitting with dragon-lady earlier chimes in. “Oh! I heard that people from Yokohama have ridiculous quirk names! Why’s yours so long? Also, if you’re a cat, can you see in color? And what about your di—”

“Wow, Nejire! That’s a lot of questions to ask someone you’ve never met all at once! Bold as ever!” The blonde kid with the weird eyes interrupts, blessedly. Atsushi is going to write him a thank-you card and not even overshare about his trauma in it this time! That’s how grateful he is to avoid that question! 

“Leave him alone…” the shy guy with the hood mutters. “Not everyone can handle your personality…”

Yes, god can Atsushi not handle her personality. Especially not in front of Kyouka, who’s basically his little sister and who is dealing with her own set of questions from the two girls who were also with dragon-lady, right next to them. 

“A tiger, huh?” The red-haired kid continues. “Like, Byakko! King of the beasts! That’s pretty manly, dude!”

“Thanks! Can’t say I’ve ever heard that one, haha…”

“So, Nakajima,” Weird-eyes starts. “Being in the Armed Detective Agency is basically the same as being a full-fledged hero, right? What’s that like?”

“Oh, yeah!” the round-faced girl by Kyouka says. “Someone our age is pretty much a pro-hero! That’s so cool!” 

“I’m fourteen.”

“Someone younger! Wow, now I’m kinda self conscious that I’m not a hero yet, haha.”

Atsushi tilts his head as he thinks of a way to describe the Agency. Most of the people he interacts with are either Agency members or criminals, so it’s not like he’s ever had to deal with anyone who didn’t know them before. People in Yokohama just kind of go with anything. 

“Well, I get stabbed a lot,” Atsushi admits. “And kidnapped. I’ve been kidnapped at least twice. But it’s better than starving in the streets!”

“I agree,” Kyouka says, the first she’s spoken since they’ve started this strange socialization game. “I was going to get the death penalty, but now I’m an Agency member. The kidnappings were worth that.”

“I… Don’t know what to say to that at all! You guys are really funny!” Weird-eyes laughs. “Yokohama is an exciting place, huh?”

“Yes, please don’t visit.” Kyouka advises. “It’s not safe for outsiders. And Kunikida hates it when tourists disrupt the natural flow of the city by making a fuss.”

Well now it’s past time to change the topic. “Also, you can call me Atsushi— sorry, I didn’t catch your names though.”

“Oh! How rude of us!” Round-face flushes. “I’m Uraraka Ochaco.”

“Asui Tsuyu— just call me Tsu. Ribbit.”

“... Amajiki Tamaki.”

“Hado Nejire!”

“I’m Midoriya Izuku.”

“Kirishima Eijirou!”

“Mirio Togata!”

Kyouka nods like she does when taking in information for a case. “You may call me Kyouka. For personal reasons, I would prefer not to talk about my ability.”

“That’s fine! We’re not gonna press you, don’t worry bro.” Kirishima sends two-thumbs-up Kyouka’s way, even through Hado’s pouting. Kyouka nods. 

“I’m known for being a very blunt person, and I always say what’s on my mind,” Tsuyu says, “so forgive me, but why were you kidnapped? And why were you almost given the death penalty?”

“Uh… that’s a kinda personal question, dontcha think?” Kirishima says, and then whispers (though with Atsushi’s tiger-hearing and Kyouka’s omniscience, it doesn’t have any real effect) “Just said we weren’t gonna pry about shit, bro.”

“You don’t have to answer,” Tsuyu follows up. “I’m just curious.”

Kyouka, equally blunt, responds: “I won’t.” 

Unfortunately for Atsushi, he has 1. a history of oversharing and 2. a tendency to crack under pressure, so when everyone’s eyes turn towards him…

“An organization wanted my ability, so they put a pretty high bounty on my head for whoever could ship me to them alive,” Atsushi explains. “They’re not a problem anymore, though. The Agency took care of them.” And also the mafia, but that’s not a good conversation topic for building relationships with heroes.

“Quirk-trafficking?” Midoriya pipes up, more rhetorical than anything else. “That’s been mostly ended by All Might and other pros, but people do manage to skip through the cracks, and especially in a city like Yokohama…” he trails off, his muttering becoming less and less audible. 

“He’s always like this,” Uraraka explains. “Don’t worry about him. Anyway, what—“

God, please end my suffering, Atsushi prays, then backtracks. Dazai’s first though, hopefully.

 

✖️

Aizawa doesn’t approach Dazai. Dazai doesn’t approach Aizawa.

Somehow, a series of “Oh I’ve gotta go do this thing!” and “Wow, uh, this seat’s taken, really!” have led Aizawa to table that’s blissfully empty save for his undead cousin. He wants to find his way to Nighteye and Gran Torino, but they’re in the middle of failing at a top-secret conversation while sending “discreet” glances to Midoriya and getting interrupted by Ranpo. 

Dazai’s got his heart-eyes ready before Aizawa’s even sat down. “Reunited at last! Did you miss me, cousin?”

“Next time you fake your death, don’t ruin it by  telling me you’re alive.”

“Don’t worry!” Dazai grins. “Next time I’ll be dead for real, I promise . Hopefully it’ll be soon!”

“Not before this operation is over.”

“Ugh, fine,” Dazai sticks his tongue out. “You’re so stuck up. This is why I hate working with heroes, you’re no fun.”

“You’re literally just an off-brand hero agency. The only difference is you have less funding and looser morals.”

Dazai blinks. “Huh, well. Heroes don’t have a place in Yokohama. I guess that’s why you had to leave, right?”

They both know it’s not. Aizawa had to leave because if he didn’t he would have died, because if he didn’t he would have found himself in a similar situation to what Dazai’s undoubtedly was in the Yokohama criminal underworld and with only half the smarts to get him out. 

“Yeah. And Yokohamans have no place here.”

Dazai leans back and smirks. “That’s fine. This won’t take long.”

 

✖️

The problem is that Edogawa’s also deduced that there are several hidden underground passageways down into the girls room, and without insider knowledge accessing them is nigh on impossible. 

“Of course I’ve devised a strategy to get this insider knowledge, but until Nighteye’s carried that out you’re all to find distributors of the anti-quirk drugs in your own respective districts. Do not engage, just report them and track their movements— this drug isn’t perfected yet, it will do no permanent harm.”

Fatgum stares blankly. “So we’re just supposed to let them shoot us?”

“Of course not, Mr. Gum!” Dazai interrupts. “You’re free to do anything to those using the drug, but I’d suggest you use those to track the actual sellers. The distributors aren’t stupid enough to be caught using them.”

Ranpo nods and then lowers his head, his eyes shadowed by his detective cap. “Until then, there’s a much more pressing issue.” 

“What is it?” Rock lock asks.

“Where we’re gonna stay!” Ranpo cheers. “Me and the rest of the Agency members don’t have permanent residence anywhere near here, and we need to be on standby for the second this operation starts. Kyouka and I used up all the travel funds on souvenirs and snacks already— we can’t stay at a hotel.”

Nakajima straightens from his standard slouch. “You. You what.”

“Well, U.A. has dorms now, doesn’t it?” Fatgum asks his interns who nod in response. “Great! You can set them up then, right Eraser? I’m sure you had something worked out anyway, one of ‘em being your cousin and all…”

Aizawa’s plan was pretty much to isolate himself and just spray anything Dazai breathed on with Lysol and also fire. He grits his teeth. “I’ll discuss it with Nezu. No promises.”

“Aw, Shouta! That’s so sweet of you!” Dazai swoons. “It’ll be just like our sleepovers when we were kids!” 

“Yes.” In that they never fucking happened. 

Ranpo grins like someone just told him something he already knew. “That settles it then! Meeting adjourned.”










Chapter Text

✖️

 

“Mr. Aizawa?” 

“Yes, Yaoyorozu?”

“Uh… there’s um…”

“Yes?”

Yaoyorozu clears her throat. “There is what appears to be a ghost in the common room. I’m sure it’s just a quirk but… Please come erase it.”

Half of Aizawa’s kids are hiding behind the couch in the common room— this half being everyone but Bakugou, Midoriya, Kirishima, Ochaco, Tokoyami, Iida, and Yoayoruzu (who is hiding behind him ). The brave few stand between the couch and the TV, and in front of the TV floats a semi-transparent glowing woman in an elaborate kimono missing all facial features but her cold dead eyes and holding a very long sword. 

Iida stands closest to her, shaking like a windup toy and sweating hard enough that his forehead shines with it. “A-As the c-class representative, I ask that you please state your unfinished business, Mrs. Ghost. It is imperative that you communicate with us s-so we may help you move on.”

“Dude!” Kirishima hisses. “She’s not wearing a ring!”

Iida jumps and then bows at an exact 90 degree angle, still shaking. “O-Oh! Forgive me, Miss!”

Miss Ghost stays silent. 

“That’s it,” Bakugou growls, cracking his knuckles. “I’m gonna make sure she stays dead this time.”

Midoriya grabs his shoulder and starts pulling him back. “Kacchan! Maybe don’t antagonize the undead sword woman!” 

“Huh? Oh, I’ll fucking show you antagonize—“

Tokoyami’s eyes are glistening with unfamiliar emotion, hands clasped together, nearly bouncing on his heels. “I’ve been waiting for this day.”

Okay, that’s probably the most disturbing thing about this. Aizawa steps out of the shadows to a well-timed lightning strike through the sliding glass doors. His whole class flinches. “What could possibly be so important at four in the morning?”

Since Aizawa and Yaoyorozu are standing to the side of the scene, Kaminari can poke his head out from the pile of hiding students without exposing himself to the sword woman. “Uh. The ghost, Mr. Aizawa Sir. Please tell me you see the ghost.”

Aizawa looks at the ghost. The ghost turns her head to look back. Aizawa returns his gaze to Kaminari. “What ghost?”

Kouda passes out right there and then, to be caught in dual effort by Jirou and Sato. Kaminari starts openly weeping, “Holy shit, we’re going to die.”

Todoroki, coming out from the kitchen with a travel mug of hopefully not coffee, takes a glance at the scene and proceeds to flee calmly up the stairs. This is the best idea any of his students have had in weeks. Aizawa turns to follow him, but stops to call over his shoulder: “If any one of you isn't in bed by the time I get to my room, you’ll double the length of the hero law paper for the whole class.” 

The morning (or the morning part two— sunlight edition) is somehow worse. Mostly because it’s a Sunday. Sundays are the only days that Aizawa eats breakfast with his class instead of just shoving a meal-bar down his throat before leaving early to prepare for classes. It’s hell. 

“Who the fuck is this?” Bakugou yells. Bakugou is not the only reason breakfast with 1-A is terrible, but being that he’s an aggressive morning person, he is a large part of it.

Izumi Kyouka, sitting cross-legged in a seat that was once Bakugou’s, stays perfectly poised even with the small explosions going off near her face. She holds out her empty plate to Iida. “More pancakes, please.”

Iida deposits them— they have blueberries in them, thank god. Breakfast might be saved after all— and then freezes. He does a quick headcount of all of his classmates and then recounts. “Uraraka, can you hand me my glasses?”

“Sure!”

Iida puts them on and then nods. “I knew it! Bakugou would never say please! What are you doing here, young lady?”

“Oh, Iida that’s— Wait, your vision is so bad you can’t tell a blonde blur from a black one?” Midoriya asks. He’s still sweaty from his morning run, which is disgusting but whatever. Todoroki is also in his running clothes, but he tends to regulate his body temp so he doesn’t sweat. “You should get contacts for hero work! If your glasses get knocked off mid-fight—“

With uncharacteristic intensity, Iida interrupts him. “I will not let that happen.”

“Ah, so you’re an eye virgin.” Hagakure says. “It’s okay, you don’t have to be shy about it. It kind of hurts at first, but you get used to it.”

“What—“

“Oh, Hagakure, you wear contacts?” Jiro asks. When Hagakure’s earrings nod for her Jiro gets up to take a closer look and squints. “Huh, I can maybe kinda see them floating there. I guess.”

“Stop this conversation now,” Aizawa orders— his entrance cueing several pairs of footsteps to start loudly clambering into their places at the table. 

Hagakure doesn’t move. Her shirt doesn’t even lift up and down to show that she’s breathing.

“I can still see you.”

“Fuck. Good morning Mr. Aizawa! Who’s that behind you? And who’s this girl?”

“Oh! That’s Mr. Aizawa’s cousin!” Midoriya chimes in, way too enthusiastic. He’s also a morning person, which is another reason he’s in the problem child category. “He’s got a nullification quirk!”

Todoroki is also overly enthusiastic, muttering something about the bandages and the capture weapon. Aizawa truly doesn’t know if the kid understands how genetics works. 

“That’s right!” Dazai says from right fucking behind him and Aizawa doesn’t jump because Dazai’s slick but not that slick but if Aizawa was anyone else he probably would have. “I’m Dazai Osamu from the Armed Detective Agency! We’ve started opening communications with the heroes recently so a couple of us will be staying at UA for a bit.”

“How did you know that, Midoriya?” Iida asks, and Midoriya smiles in that wobbly way of his and says “Haha, well…”

“This is Izumi Kyouka,” Aizawa interrupts. “She’s around your age, so she’s been given one of the empty rooms in the girls dorms. Dazai will be staying with me.” Which is hell, if anyone asks. From the way his students since, it’s quite possible they can see it on his face. 

“Last-naming a relative huh…” Ashido whispers, way less quietly than she seems to think she is. 

Kaminari doesn’t bother to swallow the pancakes in his mouth before he answers. “Yeah— must not be close then, wonder why?”

Aizawa last-names almost everyone. Aizawa last-names himself. It’s his preferred form of address even from close friends— that Dazai still calls him Shouta is more of an example of his crusade to make Aizawa as uncomfortable as possible than any demonstration of familiarity. His mother was the only one to regularly call him anything but their shared last name, and the person he was when alone with her is better off forgotten. That Aizawa doesn’t lower himself to call his cousin Shuuji is an example of his maturity as the only fucking adult on the UA campus at any given time. 

Dazai quickly slides into Aizawa’s seat, grabbing a fork and knife straight up and slamming the dull ends against the table. “One glass of bleach, please!”

The class stares. Izumi holds out her plate for more pancakes and is mindlessly rewarded. 

“Is he, like, actually serious?” Ojirou mutters. Aizawa doesn’t bother to answer because he’s too busy wrapping Dazai in his capture weapon and throwing him through the (open, Yagi’s coming in with a bag of treats like he’s somebody’s grandpa— he ducks just in time though, guess he’s still got those number one hero reflexes) sliding-glass doors. 

“Oh…” Ashido whimpers. “Yeah, I think I get it now, actually.”

 

✖️

 

The Observer has already completed the objective of his mission by the time it becomes dangerous. 

The room looks surprisingly like an office. Like, it’s not actually sacrificing any of the trademark aesthetics— bulletproof glass lines the outward-facing wall while the other three are showing off bare (clearly expensive) wood. Blackout curtains are at rest on either side of the windowed wall, opening up to a perfect view of the city. There’s a main desk (also expensive) at the front of the room, facing two long (similarly priced) coffee tables and black leather seats. The main desk is covered in paperwork (very well organized, actually. He doesn’t see that often. He should probably take notes) and, in the formerly bare center, the Observer’s gift sits in a brown envelope. Every other surface is suffering from extreme clutter in the form of guns and other munitions (taken down from the racks on the walls), but like, other than that it’s exactly what the Observer would think of a company executive’s base of operations. 

It’s just that it’s not, and The Observer is lucky the room is as spacious as it is because otherwise he would’ve been caught by now with how the top three of Black Lizard squad is searching the room for any signs of who might’ve left the envelope. He’s also lucky he can turn invisible, and that his part-timer salary doesn’t do much in the way of food, because he takes up just enough space that if he really clings to the glass none of the critically acclaimed murderers are going to bump into him and realize he’s there. 

Chuuya Nakahara, Port Mafia executive, is standing behind his desk, admiring the envelope with the eye of someone who’s dealt with Dazai Osamu ever in his life. “It’s… probably not a bomb.”

“Why’s that?” from Tachihara Michizou, junior of the three Black Lizard commanders, currently about six inches from the Observer’s left foot. 

“...”

Hirotsu, senior Black Lizard commander and also probably the oldest ability user ever, pauses his inspection of their munitions to interrupt the extremely loud silence. “Well, Executive Nakahara?” 

Nakahara sighs, yet another symptom of Dazai exposure. The Observer’s never seen it this bad before. “I don’t recognize the handwriting.”

Akutagawa Gin, the last of the Black Lizard commanders, puts down the cushion they were looking under (for bugs, probably. people would kill to know what goes on in this office. the PM doesn’t actually do anything interesting besides killing though, so it’s not like he cares) to maximize the effect of their disappointed stare. 

Nakahara stares back at Black Lizard in equal distaste. “Oh please. The only people dumb enough to send a bomb to my desk have no reason to hide it’s them, and no reason to bug my office either. Even if it’s a bomb, it’s not gonna kill me. You three get out— I’m gonna open it, and in the extremely unlikely event that I’m wrong…”

It’s probably the fastest evacuation the Observer  has ever seen Black Lizard execute, and that’s counting the bimonthly defenestrations he himself helps carry out. He feels kind of cheated to be honest— they were holding out on him! Nakahara also looks a little bummed out about the speed at which he was abandoned, but it does open up a pathway for himself, which is pretty sweet. They’ve been understaffed at work lately, so he’s got some extra shifts to pick up that he’s already late for. 

As the Observer’s leaving, he hears Nakahara scream something like “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” He also smells smoke. He starts jogging.

It’s only after the Observer is already at his normal job that he receives a text from an unmarked number: thx junichiro!! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖° knew u cld do it!!  

Junichiro curses loud enough to spook Haruno’s cat and instantly withers under the glare of everyone at the Agency. He was so fucking sure that was Ranpo asking him to deliver those files. He needs to start saving the numbers in their workplace group chat. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

✖️ 

 

They’re still waiting on Nighteye to find the route to save the girl. This, Atsushi reminds himself, is an indefinite period of uncertainty. They could be called on at any moment to raid the Hassakai’s headquarters. If Kunikida was here he’d have already beat Atsushi over the head for his impatience and his own love of abusing his coworkers. A young girl’s life hangs in the balance! 

… But so does Atsushi’s, probably. With the amount of shit that’s been pulled on him since he joined up with the ADA, he might even get there before Dazai. 

Mirio laughs his horribly black-shiny-eyed laugh, sticking his first leg back into his gym-uniform pants. “Oh, I forgot you’re not used to my quirk! Sorry about that!” 

“... you didn’t forget,” Amajiki says from his corner, forehead pressed deeply into the wall. “You do this all the time because you’re an awful person.”

“Haha! You caught me!”

Amajiki had knocked on the door at about 7am. Mirio then called for him to let himself in, which Amajiki did, at which time Mirio’s nightclothes fell swiftly to the floor, baring him to the world. 

Atsushi, head buried into the carpet of Mirio’s dorm room— that he’s so generously letting Atsushi stay in, because there’s only one extra room in the 3-A dorms and Ranpo called dibs— whimpers at a very polite and restrained volume. Very unlike the conduct he displays when he’s nice and comfortably home in Yokohama, where he screams wildly until his bullshit meter is finally maxed and he remembers that he’s worth 7 billion yen on the black market and should carry himself with that kind of confidence. 

“Anyway, Tamaki and I are gonna go meet Nejire at the training grounds for some extra exercise before we head out to our internships. Do you wanna join in? It should be okay, ‘cause you’re essentially a hero and all.”

“Um— I wouldn't go that far, but… I guess I could use the practice!” 

Mirio, in the middle of tying up the strings on his pants, drops them to give him a thumbs up. This consequently resulting in the rarely-seen in the wild but twice in captivity by the boy in question: Self-Pantsing . “Awesome! This will go great!”

Amajiki and Atsushi chorus in groans of shared misery. 

Nejire meets them at the entrance to UA’s expansive training zones, already slightly disheveled from her morning run. This does not, however, mean that she is any less energetically discomfiting than she is normally. “Wow, Atsu-chan! That’s a weird thing to wear to training isn’t it? Is that your hero uniform? It’s kinda plain. Is that why Yokohama is so unpopular in the Hero Rankings? Oh! Do you dress like that so you don’t stand out? Is that why your hair’s so ugly? So you can stay underground? Is—”

“Up bright and early as always, Nejire!” Mirio cheers. “But that’s a good point, your outfit doesn’t really seem fit for athletics, Atsushi.”

Atsushi looks down at his standard white dress shirt, rolled up black pants, belt, gloves, and suspenders. 30% his budget goes into replacing each of these individually when his Ability destroys them. The rest goes to Kyouka. “Um.. this is kind of the only outfit I own.”

Nejire and Mirio stare at him in blank, terrified shock.

Amajiki, who is only audible because Atsushi is a shape shifting mythical creature, mumbles: “... you guys should think before speaking…”

“Um, haha. Sorry about that, Atsushi! Next time you can borrow something from me, okay!” Mirio says. Nejire, horrifyingly, offers her own wardrobe, before both of them come to the conclusion that Atsushi is too skinny to wear clothes from any of them but maybe Amajiki. They continue the discussion, offering up the first-years as more suitable donors, as they continue forwards past the entrance— ignoring Atsushi’s protests entirely. 

The training grounds at UA are endlessly impressive. Mirio and Nejire lead the four of them past several zones (leaving the other two to fall behind in awkward, commiserating silence because they both went too long without saying anything and now it’s too weird to start) including a model city, a box-like structure labeled CLOSE COMBAT: SEWERS that smells a lot like Dazai at the end of the work week, a model mountain area, and another box labeled TOXIC WASTE PLANT (JUST IN CASE), before finally settling on an unlabeled blue building with a triangular roof. Atsushi, already starry-eyed at UA’s budget, figures that it must be something equally impressive. Like a live Jurassic Park scenario or something. Ooooooh, what about a dragon? Atsushi can handle a dragon. A dragon without the existential conflict of being a good enough person to warrant staying alive would be fucking lightwork. Atsushi can do two dragons. This is gonna be sick .

Nejire opens the door. It’s literally a sandlot. Atsushi takes his shoes off before entering because they’re his only pair and he doesn’t want to track sand into Mirio’s room. A giant fucking sandbox. 

Mirio blinks his beady little eyes at him. “Something wrong?” 

Atsushi, slouching heavily under the disappointing weight of UA’s military-grade playground equipment, shakes his head. “It’s fine…”

They begin um, circle-stretching. Like a sports team. Atsushi mimics them to the best of his ability, but by the live ASMR show his bones are giving, it’s clear to everyone there that Atsushi has never taken care of his muscles in his life.

“So, what do you guys at the Agency usually do to warm up?” Mirio asks, because it’s clear you don’t do THIS. 

“To be honest? We don’t really do much, uh, official combat training. Most people join already knowing how to fight, or you figure it out on the job. I spar with Mr. Kunikida when we both have time, but we kinda just get straight into it.”

“Wow, that’s weird! How are you supposed to be good heroes if you don’t stay in shape? Or good fighters if you don’t take care of your bodies? And none of the Agency are hero school graduates, how do you already know how to fight?” Nejire asks, suddenly a lot more unsettling than usual. Amajiki and Mirio seen to agree with her line of questioning too, because they’re just letting her go at it. 

“Well, you see…” Atsushi, at a loss for a good excuse, looks to the Dazai Osamu School of Lies— act like you’re completely confident and just say random bullshit that comes to mind. Atsushi summons all 7 billion yen of his worth and continues: “I don’t know how it is in other areas, but Yokohama was hit especially hard by the Ability War. We have a lot of crime, and no heroes. You learn to defend yourself because you have to. There’s really nothing else to it.”

The three look kinda guilty about asking, Mirio and Nejire visibly upset while Amajiki just avoids eye contact a little more determinedly than he usually does. And that’d be right if it were true, but actually at least half the Agency didn’t even grow up in Yokohama, and Atsushi actually learned how to fight because some asshole in a sentient coat kept hounding his ass. The Agency’s idea of training is mostly just observation and desensitization— or so Atsushi figures by the way they had him learn the investigative styles of the different members and how they literally had him lit up with bullets and watch a massacre within his first two weeks on the job. 

Now that he thinks about it, that was kinda fucked up. On Dazai’s part, at least— he definitely knew what was going to happen in both instances and let it happen anyway. If Atsushi could quit without an immediate death sentence, he totally would. 

Mirio breaks the silence first, unable to bear it. He seems like the type it’d be easy to interrogate if they didn’t know you were doing it, because he needs there to be talking or else he gets uncomfortable. You can learn a lot from people like that. “Well… we tend to just do some dynamics and then get right into it— lightly, at first, just to get us ready for the real thing in the afternoon. We’re trying to be ready at all times now though, ‘cause of the ongoing case.”

“That sounds good!” Atsushi says, like a fool.

He’s paired up against Mirio first. This is clearly Mirio’s excuse to show off his violent tendencies because all three students look little too happy with the arrangement. 

“You ready?” Mirio asks, grinning way too wide. Like the motherfucking Disney mascot he is. 

Atsushi rolls his pants up past his knees and just kinda does his best with the shirtsleeves— they’re gonna get fucked up no matter what he does. He puts his gloves down with his shoes and then comes back into the sandlot to assume fighting position. “Yep.”

Mirio nods— still with the grin— and then he’s gone. 

Um. What? Can he turn invisible?— No, Atsushi knows at this point that his quirk allows his clothes to fall through him. Is it that he can go through other—

Something shoots up from the ground, knocks Atsushi in the chin, and sends him tumbling a yard-and-a-half backwards. He tastes his own blood, but when he looks up there’s no one there.

Mirio can phase through the ground. This ability somehow allows him to function like an overly aggressive whac-a-mole, and Atsushi has to whack him. Simple. 

Atsushi’s tiger-eyes register movement, and he strikes Mirio straight in the face— except it goes through his face and Mirio’s punch does not. Atsushi can take damage though, so before he’s propelled so far backwards that he hits the wall he flips, activates his ability in his legs so it changes his weight and thus trajectory, and lands in a crouch. 

“Oooh, tiger legs! Tiger legs!” Nejire cheers. “Good job landing, Atsu-chan!”

“Yeah… Most people can’t withstand one punch of his. I don’t imagine you’ll last much longer though.” Amajiki says— which, bold of him to say so with his face pressed into the textured metal walls of the sandlot. 

Atsushi considers the facts: Mirio is a rocket-powered gopher. Mirio can control which parts of his body are permeable at any given time. He phases too fast for even his tiger eyes to really see. 

Atsushi’s (thankfully) not Dazai. He’s not even yet what Dazai’s making him into . He can’t really come up with a plan on the spot, but he knows this: at some point, one of Mirio’s limbs is going to be solid enough to hit Atsushi. 

So he waits. 

The next time Mirio surfaces, Atsushi doesn’t even try to dodge. In fact, he leans into his fist— Mirio’s smart enough and has enough control to go permeable again the second he realizes the situation is no longer favorable. Atsushi needs to be sneaky about this.

What Atsushi does is push off with all the power in his legs directly into Mirio’s fist, sending both of them flying. He hears a “HOLY FUCK NO ATSUSHI—“ and a really familiar  “GET AWAY FROM HIM!” and his head hurts really fucking bad but he blinks awake anyway to see—

Blood and guts all over Mirio’s (butt-naked again, ew) body, gathered mostly at the fist Atsushi just rammed into. He sees Kyouka’s arm and sword poking out of his periphery at Mirio (meaning the bony shoulder that’s propping him up is her, too), Demon Snow at Mirio’s back, holding her sword to his neck. Nejire and Amajiki are about a foot and a half away from the three of them, eyes darting between Atsushi and Kyouka and Mirio and calculating what move to make. Dazai, Aizawa, and the first years from the task force are at the door, eyes wide and pupils alarmingly small. 

“What happened?” Atsushi says, but blood dribbles out of his mouth when he does. Huh, that’s weird. 

Atsushi~” Dazai drawls out, sauntering (and like, actually sauntering. It’s kinda gross) over. “You should apologize, you know. You just traumatized the new generation of heroes.”

“Oh, um. I’m sor— wait, what did I do?” 

“You— Your head…” Mirio’s voice is coming out of his mouth, but it’s clear he’s not really all there right now. “You jumped into me… I punched your head off.”

“Oh. Yeah, sorry. I forgot to consider that. I was just trying to knock you back a bit, so uh…”

“You decided to decapitate yourself without Mirio having prior knowledge that you’d be fine afterwards.” Aizawa finishes. Huh, he’s kind of like Kunikida when he makes that face. Except also like the President, because he looks scary disapointed right now.

Atsushi sits up proper, and ignoring the residual pain in his neck, he bows. It’s not like he knew his head was going to come flying off, but— “I’m really sorry, I’m not used to fighting in uh, friendly situations. The only time we use our abilities in a fight at the Agency is when we’re going all out.”

“It’s… It’s okay…” Mirio manages. “Are you—?”

“Me? Oh, yeah. I’m fine—“

“You’re the one with the ghost quirk?” Midoriya shrieks. Literally everyone turns to stare at him, including “the ghost.”

Atsushi is thouroghly confused about the tangent they’re going on. “You mean Demon Snow? That’s Kyouka’s ability.”

“You— I—“ Midoriya blushes. “I’m sorry, it’s just. It’s been terrorizing us for days— or, she’s been? Are they a sentient—”

Kyouka interrupts by the power of her absolute disinterest. “Mirio Togata, Hero Name: Lemillion. If you touch Atsushi again, you will be number thirty-six.”

“What does that—?” Aizawa starts, but Dazai jumps in front of him. “Ranpo called and said Nighteye’s got the info we need, so we’re going to another meeting!”

“When?” Atsushi asks, knowing the answer is—

“Right now!”

Yeah, he hates his job. 

 

✖️

 

Nighteye starts the meeting as professionally as always. “Welcome. I’ve identified the correct pathway to the girl, it seems to be—“

Ranpo actually bothers to take his gum out of his mouth to interrupt this time, downside is he sticks it on the top part of the table for safekeeping. “She’s not gonna be in that room when we get there. What’s important is that we now know the basic layout of the Hassakai Base— it’s a winding underground tunnel system with no real organized pattern and uneven walls. Do you know what that means?”

“Um. That it’ll be hard to find her?” Atsushi offers.

Boo , you’re boring. It means that they have a member who can warp the tunnel system to their liking. And that means that we can only plan to get separated.”

The plan (apparently created on the drive over by Dazai and Ranpo) centers around key individuals rather than assigned groups. Those best suited to fight Chisaki are (in order of efficiency): Dazai, Aizawa, Mirio, and Nakajima. Dazai and Aizawa because of their nullification abilities, Mirio because his Permeation should make him invulnerable to Chisaki’s quirk, and Atsushi because even if Chisaki does manage to hit him he probably won’t die. Dazai and Aizawa are also ranked highest in rescuing the girl, assuming that a child of her age would have little control of her own quirk— which is good for them, because as Ranpo said: “He won’t trust any of his men to get her out, not when most of them already don’t trust him.” The Above team (Ryukyu and her internees, along with some of the lesser-ranked heroes in the area) will secure the base while everyone else heads into the tunnel system, where they’ll expect to be split up. Whichever group gets Dazai and/or Aizawa should track down Chisaki and the girl. If they’re separated, both teams should. Any group without either of them should try to take out Chisaki’s upper echelon— the only members truly loyal to him. 

Ideally, a team of Dazai, Aizawa, Atsushi, and Mirio will fight Chisaki. It’s not anticipated that that will be the case, but they will cluster together during the initial breach to increase the probability of that outcome. 

“Genius, right!” Ranpo smirks. “I know, I know, you’re so impressed by your own incompetence that you’re speechless. If it wasn’t for me, you’d all be going in unprepared— really, you owe me your lives! You can say thank you, I won’t mind.”

“I highly doubt that,” says Nighteye. 

Fatgum finishes writing down his notes on the possible formations and straightens up. “So, if we’re all set—“

“No,” Aizawa interrupts, every UA student sitting at the meeting table flinching at his tone. “Your plan places Nakajima, one of the least experienced here, as one of the top candidates to fight Chisaki because of an untested theory that his regenerative ability would survive the level of damage coming with a complete obliteration quirk. Are you trying to kill him, or do you simply not care about the consequences either way?”

Dazai laughs. “Aw, Shouta! I didn’t know you started caring about manslaughter! Or is it different when it’s someone else? Maybe you really are a hero.”

It’s alarmingly forgettable— this is the boy whose father killed Aizawa’s mother. This is the boy who saw Aizawa let it happen. 

There’s not one person not looking at them now, the “cousins.” His students and the rest of the commission dogs around the table stare in horror— Nighteye and Gran Torino as well, just in the muted way they express everything else. 

The Yokohamans are unsurprisingly unbothered: Ranpo’s smirk is still there, despite the coldness of his eyes, and Izumi’s stare is just as dead as always. Atsushi almost has a normal reaction, except that 1. His entire body is tense and braced for a fight and 2. He doesn’t seem surprised.

Aizawa is also unsurprised. His own past mistakes probably don’t qualify for “Fucked Up Enough To Keep Secret” by Dazai standards. He was hoping for a mutually assured destruction deal, but if Dazai’s already broken it—

“It’s different when it’s an innocent child, Shuuji.”

Ignoring the gasps and protests throughout the room— wait you mean that was TRUE? and All people deserve to live! and Wait did he just call you— Dazai claps his hands and grins. “Oh, is that it? Atsushi’s a wanted murderer, so it should be fine!”

Wait what. 

“What the fuck!” Says Nejire Hado. Someone had to. “No wait, hold the fuck on. Are we admitting to murder right now? Haha, funny guys! We’re heroes! We’re about to save a little girl and take down a criminal organization. This is the last time to be taking yourselves off the roster by forcing us to arrest you.”

The thing about Nejire Hado is that most people forget she’s actually one of the three most capable of the UA graduating class, meaning she’s already a better hero than most of the top 100. The decision she’s making right now, talking over her superiors to assure the sanctity of the mission and save the most lives, is actually the right one. Everyone else in the room was too shocked to interrupt, and so would have been bound by oath to take them in. 

“Quick thinking, bouncy hair!” Ranpo chimes, “However, you don’t need to worry about any of that. The Armed Detective Agency has a deal with the SDF that discounts any criminal record as long as they pass the test and successfully become agency members! That’s why we’re so qualified without having any actual hero school graduates— we recruit criminals!”

Atsushi raises his hand weakly. “I’m, uh, actually not a wanted murderer. I’m wanted because I couldn’t control my ability and the SDF thought there was a rampaging white tiger going around, and I’m a murderer cause of um… self defense reasons. It’s hard to call it murder, actually, ‘cause he was dead the second time anyway. So, yeah. I’m fine.”

Izumi stands up. “For the record, I’ve killed thirty-five people.”

She makes eye contact with Mirio Togata. Then she sits down. 

“What the fuck?” Uraraka mutters. Midoriya is just sitting there with his mouth open, for once, and Asui, always the honest one, is just staring ahead with wide, terrified eyes. 

“Oh…” Mirio mumbles. “ That’s what she meant by thirty-sixth…”

“Yeah but, Aizawa? The manslaughter?” Fatgum, who is kind of an idiot, asks. “Are we just going to let this slide?”

Through gritted teeth, Aizawa explains; “It wasn’t manslaughter. I was sixteen and my mom died because no one was willing to pay the hospital bills to keep her in a coma on the off chance she might someday recover. That’s all I will say on the matter.”

“And back to the original point,” Atsushi continues— clearly having hyped himself up for this, his chest is puffed out at least two inches— “Members of the Armed Detective Agency are really only there to protect Ranpo. The Agency was established to highlight Ranpo’s Ability. We must trust his plans implicitly, which is why if Ranpo says I’ll be okay throwing myself in front of Overhaul’s abi— quirk , then I’m confident in doing so.”

“Wow, Atsushi, your Kunikida impression is so good that for a second there I thought you were gonna hit me for stealing all the cash out of your wallet, haha! Good thing Atsushi’s too nice for that—“

“Dazai you did fucking what?”

Wow, Nakajima’s actually got some kind of a backbone. Well, he is a wanted killer. “Then that’s all. Have fun killing yourself.”

Dazai slings an arm around Nakajima’s shoulders. “We will!”

If Nakajima did… that complicated series of events, and Izumi is a mass-murderer, and they both pretty much act like normal kids, then what the fuck did Dazai do to end up like this ?

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

The first level bust goes pretty much as planned: they encounter token resistance by the Hassakai underlings but they ultimately give in due to the fragility of their loyalty to their boss. 

In the golden age of organized crime, everyone with any important information was blood related. The outsiders were all racketmen; canon-fodder. If the outsiders were brought in by the police, they’d crack under pressure or sell the organization out for immunity— but they’d have nothing of substance to give. If the inner circle was brought in, blood loyalty and family pride would keep their lips sealed. They knew that once they were free, they’d be lauded as heroes.

There is no safety in the Hassakai, and no pride in what the organization has become. The ugly fossils of an empire so old it belongs in a museum. 

The below levels are suspiciously quiet. They walk in the agreed-upon formation: Lemillion, Deku, Nakajima, Dazai, and Aizawa himself in one cluster, the rest in another— but as the time goes on doubt creeps in. What’s going on? Where’s the quirk that separates them? Where’s Chisaki’s inner circle?

They turn the corner. 

Huh. Aren’t the Hassakai supposed to wear those stupid masks? One of them is wearing a mask, but these people are just kind of out of place. Ah well, Aizawa sets his stance for a fight—

“Oh, it’s you ,” Dazai groans. “I know you’re in love with me, but I’m not interested. You didn’t have to follow me all the way to Musutafu—“

SHUT THE FUCK UP BASTARD!”  the short redhead in the ugly hat yells. He’s wearing a fancy black suit— albeit wearing it wrong, with the suit jacket and his actual jacket both hanging on his shoulders with his arms out of the sleeves— and a black choker, and a frankly weird harness thing above his black vest. Also, his hat is a fucking fedora. The outfit might have even worked if not for the fedora. It’s disgusting, “It’s your fault I’m even here— thanks for the tip, by the way.”

He says “thanks” like Kaminari says “Hero Law Essay”— with utter disdain. Aizawa feels deeply sorry for this small man, to know Dazai well enough to know to have that reaction. It must be hard. Aizawa’s still going to rock his shit though.

Aizawa readies his capture weapon. “Who the hell are you and what are you doing here?” 

“Oh, me?” The guy smirks, which is honestly gross looking with the hat on. “Nakahara Chuuya. The bastard—“ again, very clearly way too acquainted with Dazai— “invited us to the raid, letting it slip that the League of Villains would be here— stupid fucking name , by the way— they’re the ones that fucked up Kamino. Any slight to the Port Mafia is returned a hundred times over, after all, and any slight to Yokohama is a slight to us.”

The Port Mafia. Dazai invited the Port Mafia?

The formation of this group is pretty indicative of their hierarchy— second year skill there, Aizawa’s had to accelerate his class’s learning for obvious reasons, so the formula is fresh in his mind. Nakahara is clearly first, placing himself in between the heroes and his own group: an aggressor-type villain that values the lives of his teammates. Next, a black-and-white haired vampire-looking teenager stands slightly back and to the left of him, only stepping forward once he locks eyes with Nakajima: also an aggressor-type, albeit a tunnel-visioned one with little regard for his team. 

“Akutagawa,” Nakajima growls. Bad sign, that. The tiger kid puts up with a lot of shit— if he’s had it with this guy, it’s gotta be bad.

“Weretiger.” Akutagawa answers. Yet another unfortunate fashion choice here— he’s wearing a fucking cravat . Aizawa is one-hundred percent biased towards Nakajima’s side of this argument right now. 

There’s three more suspicious people behind them— an old man, that masked guy, and a ginger with a bandaid over his nose. They are all doing their very best to stand threateningly behind their probable superiors, but Aizawa really doesn’t have time to give a shit about that when there’s a little girl getting abused and experimented on. They’re type four goons: skilled assassin types with complex team dynamics, but probably not more skilled than their bosses. If Nakajima can meet the vampire guy as a rival, Aizawa can wreck these mobsters, easy. 

But first, as always, the root of the problem: “Dazai, did you invite the Port Mafia on our top secret mission to save a child from a criminal operation?”

“Yes, cousin Shouta!” Dazai sings. “To be fair, Ranpo said it would increase our chances by 80%— they’re stupid, but very effective.”

Nakahara hisses at that (actually hisses, fucking weird) but then shoots back: “You’re letting Dazai near another fucked up orphan—“ he stops, his weird haha I’m a gangster be scared of me thing fading into the face of a normal human being on his wits end. “Wait, cousin ? Dazai, what the fuck?”

A similarly dazed Akutagawa stares in awe. “Cousin… Dazai has a…”

Aizawa would love to deal with this, except actually you could not fucking pay him to. “If you’re just here to posture at us, shut up and get out of the way. You’re delaying the mission.” 

In their shock, Akutagawa and the unnamed three do so, allowing Aizawa to shoulder by and the rest of the heroes to follow suit. Unfortunately, this Nakahara guy is a little quicker on the recovery and, following a THUD, Dazai falls forwards, clutching his head and catching himself just before he hits the floor.

Ow…”

“You invited us, dumbass,” Nakahara rolls his eyes, relaxing from his perfect pitch form— he hit Dazai square-on with the back end of a knife. Clearly, he had the skill to kill him and didn’t. That’s the kind of power move that makes Aizawa decide to take him seriously, because from the way Nakahara’s eyes moved to Aizawa after it was clearly a threat to him and not Dazai. “Tell us the plan or I’ll just destroy the place.”

Aw , but Chuuya could never hurt an itty bitty baby—“

Nakahara rolls his eyes which, like, isn’t actually confirmation or denial. No idea where he stands on itty bitty baby killing, this one. “Just I’m not raring at the fucking bit to kill children doesn’t mean I won’t kill everyone else, you included. Hurry up, asshole.”

“Ah, a death by Chuuya’s hand would certainly be painful,” Dazai complains, but there’s something of a lie there. “If you must know—“

Whatever Dazai was going to say is lost to ridiculous fate when a fucking bird-man (Iranika Joi, Alias: Mimic, Quirk: Mimicry) pops out of the wall. 

Nakajima very quickly takes the opportunity to step in front of Aizawa (blocking his quirk) to point at the bird-man, stopping it from speaking whatever monologue it doubtlessly had planned. “Akutagawa, I want you to take a good fucking look at that weird dude up there. You got it? You memorized it? That’s what you look like in my nightmares.”

Akutagawa’s horrified face is the last thing Aizawa sees before the bird-man pops back into the wall and the floor starts moving.

 

✖️

 

Tamaki would like to go on record to say that this is Mirio’s fault. If not for Mirio’s continued support, Tamaki would probably have had an anxiety attack the day of the UA exams and so, consequently, failed. At least the first time. Like, he’d definitely come back to be a hero the next year, but the trajectory of his life would be irrevocably changed on account of there being no other second year hero students in UA. The one-on-one attention would, presumably, catapult him to new heights as a hero and launch him straight to number one. Although he’d have never gotten over his social anxiety because, again, no other students in his class, and so leading him to eventually collapse under the spotlight.

It’s an eventually tragic life, but if it’s one where there’s even an infinitesimal chance that Tamaki never ended up on this mission with these people, it would have been worth it.

“Hey look,” laughs Larceny, way outta his fucking depth. “It’s 3-v-3! Haha! You heroes love fair fights, dontcha?”

Larceny and Crystal-Guy have these weird self-deprecating but still smug as hell smirks on. Bitey-Guy is doing… Bitey-Guy things. Like gnawing at air. The Joi guy that was manipulating the floors dumped Tamaki, Nakajima, and Akutagawa together and only in a room with these thugs, and the only visible way out is a hallway that they’re blocking the entrance to. 

“Or so you’d think,” Crystal-Guy continues for him. “You heroes have the tendency to underestimate us lowlives. Sure, we’re nothing but trash, but Overhaul gave us a reason to keep living even though we’re trash. You’ll never understand the power that comes from that kind of loyalty.”

“I think I do, actually. Rough one, that.” Nakajima nods, solemnly. “I’m starting to think all my power comes from self-hatred. Should I rename it?”

Apparently, being around his mortal enemy makes Nakajima confident. Like, on his own Nakajima’s only ever been funny on accident, and really only speaks in long-winded downward spirals and concerning tidbits, but with Akutagawa in the mix? Oh boy. Not that what he just said wasn’t, at its root, also concerning, but the cadence? Atsushi’s talking like he knows he’s about to kick ass. Tamaki needs to get a nemesis and fast , if this is what it does to you. Nemesies (Nemisi?) are, like, 200% as effective as Mirio. It’s crazy. 

“What? You fight to remain scum?” Akutagawa drawls, as if Nakajima didn’t just speak. Tamaki’s getting the vibe that they would prefer to just keep pretending to have isolated conversations with the yakuza thugs if it meant ignoring the other. “To preserve your useless existence? You’re worse than trash. Every breath you take steals air from someone more deserving.”

Damn

“I, too, have been worthless. I eat and steal from the starving. I drink and wither crops. I am a demon and a devil and my flesh would be turned away by even the hungriest street dog—“

Oh, so intense intense emo shit. Tamaki’s beat. Tamaki’s been beat by the 1-A bird guy, but fuck this is so much worse. It’s probably because Akutagawa actually for-real kills people. Though when that’s considered it gets kind of alarming that simple actions like eating and drinking water were on his list of sins and somehow mass-murder was not. 

“— but I have fought for my status. I’ve found a man who is able to appraise me as worthy of life, and I have achieved his praise. You, who wallow in your own filth, know nothing of what it takes to overcome.”

Aw, a success story. Tamaki still wishes he’d never been born though.

As an afterthought, Akutagawa turns to Nakajima. “You, Weretiger, also suck.”

Nakajima sags. “Yeah, yeah. I know. Let’s just get this over with, okay partner?”

Akutagawa… blushes? Tamaki’s kind of surprised that sickly chalky vampire man has blood to spare for such an uncharacteristic feat. “Of course… partner .”

Crystal-Guy was right about the whole “3-V-3 equal numbers doesn’t mean it’s fair” thing. Crystal-Guy, Larceny, and Bitey-Man get their collective shit rocked. 

Atsushi and Akutagawa move in a tandem power that Tamaki immediately recognizes as psychic hatred, Atsushi blocking Larceny’s line of sight with a giant tiger fist (that can’t be stolen because it’s a real limb and not an additional growth) and Akutagawa creating a weird red barrier around the same time that Bitey’s at his peak open-mouthed trajectory above them, stalling him mid-chomp and mid-air. This leaves Tamaki, strategically, to Crystal-Guy, who after the first block with his crystals gets fucking knocked by Tamaki’s squid tentacles ramming him head-first into the wall. With suitably non-lethal pressure. Because he’s a good to-be hero and not the kind that takes uncalculated risks through lack of knowledge of the past medical history of criminals. 

Nejire and Mirio are going to ream him when they find out. Tamaki’s good at using his quirk, but he’s not meticulously good. People often mistake his anxiety for care, which is an understandable but grave error. He’s a powerhouse. He powerhouses. 

Larceny was out from the moment Atsushi’s fist collided (Tamaki’s secretly pretty sure Atsushi doesn’t care half as much about the possible ramifications of repeated head trauma) and Bitey goes next in a way that surprisingly doesn’t kill him but just leaves him similarly passed out due to being lightly strangled by weird extensions of Akutagawa’s coat.

“He’s fine,” Akutagawa rolls his eyes. “I’m not an imbecile. I wouldn’t endanger the peace we’ve found between our organizations for some pathetic lowlife. Also I would have felt his windpipe collapse through Rashomon.”

“So you do have sensation in it! He told me he didn’t—” Atsushi says as an aside to Tamaki, then back to Akutagawa: “ God, you suck. Tell me I’m right. Admit it.”

“Yes, I have sensation in it, and I long for the familiar feeling of your warm, red blood. Hands and knees, Weretiger, Dazai gave us a mission.”

Tamaki hasn’t talked this whole time because of a mixture of shock and anxiety, but this time it’s 100% totally just shock. Hands and what now???

“You’re such a dick,” Nakajima sneers (an expression Tamaki was heretofore certain Nakajima could not make) and then frowns in Tamaki’s direction. “Sorry, I don’t have room for you.”

Tamaki is assaulted by mental imagery. So much mental imagery. He tries to imagine the imagination-Akutagawa and Nakajima as potatoes instead, but that just makes it weirder because imagination- himself is still a person and ew ew ew please make it stop—

Atsushi gets into bear-crawl position and Akutagawa hops onto his back and then they both disappear in a forward-moving blur of blue light. Which is simultaneously much better and much worse than Tamaki was imagining. Mostly better, somehow. 

Fuck. Tamaki really wishes he wasn’t here. He then proceeds to, much more slowly, follow after them. 

 

✖️ 

 

“Hey, Greenie! Wake up!” the band-aid guy snaps his fingers in front of Izuku’s face, and Izuku can’t help but let out a groan of pain because what just…?

Band-aid man stands up as soon as the first noise leaves Izuku’s lips. Which, you know, jostles him considerably and makes the groaning louder because fuck he definitely hit his head at some point it hurts like shit else— “Kid’s alive, we’re good.”

Izuku’s propped up against a weirdly textured wall, staring up at three weirdly-dressed people— an old man, a masked dude, and Mr. Band-Aid himself who are all looking expectantly down back at him. “I… Where am I? Exactly?”

The three exchange wide-eyed glances, so…  presumably that’s a worrying thing to say in this situation. Got it. 

The old man comes to the front of the group, kneeling down slowly in a way that’s less “hey, don’t startle the patient!” and more “fuck, my knees—” “How much do you remember?”

Izuku groans on purpose this time. So it’s one of those worrying situations. Great. 

“Well, I know my name, and—”

There’s silence. The three stare at Izuku. Izuku stares back.

Mask guy puts his face in his knife-holding hand— safety problems, there, and why the fuck does he have a knife— when Mr. Band-Aid sighs and says: “That’s it, isn’t it.”

Izuku holds out a shaky left handed thumbs-up (his right one is weaker, for some reason). “That’s it.”

There’s another round of weary glances, and very quickly following that—

“Not it!”

All of them have a finger to their noses. Only two voices actually chimed in, so Izuku figures mask guy is out, but it’s Mr. Band-Aid whose shoulders slump as he grumbles out a “Gin’s a fucking cheater” and walks back over to hold out a hand towards Izuku.

“We’ve decided as a group that I’m going to babysit you,” he says, dead fucking serious as if that wasn’t decided by a committee of preschool democracy. “So get up already, we’re not abandoning the mission just because you got knocked around a little.”

Mission?

Tachihara— he does a round of introductions first, Band-Aid = Tachihara, Mask = Gin, and Old Guy = Hirotsu— explains that they’re part of a task force sent to beat up some weirdos called “The League of Villains,” which should be easy because their name is stupid and skill coincides directly with how cool your name is. Their other objective is to rescue the kid that’s in this facility (which is run by some other group of weirdos) because she’s being abused and experimented on. Instructions are not to let the kid touch you skin-to-skin, and to hopefully avoid injury. Only to her though. You can kill pretty much anyone else if that’s what you’re into. 

“So are we, like, heroes?”

Tachihara gives Izuku an unfairly and frankly hypocritically disdainful once-over, given the fashion choices of his own and his compatriots’. “I mean… You’re the one in the obnoxious-ass costume, bro. Do you think we’re heroes?”

That’s an intentionally leading question, and that much is obvious, but the mission objectives aren’t like… evil? If this weren’t such a critical decision with a child’s life on the line, Izuku would probably take a few more seconds to decide sticking with this group is a bad idea. As it is though:

“Okay, cool. What do I do then?”

Gin nods in acceptance of their new alliance and hands him a knife— not the one Gin previously had, this one’s decidedly lower quality. Like the plastic baggie mouthguards coaches hand out to forgetful players in contact sports. 

Izuku takes it, to which Gin pointedly and immediately corrects his grip. No muscle memory to be found. “Ah, Yeah. I don’t think I know what to do with this.”

Tachihara rolls his eyes. “You also don’t know how old you are, so like, I don’t see why that matters. Anyway, from what I know you have super strength and mostly fight with your legs, so don’t worry too much about the knife. It’s just protocol.”

“You give random people knives as protocol?” Izuku isn’t so sure about the super-strength thing either, but Tachihara has a point: if he’s amnesiac, everything will no doubt be unfamiliar. There’s no point in overthinking it. 

“Just in case, young man,” Hirotsu advises. “Knives are good for more than just fighting— if you do pull it out in a fight though, please know you have then committed to the kill. It’s a decision taken too lightly by young people nowadays.”

Cool, never bring it out ever. “Got it… Thanks, Gin.”

Gin nods, and then they’re off. Izuku stays close to his newly-assigned direct superior as they meander through the hallways following a blinking dot on Hirotsu’s phone’s screen. Apparently they had some stealth operatives pose as recruits for the League to locate them earlier, but only one member was around for the recruitment so they decided to just place trackers and bide their time for a more effective hit, which is apparently now.

“What did they do, anyway?” Izuku asks, absently playing with the knife. It’s got a nice weight to it if nothing else. “They’re not the ones who have the girl, right?”

“Nah, they’re just in collusion. Probably trying to backstab the Hassakai, if I’d to guess,” Tachihara muses. “They and their leader were hiding out in our turf for awhile, but it didn’t benefit us to interfere until they kidnapped one of your classmates and blew up Kamino Ward. Innocent people died, and it caused a lot of trouble in the city. A slight to Yokohama is a slight to our organization. So, here we are, ready for intensely disproportionate retribution.”

“What are you gonna do to them?”

Tachihara smirks. “We’re gonna fucking destroy them, and everything they stand for while we’re at it.”

“That doesn’t sound super hero-y, though.”

“Young man, I will give you this word of warning,” says Hirotsu, from the front of the group. “It is maybe fortunate that you have lost your memory, because the world before you will be new regardless, and this way it may be less confusing. Your righteous will to change society is impressive, but no longer viable. You must decide which of your principles are compromisable for the sake of survival, and those which you will die for. Heroes as you know them cannot continue to exist in this new era.”

What a fucking load of info. Izuku figures it’ll hit a little harder when he gets his memories back, but for right now it’s only minutely harrowing. 

“Of course, you can always just switch up and join the organization,” Tachihara offers. “Not like you can beat us, so, you know, might as well join— oh, dead end. Shit.”

It was indeed. The four glare at the wall in combined simmering hatred of concrete and bird-people. Gin elbows Izuku. Twice. 

“Dude!”

“Oh, that’s right.” Apparently, Tachihara is fluent in pointed bodily harm. It says a lot for their relationship. “You’ve got super-strength. Go super this wall.”

“I don’t know how.”

Gin brandishes his (much nicer) knife. Horotsu translates: “Ah, yes. Oftentimes one of the most effective ways to train abilities is to put the trainee in a life or death situation. Reacting on instinct makes it easy to properly connect with your power.”

Tachihara winces. “Yeah. I’ve, uh, heard. I think Greenie fucks himself up when he uses his powers though.”

Gin shrugs like this is unimportant to him. Asshole. Tachihara flips him off, but then turns to Izuku expectantly— “Well, fucking try at least. I don’t wanna go the long way ‘round.”

Izuku steps forwards and stares at the wall. The wall is a wall, so it does nothing. Izuku thinks of dying horribly. Izuku is an amnesiac mess, so this is also anticlimactic.

“The fear-of-death thingy isn’t working,” Izuku reports. 

Gin’s eyes light up. Apparently, Izuku was just doing it wrong and needed an enthusiastic partner. He learns this very quickly and very well, he also knocks down the wall. 

The hole he made reveals this: someone jumping around on floating wooden boards, fighting someone in a black and white skin-tight suit. There’s also a girl in a school uniform making frantic swipes with a knife at a man with a scarf— but they pause too, looking over at the noise. Izuku is stuck staring down at the rubble in front of him, where what looks to be a now-dead bird-man is buried under the splintered concrete. 

There’s a lot of blood. Maybe Izuku was wrong about the hero thing after all.