You used to despise your quirk. You could still remember the first time you’d used it on someone—an older child had refused to leave you alone on the playground. At the time, all you could see was the snarl painted across his face as he kept backing you across the little plastic bridge attached to the slide’s platform. Your mouth had moved before you could think, desperate to find yourself out of arm’s reach. He’d asked for the toy in your hands, some silly plastic thing with vibrant colors. You’d thrown it out of reach before yelling “knock yourself out!”
His expression was still etched into the back of your eyelids. Confusion turned to realization as he walked over toward one of the large supporting posts. Realization passed to horror as you both realized he had no control over his own body anymore. The white knuckled grip of his hands on the post as he called for his mother only loosened once he’d slammed his head into the unforgiving metal.
You didn’t remember much after that—the police came, your parents tried to explain what had happened as you stumbled over apologies, not that anyone heard them. Your parents decided that until you’d gained control over your quirk you shouldn’t speak in public. The suits showed up for you not long afterward.
Even now you hesitated in its use. Yes, the strength, the senses, the durability—the passive rejection of others’ quirks when used on you—they all lent themselves wonderfully to hero work. Your control was leaps and bounds beyond what you’d ever expected it to be. Although as a child you’d had to carefully monitor your tone, your words, your emphasis, now you could avoid it even if you yelled at others.
Today your control had slipped. You’d managed to stop the heavy pipe the wannabe-villain had swung at your sidekick with force, but you hadn’t had the ability to focus on the footsteps behind you until you heard a dull thud. From the corner of your eye, your sidekick crumpled like a stack of bricks. Fuck.
One step at a time. You adjusted your grip on the pipe in your hands. “Drop it!” The villain’s hands came off the metal as if he’d been scalded. “Sit down. Stay still.” Your hearing heightened as you took the pipe and swung it behind you, the heavy metal colliding forcefully with a set of ribs. You could hear the crackle of bone as it gave way—the sharp gasp that escaped the accomplice’s lips. You had to get to your sidekick.
You’d already been too forceful with your new attacker. From what you could tell, your sidekick would likely be fine, but they needed medical attention. For now you would have to radio it in. As you made eye contact with the newest person to enter the fray, your blood ran cold. She was practically a child—probably a high schooler still in school—
And apparently still willing to have a go at you. You had to protect your sidekick. You needed to get this over quickly—you had to keep this dumb kid safe—”Go to sleep.” Your hand clamped over your mouth before you’d registered you’d spoken. There was a moment of hesitation, a flicker of confused horror, as the girl staggered toward you before she abruptly tilted. You launched yourself forward, hands reaching for her. You’d managed to halt her before her head had collided with the concrete below you, but what a mess you’d made. Finding your radio quickly, you released a sigh.
The radio crackled for a moment before coming to life. “What’s up, Alpha? Did you finish the scuffle that Glimmer reported?” You glanced back at your sidekick.
“Yeah. Tell the police the scene is secure, but I used my quirk on the attackers. Glimmer and one of the culprits need medical attention.”
The police were thankfully speedy—you could release your quirk once both culprits were secure and your sidekick was in an ambulance. With a sigh, you turned your attention to the police. It was going to be difficult to explain using your quirk on someone you’d already effectively incapacitated. You hoped her ribs would heal quickly. You could already feel the headache that was coming from the report you’d have to file.
It felt like you’d spent a week between the start of your shift and the time you got to go back home. You’d sent a quick text to Keigo, a brief “had a long day. probably will just go to bed” and trudged your way home. Every time you blinked all you could see was the horror and confusion painted on the young criminal’s face, wrought from your command overpowering her will.
Your phone gave a dull buzz, followed by three more.
“Did something happen on patrol? ”
“Are you okay? Is there anything I can get you? ”
“Are you on your way home now? ”
“I’ll bring the blankets into the bedroom.”
You smiled despite the heaviness in your bones. “Thanks. I’m on my way home now. I’m okay.” You paused beneath one of the streetlights before tapping at your phone again. “I don’t want to talk about it right now, but can we talk about it later?”
The response was instantaneous. “Ofc. ” Your lips quirked upward again. You must be living with a damn angel, you thought. An actual, possibly literal angel, and you did not deserve a single ounce of the faith he placed in you. You nearly smiled again as you resumed your walk home. Maybe Keigo wasn't a literal angel—you knew that some of the things he did were truly rather sinful. Still—he came pretty close sometimes.
The first thing you’d noticed walking into your shared apartment was the darkness of it. All the lights in the kitchen and the living room were off, and the hallway was notably dim as well. You could tell Keigo was home, at least. His scent of nutmeg and pine was especially strong today, as if he’d made an effort to make the entire apartment overwhelm you with him. You smiled at the thought. He really did smell like home.
Following your nose led you down the hall toward your shared bedroom. There was more light behind the door, but from what you could tell, it must be pretty dim. With a hand on the doorknob, you took a deep breath and opened the door. It took your breath away.
The usually neatly-made bed has been transformed into the biggest pillow fort you’ve ever seen. The scent of cinnamon and chocolate began to reach your nose as you eyed the strings of little paper lanterns illuminating the room. “Hey, songbird.” Your attention snapped to Keigo, half dressed by the entrance to the bathroom. “I thought you’d be back around now.” The gentle half-smile on his face did you in.
“Keigo,” you choked out, launching yourself at his chest.
“Woah, what’s wrong, kid? Do you not like it? I can—” You hugged him as tightly as you could, face buried in his neck.
“No! No, I love it—I love you. I just—For me?” His arms were tight around you, a hand gently stroking up and down your spine as best it can.
“Of course it’s for you,” he said gently. “Why wouldn’t I?” All you could do was press your face further into his skin, arms winding tighter around him. “You’ve had a long day. Let’s take a bath while the water is still hot.” You nodded, allowing him to hook his hands under your thighs and carry you in there himself.
You started peeling yourself out of your off-duty change of clothes, an old hoodie and some loosely-fitted sweats. Keigo was busy with the tub, pouring in some lavender oil and checking the temperature before getting out of his own clothes and climbing in. “Get in, kid.”
“Is it going to fit us both?” you asked, a smile tugging at your lips. He only looked mildly offended.
“Get in before I get you myself,” he said, eyes narrowing playfully. You slid into the remaining space easily, your back against his chest. “Now close your eyes.” You turned to give him a suspicious stare before leaning back and closing your eyes.
Something cool hit the skin of your face, making you tense slightly, before you recognized the gentle pressure of Keigo’s fingers spreading the substance. “Keigo?”
“Just relax, songbird,” he murmured, breath hitting your ear softly. “I got you. Let me take care of you. Keep your eyes closed.” You exhaled softly. Keigo’s fingers spread the clay-like substance with care, adding pressure against spots you hadn’t known were tender. “Stop clenching your jaw.” You hadn’t even known—you relaxed before you could consider otherwise.
At least you knew it was a mud mask on your skin. When Keigo had deemed your face sufficiently covered, you felt him shift, followed by the sound of a bottle popping open. Your nose was hit with the scent of your body wash as you heard, rather than really felt, Keigo pour some into his palms. Pressing a kiss to your hairline, he lathered the soap between his palms before shifting you upright.
The initial touch of his hands surprised you despite having expected them. “I got you. I got you,” he whispered, hands sliding over your skin, fingers working at knots in your shoulder and back before he went for your arms. The heat of his palms over your chest, down your legs, working at overtired muscle, made you melt back into him.You seemed to fully liquify once the hot water of the tub ran over your exposed skin, washing off the suds Keigo had left behind.
“I gotta wipe your face off, so keep your eyes closed,” Keigo said, reaching for a warm washcloth and some warm water. He kept your head resting against his chest, working his way down your face with warm, gentle hands until he’d gotten the last of the clay. When you finally opened your eyes, the softness of his gaze almost made you cry.
“Why are you so good to me?” you whispered, a hand snaking up to cup his cheek. Keigo smiled at you.
“How could I not be good to someone I love?” The kiss he pressed to your brow left you boneless. “I’m getting your hair next. Scoot up a little.”
“You don’t have to,” you said quietly, gaze shifting to the way his wings curled around the sides of the tub, trapping in more heat.
“I want to.” A warm hand pressed your head back toward him. “Now close your eyes.” Between the heat of the water and the gentle, skillful pressure of Keigo’s fingers as he worked shampoo into your hair and rinsed it out again you almost felt ready to fall asleep. He left your conditioner in to work at the muscles of your upper back until it was time to rinse it out once more.
“Just a second.” Keigo stood up behind you, roughly shook the water from his wings, and stepped out of the tub. After toweling off and grabbing a pair of sweats, he turned to you. “Stay put, got it kid? I’ll be right back.” You nodded.
He came back a few minutes later, some of your clothes in hand. “Okay, I’m gonna unplug the tub and you’re going to stand up so I can dry you off.” Your lips quirked into a half-smile.
“I can dry myself off, you know,” you said softly, already stepping out of the water. Keigo didn’t say anything, just looked at you for a moment before using the soft towel to dry you off quickly and gently.
“Well, I’ll let you dress yourself,” he said after your skin was dry. “But I’m still drying your hair.” You gave a playful pout before dressing, pulling on a pair of fleece-lined joggers and one of Keigo’s hoodies. The slits in the back gave you enough breeze that the combination didn’t leave you overheated.
Keigo tugged you into the bedroom, placing you on the edge of the bed before going at your hair with the towel. “Do you feel like talking about it at all?” he asked quietly, working section by section. You hummed eyes adjusting to the gentle light of the lanterns above you.
“In a few minutes,” you said quietly. “I’m still kind of working through it myself.” Keigo gave an understanding hum.
“Okay,” he said, voice equally as soft. The towel left your hair, only to be taken off to dry by one of his feathers. “Stay here just a minute.” You nodded, looking into the pillow fort as Keigo moved off the bed.
Your attention shifted back to the events of your patrol. You’d used more force than was strictly necessary, that much was true. Things had happened so quickly that you’d sought the least combative method of controlling the situation you could—it just happened to be your quirk. It still didn’t sit right. You’d been taken by surprise and your sidekick had somehow gotten knocked out—your attention had been so focused on the physical threat in front of you that you hadn’t been able to take in much information from the second culprit.
Still—you’d left the scene having injured someone who hadn’t posed as great a threat to you as you’d initially thought. Her face flashed before your eyes again—the confusion of losing control over herself, the horror at realizing you could make her do anything with your voice alone. You hadn’t given her a benign command as you had the other criminal. No ‘sit down’, no ‘stay still.’ You’d effectively commanded her to pass out. You’d made her vulnerable and unaware of her own circumstances until the police arrived. You’d left her helpless.
The bedroom door closed, snapping you from your thoughts. “I have cinnamon rolls from that bakery you like,” Keigo said as you turned to face him. “And I have hot chocolate.” The grin on his face left you feeling warm.
“You’re amazing,” you said softly, pulling him down to kiss him gently. “Thoughtful, and kind, and so generous with me.” Keigo’s cheeks flushed.
“Anything for you,” he said. “Now have some while it’s still warm!” You took one of the mugs from his hands and scooted further into the pillow fort’s softness, pulling Keigo in with you. One sip had the tension in your muscles softening as you curled into his side, legs over his lap.
The two of you were quiet for a few more minutes as Keigo pulled apart bits of cinnamon roll and pressed them to your lips for you to eat. You kept a hand stroking his spine, inhaling the smell of pine and nutmeg, cinnamon and chocolate.
“We had a run-in with a couple of… criminals, I guess,” you started. Keigo gave an affirmative hum. “Glimmer and I only saw one at first. He swung a pretty heavy pipe at them, so I just—stepped in. I knew I could stop the swing.” You took a sip of your hot chocolate. “All of a sudden Glimmer was just out cold. They fell like a—just dropped like a stone.”
“So there was a second person there?” You nodded.
“I didn’t see her at first. I had to deal with the first guy so I—I used my quirk on him. Just told him to let go of the pipe and to sit down and not move. But then I swung the pipe and it connected—” You paused. “She didn’t look older than seventeen maybe. She just… I could hear her ribs break.” Keigo tensed slightly, a hand running up and down your arm.
“I didn’t know what her quirk was. I didn’t know if I could stop it. I had to get between her and Glimmer before anything worse happened. I just—I lost control of myself and I told her to go to sleep.” You licked your lips. “I saw the look on her face—the confusion at why her body wasn’t doing what she told it to. The fear when she realized it was doing what I said—that I was going to leave her vulnerable like that.”
Your exhale was shakier than you had intended. “I know I used more force than I needed to. I got taken by surprise when I saw Glimmer like that, when I couldn’t tell why they had ended up—like that. I made the best decision I could with the information I had, but her face—” You gave a long pause. “Sometimes—sometimes I really worry that my quirk is better suited for a villain. What kind of hero takes control of someone’s body like that and—”
“That’s enough.” You froze, eyes wide.
“Sorry,” you murmured. “I can go—”
“Y/N.” You bit your lip. “Look at me, kid.” Keigo’s hand gripped your jaw and turned your head to face him. “I’m not mad. That’s not what I meant, honey.” It took you a minute to meet his gaze.
You didn’t find the anger, the disgust you had prepared yourself for. You saw sadness and sympathy. You saw an understanding that somehow left you shaken. “You didn’t have enough information. You did the best you could with what you had. You didn’t know the kid’s quirk, you just knew it knocked out your sidekick bad enough that they needed help.” You felt your shoulders tense. “You made the best decision you could to have the fewest injuries possible. Breaking a couple of ribs is getting off easy in a fight with you, after all.” You huffed at Keigo’s laughter.
“I just—I can’t get the look on her face out of my head.”
Keigo hummed. “I know this might not help, but she didn’t get any worse than she gave.” You frowned. “Neither of them asked anyone else if they wanted to fight—they endangered the safety of others because they wanted to, regardless of anyone, everyone else.”
“I guess—that’s true.” Keigo pressed his forehead to yours.
“You did what you could to keep everyone safe. You didn’t use your quirk without provocation.” When Keigo kissed you, it was slow, sweet. “That doesn’t sound like a villain to me.” His eyes looked molten. “I’d say it’s pretty damn heroic.”
“I love you,” you said softly, resting your head against his chest again.
“I love you too, kid.” You sipped at your hot chocolate again.
“Did you really do all this because I said I had a long day?” Keigo’s wing brushed against your back, pulling you closer to him.
“Don’t you think it was about time someone did?” You looked up at him. “Listen kid, you don’t cut yourself any slack. You can say you hold yourself to a high standard, but sometimes you’re just hard on yourself. I love you, and I hate seeing you hurt. So yeah, I did all this because you said you had a long day, and I love you, and if you can’t be kind to yourself yet, then I’ll do what I can to help you get there.”
“Keigo?” He gave a hum beneath you. “Thank you. For all of this. For being with me.”
“Of course, kid,” he murmured, a hand massaging the back of your neck. “You’d do the same for me.” You nodded. “Can I ask a favor, though?”
“What is it?”
“Can we use your quirk in the bedroom—”
“Keigo!” He laughed, pulling you in tightly.
“Don’t worry. I’ve got you.”