Nighteye: I hear congratulations are in order.
Inko gave Toshinori a look. They were hanging out in the living room sending each other things on Pinterest. Toshinori was sending her place settings. She was sending him costume components. She had the main part worked out and was stuck on peripherals. “You told Nighteye about the wedding?”
“I panicked.” He gave her a doleful look. “He agreed to be my best man though.”
She thought about it, trying to remember all the titles and jobs that went into a western style wedding. “Which one is that again?”
Toshinori simplified it for her. “He’s my Mitsuki.”
“I can see that.” He probably hadn’t meant that in the general sense, but she could still see it.
Inko: Thank you.
Nighteye: have you set a date?
Inko: Maybe once he settles on a venue.
Inko had few thoughts about the wedding. She had a tenuous grasp on what ought to happen, but she had pictured something far more streamlined than what Toshinori’s vision. She was more interested in the being than the getting. They’d come to an agreement. Toshinori had a group chat with Mitsuki and Masaru. Sometimes Inko checked in on it so she knew what was going on. Otherwise they left her out of it
Nighteye: Good luck with that.
She smiled at the screen and very deliberately added him to the wedding group chat.
Toshinori checked his phone when it notified him and winced. “That wasn’t very nice.” He said. “He and Mitsuki-san are going to eat each other alive.”
“Five thousand yen says she can take him.” Inko replied sweetly.
Toshinori considered that for a minute and then held out his hand to shake on it. “You’re on.”
Nighteye: I have questions about the thing you excised from him.
Ah, they came to the real reason Nighteye was texting her.
Inko: I’ll answer what I can.
Nighteye’s questions were thorough. Inko granted him that. She could answer all of them, but not all of them in Japanese and so had to explain around certain terminology she was missing when a Google search failed to turn up an equivalent term. He didn’t seem to notice or didn’t comment if he did.
The harder questions went like this and she elected not to answer them at all.
Nighteye: How did your son identify the problem? He’s a telekinetic.
Inko: Is he? I’m so pleased to know.
Nighteye: You are a telekinetic too, according to the public database.
Inko: So I am.
Nighteye: A very minor telekinetic who can only move small objects in one direction.
Inko: That is what it says.
It went on in that vein for some time until Toshinori took the phone away and made her get ready for bed.
“I’m glad you two are getting along.” He told her as they lay down.
“What conversation were you watching?” Inko wanted to know and he just laughed at her.
It didn’t end there as Nighteye and Toshinori started to ease back into each other’s lives. He started showing up around the penthouse again --sometimes under duress she suspected, when Toshinori hauled not only Nighteye but also young Lemillion into the gym one day while she and Izuku were working on some focus exercises.
Toshinori greeted her with a kiss to her temple. “Are you sure this is ok, love?” He asked quietly, eying Izuku who was sitting cross legged in mid-air with five sandbags floating around in a reasonably steady orbit.
“It’s perfectly fine.” She paused, winged Izuku with the stinger pistol, and turned back to the conversation. Izuku’s sandbags dipped a few centimeters, but pulled back up and continued to circle him. Good boy. “The more distractions the better. He needs more challenge than he’s getting right now.”
“No, I don’t.” Izuku said without opening his eyes.
Lemillion trotted over looking very interested. His mind was all but singing ‘new friend, new friend, new friend!’ and Inko felt a little embarrassed by all the adult dramatics that had been going on over those two when Izuku’s mind started doing a similar, albeit more reserved chant.
She and Nighteye met each other’s gazes and silently acknowledged that they were probably stuck with each other from that point on; might as well be friendly.
Then he and Toshinori started talking about arcane wedding things and Inko went back to tormenting her child with Lemillion’s, his real name turned out to be Mirio, enthusiastic assistance.
The other faculty members groaned as Toshinori’s phone bleeped out the first few bars of the opening sequence from ‘ALL-M Safety Heroes; The Animated Series’; his custom notification for young Izuku because he’d apparently been a huge fan when he was in grade school and Toshinori kind of liked the impossible colors the kid turned whenever he overheard it.
They didn’t like any of his other custom phone sounds either so he ignored them and shielded his phone screen as he went to check his message.
Toshinori had to go to some trouble to obfuscate his contacts because he worked with a bunch of nosey screen watchers, but he was pretty sure at least some of them knew who that tone signified.
Kid: I spotted him.
Kid has shared their location; Dan-two-in Bookstore.
He set his grading book aside and stood. “Excuse me, I need to run an errand.” He told the others, who waved him off with the sole exception of Eraserhead who followed him into the hallway.
Aizawa didn’t mince words. He was suspiciously peppy after Inko had fixed him up at the USJ. Toshinori had noticed the man favored his left arm a little bit like he was hiding a rotator cuff injury before that day, but not afterwards. “If you’re dealing with Midoriya’s goldfish tail then tell him I will break both his legs the next time I find him creeping around one of my class sessions.”
“You caught me.” Toshinori chuckled. He was still getting used to the sound of his own honest laugher -lower and raspier than the way he laughed for work- but it was starting to feel less like it belonged to a stranger. “I’ll pass it along.”
That was a lie, but only because he’d figured out that threatening Hisashi into not doing something was like signing a blood pact that he would.
“Hmm.” Aizawa stared at him for a moment, channeling his inner serial killer by the look of it, before turning back into the staff room.
Young Izuku had gone off with some friends after class. Toshinori was pleased to see the boy’s social circle opening up. The other kids seemed painfully curious about him, but seemed as respectful of his social anxieties as a teenager in Heroics could be. Young heroes couldn’t resist a friend-shaped enigma.
Come to think of it, adult Heroes weren’t much better at it.
The kids who’d been at the USJ were very quiet once they got back from their impromptu break, but they’d shed that nervousness with the resilience of youth. Very few of them had been in the central plaza; young Izuku, young Asui, and young Mineta to be precise. They’d been dumped in the Shipwreck zone when the Mist villain separated the class.
If it had just been young Asui there then things might have gone differently, but she wasn’t. Young Mineta’s presence had been helpful during the encounter once Izuku was able to calm him down enough to help, but afterward the boy became a persistent thorn in Toshinori’s side.
Young Mineta had not been expelled on Toshinori’s recommendation. The youngster’s apparent belief that he was bulletproof wasn’t wrong. Toshinori had reviewed his file after receiving Nedzu’s annoyed judgment on the matter. While Mineta had gotten into the program on his own merits he also came from money; a lot of money. His grandfather had made a large gift to UA upon his grandson’s acceptance, but it came with stipulations. The main one was that if Mineta was ever expelled then the gift would need to be repaid.
UA was a private institution that hemorrhaged money on a good day. The school only just kept ahead of the income provided by their endowment by relying on such donations. Usually it worked out since the school refused to compromise on admissions. Even the recommended students had to pass an entrance exam to get it. That wasn’t usually the case in other schools, but UA and their sibling school Shiketsu had to worry more about people trying to buy their way into the school. Not every UA alum was immune to bribery. That was on top of all the background checks their students had to pass. The screening process wasn’t foolproof. If an incident didn’t get reported then their AI staff didn’t always catch it, although their success rate was pretty good. If young Mineta had any indiscretions prior to UA it had stayed offline or his grandfather had hushed it up.
Nedzu was ready to cut a check, but since it concerned the school’s income the matter wasn’t only up to him and the Board of Trustees didn’t really see why a few complaints from the girls was such a big deal when they were in the program that needed cash infusions the most.
Still, Toshinori’s recommendation was a huge black mark against the boy. He, after all, was a pretty big donor himself. Right now the Board was either greedier or needier than they were uncomfortable, but that could easily change if the boy continued to act out. Mineta was on probation and had Eraserhead breathing ice down his neck at every opportunity.
The problem was that young Mineta knew who was responsible and had decided to pay Toshinori back by doing just about anything that wasn’t against the rules, but might still cause him trouble ...like gossiping.
It wasn’t lost on Mineta that Basil, who had been billed to them and the media as Toshinori’s intelligent support robot, prioritized Izuku’s safety and in the aftermath of the incident it had even accepted orders from him. He hadn’t said anything that would harm young Izuku. Afterall, he wasn’t angry with his classmate, but he’d gotten the other students buzzing.
No one had initially connected Hisashi’s van following the bus to the support sniper who showed up part way through the fight in the central plaza. They’d initially thought he was Snipe, but young Yaoyorozu made an offhand comment about the difference in the report of the two different weapons. That kid was too observant for Toshinori’s peace of mind, but she was also on a short list of students that Aizawa had made it clear he would cut Toshinori over.
Toshinori was getting flack for having favorites already, but Aizawa would probably kill someone for young Asui or Yaoyorozu. He seemed to like the quiet ones and the ones who didn’t know how good they were.
Curiosity was brewing in 1-A about young Midoriya. Inko’s presence on the field didn’t help, but not too many people had gotten a look at her before Nedzu had her hustled under cover. So far no one had been brave enough to get within biting range of young Bakugo in order to satisfy that curiosity. He was proving to be an excellent dog in the manger when circumstances called for it.
Regarding young Bakugo and Izuku’s relationship, they weren’t out exactly but people still knew. Young Bakugo wouldn’t know subtlety if it walked up and introduced itself. From what Toshinori had overheard the young people talking about though, the general opinion among their peers was that Bakugo had scored way out of his league and knew it. That, rather than the fact that young Izuku was a terrible liar, was the reason they thought he was prone to chasing people away if it looked like they were asking too many personal questions.
Toshinori also suspected that young Izuku was helping anyone who was too enthusiastic to take a gentle ‘no’ for an answer mind their own business. He had a lighter hand than Inko did. Rather than giving orders, he tended to ask distracting questions. Toshinori had seen him do it once to young Ashido by responding to a question about Basil after he’d declined to answer the two questions before it by wondering out loud what the lunch special was. She’d echoed the question blankly and then was suddenly seized by the need to know; so much so that she forgot about her original questions.
It looked like they’d be able to keep a lid on their home situation until the Sports Festival. By then Inko and Izuku would be all the way moved in and afterwards young Izuku would acquire the social armor that came with being All Might’s soon-to-be step son.
Toshinori found young Izuku was out with young Bakugo, but also young Uraraka, Iida, Kirishima, Kaminari, and Ashido when he found the bookstore. They were hanging out by the magazine racks and talking about some of the covers.
Hisashi was sitting across the street at a cafe, pretending to read a newspaper, and watching with a sort of sad look about him; like he wanted to go over, but didn’t know how.
He hadn’t spotted Toshinori. People, not even highly trained agents, didn’t often look up and Toshinori had let himself gently down onto an open balcony from the roof of the building the cafe was in.
Toshinori -now flexed- dropped down behind the man far less quietly, scruffed him by the back of the shirt, and tucked him under one arm like a struggling football. “Let’s have a talk!” He boomed happily.
“What?!” Hisashi kicked and Toshinori stepped out of the cafe patio so he wouldn’t accidentally clip one of the other diners. Hisashi saw the direction they were heading and said, “Oh, no. No, no, no!”
“This is for your own good.” Toshinori told him, softer than before; closer to his own voice. “It’s getting weird, man.”
Young Izuku turned, went bright red, and covered his face with both hands. “I gotta go, guys.” He mumbled through his fingers.
“Is that All Might?” Uraraka asked and then noticed the pale faced man under his arm. “Wait...is that who we were bait for? Isn’t that your weird bio-dad?”
“Bait?” Hisashi stopped struggling and squinted at Izuku, then at Uraraka. “Weird?” He said, like he had any right at all to be offended.
“He knew you were there the whole time.” Toshinori let him know. “Now you two are going to have a chat and afterwards there is no more stalking, got it?”
“C’mon.” Bakugo got Iida and Kirishima by the collars. “Time to clear out.” He and Izuku shared a meaningful look before herding their classmates off.
“There’s a park over that way.” Izuku pointed.
Toshinori found a quiet gazebo and took himself out of earshot, but close enough to overhear shouting. Forcing the meeting was one thing, but they needed to talk by themselves even though Toshinori was kind of dying to listen in.
He wasn’t the only one, it turned out. Toshinori noticed a bush shaking a little bit and emitting annoyed hissing whispers. Surprising nobody, there were a bunch of teenagers hiding behind it when he went to go check. It was the whole group from before and the whispers were from Iida (trying to make them leave) and Bakugo (also trying to make them leave but with violence.)
They looked up at him with guilty little faces and he cocked an eyebrow back before pointing towards the path out of the park. He followed for a bit to make sure they actually left and then headed back to find Izuku sitting alone in the gazebo. He didn’t look too unhappy about things, which Toshinori took as a positive sign.
“How was your talk?” He asked.
“He spent a lot of time talking around the fact that he doesn’t want to step on your toes, but he still wants a relationship.” Izuku replied, fetching his backpack from the ground. “We exchanged numbers and are going to try texting.” He chewed on his lip for a second before asking, “I’m not that weird, am I?”
His expression said ‘say no.’
“No.” Toshinori didn’t even have to think about it. “That kind of social dysfunction is the result of years of intense effort, my boy.”
“I was just noticing some similarities between us is all.” Izuku shrugged one shoulder. “So I started wondering if there were others I didn’t.”
“I can’t think of anything you wouldn’t have picked up from your mother first.” Toshinori could reluctantly see how those two had gotten on back in the day. They were a little cat-like when it came to things like morality and consequences. He suspected she’d modelled some of her Earth-specific behaviors on him back when she hadn’t had a better reference and some of them stuck. Young Izuku would have picked them up from her in turn, but he was pretty sure the kid wouldn’t like hearing that.
Even so, he was naturally more empathetic than Inko and Hisashi combined. He picked up on social cues better. If he was like the other young people Toshinori had known then he’d start pulling away from his mother’s dynamic soon and forming his own. This anxiety was probably just the first stages of that change. He was fine.
“I guess.” Izuku shrugged again. He checked his phone. “We should probably head home soon. The other split up and Auntie Mitsuki made Kacchan go home.”
Toshinori checked the time and, yup, it was getting to be about that time. A text message from Inko came in just then asking him to pick up some salt on the way home. One day he was going to get her to use the concierge service for little errands in addition to the big ones, but for the moment he kinda liked being asked.
“Your mother’s given us an errand. I’ll need to stop at a corner store on the way back. Do you want to go ahead of me?” He told Izuku.
“Oh! I have to go back to the bookstore.” Izuku perked up as something occurred to him and he started back the way they’d come. “I forgot to pick up my reference book. There was a little grocery next door.”
Young Izuku got his book while Toshinori got the salt. Walking back to the penthouse seemed easier and less claustrophobic than taking the bus, that is until both their phones blatted out a shelter in place alert. Toshinori got Izuku by the back of his jacket and lifted him up out of the sudden crush of foot traffic. He stepped into a gap between two buildings. It wasn’t quite an alley; just big enough for some trash cans and someone to smoke in, going by the cigarette butts on the ground. Izuku hung from his grip, trusting as a kitten, as he tapped madly on his phone.
“It’s a villain attack.” Izuku reported. “Looks like the Tetrad tried to rob an ATM vault truck. “
Ugh. Toshinori didn’t often have strong individual feelings about villains other than his old nemesis, but the Tetrad -a set of quadruplets whose quirk networked their brains into a single awful intelligence- came real close to being on his personal shit list. There weren’t many heroes who didn’t hate their guts due to the fact that the Tetrad loved nothing more than collateral damage; the more blood the better.
The annoying part was how fast they worked. They were usually long gone by the time a hero could respond to the commotion. This was a golden opportunity --and he was going to have to let it pass. He had Izuku with him.
“Give me the shopping bag.” Izuku held his hand out as Toshinori set him down.
Toshinori had, in fact, been about to crouch down so he could piggyback the boy out of the red zone.
The shopping bag slipped out of his grasp and floated into Izuku’s hands. “You’ve got about four minutes before they vanish. I’ll stay here or nearby if I have to move.”
Half a block away someone cried out in pain.
Toshinori leveled a finger at him. “No heroics and I don’t want to see a scratch on you when I get back.”
Izuku rolled his eyes. “Dad, go!”
He didn’t need telling twice, but he was halfway through tying up the Tetrad’s third body before he realized Izuku hadn’t called him ‘Yagi-san’, but he didn’t have time to dwell on it because the fourth body swung some debris at his head.
When he did get back (after an eternity spent debriefing the police, making a pretty face for the media while pretending not to hear any questions about his mystery girlfriend, and making sure he hadn’t been followed) he found Izuku dealing with a police presence of his own.
There was some guy sprawled at his feet, passed out cold, with a knife on the ground not too far from his hand. One officer had a foot placed lightly on the back of the villain’s wrist in case he woke up before someone wearing gloves could bag it.
“Gosh, I don’t know what happened.” He said with wide-eyed innocence. “He was about to mug us and then he just passed out.” He looked around and whispered loudly to the officer taking his statement, like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. “He was acting really erratic and then he passed out.”
There was a young couple sheltering a little deeper in the alley. One of them, a young woman, piped up. “Yeah, it was the weirdest thing. He was babbling then his eyes just rolled back in his head mid-word.”
“He might have hit his head during the big attack down the street.” Her boyfriend suggested, sounding like he was grasping at straws. “I saw a bunch of debris go flying. Head injuries can take a minute to show up, right?”
That probably explained why the guy wasn’t already in cuffs. He was already down so there was no reason to risk moving him until someone could safely put him on a backboard.
“Probably or somebody quirked him to act up.” The officer sighed. “Otherwise I’m not sure why he thought it was a good idea to rob someone while All Might was half a block away and five other responding heroes were closing in. We’ll move him once we’ve got clearance from an EMT so make sure you stay back. The hospital will check him out.”
Said EMT hustled past Toshinori and got to work. The cops waved Izuku and the young couple off with instructions to make sure they picked up the phone if a call from the precinct came in.
Izuku spotted him and came trotting over. “I’m not scratched and I didn’t go looking for trouble.” He defended himself.
“Where’d those two come from?” Toshinori couldn’t argue with the boy, but he suspected that they were the ones who’d brought trouble with them.
“They ducked in after you left.” Izuku made a face. “Knife guy followed them. His brain was all jumbly. I think he might have been quirked for real.”
“It’s likely. The Tetrad will usually have decoys and distractions set to go.” Not anymore, if Toshinori got his way and he usually did. That was probably another reason the officers had been so careful of the mugger. He was probably going to wake up with a migraine and missing time.
Toshinori squinted up at the dying light before crouching down. “Hop on. There’s enough going on that I think we’re fine to take a shortcut.”
Izuku did his own check before stuffing the shopping big into his backpack and climbing up onto Toshinori’s back.
He’d never been so happy to see the penthouse once they arrived --until they got inside and Mirai was sitting on the couch with a cup of tea in front of him while Inko watched something on his phone with her eyebrows up somewhere in the vicinity of her hairline.
“Oh god, what now.” He groaned. He knew that face Mirai was making. That was the ‘I know it’s not your fault but everything is on fire anyway’ face. He’d missed Mirai keenly during their estrangement, but not that expression.
Inko showed him the phone. There was an HTube video on the screen. The clip was grainy security footage, but it had audio. On the screen a big guy Toshinori recognized as himself dropped a scruffed teenager on his feet just beyond the chaos in the main street. There was a brief semi-audible exchange, but the mic caught Izuku’s annoyed “Dad, go!” perfectly.
Thank god it cut off there and didn’t show the subsequent mugging. The caption read BREAKING NEWS: ALL MIGHT IS A DAD MIGHT!!! so it was a friendly poster and he or she probably wasn’t going to put up anything that might get Izuku in hot water for illegal quirk use.
“Ooooh my god.” Izuku whimpered. “I didn’t… I mean!”
Toshinori patted his back. “We already talked about that, son. I was happy to hear it.”
Izuku made a strangled, but kind of happy noise. “I was gonna say it after the wedding. On purpose!”
“How’d you get over here so fast?” Toshinori wanted to know, eying Mirai. He was used to having Mirai constantly in his business as a sidekick, but he had his own agency to manage now.
“He was already over when his Google alert went off.” Inko ratted Mirai out with a beatific smile that she turned on the man in question. “Go ahead. Tell them about the bet you lost.”
Mirai gave her a cranky look and pushed up his glasses. “My sidekicks want to attend the Sports Festival this year in support of Lemillion. I told them if they could close two of our open investigations then I would clear their schedules for the day.” He grimaced. “Bubble Girl and Centipeder bet me they could clear three, which seemed unreasonable so I agreed on the condition that if they failed then they’d make it up with double overtime. They agreed that, in the event that I lost, I would make them all lunch boxes. Personally.”
“So, what, they finished that same afternoon?” Toshinori guessed, having been on the losing end of such bets with Mirai himself, ironically. You’d think the man would know better given some of the stunts he’d pulled back in the day.
“They closed four .” Mirai agreed dully. “Two serial card skimmers in the surrounding area, a shoplifting ring, and a mid-tier fence.”
“Hah!” Toshinori barked a laugh. “Karma.”
“Yes, yes.” Mirai sniffed. “There’s a reason I didn’t go to you for sympathy. Midoriya-san kindly offered to help me menu plan.” He turned to regard Izuku, who was still covering his face with both hands and steaming in embarrassment. Mirai still seemed a little awkward around him, but given the fact that young Mirio had all but adopted the boy he seemed resigned to being a friendly adult. Toshinori would have bet real money that it helped to see just how hard Izuku worked, which was the real reason Toshinori kept dragging Mirai and young Mirio over for
play dates training sessions. “I wouldn’t be concerned by the video. The resolution isn’t enough to identify you.”
Izuku’s phone chose to ding just then ...and then ding again. He got it out and read aloud. “Hey, Deku, is this why no one ever got to meet your dad?” He said woodenly. “It’s from Kashima. He’s literally the least observant person I know.”
Toshinori hadn’t met young Kashima, per se, but he’d seen Izuku interact with the boy some once or twice when he tried to come over to hang out when his other friend wasn’t available. Young Bakugo had been over at the apartment already and the fall out got loud. He didn’t really like using the phrase ‘dumber than a bag of hammers’ in reference to a child, but young Kashima was even dumber than that. If he’d made the connection...
“I’ll call my publicists.” Toshinori decided out loud.