David’s world fell apart on a perfectly sunny Tuesday.
“No, no the kneepads themselves were fine.” Toshi explained over the video call. “At least, while I was wearing them. It was taking them off that they jammed.”
“Gotcha.” David hummed, thinking on what was probably wrong with them.
The door to the house clicked open, distracting him. “One minute,” he requested, then turned to his open office door. “Welcome home, hon.”
“I’m on a call with Toshi, be another minute or so.”
“Actually,” Shunji lowered his voice as he leaned into the doorway, smiling. “Do you mind if I meet him after I change?”
David blinked, but recovered with a nod. “Sure, yeah, of course.”
Shunji’s smile widened. “Thanks,” He said, then vanished back into the hall.
Turning back to his screen, David informed Toshi. “He asked to meet you. Huh, thought he never would.”
Toshi’s surprise, like all his other emotions, was bright and easy to see on his face. “Really? I mean, that’s great of course- I finally get to meet him!”
David nodded. Shunji had admitted to avoiding All Might when David finally was direct about it a few months after the other moved in. Sure, it was one thing to be busy- it was another to make up obvious excuses whenever the hero called.
“What is it? What’s actually wrong?” He had asked.
“Nothing’s wrong.” Shunji had looked away, though he kept looking to see David still staring at him, unconvinced, silent. “Well, I mean it’s All Might! And I’m…” He waved at himself.
“And I’ve never known,” David had waved at him in the same way, “to be shy.”
The taller man could only huff away a laugh. “Yes, you’re right, but there’s a first time for everything.”
“He’s really just a dork. Almost as nerdy as I am.”
“I’m sure.” Shunji had given up with a sigh. “Fine, I’ll admit it. It doesn’t help that you always get this look when you’re thinking about him.”
Shunji sighed again. “So fond. You don’t even know you’re doing it, do you?”
David could only stare. “You’re… jealous. Of All Might.” And not even jealous about his quirk or career, when Shunji lacked the first and was a modest accountant in the second.
He was jealous of David’s affection?
Affection that David couldn’t honestly deny.
Shunji had pursed his lips and turned away, but not answered any more than that.
“Hey.” David had wrapped his arm around the other’s waist, leaned in. “I’ll admit, I had a crush on him at first. And I do still care about him, a lot. But he doesn’t like anybody, not in that way.”
“Really.” Lifting a hand to Shunji’s curls, David had pulled him back closer. “So don’t sweat it so much.”
Shunji had let himself get pulled closer. “I’ll try,” was whispered against David’s lips. “But I still don’t think I’d want to meet him now. Not yet.”
“That’s fine. As long as you know how I feel about you.”
“Oh,” David had felt the man’s smirk before he was pressed into a kiss, “I know.”
It had been years and a child since that night, but today was the first inclination that Shunji actually wanted to meet Toshi.
“So, you didn’t kick anyone or anything today or yesterday, did you?” David asked, trying to focus back on his work and the jammed kneepads. Toshi sent him a few more pictures of the tech gear to hum about, and he almost forgot entirely about Shunji until the man knocked on his open door.
Oh, when he’d said he was going to change, David had expected dressing down- but the tie was gone from his shoulders and he was now wearing a suit jacket with his button down.
“You two still busy, love?”
“Not at all, come over here.” David smiled, waving him over. “Shunji, meet Toshinori Yagi. Toshi, meet Shunji.”
“It’s a pleasure.” The other draped an arm around David, pulling him closer to him. Probably still a little jealous, he had to roll his eyes. “All Might.”
David frowned- his voice had gone so cold at the end. He elbowed Shunji, then looked back to the screen.
“Sorry, Toshi, i- what is it?”
The blond looked like he’d seen a ghost.
Face pale, mouth open, shoulders stiff and almost- yes, they were shaking.
David had never seen him like this before.
“Get away from him.” Toshi’s mic barely picked the soft words up.
He blinked. “What?”
“I said, get away from him, you monster.” Toshinori practically shouted, getting to his feet.”
“What?!” David repeated.
Shunji just chuckled. “I don’t think he’s talking to you, love.” David stared at him, but the man was focused on the video, smile twisting his face in a way he’d rarely seen- a cruel way.
“All Might.” Shunji said louder, free hand working his way up David’s chest. “I suggest you don’t hit any alarms or alerts.” His hand stopped at David’s collar, then was around his neck in a blink. “We wouldn’t want this to become a tragedy instead.”
David gasped, fighting for breath and trying to push himself free, but Shunji didn’t seem to notice for how tight his grip stayed.
“You never learn, do you?” he asked the hero. “I went after Shimura’s family, and the one before hers, and you thought what, exactly? That your loved ones would be safe by knowing your name alone?”
The hand around his neck tightened once, then loosened. David couldn’t stop himself from gasping, and by Toshi’s flinch and Shunji’s lip turning up that was the goal.
David slowly moved his arm, reaching for his watch but keeping his hands low.
“Ah. Can’t forget how clever you are, can I, love?” He snatched David’s wrist and unclasped the watch with his freehand before tucking it in his pocket- then taking David’s phone the same. “Clever, for all you fell for this. But it’s not your fault you were never warned about me, is it? What else didn’t you tell him, Toshi?”
“Who” David managed to pant, struggling still in the hold.
“Oh, I’m being rude. I’m All For One, David. I’m your client’s worst nightmare. Actually, on that note, did he get nightmares? Back in college, it would have been recent, then.”
David didn’t answer that, couldn’t- but his wide eyes as he thought about the times his roommate’s night terrors had woken him were answer enough.
Shunji- All For One laughed.
Something rumbled, and it took a moment for David to realize it was Toshi growling.
“Is this all just a game to you?”
“Yes, All Might, and the score is 7-0 currently. I’m winning.” All For One’s honey gold eyes held no familiar amusement- not like when they’d watch a show together, not like when he’d build block towers for Melissa to knock down- this was twisted, darker. Feral. “Care to make it 8? I’m sure it will be, when I catch that pest Torino. Three holders, too long to dodge me. I’ll be sure to send you his cape, after. Or would you prefer his boots?”
David’s heart was racing, face and heavy enough he could feel his own pulse against All For One’s fingers.
“Oh, speaking of games, you know what would be fun?” All For One let go of his grip and pulled David so he was stuck, sitting fully in the villain’s lap instead. “Your face when your ever loyal Dave turns against you.” He leaned back, pulling David’s chin so he was forced to look at his eyes instead of the screen. His voice turned soft, familiar, and that made the cold look in his yellow eyes all the worse. “You could build anything you wanted to. You could focus on your real inventing, instead of this show monkey’s costumes. You and Melissa could have anything you’d want. I even have a memory quirk to take away the pain, if you ask- doesn’t all of that sound better than dying for All Might?”
Toshi was saying something, but David couldn’t hear him. It was like he was underwater, for all he could actually breathe now.
“Could even give you a new quirk.” All For One offered. “You are… unusually unsuited to yours, Mr. Shield. It’s interesting, but no small, flexible ambitions for you, no. So, what do you say?”
David pulled his face away from his gaze, looked at Toshi, looked around his desk. “I…” He snatched up a pen, the only thing he had, and slashed to the side with it, pushing himself out of the man’s lap. “I say never, you bastard, and f-“
All For One moved in a flash, his hand back on David’s neck and lifting him up. The pen fell to the floor, he kicked, trying to breathe.
“Pity. I knew you wouldn’t, really, but a pity still. Don’t worry, I’ll tell Melissa you loved her second most of everyone in your life.”
David found himself airborne, a thud shaking his whole body. He blinked spots away and saw the floor of the hallway through cracked glass lenses. All For One’s voice echoed on, talking still in the office. Taunting.
He never did shut up then, when he was himself. David would just have to hope he monologued for a while as he pushed himself up and ran for their- his daughter’s room. The place was tilting back and forth, but at least he didn’t fall on his ass.
Melissa shifted when he lifted her from her bed, nose scrunching up and mouth opening to take a deep breath.
“Shhh, shhhh,” He wrapped the blanket tight around her and opened the window. “I know, I know, but we have to leave quickly and quietly, okay?”
The window was difficult, but the run to the next porch over wasn’t so bad. Old Jin lived here with his son and daughter-in-law. Dave didn’t knock, or press the intercom button.
Instead he pressed the button on the underside of the intercom.
The emergency line.
“Emergency Hotline at L.S 19-8, this is Sasapit Wongkaeo, what is your emergency?”
“Sasapit, this is David Shield. You need to tell DirectCon to initiate a full island lockdown. We need full security up now and a password full cleanout as soon as possible. But first you need to tell them to fry everything in my apartment- computer, phone, watch, all my personals are breached.”
“Hurry! I have my clearance code, just do it.”
“Right, ah, what is the code?”
He gave it to her, glancing once more back at his house. No one stepping outside yet, at least.
“And add a lockdown on all of Shunji Kidaka’s clearance. Freeze his passwords and don’t let him access anything. I can reset the passwords once I’m at the DC Tower.”
“Yessir, Professor. Um, what’s going on?”
Her question came a second before the door opened, the people inside finally hearing the noise he was making.
“David! David what the hell happened to you?”
“Hey Benny.” David leaned against the wall, exhausted at the realization of how many people this would have to be explained to. “Just a little fight, I’m fine. You should probably go inside now, until the red alert stops going.”
“What red alert?”
The alarm rang though the neighborhood in a shrill wave. David winced and Melissa started to cry.
He tried to soothe her while keeping her pressed close, watching their home. Even with the alarm, All For One did not set foot outside.
Eventually, the Island sent guards to surround the house, and David watched them breach it.
He held his breath until they all came out and reported there was no one inside at all. No trace of All For One. No trace of Shunji.
He hadn’t left so much as vanished into thin air.
David sat in a chair in the tower, still holding onto Melissa. He hadn’t put her down since he’d lifted her from her bed yesterday.
“As far as the company, the Island, and the people know- there was never any Shunji Kidaka here. The attack was a purely cyber one, and you caught it before it could go farther.” Meredith Ortega read to him. “There’s still no crime on I-Island soil.” She put her tablet down, massaging her temple. “And really, we found nothing for Kidaka. He might not have existed, so its not like there’s anyone for us to prosecute or find. Sorry, Dave.”
“It’s fine.” He answered, voice hoarse as it was exhausted. And it was fine. He never wanted to see him again, he certainly didn’t want to find him or be found.
“And David?” Meredith spoke up. “We are glad you’re alright, very glad. You should rest.”
He shook his head, rubbing his hand along Melissa’s back. “I’ll be fine.” He hadn’t slept since yesterday either.
He didn’t want to go back to that house, to that bed.
Meredith frowned, but said nothing.
There was silence a while, until the door crashed open and both of them jumped.
David whirled, but all he saw in the doorway was- Toshi.
The hero stared at him for a moment, heavy breaths shaking him. “You’re alive. You’re both alive, oh thank god. Dave, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry-“
He was cut off by David thwoing an arm around him, and it didn’t take a moment for Toshi to turn it into a proper hug, clinging to both the scientist and his daughter.
David soaked up that warmth, the pressure, the hold. He breathed deeply, trying to get himself to really relax.
“There’s nothing for you to be sorry about.” Not like he wanted the villain to do everything he had. “I’m glad you’re fine too. But Toshi, I need you to tell me everything you know about him.” Toshi stiffened. “I need to know, and for Melissa, too.”
He had suspected, when Melissa was born with no hand mutation, that she would turn out to be quirkless like Shunji. But then All For One had talked about a memory quirk, had offered him others.
“I will.” Toshi whispered. “But you need to sleep and rest first.”
“I’ll hold Melissa the entire time. Go to sleep.”
After another moment, knowing Toshi was telling the truth, David nodded.
He found his way out of the room and down the hall. There was a medbay downstairs that opened when he put his hand on the scanner, and he found it empty.
David fell onto the first cot in line, clutched the pillow, and finally burst into tears.
He cried his broken heart out.