Shinsou laid on his back staring at the ceiling from his bed.
He had been occasionally texting Polaroid.
It felt both good and unbelievable at the same time.
He would never forget that night a few days ago though.
Aizawa had slammed his head into the table. Shinsou wasn’t worried about him being homophobic but he was still worried.
It wasn’t his fault he had been massively crushing on his dad’s problem vigilante and his own savior who just so happened to be around his age!
And who was super cute despite not being able to see him under his mask and deceptive costume.
Yeah, he was falling and falling hard.
After that had come a terrible thing.
Yup. His new parents sat him down on the couch and gave him The Talk.
It was terrible. And embarrassing.
But when it was done Aizawa got a pensive look on his face. After a moment of silence, he sighed and rubbed just eyes.
“Alright Shinsou… just…” Aizawa let out a small noise of frustration, “You know I care about you, right?”
Shinsou slowly nodded, not knowing where this was going and not liking it.
“Good, I just want to keep you safe. But… I can see that it is the same with Polaroid. He wants to keep you safe too, I can tell by the way he looks at you. It’s easy to see. While I am shocked you… like, my vigilante problem child. But there is something you don’t know… he has a husband.”
“What? He’s a teenager, like me!” Shinsou blurted. Aizawa nodded wearily.
“I know. I have no idea either. But he told me on accident before I knew he wasn’t an adult but a teen. Not to mention he has two kids apparently. Which I certainly wasn’t aware of. I have no idea what is going on since Polaroid sends a million different signals and we have either too much confusing and useless information or too little information to put together any kind of likely story or explanation.” Aizawa looked tired beyond belief, “All I ask is to slow down a bit. It’s fine that you like him, it makes sense even. But you just need to be careful. So, you don’t get yourself hurt.”
With that new information Shinsou agreed.
“Don’t forget to talk to him though.”. Yamada added with a knowing smile, “Don’t be afraid to ask him things. You can do that without sounding interested in him. Like mentioning Shota here telling you he has a husband. Or maybe ask how he’s doing with his kid. That way you can gain information without showing your romantic interest in him.”
“That’s… actually pretty smart. Thanks Pops.” Shinsou smiled. His dads leaned forward and they all hugged.
“I’m trusting you to keep him safe too Shinsou.” Aizawa muttered, “He needs some serious help, and a friend, or partner, may help with that. He doesn’t trust me enough yet to do that for him. But I think he trusts you. Please, make sure he doesn’t die.”
“Well, it’s not like I can date someone who is dead.” Shinsou snorted, though it was laced with seriousness.
That night was a week ago.
Since then, Shinsou had only sent greeting texts and random pictures of the cats.
Polaroid sent back messages of greeting, or gushed over the cats.
Oddly enough though, they mainly communicated through music.
It was helpful that both of them knew English well. Shinsou knew due to living in two English-only speaking houses. That was for a whole two years when he was young, so he picked it up fast and knew it well.
Polaroid knew English as well for some reason, so they listened to a lot of American music.
It always started with one of them listening to music and then going on to listen to their own.
They would listen to the song the other was playing and start listening to a song of their own in a sort of reply.
It was an emotional way of communication. It had some deeper quality to the superfluous conversations they had over text.
They did this a lot later at night. Which pretty much confirmed his insomnia theory.
Sometimes he would be a little concerned with Polaroid’s music taste.
Like that one time he listened to Bullet on loop for literally an hour.
But then again, it’s not like he was too much better.
But now it was night and Polaroid was listening to It's Over Isn’t It. A slightly sad song from a Pre-quirk Era show.
Shinsou for some reason felt as if Polaroid was sad and missing something, or maybe someone.
Shinsou got out his phone and steeled himself for an actual conversation. Not just some stupid little text about the cats or saying hi.
“Hey, do you want to talk about it?” Shinsou sent the text off. A minute later he got a reply.
“Your music. I get big sad vibes from you right now.”
“Oh… well, I guess I’m just missing someone right now.”
“WHAT! No! I’m single Toshi! And underage!”
“Oh, you told dad that you had a husband a while ago.”
“Oh jeez, I’m really sorry for the miscommunication. But it’s very complicated. Let’s just say I used to have a husband. But, he’s dead.”
Oh… Oh shit.
“I’m so sorry. I’m not going to pretend to understand, but still. That really sucks.”
“It does, but I have another chance at love now. It’s been a while, I’m over it.”
Shinsou’s heart fluttered. His fingers flew across the screen.
“I mean, okay. But that still sucks. Are you missing your son then?”
“A bit. But I’m actually kind of missing you right now.”
Shinsou’s face went red as a beet.
“Oh, really? Ha ha, funny because I’m missing you too a bit.”
“What a coincidence.”
“If you are ever missing me, you can text you know.”
“I know… I just want to see you in person. But I can’t leave, obviously.”
“Yeah, how is it going?”
“No one suspects a thing. I am already very trusted since I’m good at what I do apparently. I’ve managed to stop a few murders while I’m out on the jobs they give me at the very least.”
“Jeez, what are they having you do?!”
“I just accompany the people below me in the ranks to make sure they don’t get caught or so something stupid. They will sometimes sell drugs and such. But people like to try and con them, I just send the thugs off and drop them off at a station instead of killing them like the others likely would.”
“What else do you do? Just curious.”
“Well, my main job is actually taking care of my daughter funnily enough.”
“Shit really?! That’s some luck man.”
“I of course was planning for this, but I’m still surprised it went so well. With how it is going I might be able to get out of here in the next two or three weeks.”
“Make sure to stop by when you do. I would love to see you again.”
“I’ll be sure to. Ah, I have to go. My ‘boss’ is calling.”
“See ya, stay safe.”
“I will. Bye.”
Shinsou ended up running to his dad and telling him the news.
Midoriya looked down lovingly at his daughter. Though she didn’t know that she was his yet.
Eri was currently tucked into his lap, fast asleep.
For the last week he had been gaining the trust of Eri. She seemed to trust him for the most part now.
He spent every hour he could with her, which was apparently more than any of the other caretakers did. They always spent as little time as possible around her.
He had the advantage of knowing her. So, he knew that she liked being with someone, it made her feel safe.
Well, only if she deemed that person safe, that is.
On the second day of seeing her he brought in some new reading books for her as well as writing and reading activity books.
He knew she wanted to learn how to read and write.
He sat down and taught her from a distance. Eri was nervous, that was obvious, but eventually she got brave enough to come a little closer to try.
Every day that week Midoriya brought her something new.
He brought her cookies one day. Simple chocolate chip ones he made in the small kitchen he had in his room.
Another day he brought her a white cat stuffed animal. She reluctantly took it and named it Bip.
The day after that he brought her a coloring book and brand-new colored pencils in a hundred different shades. She loved them. She was warming up to him, willing to come closer.
Then he brought her a little radio and cd's so she could listen to music off the disks when she wanted to. She liked the Disney ones.
After that it was a big, fluffy blanket with a matching pillow. She curled up in it. This was when she got close enough to touch and went as far as to give him a swift hug.
Finally, today he asked Chisaki to make a door between their rooms. In the name of “being able to keep a closer eye on her as well as helping her mental and physical health by introducing her to something new.” And since he was the child expert Chisaki agreed and did so.
The door had a lock of course, but Midoriya always left it unlocked for Eri. Though he did have to keep the other door tightly locked, since he didn’t want her running away.
That was too dangerous for the both of them. Chisaki needed to be taken down for good, and though he would love to get away right then and there, it was not possible.
That night Eri had a nightmare. A bad one.
Midoriya knew she got those a lot. He heard it from his room.
So, he opened the door and walked up to Eri slowly, as to not scare her.
“Eri?” He called softly, “Eri dear? Are you okay?”
Eri was sitting up in her bed, tears streaming down her cheeks and silent sobs making her shoulders hitch.
Midoriya frowned sadly and walked up to her.
“Oh sweetie, did you have a nightmare?” Midoriya asked gently, “May I touch you honey?”
Eri did not answer but instead lunged at him.
He whisked her tiny body into his arms and walked to his room.
He sat on the soft bed and started gently rocking the crying girl back and forth.
“Shh, you are safe Eri.” Midoriya muttered to her, “It was just a nightmare.”
“I dreamed that you were g-g-gone M-Morrigan!” Eri sobbed and hiccupped, “You are n-nice, I don’t want you gone!”
Midoriya looked down at her and smiled softly.
“Oh, Eri bug… I will always be here.”
“B-But what if Chisaki h-hurts you!”
“He won’t Eri. But even if he did, I will always be with you. In here.” He pointed to Eri's heart, “I will always be with you in here Eri. Just remember, you will be okay.”
Eri curled in on him, sobbing.
“It always seems so quiet, in the dark. It always seems so stark. How silence grows under the moon, constellations gone so soon.” He sang softly, “I used to think that I was bold, I used to think love was for fun. Now all my stories have been told, except for, one.”
Eri sniffled and looked up to him in surprise.
“As the stars start to align, I hope you take it as a sign, that you will be okay. Everything will be okay. And if the seven hells collapse although the day will be my last, you will be okay. When I’m gone you’ll be okay.”
Eri's crying slowly stopped a d her breathing slowed down. Her eyes started dripping and she leaned into him.
“The day that you arrive the sun went black, an artificial night, you came and stole away the light, and 9ut it in your eyes. How could I possibly suspect you’d eclipse the midnight sun? I though I knew all the moves but then you pulled me back to one…”
“If the stars ever align, I hope you take it as a sign that you will be okay. And if the seven hells collapse although the day will be my last, you will be okay. When I’m gone, you’ll be okay. And if the heavens crash and ground, I know you’ll hear the trumpet sound, and you’ll be okay. Everything will be okay. And when creation goes to die, you can find me in the sky, upon the last day… and you will be okay.”
Eri was asleep.
Kota rifled through his drawers frantically.
The knife. It was gone.
Why was it gone!?
This was bad. Really bad.
He had promised not to lose it.
But now it was gone.
He had left it wrapped in a sock in his very bottom sock drawer.
He was used to shuffling it through different places in the room just in case. In a hollowed-out book sometimes. Under his mattress other times.
Shit. Shit! SHIT!
He heard footsteps down the hall, it was midnight. Everyone was supposed to be alseep.
He ran to his bed silently and hopped in, making it look like he was asleep.
He heard the door open and saw a bit of light from underneath his eyelids.
“What was Kota doing with this?” Mandalay whispered worriedly, “We all know that this is a Rose knife.”
“He would know too. He’s seen the news. He was obsessed with Rose for a bit there.” Tiger pointed out.
“But why would he hide this? Where did he get it?”
“Rose likely gave it to him. Since they killed Muscular. They must know something about him.” Pixie Bob sighed.
“We might have to move out. For his safety. We cannot risk him getting hurt.” Ragdoll chimed in sadly.
“Yes. Rose may not be known for killing heroes or civilians, we can’t risk it.” Mandalay agreed with a sigh.
Kota felt his heart spike.
No! They couldn’t do that! Then he wouldn’t be able to see dad!
He hopped up from his bed, surprising all of them.
“No! Please! I don’t want to move away!” Kota wailed, “Please!”
This was the first time in forever they had seen Kota cry.
Or seem so genuine with his emotions.
The last time it was about Rose too…
But that was months ago…
“Kota…” Mandalay whispered in confusion, “Kota, what is going on?”
“Yeah buddy, we are family in all but blood. You can tell us.” Tiger encouraged gently.
“Are you in danger kitten? Is Rose threatening you?” Pixie Bob asked.
Kota looked to them in horror.
“No! No! I’m safe!” Kota cried, “I promise!”
“Kota! You can tell us! Please! I promise that we will protect you!” Mandalay begged, she tried to hug Kota reassuringly but the boy pulled away from her, shaking his head.
“But I’m not.” He said weakly, “I really am not. Rose is good. He… he is like you guys. Family.”
The four heroes were silent.
Normally they would be rejoicing at the fact Kota thought of them as family.
But at the moment, they could only face the fact that Kota had called a serial killer family.
“Kota… what do you mean?” Mandalay whispered in horror.
Kota looked at her wearily, resigned to his fate.
“I met Rose before he was, well, before he was Rose.” Kota softly explained, “He left me a letter. Obviously, I didn’t trust him. But I sent one back after a while. In his letter he said that it was fine if I didn’t want to write to him, or if I told you guys, but that he would prefer to keep it between us. I agreed since… he understood me.” Kota walked over to his mattress and lifted it up, pulling out stacks of letters. He handed them to Mandalay.
The four heroes read through the first one.
Most people would read it and see how understanding, heartfelt, and genuine the letter was.
But since the four knew who was writing them. All they could see was manipulation and lies. They saw someone with bad intentions, luring their child into his grasp.
Kota gave them the letters so they could understand.
But they didn’t. They only saw what their paranoid and worried minds made up.
“Kota…” Mandalay started, but Kota glared at her.
“Let me finish.” Kota snapped, then sighed and continued, “We sent the letters back in forth for a few weeks. And finally, he asked to see me in person. He always gave me the choice. I was enjoying writing to him, so I said yes. And we met up. He was nice. He understood, and when he couldn’t understand, he tried very hard too. And he always succeeded in the end.”
Kota looked down.
“He told me something that I will not be telling you since it would be dangerous for him. But I was… angry. I felt betrayed. But then, I understood. Despite that small argument we continued talking and meeting every once in a while. Sometimes it would just be letters. Other times it would be the in-person visits. But he always made me feel… safe. And a lot less lonely. Then one day he told me that he wouldn’t be able to talk to me for a while. That was the same time that Rose started killing.
Once he got back, I asked him about Rose. I didn’t know how to feel about him. So, he explained it all to me. Then I realized that he had too much information on Rose. So, I asked him about it. He told me that he would tell me when I was older. But I pushed him. He didn’t tell me exactly, instead he gave me that knife. He told me that it was for emergency use only and to keep it hidden if I could. When I woke up the news was on. I figured it out. He left for a while after that, apparently he had some business to tend to and didn’t have enough time to visit me safely.”
Kota longingly looked at the knife in Mandalay’s hands.
“One day he came back. He told me that he had left to get help. Since he was having a hard time emotionally and needed time to make sure he was ready to face me. He didn’t want to hurt me. I don’t care that he is Rose. That he is a villain. Because he is my hero. And… I love him. He… he’s like a dad to me.”
At this the four heroes looked horrified even further.
“Kota! What about your real dad! Are you just going to forget him so-” Ragdoll gasped.
“STOP!” Kota screamed, “I don’t think you understand! I’m only six for fucks sake! I can hardly remember my parents! They died over a year ago! The only reason I’m so ‘mature’ is because I was forced to grow up! I’m smarter than you think you know! I know what trauma does to a person! To a kid! I. Don’t. Remember. Them. But you know who I do remember? I remember my true dad. Rose. I remember him because for the past year he has been there for me. Not like my birth dad was. Not like my birth mother was. Because they are dead. And Rose isn’t.”
“But we have been there for you Kota…” Pixie Bob warbled, tears in her eyes.
Kota started crying again.
“No. You haven’t. You have tried, but you haven’t understood. That’s not being there for me. That’s just a sad attempt at parenting. You treat me like a child. I know that I am a child, but I’m also more mature and understand more than you guys think I do! Rose does not just dismiss me like you guys do. He actually tries! When he doesn’t understand he asks questions! Not just give up! Instead of complaining about not understanding he learns to understand! You do not. You never have.”
Kota sniffled and rubbed his eyes.
“I still love you. I still love you all a lot. But you just… you aren’t good parents for me. You tried. But you do not succeed. He does though. He does because he understands me. He helped me when I started forgetting my parents. He helped me when I was really hurt and lonely. He helped me. You have to understand that!”
The four heroes were hurt. A lot.
And they were angry. And for all the wrong reasons.
They were angry that this villain managed to manipulate their kid.
They also felt bad.
But also, in a wrong way.
They felt bad for Kota. They felt bad that he was confused and taken advantage of.
They couldn’t have failed that badly… right?