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Come And Go, Steady In The Storm

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It takes him two years to call. Izuku has long-since known that his so-called Dad is more than a waste of space, has known it since he was a child. When he was four years old and his mother was crying every night for weeks straight, he first considered it; when he was turning ten and counted off the sixth year with no birthday card or present, his mother exhausted and strain-smiling, he began to believe it; when he was fourteen and contemplating rooftops more than homework because he didn't want to burden his Mum with such dark knowledge but didn't have anyone else to turn to... Well, then he knew it. Had zero doubts at all.

 

And now, just after their second Sports Festival, the one that Izuku won, gold medal in hand from atop the staggered podium, with a sharp-tooth grinning Kaachan in second place and a soft-blank Shouto and proud-soft Momo in joint third, their class screaming from the stands, his phone is ringing.

 

It's just after dinner, so the entire class is in the common room. Tonight is game night as well, so Izuku is battling Kaachan in Animal Crossing for who can catch the most fish in five minutes (which is possible because, now that they've actually talked through all of the awful shit piled up in their past, now that Kaachan has apologised and Izuku has taken four months to feel able to accept that apology, both of them still attending therapy, they've managed to build something out of the ashes of Izuku's confidence and Kaachan's empathy, something strong and fierce and not-perfect but close enough for them) and everyone's yelling predictions of who will win or what the next fish will be or if Kaachan will hit Graham with a net seven or nine times, but then his phone, abandoned amongst the copious blankets and pillows, lights up, All Might's voice ringing out rather obnoxiously.

"Shit- Hitoshi, switch, switch!" Izuku yelps, shoving the controller at the hands of the boy whose lap he's collapsed upon, and gets a kiss pressed to his hair in acknowledgement as the class more or less quieten down for him to take the call without too much interruption.

 

There are only four people not in this room who are likely to ring Izuku. However, Auntie Mitsuki and Uncle Masaru call him on Tuesday evenings, not Saturday nights, and he knows that Mei is at some fancy tech convention somewhere remote in Europe, so he's fully expecting his Mum or Toshinori to be the one ringing, and it's with this assumption that he doesn't even bother checking the caller ID before accepting it, already greeting one of this favourite people with a warm smile,

"He-"

 

"Hey there, kiddo, it's your Dad!"  The voice is chipper, with an oily undertone. Izuku instantly wants to throw up.

 

"Hi," he returns, automatic and utterly deadpan in the sort of way that has the entire room looking over at him, concern blatant. Izuku can't even acknowledge them though, mind rushing with warring heat, lava against flames against plasma, bile rising up in his throat, and none of it is good.
"Why are you calling me?"

"C'mon, kid, don't be like that. It's been forever since we caught up and I thought-"  Oh no, he did not. He did not think at all, except probably himself, because Izuku is far from blind to this timing-

"You thought wrong. Also, it's been twelve years, so I'm not being like anything. Lastly, don't call me kid. I'm not your child."  Everyone is moving now, the game abandoned in favour of every one of Izuku's friends, all nineteen of them, gathering closer, supportive. Kaachan clasps a warm hand on his shoulder (one that Izuku knows won't burn, won't overlay old scars with fresh wounds-), Tsu and Ochako each wrap themselves around one of his legs, Hitoshi's arms slip more firmly around his waist, Tenya and Momo start tucking blankets over his lap, Shouto holds his free hand, and Izuku barely stays grounded with it all, light-headed as he listens to the absolute shit coming through his phone, staring sightlessly across the room. Oh, he and Hitoshi have more fish in their inventory. They must have won.

 

"Kid- Izuku, whatever, you're my son! And I finally found the time to reconnect with you, aren't you grateful?"  Suddenly the anger is coming back as quickly as it had disappeared, ebbing and flowing in great tidal surges of heat around his heart,

"Grateful that you found the time? You should've made the time years ago," he spits, and the hands and arms around him tighten, squeezing solidity back into him.

"Izuku, kid, you don't understand-"

"You're right, I don't understand! How could you? You left! You left me!" He howls the words in a sick, sad parody of his class' joyous racket from earlier, curling over Hitoshi's arms with the force of it all, everything burning except for those blessed points of contact,
"More than that, you left Mum! I needed you, but at least I could forget the good things about you! She couldn't, no, she was left with all the shitty things and the good things stuck right there too. She remembered you loving her, and you still left her!"  Izuku's throat hurts. It aches with the volume, cut apart on the awful words that he has just screamed out with an anger he didn't know he still had, and now he just feels kind of numb again.

 

"Izuku."

 

The voice, despite everything, is calm. Despite the scowling expression and fierce eyes, Kaachan's voice is calm and in that single word is every bit of understanding Izuku could need. So he lets his friend-bully-rival-brother take the phone, and he blurs out.

 

He distantly registers clipped, cold words (never try to contact him again - better than you - has all the family he needs-) but is too busy drowning in something awful and too-hot, too-cold, unable to get his bearings because it's all a grey blur of emotions and half-noticed details, like how the flower pin in Tsu's hair matches Ochako's, and Mina has her favourite fluffy jumper on so she must have stolen it back from Sero, and Ojiro's tail tuft is braided because he's been sitting next to Kaminari and oh, look, Kaachan's back, caramel-sweet hands holding Izuku's cheeks, forcing him to focus on the pale face in front of him. The red eyes aren't angry. That's good. He doesn't like Kaachan being angry because that means he's upset and he always feels bad when he gets upset for no reason now-

 

"-with us, Izuku?"  He hums, and, huh, he feels all raw inside. Empty-shelled and nerve-edged. It's not very nice.

 

But there are kind hands on him, so Izuku can blink and nod and try to smile through the palms pressing at his cheeks, fingers pressing in slightly beneath his eyes, the tiniest of rhythms there.

"That's good. Your brain's gone to shit a bit though, yeh?"

"Mm."  Kaachan nods, and the arms around Izuku's waist tighten a little, a huff of breath against his hair, somebody shifting against his calf.

"Alright. Need any shit in particular though? Or is this good?" The question takes a few too-long moments to process, but then he can shrug a little,

"S'good," Izuku manages, the words an unpleasant grate but they're enough, clearly, because Kaachan nods sharply, shifts his hands to ruffle green curls briefly, before moving away, the faint, sweet scent of Momo's perfume sliding in to take his place. Izuku can only melt back into Hitoshi and remember to breathe.

 

Izuku still isn't entirely present when the class call Aizawa-sensei, passing on the phone number and known details, but he is conscious of how there is still a comforting swarm of people around him. Hitoshi is humming in his ear, something sweet and simple and slow, and Shouto is keeping him from overheating with his ice side, then Ochako and Tsu are sitting on his feet. Kaachan is still nearby, the caramel scent safe and close like it was always meant to be. All around the room, there's bright hair and kind eyes and gentle chatter, and Izuku knows that right here, right now, his father doesn't matter. No, he's found a family all of his own, and they couldn't love each other more.