“Hawks,” the voice of a very annoyed Shigaraki came through the other end of the call that Hawks had nonchalantly picked up in the middle of his work. “You need to come here. Now.”
That very quickly made said hero actually pay attention to the call. “Tomura? What happened? Is everyone okay?!” Shigaraki didn’t often call him, it was normally Dabi he spoke to. “Is Dabi okay?!” It was no well kept secret in the League that Hawks and their resident pyromaniac had some serious tension between them and cared a lot more about the other than either would ever admit in so many words.
“Well, he’s not dying.” Shigaraki huffed, his annoyance easily seeping through the phone and putting Hawks on edge.
“But something did happen?”
“Yes, but if I have to spend one more second here with him and the other idiots there may just be murder after all.”
Hawks audibly gulped. Ever since being introduced to the League and actually coming to really like all of them (pyro incredibly included) he had surprisingly never seen or heard Shigaraki with the temper he was known for amongst heroes. Now that he was for the first time, he was more than just on edge. “I’ll be there in five minutes.” He promised, already altering his flight course for the League of Villain’s hideout. “Oh, and, please don’t kill anyone.” He tried to soothe his own mind by saying this.
Is all that he got in response before the line went dead, which only led to Hawks managing to fly faster than before. Five minutes managed to turn into around two and Shigaraki was already waiting for him on the roof of the abandoned warehouse. They didn’t speak at all as the younger man quickly led the hero inside.
“Oh thank god, Hawks is here. I am not cut out for this type of work.” Spinner looked near the verge of tears when he noticed Hawks walking through the room. “He’s here to take over, right Shigaraki?” Said male only nodded and Spinner ran out of the room, whooping in very obvious glee.
“Tomura,” Hawks started, very clearly apprehensive. “What the fuck actually happened?” He had been relieved to hear that no one had died or probably gotten hurt, but Spinner’s reaction didn’t exactly ease his frayed nerves.
“They went out on a simple information gathering mission, literally the easiest thing ever, but came back with Dabi as a fucking child!” The leader of the League was very obviously nearing his breaking point, but Hawks couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief as a knot in his chest loosened greatly. “Why are you relieved? Why are you fucking okay with this?!” Shigaraki glared at him.
Hawks chuckled nervously. “Well, it’s just, he’s just been turned into a kid, right? That’s not horrible, especially considering most quirks like this wear off sooner rather than later.” He shrugged. “How young is he?” Hawks had come across quite a number of quirks that can turn adults back into kids for upwards of a few days at most. Some reverted them back to toddlers, some older children, and even sometimes they just turned them back into teenagers, but never babies so the effects of these quirks weren’t too terrible to handle. The only real problem they posed was if they turned their mind back to the age of their bodies as well. He once took care of Rumi as a 14 year old with her mind the same age; Hawks swore off ever having a daughter because of it.
“We believe he is ten or so.” Mr. Compress joined them, looking better off than Spinner and Shigaraki, but still frazzled. His mask was off and his normally tamed curly brown hair was a bit more skewed. “He is a very skittish child so we haven’t been able to get any sort of relevant information out of him.”
Hawks nodded in understanding; Dabi couldn’t have had the best childhood in order to become the type of villain he is now, so him being wary of others makes sense. “Compress, you seem to be doing fairly okay with him though, plus there’s Kurogiri, so why’d you call me? I doubt I’d be much help, and if he’s as opposed to others as you think then introducing another stranger wouldn’t help things at all.”
“I suggested we call you,” Compress explained. “I can handle a child on my own, but with Toga and Twice being just as bad and making Dabi even more closed off, I requested the help of our very own hero.”
Hawks rubbed the back of his neck, Compress really had too much faith in his skills as a hero outside of fighting. “Wait, were Twice and Toga also affected?” One kid could be handled, three though? That’s just asking for Shigaraki to kill someone.
“No…” Compressed sighed heavily, almost wearily. “They’re quite the same as normal, but are definitely having a bit too much fun harassing Dabi as a child.”
Ahh, no wonder Shigaraki and Spinner are both so upset. The two troublemakers were the League’s resident problem children on the best days, he can only imagine how bad they’ve gotten with child Dabi being around. “Okay, I get it. I’ll go see if he lets me take care of him. You get those two away from him though.” Everyone is worried about Shigaraki losing his shit and killing one of them, but if Hawks witnesses Twice and Toga making Dabi upset he may not be able to calm down his instincts saying they’re a danger to his potential mate. Which, one: he doesn’t want to hurt them because he actually quite likes them, and two: he does not want to be forced to think about the fact his instincts see Dabi as a perfect partner. So getting rid of them altogether is the best option.
“Many thanks, Hawks.” Compress bowed deeply, expressing his immense gratitude. “Come with me and I shall show you where he is. We have put him in his own room.” Compress talked as they walked through the warehouse to the back where the League member’s rooms are. “He may not know who we are or where we are currently, but I was hoping he may receive some sort of comfort from his own things even if he does not realize they are his.”
Hawks nodded, that reasoning made sense. Even if Dabi may not be able to relax in an unknown area, the hope that he finds some sort of comfort from adult his space is understandable. Hawks found himself wishing the same thing because if Dabi asks to go home instead or worse gives away his actual name, the Dabi they know and love may just cremate all of them.
When they finally reached the flame villain’s room, the first thing Hawks noticed was the two (not) kids crowding around something that was small and very obviously uncomfortable if it being up against the wall said anything. Before he could even open his mouth Mr. Compress had managed to swiftly herd Toga and Twice towards the door, giving Hawks a knowing glance and an appreciative smile before leaving Hawks alone with the little uncomfortable mass still stuck to the wall. The second thing Hawks noticed was surprisingly familiar white hair with tufts of red spread sporadically throughout. That’s… not possible… right? He thought to himself in a daze.
“Who are you?” An oh so familiar young voice demanded drawing Hawks out of his thoughts. He was wrong, he had to be wrong, and there is still a little Dabi who needed help so he needed to focus. Not think about the past.
“Hey kiddo,” Hawks started with what he hoped was an approachable and comforting smile on his face. “My name is Hawks.” Even if he has to be wrong about knowing who this kid in front of him is, even just thinking about him made Hawks hesitant to introduce himself as a hero. The League seems to think little Dabi will open up more to a hero than them, but the child Hawks is subconsciously comparing him to would ice him out even faster if he knew.
“Hawks.” Dabi repeated softly as he slowly uncurled himself and stood up to a height probably way too small for a ten year old. “I have a friend who is called Hawks sometimes, but he’s younger than me so who are you really?” Dabi eyed him suspiciously, seemingly not noticing Hawks’ current internal panic. White and red hair, the beginnings of deep burn scars, bright turquoise eyes, the sharp and pained look that doesn’t belong in the eyes of a kid. Hawks does know him, but he shouldn’t be seeing him right now! “Are you a hero?” Dabi(?) seemed to be looking straight through Hawks as he stared. “Do you work for them?!” He spat with more venom than a kid should be able to produce.
Hawks couldn’t speak even if he wanted to, the words were getting caught in the rapidly forming lump in his throat every time he tried. Nothing came out as Dabi(?) got closer, or as he started to circle him, or when he felt the kid freeze and start to heat up from behind him. He couldn’t even move away when a hot hand gently stroked down a few feathers. Not that he would especially want to though. There’s only ever been two people in his whole life he felt comfortable enough with to let them touch his wings even without warning. Now that those two people seemed to apparently be one, a lot of things were starting to make more and more sense.
“Touya…” he was finally able to choke out, his voice watery with unshed tears welling up in his eyes. The small and warm and painfully familiar hand on his wings stopped stroking, and Hawks could feel the body behind him tense.
“Keigo…?” The soft voice Hawks has painfully been missing for over a decade asked. “You’re still with them?” Touya asked with his own tears starting to spill over the edges and down his lightly scarred face. “I didn’t save you?” His voice was now trembling as he gripped Hawks’ feathers; it wasn’t in a painful way, but it did make Hawks himself tense this time.
“Save me?” He forced out, detaching the feathers Touya had in what reminded him of his own childish habit of stress gripping, and used them to bring the boy back around so they were looking at each other face to face.
“I-I have a plan. It’s supposed to work!” Touya was now close to hyperventilating. “It should've worked!” He cried.
Hawks wasn’t sure what to do. The Touya he knew was the strongest person ever; he always comforted Keigo after training, and cleaned and dressed his wounds, and reassured him whenever he needed, and would break the rules to stay with him at night, but he never cried. At least, not in front of him. “A plan…” Keigo sank down to the hard cement floor, his wings drooping to match the sudden souring of his mood.
“Wait, no, it’s fine!” Touya forced his sobs down and wiped roughly at his eyes, wincing a little when he rubbed a bit too hard at the burns under them. “Don’t cry.” He stood in front of Keigo and reached out towards his face. If it were anyone else, his survival instincts would’ve kicked in, but as little Touya wiped away the tears he didn’t even notice slip out, everything in him calmed. “I’m sorry. Everything’s okay.”
If he felt up to it, Keigo would have laughed as this ten year old kid wiped away his tears and comforted him; instead, he let himself go back to when he was eight and Touya’s voice and hands were the only comfort he knew. The only comfort he still knows considering Dabi is Touya.
“Hawks?” A soft knock echoed through the mostly empty room -Dabi apparently isn’t in to decorating-. “I heard crying, are you both quite alright in there?” Mr. Compress asked.
Keigo was grateful that it seemed everyone else had already left the hideout and that Compress is enough of respectful person to not just enter unannounced. He quickly swallowed around the lump and plastered on a fake smile -if he smiles then he sounds cheerier even if no one can see his face- before responding. “Yep! Everything is a-okay in here!” He forced out a laugh that sounded so fake it hurt. “It’s taking more than I thought to get through to him, so you can go until I do.” He lied perfectly.
“He is quite the handful on a regular day.” Compress laughed. “Thank you so very much for helping us with this.”
“Hahaha, yeaahh. No problem at all.” Keigo laughed anxiously. “I’ll be out then to get T-Dabi some food.” The already warm hands still on his cheeks were getting warmer, and Touya’s eyes were glowing dangerously, so Keigo knew Compress really had to leave before he was patching up severe burns caused by a kid.
“Understood. Simply let me know if you require my assistance.” Was all Compress said before his footsteps were heard retreating from the room, headed in the opposite direction. Probably the makeshift living room.
“I’m sorry about th-“ Keigo tried to apologize, but the hands on his cheeks moved to cover his mouth. Since he couldn’t talk, he tilted his head to the side, curious as to why Touya was being like this all of a sudden.
“Who else is here? Did he leave?” Touya whispered, subtle fear hiding behind his eyes. He’d been trying, and failing, to listen to the stranger’s footsteps since that’s how he kept himself relatively safe. The warehouse and closed door had caused that particular talent to mean shit.
“No one else is here. And yeah, he’s completely out of earshot.” Keigo promised. Before Touya could argue with him, Keigo gestured to the feathers by their feet. “They can sense anyone around them, and I always leave quite a few around the warehouse.” Dabi’s the only one who knows this though; it’s not like he doesn’t trust the League, he trusts them a lot more than most heroes and definitely a lot more than the Commission, he simply wants to check on them. If someone’s hurt he can tell, and if there’s an emergency Dabi can tear one of them to alert him. It’s a pretty good system.
Touya looked conflicted as he seemed to want to say something, but before Keigo could ask he finally spoke. “Did they teach you how to do that?” He again spat out his words, and now Keigo looked conflicted.
This wasn’t a recent skill, and the Commission has been training him how to do it for about as long as they’ve had custody over him. “Surely I knew how to do at least this much at eight, right?”
“Not to this extent,” Touya shook his head, obviously very sad again. “How long have I left you with them?” When Keigo refused to answer him, Touya reached out to touch his cheeks again. “I would try and try again to save you if my first plan failed, what happens to me?” If his plan genuinely failed, then that would have meant death for him. Touya was putting everything into this gamble of his, including his life, but if he’s looking at adult Keigo right now then he didn’t die. But if he didn’t die then why is Keigo still trapped in the Commission? Even if he got out extremely hurt, if he lived then leaving his best friend there doesn’t sound like him.
Keigo couldn’t turn his head with Touya’s hands holding him in place; he’s always been stronger but even as an adult he just can’t bring himself to use that strength to avoid Touya. “I was told you died, that it,” he sniffled again feeling like he could cry again. “They told me it was my fault.” He’s been carrying the guilt of killing his best friend ever since then. Keigo was never told how exactly Touya had died, but Endeavor confirming it was enough proof for him at the time. Even as he got older and could’ve easily figured out just how odd his death had been, he was completely Hawks by then. His grief and guilt were still there, perhaps stronger than it had been when he was younger, but by the time he was 15 or so he knew a lot better than to push his luck with anyone in the Commission. After he’d debuted, Keigo had been planning on asking Endeavor about it, but by the time he had enough time and a high enough ranking for a conversation to even happen with the number two hero, he was thrust into his current infiltration mission.
“I know I might die from this plan, but I never want them to blame you!” Touya released Keigo’s face and backed away, picking at a scabbed over burn as he did. “If I lived, I never would’ve left you there. I swear.” His desperation was clearly painted all over his face when he looked back up into Keigo’s eyes.
“I know, Touya, but leaving me there led to me meeting the you now. Adult you is saving me a lot more than I think the two of us as kids could’ve ever dreamed.” Dabi had given him a chance to save himself, a way out, he gave him a place to truly belong, and he gave him the courage needed to leave. The only thing that was holding him back from really recognizing and labeling the feelings he has for Dabi has been the memory of Touya. “But I really need to know, what was your plan?” Technically he didn’t have to know, but Keigo would now go crazy coming up with every single possible scenario that Touya could have planned to save him when they were kids. Touya “died” ten years ago, so he didn’t put his plan into place until he was 14, but he’d been planning since he was at least ten.
Touya clearly seemed reluctant to tell him, but under Keigo’s intense gaze he eventually relented. “My father, he trains me himself every other weekend, and he’s so close with the Commission that if they knew he hurt me bad enough they’d have to go against him to the public. I could get you out during that.”
“Oh god,” Keigo was a master at hiding his emotions from showing on his face, but he couldn’t hide the horror he felt at this moment at all. “You were prepared for Endeavor to kill you, just to save me?!” He hissed, his voice low despite the growing urge to scream. Compress showing up before had been a minor inconvenience, if he came back now then Keigo may just commit a murder of a friend. That or ten year old Touya would instead. “Why?!” He demanded. If he didn’t exactly need an answer to his previous question, then this one required it. He and Touya had been close friends, sure, but they were also the only kids in the Commission’s training program that couldn’t have the humanity beat out of them so they’d just gravitated towards each other. Keigo would’ve done anything for him, but his bird instincts had also claimed Touya by then. He just couldn’t fathom why Touya would be willing to go that far; not even just willing, he did!
”Are you close with adult me?” Touya instead asked his own question. Despite himself Keigo nodded. “Then you should already know why. You have to, right? I can’t be stupid enough as an adult to not tell you.”
Before Keigo had even properly processed what Touya had just said, -which was not the response he wanted!- the kid in front of him seemed to be growing exponentially. The process was over in less than a minute, but by the time Keigo looked again child Touya was replaced by adult Dabi. Who looked downright murderous.
“Birdie, what. The. Fuck.”
Keigo still hadn’t fully caught up to the situation in front of him, that or after seeing Touya as a child again he could no longer bring himself to care, but he slowly reached out a hand and rubbed the healthy skin right under the scar below his left eye. “You got these for me?” He whispered, tears already falling again. “What the hell, Touya.” Dabi is allowed to be upset because based on his reaction he had all of his memories of being ten again, but Keigo had the right to be as well. “Ten years, ten fucking years I thought I killed you. They told me that you died trying to defend me, that your flames burned too hot for your body to handle when you’d taken a training session for me. I got compliant so quickly after that!”
Touya gently held the hand on his face, his anger quickly dissipating as he sat on the floor watching Keigo rightfully lose it. “Hey, I-“ he tried, but was promptly cut off.
“You knew who I was as soon as we met, right? Were you getting a kick out of watching me be the Commission puppet I was raised to be?!” Okay, Keigo knows that’s not fair. He also knows that it’s not true, but he currently wasn’t consciously in charge of his words. They just kept spilling out no matter how hard he tried to stop them. “Was it fun to watch me struggle with my feelings for you knowing you’re the reason for them?!”
“Do not ‘Keigo’ me!” Keigo interrupted yet again as more tears fell; whether they were from anger or sadness, neither could tell anymore. “You could’ve been doing that for months now, but instead you decided to string me along! Watching me slowly lose it over you and the League was probably so fucking funny!”
When he finally stopped for a breath, Touya took that chance to lightly brush away the rapidly falling tears. “You can be mad and hate me all you want, but at least hate me for what I’ve actually done cause I have never thought any of this was ‘fun’.” He pulled away from a frozen Keigo and chuckled sadly. “I’ve always thought not being able to cry anymore was a good thing, but now I don’t think you’d believe me without it like little me did.”
Keigo could have probably stopped his hands from cupping Touya’s face, definitely could’ve stopped himself from leaning in, but when their lips connected he couldn’t bring himself to move away. It wasn’t long, and was very chaste, and when he pulled away with an angry blush spread over his cheeks highlighting the freckles and bird markings near his eyes that his handlers have him cover up, Touya pulled him back in.
“If you’re going to finally kiss me, at least do it right.” Touya leveled Keigo with a halfhearted glare when he finally pulled away. “Little me already said it, right? I may not have ever said it in so many words, but I thought I’ve at least managed to show you how I feel. I underestimated how much of a birdbrain you are though.”
“Why would you be so willing to die for me?” Keigo was finally back to himself, any trace of excess anger long gone after their kiss.
Touya sighed as his glare turned much softer. “Killing someone for you was too easy, even now I would still kill for you without question. But dying for you? That’s how much I loved you back then.” He explained gently. “If I thought it would save you and keep you safe, I’d die for you even now. For real this time.”
“Don’t.” Keigo frowned. “Please, promise me you won’t die for me. Please?” He was practically begging at this point, but he couldn’t help it. He spent ten years with the guilt of killing his best friend, now that he has him back if he actually becomes responsible for killing his mate then the outcome would not be pretty. The Commission held him back last time, but now he has friends and allies that care about Touya as well and would back him for whatever necessary. That’s what makes villains better than heroes in that regard; they can put their loved ones over the world as a whole without the guilt tripping heroes suffer through.
“I can’t promise you that,” Touya has spent most of his life willing to put his life on the line for Keigo without a second thought, he can’t just change that. “But, I will promise you that I have no intentions of dying any time soon.”
Keigo couldn’t really argue with that, he was technically getting what he asked for. “Since you’re so willing to kill for me, I’m assuming you’d support me doing the same?” There are a whole shit ton of bastards he’s been waiting for the chance to kill for Touya, but one stands out amongst the others right now.
“Wait, Kei, don’t do anything rash.” Touya paled as he realized what the bird was inferring.
“Oh, now isn’t that rich coming from you?” Keigo eyed the other. “He’s always been a threat to my mate, he almost killed you! He deserves to bleed at least, and die a scorching death like yours was supposed to be at most.”
”I have a plan years in the making for dealing with Enji, wait-“
”I don’t think I exactly trust your plans so much, Touya.” Keigo glared at him, hoping to shut him up but of course failing.
“Did you call me your, mate?”
Keigo at least had the decency to look away, his flush from their kiss darkening into a deep red blush. “Since we were kids my instincts have always recognized you as, I don’t know, mine? I guess? It’s why I was so distraught when my feelings for Dabi were starting to feel the same.” He rubbed the back of his neck, his feathers rustling anxiously. “Since hawks mate for life, it kinda makes sense why my instincts realized who you are before my brain did.” He glanced through his hair to look at Touya’s wide eyes and slightly agape mouth. “Oh! But I’m not trying to force anything on you of course! I’m obviously not an actual bird, so I can probably move on if I really try to!” He really hadn’t meant for all of that to come out.
“No, hey, Keigo,” Touya went from a few feet away to suddenly right in front of Keigo holding him in a tight embrace. “I’m honored for you to see me as your mate. I’m not a bird so my feelings can’t be as deep as that, but I’ve always seen you as mine too.” Touya fell first, but he was quickly realizing that Keigo had fallen harder even with a ten year gap.
“God, this wasn’t planned at all!” Keigo buried his face in Touya’s shoulder. “I was in the middle of fucking patrol when Tomura called me, and I didn’t know you were a kid till I got here, and I definitely didn’t realize you were Touya till I got in the room. I’ve never even seen an age quirk only last a short time like this, and I’ve seen a shit ton of them over the years. It’s a surprisingly common quirk to have.”
“Kei, you’re rambling.” Touya laughed, but he smothered it in Keigo’s feathery hair so he didn’t get hit for laughing. “To be honest, I was a kid since yesterday. It was today that I started to talk about someone with red wings and they called you here. Even as a ten year old I knew to ask for you. If they didn’t tell you that then that means they were probably weirded out by little me knowing someone with red wings like yours and didn’t want you to know.” After a moment of silence between them as Keigo very obviously tried his hardest to not laugh as well, Touya suddenly pulled away with a very serious look on his face. “Kei,” he looked him in the eye, holding Keigo by his shoulders. “Since when the fuck does Shiggy call you?!” And apparently that was the breaking point for Keigo as he doubled over in laughter, flopping himself back into Touya’s hold. Skipping out on the last half of patrol was so fucking worth it.