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i'll fall with gravity

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Iwaizumi finds a lacy pair of panties hanging on the banister when he enters the foyer with coffee, donuts, and files balancing on his forearms. He prays to God that it isn’t his boss’s.

Ignoring the garment for now, he trudges along into the kitchen to dump all of the items onto the counter. It’s way too early to give a fuck about arranging the paperwork neatly for Oikawa to look over and Iwaizumi should still be in his lumpy bed in his cramped, two room apartment. But instead, he feels like he is about ready to pass out on Oikawa’s kitchen floor from the way his body sways from left to right.

He can see his reflection in the floor so it’s not like he’ll be sleeping on something dirty. It might actually be good for his back when he thinks about it. More support for his spine.

Before Iwaizumi can allow sleep to take hold and pull him to the ground, he hears a quiet whirring sound coming from behind him. Groggily, he turns his head to see a small metal claw on wheels roll into the kitchen with a woman’s tote hanging from its silvery pincher. Papers are spilling out of it as the robot wheels its way over to Iwaizumi, carelessly rolling over any pages that get in its path.

It holds the bag up to Iwaizumi like it's a peace offering and beeps. Iwaizumi notices that there’s also a sticky note attached to the front of the purse and he pulls it off, instantly recognizing the neat and precise handwriting.

 

You know what to do

 

That fuck.

As if on cue, he hears a woman’s voice begin to echo in the large home and the padding sound of feet briskly walking through the halls. The robot drops the purse and bolts out of the kitchen the way that Iwaizumi came in, beeping loudly like it was screaming in fear.

Iwaizumi curses and quickly tries to gather the pages that the robot ran over and stuff them back into the purse, then throws the bag onto the counter amongst all the other junk. Throwing on his most casual expression, he leans against the counter and waits.

A girl – young woman, probably college age, must be an intern for some magazine company, will definitely be easy to get rid of – bounds into the kitchen, big eyes darting around searching for something, or rather someone. Her brown hair is a tangled mess done up in a sloppy ponytail and it looks like she put her clothes on in the dark since there’s some buttons done up wrong and her skirt is on backwards. Her makeup – what’s left of it, anyways – is all smudged over her face. Most of it is probably rubbed off on Oikawa’s bedsheets and pillows (that Iwaizumi will have to see to get cleaned).

Oikawa sure knows how to pick them.

She notices Iwaizumi and jumps a bit, startled. Realizing how she must look, she makes an attempt to straighten her hair and fluffs it a bit. It doesn’t help at all.

“Um, excuse me, have you seen Tooru anywhere?” she asks nervously.

“Oikawa-san is currently handling business matters,” Iwaizumi recites, familiar with the usual shtick. He doesn’t remember ‘getting rid of one night stands’ being a part of the job description for the assistant of a major CEO of a technology company. If it was, he should be getting paid way more than he is now for putting up with this shit.

The girl pouts. “But I’m supposed to have an interview with him for my magazine,” she says with a huff and Iwaizumi reaches out to grab the purse off the counter, holding it out towards her.

“In here is a list of answers to any and all questions you may have, personally typed. And knowing Oikawa-san, there will be a car arriving shortly to take you anywhere you like,” Iwaizumi states flatly.

The girl blinks, then takes her bag and places the strap over her narrow shoulders. She looks absolutely confused, blinking her doe eyes with the most dumbfounded expression on her face as she sifts through the papers. She opens her mouth like she wants to make a comment, but then goes back to looking through her bag and nervously biting on her lower lip. That’s good, that’s less of a headache for Iwaizumi if she’s cooperative.

“. . .Right then. . .um, I’ll just. . .” she begins and Iwaizumi nods his head.

“I’ll walk you out,” Iwaizumi says and gestures towards the front door. The girl nods her head and trails after Iwaizumi in her own walk of shame. They pass by the frilly garment still dangling on the banister and Iwaizumi clears his throat, averting his eyes towards the expensive chandelier hanging overhead.

The girl glances up and spots the underwear, quickly snatching it off the banister and shoving it into her purse amongst all the papers. She hugs her purse tight to her chest and ducks her face in embarrassment, rushing past Iwaizumi and makes it to the front door first.

“I can show myself out, thanks,” she says in a hurry, fumbling with the doorknob. She quickly opens the door and slips out, shutting it fast behind her. Iwaizumi sighs through his nose and rubs the side of his forehead, easing the headache away before it can really agitate him.

A friendly little beep sounds behind him and he turns, seeing the robot wheeling back into the foyer, swinging its claw from side to side. Iwaizumi frowns at it and places hands on his hips.

“You didn’t have to run off like that,” he tells it.

The robot beeps indignantly.

“It’s awkward for me too, you know,” Iwaizumi gripes and loosens his tie. “Where’s Shittykawa?” he asks.

The robot bends its arm downwards and taps the tip of its claw against the floor. Iwaizumi sighs deeply and nods his head in understanding. He goes past the stairs, lazily running his fingertips along the wall as he searches for that one little spot-

“Ah,” Iwaizumi says and presses his thumb deep into the wall, into the little spot below a framed picture of a young Oikawa seated on the lap of his father. He always complains to Iwaizumi to find another picture for him to hang instead, but Iwaizumi always conveniently forgets to.

It’s a good conversation starter; Iwaizumi likes to talk about the time before Oikawa became the young multibillionaire and simultaneously annoying shit boss of his. Back when Oikawa was just ‘Tooru’ to him, sleepovers and stargazing and sharing each other’s childish secrets.

A section of the wall slides away to reveal a steel staircase leading down below the home. Iwaizumi slowly descends, making a mental note to have lights installed so someone doesn’t slip and break their neck trying to get down here. It’s also extremely cold; a small chill runs up his spine. No way any sane person can be down here for extended periods of time.

Then again, anyone that actually knew Oikawa might have a thing or two to say about his state of mind.

Iwaizumi reaches the ground floor and peers through the glass wall separating the entrance way to Oikawa’s workshop. Sure enough, there’s a figure hunched over a glowing hologram projection of some schematic Iwaizumi can’t even fathom how long Oikawa has spent going over it. He clicks his tongue and enters unannounced, watching to see how close he can get without Oikawa noticing him.

He barely makes two steps in when Oikawa’s head rises up, alert.

“How’d she take it?” he asks aloud and Iwaizumi folds his arms over his chest.

“Better than the one from Forbes did.”

Oikawa nods his head and then goes back to examining the hologram. Iwaizumi circles around Oikawa’s desk covered in empty pizza boxes and multitudes of wires and metal that don’t seem to be connected to anything. His eye catches something buried underneath a volleyball magazine and hopes that glowing core isn’t radioactive material because he does not need Sugawara questioning him about whether or not Oikawa built another bomb.

When Iwaizumi gets close enough to see the blueprint in the projection, he hasn’t a clue what the hell it’s supposed to be.

“How long have you been down here?” Iwaizumi asks and Oikawa hums, slowly twirling a screwdriver in his hands as he stares at the projection. His long fingers are covered in oil and the filthy grunge goes up to his forearms. Black stains cover the front of his old volleyball jersey in big splotches, some of the spots getting on Oikawa’s sweats that were a present from Bokuto, bless his soul.

“Like. . .two hours, give or take. I know it was after she went asleep. And that was after our little ‘interview’ and that was after the keynote address about the company expansion in America-”

“About what time did her underwear get flung onto the banister?” Iwaizumi asks and Oikawa gives a coy little smirk.

“Iwa-chan, if I didn’t know better, I’d say I heard a little tone of jealousy,” Oikawa says and Iwaizumi scoffs.

“Yes, I’m very jealous that you got the chance to be a hormonal idiot for the fourth time this month while I, unfortunately, had to be the responsible adult and schedule meetings with potential investors,” Iwaizumi says crossly and Oikawa pouts.

“That icy tone of yours makes me wonder if you forgot who signs your paychecks.”

“Shimizu, head of payroll.”

Oikawa leans back on his stool; it teeters rather unstably as he gives a huff. “Well if you’re going to be literal about it,” he says and rubs the sleep from his exhausted eyes.

Iwaizumi blinks. “You just smeared oil all over your face.”

“It’s okay, Iwa-chan. Not even a little bit of dirt can tarnish my good looks,” Oikawa says with a little wink. Frustratingly, Iwaizumi has to agree with that comment. Oikawa is usually always covered in sweat and motor oil from spending long nights in his workshop, tinkering with things that should be left alone for the greater good of mankind. And no matter what, he always looks like he was peeled from the cover of Vogue or Dolce & Gabanna latest ‘grunge meets chic’ look.

It pisses Iwaizumi off more than it should, because Oikawa has brains and beauty, which is already too much for only one person to possess. Bastard.

“There’s coffee and donuts upstairs as well as files I need you to look over and sign and hand it back to me before Saturday.”

“Why couldn’t you have brought any of that stuff down here?”

“Because I was getting rid of your one-night stand. Besides, you need to stop and get some sunlight. You're not a fucking bat,” Iwaizumi elaborates and Oikawa snaps his fingers at a metal arm on four wheels.

“Hey U, go and get the coffee from upstairs. Also, a donut with sprinkles if there’s any,” he orders. The arm jolts upwards, swinging from Iwaizumi to Oikawa, before it begins to slowly make its way towards the stairs.

“How do you expect him to get up the stairs?” Iwaizumi asks and Oikawa bites the inside of his cheek.

“. . .Didn’t think about that. Mind giving him a hand with those muscular arms of yours?” Oikawa asks, flexing his muscles to add emphasis. His arms are not as built as Iwaizumi’s are, but Iwaizumi still feels something stir in his chest when Oikawa does so. The brunet bats his eyes up at Iwaizumi and Iwaizumi rolls his own, deciding to forget about that little quiver in his chest for now.

He turns on his heel and opens the door for the robot to exit, then crouches down and lifts the machine into his arms. He grunts under the heavy weight, then staggers up the first step, the second step, and so on.

“He needs to make you more mobile,” Iwaizumi grunts under the strain. The robot gives a sad little whir in response as Iwaizumi continues up the steps. He places the robot down when he finally gets to the top of the steps and opens the panel for both of them to exit into the foyer.

“Make sure he signs those papers!” he shouts at U. It spins its hand around in a circle as a gesture of understanding, and then slowly wheels itself towards the kitchen at a rate slower than a snail. Iwaizumi sighs, he’s definitely not getting paid enough for this.


It’s around three in the morning when Iwaizumi’s cell phone rings obnoxiously loud on his nightstand. It takes him a while to answer it, since it startled him so much that he accidentally rolled off his bed and onto the floor and then spent a few seconds groaning about the painful ache in his lower back.

Iwaizumi greets whoever is on the other line with a hello, but it just comes out as a sleep-filled grunt.

What’s your type?

Iwaizumi furrows his eyebrows and wipes the bit of drool from his mouth. “Do you have any idea what time it is, Shittykawa?” Iwaizumi grumbles out, sounding less intimidating from being awake for only two minutes.

There is a long pause and Iwaizumi wonders if he’s just dreaming all of this right now. Or maybe Oikawa just called him for no reason and fell asleep like he should be doing right now. “. . .Morning?” Oikawa finally answers and Iwaizumi rubs his face.

“Yes. Morning. Sunday morning. My day off,” Iwaizumi lists off.

You know the saying, early bird catches the worm?

“Not when the bird doesn’t have to get the worm until Monday. You’re an idiot and I’m hanging up now.”

Wait, wait, Iwa-chan! I need to ask you an important question!” Oikawa whines into the other line. “Your type? What’s your type?

“Did you seriously wake me up at three in the morning to ask me about my type? Why are you even awake right now, what are you doing?” Iwaizumi questions. He doesn’t even have to be there to know that Oikawa is already rolling his eyes.

Just having a cup of coffee and thinking about if my poor, little assistant had a night to act like a hormonal idiot, would he finally loosen up?

“And what were you doing before that?”

Being totally honest with you, I have no idea. It looks like a blender though. With wheels.

“Not a bomb though.”

No, not if I want Kou-chan coming at me with a month-long lecture and a Taser.”

Iwaizumi chuckles low under his breath. “So spill. What kind of person are you interested in?

“Why do you care? I don’t want my boss meddling in my love life.”

Don’t think of it as your boss meddling in your love life. Think of it as your childhood friend meddling in your love life.”

“I’m hanging up this time-”

One thing! Just give me one thing to go off of and I’ll have QT make arrangements for you to have a nice Sunday brunch at your favorite restaurant on me.

Iwaizumi hums, mulling it over in his head. Free food or keeping his dignity. Going to sleep right now and having free food when he awakens, or blocking Oikawa from a side of Iwaizumi that he’s not sure he wants to share. At least, not yet.

“. . .Tall, I guess,” he slurs into his phone, rather exhausted. Oikawa hums.

Tall. Ok. I can work with that. . .goodnight, Iwa-chan.”

“It’s morning. Maybe you should put in a clock instead of playing with blenders on wheels. And install some lights in that stairwell so you don’t break your neck going down there at ungodly hours,” Iwaizumi states. Oikawa chuckles again; it sends sparks down Iwaizumi spine and makes his toes curl.

Okaaaayyy. . .morning, Hajime.”

Iwaizumi’s breath hitches, just a bit.

“Morning, Tooru.”


The elevator is less packed than usual as Iwaizumi enters it Monday morning, most likely because everyone is in the lobby taking advantage of ‘Muffin Monday’. Probably 3/4ths of the employees in this company have never seen/talked to Oikawa, yet they are always quick to say what a great boss he is to host fun days like this.

Whatever.

He reaches his floor and passes by Tsukishima at his desk still, headphones on his ears and completely ignoring everything and everyone around him. It’s rather stupid that Oikawa assigned an assistant to Iwaizumi when he himself is the assistant to Oikawa, but it came with Sugawara’s recommendation that Iwaizumi could use the extra help around the office and wasn’t up for discussion.

It’ll be easier to keep an eye on him if he’s with you, Sugawara told him in private over some drinks. Plus, I can trust you won’t let Oikawa-san run any weird experiments on him to test his abilities.

“Morning,” Iwaizumi greets. Tsukishima glances up and pulls off his headphones to be respectful. Had it been Oikawa, they probably would have stayed on.

“Morning. . .Iwaizumi-san, are you into online dating?”

That certainly isn’t a question Iwaizumi is expecting to come out of Tsukishima’s mouth. He furrows his eyebrows.

“No. Why?”

“When I checked your e-mail this morning, there were a lot of responses to an online dating profile with your name and picture.”

What?

Iwaizumi is by Tsukishima’s side in an instant, glaring at the screen so hard his eyes might as well pop out of his skull and punch the display in. There were dozens of email open, some deleted and some just waiting to be perused. They’re all from different dating websites too, from women and men. Some are with some filthy messages describing what they’d like to do to Iwaizumi and vice versa, while others are accompanied with a picture that Iwaizumi doesn’t dare to scroll down and view entirely.

He stares and stares and stares until he stands up straight, nostrils flaring and vein on the side of his head threatening to burst.

“Tsukishima-kun, get rid of all those accounts and those emails. By whatever means necessary. Any emails of relative importance, forward them to Kunimi. . .scratch that. Forward them to Kindaichi.”

Kunimi usually never checks his email. He spends his time at the computer playing Solitaire and not even trying to hide it. Kindaichi, on the other hand, will make sure Iwaizumi has the email file, a print out, and pdf version forwarded to Oikawa as well. Overly thorough, but Kindaichi always wants to make sure everything is perfect for his well-respected superior that he may or may not have a puppy crush on. Iwaizumi never bothered to look into the matter.

Tsukishima nods his head in understanding. “By the way, you have someone here to see Oikawa-san.”

Which means they’re here to see Iwaizumi.

“‘Aoba Josai Enterprises’ someone, or ‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ someone?”

“S.H.I.E.L.D. someone.”

Please don’t be Sugawara, please don’t be Sugawara, please don’t be Sugawara.

He grits his teeth and enters the office behind Tsukishima’s desk, bracing himself for what could be behind the door. The good outcome would be it’s just a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative playing messenger and relaying information to Oikawa that Iwaizumi shouldn’t know about but is trusted with anyways. The bad outcome would be that it’s Sugawara playing messenger and relaying information to Oikawa that Iwaizumi shouldn’t know about but is trusted with anyways.

The horrible outcome would be Sugawara being there and he doesn’t have any information, only questions. Questions about Oikawa’s work, questions about Oikawa’s whereabouts, questions that seem far too intruding and make Iwaizumi feel uncomfortable by being put on the spot like that.

His breathing stills when he opens the door and prepares what to say next. Either a pleasant hello or a pleasant ‘I don’t know anything and don’t want to talk about it. Care for some coffee?’.

Instead, he finds Matsukawa and Hanamaki both poking through the drawers of his desk.

Iwaizumi breathes a sigh of relief and promptly says, “What the hell are you two doing?

Hanamaki blinks, then smirks and hops over the desk. “Yo! Iwaizumi! Long time no see!” he says like he wasn’t going through Iwaizumi’s things. Iwaizumi frowns as Matsukawa closes a drawer and places his hand on his hip, his thumb subconsciously rubbing the folded up bow inside its quiver.

“What were you two looking for?” Iwaizumi questions and Matsukawa shrugs.

“To be honest, we don’t know. Originally, Sugawara asked us to come here and check things out. Like a little ‘superhero check up’. But then I found a candy you had stashed away and lost track,” Matsukawa explains and holds out a hand. “You’re a secretary and you’re telling me you don’t have a jar of chocolates to snack on around here?”

“There’s free muffins in the lobby. That’s good enough. More importantly, shouldn’t you be rummaging through Oikawa’s office if you’re going to do a ‘superhero check up’?”

“Too obvious. If he had something to hide, he’d hide it with you,” Hanamaki states and Iwaizumi bites his lower lip. He’s correct about that. It makes him uncomfortable that S.H.E.I.L.D. initiates know that.

Hanamaki folds his hands behind his head. “But, everything is looking a-OK around here, so we’ll be leaving. Got to check out Akaashi-san’s lab and Nishinoya’s office as well. Tell Oikawa that he got a gold star on his check up,” Hanamaki says with a teasing grin. Iwaizumi nods his head, biting the inside of his cheek.

He opens the door and allows for the two initiates to exit, Hanamaki playfully ruffling up Tsukishima’s hair as they pass by. “And how’s our itty-bitty spider doing! Are you still up for training later this week?”

“I’ll pass,” Tsukishima says with the fakest smile Iwaizumi has ever seen. It almost rivals some of Oikawa’s smiles that he makes towards other business partners or Ushijima. He makes a mental note for Oikawa to not hang around Tsukishima any more.

Hanamaki shrugs and both wave goodbye, taking their leave through the elevator. Iwaizumi enters his office and sits down at his desk, checking through his drawers for anything missing. His eyes immediately meet a file that wasn’t there before and a small sticky note attached to it. He cautiously takes the file and is about to slip it into his suitcase before he reads that on the sticky note, it’s specifically addressed to him.

 

So Oikawa emailed us all and told us you were a legs type of guy so just wanted to help!

 - Suga

 

He didn’t.

Iwaizumi opens the folder and is met with a bunch of files on S.H.I.E.L.D. initiates. Nothing detailing the line of work they do or even their civilian names and addresses. Stuff like their likes, dislikes, hobbies, what they look for in a man, etc. Their heights are also circled in red and there’s attached pictures of their legs.

Matsukawa’s profile is here and under comments is a note from Hanamaki.

 

You can’t have him. Keep reading.

 

Hanamaki’s profile is next. There’s a note from Matsukawa as well.

 

Look but don’t touch.

 

Iwaizumi wonders if it’s physically possible for him to storm S.H.I.E.L.D. and take down two of their top agents and their director in one swoop. Then murder his idiot boss and make it all look like an accident.

He takes the file and grips it tight in his fist before he gets up and briskly walks out of his office. He hands the file to Tsukishima.

“Destroy this too. I’m going out for some fresh air,” Iwaizumi says gravely.

Tsukishima nods his head and Iwaizumi ignores the small sly grin that comes over the blond’s lips.


Ya-ho! You reached my personal cell phone! I’m not here right now but if you want, you can always call my personal secretary and he’ll give you a much faster response guaranteed!

Iwaizumi hangs up before Oikawa can ask him to leave a message for him to answer. Bastard.

The restaurant QT set up a reservation for Iwaizumi is more of a small little diner than some fancy five-star restaurant. It’s cozy enough and there isn’t much business going, so Iwaizumi is able to be quickly seated by the window and get his order taken. People walk past the window either on their cell phones or talking excitedly with their friends. The traffic in the streets moves at a calming slow pace. It’s a nice day out, with the sunbeams streaming light through the window and bathe Iwaizumi in a serene light.

The waitress comes by to top off Iwaizumi’s glass with some more water, smiling pleasantly.

“It’ll just be a few more moments, sir,” she chirps, eyes bright and wide. Iwaizumi nods his head, turning his cell phone around in his hands as he debates on calling Oikawa again. So far, no annoying emails popped on his phone and he’s been receiving the usual business mails courtesy of Kindaichi.

As he is about to press the button to redial Oikawa’s number, a shrill scream erupts from behind him.

He looks up and barely has a few seconds to jump out of his booth and dive to the ground to avoid a car being hurled through the front window of the diner.

He gets to his elbows and crawls further away to the corner, bits of glass falling over his legs and the smell of smoke and blood filling his nose. He glances over his shoulder, seeing that the car is completely wrecked and tries to gloss over the fact that there is so much blood inside the vehicle and underneath it. What the fuck. What the fuck is going on?!!

He grits his teeth and looks outside the broken window, seeing the busy street traffic is now nothing but crushed cars and debris. People that were once on the sidewalks were now fleeing inside buildings, some of them getting trampled in the panic. He gets to his feet, looking to see some of the diner patrons making a futile effort to move the car off the bodies that it crushed to help them. His stomach twists into knots at the sight and he presses a small button on the side of his phone Oikawa installed personally.

Hopefully, it doesn’t take him too long to respond.

“Everyone! Take cover in the back!” Iwaizumi shouts. It falls on deaf ears. Everyone is still screaming and sobbing and trying to push the car off the bodies, too panicked to even pay attention to Iwaizumi. He clicks his tongue.

“Everyone! We need to-”

“W-What’s that?!” a woman screeches and points a finger out the window, eyes blown in terror. Everyone’s attention follows and Iwaizumi turns to look himself. But when he sees just what it is, he can’t even find the words to describe what is happening.

Floating above in the air, looking over the ruined diner and the people scrambling like ants below. . .is a child. It. . .it isn’t possible. Iwaizumi has seen a lot of shit being Oikawa’s assistant – a lot. Gods and experiments gone wrong and secret technology that could get someone killed – but this takes his breath away.

The child doesn’t look older than seven or eight from the size of the body. Iwaizumi can’t see their face this low either, and they’re wearing a snug beanie over their hair and bandages cover their arms and legs. The child raises their hand and disappears quick in a flash of purple static. Iwaizumi blinks, before out of the corner of his eye does he see that the car that is in the diner also begins to have purple static surround it.

“O-Oi, get away from the car!” Iwaizumi shouts. Unfortunately, the warning comes too late.

BOOM!

Iwaizumi flies back from the blast and his back slams against the wall of the diner. The car is engulfed with flames and anyone that was near it is now thrown across the diner in a charred heap. This fire seems to be burning out of control far quicker than normally, the intense heat and smoke making it difficult for Iwaizumi to breathe. Iwaizumi covers his mouth with his hand, weakly trying to get to his feet as he tries to stagger towards an exit.

The fire is burning hotter as he tries to get around the car. He clambers over a booth and feels a terrible pain in his side as he falls to the floor. He places his hand to his ribcage, pulling it back to find there’s some blood on his palm. Rubble must have hit him in the blast.

He stumbles back to his feet and throws his body against the front of the door. To his confusion, it doesn’t budge like it is supposed to. Iwaizumi grits his teeth and throws his body against it again and again, cursing and swearing as the flames get hotter and the stink of burning corpses make Iwaizumi want to vomit.

“Come on! Come on!” he screams and hacks as smoke fills his lungs. He raises his hand to his nose to cover his mouth and looks towards the broken window. That’s the next option. If he can get back over to that area and climb out-

Just as he thinks this, the ceiling above him collapses and Iwaizumi quickly jumps out of the way of falling debris. He doesn't get far and lands on his injured side, screaming in pain as he feels a heavy light fixture fall and trap his right leg. More bits of the ceiling begin to fall and collapse all around him, flames growing so hot and so high above. Iwaizumi feels blood on his mouth from a cracked lip and runs his tongue over it.

He thinks that it might not be so bad to die in a fire. If he thinks about it, this will probably be the least frightening almost death experience he’s had so far. Dying in one of the Hulk’s rampages could be a lot worse, he wouldn’t even have a recognizable body if that happened. Dying in a freak test accident by Oikawa or Kuroo would not only be worse, it would also be extremely humiliating and he will not have peace until he’s haunted Oikawa and Kuroo for the rest of their lives for being such idiots.

He manages to chuckle at the thought. God, is he going to die? He’s feeling lightheaded and his leg that’s underneath the light fixture is numb. The flames are beginning to lick at his feet and his hands are covered in ash and some blood. He doesn’t really want to die here. He doesn’t want to die without tying up loose ends.

More importantly, he doesn’t want to die without telling Oikawa. . .without telling Tooru. . .

“Tooru. . .” Iwaizumi murmurs, a single tear coming from his eye as he thinks about Oikawa’s smile and thinks about his voice. He doesn’t want to leave Oikawa alone. Iwaizumi is all he has, he’s the only one he can trust. He can’t leave him. He can’t die. He can’t. . . he can’t. . .

. . .

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

“. . .Hey. . .can you hear me?”

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

“Hajime?”

Iwaizumi’s eyes flutter open, vision blurry. There’s someone over him, something wet spilling over onto Iwaizumi’s face. He frowns and raises a bandaged hand to wipe off the drops of water on his cheek. He realizes a second later that they’re tears. Another second later, his vision clears a little more and he’s met with Oikawa’s face over his.

“. . .You’re so ugly when you cry, you know that?” Iwaizumi mumbles and Oikawa huffs, sniffles and wipes his eyes. He looks like he wants to punch Iwaizumi and shout something, but since Iwaizumi is apparently lying in a hospital bed and is currently hooked up to an IV, he instead ops to grab hold of Iwaizumi’s hand and clutch it tight.

“You’re so awful, Iwa-chan. Do you know how worried I was when I found you in that rubble?” Oikawa croaks, trying to control his voice. Iwaizumi turns his head, moving his fingers so they twine between Oikawa’s long ones.

“Yeah. . .I know. . .”

“I mean, do you know how hard it will be to find another competent secretary like you?” Oikawa asks and Iwaizumi scowls, yanking his hand from Oikawa’s grasp. He winces at the sudden movement, then turns on his side so he can look at the flowers that are waiting on his nightstand. They’re big and colorful and tied up with a small ribbon. There’s also a small card stuck in between the chrysanthemums, addressed to Iwaizumi from Asahi.

Well at least someone cares. He’ll send Asahi a muffin basket when he gets out. On Oikawa’s tab of course.

The bed dips and Iwaizumi feels arms around his body, pulling him into a warm chest and a nose gently snuggling into his hair.

“Oi, get off Shittykawa. This bed isn’t big enough,” Iwaizumi protests. He notices that the heart monitor is starting to beep obnoxiously loud and fast. He quickly begins to search for a way to shut it up.

Oikawa only holds him closer, his hot breath on the back of Iwaizumi’s neck. “No. . .Hajime, I’m so happy you’re okay. . .I thought that I was too late-”

“You weren’t. You know, having all your weight on me can’t be good on my injured body.”

“I was for those other people that died in there,” Oikawa murmurs into Iwaizumi’s skin, completely disregarding Iwaizumi’s comment. “If I were any second slower getting to you. . .who knows what might have-owowowwowOW!” Oikawa yelps, Iwaizumi twisting his wrist backwards.

“You need to realize that you can’t save everyone. If I die, it isn’t your fault,” Iwaizumi says and turns to look over his shoulder. Oikawa’s face is blotchy and red and his eyes are puffy. There’s still a little bit of snot running from his nose and his lips are still twisted like a sob is threatening to slip. He is an ugly crier; it almost makes Iwaizumi want to kiss him just so he can stop looking that way.

The heart monitor seems to beep even faster now and Iwaizumi quickly yanks off one electrode on his chest. It immediately flatlines; the noise seems to be even more annoying.

Oikawa takes the electrode and reapplies it to Iwaizumi’s chest, his fingertips lingering directly over where Iwaizumi’s heart beats at a steady pace deep within his ribcage.

“If you die, it will be my fault, no matter what you say. We’re supposed to keep each other safe, remember? Making sure the other is alright.”

“I’ve been doing a shit job at that. When have you had a decent sleep?”

“Crime never sleeps, so neither do I.”

Iwaizumi flicks Oikawa’s wrist in response. Oikawa chuckles.

“Well, you don’t have to worry, Iwa-chan! Per request of Iron Man, you are to remain in this hospital and receive the best 24-hour care until you’re in tip top shape!” Oikawa chirps and Iwaizumi hums.

“I’m afraid I’ll have to turn down his offer. He doesn’t know I have an idiot for a boss that will probably cause his entire company to go bankrupt if I’m not present.”

“So mean! You really think I don’t know what’s going on in my own company?!”

“You have a meeting tomorrow. Do you know with who?”

Iwaizumi takes Oikawa’s lack of a response as a no. Iwaizumi sighs. “Tell ‘Iron Man’ thanks but I have a job to do.”

“So do I,” Oikawa says strongly. He gets out of the bed and grabs his jacket. “The nurses told me you’ll be out in a couple of days. Just try to relax and get better. I’ll be over tomorrow.”

“After your meeting,” Iwaizumi says crossly and Oikawa pouts.

“Who’s next in line after you? Kunimi-chan can take notes for me, can’t he?”

Really?

“Okay, okaaay. But I’ll be over here the second it’s over,” Oikawa says and then blinks. “. . .Or rather, Iron Man will be here the second it’s over but, you know.”

“Yeah, I know,” Iwaizumi says quietly.

Oikawa pulls on his jacket and adjusts his tie, before he takes a hold of the door handle and looks over his shoulder at Iwaizumi lying in the bed. He looks like he wants to protest to stay, like he wants to watch over Iwaizumi personally and ensure he gets better. But that’ll be too much too soon. There’s a small tension in the air that strangles Iwaizumi’s throat and twists his stomach in knots. He wants to tell Oikawa to stay, but the words don’t leave his lips.

Oikawa throws on a smile that is transparent. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Iwa-chan! Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite!” he says, exiting the room quickly after. Iwaizumi stares at the door and then sighs, slumping in his bed and staring up at the bright lights above him.

Yep, not getting paid enough for this.

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi’s first morning in the hospital begins with Iron Man delivering complimentary breakfast before he flies off to handle ‘superhero business and all that’. It consists of a small stack of pancakes drizzled with syrup, eggs, bacon, a small bowl of fruit and a bowl of orange juice.

He doubts that Oikawa made all of this himself, and the bits of egg shell in the pancake and scrambled eggs confirms his suspicion that this breakfast might have been created by a clumsy robot. Oikawa probably didn’t have any of it to eat either.

Iwaizumi is both irritated and touched.

He eats as much as he can before he has the nurse take the scraps away and texts Tsukishima to sit in the meeting with Oikawa just in the off-chance Oikawa is totally useless and only says things to hurry the meeting along.

Tsukishima responds back with a simple ‘whatever’.

Iwaizumi can physically feel his blood pressure rising.

After breakfast and a couple of hours of flipping mindlessly through the limited channels on the hospital’s television comes visitation hours. To Iwaizumi’s surprise, the nurses inform him that he actually has quite the list of people that want to see him and they’re allowed to visit in small groups for a few minutes. He prays that one of those groups is Kindachi with any paperwork he needs to look over.

The first group is Akaashi Keiji, carrying a small bouquet of flowers that he sits next to Asahi’s. Bokuto marches in after him and Iwaizumi is thankful that he is in civilian clothes. People are already curious as to why someone like Iron Man is giving him such special treatment, he doesn’t need the God of Thunder coming to make a personal visit with his billowing cape and his booming voice.

“Iwaizumi-san, I’m glad you’re alright,” Akaashi says, tucking a curl behind his ear. He takes one of the empty seats and Bokuto falls into the seat right next to him.

“Yeah, thanks. It’s really nothing though. Just a couple of broken ribs and a sprained ankle. I’ll be out of here soon,” Iwaizumi says and sits up in his bed. “More importantly, I thought you were in Spain. Something about a conference to explain your findings on convergence within dimensions?” Iwaizumi asks. Really, the only reason he knows about this is for some reason, Bokuto likes to make it a thing to boast about Akaashi’s research and discoveries. It gets unbearable when Oikawa comments how well Iwaizumi knows how to run his multibillion conglomerate and they spend their time trying to one up each other.

And if Suga tries to step in with his long list of Daichi’s accomplishments, it’s all out war.

“I came back just last night, same as Bokuto-san. Sugawara-san had notified us that you were in the hospital and what happened and was hoping Bokuto-san could maybe look into it,” Akaashi explains. Bokuto leans forward, bracing his hand on his knee.

“Plus, you are Oikawa’s mate and a comrade as well, Iwaizumi-san. It only makes sense for us to check on your wellbeing,” Bokuto says.

“Assistant. Not mate. Or comrade,” Iwaizumi corrects, heat flushing his cheeks.

“Do you remember what you saw when the diner was attacked?” Akaashi asks, diverting attention from the surely to be embarrassing conversation. Iwaizumi places a hand to his head and closes his eyes.

“It happened really fast. . .all I remember seeing was a child, floating in the air. They just waved their hand and then disappeared, quick as flash of light,” Iwaizumi explains and glances at Bokuto. “And it wasn’t like how you do that. . .’Beam me up, Scotty’ thing you do. They vanished.”

“. . .’Beam me up’-” Bokuto begins, confused. Akaashi raises his hand to stop him.

“It’s a reference. Star Trek. We’ll watch it later at my place,” Akaashi explains. Bokuto grins excitedly at the thought. Iwaizumi almost forgets that he’s looking at a God that can control thunder and ruler of a realm that no normal man would believe in. Instead, it’s like he’s looking at some lovestruck idiot who’s looking at someone that is his God.

“I’ll have to observe it myself to make sure. But what you describe doesn’t sound like anything from my world,” Bokuto says and rubs his chin. “Do you think it’s anything like the spider child?”

“No, completely different. I don’t know what kind of spider bite could make you float and blow up cars with a wave of your hand,” Iwaizumi explains and rubs his neck. “Hey, just how many people are here to see me? Do you know?”

“Well, Sugawara-san is here, but I don’t believe he’s next,” Akaashi says. Iwaizumi groans, but figures that avoiding him was a silly thought. Iwaizumi is the only person that seen what happened that S.H.I.E.L.D. can talk to.

Akaashi rises to his feet and so does Bokuto. “We should be leaving then so everyone can get to see you. I’m sure Sugawara-san would like a long discussion about the matter,” Akaashi says and Iwaizumi sighs.

“Yep. Can’t wait.”

Akaashi smiles at him fondly. “Get well soon, Iwaizumi-san,” he says and Iwaizumi nods his head. Bokuto grins as well.

“Take care, Iwaizumi-san,” Bokuto says and turns to Akaashi as they walk out the hospital room. “So, this ‘Trek of Stars’, is it a journey of some sorts?” Bokuto asks excitedly.

“Yeah, sort of. Oikawa-san will probably explain it better,” Akaashi says, their conversation cutting off from the door closing behind them.

Barely a few minutes later, the next group arrives. It isn’t Kindaichi with paperwork.

Nishinoya Yuu wheels in a red box and is grinning big. Azumane Asahi leads in Ennoshita Chikara by the hand, and is only looking worriedly as Nishinoya pushes the box beside Iwaizumi’s bed.

“Yuu, I’m sure they don’t need-”

“Oikawa-san said for me to bring him! Besides, this is the environment we originally created him for anyways. Why not let him just run a little check-up?” Nishinoya asks. Iwaizumi looks down at the box warily. He’s not a person that likes surprises. Especially surprises that come in metal boxes that may or may not explode (he blames that one on Oikawa).

Asahi sighs pitifully and Ennoshita slowly walks into the room, turning his head in Iwaizumi’s direction.

“You’re looking good, Iwaizumi-kun,” Ennoshita says with a big grin.

“I’m sure everyone looks good to you, Ennoshita-san,” Iwaizumi responds with a smile. Ennoshita chuckles, taking his cane to guide him towards a seat. Asahi instead chooses to awkwardly stand by the door, folding his hands behind his back. He looks nervous, like he’s trying to find the source of a problem that doesn’t even exist yet.

“. . .Azumane-san, don’t you want to take a seat?”

Asahi shakes his head. “I-It’s alright. Hospitals just make me a little jumpy. Plus, we’re really high up. And this room is really small.”

“Yeah. Oikawa tried to upgrade me to some premium hospital suite or whatever. I turned it down,” Iwaizumi says. He glances back down at Nishinoya still tinkering with the big box on the ground. This little surprise is starting to put him on edge over how long it’s taking Nishinoya to set it up.

“There’s nothing in here that’ll cause a ‘Code Green’ so I think you’re alright, Asahi-san,” Ennoshita says and places a hand to his ear. “Your heart is beating so fast it sounds like a high school drumline.”

Asahi takes a deep breath in and places a hand to his big chest. “Right, right. . .sorry. . .”

“Thanks for the flowers, by the way,” Iwaizumi says and Asahi nods his head. He awkwardly shuffles over to the second available seat and Nishinoya bounces up on his feet, placing hands on his hips.

“Ok! He’s all set up!” Nishinoya shouts excitedly and then turns to Iwaizumi. He rubs his chin, eyes scanning over Iwaizumi’s body from head to toe. “. . .Which side has the broken ribs?”

Iwaizumi blinks. “. . .My left side?”

“Right.” With that, Nishinoya raises his elbow and firmly digs it into Iwaizumi’s ribcage.

Iwaizumi has never screamed so loud.

“Yuu!” Asahi shouts and Nishinoya steps back, the box on the floor opening up as something begins to inflate out of it. Iwaizumi is too busy cursing and groaning and not-crying-but-pretty-damn-close-to crying to really pay attention until the thing by his bedside is fully inflated and looking down at him with blank eyes.

“Hello,” it begins, “I am Baymax.”

“Wooo! He’s up and running!” Nishinoya cheers. Iwaizumi grits his teeth, looking up at the inflatable robot as a screen appears on its belly. There’s a row of emoticons, each one with a number above its head and facial expressions ranging from moot to crying a waterfall.

“On a scale of one to ten, how would you describe your pain?”

“I wouldn’t have any pain if Nishinoya didn’t jab me in the ribs!” Iwaizumi shouts.

“Let’s call it a seven, Baymax,” Ennoshita offers and Baymax registers the answer.

“I shall scan you now.”

“They already did all of this when they checked me in-”

“Scan complete,” Baymax continues. Iwaizumi doesn’t know why he even bothers.

“You have two fractured ribs with bruising around your midsection along with a mild sprained ankle. Estimated rate of recovery is one month, eight days, four hours-”

“Okay, I don’t need the details on that,” Iwaizumi says, waving off the explanation. He turns to Asahi, genuinely intrigued. “Azumane-san, you helped build this thing?”

Asahi winces. “Well, I helped with the medical procedures and all. Wanted a hand in creating something that can help since. . .the other guy just destroys. . .but Yuu did most of the work-”

“Don’t be so modest!” Nishinoya says and folds his arms over his chest. He smiles at Baymax fondly, big smile stretching over his face. It reminds Iwaizumi of that look when he sees Oikawa looking at a finished model of his suit. Like a proud parent looking at their child in awe.

“Me and a colleague did the robotics and gave Baymax shape, Asahi helped with the A.I. and made him loveable! I mean, he’s not like J.A.R.V.I.S. or anything Oikawa-san can come up with, but he does his job great. Plus, his combat mode is so cool.”

“Combat?” Iwaizumi questions and pokes the stomach of Baymax. It’s soft and squishy, like a giant marshmallow. “You expect me to believe he can turn into a killing machine?”

“Killing will be against my protocol. So the answer is, no,” Baymax answers. The simple, bewildered tone of his voice makes Iwaizumi smile a little bit. He then points a finger at Baymax, giving Nishinoya a hard frown.

“Don’t let Oikawa get his hands on him. He’ll probably try to install a Gatling gun and other unnecessary crap,” Iwaizumi warns. Nishinoya rubs his chin in thought.

“Gatling gun. . .maybe on his armor,” Nishinoya considers. Iwaizumi balks.

“That would significantly weigh me down. And is also very dangerous,” Baymax quips. Asahi nods his head feverishly, looking green for an entirely different reason.

“Bean bags then,” Ennoshita suggests. “A well aimed round at the extremities should be enough to disarm an opponent.”

“The accuracy needed to shoot one round at a violator’s wrist, arm, or leg will need to be-”

“We’ll iron out the details with Saeko-neesan after we test out the wheels on her new suit! Now, Iwaizumi-san!” Nishinoya shouts, gesturing a hand out towards Baymax. “Would you say that you are satisfied with your care?”

“And would you like a lollipop?” Baymax adds. Iwaizumi has no idea where, but the robot has managed to produce a sucker and hands it out for Iwaizumi to take.

“Uh. . .yes? I’m satisfied with my care,” Iwaizumi says, unwrapping the candy to eat. Mmm, lemon flavored.

Baymax then gets inside the metal box and slowly begins to deflate, shrinking down and down until he fits nice and snug within the confines of the box. Nishinoya beams proud.

“So! I’m going to leave him with you until you get better! Oikawa-san said he wants a nurse at your side 24/7!” Nishinoya boasts. Iwaizumi’s lips twist into a scowl. He’s not dying, he’s just stuck in bed for a few days. If anything, Oikawa’s the one that needs a Baymax by his side to tell him to go the hell to sleep before he passes out from sleep deprivation and malnutrition.

He almost requests one for Oikawa, but changes his mind at the last second when he imagines walking into the lab one day just to find Oikawa tinkering on his own Baymax and adding ‘necessary upgrades’ like a quantum-flux capacitor or a port to plug in his IPhone.

“We better get going. Sugawara’s coming down the hall now,” Ennoshita announces and Iwaizumi bites his lower lip. He watches as Ennoshita gets up and heads over to his bedside. He reaches out and Iwaizumi grabs hold of his hand, Ennoshita smiling at his touch. “Get better soon. I know I’m not an Avenger and we don’t cross paths as often, but I’m still looking out for you. . .or. . .you know.”

Iwaizumi chuckles. “Yeah, thanks.”

“Let me know if you need a lawyer to sue that diner for not having any proper emergency exits,” Ennoshita adds and Iwaizumi nods his head. He’s not thinking about pressing charges, he has more important matters to deal with. Like how the meeting should be drawing to a close around now and he hasn’t even received a text message from Tsukishima or any papers from Kindaichi. What the hell is going on over there?

“Get better, Iwaizumi-san,” Asahi says and Nishinoya nods his head.

“He’s a tough one! After all, he’s Oikawa-san’s assistant! He’ll get better in no time!” Nishinoya says. To prove his point, he gives a friendly – and hard – punch to Iwaizumi’s shoulder. Iwaizumi bites his tongue to keep from shouting and activating Baymax again. Asahi quickly pulls Nishinoya away before he does anymore bodily harm, quietly scolding him and panicking while Ennoshita takes hold of the back of Asahi’s jacket and allows him to lead the way.

Iwaizumi holds his arm and does a few seconds of deep breathing to minimize the pain as much as he can. He closes his eyes and tries to picture something else to get his mind off of the ache in his shoulder and his chest.

A peaceful day at work without any message from S.H.I.E.L.D., all appointments going over smoothly, and no lousy muffins like bran or raisin left over in the lobby after the Muffin Monday rush.

A brunch with Oikawa and he doesn’t bring his work with them, which will result in the both of them being kicked out of the restaurant they’re having brunch in because ‘sir, I’m sorry, but some of our patrons are concerned that you have brought in what appears to be a bomb, but it looks like that cute robot from Star Wars’.

The Avengers all taking on Godzilla and. . .well obviously Godzilla will win. Sugawara has put together a pretty impressive team of heroes, but come on. Godzilla. Although, if we were to include the Hulk, there might be a fighting chance. Maybe not enough to kill Godzilla, cause Iwaizumi is 99.99% sure that there is nothing that can kill Godzilla – well actually if Bokuto also gets in on the action-

“Iwaizumi-san.”

Iwaizumi opens his eyes, spotting that Sugawara Koushi has taken a seat directly at his bedside and is smiling down over him fondly. Standing behind him with his hands folded behind his back and also looking down at Iwaizumi is Sawamura Daichi and-

“Oh come on. You had to come and visit me in uniform?” Iwaizumi asks, gesturing to Daichi’s full outfit. He even has the shield on his back, why?

“There’s no point in hiding it. Everyone knows that adorable face of his,” Sugawara says with a smile. Daichi gives a nervous cough.

“Plus, we left the base to come here after practice and I haven’t had time to change,” Daichi explains.

“You practice in your full combat uniform?” Iwaizumi asks and Sugawara rests his chin in the palms of his hands. Iwaizumi notes the new glove on Sugawara’s left hand, with his pointer and ring finger left bare.

He partially hopes that Sugawara was just joking in the past about approaching Oikawa about installing a laser in his prosthetic hand. That will not be a fun trick to show at the annual Avenger Summer Cook-Out.

“We had a few sparring rounds. Plus, I like to see him in his uniform,” Sugawara coos. Again, Daichi goes into a coughing fit and his face is extremely red. If Sugawara keeps this up, they’ll have to clear out a room for the good Captain to stay in.

“More importantly!” Daichi exclaims when he finally gets control of his nerves. “Iwaizumi-san, we’re here to discuss the matter of what you saw and share what we know,” Daichi begins.

The door opens wide and Oikawa stands in the doorway, barely obscuring his gauntlet that is holding a bag of takeout. From the smell, it’s probably from that izakaya down the street from the office building.

Oikawa blinks, eyes meeting Sugawara’s and then flickers over to Daichi’s.

“Woops! Wrong room!” Oikawa says bashfully, bops his head like he just done a silly little thing, and promptly closes the door.

“Oi! Get back in here, Shittykawa!” Iwaizumi barks.

Oikawa immediately enters after Iwaizumi shouts, Michimiya Yui following him with a stern glare in her eye and carrying a tablet tucked in the crook of her arm. He’s frowning and he looks rather uncomfortable, placing the bag of takeout on the other bedstand near the IV drip and the heart monitor.

“I’m sure this concerns you too. If we tell you now, we won’t have to nag you to come to an official briefing at headquarters,” Michimiya explains.

“Which means that you won’t be forced to sit next to Ushijima in an effort to create harmony amongst members,” Daichi adds. Oikawa makes this sound – a cross between a hiss, a snarl, and a dry heave - at the name of the biochemist and crawls into the bed next to Iwaizumi. This bed is as small now as it was last night, and Iwaizumi is uncomfortably pressed up against Oikawa’s bicep. It feels a lot more defined than it looks, maybe the bastard is leaving the lab to do some training. It’s kinda nice. . .

“That heart monitor is beeping really fast, isn’t it?” Sugawara comments and Iwaizumi yanks the electrode off his chest. This time, the heart monitor just shuts off instead of that annoying flatline tone and he tries to play it cool.

“It’s faulty. I’ll call a nurse in to bring another one. You can start, Michimiya-san,” Iwaizumi says with a half-assed wave of his hand and his eyes darting to look at everything but Oikawa’s confused gaze and Sugawara’s intrigued eyes.

Michimiya nods her head and presses a few buttons on the tablet. A hologram appears, detailing several news reports on the incident that has occurred yesterday. The pictures are blurry and it is still hard to identify the culprit. But it is definitely a child.

“This is the first known attack done by an Enhanced. We’re not sure how many there are and we don’t know who is conducting the experimentations. Currently, intel is searching for video footage taken during the attack for any leads,” Michimiya begins.

“YouTube,” Oikawa whispers in Iwaizumi’s ear with a sly tone. Iwaizumi shrugs. Just because they’re a secret, high-tech organization that deals with superhero affairs, doesn’t mean they can’t use Google.

“So far, we’ve only identified two Enhanced. First, a male. Age between seventeen and twenty-one. Kozume Kenma,” Michimiya explains and changes the display to a boy that looks around Tsukishima’s age, maybe a little bit younger. His hair is definitely unique. It looks kind of like pudding since he let his dyed blond hair grow out and the black roots are showing.

Mmm, pudding. He kind of wants to have some of that food Oikawa brought. It’s been a while since breakfast.

“He’s believed to have caused the explosion that sent the car flying into the diner through telekinetic detonation. There's some pictures from street cameras of him in the streets before and after the blast. The other Enhanced, gender and age unknown, was caught on camera in the diner barricading alternative exits from the kitchen before the blast. We’re not sure if they escaped alive,” Michimiya reports and changes the display again.

There’s a silhouette in the upper corner, but next to it is a picture of the waitress that served Iwaizumi moments before the attack. He feels his blood run cold at the mere thought, watching surveillance footage of her blocking off doors with boxes. Iwaizumi squints his eyes at the video footage. Her face seems. . .contorted. Like she’s in some sort of pain.

“We believe they’re a metamorph, but the use of their abilities puts strain on their body.”

“I’m sure the four of us,” Oikawa says and gestures to himself, Sugawara, Daichi and Michimiya, “are following along fine and everything. But my poor Iwa-chan,” Oikawa places his hand on Iwaizumi’s head and gives it a good-natured pat like he’s an adorable little puppy, “is just a simple little secretary. So maybe if you can just give us the basics?”

Iwaizumi snarls and Michimiya rolls her eyes.

“He can cause explosions from his body. The other’s a shapeshifter,” Michimiya deadpans and Oikawa throws up the peace sign, to which Iwaizumi swats down. “We’re looking into any possible terrorist organizations being involved but so far, it seems to be an inside job.”

“But why us? Why a diner with innocent people?” Iwaizumi asks. There’s other questions he wants to ask too. Like why were the people that did the killing children? Who told them to attack people and how could they do it without feeling any sort of remorse? It leaves a bad taste in his mouth and chills him to his core.

“We don’t know. . .honestly, this looks like a random attack that could have happened anywhere. But with the presence of the metamorph infiltrating the diner, it was definitely targeted for some reason,” Sugawara comments. He has the same look in his eyes as well, confusion clouding amber pupils over the whole ordeal. Daichi looks rather disgusted about this and Iwaizumi can understand why. Daichi was a grown man, feeble but an adult, when they did testing on him. These were kids. Where are their parents?

“So what do you suggest we do about it?” Oikawa asks. His tone isn’t playful or teasing. It’s quiet and calm and it sets Iwaizumi on edge more than usual.

“Nothing we can do except keep watch. I know that Ennoshita-san does patrol watches, but this is in an entirely different league than the thugs he goes up against. It would help if Tsukishima-kun did some patrol watches as well, but we can’t force him into this if he doesn’t want to,” Sugawara says with a sigh.

“How about Kuroo-”

No,” everyone except Oikawa responds, already looking quite drained just from the mere mention of Kuroo Tetsurou.

“We already have Enhanced kids committing acts of terrorism, we don’t need to send a crazy mercenary that doesn’t follow commands out among innocent people,” Daichi states and Oikawa shrugs, casually throwing an arm around Iwaizumi’s head.

“We send an angry, big Hulk out amongst innocent people that can do way more damage than one guy with a couple of guns. Nothing against Asahi-san though. I’m a big fan of his work,” Oikawa says with a smile. Sugawara huffs and Daichi rolls his eyes.

“. . .If he approaches us. . .we’ll consider it. But we really would rather stick to our own roster. Oikawa-san, we’ll be asking you to look into the matter of these Enhanced along with Asahi and Ushijima-”

Again, Oikawa makes that noise. It sounds like he’s foaming at the mouth now. Sugawara ignores him.

“And be on call if another attack arises. If possible, neutralize the subject and bring them back to the Avengers base for interrogation.”

“. . .So basically, that means I have to put running my business on hold?” Oikawa doesn’t sound too sad about it. Matter of fact, he sounds absolutely peachy. Bastard.

“You can start when Iwaizumi-san is back to moving around on his own. We’ll supply temporary help as well so there isn’t as much pressure on you, Iwaizumi-san,” Michimiya replies. He’s just an assistant, he shouldn’t have to have people reporting to him. Does no one else understand that little fact?

Oikawa props his chin on his hand. “Okay, deal. As long as Ushiwaka doesn’t look, breathe, or exist within a ten-mile radius of my work place. And my area is ant-proof.”

“It’s not up for discussion and you three share a workspace. You’re supposed to be working together on this,” Daichi says. Oikawa pouts and Iwaizumi gives his wrist a pinch.

“Just bear it. The last thing we need is Azumane-san working in a stressful environment,” Iwaizumi says. He’s not a fan of Ushijima either, but he knows that if the three of them can somehow gather information on these kids, then the chances of another deadly attack drop significantly.

Oikawa bites the inside of his cheek and sighs through his nose. “. . .Fiiiiinnnee. But I’m doing it only for Iwa-chan!”

Iwaizumi wants to smack him, but his face is getting too hot so his hand just moves to cover it instead.

Sugawara gets to his feet. “We’ll see you later then. Iwaizumi-san, Oikawa-san,” he says with a curt nod and a gentle smile. It’s kind of eerie how Sugawara always manages to remain calm during times of crisis. Same thing with Daichi. They’re both ideal for leading this team, two calm figureheads amongst the chaos of smarmy agents that are good with bows and obnoxious scientists that can’t go two seconds without throwing shade.

Michimiya bows her head. “We’ll keep you posted with any details, Iwaizumi-san.”

“Thanks,” he says and Oikawa points his finger.

“By the way, the receptionist wants your autograph, Dai-chan,” Oikawa informs. Daichi sighs, deep and tired. Iwaizumi almost feels sorry for him. Out of all the Avengers, Daichi isn’t the one with the flashy personality that is meant to be followed in tabloids. He’s surprised that Oikawa has managed to keep his identity secret for so long (but that’s also in part to how he never conducts business without Iwaizumi two feet away to say what’s ‘classified’ or not).

Iwaizumi also remembers Oikawa telling him over some coffee – Oikawa’s black and bitter while Iwaizumi’s had two sugars and lots of cream – that revealing to the world he is Iron Man would also mean revealing to the world that Iwaizumi Hajime is Iron Man’s assistant. It would be even more annoying for Iwaizumi to deal with press begging for interviews or television spots or guest appearances – which it will – so Oikawa figures it’s just best to keep it underwraps.

Something in Iwaizumi’s gut told him that there’s another reason, but he doesn’t want to think about it too much. Or rather, he doesn’t want to get his hopes up about it.

Sugawara laughs and claps Daichi on the back. “Then let’s get you over there to smile and shake hands for a second!” Sugawara chirps. Daichi looks down at him sternly.

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” he questions. Sugawara leans up and whispers something in Daichi’s ear, lips against the shell of his ear. Iwaizumi is thankful he doesn’t have Ennoshita’s enhanced hearing, because when Sugawara pulls away with a devilish smile, Daichi’s face is beet red. He doesn’t even say anything back to the director, he just turns and sprints out the hospital room like his life depended on it.

Sugawara smiles to himself, completely at peace. “I love that man,” he breathes and nods to Michimiya. He gives a friendly wave and both leave Iwaizumi’s room, Oikawa breathing a sigh of relief before he climbs out of the bed and begins to open up the takeout.

“So, meeting was boring. Tsukki took notes for you and has them waiting on your desk. I haggled with the decision to be made after you get better. Personally, I wouldn’t invest in the project-”

“So there’s no need for me to look over it then,” Iwaizumi says and takes the box handed to him. He opens it and breathes in the delicious scent of agedashi tofu with extra bonito flakes.

One of the few things that Oikawa Tooru can recite off the top of his head - along with the names of his robots and suits of armor as well as every known metal on Earth and prime places to harvest them - is Iwaizumi’s food and drink orders at approximately thirty restaurants.

“Yeah, but I still want your opinion. Just because I don’t think it’s a good idea, doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make it work.”

“What’s on the table?” Iwaizumi asks, taking a couple of bites and moaning at the taste on his tongue. 1,000,000,000,000, times better than hospital food.

“Yamaguchi Corp. is talking about their weapons and wants to collaborate with us on a project. There’s some blueprints of a prototype they’re working on that I had Kunimi-chan get a copy of, but I don’t know. It isn’t they’re forte, I don’t think we should go into this venture with a company just trying something out for the first time.”

“Wow, you actually do sound like a CEO of a multibillion conglomerate,” Iwaizumi says and Oikawa sticks his tongue out at him.

“Not to mention, I just think it’s shitty of them to send their kid out to make the pitch. He was all nervous and jittery, it was like watching Asahi-san doing a blind playthrough of Five Nights at Freddy’s.”

“That wasn’t funny what you guys did to him. You told him it was a happy game.”

“Dai-chan said it was okay! And we didn’t cause a Code Green! Plus, it had so many hits on YouTube before Kou-chan made us take down the video,” Oikawa says with a pout. Iwaizumi is sure J.A.R.V.I.S. has the recording stored somewhere, either for blackmail material or something to watch for fun at Asahi’s expense.

Oikawa moves to take the seat Sugawara was in, grabbing his own box of food to pick through. “But, Tsukki knows him apparently. They talked for a pretty long time after the meeting and he seemed relaxed,” Oikawa says and Iwaizumi raises an eyebrow.

“Does he know about-”

“Doubt it. Tsukki knows how to keep his secrets.”

It’s something you two share, Iwaizumi thinks.

He sighs and eats some more of his food, both of them sitting in silence until Iwaizumi speaks up again. “I’ll look into it, but we’re probably going to turn down the offer anyways. Anything else?”

“Kunimi-chan beat your score on Minesweep and Kindaichi bought you a plant to surprise you with when you get back.”

“It isn’t a surprise if you just told me, Shittykawa!”

“The surprise is you don’t know what type of plant!” Oikawa says with a cheeky little smile. Iwaizumi scowls.

“Just shut up so I can enjoy my meal,” Iwaizumi grumbles.

“Ehh? But can’t you say that I enhance your meal? After all, how many people get to experience an intimate dining session with an Avenger?” Oikawa purrs, voice smooth and alluring. Something twists in Iwaizumi’s stomach and he’s pretty sure it’s not the tofu.

“One, we’re in a hospital room. Not even at the top of the list of ‘most intimate settings to have a dining session’. Two, are you forgetting about Akaashi-san and Nishinoya-san and-”

“A small number of people that you happen to be a part of! That’s my point I’m making!” Oikawa says and huffs. “Sheesh, Iwa-chan. You can be so nitpicky over things. People aren’t going to find that attractive when they date you.”

Iwaizumi’s eyes widen. “Speaking of which! Who said you can make a dating profile and tell Suga about me being a ‘legs person’?!”

“I was just trying to broaden your selection pool! A S.H.E.I.L.D. operative might not be a bad pick for you! They’re trained in all forms of martial arts, they excel in ballistics and most of them are Iron Man fans.”

“Pretty sure Hanamaki and Matsukawa are ‘Team Black Widow’ and ‘Team Hawkeye’ and they were still in the file,” Iwaizumi deadpans and Oikawa ‘pfft’s.

“They don't even do anything. I can shoot arrows if I wanted to and do hand-to-hand combat if I wanted to,” Oikawa boasts.

“But since you don’t and you’re flashy as hell when it comes to infiltration, they’re needed,” Iwaizumi states.

“I can be inconspicuous.”

“Yes. I’m sure when you painted the MK VII cherry red and gold, you were thinking to yourself ‘Finally, I can fly around Japan through clustered cities at top speeds and no one will notice me’.”

Oikawa leans back in his chair. “So you like them tall and you don’t like people being flashy,” he muses.

“What, are you making a list or something?” Iwaizumi questions. Oikawa shakes his head no in response, steeping his fingers. He has a little smile on his lips; it’s like the ones he used to have when Iwaizumi shared with him a special secret that no one else knew.

“I promise you this, Iwa-chan. By the time this is all blown over, you’ll have yourself a hot date.”

“There are literally so much more important things to worry about right now. And don’t set me up with random people on the Internet. I do not need people just looking for sexts and booty calls in my life right now,” Iwaizumi spits and Oikawa snickers.

“Okay, okay,” Oikawa says with a smile and gets to his feet. “I should get back home. I left Dum-E in charge of dinner for lack of a better option and I didn’t install a fire extinguisher on him,” Oikawa says and Iwaizumi fights down his smile. Oikawa clears Iwaizumi’s lap of his food and packages away his own, placing it back into the bag.

“I’ll be back over later so I can bring you some.”

“Visitation hours are going to be over soon,” Iwaizumi says and Oikawa winks.

“Iron Man has special visitation hours!”

“Iron Man should probably make his presence around here scarce,” Iwaizumi says crossly, gripping his bedsheets tight. “We don’t know who’s watching and we don’t want a bunch of superheroes repeatedly showing up in once place. It’s too big of a target-”

“They wouldn’t dare try anything when we’re here,” Oikawa says. His voice is cold and it sends a chill up Iwaizumi’s spine. “That makes it all the more reason for there to be a superhero here. . .I’m not going to allow them the opportunity to attack, Iwa-chan. I promise you that.”

Iwaizumi smiles. “Those are the words I’d rather have you promise by.”

Oikawa blinks, then rubs the back of his slowly tinting pink neck. “Right. . .oh, and here,” he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small cell phone, placing it in Iwaizumi’s lap. “This has all the numbers of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, patrol officers, Chika-chan’s number, Kuroo’s number, my number – of course – and Kou-chan’s-”

“I’ll be alright,” Iwaizumi groans with a frown. He scrolls through the numbers however, noting how Oikawa has possibly every person Iwaizumi knows in it. He even has Kunimi and Kiyoko’s number stored in here as well.

Oikawa smiles to himself and heads to the door, taking hold of the doorknob. “Get some rest while I’m gone, ‘kay? The faster you get healed up, the faster I can get to work on figuring out what to do with these Enhanced punks,” Oikawa says with a thumbs up. Iwaizumi nods his head in agreement, turning the phone around in his hands.

A few moments of silence pass, Oikawa quietly watching Iwaizumi in bed and Iwaizumi refusing to look up to meet Oikawa’s eyes. He wants to get better too, if he knows that he’ll never have to go through this awkward moment where he doesn’t want Oikawa to leave him but can’t make his mouth move to say it.

It’s embarrassing, Iwaizumi thinks. He doesn’t want to become needy and always worried if he isn’t by Oikawa’s side and vice versa. He promised himself he wouldn’t feel this way. He promised himself he wouldn’t feel lonely whenever Oikawa leaves him to do ‘Iron Man’ things. He promised himself he wouldn’t get scared if Oikawa gets sent out on missions that are dangerous. He promised himself that he would just stay out of this life as much as possible.

He’s just Oikawa’s assistant.

He’s just another worker.

He’s. . .just Hajime.

The door opens and Iwaizumi finally looks up, barely catching Oikawa’s back as he leaves the hospital room. Iwaizumi grips the phone tight and grits his teeth, before he relaxes and slumps in his bed, closing his eyes to the bright lights above him.

Nothing special at all whatsoever.

 


 

“There he is. Japan’s Strongest Secretary.”

Iwaizumi ignores Hanamaki’s cheeky smile and goes back to looking over the proposed plans Yamaguchi Corp. left at the office. Nothing that their company really needs to invest in. He’s sure that Oikawa himself can build gliders and bombs, why pay someone else to do it? Oikawa is right on this one; this isn’t something they should pursue.

Hanamaki drops himself into the chair and kicks his feet up and right on the schematics on one of the gliders. Iwaizumi eyes the boot and scowls, nudging it to the left so it isn’t so dangerously close to kicking over his present from Kindaichi. It isn’t a plant like Oikawa claimed, it’s more like a small little terrarium. It even has a small little Godzilla figurine inside to stomp over all the moss and pebbles at the bottom (Kunimi helped with that).

Oikawa not-so-subtly hinted he wanted one himself as a ‘Boss Appreciation Day’ present. Preferably Star Wars themed.

“How’s the ribs?” Hanamaki asks and Iwaizumi shrugs just a bit.

“Pain here and there, but I’ll survive. How’s the hunt for the Enhanced?”

“Coming up cold. They’re laying pretty low after that last attack. Issei and I are going to walk the streets after the mission update at the base.”

“And how’s Shittykawa doing with Ushijima?”

“As well as you think they are,” Hanamaki says with a snicker. Iwaizumi rolls his eyes. He’s already ignored the thousands of texts and Snapchats that Oikawa has sent him to bitch and moan about Ushijima. Ushijima may have an obnoxiously dry personality that’ll rub almost anyone the wrong way, but Iwaizumi admits the man is brilliant. Not out loud though; hell, if Oikawa had mind-reading powers, no doubt he’ll be looking at Iwaizumi with a sour face.

Hanamaki puts his arms behind his head. “I was told to come in and do a check-up on you-”

“Just tell him to do his job and I’ll do mine. Also, tell him he better have that contract looked over and signed for our partners in America,” Iwaizumi adds and Hanamaki smiles, getting to his feet to do a mock solute.

“Right away, sir,” he drones and Iwaizumi rolls his eyes. “By the way,” Hanamaki begins, slipping his hands casually into his pockets. “Who’s that kid that’s talking to Tsukki?”

“He’s the son of a CEO that wants to go into weapons manufacturing and wants us to back them. Don’t tell me he’s still outside waiting for me to talk to him,” Iwaizumi says with a groan.

Tsukishima is notoriously good at just making people disappear if neither Iwaizumi nor Oikawa want to talk to them. He can make appointments for dates that don’t exist, end phone calls before he answers them, and craft elaborate stories on why Iwaizumi and Oikawa are out of the office and won’t be back for a long time.

One particular story Iwaizumi likes is how Oikawa’s long-lost foreign brother Hangar has come up sick and Oikawa, being the concerned and loving individual that he is, hopped on the first plane to some country in Europe that no one has ever heard of and where there are minimal cell phone towers and a significant lack of Internet. Tsukishima loves to use the ‘Hangar’ stories. Particularly because he’s the one that insists on everyone remembering one of the rare instances that Oikawa came to work and he still had the hanger in his suit.

If not him, then Hanamaki or Matsukawa will be the ones. Probably Iwaizumi too.

Iwaizumi rises to his feet slowly, holding his side as he walks around his desk and opens his door just a bit to peer out.

Sure enough, Yamaguchi Tadashi is still there. He’s talking to Tsukishima about something that brings a big smile to his freckled face. Iwaizumi almost feels bad that he’s going to probably make sure Aone doesn’t allow him to get past the fourth floor to pester them about this deal. If there’s anything Iwaizumi can’t stand, it’s a pushy executive.

Maybe he should call Aone now as a matter of fact.

Hanamaki peers out the door too and snorts. “Just tell him to leave cause you don’t feel like talking business. You did get out of the hospital a week ago,” Hanamaki says simply and Iwaizumi nods his head. No point in trying to hide from a nineteen-year-old after all.

Iwaizumi straightens his tie and exits his office. Yamaguchi must have been watching the door as he talked with Tsukishima, since he immediately goes alert and is staring so hard at Iwaizumi that he’s starting to feel on edge. Iwaizumi clears his throat, glancing over his shoulder at Hanamaki.

“I’m going to drop by Oikawa’s house to deliver some files. Make sure he behaves during your ‘meeting’. You have my permission to give him a good slap if he acts out,” Iwaizumi says and Hanamaki pouts.

“Aw~ Sugawara and Sawamura already beat me to the punch,” Hanamaki whines, but he gives a nod in understanding and casually strolls past Iwaizumi. He gives a curt nod to Tsukishima that the blond pretends to not notice and gives Yamaguchi just one look over from head to toe before he continues towards the elevator.

Iwaizumi begins to walk to the elevator, giving a grunt towards Tsukishima that translates to ‘I’m leaving. Let me know about any S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff that pops up while I’m gone. Back me up when I turn Yamaguchi down’.

“I-Iwaizumi-san!” Yamaguchi stammers out and immediately bows his head. “I-I’m Yamaguchi Tadashi from Yamaguchi Corps. and I was hoping to get back with you about our weapons expansion!” Yamaguchi’s voice screeches, like he’s reporting to a superior. Iwaizumi looks at the boy with pitying eyes, particularly at the bandages on Yamaguchi’s neck and his wrists. Boy must get into a lot of accidents.

“Yamaguchi-san. . .yes, we’ve looked over your company’s proposition. However, Oikawa-san doesn’t believe that we should be looking into this type of venture seeing as you have little to no experience,” Iwaizumi says calmly. Yamaguchi still has his head bowed and it’s starting to make Iwaizumi rather uncomfortable. He’s just an assistant; if anything, Iwaizumi should be the one bowing his head to the son of a CEO.

“P-Please reconsider! We’re currently working on a prototype to show investors and-”

“Oikawa-san usually doesn’t change his mind on these things, Yamaguchi-san,” Iwaizumi says, eyes flickering over to Tsukishima watching them. Do something. I really don’t feel like arguing about this and I need some more pain killers, stat.

Tsukishima sighs like it’s so annoying to move and gets to his feet, quirking his eyebrow at Yamaguchi.

“When is your prototype going to be finished?” Tsukishima asks and Yamaguchi flinches.

“It. . .I’m not sure. . .I’ve been out of the laboratories this past week so I haven’t been able to see the progress on our projects we’ve been working on,” Yamaguchi murmurs. Iwaizumi wonders if those bandages have anything to do with it.

“Oikawa-san likes shiny things. Maybe if you finish your prototype for him to see, he might change his mind,” Tsukishima offers. Iwaizumi shoots him a look, a look that screams ‘we already said no. Why are you still giving him hope we’ll agree?!’.  Yamaguchi grips his fists tight in determination and finally raises his head.

“O-Ok! I’ll head over to the labs right now and give you a status update immediately! I-I promise, Iwaizumi-san! You won’t regret agreeing to our proposal!”

“I just said we’re not agreeing with your-”

“I’ll talk to you later, Tsukki!” Yamaguchi shouts with stars and determination in his eyes. He turns and almost stumbles over his own feet as he runs to the elevator, hurriedly trying to get his cell phone out to make a call to god-knows-who.

Iwaizumi turns to look at Tsukishima, who is already taking out some of Iwaizumi’s prescribed pain killers Oikawa left at his desk.

“I bought you about two to three months of him not coming back to the office. I’ll take any phone calls from Yamaguchi Corps. and if they want to speak to either of you, you’ll be out of town overlooking tests on missiles and armor vehicles. Emails will be deleted unless I think it might be something worth looking at. Water?” Tsukishima hands him one dose of medication and a bottled water from his mini fridge under his desk.

Iwaizumi eyebrow twitches, then he takes the pills to toss in his mouth and the water to wash it all down.

“Fine,” he mumbles, way too exhausted to even put up an argument. Tsukishima sits back down and puts his headphones on, shutting out the world. Iwaizumi pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs.

Teenagers.

 


 

Iwa-channnnnnn~ save me from this hell~

“I’m trying to get my dinner and I thought you were calling me about something actually important,” Iwaizumi spits into his cell phone. Not too loudly, though. He’s waiting to get his take out order and he doesn’t need to draw any unnecessary attention inside the busy restaurant.

This is important! Do you know how boring it is to go over scenarios about these Enhanced and Ushiwaka just thinks he’s so knowledgeable about this that whenever I bring up a suggestion, he just shuts it down like it’s the stupidest thing he’s ever heard.”

“What are your suggestions, Oikawa?” Iwaizumi asks.

Isn’t it possible that maybe they have some sort of technological implants in them that somehow. . .activates their body to achieve a higher state than that of a normal human?” Oikawa asks and Iwaizumi blinks.

“Maybe?” He doesn’t know. Suggesting that maybe this is all the work of Loki would be enough of an explanation for Iwaizumi if he’s being honest.

See! I need you here to back me up on this! Asahi-san doesn’t want to take any sides and he’s currently sitting in the corner doing some deep breathing exercises Nishinoya showed him to calm himself down.” There’s a small pause. “It’s actually pretty funny. I should take a picture and show you.”

“You’re just as bad as Sawamura and Sugawara teasing him. Speaking of which, don’t you think it’s more like his situation? Except instead of gaining an enhanced physical condition, they gained these. . .weird superpowers?” Iwaizumi asks. He gets up when he hears his name called, grabbing his wallet and heading up to the counter to pay and take his meal.

You don’t think I brought that into consideration? The problem is we don’t know what kind of serum could do something like that. Hell, there isn’t even any information or papers on how to recreate the serum that made Dai-chan.”

“Your father didn’t even take notes? He was there when it happened,” Iwaizumi says incredulously. Oikawa gives a laugh that sounds hollow and emotionless.

He had other things that interested him far more than a little bottle and some scrawny kid from the countryside,” Oikawa says coldly. There’s a bitterness in his tone, no doubt thinking about a childhood filled with trying to please a man that was the definition of unpleasable. A man that was only concerned with being the best and only associating himself with the best.

Iwaizumi is silent for a moment, taking his bag of food and exiting the restaurant. There’s a chill in the night air and he’s not that far from his apartment. Yet, he still wants to get home as fast as he can, eat, shower and sleep. The pain killers are starting to wear off and he’s starting to feel that dull ache again in his side.

“. . .Hey, what’s Azumane-san doing now?”

Hmm? . . .He’s. . .” Oikawa starts to laugh and it’s so melodious that Iwaizumi feels his chest fill with warmth and relief. “He’s actually doing a yoga pose in the lab! I have to take a picture and show Dai-chan, oh my god-”

“Remember, don’t cause a Code Green.”

I won’t, I wooon’t~” Oikawa purrs in between giggles. “Get home soon and get to bed, Iwa-chan! I need my secretary at top condition! No less for Oikawa Tooru!”

“God, you are such a pain in the ass,” Iwaizumi mumbles. He can almost see Oikawa sticking his tongue out at him in that childish way he always does.

Mean! I’ll be leaving the lab soon after looking over a couple of files with Asahi-san and maybe smashing a couple of ants outside.

“Don’t take your anger for Ushiwaka out on them. They did nothing wrong,” Iwaizumi scolds.

Fiiinne. But get home soon, okay?

“Yeah, you too,” Iwaizumi murmurs softly. He hears Oikawa hum softly before the line disconnects. Iwaizumi pockets his cell phone and continues down the street towards his apartment building. The lights of the city around him look so nice, he wishes that he could stay out longer and just walk around to admire the bright neon lights. But from the pain in his side, he’ll have to put that off for another night. Besides, it will be nicer to have someone to walk around town with.

Iwaizumi rounds the corner and pulls his jacket closer into his chest to shield him from the freezing cold. Just a couple more blocks and he’ll be home-

Woosh!

Iwaizumi quickly catches the bag of food that almost seems to fly out of his grasp as he feels his jacket being tugged. His wallet is partially pulled through the pocket of his jacket, a small hand trying to yank it free. Iwaizumi’s other free hand immediately grabs at the small wrist and yanks forward, pulling a child that almost seemed to appear out of nowhere close to him.

The child, a small boy not older than six from the looks of it, is staring up at Iwaizumi with big, frightened eyes. His hand loosens its grip on Iwaizumi’s wallet as Iwaizumi glares down at him.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Iwaizumi questions and the boy bites down on his lower lip.

“I-I-I-“ he stammers, trying to tug free but Iwaizumi’s holds even tighter. On further examination, Iwaizumi takes note of how the boy’s orange hair is dirty and a mess. His clothes are filthy and it doesn’t look like he’s taken a bath since his cheek and his hands are also covered in dirt. A homeless child?

“There’s no money in here. Just business cards. I used the last bit of my change to get myself dinner,” Iwaizumi explains and the boy gawks, before he sniffles. “Where’s your parents?”

“I don’t have any,” the boy answers, trying once again to twist his wrist free. Iwaizumi hums.

“Then maybe we should find a policeman to figure out what to do with you,” Iwaizumi suggests and the boy’s eyes widen. Iwaizumi looks up, about to turn around to head back towards the busier city streets when out of the corner of his eye, he sees it.

Purple static forming around a fire hydrant.

Instantly, Iwaizumi tenses and his head whirls around for the Enhanced that caused that explosion. The static ceases around the fire hydrant and a burst of water erupts. It startles Iwaizumi enough for his hold on the boy’s wrist to loosen.

Faster than Iwaizumi can blink, the boy is gone without a trace.

He looks around and his heart beats frantically in his chest as he searches for the boy and the Enhanced that surely must be nearby. Is it fear that is making it hard for him to breathe right now? Is it fear that desperately strangles his throat as he tries to find words to explain what is going on and what is he feeling? Is it fear that makes him wish Oikawa was here right now to reassure him with a stupid wink and a peace sign and a ‘silly Iwa-chan! Iron Man is here, you don’t need to be afraid!’.

He doesn’t want to be afraid. He doesn’t want to cling onto Oikawa like he’s helpless.

Yet, he stands on the street and grows soaking wet from the fire hydrant, trying to calm the quakes of fear that nests in his bones and prevent him from taking another step towards home.

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi very much believes he is a man of patience.

It isn’t the same type of patience Akaashi maintains when he has to deal with Bokuto’s confusion about the marvels of Earth such as Pop Tarts and a piece of rectangular plastic that can buy things. Nor is it like Daichi’s patience when he has to deal with Oikawa and Ushijima’s bickering on end, Asahi’s panic attacks, and conduct business with other superheroes that reside in Japan that may not be the most pleasant to deal with.

Heroes such as Kuroo Tetsurou.

Iwaizumi rarely has to deal with the mercenary himself, seeing as though Kuroo likes to operate in the shadows, deal with his targets swiftly and collect his payment before he goes back to stew in whatever shady bar until he gets his next contract. Sometimes, Oikawa likes to call on him to try out some new weaponry and Iwaizumi will spend hours watching in mild panic as Kuroo spars off with Oikawa with some very powerful guns and belts out Queen’s entire discography from 1978 onwards. But Oikawa knows – or at least acts like he knows - what he’s doing and it’s none of Iwaizumi’s business anyways. He’s not involved in any of this. He’s just a secretary.

Then Tsukishima is assigned as Iwaizumi’s assistant and things change.

Tsukishima is a smart kid. He keeps to himself, he does his work and is so far the only normal person Iwaizumi can talk to since Tsukishima outright refuses to involve himself with anything S.H.I.E.L.D. related. Yet Iwaizumi cannot comprehend how someone like Tsukishima – reserved, intelligent, ‘Thanks-to-Hanamaki-I-know-how-to-insult-people-in-five-languages’ Tsukishima – can have someone like Kuroo for a boyfriend. Iwaizumi is sure that it’s one of unsolved mysteries of Earth, right up there with ‘what is the meaning of life?’ and ‘why are flies so fucking annoying?’.

Now, Kuroo literally does anything he can to get inside the office building to pester Tsukishima while he’s at work if he’s bored. So far, Iwaizumi has found him crawling through the ventilation ducts (which cost him a hefty fee to repair when Kuroo fell through the ceiling), posing as a window washer (that cost him another fee to repair the window Kuroo broke through), and as an intern (which cost him an employee since Kuroo found a man casually flirting with Tsukishima and the man never showed up to work again. Iwaizumi doesn’t even want to think about what happened).

Needless to say, Kuroo anywhere near the building is going to be an expense. So naturally, Iwaizumi – being the patient soul that he is – develops a sort of ‘sixth’ sense for something disastrous about to happen that involves Kuroo. It’s allowed him to quickly seek Kuroo out and kick him out of the building himself before he can go and screw something up, thereby keeping Iwaizumi’s blood pressure down and his headache to a minimum.

It doesn’t allow him to see the possibility of Kuroo walking into the office that Wednesday afternoon like an actual normal person. With flowers as well.

“Yo! Iwaizumi!” Kuroo shouts out, barging into his office without knocking. Iwaizumi jumps and quickly covers the mouth of the phone he’s talking into to glare hard as Kuroo comes in and makes himself comfortable. Iwaizumi goes back to the phone, schedules an appointment that Oikawa most likely will forget about which means Iwaizumi will have to attend, and hangs up.

Why,” Iwaizumi begins patiently, “are you here?”

Kuroo kicks his feet up on Iwaizumi’s desk, almost knocking over Iwaizumi’s precious little terrarium. He’s in civilian clothes thankfully; Iwaizumi wouldn’t want to clean the blood from Kuroo’s last contract off his desk.

“Do I need a reason to visit my favorite secretary?” Kuroo asks.

“I thought that would be Tsukishima. Who isn’t here by the way,” Iwaizumi says, looking down at his calendar to write down the appointment. Friday is going to be rather busy.

“Yeah, see, I noticed that he isn’t here today. But I know that you know where he is today,” Kuroo says and Iwaizumi scoffs.

“He’s sick, so I don’t know.”

That’s a lie.

Or at least a half-truth.

Iwaizumi knows that Tsukishima isn’t sick, since the sick note that was emailed to him that morning had a politely added post statement from J.A.R.V.I.S. alerting Iwaizumi that the ‘Sir has taken Mr. Tsukishima out for an excursion’. He knows that Oikawa took Tsukishima somewhere, but he doesn’t know where they can be or what they are doing.

Does it annoy Iwaizumi that not only is his boss not doing any work, but he’s managed to coral his assistant into not doing any work either for a possibly stupid reason? Absolutely.

But he’s a patient man. He’ll choke Oikawa out after work.

Kuroo leans forward, eyes hidden behind black sunglasses and a possible scowl behind the scarf that covers up the lower half of his face. Iwaizumi has possibly seen Kuroo’s face once or twice during a training session with Oikawa, those scars that Kuroo never wants anyone to see. So far, the only people Kuroo is 100% comfortable with showing his face is Ennoshita – cause it’s not like he can see it anyways – and Tsukishima – cause it’s easier to lay a big sloppy wet one without some pesky fabric getting in the way.

“Come on, Iwaizumi. I know you got some sort of tabs on your employees.”

“He’s not my employee. He’s my assistant and we both work for Oikawa.”

“You probably got a tab on him too. I mean, you can’t let your precious boss you love so so much run around the city without knowing where he is, can you?” Kuroo asks and Iwaizumi grips his folder a little bit too tightly.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about and I don’t care if he’s running around in the city. As long as he doesn’t tarnish the company, he can be climbing the Tokyo Tower for all I care,” Iwaizumi grumbles. He doesn’t need to see Kuroo’s lips to know that he’s smirking. He curses himself for falling for the razzing and braces for what’s to follow.

“By the way, a little birdie told me you’re interested in someone with nice, long legs. And since we both know it’s not Tsukki – cause if it is, I’d probably kill you right now – there’s really only one other person in our circle of friends,” Kuroo coos and Iwaizumi goes back to looking through his papers.

“Who? Nobuyuki-san?” Iwaizumi says dryly and Kuroo huffs.

“Kai can make anything longer. . .anything. But I’m not talking about Mr. Laffy Taffy, I’m talking about Oikawa. The Christian Grey to your Anastasia Steele.”

“Oh my god, never refer to us by that again,” Iwaizumi says, face getting hot in either annoyance, embarrassment or rage. Most likely rage.

“Oh come on~ You’re the childhood friend and secretary to a tall, intelligent, good-looking, obnoxious playboy. You’re a living breathing ‘romance novel protagonist in those smutty novels lonely housewives read’. You two are so going to hook up. It’s written in the stars. And in the tags.”

“Every time you talk, you make less sense than you did before,” Iwaizumi mumbles. “Besides, he’s not that tall. And he’s a moron. He’s not my type. I’d never date someone like him. I don’t even know how he manages to trick so many people to fall for him with his stupid smile and his stupid – he unreliable too! He never shows up for meetings and it feels like I’m the one running the company and he’s just so-” Iwaizumi snarls, “He’s just an annoying, shitty person and dating someone like him will be an insult to my self-worth and I just-”

Iwaizumi is now so worked up over thinking about Oikawa’s stupid smile and his stupid perfect hair and that stupid thing he does when he’s looking over his blueprints deep in thought and he lightly bites the edge of the pen he’s holding and rolls it with his tongue – It’s so gross! AND ANNOYING AND GROSS. GOD, HE HATES THAT HE CAN’T LOOK AWAY WHEN SHITTYKAWA DOES THAT STUPID THING! –

“Man, you’re radiating more pent up sexual frustration than Tanaka radiates heat.”

Fuck patience.

“Kuroo, you have ten seconds to get out of my office. Nine-”

“Okay, okay!” Kuroo quickly says and grabs the flowers. “I’ll just leave these on Tsukki’s desk and go see if Sugawara or his GILF know anything,” Kuroo whines. Good thing Daichi isn’t here to hear that; Iwaizumi doesn’t even want to imagine the embarrassment of Daichi needing to have that acronym explained to him.

Kuroo gets to his feet and does an obnoxious bow before he turns and exits. Iwaizumi doesn’t get up to make sure Kuroo actually leaves the office instead of harassing Kunimi or Kindaichi for Tsukishima’s wheareabouts. Instead, he sits and stews in his seat, seething as he thinks about all the annoyingly stupidly totally not cute quirks Oikawa does.

That thing he does when he twirls a lock of hair in between his fingers as he whines about work.

That thing where his eyes get so big and bright and light up like a child at Christmas when he creates something excellent.

That thing he does when it’s late at night and Oikawa insists on calling him to rattle on about physics and quantum mechanics and other shit Iwaizumi doesn’t really care about but listens to anyways because Oikawa talks so vibrantly and with a lilt in his voice like he’s just so happy to share his ramblings with his ‘simple little secretary’.

Iwaizumi closes his eyes and counts to ten, taking in slow breaths.

Afterwards, he takes his hidden jar of chocolates and eats twelve in one bite.


Nishinoya texts Iwaizumi at lunch to see if he wouldn’t mind hanging out since all his other friends in his circle are ‘busy with this whole mutant thing :(’. Iwaizumi agrees, since Oikawa is ignoring his phone calls demanding his and Tsukishima’s whereabouts and Kunimi casually suggests he needs to get out of the office before he takes his anger out on the stupid little phone that he’s texting Oikawa with.

It’s not too hot as Iwaizumi walks a couple of blocks from the office to the park where Nishinoya tells him to meet up at. He loosens his tie a bit to allow a cool breeze to blow over his skin and shields his eyes from the sunlight as he crosses the street. There isn’t that many people out today either, but Iwaizumi figures that’s for the better. Smaller crowds will make it hard for those Enhanced to slip away unnoticed if they try to attack.

Eventually, he finds Nishinoya waiting underneath a large tree, dressed in his casual clothes instead of the lab coat or mechanic gear he usually wears. Nishinoya spots him and flags him down, big smile on his lips.

“Iwaizumi-san! Yo!” Nishinoya shouts and raises a fist, immediately going for Iwaizumi’s injured side. Iwaizumi is quick to meet Nishinoya’s fist halfway with his own, preventing pain in his ribs but creating pain in his knuckles. Nishinoya sticks his hands into the pocket of his hoodie, tilting his head towards the streets. “There’s a café not too far from here that Saeko-nesan goes to,” Nishinoya suggests and Iwaizumi shrugs, rubbing his fingers.

“Sounds like a plan,” he says and both begin to head north through the park. Iwaizumi glances down at the college student, an eyebrow quirked. “So, everyone you know is working on this Enhanced thing with S.H.I.E.L.D.?”

“Pretty much,” Nishinoya groans. “They called Ryuu, Taketora and his little sis to run some tests since they’re as close to ‘superpowers’ as they can observe.”

“Yeah, but that whole incident was because of some cosmic radiation wasn’t it? I doubt someone can replicate the effects that Nobuyuki and the others went through in order to create these Enhanced punks,” Iwaizumi comments and Nishinoya sighs.

“Yeah. Plus, Saeko-neesan is busy with her own projects and we’re currently working on the showcase for Baymax. Still, I wish I could contribute something. This stuff is really stressing Asahi out,” Nishinoya says worriedly. Iwaizumi glances down to see Nishinoya worrying his lower lip in between his teeth, his eyes cast downwards to the ground.

“Azumane-san worries about a lot of things usually.”

“This is different though. Like. . .I guess him finding out you were caught in an attack made him want to work hard to make sure these guys are off the street before they can attack again. I mean, I doubt any of them will target my school, but he’s been calling me constantly to see if I noticed anything or if there’s something wrong,” Nishinoya says and he grips his hands into tight fists.

“It’s. . .I don’t want him to worry about me. I’m stronger than he thinks I am and it frustrates me to feel like he has to worry about protecting me or hurting me,” Nishinoya huffs and looks up at Iwaizumi. “You’re lucky Oikawa-san doesn’t feel like he needs to check in on you 24/7,” Nishinoya says and Iwaizumi rubs the back of his neck as they stop at the corner and wait for the light to change.

“It’s not that. For one thing, Azumane-san is your boyfriend. It’s kind of his obligation to want to protect you. Oikawa is just my boss,” Iwaizumi says and Nishinoya bites the inside of his cheek.

“But that’s the thing. I bet if you asked, Oikawa-san will build you a suit and you two can fight together. But for me, Asahi doesn’t want me getting involved with any of this. If I wanted to fight, then I’d have to fight as Baymax through a remote control. It’s already getting draining on my other colleagues working on the project with me to try and implement a new protocol, so I’m thinking about scrapping Baymax’s battle mode. But. . .” Nishinoya pauses and grits his teeth. “I just want him to see me as his equal. I don’t want to be his damsel in distress he needs to keep hidden away.”

Iwaizumi watches as Nishinoya takes in a deep breath. The light changes and they continue to walk, this time in silence. Nishinoya sighs and runs a hand through his hair. “I’m sorry to unload all of this on you. It’s not like it’s your problem or anything-”

“It’s alright,” Iwaizumi cuts him off. “You, me and Akaashi-san are the ones that have to put up with all this. Maybe. . .maybe you can talk to Sugawara-san about becoming a field agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. after you’re done with school?”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that. After all, out of the three of us outsiders, I’m pretty sure I’m Suga’s favorite,” Nishinoya says with a cheeky grin. Iwaizumi probably has to agree with that; Sugawara shows a lot of favoritism when it comes to grilling Nishinoya about any details important to S.H.I.E.L.D. Most likely because Nishinoya and Asahi are both very compliant and easy to deal with compared to his and Oikawa’s tactic of ‘denydenydeny’ and Akaashi and Bokuto’s tactic of ‘conveniently disappearing to Asgard’.

Nishinoya rubs his chin. “Also, I found a helmet recently that I think was my dad’s while I was cleaning out my mother’s attic. If I can figure out the mechanics of it and maybe talk to Oikawa-san about a suit, I can maybe use it.”

“What kind of helmet are we talking about?” Iwaizumi asks curiously and Nishinoya shakes his head.

“I don’t know how to explain it. But the technology inside of it is so. . .advanced. Something I never seen before and something that I have no idea how my old man got a hold of,” Nishinoya says and grins. “Maybe those drunk stories he used to tell me as a kid were true.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me if they were. I’ve seen weird shit, why not throw ‘knowing the son of an alleged officer of a galactic federation’ in the mix.”

“‘Alleged’. He was drunk most of the time,” Nishinoya chuckles. Iwaizumi smiles and chuckles himself as the two round the corner.

They immediately are met with a group of teenagers, big and intimidating, slamming a kid into the wall.

“You better give it back, you little shit!” one of them snarls, all teeth and spit. The kid squirms in his hold, kicking and trying to bite at their hand. Iwaizumi immediately recognizes the shock of orange hair and he tenses momentarily. Nishinoya, however, is running towards them at top speed and faster than Iwaizumi can tell him to ‘wait’ or ‘hold on’ or ‘don’t’, he’s driving a fist into the thug’s jaw.

“Let him go!” he yells to the teenager on the ground nursing a sore jaw, who has already let the child go. In fact, the child is hiding behind Nishinoya, bouncing up and down like he’s going to fight them once Nishinoya has his piece.

“Oi! You wanna go?!” one of the thugs shout, raising his fist. Iwaizumi quickly gets over and holds an arm out in front of Nishinoya before he can charge forward and sucker punch this guy too.

“Nishinoya-san, you’re older. Be the bigger person,” Iwaizumi says curtly and turns to the teeneagers. “You three. Why are you harassing some little kid, huh?” he asks and the one on the ground manages to stagger to his feet, pointing an accusing finger at the child.

“H-He stole my wallet, that’s what happened! I had it out for a second and then all of a sudden, he just. . .appears out of nowhere and makes a swipe for it!” the guy shouts. Iwaizumi side-eyes the child that huddles closer to Nishinoya and he rests a firm hand on his shoulder to prevent him from trying to escape.

“Give it back,” he says sternly.

“I didn’t steal it!” he says defiantly. Iwaizumi’s grip tightens and his eyes darken.

Give,” he repeats, “it. back.

The boy blinks and then huffs, then reaches into his dirty parka and pulls out a studded wallet. Iwaizumi takes it and tosses it to the teenager. He fumbles to catch it and scowls as Iwaizumi points a finger.

“There’s your wallet. Now beat it,” Iwaizumi snaps. The teenager pockets his wallet, but they all don’t leave like Iwaizumi wants. Instead, he steps forward, eyes darkening as he raises a fist at Nishinoya and the child.

“Wallet or not, that little punk needs to get a good-”

WHAM!

Iwaizumi realizes, as he reels his head back from ramming it right into the teenager’s own forehead, that it’s been a while since he’s headbutted someone so hard that they fall flat on their ass. Middle school, he thinks. Definitely with Oikawa.

“I said beat it! I don’t need you punks starting any more shit around here!” Iwaizumi barks. The two teenagers jump and quickly yank their fallen friend up off the ground before they run off down the street. Iwaizumi huffs and clicks his tongue, rubbing his forehead before he looks down at the child staring up at him.

“You really get yourself into a lot of shit around here, don’t you?” Iwaizumi asks. The child doesn’t look like he’s really listening, however. His eyes are big and wide and they sparkle with such amazement and awe.

“T-That was soo cool! You two are so cool!” the boy screeches and Nishinoya grins.

“We are, aren’t we? But you shouldn’t be snatching stuff, you know! That isn’t what honest men do! And you’re an honest kind of guy, right?”

The boy nods his head firmly, though Iwaizumi is sure he doesn’t truly understand what Nishinoya is saying. Nishinoya holds his hand out. “Name’s Noya. What’s yours?”

“Hinata Shoyou,” the boy introduces boldly and shakes Nishinoya’s hand. Iwaizumi crosses his arms, looking down with a raised eyebrow.

“I don’t want to hear you trying to steal any more wallets around here, you got it?”

Hinata rubs his nose and scuffs the tip of his sneaker against the sidewalk. “I was. . .I was just getting some money to get me and my friend something to eat,” Hinata murmurs and holds his stomach. “There was a pork bun stand not far from here that was selling them for cheap. I just need a little,” Hinata says quietly and Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek.

He reaches into his pocket and fishes around for a few loose bills and some coins, coming up with around 1000 yen in coin and bills. Wordlessly, he hands it to Hinata.

The boy blinks, before he takes the offering of money and counts it out, eyes wide. “That should be enough to get some pork buns at least. Maybe even a couple. Just don’t let me catch you swiping stuff again,” Iwaizumi says gruffly. Hinata looks up at Iwaizumi and bites his lower lip, nodding his head firmly and grips the money tight in his little fists.

“T-Thank you!” Hinata stammers out and Iwaizumi looks away from Hinata’s smile that seems brighter than the sun, a heat coming over his face.

“Sure, whatever,” Iwaizumi mutters.

Hinata turns on his heel and takes off in the opposite direction in an exaggeratedly slow jog, like he’s trying to focus on not dropping the money in his hands. Iwaizumi sighs and turns to Nishinoya, who’s smiling up at him with that same big smile Hinata had on his face before.

“You are cool, Iwaizumi-san,” Nishinoya says cheekily. Iwaizumi scoffs and continues on towards the café.

“Then if I’m so cool, you can buy lunch. That was all the cash I had on me.”


Iwa-channn, you don’t need to get so mad~

“I’m past the point of mad now. I’m fucking furious. Not only do you decide to take my assistant and make up a lame excuse that he’s sick, you both hop on a plane to Tibet without telling me anything?!” Iwaizumi hisses into the phone.

It’s Thursday afternoon. Two meetings have gone by and Iwaizumi has grown tired of telling everyone that Oikawa has come down with a sudden cold and having to postpone events and meetings while he hunts down his AWOL CEO and assistant. Eventually, he had to just phone up S.H.I.E.L.D. to find out the details that he – as a normal citizen – didn’t need to know.

A few S.H.I.E.L.D. initiates, Oikawa, Daichi, and Asahi, left to Tibet to conduct some experiments as well as gaining Futakuchi’s input into the whole ordeal. Iwaizumi isn’t sure how much help Futakuchi can be, but then again his power is just weird. Maybe these Enhanced gained a mystic power similar to his own and it isn’t some weird experimentation or cosmic radiation.

Tsukishima just tagged along because Sugawara thought it would be nice for him to learn something on the trip. Not that Tsukishima actually cares.

Iwaizumi is currently sitting outside, phone up to his ear and smoothie in his hand. It’s unusually busy out today, but Iwaizumi figures it’s to be expected during the lunch rush and the weekend approaching.

We’ll be back soon. I’ll go to all of your boring meetings and events. Scout’s honor!” Oikawa chirps and Iwaizumi rolls his eyes.

“You have a gala you need to attend on Sunday. So you better wrap it up and come home soon.”

How about you go in my place? Get yourself a nice suit, have a couple of drinks, schmooze. The works.”

“I’m your assistant. I assist, I don’t lead. I don’t even own a nice suit to wear to a gala,” Iwaizumi says in a huff. He hears Oikawa chuckle softly and Iwaizumi is thankful no one is around to see his cheeks tint pink.

I’ll buy you a suit, then.”

“Don’t. We all know you have the tackiest sense of fashion in Japan.”

I do not!

“Sawamura-san dresses better than you, and he’s 97 years old.”

Who do you think introduced him to the fashion of now?!

“Pretty sure it was Shimizu and Michimiya-san.”

Tch. You’re just as hopeless as I am with fashion. You own too many Godzilla shirts.

“Godzilla is cool. You own too many alien shirts.”

Because aliens are cool,” Oikawa says defensively. Iwaizumi smiles to himself.

“While I’d love to have this debate with you on why Godzilla will forever be cooler than some little green men, I’m sure you need to get back to work with S.H.I.E.L.D. since apparently, that’s more important than actually running your own business,” Iwaizumi says curtly.

I’m definitely buying you something when I get back. I’ll tell QT to make some dinner reservations,” Oikawa says with a whine. Iwaizumi rolls his eyes.

“Flashing your money isn’t going to make me any less pissed. . .but if you insist, I’m in the mood for pasta,” Iwaizumi says nonchalantly. Oikawa laughs.

So you like foreign things, huh? Hmm, that might be hard to work with. Not that many foreigners we know in S.H.I.E.L.D.

“Don’t try to guess what type of person I like from my food tastes. You’re such a weirdo, Shittykawa,” Iwaizumi groans in annoyance.

It’s not weird. It’s eccentric. Don’t be jelly that you’re just a stick in the mud,” Oikawa sing-songs. Iwaizumi scoffs, but a smile remains on his lips. “Well, I guess I’ll head back to doing some boring experiments with Asahi-san. It’s not as fun with Ushiwaka not here. I don’t really feel compelled to outdo Asahi-san like I do with him.”

“Then do your own personal best. The faster you guys can crack this, the better for all of us,” Iwaizumi says. He hears Oikawa sigh in agreement and he murmurs a goodbye. Iwaizumi does the same and adds a ‘get home soon’ too. His heart does not jump in his chest when he does so. Nor does he groan loudly into his hand after he hangs up.

Iwaizumi gets up and checks his watch, figuring he should get back to the office and wrap up a couple more files before calling it a day. He tosses the few remnants of his smoothie into the trash and begins to walk down the street back to the office, enjoying the cool breeze and the spring sky.

Iwaizumi reaches the street corner, watching and waiting for the light to change. A teenager walks up alongside of him, extremely engrossed in his video game since he doesn’t even bother looking up or tearing his eyes away from the screen. He’s dressed in a shabby hoodie with the red hood pulled over his head. It looks two sizes too big on him; he’s practically swimming in the red fabric.

Both stand in silence for a few moments, waiting for the light. Iwaizumi keeps his eyes forward and doesn’t pay any attention to the boy next to him until he speaks.

“You were in that attack a while ago, weren’t you?” the boy asks all of a sudden. His voice is quiet and calm and Iwaizumi almost didn’t realize he was talking to him. He looks down at the teenager in confusion, but the teenager still has all of his attention focused on his game in his hands.

“. . .Yeah, I was. . .”

“And Iron Man came and rescued you, right? I heard he made sure you got special treatment in the hospital during your recovery,” the boy says. Iwaizumi tenses, not sure where this boy is going or how he managed to know that information. He tries not to show his discomfort on his face and continues to face forward.

“He rescued me, but I didn’t get any special treatment. I’m just another citizen, he was only doing the right thing and making sure I got treated as soon as possible,” Iwaizumi states. The boy hums and pauses his game, casually slipping the device in his pocket.

“I don’t think that’s true,” he says quietly and looks up at Iwaizumi. A pair of golden cat like eyes meet Iwaizumi’s and Iwaizumi feels his blood running cold as he notices the dyed blond hair beneath the red hood.

Kozume Kenma.

“I feel like you’re. . .different than other people. But, it doesn’t hurt to check.”

Before Iwaizumi can ask what did that mean, or before he can run and scream for help, or before he can do anything, someone is by his side that wasn’t there before.

He looks to be as old as Hinata, maybe even a little bit older. There’s a cloth covering the lower half of his face, but Iwaizumi can see his eyes. They’re a pretty blue hue, but emotionless and cold.

He raises his hands, a violet energy radiating from his fingertips towards Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi’s body stiffens and it feels like someone is scraping their fingernails through his mind, as if someone is trying to search through his brain and claw out the information within. The sensation is painful and intrusive and Iwaizumi feels like he can’t breathe.

The last thing he sees is Kenma’s unmoving face, before everything around him goes black.

Chapter Text

When Iwaizumi wakes up, he’s on the ground in the middle of the street. There’s rubble all around him, smoke billowing and raising high into the sky from all of the burning buildings surrounding him. There’s. . .there’s so much blood. On the street and on the sidewalks and splattered over the rubble. There’s blood all over the palms of his hands and. . .and he doesn’t remember where it came from.

Iwaizumi staggers to his feet and looks all around. It’s so quiet. There’s no people around him. At least, there’s no people that are alive around him. There’s bodies in the streets, crushed under rock and cars. There’s some hanging out of windows and Iwaizumi feels sick to his stomach as he slowly walks forward. What. . .what happened? Where are the Avengers? How could things have gotten this bad?

He feels an ache in his head and in his ribs, but he doesn’t know why. He shambles through the ruined streets, his eyes darting worriedly around as he searches for someone, anyone.

His eyes move towards the middle of the street and he stops, horror strangling his throat.

Iron Man lying in the middle of the road, unmoving.

Iwaizumi blinks and holds his side, choking out a cry as he staggers forward. “Tooru!” he screams and runs towards the figure, falling at their side. It’s definitely one of Oikawa’s, but he doesn’t recall which model this suit of armor is. He’s becoming too frantic as he runs his bloody hands all along the sides of the helmet, desperately trying to find the switch to personally take it off.

MK III has a switch at the base of the skull, but there is nothing. MK VI and MK VIII have their switch below the chin, but there isn’t anything there. Iwaizumi begins to hyperventilate as he lifts up the head. It’s heavy and stiff and it doesn’t make Iwaizumi feel any better.

“Tooru! Tooru, can you hear me?!” he screams and place the head back on the ground before he tries to go for the gauntlets. He has to get him out of this suit. He has to get him out and see his face. He needs to know that Oikawa is okay. Oikawa has to be okay. Iwaizumi can’t lose him. He just can’t.

Iwaizumi-san.

Oh god, Iwaizumi can’t breathe. His hands are trembling too much to even open up the latch on the gauntlet. His vision is growing blurry from tears and his body is shaking. He can’t breathe, he can’t breathe.

Iwaizumi-san!

How did this happen? How did this happen? Where is everyone? Why did they leave Oikawa all alone? Why couldn’t Iwaizumi be there when he needed him?! He’s so pathetic. He’s so useless. He’s so helpless. He doesn’t want to be helpless. He should have been there! But Iwaizumi doesn’t remember what happened. He doesn’t understand what’s going on and the tears are burning at his eyes.

God, I’m sorry to have to do this, Iwaizumi-san.

WHAM!

Iwaizumi coughs and immediately feels a stinging sensation of a punch across the side of his face. His vision changes and he isn’t on the ground holding a wrecked suit of armor in the middle of a ruined street. He’s. . .tied somewhere. He feels his arms and his wrists above his head bound by some sort of rope. He’s looking directly into the face of Daredevil, his lips turned into a displeased frown.

“You okay?” he asks and Iwaizumi blinks, then struggles against the binding.

“W-Where am I? What’s happening? Where’s Oikawa?”

“Oikawa-san isn’t here-”

“Ennoshita, h-he’s in the street. You need to go help him! W-Where’s everybody? What’s going on?” Iwaizumi rambles, panicked. Daredevil looks over his shoulder at the door leading to the stairwell inside the building, then turns back to Iwaizumi and grabs a knife off of his belt.

“I don’t have that much time. They’re coming back up here. They must have heard you screaming,” he says and begins to cut Iwaizumi’s wrists free. Iwaizumi clenches his jaw and stops thrashing around as the hero gets to work in freeing him. He realizes that they’re on the rooftop of some building and he’s tied to the support beams of a billboard sign.

“Do you know who did this?”

“It. . .I remember seeing one of the Enhanced. Kozume, the one that can blow himself up or whatever. But the other one. . .I don’t know. I’m so confused-”

“Whatever they did, it was really powerful. It was like you were having some sort of nightmare you couldn’t wake up from,” Daredevil explains and Iwaizumi sucks in a deep breath. A nightmare. It was all a dream. It wasn’t real. . .but it felt like it was. He felt the pain in his body and he felt the stickiness of blood on his hands. He felt the coolness of the armor and the heavy weight of the body inside. It felt so real.

Something shook above them and both looked upwards, immediately spotting the red uniform of Deadpool above them resting on the billboard sign.

“Wowww, is this a superhero rescue or a set up for some kinky roleplay?” he asks curiously and Iwaizumi scowls while Daredevil curses under his breath and turns back towards the door.

Just as he does, the door is kicked open and out runs two teenagers. One of them is Kenma while the other isn’t the young boy that Iwaizumi remembers from before. This one has dyed blond hair like Kenma, but has two dark stripes running down the sides of his head and a deadly look in his eyes.

Both of them look towards Daredevil, then at Iwaizumi, then at Deadpool still chilling on the billboard sign.

“Who the fuck are you two?” the one with the angry glare growls out. Deadpool clicks his tongue and hops off the sign to stand beside Daredevil.

“Just your friendly neighborhood vigilante and mercenary! Is this your handiwork?” he asks, jutting a thumb at Iwaizumi. “You two are kind of young to be into S&M don’t you think? Shouldn’t you guys be into, I don’t know, Yokai Watch or something? Kids like that shit, right?”

“There’s three of them. Don’t let your guard down,” Daredevil says calmly, reaching for his staff. Deadpool turns back to the teenagers and cocks his head to the side.

“So, what? Is there like an invisible one here or something?”

“You,” Kenma says and points at Deadpool. “What’s your name?” he asks.

“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours~”

“Negasonic Teenage Warhead,” Kenma recites perfectly and Deadpool pauses.

“. . .Negasonic Teenage. . .what. That is a fucking cool name! Oh my god, it took me like forever to figure out my superhero name! What did you do? Did you flip to random pages in the dictionary and just picked the first word you saw?” Deadpool asks. The other teenager gets into a crouching position and Daredevil readies himself.

Deadpool then points over at the other teen. “And how about your name? Let me guess. . . ’Baby Mad Dog’!”

“How about ‘the last thing you’ll ever see’?” he snarls and Deadpool laughs, resting his hands on his holsters.

“Funny! That’s my name too!” he chirps.

The teens scoff and begin to charge them both. Daredevil whips out his staff and Deadpool clicks his tongue. “Look, we don’t want to put two kids in the hospital so how about you two-” his voice dies off as a fiery shield begins to form around Kenma’s body like he’s charging up and some thing begins to grow out of the other one’s knuckles. They look like. . .claws.

“. . .What the shit-”

BOOM!

Kenma explodes and blasts Deadpool off the building while Daredevil just barely manages to deflect the claws that come crashing onto his staff guarding his chest. He kicks the teenager in the chest and pushes him back, then brings his staff down and knocks away Kenma’s fist trying to swipe at his head.

“He got knocked off the building?” he asks and Iwaizumi cranes his neck. He doesn’t remember hearing a crash from below, but the mercenary isn’t springing back up quickly. Daredevil sighs. “Right then,” he says and takes his staff, detaching it into two billy clubs connected by a long metal chain.

The Enhanced with claws charges forward again and Daredevil deflects his attack with the chain. He throws one of the billy clubs and it wraps around the teen’s wrists. He yanks them forward and swings his leg out, tripping the teenager and allows him to fall on the ground with a heavy thud before he punches him square in the jaw.

“Duck your head, citizen!” he shouts and Iwaizumi quickly does so as Daredevil yanks the billy club so it unravels around the teenager’s wrists and swings it behind him. It ricochets off the metal that’s above Iwaizumi’s head and connects with Kenma’s head, knocking him to the ground.

Both of the boys groan in pain and Daredevil sighs. He turns back to Iwaizumi. “Alright, let’s get you down from there,” he mumbles just as the other teen staggers to his feet and charges forward. Daredevil pauses and turns only a bit to the left to dodge the boy’s attempt to stab in with his fist. He grabs hold of his wrist and yanks him up, wrapping his arm around the teen’s midsection and lifts him off his feet.

Daredevil raises him and body slams him back into the ground, kicking him in the head for extra measure.

Iwaizumi has a hard time believing that Ennoshita only did boxing in the past. It’s almost like he’s watching a wrestling match right now.

Kenma gets to his feet and begins to charge up another explosion, detonating only a few feet away from Daredevil. The blast is strong enough to knock the superhero back a few feet and he hits the door they came out of, falling to his knees. Kenma quickly tries to keep on the attack and runs forward.

But Daredevil is faster and is already guarding as Kenma delivers kicks and punches in rapid succession. Daredevil deflects punch after punch, kick after kick, and quickly grabs hold of his billy club. He wraps the chain around Kenma’s fist and grabs the other one, leaving the teen wide open for a kick to his midsection.

Kenma goes down but the other teenager is back up again and is running towards them both. Daredevil loosens the chain just enough to get some slack and then yanks upward. Kenma’s arm gets dragged up and Daredevil deflects the claws. They clash against the chain and Daredevil kicks the teenager in his shin. Once the boy recoils in pain, he takes the chain and wraps it around the boy’s throat.

He pulls it against his windpipe and the boy begins to struggle against his hold.

“Gotosleepgotosleepgotosleep,” Daredevil grits through his teeth as he tries to dodge the flailing limbs and keep a foot on Kenma’s chest to keep him on the ground.

Eventually, the boy stops struggling and his arms fall limp at his sides. Daredevil lets out a breath of relief and loosens the chain, watching as the boy falls to the ground with a heavy thud. Kenma takes this moment of calm to shove Daredevil off of him and gets to his feet.

But the boy doesn’t try to fight back this time. In fact, he turns on his heel and begins to run to the door. He throws it open and a fist connects with his face, knocking him flat to the ground.

“I bet you weren’t expecting that, were you ‘Negasonic’?!” Deadpool gloats and kicks Kenma in the side with an obviously broken leg. He swears and holds his injured leg before he grabs hold of Kenma’s jacket and yanks him up to his feet. “Alright, you little shit. Who sent you two?”

Kenma doesn’t say anything. He does, however, begin to charge up another detonation. Deadpool swears and throws him inside the stairwell, quickly closing the door shut and leaning up against it. Then, he pauses.

“Oh shit, I should have thrown him over the building instead!” he exclaims and quickly throws the door back open, preparing himself for the blast.

But there isn’t one. And there isn’t an Enhanced teenager behind the door to create the blast anyways. There are a few scorched footprints leading down the stairwell however. Deadpool curses. “That little pudding haired bastard punked me!” he shouts. Daredevil reaches down to check the pulse of the teenager he knocked out, then moves his fingertips his jaw towards his ear and plucks out an ear piece that is beeping.

“Did you see anyone still waiting in the stairwell when you came back up? Someone wearing a strong cologne?” he asks as he turns the device over between his fingers and Deadpool growls.

“No. No one was there. Man, if I catch that little brat again, he’s going to get a good spanking courtesy of Deadpool,” he grits out and turns to Daredevil, pointing a finger at the teen on the ground. “I get S.H.I.E.L.D. points for him too, right?” he asks. Daredevil sighs and pockets the earpiece.

“Get him tied up. I’ll get Iwaizumi down,” Daredevil says and Iwaizumi clicks his tongue.

“Don’t mind me. I’m just hanging around doing nothing,” Iwaizumi says dryly and Deadpool points a finger.

“Hey! Iwa-chan made a funny!”


Sugawara turns the earpiece over in the palm of his hand, scrutinizing it carefully. “So they were following orders from someone,” he comments more than asks. Ennoshita shrugs his head and adjusts his shades.

“I know there was a third person close by, but I couldn’t figure out their location. They wore a strong cologne though, so I assume the person is a male,” Ennoshita comments and Sugawara glances at the computer monitor. The screen is currently showing camera footage of the Enhanced that Ennoshita managed to capture and take in (and Kuroo added his two cents that he ‘helped’) angrily screaming and trying to break free of the adamantium-laced cell.

Michimiya dug up information on him while the boy was out and found out the basic information as well as ran some tests. Kyotani Kentaro, aged eighteen. No known family members and no known place of residence. The retractable claws that come from his knuckles seem to extend into his forearm and his entire skeleton seems to be infused with the adamantium metal. Had he been placed in a regular cell, he would have already broken out with his incredible strength.

Sugawara then turns to Iwaizumi sitting on the bench, wrapped up in a blanket. “How’re you holding up?” he asks and Iwaizumi takes in a slow breath.

“Fine. You know, as fine as getting into two incidents involving these Enhanced punks running around and almost getting killed. So no, I’m not fine at all,” Iwaizumi rambles and wrings the blanket tighter in his fist. Why is it taking so long for Oikawa to come home? He knows that Sugawara just barely notified the members that are in Tibet a few hours ago, but he just. . .he just needs to see that Oikawa is alright.

The nightmare’s imagery still lingers in the back of his mind and weighs heavy on his heart.

“Do you remember anything that happened before you blacked out?” Sugawara asks and Iwaizumi shakes his head.

“No. . .I just remember Kozume and another boy. But he was younger than both of them. . .I think it was the child that was involved with the car exploding. The one that disappeared in thin air,” Iwaizumi murmurs and Sugawara rubs his chin.

“Ah. The weird one.”

“Yeah. The ‘weird one’.”

“So there’s more of them. We need to find out how many and what they can do,” Sugawara says and glances back at the monitor. “Once he’s calmed down, I’ll send someone for interrogation-”

“Do you know how long it’ll take for them to get here?” Iwaizumi interrupts. Sugawara blinks, then checks his watch on his wrist.

“The jet might land in a few more hours. There’s a 4,000 kilometer distance from here to Tibet, you know,” Sugawara says and Iwaizumi rocks back and forth in his seat.

“Tell the pilot to fly faster,” he mumbles. Sugawara doesn’t make a response to that and turns to Ennoshita.

“Thanks for this, Ennoshita-san. Your check will be in the mail.”

“You know I have a real job, Sugawara-san. I don’t do this for money,” he says with a smile. Sugawara smiles back and claps him on the shoulder.

“That’s what makes you my favorite hero. Don’t tell Daichi, though,” Sugawara says with a sly smile and Ennoshita chuckles. He takes a firm hold of his walking stick.

“I’ll be heading back to my office, then. I’ll let you know if I come across those other two that escaped,” he calls out. He turns his head in Iwaizumi’s direction and Iwaizumi knows that Ennoshita is listening to how rapid his heart is beating. He just needs to see Oikawa’s face. He just needs to hear Oikawa’s voice. He needs to know he’s alright. He won’t trust the reality that’s happening around him until he knows.

Iwaizumi is so caught up in his thoughts that he doesn’t realize Ennoshita has slowly approached him and is reaching out a hand to rest against his back. He flinches from his touch and looks up at Ennoshita’s eyes behind his red shades.

“He’s coming home. He’s okay. I promise.”

Iwaizumi takes in a shaky breath and nods his head. The uneasiness doesn’t reside all the way, but Ennoshita’s smile brings him a sliver of comfort. Right now, that’s just enough.


The sun is beginning to set over the horizon when he hears alarms going off that there is something currently landing in Zone V. Iwaizumi awakes from the sleep that Sugawara forced him to have and is alert immediately, scrambling to his feet to run out of the medical room he was in and down the hall.

This particular base of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t as big as the main headquarters. It’s primarily used for weapon testing, training and housing of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that are sent overseas. There aren’t that many landing zones on the base, so he immediately knows which hallways and which stairs to take to get to the Zone V level. It’s located towards the top of the base, past the holding cells where Kyotani is currently in and past the briefing room used for missions and training classes.

He bursts through the door leading to the launch pad and doesn’t see a jet, but Iron Man landing as S.H.I.E.L.D. initiates clear a pathway for him. Iwaizumi’s chest tightens as he looks over the armor. There’s no visible damage that he can see and the figure inside is moving with ease. But he still needs to see for himself.

He runs forward and Iron Man turns his head towards Iwaizumi approaching.

“Are you okay?” he asks and Iwaizumi hears Oikawa’s voice through the helmet. It puts him more at ease but it still isn’t enough.

“Take off the suit,” he breathes, grabbing hold of the gauntlet. He sees on the forearm MK XII. The latch is in the base of his spine. His hands immediately go for it.

Iron Man grabs Iwaizumi’s hands and pushes him away. “What-what are you talking about? Are you-”

“Take the fucking suit off, Shittykawa,” Iwaizumi grits through his teeth and tries to open the suit up himself. Iron Man pushes Iwaizumi’s hands away again and stares, before he steps back and the suit begins to open up on its own. Iwaizumi’s breath stills as Oikawa steps out and onto the cement of the launch pad. The suit closes back up and goes into standby, while Oikawa runs a hand through his brown hair and quirks an eyebrow.

“Okay, I’m out. Are you okay, Iwa-chan? You didn’t get injured again, did you? Hit your head? Did anyone run any tests? You!” he snaps at a S.H.I.E.L.D. initiate that jumps when he’s singled out. “Did they run any tests?!”

“I-I don’t-”

“Get someone to run some tests!” he shouts. The S.H.I.E.L.D. initiate jumps, awkwardly paces back and forth, and then runs inside the base at top speed. Iwaizumi sucks in a deep breath. Oikawa is here. Oikawa is here and he’s still annoyingly stupid and he’s here. Oikawa turns back to Iwaizumi and leans in close to inspect him himself.

“You don’t look too bad. There’s some bruising on your jaw though. What happened-” Oikawa pauses as Iwaizumi runs forward and wraps his arms around him, burying his face into the crook of Oikawa’s neck. He breathes in Oikawa’s scent, a scent of motor oil and way too expensive cologne. There’s another underlying scent that is just Oikawa, the type of scent that warms Iwaizumi to his core and immediately puts himself at ease.

“If you ever leave without telling me,” Iwaizumi croaks and god, he hopes he can keep his voice steady and hold back any tears of happiness, “I’ll put my foot so far up your ass, I’ll have no choice but to be with you everywhere,” he says.

Oikawa doesn’t say anything, but he wraps his arms around Iwaizumi’s body and holds him close, dipping his nose into Iwaizumi’s hair.

“Mm. Okay.”

“Fucking asshole,” Iwaizumi hiccups.

“I missed you too, Iwa-chan.”


Friday evening comes and Iwaizumi is currently heading back to his apartment, groceries dangling from his hands and exhaustion wearing heavy on his face. Lately, he’s been feeling on edge. He goes around corners much slower and avoids the shadowy shortcuts home. He did get an offer to learn some boxing from Ennoshita and he outright refused the gift of a 9mm from Kuroo for protection. He appreciates the gifts – well, except Kuroo’s – but he knows that they’ll just make him more paranoid, constantly checking over his shoulder and scared of what comes around the corner.

He hates this feeling. He hates feeling scared. He’s stronger than this.

But as he briskly walks down the sidewalk towards his apartment, his eyes keep nervously darting around for any signs that the Enhanced are nearby. Maybe that’s why he’s so on edge, because he just doesn’t know where they will show up next.

He’s only a few yards away and he quickens his pace as he draws closer to the building. He just needs to hurry up the stairs and into the hallway, open the door and get inside his apartment. He licks his drying lips and begins to walk faster, but slows to a stop when he sees someone slowly walking in front of him rubbing his cheek.

“. . .Oi.”

Hinata glances up at him, Iwaizumi now clearly seeing a bruise on the left side of his face that he’s rubbing. “Where did you get that?” he asks and Hinata bites the inside of his cheek, looking towards the ground in a huff.

“. . .From a friend. But I punched him too, so it’s okay,” Hinata murmurs and Iwaizumi raises an eyebrow. Hinata keeps rubbing the bruise and Iwaizumi knows that it must be sore. And it’s not like Hinata has a parent to go home to that’ll tend to the injury.

He sighs deep through his nose and offers his wrist. “Come on,” he says.

Hinata blinks and looks up at him confused. Iwaizumi frowns. “You obviously need some ice for that swelling,” Iwaizumi says. Hinata blinks again, then takes hold of Iwaizumi’s wrist. Iwaizumi nods his head and both of them continue to Iwaizumi’s apartment.

“. . .I think it looks cool,” Hinata mumbles. Iwaizumi rolls his eyes.

They make it to the building and trek up the stairs, down the hallway and to Iwaizumi’s front door. He fumbles a bit to get his keys out of his coat pocket and opens the door. He walks inside, Hinata trailing close behind him.

“Take your shoes off,” Iwaizumi mutters and toes off his loafers. Hinata sits down on the step of the genkan, yanking off his filthy sneakers. His socks are just as awful. Iwaizumi’s eyebrow twitches just a bit as he watches Hinata place his sneakers next to Iwaizumi’s shoes.

Iwaizumi turns on the light and heads to the kitchen to drop off the groceries onto his counter. He also goes inside of his freezer to grab a decent sized ice pack and turns back to the child that’s making himself comfortable on his couch. Iwaizumi walks around the couch and hands the ice pack to Hinata.

“Put this on your face so the swelling goes down,” Iwaizumi says. Hinata takes the ice pack with a thanks and presses it to his face. He winces, but keeps the ice pack on his cheek. Iwaizumi nods in approval, a few seconds of silence passing between them.

. . .Shit, he doesn’t have a fucking clue what to do with children.

Really, the only person that is good with children that he knows is surprisingly Kuroo. Maybe something about Kuroo’s immature mind allows him to really click with kids. It might be something that attracts Tsukishima to him, if Tsukishima liked kids himself and therefore, gave a shit. He thought that Sugawara would be the best with children, but Sugawara is already pretty intense for adults so he’s not quite sure he’ll tone it down for a child. Daichi has the mentality of a grandpa when it comes to kids; he kinda just gives them money and a pat on the head and some candy.

Oikawa is awful with kids. If he were here, he’d most likely have QT or U deal with Hinata while J.A.R.V.I.S. supervised.

“You live by yourself?” Hinata asks and Iwaizumi rubs the back of his neck.

“Yeah.”

“Where’s your wife?” he asks and Iwaizumi flinches.

“I don’t have one.”

“Do you have kids?” Hinata asks and Iwaizumi pinches the bridge of his nose.

“No. I live alone.”

Hinata hums and kicks his feet up and down. “. . .Aren’t you lonely here by yourself?” Hinata asks and Iwaizumi shrugs his coat off, hanging it on his coat rack before he goes back to the kitchen to begin putting away his groceries.

“I have friends, so I’m not lonely,” Iwaizumi says simply. “I have one friend in particular who’s super annoying. But he fixes anything that breaks around my house for free and he gave me a job and I’ve known him since we were in diapers, so I guess he’s not all bad,” Iwaizumi murmurs with a little chuckle.

“Oh! That sounds like my friend! The one that punched me!” Hinata chirps and then rubs his chin. “Except, he’s not my boss. And he can be kinda stupid. And I didn’t know him since I was a baby, but he’s my best friend still!”

Iwaizumi wants to ask what kind of best friend would leave a bruise like that, but figures that since he headbutted Oikawa so hard that he drew blood in middle school, he has no right to judge.

“What kind of person is he like then?” Iwaizumi asks as he begins to shelve some cans.

“He’s kinda bossy. He’s bad with talking to people and we fight a lot. But sometimes he can be really cool!” Hinata says happily and knocks his knees together. “We used to play volleyball a lot too, with some older kids.”

“You like to play volleyball?” Iwaizumi asks as he opens of his fridge. Damn, he already had a jar of kimchi and now he has too much. Maybe he can force some of it on Oikawa.

“Yeah! I’m going to be an ace volleyball player when I grow up! And my friend, he’s the best setter ever!”

Iwaizumi smirks. “Me and my friend played volleyball when we were in high school too. I was the ace of our team and he was the setter.”

Hinata gapes. “No way! That’s so cool! Were you a middle block too?!”

“Wing spiker.”

Hinata pouts at the similarities finally ending between them. He slumps back into the couch cushion, adjusting the ice pack against his cheek. Iwaizumi finshes putting away the last of his groceries and grabs two cans of soda as he closes the fridge door. He walks over and hands one can of soda to Hinata, who takes it with a small smile.

Iwaizumi watches the child closely, drumming his fingers over the side of his thigh. “. . .You don’t have a place to go? No parents at all?”

Hinata puts the ice pack in his lap. “. . .No. . .they’re gone.”

“. . .What about staying with your friend?”

“I can’t,” Hinata says quickly. His eyes are wide now and his hands are trembling. Iwaizumi recognizes the look on his face; it’s been the same look on his face for the past couple of days.

Fear.

“I can’t stay with him. I can’t go back there. I can’t-”

“Go back where? What are you talking about?” Iwaizumi asks and rests a hand on Hinata’s shoulder. Hinata closes his eyes tight and grips the can.

“I can’t go back. I just can’t go back,” Hinata continues to whimper and Iwaizumi stills his breath.

“. . .What about calling the police? Is something happening at your friend’s house?”

“I can’t ask them for help. I can’t go to them. If I do. . .he’ll find me.”

“Who is ‘he’?” Iwaizumi asks and Hinata puts the soda down to curl up on the couch. He places his head in between his knees, his body shaking all over.

“Don’t make me go back. Please don’t make me go back,” he says into his dirty, ripped jeans. Iwaizumi watches the child and tries to make sense of his mumblings, but he’s coming up empty. All he knows is that whoever is there at his friend’s house isn’t good.

He’s partially worried if Hinata was telling him the truth about that bruise coming from his friend.

Iwaizumi moves his hand and gently runs it through Hinata’s hair. Hinata jumps at his touch, but begins to ease into it and his body stops shaking.

“. . .You can stay here for the night. At least, until I figure out what to do with you,” Iwaizumi says with a sigh. Hinata raises his head and looks at him, eyes big and full of worry.

“. . .No police?”

“No police.”

Hinata stares, then sniffles and nods his head okay. Iwaizumi smiles and rubs Hinata’s head, pulling back his hand to find dirt covering it. He grimaces.

“First thing, however. You’re taking a bath.”

Hinata groans.


Iwaizumi is running, but he doesn’t know where. There is nothing but darkness that surrounds him as he is chased by something unknown. He hears something behind him, just at his heels. He feels something breathing down his neck, like they’re on top of him. But he can’t stop to look at what it is. His head is facing forward, unable to turn and his eyes unable to close.

His heart is beating so rapidly that it aches in his chest. He’s so out of breath, he’s so tired. He just wants to stop. But he can’t. He can’t stop. He’s. . .scared. He’s scared to see what is this thing that is so close to him, close enough that he can feel it breathing over his skin. He doesn’t understand what’s going on. He doesn’t understand where he’s going or what’s going to happen to him if he stops moving.

 

He’s coming. He’s coming. He’s going to kill me.

 

Iwaizumi jumps in his bed, almost enough to fall off and onto the floor. He’s drenched in sweat and is clutching the bedsheet tight in his fist. He swallows and tries to calm his breathing, running a hand through his hair.

That voice. . .it sounds like Hinata. But it's so clear in Iwaizumi’s head and so loud, as if Hinata is right there next to him saying the words in his ears. Iwaizumi glances to the open bedroom door down the dark hallway, a sense of dread coming over his body and chilling him to his core.

He gets out of the bed and slowly walks down the hallway, listening for any strange noises. He enters the living room and sees Hinata curled up on the couch with the blanket draped over him. He’s fast asleep, but his face is scrunched in discomfort, like he’s having a nightmare himself. Iwaizumi approaches him and crouches down beside him, studying Hinata’s face.

His lips are pulled tight and he’s whimpering, but Iwaizumi can’t make sense of any words that may slip from his lips. It brings him back to memories of having nightmares and curling up to his mother’s side for some sort of comfort, or calming Oikawa down when he wakes up in the middle of a night during a sleepover.

Iwaizumi reaches out and gently cards his fingers through Hinata’s hair, just like his mother did.

 

Daddy! Why do we have to leave?!

 

No, I want to stay with you and Mommy! I don’t want to leave!

 

Where’s Natsu?! Where’s my little sister?!

 

I wanna go home. I wanna go home.

 

Shoyou!

 

Iwaizumi reels his hand back and flails, falling into the coffee table and tilting it over to its side from his weight. Hinata is now wide awake and is looking at Iwaizumi with wide eyes, pulling the blanket close to him. Both of them stare at each other, Iwaizumi feeling droplets of sweat rolling down the side of his face as he tries to remember how to breathe.

What. . .what the fuck was that?

“. . .I. . .” Iwaizumi’s voice eventally croaks out and Hinata turns away from Iwaizumi’s face.

“Goodnight,” he says quietly. Iwaizumi blinks and then gets to his feet.

“Y-Yeah. . .goodnight,” Iwaizumi stammers and awkwardly shuffles out of the living room back towards his bedroom. He gets inside of his bed and pulls the covers over his head, as if the thin cotton can somehow protect himself from this. . .thing that’s going on. He doesn’t understand how he was able to hear what he heard. He doesn’t understand why Hinata would even say those things or what happened in the child’s past. He doesn’t understand why that last voice sounded so. . .terrifying. Iwaizumi tries to calm himself down and take in deep breaths, but he finds himself getting more panicked.

Eventually, his hand sneaks out from under the covers and he grabs his cell phone on the nightstand. He unlocks the screen and goes to his contacts, pressing the name that’s at the top of his list.

He doesn’t wait for long, since the call goes through and he can hear the sound of a quiet robot whirring in the background.

What are you doing up?” Oikawa asks. From the sound of confusion in his voice, he doesn’t feel the need to begin with a greeting. Iwaizumi scoffs, pretending to sound like he’s not questioning his sanity and he isn’t hiding under his blanket like a scared little child.

“I’d ask the same thing about you. You know about all the things you need to do tomorrow?”

Well I just figured that I’d check up on this little guy really quick before heading to bed. I haven’t been up for long, have I J.A.R.V.I.S.?

“Six hours. But who’s counting?

Iwaizumi sighs as Oikawa gives a betrayed whine. “Fiiine. I’ll head to bed soon. He’s almost done. I just need to give him that good Oikawa Tooru charm and that’s it.

“What does this one do? Compliment you so your inflated ego can get bigger?” Iwaizumi asks and Oikawa clucks his tongue.

Nonsense! Although I will consider that idea plan, Iwa-chan!” Oikawa says and he hums, “I’m not sure. I decided that Dum-E should be stationed in my workshop and not allowed to roam free after the disaster that was dinner a few weeks ago. So maybe he can cook me things or accept the door when delivery comes. You know, since QT has an unreasonable fear of anything that can walk and U takes a century to get up one step.

“Or maybe you can cook your own food?” Iwaizumi suggests and Oikawa scoffs.

I’m a scientist. My work is in the lab, not the kitchen. I barely remember to eat anyways. This little guy is probably going to drive himself insane not having anything to do.

“You better start eating regularly and stop overworking yourself. I don’t need you to collapse on me like you did last year,” Iwaizumi growls out and Oikawa hums.

What do you think this little guy’s name should be?

“I don’t know. You give them the laziest names that I have ever heard for a robot.”

J.A.R.V.I.S. is a good name though!

“It just stands for ‘Just A Rather Very Intelligent System’. Not to mention that your robots consist of ‘QT’, ‘U’ and ‘Dum-E’, who is actually really nice. Slow, but I know he means well,” Iwaizumi adds. Oikawa huffs.

Fine then. Your next assignment will be to figure out a name for my newest little helper and have it in by Friday,” Oikawa orders and Iwaizumi turns on his side.

“I haven’t even seen the damn thing yet. How am I supposed to give him a name?”

You’re the assistant of Oikawa Tooru! You’ll figure it out!” Oikawa chirps. Iwaizumi wants to strangle him. “You haven’t told me the reason why you called. Nothing’s wrong, is it?” Oikawa asks. His voice immediately changes from cheesy and annoying to concerned and quiet. It never fails to startle Iwaizumi how quickly Oikawa can change gears.

His voice catches in his throat as he tries to come up with the words to explain what he’s feeling. Honestly, just listening to Oikawa talk is enough to calm his nerves just a bit. His voice is enough to keep him grounded in reality and knows that he’s not suffering through the nightmare the Enhanced put him through. He wants to tell Oikawa he called because he just wants to be sure that he’ll be there if he needs him. Whether that be just to talk or be there to help him or just be there for Iwaizumi to touch and hold and know that he’s alright. . .he just needed someone to talk to.

Instead, he says, “I had a feeling you weren’t getting your rest like you need to be. Hurry up and go to bed before I show up to your place early in the morning and drag you out of bed myself,” Iwaizumi says.

He pulls the phone away temporarily and mouths to himself, ‘why the hell did I say that?’.

Alright, alright. Yee Robot with No Name shall wait another night.”

“Sounds like a plan, Sir Moron.”

Mean!

He smiles. “Goodnight, Oikawa.”

Oikawa pauses for a few seconds, before he gives a reaffirming hum. “Yeah. . .night. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Both of them hang up at the same time and Iwaizumi places his phone back on the nightstand. His heart beats at a regular pace and his cheeks are warm for an entirely different reason. He pulls the blankets tighter around him and closes his eyes.

He falls into a dreamless sleep, but it’s just what he needs.

Chapter Text

What,” Tsukishima begins and points the end of his pen at Hinata hugging close to Iwaizumi’s legs, “is that?

“It’s a little boy. You should have learned that in elementary school,” Iwaizumi grumbles and sips from the ‘so-hot-his-tongue-should-have-already-fallen-from-his-mouth-in-a-charred-heap’ coffee he bought from the café across the street from the building. He’s sure the residue of the sticky bun Hinata had for breakfast is now getting attached to his pants leg in little fingerprints, and Hinata has no intention of letting go.

Tsukishima frowns as Iwaizumi walks towards his office, Hinata clinging to his leg like a baby koala clings to its mother.

“I know that. Whose kid is he?” Tsukishima asks and Iwaizumi checks through the mail that’s waiting for him to peruse.

“Not sure. I’m taking care of him until I figure out what to do with him,” Iwaizumi murmurs. There’s business proposals, bills that need to be paid, and interviewers begging for a time to speak with Oikawa. He’ll deal with those later. Or probably forget all about it like he always does.

Tsukishima glares so hard at Hinata like he’s willing the child to burst into flames and Hinata cowers more behind Iwaizumi’s leg. Iwaizumi ignores Tsukishima’s silent judgement and takes some files in his mailbox. “Can you watch him while I make some phone calls?” Iwaizumi asks and Tsukishima makes a face like he’s just swallowed down sour milk.

“I don’t like children,” Tsukishima says, putting extra venom on ‘children’.

“You’re nineteen. You’re basically a big child that can drive and do calculus,” Iwaizumi says dryly and tries to separate himself from Hinata’s hold. “It’s just for a few minutes. It’s not going to kill you,” Iwaizumi says and Tsukishima leans back in his chair.

“Can I get extra in my pay check?” Tsukishima asks and Iwaizumi manages to pry Hinata’s hands off of his leg.

“Oikawa handles that.”

“No, Shimizu-san does.”

“Then you know who to ask,” Iwaizumi says and with that, he quickly flees into his office and closes the door shut behind him.

He hears Tsukishima give an indignant squawk, but eventually, he hears Tsukishima grumble, ‘here, just play Candy Crush or whatever and be quiet’. Hinata makes a ‘not quiet at all’ noise of amazement and Iwaizumi sighs, moving to sit at his desk and start on work.


Lunch time comes relatively fast. Either because Iwaizumi has so much work to do that time seems to be moving faster or because his mind is still focused on Hinata and what he’s going to do with him that he can’t even pay attention to how quickly time is moving.

He’s never taken care of a child. He’s maybe helped Oikawa watch Takeru once or twice when he was younger, but that was pretty much it. Plus, watching Takeru was only for a couple of hours while his parents were out. Taking care of Hinata is most likely going to be an indefinite amount of time. There’s barely enough room in his apartment to sustain two people. He’ll have to start buying more food. Kids are picky eaters too. He doesn’t even know what Hinata likes to eat or if he has any allergies-

“Iwa-chaaaaaan!

And he didn’t tell Oikawa about this either.

Iwaizumi sighs and gets to his feet, exiting out of his office to see his boss with that same sour look on his face Tsukishima had before.

For some reason (well, Iwaizumi knows the reason), Kuroo is here as well and has pulled up a chair next to Tsukishima. Balancing on Kuroo’s knee and watching stupid Youtube videos with him on his beaten up iPhone is Hinata. Tsukishima is currently going through emails and ignoring everything around him.

Oikawa gestures a hand towards Hinata, who doesn’t even seem to be paying any attention to anything outside the cat videos on the cracked phone screen. “Tsukki said you brought him in this morning. Whose kid is he?” Oikawa asks with an eyebrow raised and Iwaizumi sighs.

“If Tsukishima-kun told you that, then he should have also told you that I don’t know who his parents are and that I’m taking care of him for a little while,” Iwaizumi restates. Oikawa blinks then scrunches his nose. That expression is so irritatingly cute, Iwaizumi thinks, I want to punch him in the nose.

“He isn’t. . .” Oikawa points at Hinata, then at Iwaizumi, then tangles his fingers together as if that is supposed to signify something. Iwaizumi’s eyebrow twitches.

“If you’re implying he’s mine somehow, no. I should punch you now for suggesting something so stupid,” Iwaizumi scolds. Oikawa huffs and crosses his arms while Kuroo runs a gloved hand through Hinata’s hair.

“Don’t worry, Oikawa. Iwaizumi wouldn’t make such an adorable love child without you~”

“Shut up, Kuroo,” Oikawa, Iwaizumi and Tsukishima say at once. Kuroo whines.

Oikawa grabs hold of Iwaizumi’s arm and tugs him back inside Iwaizumi’s office. His face is flushed red and he’s biting nervously at his lower lip. Oikawa is usually more sensitive to Kuroo’s egging and always falls for the bait, but he’s always ready to fight back with a retort of his own if he thinks it up fast enough.

It’s weird that he doesn’t do it this time around.

Once the two of them are inside Iwaizumi’s office, Oikawa leans against the door.

“Was he the reason you called last night?” he asks and Iwaizumi sighs, sitting against the edge of his desk.

“No. . .yes? I don’t know. . .I just. . .I’ve been really freaked out lately. This whole Enhanced thing going on is messing with my head,” Iwaizumi mutters. Oikawa moves away from the door and approaches him.

“Like how?”

“Like. . .I keep feeling that something awful is going to happen. I had a weird dream, I heard voices,” Iwaizumi turns to Oikawa and cracks a grin that is not humorous in the slightest. “I think this job is finally driving me crazy,” he says. Oikawa moves to stand next to him, leaning against his desk and letting their wrists touch.

“Of course it will. You have a handsome, genius, billionaire, philanthropist playboy that moonlights as a superhero for a boss. You have an assistant that can crawl up walls and his boyfriend is an unstable mercenary. You are friends with a scientist that has a god for a boyfriend, a college kid that has a boyfriend with some serious anger issues, and a guy with a prosthetic hand that runs a top secret organization. I’m surprised that you haven’t taken days off from work to go see a therapist,” Oikawa says and Iwaizumi snorts.

“Maybe if I had money for a therapist, I would. And also enough trust that this company won’t go down the toilet if I’m not here for one day,” Iwaizumi says. Oikawa whines and bumps his shoulder against Iwaizumi’s.

“I ran the company those days you were in the hospital and everything is still up and running! Plus, if it’s money you’re worried about, I can always pay for it,” Oikawa suggests and Iwaizumi runs a hand through his hair and brings it back down to press against his face.

“I’d rather you buy me dinner than therapy,” Iwaizumi mumbles into his palm.

“What?”

“Nothing,” Iwaizumi spits and huffs into his hand. Oikawa shifts and pulls Iwaizumi’s hand down, holding his wrist firmly as he stands in front and meets Iwaizumi’s eyes. Iwaizumi blinks, then tries to focus his attention on anything but Oikawa’s face. Oikawa has unfortunately blocked all paths of escape with his hand holding Iwaizumi’s wrist and the other pressed against the side of the desk.

“I didn’t want things to be like this for you,” Oikawa starts and licks his lips, “I didn’t want you to get thrown in danger and you to start worrying about what’s going to happen next. . .maybe it’ll be better if you did take a vacation. You know, get away from all of this until we get it under control-”

“No,” Iwaizumi says sharply. “You think I’m just going to run away and leave you?” Iwaizumi asks and frowns. “I’m not a damsel in distress and I will never forgive myself if you end up doing something stupid that I could have possibly prevented.”

“Stupid like what?”

“Dying,” Iwaizumi says bluntly and Oikawa chuckles. The hand that holds Iwaizumi’s wrist slowly move to hold Iwaizumi’s hand. Oikawa’s thumb gently rubs little circles in the back of Iwaizumi’s hand and Iwaizumi’s mind is becoming too frazzled to understand what the fuck is going on right now and why is it suddenly getting hot in his office.

“I’m not going to die. I still have to make sure you get yourself a hot date and not become some lonely old man that takes in twenty cats,” Oikawa says and Iwaizumi averts his eyes to Oikawa’s tie with stupid UFOs on it.

“I’m allergic to cats, remember? And if you’re not going to die, then I’m not going to be lonely cause I’ll have you,” Iwaizumi mumbles. Oikawa hums and his hand begins to slowly move up Iwaizumi’s arm like a spider. Iwaizumi’s heart is racing and a million questions are running through his mind at top speed.

Why is Oikawa getting all touchy with him? His personal space bubble is being heavily intruded on, so why isn’t he shoving Oikawa away? Why is Oikawa wearing that nice cologne that Iwaizumi once hinted that he liked? Is he looking way into this? Is this wishful thinking? Can he just backflip over his desk to escape from Oikawa’s eyes and this position he trapped Iwaizumi in?

“Yeah, but I want to have that whole silver fox thing going for me when I get older. Having a crotchety old man like you around is going to cramp my style, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa singsongs. Iwaizumi flares his nostrils.

“Tch, like anyone would want some old fart like you, Shittykawa,” Iwaizumi huffs. His breath hitches when Oikawa’s hand reaches his shoulder and moves to the side of his jaw in one swoop. Oikawa’s eyes are full of seriousness and Iwaizumi’s mouth feels dry.

“I won’t die. I’m not going to leave you alone either.”

Iwaizumi bites his lower lip and turns his eyes back down. “. . .I-“

“Iwaizumi-san.”

Whatever Iwaizumi was about to say is now a scream of shock. His body is suddenly able to react and he shoves Oikawa (who is also screaming in surprise and is flailing his arms to regain his footing) away from him, almost falling backwards over his desk. Kunimi is in the office and is totally unfazed, blinking tiredly and holding files to his chest.

Oikawa clutches his chest and gives a weak smile to the young man. “Kunimi-chan, I thought I told you not to sneak up on people like that. Couldn’t you have at least knocked?” he asks, a hint of stress in his voice. Kunimi blinks and then shrugs.

“Sorry,” he says. It doesn’t sound like he’s sorry at all.

Kunimi hands the files outwards to Iwaizumi. “Here’s the papers and guest lists for the gala tonight,” Kunimi explains and Iwaizumi takes them, able to get his heart beating regularly and his breathing back to normal.

“Right. . .thanks. . .” Iwaizumi mumbles. Kunimi shrugs and exits the office without another word, Oikawa’s lips upturned in a pout.

“I don’t know how he does it so quietly. I didn’t even hear the door open,” Oikawa says and Iwaizumi places the files on his desk.

“It’s just a thing with him,” Iwaizumi says and sits down at his desk. “Make sure that you show up on time for the gala and meet with people. And by people, I mean strictly business men that’ll invest in our company and not stupid girls looking for more than an interview with you,” Iwaizumi says and Oikawa scratches the back of his head.

“Right, right,” he says, but he doesn’t leave Iwaizumi’s office. He stands there and watches Iwaizumi quietly, his hands in his coat pockets. Iwaizumi is forcing himself to stare at the files instead of looking up at Oikawa’s face. He isn’t reading what’s on the page, but he doesn’t want to look at anything else.

Eventually, Oikawa sighs and turns on his heel, placing his hand on the door. “By the way,” he says, “I added some funds in your account, enough for you to pick out a decent suit for tonight.”

Iwaizumi grunts in response. He’s read the title of the page he’s looking at three times now.

Oikawa opens the door and leaves Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi drops his head down onto his desk the moment the door closes shut.

He is so fucked.


“So that guy,” Hinata begins, sipping on his apple juice box as he watches Iwaizumi button up his dress shirt. Dinner is currently cooking in the oven and should be ready as Iwaizumi gets ready to get his shoes on.

So far, everything is going over smoothly. Hinata isn’t picky with food like Iwaizumi initially thought he was going to be and picked out a good selection of snacks for him to eat when they went to the market earlier. Tthough when he thinks about it, the child probably has gone a week or more without decent food and will take anything that’s offered.

He’s not sure if what he’s doing is parenting really. It currently feels like he has a roommate. A small roommate that likes to watch anime in the living room while he reviews files in his bedroom and make outside calls. He doesn’t know how long this’ll last either, if he’ll see Hinata grow past childhood and into his teens and so on.

Shit, what is he getting himself into? Is this even legal?

“What guy?” Iwaizumi asks, deciding to distance himself from those unsure thoughts, and spritzes some cologne on his neck.

“The guy with brown hair that pulled you in your office,” Hinata explains. He hands Iwaizumi his silver tie when Iwaizumi holds his hand out for it, then knocks his knees together. “Is he your best friend?”

“Yeah. What about him?”

Hinata looks down at his toes that tangle themselves up in the sheets of Iwaizumi’s bed. “When he came out of your office, his face was really red. And when I asked Kuroo-nii about it, he just said ‘that’s what sexual tension looks like’.”

“Kuroo is a lunatic. Don’t hang around him ever again and don’t refer to him as ‘Kuroo-nii’,” Iwaizumi says sharply and makes a mental note to push Kuroo off a building the next time he sees him. He can heal himself, he’ll be alright.

“But what’s ‘sexual tension’?”

“Nothing you need to know,” Iwaizumi says and ties his tie into a Windsor knot. He turns to Hinata and straightens out his cuffs. “Are you sure you want to be here by yourself? I can always call someone to babysit,” Iwaizumi says. Hinata shakes his head, draining his juice box of its contents.

“I’ll be fine. . .you’ll be back soon, right?” Hinata asks and Iwaizumi grabs his watch to place on his wrist.

“I don’t know how soon I can leave. We have a lot of people we need to talk to-”

“But you’ll come back?” Hinata asks quietly. Iwaizumi glances over at the child and sees that Hinata is worrying his lower lip in between his teeth and squeezing the empty juice box tight in his hands. His eyes are big and full of worry, like the moment Iwaizumi disappears, he’s gone for good. Iwaizumi blinks and moves to sit down beside Hinata on the bed.

“Of course I’m going to come back,” Iwaizumi says. Hinata looks down at his feet again and Iwaizumi scratches his cheek. “You don’t have to worry about me leaving. I mean, I do live here and pay for everything. I have to come back,” Iwaizumi mumbles. Hinata nods in agreement, but he doesn’t look wholly convinced. Iwaizumi sighs. Kids can be such a pain.

Iwaizumi runs his hand through Hinata’s hair. It’s soft and it threads through his fingers with ease.

“You’re not going to be alone anymore. . .I’m not going anywhere.”

Hinata sniffles and raises his pinky up. “You promise?” he asks and Iwaizumi links his pinky around Hinata’s small one. He hasn’t done this himself since he was in elementary school. When Oikawa was just Tooru, falling off his bike and always stumbling to chase after Iwaizumi as they collected stag beetles. And Iwaizumi always had to be right back at his side to pick him back up and link pinkies together, promising to never leave the other one behind. . .

“Yeah. Promise.”


The gala night begins very nicely.

Oikawa actually shows up on time instead of using his bullshit excuse of ‘Iwa-chaaan, haven’t you ever heard of being fashionably late?’ and so far has managed to stay away from the reporters and only focuses on making connections with corporate men for any future collaborations. Then again, the dogged look Iwaizumi gives to any girl that tries to approach with two glasses of champagne and way too much lipstick on to be tasteful might have something to do with it.

Oikawa has always been better at this sort of thing. He has that charisma that makes people respect him and make the women want to tell him everything. He has a certain smile he uses when he schmoozes over executives. It’s full of fake sincerity and interest, but no one ever manages to catch on. He also uses a different voice when he speaks to others, lilted and playful to downplay his true intellect. But no one sees past the fake front Oikawa puts up. And they don’t bother to see past it either.

Iwaizumi sucks in a breath and rubs his face since he doesn’t want to muse his hair up. It’s only a couple more hours of eating, drinking and nodding his head appropriately to the droning conversation of businessmen. He’s thought of calling Hinata to check on him, but every time he gets his cell phone out to make the call, someone is making their way over to introduce themselves in an attempt to have a second to rub elbows with Oikawa.

He kind of wishes that he just stayed home in his sweats and watched TV with Hinata.

An hour into the gala, it all goes to shit.

He should have seen this coming when on the invite for the gala, it said it was a meeting of ‘brilliant minds’. And without a doubt, Ushijima Wakatoshi is a brilliant man. He has extensive knowledge in all facets of science ranging from biochemisty to quantum physics. He’s the number one biochemist in Japan, possibly all of the world. On the list of the ‘most intelligent men on Earth’, he’s probably at the top, next to Nobuyuki Kai and Azumane Asahi.

(There isn’t really a list of the most intelligent men on Earth, Iwaizumi thinks, but Oikawa is always salty that he isn’t considered to be part of the top three if there is one.)

Ushijima takes him by surprise with a low greeting of ‘Iwaizumi-san’ from behind. Iwaizumi almost spits his champagne on the elderly American man he was having a conversation with about who would win in a fight (Avengers or Godzilla), and instead chokes on his drink for a few seconds. He excuses himself from the man and turns to meet Ushijima’s face, totally unfazed that he startled the secretary.

“Ah, Ushijima-san. . .what a nice surprise,” he says, as bland as the expression on Ushijima’s face. Iwaizumi figures that being around Oikawa long enough has made him more tense around Ushijima. Granted, he can tolerate the man a whole lot more than Oikawa can, but that doesn’t mean he wants to strike up a conversation with him over appetizers.

“How are things?” he asks, inclining his head towards a private corner of the ballroom. Iwaizumi gets the idea and begins to walk with Ushijima, wondering how long it’ll take before Oikawa notices that he’s been taken captured by his most hated rival.

“Things are going well. Stocks are up for us, we have lots of investors, Kuroo hasn’t broken anything in the last month-”

“You were captured by those Enhanced rouges recently, correct?” Ushijima says and pauses, furrowing his eyebrows. “That shouldn’t have happened. It’s one thing to target innocents, but it’s another to target someone that is close to S.H.I.E.L.D.”

“I’m as close to S.H.I.E.L.D. as you are to Oikawa. But if that’s your funny way of telling me you’re concerned, thank you,” Iwaizumi says. He takes two glasses off the tray from a waiter that is passing by and proceeds to drink both.

“This isn’t a laughing matter, Iwaizumi-san. I’m sure you’ve realized this, but you should look into some sort of self-defense so you won’t be as helpless as you were last time,” Ushijima states. Iwaizumi knows that he means well, but he wants to punch Ushijima anyways for implying that he’s some helpless nobody that needs saving.

“I’m not involved in any of this and I don’t want to be,” Iwaizumi says and turns to Ushijima. “Kuroo and Ennoshita-san have already captured one of them. All you need to do is figure out why they’re doing this and stop them.”

“That’s easier said than done,” Ushijima says and leans against the pillar. “We’ve never dealt with this before. It’s not anything that is in history books and it isn’t anything that can possibly be recreated. At least, not to our known knowledge. Their planning is erratic and unorganized. We can’t predict their next move.”

“They’re a bunch of kids so, that explains it,” Iwaizumi says and Ushijima sighs.

“I’ve spoken with Sugawara. He said that they were taking orders from someone. Our first matter should be figuring out who the mastermind is and taking them out,” Ushijima says. Iwaizumi clicks his tongue. He also takes a finger sandwich off another passing tray and shoves it in his mouth.

“Shouldn’t you be making plans with Oikawa then? Or maybe talking with other businessmen for your own laboratory since we are at an event and not S.H.I.E.L.D.?” Iwaizumi says between muffled chews

“Oikawa avoids S.H.I.E.L.D. related material at all costs. As for Ushijima Tech., Shirabu is handling business. I have other things that I am currently working on, something that may help to stop these Enhanced,” Ushijima explains. Iwaizumi nods his head and forces a smile on his face.

“Glad you have everything thought out. Nice chatting with you,” Iwaizumi says and turns on his heel to leave. But a strong hand clamps down on his shoulder, preventing him from moving any farther.

“Yamaguchi Corp. Does the name sound familiar to you?” Ushijima asks and Iwaizumi turns his head to look at him. Ushijima’s eyes have a quiet fury to them, gears working in his head and already turning to form a plan that is unforeseeable. Iwaizumi’s breath stills and Ushijima squeezes his shoulder. “Watch out for them. I have a feeling-”

“Ushiwaka-channn,” a voice hisses, dripping with venom. Both men turn to see Oikawa approaching with Shirabu tailing at his feet, clearly intending to beat Oikawa to the punch. Ushijima releases his hold on Iwaizumi’s shoulder as Oikawa places on a smile that doesn’t even bother to hide the malice and contempt Oikawa feels for the biochemist.

“What are you doing with my secretary? You’re not satisfied with your mediocre one?” Oikawa asks and Shirabu turns his nose upwards.

“I’m surprised Iwaizumi-san hasn’t quit. But then again, we all know who really runs Aoba Josai Enterprises,” Shirabu digs and Iwaizumi frowns. He can tolerate Ushijima. Shirabu is another story.

“Oikawa,” Ushijima starts, “I was discussing with Iwaizumi-san about the matter of the Enhanced-”

“He doesn’t need to worry about them. It’s none of his business,” Oikawa spits.

“They’ve attacked him twice. It is his business,” Ushijima says strongly and Oikawa smile grows menacing.

“Who do you think you are to say what’s best for my friend? You think I want to put him in danger by having him get involved with this?” Oikawa growls out and Ushijima raises his hands to show he means no ill will.

“This is of concern for all non-S.H.I.E.L.D. initiates. Nishinoya-san, Akaashi-san. Even Tsukishima-san might be at risk. He’s in your custody, correct?”

“From what I remember, the only thing that was a risk of harming Tsukishima-kun was that weird symbiote you discovered that attacked him in your own lab. Iwa-chan and Tsukishima-kun are big boys. How about you worry about your own interns and your secretary instead of mine?”

Shirabu steps forward. “Look, Oikawa. We’re not here to fight-”

“Then let’s not. Come on, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa cuts off and grabs hold of Iwaizumi’s hand nice and tight. Iwaizumi’s face flushes scarlet and he stammers out noises of confusion as Oikawa tugs him away from the two without looking back at their expressions. Oikawa pulls Iwaizumi out onto the balcony of the gala towards the cement railing.

“Who the hell does he think he is? He’s acting like I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to you. I’ve known you all my life. He’s just so-” Oikawa opens his hand and drives his left fist into his palm a couple of times. Iwaizumi imagines Oikawa’s hand has Ushijima’s face on it.

“You know Ushijima doesn’t know how to use his words. He’s just concerned like everyone is,” Iwaizumi says, trying to tone down the anger. Although, he still feels annoyed that everyone feels like he needs to be protected. He isn’t a child; he can handle himself on his own. He doesn’t want to feel like he needs to have someone to protect him. He doesn’t want to be afraid of someone not coming to his help.

“But the best thing for you is to just not get involved. Everyone is telling you to fight back if you run into them and. . .you just can’t,” Oikawa says and Iwaizumi blinks.

“. . .What do you mean? I mean. . .I don’t want to fight. . .but if I need to fight, then I should know what to do to at least incapacitate them,” Iwaizumi explains and scratches his cheek. “I mean. . .not like carrying around guns like Kuroo suggested. But maybe I should look into going to Ennoshita-san for some boxing-”

“What about calling me? That’s an option.”

“What if you’re not there when I call? Or if you’re not close by to make it in time?” Iwaizumi questions and turns towards him. “I’m not helpless, I don’t need you rescuing me.”

“I’m not saying you’re helpless. I’m just saying that you don’t need to worry about any of this stuff. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. I’ll protect you.”

Iwaizumi’s cheeks flare red, but he’s starting to feel more irritated instead of weak in the knees. “I don’t need your protection. What if you get hurt trying to rescue me? I don’t want to be a burden and I don’t need you to do anything reckless,” Iwaizumi snaps and Oikawa pouts.

“You’re not a burden. I just don’t need you to involve yourself in this anymore.”

“Do you think I just walk outside and yell ‘I’m here! I want something to attack me!’? I’m not trying to get involved in this! I just keep getting mixed up in this shit!”

“If you need escorts to and from the office, then I’ll set something up-”

“Are you even listening to me?! I don’t want you to feel like you need to protect me and watch my every move! You need to focus on stopping these little punks before someone else gets seriously injured.”

Oikawa frowns. “Iwa-chan, calm down-”

“It really pisses me off when you think you know what’s best for me when you can barely take care of yourself,” Iwaizumi spits and turns to look out into the city lights. The view is beautiful, something that Iwaizumi never really appreciates from the window of his own apartment. But it’s different here, with alcohol filling his belly and the haze of Oikawa’s cologne filtering into his nose. He wants to relax and take in the view, but now all he can do is glare hard at his surroundings.

He’s always wanted to avoid this type of conversation. It comes up sometimes, when Sugawara tries to decide what information should Iwaizumi know as Oikawa’s friend and what he shouldn’t. Or when Iwaizumi watches the news report of the Avengers fighting and he yells at the cameramen for not focusing on Oikawa because he needs to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid and gets himself hurt while being stuck in his home in just his sweats. He always knows there’s a chance that one of them might get hurt once Oikawa told him the truth that he is Iron Man and Iwaizumi is just Iwaizumi. He knows the threats that will come to him if anyone should find out that Iwaizumi knows just who Iron Man really is. He knows of the pain that he'll feel if Oikawa never comes back from a mission and he has to pretend to the company that he doesn't know where Oikawa has disappeared to and pretend he is just another citizen that'll grieve with others.

He just tries to pretend like it’s not a big deal.

A few minutes of silence pass between them and Iwaizumi is taking in deep breaths to calm his own nerves. He wants to go home. He hasn’t checked in on Hinata yet to see if he’s eaten and washed up for bed. He wants to go to sleep and just forget that this argument even happened.

Eventually, the sigh that he didn’t realize he was holding in slips from his lips and he turns.

“I think I’m going to head home and check on-” Iwaizumi pauses when he realizes that Oikawa isn’t standing behind him anymore.

There is another man standing in his place dressed in a stunning suit with a purple bowtie, a glass of champagne in one hand and a smile on his lips reminiscent of a snake.

Iwaizumi blinks and glances around, but Oikawa is nowhere in sight. “. . .Ah, excuse me. I thought you were someone else,” he says and bows his head, then begins to walk past him to head back inside the ballroom. But as soon as he passes by, the man reaches out and grabs his wrist to pull him back.

Iwaizumi’s heart immediately speeds up and his right fist reels back to punch the man. But before he’s able to connect a fist to the man’s jaw, he speaks.

“You don’t need to feel so alert. I’m not going to hurt you.”

It’s as if the words are sent to Iwaizumi’s spine like an electric current. His body relaxes immediately and the fist that is raised to punch now drops back down to his side. Iwaizumi blinks, staring at the man who’s smile no longer looks threatening. He sucks in a breath and straightens his shoulders, awkwardly scratching his cheek with his free hand.

“Uh. . .I’m sorry. . .I don’t know what came over me.”

“It’s alright. You’re Iwaizumi Hajime, correct? Assistant to Oikawa Tooru?” the man asks. He lets his hold on Iwaizumi’s wrist slip and crosses his arms over his chest. Iwaizumi nods his head and the man smiles. “I’m Daishou Suguru. Pleasure to make your acquaintance,” the man purrs. His voice sounds so. . .pleasant.

Daishou moves towards the railing and Iwaizumi’s head instinctively follows his movement. “I asked around and understand that your company recently had contact with Yamaguchi Corp. Tell me what they’re working on.”

“Weapon manufacturing,” Iwaizumi says mindlessly. “The technology is very basic, nothing much to really invest in. But they are promising a prototype in the near future.”

Daishou chuckles to himself. “Fascinating. Nothing about a formula they’re developing?”

“No.”

. . .What’s going on? Why does Iwaizumi feel so. . .strange?

. . .Why did he just divulge that information?

Iwaizumi covers his mouth, feeling like he needs to vomit. Daishou hums and hands the glass of champagne towards Iwaizumi.

“Drink it. You’ll feel better,” he says. Iwaizumi looks at the glass. He doesn’t want it. He doesn’t want another drink of champagne. But his hand is already moving to take it and push it towards his lips. He does want a drink. He does want the drink Daishou is giving him.

Iwaizumi swallows down the contents in one gulp. Daishou smiles.

“There. Better?”

“. . .Yes, I feel a little bit better,” Iwaizumi murmurs and places a hand to his head. His skin feels really warm and he doesn’t know if he’s starting to get drunk. . .or something else is happening. Everything feels like he’s in a dream right now; the colors are all mixing together and Daishou’s voice seems like an echo in his ear.

“One more question, Iwaizumi-kun. You’re being such a great help to me.”

“I’m being a great help,” Iwaizumi repeats, feeling such elation wash over him. He’s not useless. He’s not helpless. He doesn’t need anyone’s help.

“Have you seen a small boy with bright orange hair?”

“Hinata,” Iwaizumi breathes. Daishou tilts his head to the side.

“Ah, so you came across him?”

“I’m taking care of him. He’s at my house right now,” Iwaizumi rattles off. Stop. Stop. What’s happening?

Daishou sighs. “That’s unfortunate. His brothers and sisters miss him. . .but this is good for me,” he murmurs and smiles that warm smile. Iwaizumi doesn’t need to fear him. Iwaizumi can trust him. Everything’s going to be alright. Everything’s okay.

It’s not okay. It’s not okay.

“Good. I can’t have any of my ‘children’ running free like this,” Daishou says with a smile and claps his hand on Iwaizumi’s shoulder. “Go back inside and forget this conversation and my face. Your friend is going to be fine, so leave the gala,” he whispers into Iwaizumi’s ear. Iwaizumi blinks, then slowly pulls away from Daishou. He turns on his heel and slowly begins to trudge back into the gala, his memory fading immediately. . .

Why did he go outside again?

And why does he feel so sick?

He needs to go home. He’s talked to all the people that he needs to speak to and set up meetings for future investors. He places a hand to his head and groans. He’ll call Oikawa tomorrow to relay information about meetings. Knowing Oikawa, he’ll be too hungover to even answer the call and J.A.R.V.I.S. will have to relay the info for him.

He runs a hand through his hair and hurries down the stairs, fishing for his ticket for the valet to bring his car around. It shouldn’t take too long, it’s the only shoddy car that they parked tonight. Paint peeling off the door handle, crooked mirror, the works. Oikawa hates the thing, but as long as it runs and doesn’t fall apart in a heap of metal and car parts, Iwaizumi is totally okay with it.

He places a hand to his aching head and sighs. He needs to go to sleep.

This gala has been more draining than he thought it would be.


 

Bzzzt!

 

Bzzzt!

 

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!

 

Who the fuck is ringing his doorbell at three in the morning?!

Iwaizumi forces himself out of bed and stumbles out of his bedroom in only his boxers and a undershirt. He throws open his closet door to blindly grab for the metal bat that he keeps in case of emergencies. He’s never had to use it, since his apartment is already in a shabby part of town and really, there’s nothing in here that will be worth the trouble of stealing.

He rubs the sleep from his eyes and gets a better grip on the handle, walking past Hinata who is looking at the door with worried eyes.

“Don’t answer it,” he whimpers and Iwaizumi looks at him.

“It’s going to be alright,” Iwaizumi quietly reassures him. Hinata pulls his blankets around him, eyes wide in fear. He looks like he wants to run, but he’s too afraid to even move a muscle. Iwaizumi swallows down the dry lump in his throat and turns back to the door, taking another step forward.

Iwaizumi then jumps back when his front door comes flying forward, ripped from its hinges.

Iwaizumi screams and raises his bat, swinging blindly and bringing it down on the intruder. They manage to grab hold of it and yank the bat forward. Iwaizumi grits his teeth and swings his fist, catching a glimpse of the intruder’s face.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t react in time and sucker-punches Oikawa clear across his jaw.

Oikawa stumbles into Iwaizumi’s shoe cupboard, one arm clad in MK XVII (he recognizes the silver detailing along the inner arm) armor with his hand gripping the bat so hard that he’s leaving a hand-shaped dent in the curve of it. Iwaizumi blinks, trying to calm his breathing and simultaneously his rage. He manages to get his breathing under control after a few deep breaths.

His rage goes through the roof afterwards.

“What the fuck are you doing?!” Iwaizumi yells and grabs Oikawa to throw him against a nearby wall that isn’t connected to any apartment. No doubt someone heard the noise of the door being blasted open, he just hopes that everyone is too afraid to go and see Iwaizumi about to hurl a half-suited up Iron Man across his kitchen.

Oikawa’s eyes are dull and empty, his lower lip trembling. Iwaizumi punched him pretty good, since there’s some blood coming from Oikawa’s mouth and bruising on the side of his jaw. Iwaizumi doesn’t react to it. “What are you doing?! Why did you break my door down?! You scared me! You scared Hinata! You probably woke up the entire building with your stupid shit – are you out of your mind?!

Oikawa places a hand to his ear. “False alarm, Cap. Sorry.”

Iwaizumi blinks, then grips the front of Oikawa’s shirt tighter. “You brought Daichi into this?! What do you think is happening here that’ll make you bring Daichi into this?!”

Oikawa doesn’t answer. He just grabs Iwaizumi’s wrist and yanks him into his body. Oikawa’s chest is warm and shaky, lean with muscle. His heart is beating erratically in his chest, a loud thumping that beats against Iwaizumi’s own ribcage. He’s far too confused to melt into Oikawa’s hold, far too full of rage to realize that Oikawa’s lips brush against his cheek and his ear and move through his hair in feather light kisses. He begins to squirm in Oikawa’s arms, driving his right fist into Oikawa’s shoulder and his head.

“Let go of me! Let go of me! What is going on, Shittykawa?!” Iwaizumi yells and Oikawa pulls back to hold Iwaizumi’s face in his hands. The armor has retracted back to Oikawa’s wrist, so Iwaizumi feels Oikawa’s warm skin against his cheeks, feels his thumb rubbing in slow circles below his cheekbone.

Iwaizumi’s brain finally calms down and then speeds back up again with flustered confusion.

“Hajime,” Oikawa begins quietly and Iwaizumi shudders, “I. . .I thought. . .I saw. . .” Oikawa chokes out a gasp and tilts his head down, resting his forehead against Iwaizumi’s. Iwaizumi pulls away, confused and scared.

“What’s going on? What did you see?” he asks and Oikawa rubs his eyes.

“I. . .I don’t know what happened. I swear I was at the gala, I remember us fighting and this waiter coming to give us drinks and. . .” Oikawa groans. “I don’t know, my mind is a total blur. But I saw you in this. . .this place. You were strapped to a table like a fucking lab rat and. . .and there was so much blood. There were others. People screaming and you were-”

Oikawa pauses, looking not at Iwaizumi, but down in the hallway. Iwaizumi follows his trail of vision to see Hinata, cowering in the corner with the blankets around him like they are a shield.

“. . .You. . .you were there,” Oikawa says quietly and takes a step forward. Hinata begins to back up against the wall as Oikawa continues to stalk forward. “You’re one of them. You can’t hide it any longer.

“Oikawa? Oikawa, stop-stop!” Iwaiuzmi shouts and grabs at Oikawa’s arm. Oikawa throws Iwaizumi off of him, hard enough for Iwaizumi to fall back and land on the ground with a hard thud. Hinata staggers to his feet, eyes wide and teary as Oikawa continues forward. The gauntlet moves to cover Oikawa’s hand again, the palm glowing a bright blue.

He raises it and aims it right at Hinata’s head.

“What are you doing?! Stop!” Iwaizumi screams.

Oikawa smiles. “You’ve been a very naughty little boy, Shoyou.”

“Oikawa, no!

Iwaizumi screams as the pulse blast is fired.

He closes his eyes.

What is going on? This can’t be real. This is a nightmare. Oikawa wouldn’t do this. He would never do this. God, what’s happening?

Something zips in front of him and he opens his eyes, wet with tears. Hinata is standing in front of him, the tips of his hair barely singed and his chest heaving up and down. Iwaizumi blinks.

. . .What?

Oikawa turns and raises the gauntlet again, firing another charged blast at Hinata. Iwaizumi quickly rolls out of the way and reaches out a hand to drag Hinata down to the floor. But he’s grasping at only air.

Hinata is already at the end of the hallway. Another blink of Iwaizumi’s eye, he’s running along the side of the walls and kicks over his floor lamp. He’s on the ground in another blink and catches the lamp before it falls over, then grips it and swings it over his head and smashes it against Oikawa’s gauntlet.

. . .What?

Oikawa barely manages to deflect the attack, but Hinata has already dodged another attack of a blast and has jumped onto Oikawa’s back, immediately going for his ears. Oikawa tries to throw him off of him as Hinata yanks something out of Oikawa’s left ear and throws it off to the side. He then wraps his skinny arms around Oikawa’s throat and squeezes around his windpipe in a pathetic attempt to strangle him.

Oikawa grabs Hinata’s arm and throws him against the couch. The furniture falls over and Iwaizumi gets to his feet, watching as Hinata jumps back to his feet and disappears quicker than Iwaizumi can figure out what the fuck is going on????

Oikawa charges forward to chase after Hinata and Iwaizumi decides that this has gone on far enough.

He sucks in a breath, hopes that Oikawa can forgive him when he comes to his senses, grabs a vase that Kiyoko gave to him as a present for his release from the hospital off his kitchen counter, and smashes it upside Oikawa’s head. He takes the second that Oikawa is stunned to grab Oikawa’s arm, yank him forward and throw him onto the ground like he’s seen Ennoshita do so many times.

He almost falls to the ground with Oikawa as he does so. It’s understandable. It’s not like Iwaizumi has experience hurling people around like they’re a sack of potatoes.

Oikawa lands on the ground with a thud and is finally still. Iwaizumi is breathing hard and he falls to his knees, almost feeling like he needs to throw up. He’s surprised a cop hasn’t already come through his doorway. Either his neighbors are just as confused as he is and don’t know what to do about the ruckus, or there are a lot of heavy sleepers on this floor.

He wipes sweat from his brow and looks up to see that Hinata is standing before him, his hands gripped into tight fists and nervously gnawing on his lower lip.

“. . .What. the. Fuck.” Iwaizumi blurts.

Iwaizumi looks at Oikawa passed out on the ground, then at Hinata. Oikawa, Hinata. Oikawa, Hinata, door that needs to be repaired, lamp that needs to be replaced, walls that need explaining to his landlord on how there are multiple holes-

“What the fuck,” Iwaizumi repeats and holds his head. Hinata falls to his knees and places little hands over Iwaizumi’s ears. Iwaizumi looks at him, Hinata ducking his head low and squeezing his eyes tight.

“You can’t listen to him. You can’t listen to anything he says,” Hinata says and Iwaiuzmi pulls his hands away.

“Listen to who? What’s going on? Hinata. . .w-what are you?”

“He knows where I am now,” Hinata whimpers, his hands trembling. “He’s going to get me-”

“Hinata, please just talk to me. Tell me what’s going on. I can help you,” Iwaizumi says. He’s starting to panic. Is someone else going to try and attack? This place is trashed and Iwaizumi isn’t sure he can take down another Avenger with his lack of fighting experience. Hinata can’t fight anyone, he’s a little kid. He’s something, but he’s just a little kid.

Hinata shakes his head and bites his lower lip. “He’s coming. I know he’s coming right now. We-we need to run,” Hinata says and grabs Iwaizumi’s hand. “We need to run away!”

Iwaizumi stares at the child, then he slowly gets to his feet and goes inside his kitchen. He opens a drawer and grabs a large knife just in case someone else decides to show up and try to kill them, and looks down at Hinata still on the ground and at Oikawa still passed out.

He exits the kitchen and crouches down beside Oikawa’s body, taking the arm clad in armor and turned it over, exposing the panel in his wrist. He presses in the code key – Iwaizumi’s birthday for MK XVII – and presses the first button that reveals itself to Iwaizumi’s eyes.

“J.A.R.V.I.S.?”

Mr. Iwaizumi. Thank God you’ve managed to put Master Oikawa’s gauntlet back on my tracker,” the AI says rather relieved. Iwaizumi sighs in relief, keeping his eye on the open doorway for anyone to come through.

“J.A.R.V.I.S. I need you to call Ennoshita-san or Kuroo. Don’t bring S.H.I.E.L.D. into this. At least, not until I figure out what’s going on.”

I’m detecting a slow heart rate and pulse from Master Oikawa. Did something happen?

“He. . .I don’t. . .I smashed a vase over his head and wrestled him to the ground.”

That’s violent even for you, Mr. Iwaizumi.”

“Really don’t need the sass right now, J.A.R.V.I.S.” Iwaizumi hurriedly says, running his hand up to Oikawa’s neck to check his pulse himself. He then moves his hand along Oikawa’s jaw and around the back of his head. He feels blood wetting his palm and grimaces. Maybe J.A.R.V.I.S. is right. Maybe he went a little overboard in capacitating him.

Mr. Ennoshita has received an alert and will be there shortly. Police have also been notified and will arrive.”

Hinata grabs hold of Iwaizumi’s hand. “We need to go. We need to run-”

“Hinata, my best friend just broke into my apartment at three in the morning and tried to kill you. I knocked him out with a vase, you’re telling me there’s someone coming after us, you. . .you were running everywhere. How? How did you-” Iwaizumi places his hands to his face, some of Oikawa’s blood getting on the side of his temple. He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand what is going on?

Hinata begins to tug at Iwaizumi’s wrist. “Please, Iwaizumi. Please, let’s just go,” Hinata begs. Why is he so scared? Who is out there? Iwaizumi’s head is beginning to hurt. It feels like he can’t breathe; his breaths are coming out in short gasps and he doesn’t seem to be getting any air.

 

I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die.

 

I don’t want anyone else to get hurt.

 

I just want to run.

 

Don’t make me go back. Don’t let him take me.

 

I’m scared.

 

I’m scared.

 

These aren’t his thoughts. These aren’t his feelings. Yet he feels them strangling his throat and it causes his body to ache with pain and grief. This feeling. . .it’s suffocating him. Why is this happening? He feels so weak and so tired. Nothing is making sense to him, and the more he tries to make sense of it, the more exhausted and drained he feels.

 

I’m scared.

 

I’m scared.

 

I don’t want to die.

 

I want to see Kageyama again.

 

I want to see Natsu and my Mommy and my Daddy.

 

“. . .You will,” Iwaizumi whispers, blinking his eyes as he tries to focus his vision. His body begins to sway from side to side as a dull throb aches in his forehead. His eyes feel heavy and he’s struggling to keep them open. Hinata’s hand is digging into the front of his undershirt, desperately clutching to Iwaizumi as he feels his consciousness beginning to fade.

 

Don’t leave me.

 

Don’t leave me.

 

“I won’t,” Iwaizumi murmurs. He feels his eyes beginning to roll to the back of his head and the wind sucked from his lungs. He falls backward and lands on the ground, his mind going into nothing but darkness and blissful silence.

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi awakes to a soft pillow beneath his cheek, the smell of breakfast wafting from the kitchen, and a warmth snuggling into his backside. He recognizes the red walls of the bedroom he is in; the pile of singed clothing, posters of girls in bikinis, and a Fantastic Four jumpsuit hanging to dry above him further confirm his suspicions.

He’s in Tanaka’s room, which means he’s in Ennoshita’s apartment downtown.

He doesn’t remember how he got here, or why he’s wearing one of Tanaka’s shirts that seem to be stretched out from Taketora wearing it in the past. He also doesn’t know why his arm that he’s touching seems to be covered with some sort of. . .metal. . .thing. . .

Iwaizumi blinks, once, twice, then raises both of his hands up in front of his face. There’s no metal on either of them. . .so what was that thing Iwaizumi was-

The bed shifts and he feels a pair of lips kiss in the nape of his neck, a content purr sounding.

“Mmm, let’s stay in bed for a little while longer,” Oikawa murmurs and runs his metal hand down the curve of Iwaizumi’s hip, dipping his fingers over the crest of his hipbone and push down into the fabric of his boxers-

WHAT.

Iwaizumi’s elbow moves on its own and he elbows Oikawa hard in the gut. Oikawa spits and flails, taking all of the bedsheets with him as he falls onto the floor. Iwaizumi sits upright in the bed, pulling his knees to his chest as he stares wide-eyed at Oikawa on the ground, groaning in pain.

“I-Iwa-chan! What was that for?!”

“What do you mean?!” Iwaizumi yells. “You were kissing my neck and about to grab at me!”

“Ah, you did feel too muscular to be a soft, young intern for a magazine,” Oikawa says matter-of-factly and Iwaizumi snarls.

“So is that your morning routine with your one night stands? When’s the part where you get up and hide from them like you always do?” Iwaizumi asks and Oikawa smiles.

“I didn’t actually feel like leaving. Maybe Iwa-chan is a nicer body pillow than most soft, young interns are!” Oikawa chirps and Iwaizumi flushes scarlet. His rebuttal is to grab a pillow and whack Oikawa in the face with it. Oikawa swats it away with his gauntlet-clad hand and sticks his tongue out.

“Obviously, you’re not a morning person. I’ll keep that in mind for your future date,” Oikawa says and Iwaizumi huffs in annoyance.

“Will you shut up about that already? No matter who you pick, I’m not going to be interested in them,” Iwaizumi says flatly and Oikawa huffs himself.

“So pessimistic! Why do you think it won’t work?”

“Cause I already like someone, so there’s no point,” Iwaizumi sleep deprived mind blurts out. Both of them stare at each other for a few seconds and Iwaizumi only realizes what he’s said another second later. Oikawa pounces on the bed, eyes wide in disbelief. He pushes Iwaizumi down onto the bed and looms over him. He’s gripping Iwaizumi’s shoulders so tight, it’s like he’s trying to squeeze the information out of him.

“Who?! Who do you like?! Is it someone I know? Is it a S.H.I.E.L.D. initiate? Who? Who?

“Ah, so you two are awake.”

Both heads turn to find Ennoshita standing in the doorway, one hand on the wall and a cup of steaming coffee in the other. Iwaizumi shoves Oikawa off of him, feeling sorry that he’s so thankful Ennoshita couldn’t see the embarrassing sight of Oikawa straddling Iwaizumi in only an oversized t-shirt.

“Breakfast is ready,” Ennoshita says and departs the bedroom. Oikawa gets off the bed and looks down at his gauntlet arm in confusion.

“Why do I even have this?” he asks no one in particular and Iwaizumi rubs his head, trying to remember the events that lead to them being in Ennoshita’s apartment. But. . .everything is still such a blur. He doesn’t even feel truly awake, even as Oikawa offers him a hand and gently pulls him out of bed. His legs feel like jelly as he walks down the hallway and the sounds of bacon sizzling in a pan mixed with Tanaka’s obnoxiously bad singing sound so far away when they’re only a few feet in front of him.

The sunlight streams through the large open windows that show off the bustling streets of the busy shops below. In the far off distance, Iwaizumi can see the office building. They’re a long way from his own apartment. . .how did they get here?

Tanaka Ryuunosuke turns to look over his shoulder, then down at the ground where Hinata is stationed in front of the television watching Monday morning cartoons. Monday. Iwaizumi needs to be in the office right now. He doesn’t have time for breakfast. Shit, he’s going to be so late since he has to go back to his apartment and grab his clothes-

“Your kid is here too? What the hell happened last night? Did we all decide to have a sleepover or something?” Oikawa asks confused as he looks at Hinata. Hinata looks over at him and Iwaizumi sees the expression in the big copper eyes.

Wariness. Even a glimmer of fear.

Oikawa doesn’t seem to notice it. If he does, he doesn’t act like it bothers him. Ennoshita finds a chair and slowly sits down.

“I told you, he’s not my kid,” Iwaizumi grumbles and goes over to the child, crouching down beside Hinata to run a gentle hand through his hair. “You sleep well?”

Hinata nods his head, his eyes cast downwards at his hands turning over in his lap.

“You probably don’t remember what happened last night. Do you need a refresher?” Ennoshita asks. Oikawa pulls up a chair next to him and grabs an orange from the fruit bowl in the center.

“Sure. Also a muffin and some coffee too,” Oikawa says and begins to peel the citrus fruit.

“Shoyou-chan, if you’re still by the television, can you change the channel to #5?”

Hinata hums and gets up from his spot in front of the television to grab the remote off the couch. He changes the television to the channel Ennoshita asks and Iwaizumi’s face pales.

His apartment is on the morning news. Or rather, the headline reads ‘Attack in small apartment complex! Possible link to superpowered terrorist activities?’.

At around three or four this morning, residents reported a disturbance from this apartment. The tenant, whose identity has yet to be revealed to the press, has yet to be found. Due to the extensive damage, police are looking to see if there is a possible link to this incident and the bombing that happened a month ago. One local hero has this to say about the circumstances of this strange event.

The screen cuts to Deadpool and Iwaizumi thinks he needs to throw up.

Listen, the guy that lived here? He’s pretty %&#*@$^ hardcore. Seriously. Not a #&@@^, ladies and gentlemen. He’s alright. In fact, I recognize those blast marks in there. If anything, I’d say it was a lover’s quarrel. You know how it gets, right Tanzaki-san? You fight, it starts getting hot and heavy, you break out the guns, you have their legs around your head-”

The microphone is quickly wrestled away from Deadpool’s grip and the reporter turns to the camera, flustered.

“The Captain is looking into this matter along with police. He assures citizens that the problem with these superpowered terrorists will be dealt with immediately so as no other people can be harmed. We will update the story as more information surfaces.

Deadpool throws up a peace sign.

Shout out to my favorite secretary!”

The news story changes to a different topic.

“I’m going to murder him,” Iwaizumi growls out and Tanaka turns, carrying the frying pan over to the table. It’s still sizzling and when Iwaizumi looks closer, Tanaka’s hand underneath the pan is engulfed in a small flame. Well, that’s certainly one convenient way to use the power of setting yourself on fire.

“So none of you guys remember what happened at all?” he asks, frowning with an eyebrow quirked. Iwaizumi rubs his head and tries to focus. He remembers being asleep. . .and then someone was at his door, ringing the doorbell. And then. . .and then. . .

Iwaizumi’s eyes widen as the memories flood back to him in a rush of emotions. Confusion, fear, exhaustion all resonate in his bones and shock his heart. He feels it electrify his core as he turns to Oikawa with shocked eyes. Oikawa doesn’t realize that Tanaka and Hinata’s eyes are on him as well. If Ennoshita knew who everyone is looking at, he’d would be staring too.

“Oikawa,” Iwaizumi begins and Oikawa pops an orange wedge in his mouth.

“Yeah?”

“. . .W-What were you doing last night?” Iwaizumi breathes and steps towards him. “Y-You broke into my apartment saying you saw something and then. . .you attacked Hinata,” Iwaizumi explains. He doesn’t know if he should bring up how Hinata was able to fight back with his own. . .thing. That’s another thing that happened last night that Iwaizumi can’t explain. How can Hinata move that fast. It isn’t humanly possible.

Is. . .Is Hinata even human?

“What are you talking about? I don’t remember doing any of that,” Oikawa says with a frown. But he looks at the gauntlet that has receded into its simplest form, a big watch that fits Oikawa’s wrist nice and snug, and frowns. “I don’t. . .I don’t remember anything that happened last night.”

“You attacked Hinata, that’s what happened. I have holes all in my apartment to prove it,” Iwaizumi says bitterly and Tanaka plates some eggs and bacon for Ennoshita before he goes back to the kitchen to fry up some more.

“. . .But. . .but why would I try and attack some kid?” Oikawa asks, understandably confused. Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek and wishes that he can offer some sort of answer for all of this madness. Why did Oikawa act like that last night? How did Hinata manage to fight Oikawa off like that? . . .How did Iwaizumi hear those thoughts and felt those feelings that weren’t his, yet somehow felt so deeply intertwined within his mind and his heart?

He’s so fucking confused. He needs coffee.

Iwaizumi stumbles into the kitchen to help himself to a cup while Oikawa eats another orange wedge, frowning hard as he chews. “I remember going to the gala. . .you and I fought. . .and then I just went home,” Oikawa says and swallows the fruit. “That’s how I remembered it.”

“So did some Oikawa copycat just show up at Iwaizumi-san’s door and decide to attack the kid?” Tanaka asks out loud, starting on another pan full of eggs and sausage and meatymeatymeat. Iwaizumi watches warily as the food begins to pop oil and Tanaka adjusts the flame of his hand.

He’s also just in his pajama pants. Does being a superhero mean you become fearless to having hot oil spilled on you or something?

“Clearly, there’s a discrepancy in your stories,” Ennoshita comments and Oikawa frowns.

“Look, I’m telling you that’s all I remember. I don’t know why I would break into Iwa-chan’s apartment and attack an innocent kid at three in the morning. I had some champagne at the gala, but not enough to go on a drunken rampage,” Oikawa says defensively and Ennoshita has another sip of his coffee.

“Shoyou-chan,” he calls out and Iwaizumi sees Hinata give a nervous jump out of the corner of his eye. “What do you remember from last night?” he asks and Hinata glances over at Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi looks away and back at the dark liquid in his mug, not sure what kind of signal to give to Hinata. Whatever the hell he is, Iwaizumi is sure Hinata doesn’t want anyone else to know, especially since he has been so good at hiding it from Iwaizumi.

“. . .I. . .Iwaizumi-san's friend came inside and. . .he attacked me. . .but Iwaizumi-san stopped him,” Hinata says quietly. Ennoshita reaches for a fork and takes a stab at his eggs on his plate.

“Iwaizumi-san stopped Oikawa-san all by himself?”

“. . .Yeah.”

“. . .Hmm.”

Hinata is fidgeting in his spot in front of the television, wringing the oversized shirt in his hands and biting on his lower lip. Iwaizumi sees in the boy’s body movement that all he wants to do is get up and run far, far away. He turns his eyes away, feeling nervous and panicky himself the longer he looks at the child.

Nervous.

People’s hearts beat unreasonably fast if they’re nervous. Especially if they’re a child.

Iwaizumi looks at Ennoshita, who is quietly eating his food. But his left hand is tapping on the table in a slow pace and his eyebrows are pulled down in a hard frown.

He knows.

He knows something is wrong and Hinata’s nervous heartbeat tells it all.

Oikawa leans back in his chair. “I don’t remember. I don’t remember anything. How. . .why?

“We’ll get to the bottom of this eventually. I’m sure everything will come to light,” Ennoshita says. He definitely knows. Shitfuckshit.

The front door buzzes and Hinata jumps again, a startled cry sounding from his lips. Iwaizumi places the coffee down on the counter and moves over to Hinata.

“Hey, it’s okay. Nothing bad is going to happen,” Iwaizumi says and Hinata gives a wary nod of his head. He crouches down and puts a calming hand on Hinata’s back. He knows that there’s no point in whispering, since he’s pretty sure Ennoshita is listening very intently from the kitchen table. Hinata’s eyes are filled with worry, big and innocent. It bothers Iwaizumi that Hinata is so upset like this when he’s seen Hinata smile brighter than the sun if dessert is placed in front of him or if he’s watching goofy Youtube videos.

“Just. . .calm down, okay? Everything is going to be alright,” Iwaizumi says.

Hinata looks down and nods his head again, not at all believing Iwaizumi’s words.

Ennoshita gets up, letting his fingers move along the edge of the table and heads to the door. He opens it and gives a tilt of his head.

“You’re just in time for breakfast,” he says and Iwaizumi looks over his shoulder.

Sugawara walks in, followed by Ushijima and some scrawny teen with a bowl-cut carrying two large pink boxes. The director turns his gaze to Iwaizumi and his eyes rest on Hinata, a smile coming to his lips.

“I brought sweets,” he says ever so pleasantly. It sends a chill to Iwaizumi’s core.

Everything is going to suck. Big time.


“Why the hell are you sitting next to me anyways, Ushiwaka? Do you think I want your ants getting all over my food? Kou-chan, switch with him. Better yet, just make him sit outside cause this isn’t any of his fucking business-”

“There’s children at the table, Oikawa-san,” Sugawara says and hands a napkin to Hinata, whose face is covered in chocolate crème and sprinkles. Hinata accepts it and wipes his face, but dirties it up again as he shoves another donut in his mouth.

“Three of them, apparently,” Ennoshita murmurs behind his mug. Iwaizumi only sighs in agreement. Ushijima glances at the teenager sitting next to him, who is too nervous to even touch the food that is growing cold on his plate.

“Goshiki-san is mature for his age,” he says and Goshiki jumps. He rattles the table with his movement as he nods his head furiously.

“Y-Yes! I am!” he blurts awkwardly and Oikawa snorts. Iwaizumi looks at Ennoshita, turning his silverware between his fingers.

“I thought I asked you not to involve S.H.I.E.L.D. in this,” Iwaizumi says and Sugawara shakes his head.

“He didn’t. Well, he answered my call when I asked him. Kuroo’s Instagram is what tipped me off that something went wrong. The picture of the inside of your apartment is trending right now,” Sugawara comments. Yep, Iwaizumi is definitely pushing Kuroo off a building. Directly into oncoming traffic.

“So why the hell are you and your intern here?” Oikawa snarls at Ushijima.

“I felt I needed to discuss with Sugawara-san and you about the situation with these Enhanced and how it seems Iwaizumi-san keeps drawing them in. Goshiki-san is just here to observe,” Ushijima explains. He reaches for a glazed twist, but Oikawa snatches it first and gives it one obnoxiously long lick up the center of the donut.

Ushijima blinks, then places his fingertips to his temple in a quiet motion of ‘why?’.

“So. . .he knows then?” Iwaizumi asks and Ushijima nods his head. He opens his mouth to speak, but Goshiki beats him to the punch.

“I’m being trained by Ushijima-san to take on the Ant-Man mantle! I won’t disappoint you all!” he loudly announces and bows his head into his eggs and bacon. Tanaka snorts into his orange juice as Goshiki’s head shoots back up and he quickly wipes any bits of food that manages to stick in his hair.

“Haha, Goshiki-san. Not everyone here needed to know that,” Sugawara says and inclines his head towards Hinata, who is now staring blankly at Goshiki. Goshiki blinks, then squawks, flushes scarlet and tucks his chin close to his chest in embarrassment. Oikawa rubs his forehead.

“Aw, who cares anyways? If what he says is true, he already knows that Iron Man tried to kill him last night,” Oikawa mumbles. Sugawara nods his head in agreement, propping his chin up with his hand.

“Why didn’t you want to let me know about this, Iwaizumi-san?” Sugawara asks and Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek.

“. . .When Oikawa broke into my apartment, he relayed a message to Sawamura-san that it was a false alarm. I didn’t know what was going on, if it was some really weird, fucked up practice mission or something,” Iwaizumi explains and Sugawara frowns.

“Daichi was at home with me. He found out about this incident around the same time that I did,” he says and turns to Oikawa. “Who were you talking to?”

Oikawa grits his teeth. “How many times do I have to say it? I don’t remember. Do you think I would have attacked Hinata-kun and Iwa-chan on purpose?” he asks and rubs his face. “Everything is a blur. I swear that all I remember is heading home after the gala and maybe working on some plans before heading to bed. I don’t remember doing any of this and I don’t know why I can’t,” Oikawa says. Iwaizumi can hear the frustration in Oikawa’s voice, can see how his shoulders tense in agitation.

This is starting to eat at Oikawa too. Iwaizumi can’t even fathom what Oikawa must be feeling right now.

“From what I’ve been told so far, your behavior is definitely strange. For one thing, in the presence of a non-S.H.I.E.L.D. initiate or someone not affiliated with S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel, you are to use codenames. However, you used Daichi’s first name in front of Hinata-chan. There’s also the matter with the earpiece Ennoshita-san found when he investigated the area with police,” Sugawara explains and leans back in his chair.

“It’s a perfect match of the one found on Kyoutani. You must have acquired it from the same place.”

Iwaizumi doesn’t want to know why Ennoshita’s head suddenly turns to Hinata, who is staring at his plate with wide eyes and trembles in his seat.

Stay calm. God, please calm down.

“Are you trying to imply that I’m some sort of double agent or something?” Oikawa asks, no hint of humor in his voice. Sugawara shakes his head.

“I know you, Oikawa-san. If you were going to double-cross us, you wouldn’t have done it so sloppily. You left witnesses, you went without your full armor, your behavior was unnatural and you tried to take out a target in an area that is in Kuroo’s and Ennoshita’s territory,” Sugawara says methodically.

“It’s rather reassuring to know that you are an expert in how to kill someone without getting caught, Sugawara-san,” Iwaizumi says dryly. Sugawara smiles.

“Point is, something was wrong with you. I don’t know what, but it might have something to do with whoever was on the other side of that earpiece,” Sugawara says and steeps his fingers. “Which brings up a big problem. Someone sent you to Iwaizumi’s home and for whatever reason, wanted you to kill Hinata-chan. Why would they think that Oikawa Tooru, CEO of Aoba Josai Enterprises, is capable of murder?”

Iwaizumi pales. Yes, asking a CEO to murder someone seems ridiculous.

Unless, that CEO had the power to do so as an iron-clad superhero.

Oikawa realizes what Sugawara is implying and he runs his hands through his hair. “Shit. Shit, fuck, oh my god, what happened-

“We’re already coding our files with all your personal information. Changing around aliases, addresses, contact information, anything that can be easily searched up is now either deleted or stored under walls of security. Unfortunately, we don’t know how much you divulged to them either-”

“I didn’t tell them anything. I don’t remember telling anyone anything. Why would I tell someone that I’m Iron Man? That’s putting Iwaizumi in danger,” Oikawa states. His body is shaking and his mouth is trembling. His eyes are blown wide and he’s breathing heavy as well. “W-Why would I tell them anything that could put Iwaizumi or my staff in danger? I-I wouldn’t-”

“We know you wouldn’t. At least, not willingly,” Sugawara says and folds his hands. “We made some calls to be sure, but both of your family members are still okay. I stationed some agents by their work places and homes to watch for any suspicious activity,” Sugawara explains. Oikawa has his head in his hands; Iwaizumi isn’t sure if Oikawa is even listening anymore.

Tanaka rocks back in his chair. “Sooo, what’s the bottom line here? Why did Oikawa-san attack them in the first place if there were no hostages taken?” Tanaka asks and Hinata closes his eyes. He scoots his chair away from the table and holds his stomach.

“C-Can I go to the bathroom, please?” he asks weakly and Tanaka blinks.

“Uh. . .sure, I’ll show you,” he says and gets up from his own seat. Hinata follows after the man, Sugawara watching Hinata closely until he disappears around the corner. His eyes immediately shoot back to Iwaizumi, glimmering.

“Where’d you find the kid?” he asks and Iwaizumi twiddles his thumbs.

“He was homeless, I think. I just. . .I just thought that maybe I could watch over him until. . .I don’t know. . .” Iwaizumi mutters.

“No parents?”

“He doesn’t know where they are. I don’t know if they’re still alive or. . .I just don’t know about him,” Iwaizumi mutters. He feels like Hinata knows a lot more about what happened to his parents than he lets on, but Iwaizumi isn’t sure. He doesn’t even know what Hinata truly is; how can he be so sure anything Hinata tells him is the truth after hiding something like this?

Sugawara takes his coffee mug into his hands. “Well, whoever he is or wherever he came from, he’s your responsibility now. And you both can’t go back to that apartment, especially since it seems that someone is targeting him,” Sugawara murmurs and sips his coffee.

“Why would anyone send me to go after a child?” Oikawa mumbles, pinching the bridge of his nose. Ennoshita hums.

“I don’t know. Maybe there’s more to the kid than meets the eye,” he comments and taps the rim of his shades.

“Hah, funny,” Oikawa says bitterly and stuffs a forkful of food in his mouth. Ennoshita drums his fingertips over the surface of the table and Sugawara sighs.

“Do you have a place to stay, Iwaizumi-san?”

Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek. He could stay with his mother, he supposes. But the woman is elderly and she will no doubt have a lot of questions about why Iwaizumi needs to be away from work and where the hell did Hinata come from. Not to mention the fear that whoever is hunting Hinata will try and follow them. He doesn’t want to even think about the chances of them using innocent people that have nothing to do with this to get to Hinata.

“He can stay with me,” Oikawa says and Ushijima crosses his arms.

“Do you think it’s wise to have Hinata-san near you after what happened?”

“You better not be saying that I’m going to attack them because if you are, I’m going to knock a tooth out of your mouth,” Oikawa snarls and Ushijima frowns.

“I shouldn’t,” Iwaizumi speaks and bites his lip, “I shouldn’t stay with you, Oikawa. Hinata is still shaken up about this and I don’t want him to feel like he has to walk on eggshells if we decide to move in with you,” he says and looks down at his breakfast plate. “Maybe. . .maybe we just need some space. . .”

Oikawa is silent.

Iwaizumi doesn’t look up to meet his hurt gaze. He’s too busy trying to mask his own expression of hurt and confusion on his own.

Sugawara hums. “I think I know a place that might work.”


“Oh-em-gee! This is going to be so much fun!”

Iwaizumi gives a dry laugh and follows Kuroo inside, leading Hinata with the gentle tug of his hand.

The Avengers Mansion is a large residence and training compound that S.H.I.E.L.D. and Oikawa put funding into that resides close to Adachi. It cannot be found on any regular map and the vines that crawl up the sides of the red brick and over the gates and walls surrounding it mask the building’s beauty and hides the secrets within. Iwaizumi himself has never been to this place. He’s not even sure if the Avengers use this base compared to Nobuyuki’s place and the Avengers’ Tower.

It makes sense that Kuroo would take the initiative and claim this place as his own residence.

“I’m really glad that Suga is letting you guys to stay with me. You know, since the last person he dumped here is such a fucking buzzkill. Seriously, all he ever does is mope around in his bedroom. Teenagers, ugh,” Kuroo rambles and looks down at Hinata. “You gotta promise me you’re going to remain totally awesome, Shoyou. Just skip the ‘smells like teen spirit’ phase all together.”

“Okay,” Hinata says, innocently unaware. Kuroo coos happily. Iwaizumi’s eyebrow twitches.

Kuroo shows them around the ground floor first and shows them the floors that have everything they need. He doesn’t bother with the top floor, since it’s a dusty hangar for aircrafts and vehicle pick-up. He doesn’t bother with the sublevels below the basement either, since they are for training purposes and house many archives and databases and boring shit that Kuroo doesn’t feel like explaining in this paragraph.

The ground floor has a large kitchen that is always stocked with food. J.A.R.V.I.S. is in charge of a robot chef that is always on wait and call to cook dinner, but Iwaizumi is free to cook his own meals if he likes. The study room has access to a large garden that is surrounded by such tall foliage, it almost seems like they enter a forest when they leave the doors. Security cameras are positioned at all doors and windows and monitored by J.A.R.V.I.S. around the clock.

In the basement - or as Kuroo calls it, the ‘fun floor’ – is an entire recreation area with a shooting range that is Kuroo’s personal favorite, tennis courts, basketball courts and volleyball courts. Hinata’s eyes grow to the size of dinner plates. He only gets more excited when Kuroo shows them the pool with a big water slide to go down, an entertainment room with its own movie theatre and arcade stocked with vintage and popular video game cabinets.

Seeing the big smile on Hinata’s face as he excitedly tells Iwaizumi about all the fun things he’s going to play with and how he can’t wait to get on the volleyball court to hit some spikes makes Iwaizumi’s chest fill with warmth. He doesn’t want to ever see Hinata not smiling.

On the second floor is the bedroom suites and personal bathrooms. Kuroo proudly shows off his own bedroom that is a mess of instant ramen packets strewn on the floor, Taco Bell wrappers with some food still left in them, guns that should be properly stored but are instead balled up with socks and underwear, and posters of bikini models and men in sexy lingerie that Iwaizumi’s hands quickly shield Shoyou’s eyes from.

“You guys are two doors down from me. Figured Shoyou might be more comfortable sleeping in the same room as you. Just so you know, whenever Tsukki comes over, if there’s a dirty sock on my door, don’t come inside,” Kuroo says and gives a delightful shiver. Iwaizumi scrunches his nose.

“I know it’s not my business to say how you two should behave but. . .Tsukishima is still a teenager-”

“Oh, don’t give me that ‘you’re-24-you-shouldn’t-be-having-totally-hot-Deadpool-almost-got-killed-on-a-mission-victory-sex-with-a-nineteen-year-old-hashtag-kinkshame’ bullshit,” Kuroo spits and crosses his arms. “Daichi is ninety. What’s the age gap between him and Suga?”

“That isn’t the point. You know Sawamura is still having problems with you and Tsukishima being a thing-”

“Does he think I’m going to corrupt him or something? Tsukki is fucking smart and the coolest person I’ve ever dated. I’m not going to screw things up with him, and I’m not going to jeopardize his safety either,” Kuroo says defensively.

Iwaizumi bites his tongue and figures it’s best to leave the conversation at that. Kuroo always gets really testy about Daichi and his concerns about him being with Tsukishima. He knows that Daichi is just concerned about Tsukishima being young and impressionable (which he isn’t), but Kuroo isn’t a bad guy. Crazy, vulgar and violent, but not a bad guy.

Kuroo pauses in front of a door and gives it a good kick. “Hey! Come out here and meet the new tenants!” he yells.

There’s no response and Kuroo clicks his tongue. “Hold on. He likes to pretend that I don’t exist,” Kuroo says and kicks the door a couple of times.

“Wouldn’t it be just easier to ask J.A.R.V.I.S. to unlock the door?” Iwaizumi asks and Kuroo shakes his head.

“Gotta show these kids who’s boss around here, Iwaizumi!” Kuroo says and swings his foot back to give the door a roundhouse kick.

The door opens and when his foot swings in the open doorway, three claws come swiping down and slices right into the meat of Kuroo’s calf and ankle.

Kuroo, Iwaizumi and Hinata all scream at once.

“I thought I told you to leave me the fuck alone, you freak!” Kyoutani screams and wrestles his claws out of Kuroo’s leg, kicking the mercenary in the stomach so he topples to the ground. Kyotani huffs and turns his gaze to Iwaizumi, who looks at him in a mixture of surprise, confusion and fear. Iwaizumi is trying to usher Hinata behind him, but the child remains at his side, staring.

Kyoutani’s eyes meet Hinata’s gaze and his expression falters. “. . .W-What are you. . .” Kyoutani begins and Hinata turns his gaze to the ground, clutching tight to Iwaizumi’s hand.

His voice goes quiet and Kyoutani just stares, absolutely befuddled. Kuroo manages to stagger back to his feet, his injured leg slowly beginning to mend and heal itself. He claps one hand on Iwaizumi’s shoulder and wags a finger at Kyoutani.

“That’s it, young man! I’m revoking your lock privileges! Conscience! No locks on Mad Dog’s door for one week!”

I’m not your conscience, Mr. Kuroo,” J.A.R.V.I.S. responds. Hinata jumps and his head whirls around as he searches for the source of the voice. It’s always an enjoyable sight to see people first meeting the AI and it brings a small smile to Iwaizumi’s lips as Hinata coos in awe.

Kuroo shrugs. “Yeah, but you talk me out of doing stupid shit whenever Tsukki isn’t around soooo.”

Kyoutani scoffs. “So fucking annoying,” he grumbles and slams the door in their faces. There’s a sound of Kyoutani fumbling with the doorknob, before the loud growl of annoyance and the sound of something being kicked over inside the bedroom sounds. Kuroo turns and looks over his shoulder, waving his hand.

“He’ll get over it. Probably. Eventually. Meh.”

Kuroo continues down the hallway and Iwaizumi looks down at Hinata, who is still staring at the door leading to Kyoutani’s room. He squeezes the child’s hand and Hinata glances up at him.

“Something wrong?” Iwaizumi asks and Hinata shakes his head.

“No,” he says quietly and smiles at Iwaizumi. “I. . .I like this place a whole lot, Iwaizumi!”

Iwaizumi smiles. “Glad you do.”


He tells Tsukishima over the phone to handle business in his absence and to get the papers from Kindaichi about the exports of vibranium. He tells him it isn’t going to be permanent and he should be back in the office in a couple of days, but that doesn’t stop Tsukishima from making a dry comment about it.

First, the CEO is barely at the company and his assistant primarily runs it. Now, the assistant’s nineteen-year-old assistant is going to run the business.”

“You’ll get the same pay that I do for the days you have to stand in as me.”

That got Tsukishima to shut up.

He makes some personal calls of his own, mainly to his mother to explain to her that everything is alright and he’s safe and ‘no, it was a random attack, he’s not involved in yakuza, don’t worry’. He debates calling Oikawa to let him know that he’s alright and he’s made himself at home. Every time his thumb lingers over Oikawa’s contact and readies itself to dial his number, he closes out of the window and glares at his phone’s lock screen.

He just. . .he just doesn’t know what to say to him.

Iwaizumi is so confused about all of this. He doesn’t want to say that what happened last night scared the absolute shit out of him. Oikawa’s number one priority when it came to becoming Iron Man is to keep Iwaizumi and his private life under wraps. And now. . .he almost kills the one person he’s trying so desperately to keep from all of this. It isn’t like Oikawa has parents to worry about; both of his parents are dead and he’s grown distant from his older brother and Takeru. Iwaizumi is really all that he has. . .

Iwaizumi sighs and lies down in the bed that is twice as big and 10000x comfier than his old one. The room is painted a deep forest green and has paintings of scenery hanging beside the gold lamps bolted into the wall. There’s a large bookcase that houses many comic books and history novels, a television that is mounted above a fireplace burning an artificial flame, and a balcony that looks out into the large yard that spans a few blocks behind the mansion.

It’s too lavish for Iwaizumi’s tastes. He almost feels like he’s staying at a luxury hotel instead of hiding from Enhanced terrorists.

Hinata is down in the basement, enjoying all of the luxuries that the mansion has to offer. Kuroo is out on his patrol (or bothering Tsukishima for all Iwaizumi knows). He still hasn’t come across Kyoutani since they’ve arrived. If he does manage to catch a glimpse of the Enhanced, Kyoutani is quick to head back to his room and away from Iwaizumi’s eyes.

Hinata is taking to living in this place a lot easier than Iwaizumi thought he would. Maybe because Iwaizumi himself is still uneasy to relax all the way. He stays in their shared room for most of the day, leaving only to use the bathroom and to splash water on his face to prevent himself from having another mild freak out about Oikawa breaking into his apartment.

Dinner is sent up to him that evening, along with a sour note from Kuroo about Iwaizumi not joining them to eat. He barely touches his food and feels bad when he sends the little server bot – it reminds Iwaizumi of a Roomba. This bot is hereby dubbed ‘Roomba-san’ - back with his dinner half eaten. He scoffs to himself and runs a hand through his hair. All this time he spends nagging at Oikawa to eat and he’s not even eating himself.

. . .He really should call him.

. . .He really should.

But he doesn’t.


“So. . . what is he doing here anyways?” Iwaizumi asks Kuroo as he tosses a ball for Hinata to spike. He has to admit; the kid is ridiculously good for his height. He knows that Hinata is trying to pull back from running too fast and exposing himself in front of Kuroo, but the boy is quick and can leap high to hit the volleyball. He kinda wishes that Hinata could have been on his high school team back in the day. They would have definitely made it to Nationals had he been there with his freak quick attack.

Kuroo just barely manages to save the ball and sends it flying back over the net. Hinata groans in annoyance as he chases after the ball to try again.

“He?” Kuroo asks and Iwaizumi points his finger up towards the ceiling. He can hear footsteps above moving freely about.

“The Enhanced.”

“Oh, Mad Dog,” Kuroo says and shrugs. “To be honest, I don’t know either. He isn’t telling Suga or Daichi anything about where he came from or who’s he working for. But he sure as hell doesn’t want to leave. Matter of fact, I heard that he didn’t even want to leave that cell in order to live here. Hanamaki had to drag him out and subdue him with that sexy, legs around the head trick he always does.” Kuroo rubs his chin. “I wonder if he uses that move with Matsukawa.”

“I seriously don’t want to know if he does,” Iwaizumi says dryly and sees that Hinata is running back to him with the ball, determination burning in his eyes.

“One more try! I can make it!” Hinata says and hands the ball to Iwaizumi.

“You keep aiming directly at him. Try aiming for the back corner,” Iwaizumi suggests and Hinata nods his head, getting into position. Iwaizumi tosses the ball underhanded and Hinata runs to meet it, jumping up high and swinging his hand down to spike it. It goes farther than where he usually aims it, but Kuroo is already running backwards and diving to save the ball. He knocks it back into the air and back over the net. Hinata panics and tries to swat the ball back, but he ends up knocking the ball back into the net. He falls to his knees and groans.

“One more?” Iwaizumi asks and Hinata nods his head, running to get the ball again.

Iwaizumi turns back to Kuroo. “What is he afraid of out there? Why doesn’t Kyoutani want to leave?”

“I don’t know,” Kuroo says, expression growing serious. “But sometimes, I can hear him talking to himself in his room. I don’t have Ennoshita’s ninja senses so I can’t clearly make out what he’s saying sometimes, but he always mentions something about how he can’t go back.”

Iwaizumi is instantly reminded of Hinata, curled up on his couch and begging Iwaizumi not to take him back to that place. He begins to wonder if it’s the same place Kyoutani doesn’t want to return to, and wonders just how awful this place must be.

“What do you think about it?” Iwaizumi asks and Kuroo scratches his head.

“Honestly? . . .I think we’re getting into some pretty deep elephant shit getting involved with this kid. Something bad is going to happen. Something that even he’s afraid of.”


You have five new messages. First message:

 

Hey, Iwa-chan! Sooo, I hope you’re doing okay in the compound. I mean, I installed some pretty sweet surround sound in the movie theater so. . .there’s that. But, uh, listen, I know that we haven’t been able to talk about. . .what happened and. . .well I just want to talk about. . .things. . .and stuff. . .give me a call back when you can.

 

Second message:

 

Ok, first of all, how can you leave Tsukki in charge when it’s my company?! I relieved him of his duties and I’ll be in the office doing the boring business work. It looks bad on me if I’m letting a nineteen-year-old handle the manufacturing of weapons and distribution. What else is happening – Kunimi-chan added some things to your terrarium. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you but it looks pretty cool! And. . .well. . .you can always call me and tell me what’s happening with you. . .ok then. . .

 

Third message:

 

The kid, he likes me right? Who’s his favorite Avenger? I’ll send them over to the compound to meet him right away and sign an autograph, take a picture, the works. You know, to make up for. . .that night. I’m. . .I’m really sorry about what happened. I don’t know why I. . .I didn’t mean to try and harm him. You know I wouldn’t do that. And. . .I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you. You’re the only person that I trust to tell that I’m Iron Man and. . .god, sometimes I wish I never did. I never wanted something like this to happen to you. . .Hajime – wait, no. No, Dum-E, you don’t – Dum-E!

 

Fourth message:

 

So, Dum-E is officially on probation from ever holding a fire extinguisher. I swear, everyone thinks he’s this magnificent machinery that will solve the world’s problems just because I built him when I was sixteen. And he spends his time spraying things that have a yellow glow with carbon dioxide. Also, Ye-Robot-With-No-Name had its first steps today. Well, it actually spun around in a circle, angrily beeped at me and then started to terrorize QT with the screwdriver I built into its side. I think it might be possessed. But talk about robots aside. . .I just really want you to call me back so I can stop leaving you messages where I just ramble about all the dumb shit happening around me and how I. . .I just want to talk.

 

Last message:

 

I’m sorry, Hajime. I’m sorry. Please. . .please just tell me you still trust me.


It’s maybe around three in the morning when Iwaizumi pulls free from Hinata’s small arms clinging around his torso to grab a glass of water.

He isn’t able to get any sleep, especially with Hinata crawling all over him in his sleep and digging the heels of his feet into Iwaizumi’s back. He’s glad the child can sleep at ease like this, he just wishes he can do the same.

He trudges through the dark, past Kyoutani and Kuroo’s rooms and down the stairs to the kitchen. The red lights in the corners of the dark hallways alert Iwaizumi to the cameras and follow him as he passes by. He wonders if Sugawara has access to these cameras and is watching him. Or maybe even Oikawa.

He enters the kitchen and drags his fingers against the granite countertop of the island in the middle of the floor, reaching out to the cupboards above him to grab a small glass.

When he turns, Kyoutani is sitting at the counter island, drumming his fingers against the surface.

Iwaizumi almost drops the glass on the ground and he lets out a startled noise, blindly switching on the lights and covering his eyes from the sudden brightness. Kyoutani doesn’t seem the least bit fazed.

“W-What are you doing in here?” Iwaizumi asks. He backs into the counter where the knives are, just in case.

“Why is he with you?” Kyoutani asks and Iwaizumi scrunches his nose.

“He?”

“Shoyou. Why is he with you?” Kyoutani asks again. His eyes are tired and impatient, his fingers are drumming even quicker over the surface of the counter. Iwaizumi places the glass down and walks over, crossing his arms over his chest as he tries to make sense of this.

“How do you know his name?” Iwaizumi asks. Kyoutani clicks his tongue and glances upwards at the camera just above the entryway into the kitchen. Iwaizumi looks at it too, then back at the teenager.

So he’s not the only one that believes they’re being watched right now.

Iwaizumi rubs the side of his cheek. “Ok then. . .what do you know about him?”

Kyoutani shakes his head and Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek. There has to be some way of communicating with him in secret. He needs to find out what the hell is going on and who these kids really are. Writing notes, maybe? Or there might be a place in the mansion that isn’t being watched with cameras. But it’s not like they can wander around this place in the dark, it’ll look suspicious.

Kyoutani looks down at his fists, not baring his claws. “Shoyou isn’t involved with this. He never was,” Kyoutani says and Iwaizumi looks at him, raising an eyebrow.

“So you know about. . .his ‘talent’?”

Kyoutani nods his head. “He’s like me. He was born with it. Same as Mystique.”

Mystique? Was that a codename? He wonders if Hinata has one too. But then he thinks over Kyoutani’s statement and frowns. These kids. . .were born with these abilities? But. . .how could something like this be kept underwraps? Something like this should have made the national news and S.H.I.E.L.D. should already have information on this.

Iwaizumi moves to pull up a stool and sit across from Kyoutani. “You two. . .were born with it? But. . .I. . .” Iwaizumi clamps his mouth shut and begins to process this information. “Ok. . .you’re naturally talented. You didn’t get any help from anyone else.”

“At least, I know me and him and Mystique are. . .we weren’t allowed to talk and know the others that were there,” Kyoutani speaks quietly and Iwaizumi nods his head.

“How many of them are there?” he asks.

“I don’t know. . .I never really payed attention to stuff that didn’t seem to matter,” Kyoutani mumbles and rubs his head. “I don’t. . .I don’t remember much what happened when I was there,” Kyoutani says, his shoulders beginning to shake. He grips his hands into fists. “He. . .he said that it’ll be alright. I’ll be happy there. . .and I was.”

“. . .Who?”

“I don’t know,” Kyoutani grits out through his teeth.

 

You’ll be happy here, my child.

 

I’ll be happy here.

 

You’ll be wanted here.

 

I’ll be wanted here.

 

Iwaizumi places a hand on his head, feeling a sharp pain as Kyoutani continues. “He never tells any of us his name. . .I just remember his voice. . .I remember their faces. Everyone’s faces. . .all the blood. . .”

 

You understand. It only makes sense to punish them. Don’t you feel happier that they’re dead? Don’t you feel happier that you killed them?

 

. . .Yeah. . .I feel happier. . .

 

You don’t need anyone but me.

 

I don’t need anyone.

 

Iwaizumi now has both hands on his head, his eyes beginning to bug out of his skull. This feeling. This painful feeling that is surging in his brain and slowly strangles him, it’s just like the night in his apartment. These thoughts that aren’t his, these voices that he’s never heard before. . .what is happening? Kyoutani is beginning to breathe harder.

“I-I don’t know what I’ve done. . .I don’t know where my mom and my dad are and. . .whenever I go to sleep. . .I keep having the same nightmare where they're just lying in front of me and they’re all covered in blood and someone is laughing. My dad was shit, but my mom. . .what happened to my mom?

 

Kentarou! You’re finally home! Oh my god! I was so worried-

 

Iwaizumi sees her.

 

He sees a small woman running over to him with her arms outstretched and tears brimming from her eyes. There’s a man that is sitting in a large chair behind her, looking thoroughly unimpressed.

 

Iwaizumi wants to open his arms out to hug her, but instead he feels his arm move back as something slides out between his knuckles.

 

He rams his fist forward and all he sees is red.

 

Her face falls in shock, her pupils shrink and the man jumps up onto his feet. He’s screaming.

 

She looks confused. Tell her why you’re doing this, Kyoutani.

 

Iwaizumi shudders out a breath.

 

All this time, you knew what he did to me. You knew this entire damn time and you didn’t do shit. You just turned your head when you saw all those bruises on me. You passed it off as me falling in volleyball practice. If you really cared, you would have stopped it!

 

She doesn’t say anything, she just raises shaky hands to try and touch Iwaizumi’s face.

 

K-Kenta. . .

 

Iwaizumi yanks his fist back and the woman falls to the ground. The man is running now, but Iwaizumi hears that calming voice again.

 

Good sir, come here. You need your punishment.

 

The man pauses and turns, fear in his eyes as he walks towards him. Iwaizumi can feel it welling up inside him, this feeling of pride and justice at seeing the fear on the man’s face. He should fear him. He always feared him for what he can do. That’s why he thought he needed to put him in his place first. But not anymore. Not ever again.

 

There’s a hand that squeezes his shoulder, giving him all the reassurance he needs.

 

Kill him.

 

Iwaizumi digs his fist into the man’s gut.

 

The man chokes out one last breath and his hands go to hold Iwaizumi’s wrist to try and pull it away, but they fall limp to his sides after a few more seconds. Iwaizumi kicks the man in his shin and he too falls into a heap of tangled limbs.

 

You understand. It only makes sense to punish them. Don’t you feel happier that they’re dead? Don’t you feel happier that you killed them?

 

No. . .no, how could this have happened? What’s going on? This. . .this isn’t real. This isn’t real. This isn’t real.

 

. . .Yeah. . .I feel happier. . .

 

Iwaizumi can’t breathe. Something’s wrong. Something’s horribly wrong.

 

You don’t need anyone but me.

 

These aren’t his hands. This isn’t his body. What’s happening to him.

 

I don’t need anyone.

 

Help me. Someone help. Someone help me.

 

Iwaizumi hears the laughter. It sounds hollow and emotionless and starts to grow hysterical.

 

It’s his own.

 

It’s Kyoutani’s.

 

HELP ME!

 


When Iwaizumi opens his eyes, he’s no longer sitting in the stool. He’s on the ground, curled up in the fetal position. Kuroo and Hinata are standing over him, trying to shake him awake. Kuroo’s face is all covered up with a bandage except for his eyes, but his bare torso exposes his scars.

“Hey, hey! Iwaizumi!”

Iwaizumi blinks and raises his hand to his face, pulling it back to find that his nose is bleeding.

“. . .What happened?” he asks and Kuroo looks all around the kitchen.

“I don’t know. You tell me.”

Iwaizumi doesn’t understand. He pulls himself up into a seating position with the help of the stool that has toppled over and looks around. The sun must be rising since he sees some natural light filtering in through the kitchen window.

But he grows alarmed when he sees that the window has a gaping hole in the glass.

He looks around and sees that all of the cupboards are blown wide open, some of the doors hanging off of the hinges. There’s a deep crack in the countertop that looks like Hulk just drove his fist into it. The plaster on the ceiling now has cracks and the lighting fixtures look like they’re about to fall and crash onto the floor.

What. . .what happened?

“. . .Where’s Kyoutani?” Iwaizumi asks, looking around the wrecked kitchen and Kuroo scratches his side.

“In his room,” Kuroo says. “What the fuck happened in here? I was having a really nice dream filled with Vocaloids and Sailor Moon when all of a sudden, the fucking mansion shakes! And it seems really weird that the damage only happened in the kitchen and you both are sporting bloody noses,” he states and folds his hands behind his back. “Did something happen? Is this some violent release of sexual tension for Oikawa that you’re feeling?”

“. . .Wha-no!

“But, what’s sexual tension?” Hinata asks again and Kuroo opens his mouth to answer, but Iwaizumi is faster. He grabs Kuroo’s ankle and yanks him to the floor, the mercenary landing ungracefully on his ass.

“God, just hand me a tissue,” Iwaizumi snarls and Kuroo throws a towel that’s hanging from the oven at his face in retaliation. Iwaizumi holds his nose with it and gets to his knees, then his feet. He stumbles a little bit, Hinata reaching out to hold his legs steady with both of his arms. He looks up at Iwaizumi, biting his lower lip.

“Are you okay?” he asks. Iwaizumi pulls the towel from his face and grimaces at all the blood that covers it.

“. . .I don’t know anymore,” he mutters. He takes another look around at the damage done to the kitchen. “How long was I out?”

“I don’t know. Two, maybe three hours? Totally unresponsive. Was kinda worried I might have to perform some hot and heavy CPR action on ya, bud. But Kai’s coming later today with Suga so. . .” Kuroo says on the ground, getting to his feet as well with help from Hinata. Iwaizumi sees Kuroo’s eyes scan over his body. There’s no hint of a joke in them anymore; all there is is concern and worry and confusion.

“Why are Sugawara-san and Nobuyuki-san coming?”

“. . .Uh. . .I guess. . .something came up and they want to talk?”

“. . .Ok. . .” Iwaizumi says and nods his head. He feels extremely drained for some reason. “I’m. . .I’m going back to bed,” Iwaizumi mutters to no one in particular and drags his feet as he exits the kitchen. No one tries to stop him from leaving. He doesn’t hear anyone call out for him as he walks up the stairs. He doesn’t check in on Kyoutani as he passes by his door. Iwaizumi just heads to his bedroom and closes the door shut, before he stumbles and collapses onto the bed.

He doesn’t fall asleep like he wants to. For every time his body relaxes and he closes his eyes, he can hear a laugh softly echoing in his ear.


It’s two in the afternoon and Iwaizumi hasn’t moved from the bed. He ignores the knocking at his door and the phone calls to his cell. He knows he’s being very unhelpful (and probably driving Oikawa mad), but he can’t even bring himself to raise his head from the mattress. It doesn’t even feel like he’s in his body right now.

He feels like he’s floating, weightless, unconnected to anything and free to float off in this feeling of emptiness for all eternity. It feels like he’s drowning, but he’s also flying. It feels like there’s so much pressure that forces his body to curl in tight, but his chest feels so light that he’s gasping for air.

He wants this all to end. He wants all of these feelings to stop.

The door opens and Iwaizumi doesn’t bother to look up to see who it is. They close the door shut behind them and don’t say anything as Iwaizumi feels the bed dip beneath him and the person climbs into the bed.

“. . .Are Sugawara and Nobuyuki-san still here?” Iwaizumi asks. Hinata nods his head, his cheek resting in the bend of his arm.

“The robot guy told them something weird happened on the cameras and they’re looking into it,” Hinata explains. Ah, so J.A.R.V.I.S. was watching them last night. He wonders if Oikawa also was relayed the information. Iwaizumi sighs and looks into those big round orbs across from him.

“. . .Why didn’t you tell me? About you and Kyoutani?”

“. . .Cause. . .I didn’t know if I should trust you.”

“Are you going to tell me something now?”

Another nod of the head.

“. . .You trust me now?”

“You didn’t tell them about what you saw,” Hinata whispers. Iwaizumi blinks.

“I. . .I didn’t see-”

“You heard him. I know you did. That time I had the nightmare. That time when Iron Man attacked. And, when you talked with Kyoutani-san, you heard him.”

Iwaizumi swallows down the dry lump in his throat as he thinks about the dream and that soft voice whispering in his ear.

“. . .Who is he?”

“He’s bad. He took me away from my Mommy and my Daddy. He took all of us away from places he thought were bad. He said he was going to take care of us and he’ll love us. . .but everything felt bad,” Hinata murmurs. “No one can say no to him. Everything he says, you do. No one can fight him. If we tried, he punished us and made us do awful things. . .but everyone still said they were happy.”

Hinata huffs and rubs his eyes. “Kageyama-kun didn’t want to leave, even after all the bad things he did to him. And Kageyama-kun is stronger and can fight him, but he doesn’t want to. Misaki-san wasn’t even allowed to cry anymore cause she was too loud. . .and he took Natsu away from me. I-I haven’t even seen her,” Hinata hiccups and Iwaizumi cards a hand through Hinata’s hair.

“It’s okay. . .you’re not there. You’re not in that bad place anymore.”

“But he’s going to find me. . .he knows. . .Iron Man,” Hinata begins and looks at Iwaizumi. “He’s the one that Iron Man was talking to. He’s the one that wants me dead. I know it,” Hinata says and Iwaizumi’s breath falters just a bit. So. . .Oikawa was being controlled? But how? The voice sounded so close when he experienced those strange visions, as if they were in his ear. . .

The earpieces.

Iwaizumi licks his lips. “But. . .why does he want you dead? Just because you escaped?”

Hinata tucks his chin in close to his chest. “He always said I’m bad at following directions. . .so I think that’s why.”

Kindaichi is awful with directions if he gets frazzled and Kunimi only follows directions at his own lackluster pace. Iwaizumi doesn’t want them dead. There has to be more to this, but from the expression on Hinata’s face, it doesn’t seem like he knows the answer either.

“So does he. . .control people’s minds? Like. . .like the Jedi Mind Trick in Star Wars or something?” Iwaizumi asks, failing to come up with a better metaphor. Hinata looks puzzled and Iwaizumi waves it off. “I-I’ll show you the movie or whatever. . .can he control anyone? . . .Is he controlling Oikawa-er-Iron Man and Kyoutani still? Do you know? How can you tell-”

“No. . .I don’t think he’s controlling them anymore. He has to be really close by. The farther you’re away from him, the less control he has,” Hinata explains and Iwaizumi rubs his face. No wonder Hinata was so jumpy that night. For all he knew, the man could have decided to waltz into the apartment and take control of Iwaizumi next. That explains why he wanted both of them to run.

He also thinks back to how Kenma and Kyoutani kidnapped him and Daredevil mentioning a ‘third person’ present somewhere close. If it wasn’t that kid that knocked him out. . .it could have been the man.

“What’s his name, Hinata? We need to tell Sugawara-san so they can stop him-”

“I don’t know. I don’t know his name or where he is or how to find the place again,” Hinata says and curls his body inwardly. “None of you can stop him, anyways. He has Kageyama-kun.”

“We have the Hulk,” Iwaizumi says with a smirk and gives a little pinch to Hinata’s nose. “The Avengers are going to stop him, okay? They’re going to stop them, we’re going to find your little sister and your parents, and everything is going to be okay. But we have to tell the others the truth-”

“No,” Hinata protests and turns away, “The bad guy. . .he was someone like them. A really smart doctor. How do I know they won’t be like him? I’m. . .we’re different. Kageyama-kun lost his mom because they were afraid of her. Kyoutani-san’s dad hit him cause he was afraid. My. . .My Mommy and Daddy didn’t want me to go to school cause they were worried someone would find out about me being different. I didn’t have any friends.”

 

I want to play Mommy!

 

I want to run around!

 

Please! I’ll go slow! I promise no one will find out!

 

I want to have friends!

 

Iwaizumi winces at the pain beginning in his forehead as Hinata shivers. No, he’s not going to go through whatever this is again.

Iwaizumi opens his arms out and pulls Hinata in his embrace. The strange sensations that were beginning to wrap around Iwaizumi’s throat disappear with Hinata’s noise of surprise.

“I’m your friend, okay?” Iwaizumi says and looks down at the kid’s face. “You have friends now. You’re not alone anymore,” he says with a soft smile. Hinata blinks, then nods his head and hugs Iwaizumi back.

“Ok. . .don’t tell them, though. Promise you won’t let them take Kyoutani-san and me away.”

“. . .I promise.”

“Pinky swear.” Hinata jabs his hand up and almost smacks Iwaizumi in the face. Iwaizumi sighs and coils his pinky around Hinata’s small finger, shaking twice. Hinata beams.

So. . .Ushijima is right about there being a mastermind. A male, most likely older than who they’ve been interacting with so far. There’s no information on him, but he might be a doctor. He might also have some sort of power that allows him to seek out these kids that all have these special abilities.

He doesn’t know what to make of these. . .’gifts’. He’s never thought that someone can be born with powers. All the people he knew gained their powers through some sort of chemical mutation or the power was all in the costumes they wore or through some cosmic radiation. There probably isn’t anything in the books about abilities like this. Especially one like the mastermind. Mind control. . .it sounds like something he’d expect in a cheesy action movie, not something in real life.

“. . .What does he want? Why are you kids committing these crimes?”

Hinata shrugs and bites the inside of his cheek. “He wants us to be happy. . .or at least, what he wants us to think will make us happy.”

“. . .And what does he think will make you happy?”

Hinata looks up into Iwaizumi’s eyes, amber eyes holding the weight of a world far too heavy for a child to handle.

“If all you humans were dead.”

Chapter Text

“Oh my - what the hell is this?” Iwaizumi shouts in annoyance.

It’s been approximately one week since the fiasco at his apartment. The news story managed to get swept under the rug thanks to Michimiya and no news correspondent is hunting for the identity of the tenant that was in the apartment. His mother is safe and sound, but Sugawara still has initiates stationed close by her home and her work to respond to any sort of disturbance. Iwaizumi just walked into the office building that morning expecting things to just go magically back to normal. Or at least, as normal as his life can be when he’s involved with superheroes.

Iwaizumi is not expecting to walk into his office to find it completely decorated with balloons, streamers, and a ridiculously large teddy bear in a suit sitting at his desk. It’s even holding a chalkboard with a message scribbled in colorful chalk and decorated with flowers.

 

WELCOME BACK, IWA-CHAN!!!!!

 

Iwaizumi can’t tell if he’s supposed to feel touched, annoyed, or scared about the undeniable rage Oikawa must be feeling about Iwaizumi ignoring his calls while he was gone, maybe a mixture of all three. This entire display screams ‘I’m going to passive-aggressively pretend I’m not at all bothered by how you wanted to keep your distance from me. See, I even bought you your favorite chocolates and got you a new watch like the wonderful, not at all murderous boss that you must think I am since you ignored me for the last few days’.

Iwaizumi pops a chocolate into his mouth. Mmm, nougat.

He gets to work on moving Mr. Bear from his desk. As he grunts from lifting the oversized and overstuffed animal out of the way, he hears the door open behind him and stiffens.

“Wow, this is both creepy and hilarious at the same time.”

Iwaizumi relaxes at Hanamaki’s voice and looks over his shoulder at the agent. Hanamaki has his hand covering his mouth, his eyes twinkling like he doesn’t know what emotion he should be showing right now. He’s clearly amused, but there’s also a look of ‘really? He went through this to get your attention?’.

Iwaizumi wrestles the bear out of his chair and places it near his file cabinet. It’s going to get in the way later when he needs to get something out of the cabinet, but he’ll worry about that obstacle later.

“What are you doing here?” he asks and Hanamaki instantly goes for the chocolates that are open on his desk. He picks one and pops it in his mouth, humming in content. Must be crème-filled.

“You want the truth or a convincing lie?”

“Truth. But knowing you, I probably won’t be able to tell,” Iwaizumi says with a sigh and Hanamaki places his arms behind his head.

“Suga is concerned about you and what he saw on the camera. You looked. . .you looked pretty bad, dude. Then all that paranormal activity shit started happening and the feed got cut,” Hanamaki begins, narrowing his eyebrows, “Kyoutani didn’t do anything to you, did he? Like. . .was there some sort of ability he has that Nobuyuki and Yui didn’t catch?”

Iwaizumi rubs his head at the thought of Kyoutani. The vision seems so clear in his head still. He can still sometimes feel the ache and sorrow when he’s near Kyoutani, like a lasting handprint on his heart. Last night, he was finally able to sleep after a few nights of tossing and turning and feeling like an emotional wreck.

He doesn’t understand why he feels these strong emotions when he’s close to Hinata or Kyoutani. He doesn’t know if it’s because they’re Enhanced and he doesn’t know if it’s them that’s causing it. Iwaizumi wants to tell someone, Nobuyuki maybe. But how does he explain this to him? ‘I’m hearing voices and seeing visions and it feels like someone is strangling me with one hand and crushing my heart with the other’?

“He didn’t do anything. . .I don’t know what happened that night,” Iwaizumi says for now. No point in bringing these visions up. Not until he understands them himself.

“What were you talking about?”

“He. . .he was talking to me about. . .things. . .”

Hanamaki raises an eyebrow. “Things like what?”

“Nothing that S.H.I.E.L.D. needs to concern themselves about. It didn’t have anything to do with the other Enhanced kids running around,” Iwaizumi says and leans against his desk. He keeps his eyes averted from Hanamaki’s gaze as he looks down at the ground. He needs to keep Kyoutani and Hinata’s trust. If they can somehow tell him something about these kids. . .and maybe even what is happening to Iwaizumi himself. . .he can convince them to trust the others.

Hanamaki bites the inside of his cheek. “So he doesn’t want you to tell us?”

“He’s wary around you guys, that’s it. He’s a kid, he doesn’t know what you’re going to do with him. And. . .if he’s starting to build trust with me or whatever, then I don’t want to break it. I promise, what he told me isn’t relevant to what’s happening now.”

“I think Suga should be the judge of that.”

Iwaizumi grunts and crosses his arms. Hanamaki looks at the teddy bear and places a hand of his hip. “He’s a fucking mess without you, you know that?” Hanamaki says and Iwaizumi bites his lower lip.

“. . .I’ll call him later.”

“Would you tell him what Kyoutani said?”

“I don’t want any information possibly being leaked back-”

“So he was right. You don’t trust him.”

Iwaizumi frowns hard and stands to his feet. “I didn’t say that. Don’t put words in my mouth,” he snarls and Hanamaki frowns himself.

“So how about you tell him what you’re feeling then? All he does around headquarters is mumble about you and his sentient blender,” Hanamaki complains and cocks his head to the side. “Are you two having another one of your ‘lover quarells’?”

Iwaizumi flushes red, heat resonating in the tips of his ears. “No! We’re not even – I – shut up!”

Hanamaki sighs. “You know, this will be a lot easier for all of us if you just tell him you have a big, stupid, crush on him. Maybe the power of love will get him to actually get shit done about these kids,” Hanamaki suggests and Iwaizumi scoffs.

“I told you and Kuroo countless times that I’m not interested in him and it will never work anyways.”

Hanamaki crosses his arms. “Tell me why it won’t work?”

Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek. “. . .Well. . .for one thing, he’s my boss. It’ll be unprofessional-”

“Suga and Daichi are dating and Suga is kinda like our boss,” Hanamaki retorts and Iwaizumi frowns.

“That’s different. And also, it’d be too much stress worrying about him fighting and-”

“You’re already stressing about him. You’ve always stressed about him being about Iron Man since he told you in the first place. That’s never going to change,” Hanamaki interrupts again. Iwaizumi is starting to get annoyed about his weak arguments being struck down before he has the chance to finish the sentence. He gets another chocolate to calm his nerves as he tries to think of another one.

“. . .He’s been my best friend since we were little kids. It’d be weird for him to-”

“Oh my god, you are not playing the ‘forever childhood friend zoned’ card. You haven’t even tried to tell him! Issei and I have known each other since we were teens and we’re-”

“Stop comparing me to you!” Iwaizumi snaps. “I’m not like you or Sugawara. I’m not like any of you! You two can protect your significant others, I have to rely on someone else to keep him safe!” Iwaizumi hisses and sucks in a deep breath. “I’m. . .I’m scared about what will happen if I were to take that next step. If something happens and I lose him. . .I wouldn’t be able to love anyone as much as I loved him. The pain would be too unbearable and I just can’t-”

“You don’t know,” Hanamaki says and Iwaizumi rubs his face. He blindly paws for another chocolate, but he feels the box move beneath his fingers and out of his reach. He feels his desk phone pushed underneath his palm instead and he peeks between his fingers to see Hanamaki giving him a crooked smirk.

“I can’t believe I’m giving you of all people love advice. This isn’t in my job description.”

“I’ll tell Oikawa to compensate you for your services,” Iwaizumi mumbles, his fingertips tracing around the edges of the buttons.

“Dinner at Datekou for two. I want VIP seating and the good champagne.”

“Fucking extortionist, aren’t you?” Iwaizumi says dryly and Hanamaki throws up the peace sign. In spite of himself, Iwaizumi smiles. “. . .Thanks. . .”

“Any time.”


“Oikawa, I’m sorry that I didn’t call you and it isn’t that I trust you. I trust you. I trust you so much and-” Iwaizumi bites his tongue and rubs his head. No, that’s stupid. He sounds like some stupid, lovestruck high school girl about to confess her crush. He can’t do something like this over the phone; he really needs to do it in person. But what kind of reason can he think of that will seem like a plausible excuse to go over Oikawa’s house? There’s barely any work here for Iwaiuzmi to even go over and he’s certain that all the files have been dealt with or are at Oikawa’s home where they should be.

He does need to give Ye-Robot-With-No-Name a name, but he can’t even think of a stupid name for the ‘sentient blender’ anyways. It sounds like a nightmare straight out of ‘A Space Oddity’, he’s not even sure he wants to meet the new robot.

He could invite Hinata over to meet with Oikawa and show there isn’t any ill will that Oikawa feels for the child, but he doesn’t want to distract himself from the real reason he wants to talk with Oikawa. Plus, he’s not sure if Hinata is ready to meet with Oikawa again and Iwaizumi doesn’t want another one of those. . .things happening with Oikawa around.

Iwaizumi groans and rubs his face. Instead of chocolate, Oikawa should have given him a bottle of whiskey or something, cause he definitely can go for a drink.

There’s a knock at his door and Iwaizumi looks up. “Come in,” he calls out.

It takes a couple of minutes of the person fumbling with the doorknob. Iwaizumi is certain he didn’t lock it, so what’s the problem?

Eventually, the door is opened and Kindaichi comes in with a big stack of papers against his chest and his right hand stuffed into the pocket of his jacket.

“I-Iwaizumi-san! Morning!” Kindaichi greets and Iwaizumi raises an eyebrow as Kindaichi kicks the door closed with his foot.

“Do you need help with that?” he asks and Kindaichi shakes his head quickly ‘no’. Iwaizumi leans back in his chair. “Well, it’ll probably be easier to hold it if you used both hands,” Iwaizumi suggests. Kindaichi gives a forced laugh that instantly sets Iwaizumi’s flags off. This is odd behavior, even for Kindaichi.

“Oh! Well, you know! I, uh. . .I broke my wrist so. . .it hurts to move it around and hold things!” Kindaichi says loudly and walks over to Iwaizumi’s desk. He drops the papers in a messy pile on Iwaizumi’s open folder, looking quite panicky. “Uh, that’s just. . .” he tries to straighten the pile out, refusing to use his other hand even when his arm jolts to move on instinct to gather up the paperwork.

Iwaizumi waves his hand away and straightens the paperwork himself. “That’s alright. . .how did you break your wrist?” Iwaizumi inquires and Kindaichi gives a pained grimace.

“Arm wrestling!” he blurts.

“With who?”

“Kunimi!”

Kindaichi obviously didn’t mean to say Kunimi’s name, since a second later his face sincerely looks like he regrets it. Iwaizumi hums.

“I didn’t think he could do something like that.”

“Oh! Well, he’s stronger than he looks! Hahahah-”

“Let me see it,” Iwaizumi says flatly and holds out his hand expectantly. Kindaichi blinks, then swallows down a large lump in his throat. He laughs again and slowly begins to back his way towards the door.

“I-It’s alright! It doesn’t hurt as much as it used to! I don’t want to take your time on something silly like this, Iwaizumi-san!” Kindaichi says and Iwaizumi folds his arms over his chest.

“. . .Fine then.”

Kindaichi breathes a sigh of relief that is very noticeable. Iwaizumi sifts through the papers. “By the way, what’s the time?” he asks and Kindaichi lifts his right wrist.

“It’s about 12-”

Kindaichi freezes. Iwaizumi’s eyes widen.

Iwaizumi expects to see the watch he bought Kindaichi as a birthday present. Kindaichi wears it almost every day and always refers to it when Iwaizumi asks for the time. He doesn’t see the silver gold band. He instead sees the metallic chrome color of an Iron Man gauntlet that fits snug on Kindaichi’s hand.

Iwaizumi is on his feet faster than Kindaichi can sputter out an excuse and flee his office. He’s already in front of Kindaichi and is tugging the gauntlet-clad hand towards him so he can inspect it closely. It’s brand new and as much as Iwaizumi can be informed about how Oikawa builds his suits, this one doesn’t look like it is part of a suit. Custom built? Or maybe there’s still a suit in progress. . .

Iwaizumi is silent and is glaring hard. Kindaichi looks like he wants to drop off the face of the Earth.

“Where did you get this?” Iwaizumi finally says after a long, tense-filled silence.

“. . .I. . .Oikawa-san. . .and the S.H.I.E.L.D. thing. . .and he said he wanted someone to just. . .keep an eye on you-”

So not only did Oikawa bring in someone who had nothing to do with this and was leading a perfectly normal life, he brought them in solely to spy on Iwaizumi. The gauntlet shows that this person is supposed to protect Iwaizumi in Oikawa’s place and that pisses Iwaizumi off so much. He squeezes Kindaichi’s silver hand and frowns hard. So he doesn’t want Iwaizumi to get involved (not that he wants to be in the first place), but he’s fine bringing in Kindaichi. Kindaichi is a kid. Well, young adult at least. How could Oikawa think that he should be equipped with Iron Man technology and protect Iwaizumi? He’s so fucking pissed-

Kindaichi winces. “I-Iwaizumi-san, I know you’re angry but you’re hurting me-”

Iwaizumi releases his death grip on Kindaichi’s hand. “I’m going out. Don’t follow me,” he states and moves Kindaichi out of the pathway of the door. Kindaichi only gives a pitiful nod of his head and watches with saddened eyes as Iwaizumi throws open the door of his office and storms out to the elevator.

Well, he found a reason to go see Oikawa.


QT is spinning around in circles as Iwaizumi runs down the stairs leading to Oikawa’s lab. There’s a new lighting fixture placed that illuminates the dark passage, but Iwaizumi is far too angry to appreciate it. He throws open the door and Oikawa glances up from what appears to be an unfinished suit. It’s bigger than his other Iron Man suits; it’s fitted with more guns and weapons too.

Oikawa lifts his goggles up to his forehead. “Did you see the present I left you?” he asks.

“Why did you tell Kindaichi about this? You made him a suit?!

“Technically, it’s not made yet. Give me a couple of weeks and a few more test runs,” Oikawa says nonchalantly. He has a tone in his voice that rubs Iwaizumi the wrong way. It’s cold and shallow, like Oikawa is talking to someone distant and unimportant.

“So you’re fine bringing in someone that has nothing to do with this but when it comes to me, I need to stay out. Do you think that I’m so helpless that I need someone babysitting me at my job?” Iwaizumi asks and Oikawa frowns.

“I don’t think you’re helpless-”

“So why the fuck do you have Kindaichi tasked with protecting me?! Why are you making him a suit?!”

“Ushiwaka-chan has a prodigy. I thought I would-”

“This isn’t about Ushijima! This is about how you’re such a fucking hypocrite!” Iwaizumi spits and Oikawa drops his wrench on the table. He walks around and stands in front of Iwaizumi, his arms crossed. There’s oil and grunge that dirties his forearms and hands. His face is pulled in an expression that doesn’t make sense to Iwaiuzmi. It’s filled with annoyance and anger and betrayal, but also a hint of sadness and confusion and longing to be understood.

“I’m being a hypocrite for wanting to keep my best friend safe? Or am I still your best friend after how you treated me last week?” Oikawa asks and Iwaizumi huffs. He feels his skin growing hot and he doesn’t believe it’s because of the stuffiness in the lab.

“I’m just. . .I just thought that I should keep a distance from you. Hinata is my responsibility now and you attacked him. You weren’t in control and I know you wouldn’t hurt him on purpose, but the fact remains that someone knows that you and I are close enough for you to know my address. I can’t risk someone trying to follow us-”

“Who is this kid anyways? Why did he fall into your lap and became your responsibility?” Oikawa asks all of a sudden and Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek.

“I. . .I don’t know.”

“I know that you know something about Mad Dog-chan. Since something happened that night that destroyed the camera in the kitchen.”

“Did you tell J.A.R.V.I.S. to watch me while I’m there?” Iwaizumi asks coldly and it is Oikawa’s turn to be silent. “It isn’t any of your business what I know about Hinata and Kyoutani. What I do know about them has nothing to do with the case at hand and-” Iwaizumi shakes his head, “I’m getting off topic. You shouldn’t have brought Kindaichi into this-”

“Ugh, will you stop bitching about that already?” Oikawa says annoyed, eyebrows pulled in a hard line. “Kou-chan checked him out and he passed with flying colors. He’s only to be used in case of emergencies. He’s not going to be put into combat, he’s not going to be put into any danger,” Oikawa says and rubs his face, smearing oil over his cheek. “If you don’t have anything else to say, I’m really tired-”

“Tell me why you don’t think you can trust me to take care of myself? I’ve always been the one to take care of the both of us. Kindaichi is just a kid and you thought it would be better to involve him in this? Why do you think that I’m becoming so helpless that-”

Because I can’t lose you!” Oikawa shouts in frustration, his voice echoing all in the lab and in Iwaizumi’s ears. Oikawa fumes and sucks in a deep breath, before he stomps back over to the suit and grabs a screwdriver. Iwaizumi stands in his spot, rooted and unmoving. His breathing is still and his eyes are blown wide.

Oikawa turns the screwdriver over in his hands. “I lied. About not remembering anything that night? I mean, I don’t remember attacking Hinata-kun. That is still nothing but. . .darkness in my mind. But before that. . .I remember a dream. Nightmare, really,” Oikawa says and shudders out a breath. “You. . .you were bound to this table and had all these tubes coming out of you. There was so much blood and. . .and you were dying. And I couldn’t do anything, I kept reaching out to help you or hold your hand and I couldn’t touch you. You looked like you were in so much pain and I was useless.”

Oikawa raises his head and smiles a smile empty of emotion. “Okay, so I told J.A.R.V.I.S. to spy on you in the compound since I had no way of knowing if you were okay. I admit it, I’m sorry. And when I saw that footage of you in the kitchen with that same pained expression I saw in my dream. . .I got scared. What if something like this happens in the future where I can’t help you? I have to stand by and watch you get hurt when I could have had people around you protecting you or you in a fortress that can’t be attacked? Or. . .if something like what happened that night happened again and I hurt you-”

“You won’t. You’re not-”

“I could. I don’t know what happened. How do I know that. . .that any of that even happened at all? How do I know that this is happening right now? That you’re here and I’m here and I didn’t kill you that night and I’m not hallucinating all of this. That nightmare felt real. How do I know I’m not still in it?”

Iwaizumi feels his chest grow heavy and watches as Oikawa places the screwdriver down and hunches over his desk, breathing hard. Iwaizumi slowly approaches him and reaches out for Oikawa’s hand. He gingerly takes it in his own and moves it to his neck, right over his pulse point. Oikawa glances at him, eyes looking so tired and empty.

“I’m here,” Iwaizumi says and squeezes Oikawa’s wrist. “I’m always here. . .don’t you realize that I feel the same way? That whenever I know you get sent on a mission you might not make it back from, I get so stressed out. Do you think that just because you’re a hero, you’re invincible?”

“I have a suit of armor.”

“And you’re not immortal. You’re not a god, you idiot,” Iwaizumi says crossly. Oikawa stands up straight and raises his other hand to hold Iwaizumi’s jawline. He moves his thumb over the curve and back behind Iwaizumi’s ear, rubbing small circles into his skin.

“Then can you humor me and let me pretend that I have everything under control? I just. . .I need to do this. I need to make sure that I can prevent something like that from happening ever again. Build a bunch of suits, tighten the security system, have people around you that I can trust and that person doesn’t know about. . .I don’t want to lose you after I lost my parents.”

“You know there was nothing you can do to prevent that. It was an accident-”

“But I can prevent something from happening to you. That’s all I care about.”

Iwaizumi nods his head, leaning into Oikawa’s touch. His lips feel dry and he runs his tongue over his bottom lip to wet it. Oikawa’s eyes follow the motion, a light flush breaking out over the bridge of his nose. “. . .Hajime-”

“Ow!” Iwaizumi yelps, feeling something sharp stab at his ankle. He jumps and Oikawa opens his arms out to pull him into his grasp, both of them looking down at a small round robot that is beeping adamantly and only seems to be getting angrier. It whirs around Iwaizumi’s feet and tries to force its way in between them. Iwaizumi huffs annoyed and steps back to allow the bot entrance, glaring at it annoyed.

Oikawa seems to be irritated too, placing hands on his hips. “I thought I told you to stop attacking people,” he scolds. The robot gives a cute little beep and spins in a circle. Iwaizumi raises an eyebrow.

“This is the ‘sentient blender’ you made?”

The robot doesn’t take kindly to that name and whirs back towards Iwaizumi, beeping loudly and menacingly. Iwaizumi backs away, raising his foot to stomp on the damn thing if it tries to stab at him again. Oikawa shouts and nudges the robot with his foot.

“Oi! Stop it! Are you bored? Do you want to do something for me or whatever?” Oikawa asks. The robot gives a happy beep and spins around Oikawa’s foot. Iwaizumi is so confused.

Oikawa rubs the back of his neck. “Fine. . .go and get me some more rags so I can polish up this silver. And I swear if you antagonize QT again, you’re going in the shredder,” Oikawa growls out. The robot beeps and nearly runs over Iwaizumi’s foot as it speeds away to do its job. Iwaizumi looks at Oikawa, who is sheepishly rubbing the back of his head.

“That is by far, the most annoying robot you have ever made,” Iwaizumi says flatly and Oikawa chuckles.

“Well. . .I guess he’s a little bit needy. He’ll grow out of it.”

“This is a robot, not a child.”

“They’re my children,” Oikawa says and points in the direction of Dum-E. “That’s the child I’m disappointed in,” Oikawa explains and gestures to U. “This is my child that doesn’t know what to do with their lives,” he then points at QT, who jumps and scurries behind a counter so no one is looking in its direction, “That’s the child I put too much pressure on,” Oikawa finally turns back to Iwaizumi, “And Ye-Robot-With-No-Name is my spoiled brat.”

“Which child is J.A.R.V.I.S.?” Iwaizumi asks, humoring him.

The older, responsible one tasked with taking care of everyone, I suppose,” J.A.R.V.I.S. responds, tiredly. Oikawa snaps his fingers.

“Exactly!” he coos and Iwaizumi rolls his eyes. He pinches the bridge of his nose.

“I need to get back to the office,” Iwaizumi mumbles, turning to leave. Before he can take a step away, he feels a hand coil around his wrist and yank him back into Oikawa’s arms. Iwaizumi makes a noise of surprise that he tries to mask as an annoyed grunt as Oikawa tucks his chin in the crook of Iwaizumi’s neck and squeezes him tight.

“Call me when you get back, okay?” Oikawa says, his lips against Iwaizumi’s warm skin. For the first time since the gala, Iwaizumi feels himself melt in Oikawa’s hold and his bones feel like jelly in his skin. He only hums in response and allows himself this moment, memorizing the feel of Oikawa’s arms around him and their hearts beating against each other in perfect sync.


“What was your codename?”

Hinata looks up from the comic book in his lap at Iwaizumi sitting on the bed, laptop open along with a notebook at the side. The child blinks.

“Codename?”

“Kyoutani mentioned someone called ‘Mystique’ when we talked. I’m sure you know a person named ‘Kozume Kenma’ and he introduced himself as ‘Negasonic Teenage Warhead’. Do you all go under codenames?” Iwaizumi asks. Hinata bites his lower lip and changes to another page.

“No. . .not Kageyama-kun. He doesn’t have a codename like the others,” Hinata explains, a small smile coming to his lips. “He always thought those were stupid. But I bet he was just mad he couldn’t think up a cool one like Kenma’s. Kenma’s is super cool.”

“I guess,” Iwaizumi says and Hinata flops backwards, turning over in the chair so his back is against the cushiony armrest.

“I didn’t have one either. I mean, I want one. I think codenames are super cool. It’s like. . .like having a codename means you belong in a group, right? You belong somewhere with people that are just like you,” Hinata says with a smile that doesn’t seem all that happy. Iwaizumi hums, looking back at the computer screen.

So far, his own personal investigation isn’t getting himself anywhere. He’s too paranoid that J.A.R.V.I.S. might somehow tap into the internet and find out what he’s looking for and report it back to S.H.I.E.L.D. and Sugawara. He doesn’t want to hide things from him, but he doesn’t know what to make of this whole situation. He wants to be helpful to both these kids and to his friends, so he needs to make sure all the information he’s getting is valid and he isn’t jumping to conclusions.

He’s asked Google a bunch of stupid questions such as ‘can people be born with superpowers?’, ‘can people inherit superpowers?’, ‘how fast can people run?’, ‘can people hear thoughts of others?’. He’s received a bunch of stupid results as well, most of them just leading back around to the incident with Nobuyuki and his gang that resulted in them becoming the Fantastic Four or news articles about the Avengers.

“How did he find you, Hinata? Do you remember anything when you first met that man?” Iwaizumi asks. Hinata visibly tenses and he buries his face into his comic book.

“I. . .I don’t know how he found me. . .I think he found all of us with Kageyama-kun’s help.”

“Your best friend, right? . . .What kind of person is he? What can he do?”

“. . .I don’t know.”

Iwaizumi looks up to find that Hinata has rested the comic book on his tummy, staring blankly at the ceiling above him. “Kageyama-kun. . .he’s the strongest out of all of us. I bet he’s even stronger than that bad man. . .stronger than all of the Avengers combined. He. . .he can do anything. He can make things happen that shouldn’t happen, he can make you think things that aren’t really there. He. . .he’s magic.”

“What do you mean?”

“Like. . .I remember one time we went to a park together. It was before the first attack. . .before I ran away. That man. . .he punished me earlier by not giving me any meals for a week and Kageyama-kun knew that I was hungry. But we didn’t have any money or anything to buy food and I was really craving something from the food stall set up near a park bench.  So. . .Kageyama-kun opened his hand out and kept repeating ‘I want to have 2000 yen’ over and over again. And then, 2000 yen appeared in his hand after a purple light shone. It came out of nowhere.”

“So. . .he conjured it,” Iwaizumi mutters. Another magic user? Is this kid as strong as Futakuchi? Iwaizumi shakes his head and looks at Hinata, thinking back to the familiar purple static he’s seen and the child associated with it. “You said purple light. . .does Kageyama-kun have dark black hair and blue eyes?”

Hinata perks up. “Yeah! A really pretty blue color and he’s always frowning!” he explains and pushes down his fluffy hair. He gives a scowl and Iwaizumi assumes it’s an impression of Kageyama. Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek.

“I haven’t seen his mouth. . .it’s always covered by some fabric,” Iwaizumi mutters. So, that kid is Kageyama, huh? At least now he has a name to match that half-face. And Iwaizumi now has a small grasp on what that kid can do. . .which appears to be pretty much anything he can think of. It doesn’t settle the feeling of anxiety in Iwaizumi’s chest.

“That’s because he doesn’t want anyone to know what spell he’s casting by reading his lips,” Hinata explains and goes back to his comic. “As long as he can hear himself, he’s fine.”

“. . .Okay then. . .” Iwaizumi mutters and takes his notebook, jotting down the information for future reference. Iwaizumi turns his attention back to his laptop, about to continue his search when the bed dips. He glances back and sees that Hinata is on fours, blinking up at him with big excited eyes.

“Can we practice at the volleyball courts again? I want to get better at my saves!” Hinata exclaims. It’s almost like Iwaizumi has an excited puppy begging to be played with nudging his leg and pulling at his wrist. He sighs and pockets away the notebook and closes his laptop.

“Alright. We’ll do a couple of practice runs,” he says, agreeing to take his mind off of all this crap for at least one hour.

Hinata’s big smile and cheerful yell tells Iwaizumi it’ll be worth it.


Iwaizumi is barely fast enough to see Tsukishima haphazardly throw some web shooters into his file cabinet and slam it shut that Wednesday. He quirks an eyebrow at his assistant’s strange behavior, but decides not to question it if he wants to get a straight answer out of him. It’ll come out eventually, no need to force it.

“How’s scaring Yamaguchi away going?” Iwaizumi asks. Tsukishima hands him his mail and looks back at his computer.

“It’s been strangely quiet. Even when I message him outside of work, he doesn’t respond.” There’s a small edge of concern that hangs on Tsukishima’s words, but Iwaizumi doesn’t think too much about it.

“He gets hurt a lot? He was covered in a lot of bandages the last time I seen him,” Iwaizumi mentions and Tsukishima rubs his chin.

“He’s a klutz at times. . .but he’s usually cautious. He doesn’t have any family illnesses either, so I don’t know about why he was all bandaged up,” Tsukishima says.

“Have you met his father? He’s the one that actually runs the business, right?” Iwaizumi asks.

Tsukishima leans back in his chair. “Not really. I’ve seen his secretary way more often than Yamaguchi’s father. He was just never there, even when we were kids. . .are you considering their deal, Iwaizumi-san?”

“No, just curious about them,” Iwaizumi says and sifts through the envelopes in his hands. The usual junk and notices and interview requests. He sighs through his nose and tucks the mail under his arm as Tsukishima glances down the hallway in the direction of Oikawa’s office.

“Really. . .that’s strange then. . .since Oikawa-san said he’s here to look over the contract,” Tsukishima says. Iwaizumi’s head whirs to his assistant, his eyes blown wide and eyebrows shooting upwards.

What? Why would he do that when we both-”

“He’s in his office right now. . .maybe you should check in on him,” Tsukishima suggests. There’s something in the tone of his voice that seems. . .off. Like there’s something wrong happening and Iwaizumi needs to find out what. He tenses when he thinks of Ushijima’s warning and Kageyama’s powers that can’t be explained. He thinks about Oikawa being brainwashed and not acting like himself at all.

Iwaizumi swallows down the dry lump in his throat and glances at the doors to Oikawa’s office. He straightens his tie and licks his drying lips.

“I’ll. . .I’ll see what he’s thinking about,” Iwaizumi mutters. Tsukishima nods his head, focusing his attention back on his computer screen and drumming his fingers over the surface of his desk.

Iwaizumi moves forward to the door, heart heavy in his chest. Maybe he’s overreacting to this whole thing. Maybe Oikawa changed his mind for some reason and maybe Yamaguchi Corps. isn’t some sinister organization like Ushijima made it out to be. Maybe everything is totally normal and everything is going to turn out okay. His nerves settle for only a second as he opens the door and slips inside the office, glancing at the man behind the desk.

Oikawa jumps when he sees Iwaizumi, quickly throwing a smile on his face that seems a little bit too cheerful. “Oh, Iwaizumi-san! You startled me!” Oikawa chirps and Iwaizumi frowns. He’s never heard Oikawa use his last name so formally, not even since they were children. Oikawa goes back to his computer. “I’m a little bit busy right now, so we’ll talk later-”

“Busy with what? The contract with Yamaguchi Corps.?” Iwaizumi asks and approaches Oikawa. “How come you’re agreeing to do the partnership? You told me yourself that they were too inexperienced and it would be too risky,” Iwaizumi says.

He circles around Oikawa’s desk and glances at the computer screen. Oikawa has a couple of windows opened up on weapon deals and distribution that he exits out of quickly. There’s also a smaller window that’s blocked with a password that Oikawa has failed four times to enter in correctly.

“I decided that I should give them a chance. Everyone needs to start somewhere, right?” Oikawa says and reaches for the flash drive plugged into the computer. Iwaizumi’s hand grabs it, noticing how Oikawa bristles under his touch. He looks up at him, smile getting strained. “Iwaizumi-san, is something wrong?”

“I’d ask the same thing about you,” Iwaizumi says and rubs his thumb in the inside of Oikawa’s wrist. “You never call me by my last name, not even when we have company,” he murmurs and flutters his eyes in that sickeningly way the girls do when they want Oikawa’s attention, “I would have thought we were closer than that.”

Oikawa relaxes for a moment and smiles, as if he understands everything now. He brings his hand upwards, pulling Iwaizumi down and gives him a gentle kiss on the mouth.

Oikawa’s lips are pliant and soft; it almost sends electricity up Iwaizumi’s spine and makes his toes curl in his shoes. It’s chaste and short; he pulls away and Oikawa smiles. “Sorry, Hajime. But I really need to get back to business,” he says and takes the flash drive. Iwaizumi hums, moving to stand in Oikawa’s path.

“Fine then. But since the real Oikawa would never kiss me, I think I should call security instead,” Iwaizumi says coldly. The smile that is on Oikawa’s face fades immediately and is replaced with a cold glare. He charges forward and Iwaizumi grabs the floor lamp that’s by Oikawa’s bookcase. He swings the lamp at the imposter, but they dodge it and grab it, throwing it to the floor and swinging their foot at Iwaizumi’s legs.

Iwaizumi stumbles just a bit, but it’s enough of an opening for the imposter to make a run for the door. Iwaizumi growls and runs after them, jumping and tackling them to the wall. Iwaizumi grits his teeth and struggles as he yanks the imposter backwards and both slam against the bookcase, knocking over books in the process.

The imposter looks back at Iwaizumi and he sees their eyes shift from Oikawa’s chocolate brown color to a bright yellow. Oikawa’s facial features melt away in a wave of blue that washes over the imposters skin, till Iwaizumi isn’t even struggling against Oikawa anymore. It’s a shapely blue skinned woman, staring into Iwaizumi’s eyes with hateful ones.

“He was right, you would be a pain to deal with,” she growls out.

Who?” Iwaizumi spits and the girl grunts, bending her knees and grabbing hold of Iwaizumi’s arm. She yanks him onto her back and flips them both, Iwaizumi landing hard on his back and the girl landing on top of him. She doesn’t try to hold him down; she quickly tries to scurry back to the door and make her escape, shifting back into Oikawa.

Iwaizumi rolls onto his side and reaches out, managing to grab the shapeshifter’s ankle. He needs to go for her head; there’s a possibility she’s being controlled like all the others and maybe he can help her. He grabs hold of the other leg that tries to kick him off and pulls her towards him. He’s not going to let her get away, he’s not going to let another one of them escape.

The girl pushes herself onto her elbows and flips onto her back. She pulls her knees in towards her chest and kicks with both of her feet, promptly nailing Iwaizumi in the face. Iwaizumi releases his hold as he feels blood spurt from his nose and the pain makes his entire head throb. The girl gets to her feet and shifts into Oikawa’s form in all one motion, throwing open the door to make her escape.

She is then knocked back when a glob of webbing shoots out from the hall and catches her right hand.

Tsukishima runs in and uses the moment of confusion to slide down to the floor and knock the imposter to the ground. She hits the floor with a thud, but springs back up again the same time Tsukishima readies the web shooter. He fires at the ankle that comes down to kick him in the head and her leg flies backwards, knocking her off balance as her foot sticks to Oikawa’s bookshelf.

She doesn’t give up, however, and tries to peel off the webbing, clawing at it like a wild animal. Tsukishima begins to shoot her repeatedly, covering her entire body up to her neck in the sticky webbing material and immobilizing her completely. The woman screams in frustration, but her mouth is also covered with webbing and silences her noise. Tsukishima gives her a coy little smirk.

“Spidey-senses have never failed you,” Iwaizumi mumbles, staggering to his feet and holding his bloody nose with his tie. It’ll be a while to get the blood stain out of this one; it’s his favorite tie too, dammit.

“Don’t call it that,” Tsukishima says dryly and turns to the woman that is struggling to break free. “Who is this? Another Enhanced?”

“I think so. But before we say anything else,” Iwaizumi begins and goes over to the woman’s body. Her eyes follow him, cold and filled with hate. Iwaizumi wonders if they all feel like that under the mastermind’s control. Nothing but hatred for humans and the desire to kill and hurt. He wonders if Hinata ever felt like this. . .if the child was ever put in the same situation like Kageyama before he escaped. . .

Iwaizumi forces the thought out of his mind and examines her head, checking around her ears for an earpiece. But to his confusion, he comes up with nothing. Iwaizumi steps back and pulls the webbing from her mouth so she is able to breathe.

“Are you working with the Enhanced terrorists? What do you want with us? Why are you here?” Iwaizumi questions. The woman scoffs and gives a little smile.

“Your ignorance disgusts me. You know why I’m here and what we want,” she spits.

“Tsukishima-kun, get Hanamaki and Sugawara-san over here now,” Iwaizumi says. Tsukishima turns to Iwaizumi and raises an eyebrow, but Iwaizumi raises his hand and shoos him off. “Hurry and go, it’ll be alright,” Iwaizumi states firmly. Tsukishima glances back at the woman still hanging on the wall, then bites the inside of his cheek and leaves the office.

Iwaizumi steps over to the woman, eyebrows furrowing. “Listen to me. I don’t know what kind of. . .spell he has on you, but you’re not in control of what you’re doing or saying. But I can help you-”

“Oh I am in full control of my actions. And you? Help me?” She narrows her eyes in disgust, “You don’t even know who you really are, what power you have. He’s seen it, and the moment your so called ‘friends’ find out about you, you’ll be dead.”

Iwaizumi shudders. “Who are you talking about? What do you know about me? What have I ever done to any of you?” he asks, gripping his hands into tight fists. “I. . .I don’t want to be involved in this. Why are you targeting me and the people around me?”

She smiles. “Our little sorcerer saw into your head. We know what you’re capable of and what a great ally you would be, but you choose to defend and help these people that wouldn’t bat an eye if you were shot. Your boss you love and trust so much would kill you if he knew.”

Something. . .something is wrong. Why does it feel so warm in here? Why does it feel like Iwaizumi can’t breathe? Everything is spinning around him and he feels a painful throb in his head.

“What. . .you don’t know anything about me. I’m just a normal person-”

“You’re not normal. If you keep thinking so naively, you’re going to be slaughtered just like the rest of them. Don’t trust these people. Don’t trust any human. Don’t trust Oikawa Tooru.”

“You don’t know anything about him! What do you want from me?!” Iwaizumi screams. He feels it in his bones and it squeezes his lungs. All this. . .hate. This anger and hatred and disgust and so many negative emotions that tear at his skin and gnaw on his insides. It feels like nails clawing into his body, trying to drag out something that Iwaizumi doesn’t understand. That Iwaizumi is afraid to understand and acknowledge.

Something. . .something is happening to him and he’s afraid.

He clutches at his chest and tears burn at his eyes. There’s so much anger and rage that is flowing through his body and it’s making it too unbearable to stand. His legs feel weak and he begins to sway and stagger.

“Stop it,” he grits through his teeth. “Whatever you’re doing, stop it.”

“You trust him so blindly. You trust all of them with your lives when you don’t even know the truth. Ask them. Ask them about the Scarlet Witch. Ask them and see if you will look at them the same way.”

“Be quiet. You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me or Oikawa,” Iwaizumi says. He can’t breathe. It feels like a fire is burning inside of him and killing him from the inside. So much anger. So much pain and resentment. Why is he feeling this? Why can’t he make this stop?!

“You don’t know anything about him like I do. But you’ll see. You’ll understand that underneath that handsome, charismatic mask is nothing but a lying, murderous-”

Shut up!” Iwaizumi screams.

It all happens so quickly.

The windows shatter and the entire building shakes. Iwaizumi falls to the ground as the ceiling above him rumbles and cracks. He hears screams and wails echoing all around him. Fear shoots up his spine and he feels so numb. The screams are getting louder and the building is still quaking underneath him. Iwaizumi grits his teeth and wrings his hair. Make it stop. Make it stop. MAKE IT STOP!

“Iwaizumi-san!” Tsukishima shouts and runs in. The woman immediately shifts into that of a small child that easily slips through the webbing Tsukishima has created. She shifts back into her original form and runs to the broken windows, jumping out of the way of Tsukishima’s web blasts as she lands on the windowsill. She looks over her shoulder at Iwaizumi curled up on the floor, her eyes locking with his fear-stricken ones.

“Don’t trust them. Don’t trust any of them.”

With that, she jumps.

Tsukishima swears and runs to the window, looking out for any signs of her. He pulls back and runs over to Iwaizumi, getting down on the ground and holding him by his shoulders.

“Are you okay?” he asks and Iwaizumi sucks in a couple of breaths. The sounds of screams slowly begin to die down as the building stops shaking around him. He feels Tsukishima pull him up into a sitting position and could feel his shirt sticking to his body from sweat. His breathing goes back to normal after a few more minutes and his heart beats at a regular pace.

Iwaizumi wipes the sweat from his brow and looks back at Tsukishima. “Where is she?”

“She’s gone. Not even a blue splat mark on the ground below. Iwaizumi-san, what happened? What did she do-”

“I don’t-I don’t know. I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t know what’s going on,” Iwaizumi rambles and wipes his mouth. He leans back against Oikawa’s desk and closes his eyes. “. . .Make a message to Oikawa. Tell him that I’m alright and I’ll be leaving the office shortly to head back to the compound.”

“Are you sure-”

“Yes. I just. . .I just need to think and be alone and I don’t want him trying to talk me out of this. Report back to Sugawara about the girl. I think she’s the shapeshifter they’re looking for-”

“I-Iwaizumi-san!” The door is kicked down and Kindaichi barges in with gauntlet raised. He drops his arm when he sees the damage done to Oikawa’s office and the broken windows, then his eyes go down to where Iwaizumi and Tsukishima are on the ground. “I. . .that earthquake just now. . .I thought. . .”

“I think everything is under control, Kindaichi,” Tsukishima says dryly. Kindaichi bites his lower lip, then gives a slow and defeated nod of his head. He trudges out of the office, hanging his head. Tsukishima scoffs and gets to his feet, helping Iwaizumi up as well. He scans his eyes over his body once, before he bites the inside of his cheek and leaves the office as well.

Iwaizumi looks around and assesses the damage. The walls need to be repaired, along with the ceiling. The lights need to be replaced and the window needs to be fixed. The bookshelves need to be replaced and the books restacked since they are now on the floor in a big pile. So much to do, so little time. Or a lot, since it’s not like Oikawa uses his office here like he should.

He goes around the desk and checks the computer that is still on. What was that woman trying to find? What information is on this computer that was important to them? He checks the folders and search history, but comes up empty. In the corner is the window that the imposter failed to hack into. He opens it back up and stares at the blank space for the password for a few seconds, before he moves his hands to hover over the keyboard.

He types in Dum-E’s date of creation and the box disappears before multiple windows begin to open up. Iwaizumi smiles. If it’s not his birthday, it’s always Dum-E’s. Despite what he says, Iwaizumi knows that Oikawa loves that old bucket of bolts.

The open windows gloss over S.H.I.E.L.D. related missions dating back to when Oikawa’s father and Ikejiri were major contributors to the organization’s work in the world. It’s all boring history stuff, protocol lists and a few photographs here and there. Iwaizumi has no idea why this is even on Oikawa’s computer. He usually has a copy of everything on Oikawa’s computer on his own harddrive in his office, but he doesn’t have any of this. Even if it is S.H.I.E.L.D. related, he has a copy (in case Oikawa conveniently deletes it).

He sifts through the files and finds an article about an expedition in Jordan, but it doesn’t specify the reason or if they found anything. It’s also in a language that he doesn’t understand and won’t be able to decipher on his own. He clicks his tongue and creates a copy of the file to email it to his account for later. He’ll find someone that can read it for him.

It’s a couple more files and protocol lists before his eyes land on something interesting. It’s a profile of a woman with long, flowing black hair and enticing blue eyes. It’s no mistake; Kageyama definitely has her eyes. Iwaizumi licks his lips and his eyes scan over the bolded text underneath the picture.

Her name is unknown according to the file, but the codename in big red letters read ‘SCARLET WITCH’. Her status is unknown, but presumed to be dead.  She’s considered to be an ‘Alpha-level threat’ and is said to be a mutant terrorist and mass fanatic of pushing a pro-mutant agenda.

So. . .there is knowledge of mutants? Then why hasn’t any of this been brought forward to the public? More importantly, S.H.I.E.L.D. does know about mutants. So does Oikawa apparently. . .why didn’t he tell him about this? He opens a few photographs up that came with the profile.

Most of them are pictures detailing the havoc that the Scarlet Witch brought down on towns of humans; communities destroyed and bodies lying in the streets. It reminds Iwaizumi of the dream that he had when he was kidnapped, surrounded by ruins and wreckage without any signs of life around him. He clicks on a video footage that begins in nothing but darkness. He can faintly hear the sound of whimpering and it makes a sickening feeling sink low in Iwaizumi’s gut.

The lights flash on in the video and he sees a family, a mother and her son bound together with ropes. They look like they’ve been tortured, bloodied and beaten up. Iwaizumi’s eyes are immediately drawn to the son that looks like he’s no more than four or five, at the wings growing out of his back that are maimed and burned. He wants to vomit.

There’s men surrounding them all, donned in military gear and face guards that obscure their faces. Iwaizumi scrunches his eyes as he examines the guns in their possession that they have trained on the family. He. . .he recognizes those guns. He recognizes the face guards and the Kevlar armor worn by one of the men that pulls at the mother’s hair.

This. . .they have armor and weapons designed by Aoba Johsai.

How?

. . .This. . .this isn’t what those weapons and armor are for. To terrorize innocent families of mutants.

One of the men begins to speak while the others cut at the ropes and begin to yank the son away from his mother. He cries out for her, trying desperately to hold on and she tries the same. One of the men grab at her shoulders and holds a knife to her neck. Iwaizumi turns away quickly; he doesn’t need to see what happens on the screen, the horrific and pained wails that sound from the child tell him he shouldn’t look.

Why? Why is this happening? How did this happen? They must have stolen it. They must have obtained their gear illegally somehow. S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t behind this. Oikawa has nothing to do with this. But. . .why is this on his computer with other S.H.I.E.L.D. items??? How could they have known something about this and just turned an eye?!

He looks back at the screen and sees the men dragging off the mother’s body and now hold the son directly in front of the camera. His light hair is covered in dirt and blood that seeps into the black tips of his hair. His eyes look so drained and full of fear, but Iwaizumi can still see that there’s a fire inside of them. He doesn’t want to quit. He’s not going to die without putting up a fight.

One of the men puts a gun to the child’s head as the man in the background concludes his message.

“We stand for humanity. We fight those that wish to destroy us. Purge the world of mutant scum. Fight for humanity!”

There is a surge of scarlet energy and the video feed cuts short. Iwaizumi checks the timestamp of the video, finding it to be about two years old. He clicks out of the video and continues to search. Who were those men? What happened to that child? Who is the Scarlet Witch and what does S.H.I.E.L.D. know about her? Do they know about these men that are killing people? Why aren’t they stopping this?! Why do they have technology and weaponry that is supposed to go towards helping others?!

Iwaizumi wrings his hair. What is going on?!

The door opens and Iwaizumi closes the window in a hurried haste, getting to his feet. “I’m heading home now, Tsukishima-kun-”

“How about you put a hold on that?”

Iwaizumi looks up to find Sugawara closing the door shut behind him with a folder tucked under his arm. The expression on his face is moot and unrelaxing, his eyes scanning Iwaizumi’s figure and looking around the damaged office. Iwaizumi sits back down, heart beating madly. Sugawara pulls up a chair with an arm hanging by its hinges and crosses his leg, eyes dull and emotionless.

“Let’s chat.”

Chapter Text

Sugawara Koushi is a calm man. He has a smile that can put anyone at ease and a voice that is calm but commands attention. He isn’t like Ukai, full of brooding intimidation and master of glares with only one eye. He isn’t like Daichi who is a natural leader and full of righteousness. He does what he can and he does it well, whether it’s the right thing or not. 

Now, he sits in front of Iwaizumi without that charming smile of his. He sits with a blank stare and with an expression that sends a chill to Iwaizumi’s core. The wind whistling around him from the broken windows behind him make him realize how uncomfortably silent this situation is becoming. He gives a nervous cough and glances back at the computer screen. A slideshow of pictures flashes one after the other, old photographs and selfies with other Avengers and friends of Oikawa and childhood photos with Iwaizumi. 

“I see there’s been another incident that you’re involved in,” Sugawara muses and Iwaizumi tenses. 

“Do you think that I’m asking to be involved in this-” 

“Well, you’ve been getting involved a lot lately, whether you want to or not. That’s really concerning me. I mean, Oikawa had me make that intern of yours a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent because he thought you didn’t trust having one of my men or himself watching you.” 

“Then you should have denied his request and let me watch myself.” 

“I think now you do need to be watched. Too many things are happening to a ‘simple secretary’ like yourself.” 

Iwaizumi scoffs. “Well, that’s going to happen if my boss is a superhero and I have an assistant with spider powers. Not to mention a supposed friend that runs a secret organization.” 

Sugawara smiles humbly and leans in close. “You know, I’m just as concerned about you as the rest of them.” 

“You have a boyfriend to be concerned about. I’m doing just fine,” Iwaizumi says and glances at the clock that’s barely hanging by the nail. “I really need to head back to the compound and see if Hinata ate-” 

“You said he was homeless when you found him, right?” Sugawara asks and Iwaizumi nods his head. Sugawara leans back and tosses the folder on the desk, gesturing for Iwaizumi to open and read the contents. Iwaizumi stares at it, feeling a bead of sweat roll down the side of his face. He takes the folder into his hands and opens it, eyes meeting a gruesome crime scene photo. 

There’s a man sprawled out on the floor in a pool of blood and a woman still in her nightgown flung over the bed, also covered in blood. Off to the side is a hand pistol just out of the man’s reach. What. . .what the hell is this?? 

“Around Christmas of last year, police responded to a disturbance in a home in a very nice neighborhood. All the neighbors were really close with each other, all the children went to school together, they had parties every other weekend and invited the entire block out, that sort of thing. They discovered that upstairs. It appeared to be a murder suicide. The husband first shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself. There were no signs of mental illness and there were no signs of abuse. No reason for this to happen.” 

Sugawara then crosses his arms. “What stumped police even more was the disappearance of the couple’s six-year-old son and their three-year-old daughter.” 

. . .It can’t be. 

Iwaizumi’s eyes shoot up to meet Sugawara’s face. “This. . .these aren’t. . .” 

“They were Hinata Kyouta & Asami. The names of the missing children are Hinata Shoyou and Hinata Natsu.” 

Iwaizumi drops the folder on the desk and rubs his face, groaning loud into the palms of his hands. How? What? Why? He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand.  

“The strange stories don’t end there. It seems that there have been a lot of disappearances beginning in late November of last year leading up to the present. Kyoutani Kentarou disappeared after his parents were found dead from stab wounds. Kozume Kenma disappeared from his foster home and left only a house in flames. And somehow, they’re all finding their way to you.” 

“What, are you saying I’m sort of mutant magnet or something?” 

Sugawara blinks. “So you’re referring to them as mutants?” 

“That’s what they are. There isn’t someone. . .’enhancing’ humans. They’re born this way. They’re some sort of. . .mutation. They’re kids with mothers and fathers and they’re. . .they’re. . .” 

The words begin to fall from Iwaizumi’s mouth as the lingering feelings of anger and rage rumble in his bones. “There’s people out to hurt them and. . .and. . .and maybe that’s the reason they are acting out like this. Because they’re angry that someone is murdering their kind and no one is doing anything to stop it. How. . .how could you turn a blind eye to this?” 

“What do you mean?” 

Iwaizumi clamps his mouth shut. No, he can’t talk about this anymore. He’s just going to put Hinata into trouble and push the attention back on Kyoutani. Aside from the shapeshifter, Iwaizumi is certain that these kids are being forced to become terrorists. He doesn’t know by who or what outcome they’re trying to achieve, but he knows that someone needs to get them out of there. 

Don’t trust them. Don’t trust any of them.  

“Iwaizumi-san?” 

Iwaizumi looks up and sees Sugawara staring at him, eyebrow raised. “What did you mean that I was turning a blind eye at this?” 

“. . .I’m just finding it hard to believe that S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t see this coming and has no information about these mutants. I thought you had eyes and ears everywhere, Sugawara-san.” 

Sugawara bites the inside of his cheek and steeps his fingers. “This is a subject that we’re still having trouble understanding. But once we conduct some more tests and put an end to these mutant terrorists-” 

“Tests? Put an end to them?” 

“These are criminals, Iwaizumi-san. You know they’re not going to get off so easily,” Sugawara says sternly and Iwaizumi grips his hands. 

“These are just kids.” 

“Kids that murdered innocent people.” 

“They’re being controlled by someone! The same person that brainwashed Oikawa into attacking me and Hinata that night!” 

“Who can do that, Iwaizumi-san? Control people? No such ability exists.” 

“I don’t know, but we can’t hold these kids accountable for what’s happened!” Iwaizumi exclaims and Sugawara leans back in his chair. 

“They’ve told you something that’s changed your mind on them, haven’t they? Kyoutani-san and Hinata-kun.” 

“Hinata doesn’t have anything to do with this-” 

“If we’re friends like you say we are, why are you trying to lie to my face?” Sugawara asks with a scathing tone and Iwaizumi twitches in his seat. The gentle expression that Sugawara always wears is now replaced with cold fury. Looking at him now, it’s no wonder that Ukai left S.H.I.E.L.D. in Sugawara’s hands. Iwaizumi averts his gaze if only to keep his resolve from breaking under Sugawara’s eyes. 

“. . .Sugawara-” 

“We both know that Hinata-kun was the one that stopped Oikawa that night. I’m not sure how and I’m not sure who is after him, but I don’t appreciate you trying to hide whatever it is about Kyoutani and him from me,” Sugawara says crossly. 

“It doesn’t have anything to do with the case, I promise.” 

“Then humor me and tell me what it is if it’s so insignificant.” 

Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek, his nostrils flaring. He looks down at the keyboard and breathes in deeply. “Hinata. . .caught Oikawa off guard and knocked a lamp onto him. But I was the one that knocked him out. As for Kyoutani, he doesn’t remember anything that happened to him or who is the mastermind.” 

“That’s all?” 

“That’s all.” 

Sugawara doesn’t look like he believes him. Iwaizumi doesn’t give a damn, he’s going to stick with his story. He stands up, even though he knows Sugawara isn’t done. “I’m sorry, I just want to go back to the compound already. That’s all I know about this situation,” Iwaizumi says. He doesn’t even wait for Sugawara to give him a response. He just briskly walks out of the office with his head down, avoiding Tsukishima’s eyes as he passes by his desk and heads for the elevator. 

Iwaizumi presses the button for the bottom floor, holding his thumb on it. As the doors close, he glances up and barely sees Sugawara standing on the other side. 

Iwaizumi sees Sugawara watch him with an impassive look that is full of suspicion and distrust, just before the doors slide shut and the elevator moves on its way.


“It was Misaki-san,” Hinata says, his knees tucked in tight to his chest. Kyoutani doesn’t say anything to that, bouncing the volleyball against the surface of the court. Iwaizumi sighs and leans against the volleyball net’s pole, sweaty from an impromptu practice session with the two young mutants. 

Kuroo is out on a contract and won’t be back at the compound until tomorrow evening. And Iwaizumi realized that J.A.R.V.I.S.’s cameras aren’t stationed at each court in the recreational basement level and a majority of them can’t pick up sound. From where they were positioned, J.A.R.V.I.S. can’t see much with the cameras in the vicinity and can’t hear anything. Iwaizumi can pass it off easily to Sugawara and Oikawa that they were just practicing. At least, he hope it will be easy. 

“So she’s a shapeshifter? Does she also have the power to make earthquakes?” Iwaizumi asks and Hinata shakes his head. 

“That weird earthquake happened that night with me and you in the kitchen, remember? I’m sure the robot butler would have sensed Misaki being on the grounds if she was the one that caused it,” Kyoutani points out. Iwaizumi bites his lower lip and looks down at his hands, callouses forming on some of the tips of his fingers. 

You’re not normal.  

He shakes his head. No, no she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Iwaizumi. . .Iwaizumi is normal. He may not live a normal life and he may not have normal friends, but he is normal. He’s Iwaizumi Hajime. He used to catch beetles and cicadas and let them go when he was a child. He loves to watch Godzilla movies in his sweats and memorized every single word. He’s normal

“What’s her story? Do you know?” Iwaizumi asks. 

“I know she had a kid,” Kyoutani mutters. “Don’t know what happened to them. . .probably dead.” 

Iwaizumi thinks about Kyoutani’s parents that the teen doesn’t remember slaying himself. He thinks about Hinata’s parents that the child doesn’t even know are dead and Kageyama’s mother that was mostly likely killed by that anti-mutant organization. They all lost someone close to them. . . 

“. . .She looks really young to have a kid,” Iwaizumi comments, trying to keep his mind distracted from those thoughts. 

“She’s old. No one knows how old though, she always gave you a spanking if you asked,” Hinata blurts and hums. “I remember her the more I talk about her. . .she used to cry a lot and it always made the bad man upset. . .but then she stopped crying and became more cold. . .like Kageyama-kun did.” 

“Any others you remember?” Iwaizumi asks and Hinata rubs his head, looking over his shoulder at Kyoutani. Kyoutani does the same, rubbing his forehead. 

“I remember. . .some guy with glasses. He’s older than us, but he doesn't look like it. Really pathetic looking, but he was smart. He took care of us when we got hurt,” Kyoutani explains and Iwaizumi nods his head. He doesn’t sound like much of a threat to look out for, but Iwaizumi will add him to his list of mutants in collaboration with the mastermind. 

“Also, I remembered something about that man. The one that took us,” Kyoutani mutters and Iwaizumi’s eyes widen. Kyoutani clicks his tongue when he sees his expression. “It’s nothing to get excited about. . .I just remember him always wearing purple.” 

“Purple?” 

Kyoutani nods his head and Iwaizumi rubs his chin. “Well. . .it’s something that we can use to identify him. Anything is helpful since we don’t know much about him or his past or what he wants,” Iwaizumi explains and gets to his feet. “I’m going to check around the archives at the library for a translation of an article I found about an expedition in Jordan. I’ll also see if I can find anything about mutants in the fields of science since Hinata said this ‘Purple Man’ was a scientist.” 

“Why are you trying to help us?” Kyoutani asks and Iwaizumi pauses. “We nearly killed you twice. But you trust us more than those other people do. . .why?” 

“. . .Because this isn’t your fault. You don’t really want to hurt other people-” 

“Misaki and Kageyama want to hurt you humans because you hurt them first. I want to hurt people that think just because I’m different than them, they can treat me like shit and I’m lesser than they are. I might not actually want to use my powers against someone defenseless, but the anger that I feel is still there.” 

Kyoutani balls his hands into tight fists. “How can I trust that you’ll help us? That you’ll get the rest of them away from that man and someplace safe?

Iwaizumi walks over to Kyoutani and rests a firm hand on the teen’s shoulder. Kyoutani tenses, but relaxes under Iwaizumi’s touch and Iwaizumi gives a small smile.

“Because it’s the right thing to do.”


Hinata has another nightmare, one that results in him clinging to the front of Iwaizumi’s shirt and whimpering for his parents. Iwaizumi somehow understands; he feels the shakiness of Hinata’s breath and the desperate need of knowing where his parents and Natsu are. All Iwaizumi can do is thread fingers through his hair and try to shush his cries, humming a soft lullaby that his mother used to sing to him and Oikawa when they were scared during sleepovers. 

He has to tell him eventually. That he and Natsu don’t have a home to go back to after all this is over. But how can he tell a little boy and his sister that their parents are dead? Or worse, that their father is the one that pulled the trigger? Maybe. . .maybe Iwaizumi could adopt them. . . 

Man, they’d have to move to a bigger place. No doubt Oikawa would pay for it, but Iwaizumi has to consider a safe neighborhood for children that is in close proximity to schools. He has to look into babysitting services when he’s at work and Iwaizumi hasn’t even met Natsu. What if she doesn’t like him? Iwaizumi is barely getting by assuming the role of Hinata’s guardian, how is he going to take care of a little girl?? What do they do for fun??? Do little girls even like hunting for beetles???? 

Iwaizumi groans quietly and looks down at Hinata, who has stopped trembling but is still clinging to the front of Iwaizumi’s shirt. “What am I going to do with you?” he whispers to himself and Hinata curls into his side, beginning to snore. Iwaizumi smiles warmly at the child, continuing to thread his hand through his soft orange locks. 

. . .He thinks it might not be so bad. 

. . .He thinks that maybe he can make it work.


Akaashi looks over the printed article, bringing his coffee up to his lips to take a sip before he glances at Iwaizumi. He hands over the enlarged photograph that was in the article to Bokuto, who is begging to take a peak to see if he can decipher it and is getting on Akaashi’s nerves, and leans forward. 

“So what do you think this means?” Iwaizumi asks, eager for understanding. 

“I’ve heard of expeditions to Jordan to conduct research of infrared astronomy, but that’s as far as I go in understanding any of this,” Akaashi says and gestures to the article. “From what I can make of this, they found something in a tomb, but they don’t explain just what it is,” Akaashi says, scrunching his eyes as he tries to make out the text. “It’s not an archived expedition either, it happened five years ago so it’s rather new. And the tomb is rather large in the photograph. . .I’m guessing that it must have belonged to some royalty thousands of years ago or-” 

“It’s for a god,” Bokuto speaks, placing the photograph on the table and tapping his finger against it. “This is a place of worship. A shrine of some sorts,” Bokuto says and glances at Akaashi, then Iwaizumi. “It looks similar to ones made to the gods in the past,” Bokuto points out, eyes bright in understanding. Akaashi props his chin up with his hand. 

“You said something constructive for once, Bokuto-san,” Akaashi points out, amazed. Bokuto squawks. 

“Why do you think I don’t know things, Akaashi?! I’m a god!” he shouts. Akaashi shushes him, then wraps his arms around Bokuto’s bicep and rests his chin on Bokuto’s shoulder. 

“It’s not that I don’t think you know things. You just know things that may not be relevant to the situation at hand. I don’t mind it, it’s something I find about you endearing,” Akaashi says with a lilt in his voice and Bokuto turns his nose upwards. Akaashi sighs. “I thought you were this amazing and all-powerful god. Stop pouting like a four-year-old child,” he states and Bokuto gives another indignant squawk. 

“Akaashi!” he shouts and then pauses, then sheepishly scratches the back of his head. “Hehe, you think I’m an amazing and all-powerful god? Is that what attracted you to me?” he says with a cheeky little smile. 

“Do you want me to answer that?” 

“Not to interrupt your flirting, but can we get back to the article,” Iwaizumi cuts in. Bokuto blinks wide and nods his head. He wraps an arm around Akaashi’s shoulder and pulls him in, Akaashi turning more into Bokuto’s hold and looks at the photograph as well. 

“If my thoughts are correct, this is a temple of a deity. I’m not sure who though, the language is hard to make out in the photo,” Bokuto says and Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek. Well, he has an idea on what this article is, even if it’s only a fragment of information. But what does S.H.I.E.L.D. want with some ancient shrine? 

“There’s something else in the photograph, and I definitely know this is correct,” Akaashi says and taps one of the men standing by the Jeep, arms folded and a stern expression on his face. “This man is from Yamaguchi Corps. Mizoguchi, I think. He came to my lab a year ago to inquire about the flow of time in a certain setting.” 

“What setting is this?” Iwaizumi asks. 

“He didn’t elaborate,” Akaashi says and Iwaizumi takes the photo. So it goes back to Yamaguchi. . .he doesn’t think that they might have anything to do with the mutants or have any connection with the mastermind, but he thinks that it might be worth a shot. 

He glances at his watch and frowns. He only has a couple of minutes before his lunch break is over; if he tries to stay out any longer, no doubt Kindaichi will go out looking for him. And he’s been noticing lately that there has been S.H.I.E.L.D. agents tailing him as he leaves the office and heads over to the compound, so he doesn’t think that he can leave without being noticed either. 

Iwaizumi runs a hand through his hair. This is going to be difficult. 

“Iwaizumi-san,” Akaashi speaks and Iwaizumi glances up to look at him. The scientist’s lips are pulled into a frown, eyes concerned. “Is there a reason why you didn’t want to discuss this with Sugawara-san or Oikawa-san?” 

“It’s. . .I didn’t think that either of them would have the time to indulge me about this strange article. Everyone’s still working hard to solve this problem with these kids-” 

“One of them attacked your office recently. Are you sure you’re alright?” Akaashi asks and Iwaizumi nods his head. 

“I’m fine, really. Unknown to everyone, I’m actually a lot tougher than I look,” Iwaizumi says with a crooked grin. Akaashi finds it in himself to smile just a bit, but his eyes still hold doubt. 

“If you say so,” he says with a sigh and Bokuto finishes off the last bit of his coffee. He smiles in delight, then takes the coffee mug and smashes it. Everyone in the café jumps at the sound of the glass shattering against the floor, followed by Bokuto’s booming ‘ANOTHER!’. 

Akaashi hides his face in his hands. “I thought I told you not to do that,” he groans, embarrassingly peeking through his fingers. 

“That last time you told me, we were at your home. This is different,” Bokuto elaborates, gesturing to the stunned and confused patrons around them. 

“You do not do that in any setting, Bokuto-san,” Akaashi hisses, then begins to apologize profusely to the servers now trying to clean up the shards on the ground. Bokuto blinks, then folds his arms. 

“Where I come from, that’s how you expressed gratitude for something delicious and you craved more of it,” Bokuto says, clearly dejected.

Akaashi deeply sighs and rubs the side of his temple while Iwaizumi smiles. 

“How about no more smashing, Bokuto-san? That’s Azumane-san’s job, after all,” he says with a chuckle and Bokuto bites the inside of his cheek. He throws his arm back around Akaashi, but Akaashi scoots his chair away from him and closer to Iwaizumi, pulling the article back up to his face but doesn’t read it.

“Eh? A-Akaashi? Ehhh, don’t be mad! Akaaaashi~

Iwaizumi spends the few minutes of his lunch watching Bokuto beg and whine for Akaashi’s attention and forgiveness, sipping the rest of his coffee and thinking of a plan.


Yamaguchi Corps. is a rather large and intimidating building. It’s bigger than their own offices, Iwaizumi thinks, trying to count how many stories high the building is. He can’t tell really with the sun glaring up above, not to mention the uncomfortable angle his head is held at from looking up so high is making his neck hurt. He sighs and adjusts his tie, gaining a better grip of the suitcase in his hand that is purely for show. 

He glances to his side. “Okay, let’s go.” 

Kunimi blinks tiredly. “Why am I here again?” 

Iwaizumi walks forward, Kunimi following after him a few seconds after and with a slow pace. 

“You’re my next in command. You need to get out of the office and learn how to conduct business as well.” 

“I thought next in command after you was Tsukishima-kun.” 

“Then you’re next-next in command. Stop asking questions, you’re already here so you might as well go along with it,” Iwaizumi says. Kunimi doesn’t bother to try and hide the annoyed sigh and the heave of his shoulders, walking through the door Iwaizumi holds open for him. 

Really, Iwaizumi didn’t bring Kunimi here just so he learns about how to do business or some other bullcrap that Iwaizumi can think off the top of his head. Tsukishima is purely neutral when it comes down to the issue with the mutants and what to do with them, but Iwaizumi feels that he’ll report to Sugawara if the director questions him on their whereabouts and why they went to Yamaguchi Corps. Kindaichi is definitely out; he’ll tell Oikawa and Sugawara even if they don’t ask him purely from pressure. 

Kunimi is different. Sugawara has no idea about the young PR assistant and won’t feel the need to bring him into the situation after already bringing Kindaichi in. There might be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that has followed them to the building and might consider following Kunimi when he leaves home, but they’re not going to find anything to report back to Sugawara with. 

Plus, Kunimi is very difficult to get information out of if he feels it’s totally irrelevant and not worth wasting his breath over explaining it to you. As long as he thinks this is just a stupid field trip Iwaizumi is taking him out on, Kunimi might not even remember what happens here, which means Oikawa and Kindaichi won’t be able to pester him about info either. 

It’s all going perfectly. 

The lobby is immaculate and futuristic. There’s glass panels everywhere and hundreds of people in lab coats running around and going up and down the elevators and over the pathways above Iwaizumi’s head. It’s rather amazing; it feels like Iwaizumi has stepped into the future. 

He approaches the front desk that is a sterling silver and has the Yamaguchi family crest engraved in the center. The receptionist is a young woman with her hair tied up in a perfectly neat bun. She is immediately attentive when Iwaizumi gets closer to the desk, a stark contrast to their own receptionist that forgets how to put calls on hold and spends their time watching K-dramas on their phone. 

“May I be of assistance?” she asks with a perfectly chipper voice. 

“I’m Iwaizumi Hajime of Aoba Johsai Enterprises. I’m here to see Yamguchi Tadashi in regards to his blueprints about the glider,” Iwaizumi explains. Kunimi helps himself to the entire bowl of candies that are on the receptionist’s desk, looking around with passive interest. The receptionist doesn’t seem to notice Kunimi; her eyes are staring blankly at Iwaizumi like she didn’t even hear what he said and she’s still wearing a bright smile. 

Iwaizumi blinks. “Uh. . .hello?” 

“Yamaguchi-san is unavailable. Please come back another time,” she suddenly says and Iwaizumi frowns. 

“You didn’t even check-” 

“Please leave, Iwaizumi Hajime of Aoba Johsai Enterprises,” she says in an eerily happy voice. Iwaizumi frowns. What the hell is going on? 

“Who is your supervisor?” Iwaizumi spits and the woman smiles. She bows her head, but doesn’t raise back up. Iwaizumi blinks, absolutely fucking confused. He glances around, but the other workers seem too absorbed in their own business to pay attention to the weird thing happening over at the receptionist desk. He then turns to Kunimi, who is about halfway through the chocolates and is also staring at the receptionist with a blank look. Iwaiuzmi bites the inside of his cheek; he doesn't have time for this nonsense. 

Iwaizumi reaches a hand out to tap the girl on the shoulder, but before he is able to touch her, a hand firmly grabs at his wrist. 

Iwaizumi jolts in shock and looks, seeing a man holding onto his wrist with a kind smile on his lips. He’s wearing a pair of red shades and he’s dressed in a slick business suit instead of a lab coat like the others around here are. He gives Iwaizumi a glance over, then Kunimi. His smile seems to grow bigger and his eyes twinkle in interest. 

“Please, forgive our receptionist. She’s been on the fritz lately, I’ll have to send someone from maintenance to check her out,” the man says and Iwaizumi looks at the woman again, who is still folded over at the waist, unmoving. 

“She. . .she isn’t human?” Iwaizumi asks, amazed. He’s never seen anything so. . .lifelike. Even Oikawa has never ventured into creating androids, even though Iwaizumi is positive that Oikawa can create one that is just as smart as J.A.R.V.I.S. and looks like this. 

“Of course. It’s more efficient that way, and Yamaguchi-san is all about efficiency here,” the man says with a chuckle and holds out his hand for Iwaizumi to shake. “Shimada Makoto. I am the assistant of both Yamaguchi-san and his son. How may I be of service to you today?” he asks pleasantly. He pulls his shades down to peer at the briefcase in Iwaizumi’s hands and Iwaizumi gives an awkward cough. 

“Uh, I’m here to inquire about the glider Yamaguchi-san is building,” Iwaizumi explains. Shimada glances back at Iwaizumi, then pushes the sunglasses up his nose again. 

“Unfortunately, like our receptionist said, Yamaguchi-san is currently unavailable. He’s been feeling very ill as of lately, so we actually put all of the projects he was overseeing on hold, including the glider,” Shimada explains. 

Iwaizumi raises an eyebrow. “Is it serious?” 

Shimada smiles. “We’re expecting him to make a recovery, but it will still be important to get his rest. He’s still a growing young man, after all,” Shimada says with a chuckle and Iwaizumi nods his head. He can understand that. . .although he doesn’t understand why there isn’t anyone else taking over Yamaguchi’s position while he’s ill. How can they be so stagnant with all these people running around? They’re working on something

Shimada folds his hands behind his back. “If you would like, I can schedule an appointment that we can converse the project over-” 

“Er, yes. I’ll call you with a date that will work for Oikawa-san and I.” 

Shimada smiles and bows his head. “I look forward to it. Once again, I apologize for our receptionist-” 

“Er, no, it’s fine. It’s. . .it’s a machine after all,” Iwaizumi says rather uncomfortably. She still hasn’t moved from her position and Iwaizumi wonders if Shimada shut her off when he arrived without him noticing it. Shimada nods his head in agreement, glancing at his watch on his wrist. 

“Excuse me, I need to check in on someone. If there is anything else you need or in the future, please give me a call,” he says and pulls a business card from the front pocket of his jacket. He hands the card off to Iwaizumi, who takes it and turns it between his fingers. Iwaizumi pockets the card and bows his head. 

“Thank you. Sorry about wasting your time-” 

“Oh, it’s no trouble. Matter of fact, I hope to see you again very soon,” Shimada says sincerely. Iwaizumi blinks, then scratches the back of his neck. 

“Uh right,” he mutters and turns to Kunimi, who has polished off the last bit of candy. “Let’s head back to the office and finish up some paperwork,” Iwaizumi says. Kunimi hums, looking at the receptionist and then at Shimada, before he turns on his heel and walks to the front door without another word. Iwaizumi scoffs and bows his head again for Kunimi, then quickly follows after the young man out of the building. 

Kunimi is barely getting into the company vehicle when Iwaizumi catches up to him, pulling him out before he can get in the car and close the door shut on him. “I expect you to act a little bit more cordially when out on business next time. You are PR.” 

“No, you’re PR. I just handle the questions if you’re not available,” Kunimi elaborates. He reaches into the pocket of his jacket and pulls out a. . .flash drive? 

“Where did you get that?” Iwaizumi asks and Kunimi hums. 

“It was on the receptionist’s’ desk.” 

“You stole that? Why?” 

“I don’t know. Impulse grab,” Kunimi says simply. 

Iwaizumi blinks. “But. . .how did you. . .you didn’t move. . .give me that,” he says and takes the flash drive from Kunimi’s hand. He turns it between his fingers and sighs. He doesn’t know how he’ll explain this to Shimada. Maybe he can say it fell from the ground and. . .well then Kunimi should have just put it back on the desk if that was the case. No need to keep it. 

Kunimi opens the car door again. “Can we leave now, Iwaizumi-san?” he asks tiredly and Iwaizumi clicks his tongue, pocketing the flash drive. 

“Fine, I’ll figure out a punishment for you later for stealing this,” Iwaizumi says and Kunimi hums, already a forgotten about thought in his mind. Iwaizumi gets into the driver’s seat and starts the engine, pulling out of the visitor’s parking space to the busy streets. 

They didn’t come up with anything that might be relevant to the mutants. Maybe Ushijima is only being paranoid, or maybe Iwaizumi didn’t look more thoroughly into their organization. He should have demanded to see Yamaguchi or demanded to see the progress of the glider even though they halted production. If he had more freedom to wander around the building, he might have stumbled upon something.

. . .Maybe that is exactly what they tried to prevent. 

Iwaizumi shakes his head and makes a right, heading north towards their own office. Kunimi is staring out the passenger window, silent and drumming his fingers over his thigh. Iwaizumi feels something from Kunimi that he can’t truly explain, or maybe he’s confusing it with his own feelings and thoughts. The strange uneasiness of Yamguchi Corps. and the feeling that there’s something there, but not quite sure what.

 It doesn’t make Iwaizumi feel good at all. Not in the slightest.


 “Eh, how come Mad Dog-chan doesn’t eat dinner with you all?” Oikawa asks as Iwaizumi places his plate in front of him. Dinner is comprised of a hamburger steak and potatoes that Kuroo has cooked up. The mercenary is surprisingly versatile in the kitchen, and he’s cooking even moreso now that Hinata likes to watch him throw the knives up the air and hack at the food like a deranged serial killer. 

“He doesn’t like guests. He’s like a cat. But that doesn’t have a nice ring to it as Mad Dog, huh?” Kuroo comments and takes his seat next to Hinata who is drooling over his plate. Kuroo is still in his full mercenary outfit, but he has his mask pulled up just above his mouth so he can eat. Iwaizumi hopes he didn’t track any blood into the living room, it’ll take forever to get those stains out of the rug the dining table sits on. 

Oikawa hums and glances at Iwaizumi as he sits down. “He’s taking to you quite nicely, isn’t he?” Oikawa inquires. Iwaizumi ignores him, taking his fork to cut himself a piece of meat. He gives thanks for the food and takes a bite, everyone else following suit. 

Hinata groans in delight, turning to Kuroo with stars in his eyes. “It’s so good!” he praises and Kuroo gives a haughty laugh, pointing at Hinata with his fork. 

“Well Shoyou, if you want someone to love you, you gotta learn to cook. That’s how I bagged my precious Tsukki and how Iwa-chan- ouch!” Kuroo yelps as Iwaizumi delivers a precision kick to Kuroo’s ankle, glaring hard as he chews. Oikawa chuckles, pushing around his potatoes with his fork. 

“It’s been a while since you cooked something for me, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa points out and Iwaizumi scoffs. 

“First of all, I’m your secretary, not your personal chef. And even when I did cook you something to eat, you always ended up spoiling it because you stayed in your damn lab all evening,” Iwaizumi grumbles. He hopes his face isn’t flushing, because he certainly feels it getting hot. 

“Hmm, but I really enjoyed Iwa-chan’s cooking. Everything was always delicious, even the stuff I normally didn’t like,” Oikawa says. Iwaizumi doesn’t even know why they’re having this conversation and he’s starting to get more annoyed and embarrassed and generally overwhelmed. 

“Can you cook something too, Iwaizumi-san?” Hinata asks and his eyes sparkle. “Tamago gohan! Can you make some of that?!” 

“You’ve had that already yesterday morning,” Iwaizumi points out and Hinata pouts. 

“But Kuroo-nii made that! I want to try how you make it!” 

“It really wouldn’t be much of a difference, Hinata,” Iwaizumi says exasperatedly. Hinata puffs his cheeks and Iwaizumi points at Hinata’s plate. “More importantly, I thought I told Kuroo to give you vegetables,” he says and Kuroo gives Hinata’s shoulder a squeeze.

“He’s a tough kid, Iwaizumi!” Kuroo says and Iwaizumi furrows his brows. 

“And he needs his vegetables if he wants to become a tough adult,” Iwaizumi says. Oikawa props his chin in his hand, smiling warmly at Iwaizumi. 

“Iwa-chan, you’re becoming your mother,” Oikawa purrs and Iwaizumi sputters. He then redirects another kick, this time aimed at Oikawa’s shin. Oikawa jumps and bangs his knee against the table, yelping in pain as Iwaizumi goes back to his food. 

“If I’m going to be taking care of Hinata, then I need him to be receiving the proper nutrition a boy his age needs,” Iwaizumi elaborates and gets up from the table. “I’m going to go and get you some,” he says, ignoring Hinata’s whines of protest as he leaves the dining room and heads for the kitchen. 

The kitchen is now in better standing after the incident with him and Kyoutani. Oikawa has been coming over to the compound every weekend to oversee the repairs done by Dum-E and U as well as add some upgrades and install newer appliances. Currently, the walls and the ceiling have the cracks repaired and have been painted over. There’s a new fridge and a new stove for Kuroo to cook on, as well as a larger island in the kitchen for more people to sit at. 

Iwaizumi opens the fridge and peers inside for some broccoli and peas he can boil up and serve with butter, reaching his hand inside to push aside Kuroo’s beer bottles and take out that needs to be thrown out. 

He hears footsteps behind him and he doesn’t even need to turn around to see who has followed him into the kitchen. Oikawa obnoxiously pushes his way next to Iwaizumi to look inside the fridge as well, frowning hard as he looks over the contents. 

“This thing holds a lot less than I thought. Maybe I should get you another one,” Oikawa muses and Iwaizumi pushes Oikawa’s head out of the way, grabbing a bag of salad mix. This’ll be simple for Hinata to eat, he shouldn’t put up too much of a fuss. 

“It’s fine. I hate it when you try and splurge like this. We don’t even need a fridge as fancy as this one,” Iwaizumi points out and Oikawa sighs, shaking his head. 

“Of course you wouldn’t appreciate the finer things. You probably still have that old ratty Godzilla shirts with holes in it instead of buying yourself another one.” 

“Well, the holes aren’t noticeable,” Iwaizumi grumbles and Oikawa smiles. Iwaizumi goes to grab a bowl, but jumps and yelps when he feels Oikawa press into his back and his arms wind their way around his midsection. Oikawa’s face buries into the crook of Iwaizumi’s neck, and Iwaizumi immediately begins to stammer and string together words and noises that make absolutely no sense. 

“W-What are you doing?!” Iwaizumi finally manages to say and Oikawa tangles his fingers in the bottom of Iwaizumi’s oversized jersey. 

“Just checking that you’re here,” he says against Iwaizumi’s neck and Iwaizumi bites his lower lip, burning hot against his cheek. He lowers his hand from grabbing the bowl to rest on Oikawa’s hand, rubbing his thumb against the back of it. “Hey. . .come back to my place tonight,” Oikawa says suddenly and Iwaizumi feels his heart beat fast. 

“Why should I?” 

“Because I’m working on another suit and I’d like an opinion on it. Maybe help me conduct a couple of test runs on it, we have champagne and discuss what went wrong, do some more tests, more champagne, until we both pass out on my desk drunk,” Oikawa explains. Iwaizumi feels Oikawa’s heart beating madly against his back, even though his voice doesn’t betray any signs of nervousness. 

“I don’t think my opinion would be much help.” 

“Hmm, you don't get distracted by the glitz and glamour of the suits though. You think practically.” 

“J.A.R.V.I.S. thinks practically. How come you can’t ask him for an opinion?” 

“J.A.R.V.I.S. is just a voice. He can’t drink champagne and carry me up to my bedroom when I pass out.” 

“Oh, so is that the real reason you want to invite me over?” Iwaizumi asks crossly, turning around to face Oikawa. 

He instantly regrets it, because now they are chest to chest and iwaizumi’s eyes are locked with Oikawa’s. 

They’re too close, far too close. He can smell the mint lingering on Oikawa’s breath and the scent of cologne in his suit and on his skin. His eyes are too deep and his hair looks too soft. His lips looks too soft and the tongue that quickly peeks out to wet them looks too. . . 

“I. . .” Iwaizumi can’t even force words to croak from his mouth as he feels Oikawa push into him and Oikawa’s hands slide down to hold him by his hips. What’s happening? No, no he can’t be doing this. He shouldn’t be doing this. He wants to do this. He doesn’t want to do this. He’s dreamed about doing this. He’s been afraid of doing this. 

His arms are stiff at his sides and he’s begging them to move to shove Oikawa away. To push and protest and allow his brain to come up with a million different bullshit reasons to explain away the feeling that is bubbling in his chest and rising into his cheeks. Oikawa’s tilting his head downwards just a bit. His nose is brushing against Iwaizumi’s nose and his breath feels so warm over Iwaizumi’s lips. 

No. 

No they can’t. 

If they do this, Iwaizumi can’t turn back. 

If they do this, Oikawa won’t even be ‘Oikawa’ to Iwaizumi anymore. He’ll be Tooru. He’ll be his lover. He’ll be his happiness in the world and his darkness if he is ever taken from him. He can’t give Oikawa that kind of power. Not when Iwaizumi is still so. . .weak. Still so afraid of what is happening to him and those around him. He can’t. He can’t

Don’t trust them.  

Iwaizumi’s breath hitches as Oikawa’s lips barely touch his own. 

And that is when pots and bowls fly from the cabinets above them and hurl to the floor. 

Oikawa jumps back startled and Iwaizumi covers his head as more cooking items fall like an avalanche. None of the cookware hits them, in fact they fall around the two men like there is some sort of shield covering them. 

Eventually the items stop falling and there’s a mess of pots and pans and skillets all over the floor of the kitchen. Some bowls are shattered and there are shards scattered everywhere in huge chunks. Iwaizumi lowers his hands and looks down at the mess, then looks down at his own hands that are trembling. What is going on? What is happening to him?  

“I-Iwa-chan, are you alright?” Oikawa asks and Iwaizumi doesn’t answer. He continues to stare at his hands that won’t stop trembling. In fact, his entire body is quaking and his jaw is rattling. Nothing is making sense anymore. Every time Iwaizumi tries to find answers, he only gets more questions and more confused and more afraid of himself. This. . .this thing that seems to keep following him. This horrific sensation of feelings strangling him and the environment reacting to the chaos building in his head. Why? Why?

Hands tenderly hold his own and Iwaizumi scrunches his eyes tight. “Hajime. . .look at me-”

“No. Please, just let me go,” Iwaizumi grits out through clenched teeth.

“I’m not letting you go until you tell me what’s wrong.”

“Let me go.”

“Are you hurt? Are you feeling sick? Do you need me to call Nobuyuki or Asahi-san?”

Iwaizumi tries to pull away, but Oikawa holds his hands tighter.

Why are you trying to run away from me? What am I doing wrong for you not to trust me?

Oikawa didn’t say that. But his voice sounds so clear.

“Please, let me go,” Iwaizumi chokes. He feels desperation clawing at his throat, misery and heartbreak ripping at his insides. He needs to get out of here. He needs to get away.

Please, please let me help you. What do you need? I can’t lose you, let me help.  

Oikawa’s hands go to hold Iwaizumi by his shoulders and Iwaizumi feels Oikawa turning him to face him. 

“Hajime-”

“Get away from me!” Iwaizumi shouts and shoves at Oikawa. Oikawa stumbles back just a bit, but he doesn’t lose his hold. He pulls Iwaizumi into him and holds him firmly against him as Iwaizumi’s eyes fly open and spot Kuroo and Hinata spying on them from the doorframe.

Iwaizumi thrashes about in Oikawa’s arms and Oikawa doesn’t budge. “Let me go! Let go of me!” he yells and chokes and kicks and spits. His body is still rattling out of his control and he still feels all these emotions growing in his chest. Fear, desperation, despair, hope, adoration, love.

He feels it growing stronger the longer Oikawa holds him and moves with his body that wriggles in his hold. He hears Oikawa’s voice, though he knows Oikawa isn’t moving his lips. He doesn’t want to hear anything. He doesn’t want to feel any of this or be held like this. He wants to feel numb and uncaring and normal. He doesn’t want to feel so. . .so loved and cherished. It’s all becoming too much for Iwaizumi to handle and he feels like he can’t breathe. He clings onto Oikawa as the feelings constrict around his throat. He feels like he’s dying. He feels like he can’t breathe and tears are burning at his eyes. It’s so painful. He wants it to stop so badly.

I love you.

 

I love you so much, Hajime.

 

Please. . .please don’t shut me out again.

 

I’ll protect you.

 

I’ll keep you safe.

 

I love you so much.

 

Iwaizumi stops moving all together, and he feels the haze wash over him in a deep, thick fog and pulls him into darkness.


When Iwaizumi comes to, he’s not in the kitchen anymore. Matter of fact, he’s not even in the compound anymore. He recognizes the bedsheets that tangle between his fingers and the beautiful view of the city out the window across from him. His heart thuds in his chest as he turns and reaches an arm out beside him, sighing a breath of relief when he finds that he is the only one in Oikawa’s bed.

He sits up and glances down, finding that he is still in his oversized jersey and sweats from beforehand. Faintly, he hears Oikawa working in his lab below and he checks the clock on the bedstand. It’s close to midnight; they had dinner at around seven. He was out for that long? Iwaizumi rubs his head and trudges out of the bedroom, quietly walking through the hallway towards the stairs.

He pauses when he hears a noise behind him and he abruptly turns, trying to peer through the darkness. It’s probably a robot blindly piloting through the dark. Iwaizumi wants to believe that. He continues down the stairs quicker than planned.

It’s far too quiet in the foyer as Iwaizumi heads to the kitchen.  The sound of his bare feet padding against the wooden floors seem noisy to his ears. How come J.A.R.V.I.S. hasn’t alerted Oikawa by now that he’s awake? Surely the AI is watching him move blindly through the home. How come he hasn’t said anything to Iwaizumi? He swallows and turns to look over his shoulder when he hears another noise echo sharply behind him.

“Who’s there?” he calls out, tension in his chest as he backs his way against the wall to find a light switch. His hand blindly palms for it as he tries to search for the cause of the noise. The windows aren’t even letting in natural moonlight. He doesn’t remember it being so dark and frightening inside Oikawa’s home.

Iwaizumi sucks in a breath and remains still, listening for QT’s wheels or Ye-Robot-With-No-Name’s obnoxious beep noise. He even listens to hear for U’s deathly slow whir as it tries to move across the floor. The noise down in the lab seems even fainter now, like it’s slowly moving away from Iwaizumi and deserting him.

Iwaizumi swallows again and runs a hand through his hair. Maybe. . .he should forget about the kitchen and just find Oikawa. He moves away from the wall and tries to cross the foyer to the opposite side where the secret panel is.

He barely makes it halfway across when a hand wraps around his throat and slams him against the front door.

Iwaizumi chokes out a scream as he feels nails digging into his skin, wincing to see light finally appearing before his eyes in a purple glow and illuminating his and the attacker’s face. The steely cold blue eyes glare him down and there’s no mask covering the lower half of his face to hide his scowl. Iwaizumi can barely look down to see the both of them hovering a few feet off the ground and the hand that is choking him is glowing.

“Iwaizumi Hajime,” Kageyama says, voice emotionless and distant and unsettling for a child his age, “I’m here to make you an offer.”

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi can feel sweat running down his brow, and his hands hang limp and useless at his side. 

Kageyama floats in front of him, his clothes billowing by an invisible wind. Iwaizumi can barely see it, but Kageyama’s clothes almost matches something like Bokuto’s usual battle gear from Asgard. Hmm, a fan of Thor? It’s too bad he’s a child terrorist that is trying to kill him, Iwaizumi could have possibly got him an autograph. 

“What do you want from me?” Iwaizumi chokes out and Kageyama loosens his hold. 

“Join us,” Kageyama says and Iwaizumi blinks. 

“W-Wha. . .what are you talking about?” Iwaizumi shouts and grabs at Kageyama’s wrist. He’s surprised that the glow doesn’t burn him and he tries to pry the child’s hand off of him as he struggles against the door. “All you want to do is hurt innocent people and you want me to join you?” 

“It’s only fair. They deserve to feel afraid for once,” Kageyama spits and releases his hold, dropping Iwaizumi to the ground. Iwaizumi lands on his side and coughs, trying to take in as much air as he can as Kageyama floats over him. “You think that you’re like them, don’t you? Even after all these strange things started happening, you still think that nothing is wrong?” 

“You don’t know me. Stop pretending like you do,” Iwaizumi spits and Kageyama frowns. 

“I know more about you than you even understand,” Kageyama says. “I know that when you were little, your dad ran out on you and your mother. The heartache that she felt was so unbearable, it must have been even more difficult when her son went into a coma shortly afterwards.” 

Iwaizumi looks at the child with confused eyes, feeling at his neck that Kageyama has left bleeding scratch marks. “What are you talking about? I was never in a coma-” 

“Oikawa Tooru’s father helped pay for your medical bills. When you awoke, he requested that the incident be swept under the rug. Medical records of yours from that period also disappeared without a trace. Who do you suppose was behind that?” 

Iwaizumi closes his eyes tight. “How could you possibly know? You weren’t even born when any of this allegedly happened!” he spits and Kageyama cocks his head to the side. It’s so difficult for Iwaizumi to feel anger when he looks at Kageyama like this. Kageyama looks maybe a year or so older than Hinata, but this child speaks to him like he knows the world and with the tone of an arrogant king. 

“I saw into your head. I know what happened to you and what you really are. What you can really do,” Kageyama says and looks down at the ground. “You’re. . .you’re so cool. Why do you want to help people like that Suga guy and Oikawa-” 

“Listen, I can’t explain the reason for S.H.I.E.L.D. not interfering with that anti-mutant organization, but we did not give them our weapons. Oikawa has nothing to do with this and if he knew what was happening, he would have put a stop to this. We will put a stop to this-” 

“That’s not going to bring my mom back!” Kageyama shouts and Iwaizumi feels it. A shock of anger and sorrow and misery shoots up his spine and squeezes his heart. Iwaizumi grits his teeth and clutches at his chest, glancing all around him. Why isn’t J.A.R.V.I.S. alerting Oikawa? What’s going on? This. . .something isn’t right. Something’s wrong here. 

“I’m sorry about your mother, Kageyama-kun. But this isn’t the way to avenge her death. By harming people who had nothing to do with mutants or the organization that’s out to get you. You. . .whatever that man is telling you is a lie,” Iwaizumi says and Kageyama covers his ears, scrunching his eyes tight. 

“Shut up! You don’t know what it’s like! No one ever had to find out about you! No one was afraid of you and tried to hurt you because of something you can’t control!” Kageyama shouts and another shock of pain and anger rips through his body. He recoils his body inward, clutching at his chest and his heart beating too fast. It hurts, it hurt so much. He needs to get out of here, he needs to find Oikawa. 

Iwaizumi glances over to the wall where the secret staircase should be, eyes widening when he notices something off about the pictures hanging on the wall. 

He turns to the child slowly and sits on his knees. “What. . .where is this place?” he asks. 

Kageyama looks confused and Iwaizumi frowns. “Wherever I am, this isn’t Oikawa’s home. There’s a picture that always hangs on that wall and it’s not there now. Where am I?” 

H-He knows.  

Iwaizumi hears Kageyama’s voice echo in his ears, yet the one that floats in front of him still hasn’t said anything to try and explain why the photo of Oikawa and his father isn’t hanging where the entrance to the lab is. 

“L-Listen to me! Either you join us or we attack again!” Kageyama blurts, trying to distract Iwaizumi from noticing something else wrong with this place. This façade that they’re keeping him in. . .is this another one of those dreams that Kageyama has placed him in? Like the ones where he found Oikawa’s body on the ground but couldn’t get him out of the suit and the one Oikawa had of him dying and hooked up with tubes. This place isn’t real. This place isn’t real.  

Iwaizumi sucks in a deep breath and glares hard at the child. 

“I don’t know how you do this, but I’m not going to let it continue any further,” Iwaizumi says and gets to his feet. Kageyama flinches back out of caution, raising his hands that now glow with a terrorizing scarlet shade. 

“Stay back,” Kageyama orders and Iwaizumi takes a step forward. Iwaizumi feels the floor shift under him just a bit and notes that the colors of this world begin to smudge together, like someone has just wiped their hand over a still wet canvas. 

He’s. . .it hurts.  

Iwaizumi turns his focus back on Kageyama, who has one hand now at his face and blood is coming from his nose. This dream spell must take a toll on his body, especially if he’s manifesting a vision of himself in it as well. Iwaizumi continues forward and reaches out a hand towards the child. 

“If you let me go from here, I can help you. Kageyama-kun, we don't have to fight and there doesn’t need to be any more people being killed. Just let me help.” 

“You sound just like that stupid idiot, Hinata. You both don’t get it,” Kageyama says behind his left hand and raising his right hand. The world begins to stabilize and solidify, as painful groans and wails echo in Iwaizumi’s ears and tear at his insides. He clutches at his stomach and cries out. 

“You feel them? You feel that pain that others feel? That is what mutants have to go through every day of their lives. You think it can be fixed that easily-” 

Stop it! Let me out of here!” Iwaizumi yells and he feels something like a shockwave tear through his body and silence the voices all at once. 

The world shifts again, like a slight tremor in the Earth and Kageyama grits his teeth, staggering backwards and covering his face with both his hands to stop the blood. The walls begin to lose their color and their form. Iwaizumi feels the illusion slowly melt away with each step he takes towards the child. He feels something burning in his chest and engulfing his body in heat, a resolve that he’s never felt before. No, he’s not going to let anyone get into his head. He’s done with these emotions and thoughts and bullshit

He hears voices echoing all around him as the ground shakes and the walls melt like wax. They sound distant yet far and they bounce along the walls and in his ears as he draws closer and closer. Kageyama has now landed on the ground, far too weak to remain afloat, and is now crawling backwards and away from Iwaizumi. 

“Take me elsewhere, take me elsewhere, take me elsewhere,” Kageyama quickly repeats as a weak glow of light surrounds his body. Iwaizumi reaches his hand out to try and stop him, but just before he can touch Kageyama, he sees himself reflected in the child’s big blue eyes. 

Iwaizumi sees himself, engulfed in flames.

 


 

Stark white light fills his vision and Iwaizumi sucks in a breath he didn’t knew he was holding. He’s no longer in the foyer of Oikawa’s home and Kageyama isn’t cowering before him. The place is recognizable as one of Nobuyuki’s medical rooms to be used for S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in need of a checkup. Iwaizumi figures that he’s either in the Baxter Building which is approximately twenty miles away from the compound he originally was in, or he’s at another S.H.I.E.L.D. base in a room that is full of Nobuyuki’s equipment. 

Iwaizumi sits up in the medical bed and pulls the oxygen tube from his nose, sniffling and glancing at his person. He’s still dressed in the clothes he was wearing that night, and he doesn’t feel much different other than this pain in his neck and extreme exhaustion. He notes that there’s no clock in this examination room and he sighs, swinging his legs out of the bed to stand to his feet. 

His legs are numb and he staggers into the wall when he gets into a standing position. The room is spinning and Iwaizumi feels rather disoriented from the bright lights above him. He scrunches his eyes tight and hears the door opening from behind him. Hands are immediately on his shoulders, yet he hears no footsteps travel into the room. The hands gently guide Iwaizumi back to the bed to sit down and he hears the footsteps move from the doorway to his bedside. 

“Iwaizumi-san,” he hears Nobuyuki say, “are you feeling alright?” 

Iwaizumi opens his eyes to look up as Nobuyuki Kai’s hands slowly pull backwards and his wrist stretches back to a normal length. 

“I’m alright,” he says and sighs. “I’m sorry to be taking up your time, I don’t know why they brought me here to see you-” 

“It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been wanting to do a check on you ever since that Enhanced kidnapped you and Ennoshita-san and Kuroo-san retrieved you,” Nobuyuki says and Iwaizumi smiles blandly. Yeah, that was when all this weird shit started to happen to Iwaizumi. 

Nobuyuki places gloved hands on Iwaizumi’s neck and Iwaizumi winces. “These scratches still aren’t fading away, I see.” 

“Scratches?” 

“Oikawa-san brought you down here as soon as you passed out. And then, when we were checking your levels, you started to thrash around and those scratches appeared on your neck,” Nobuyuki explains and tilts Iwaizumi’s head so he can get a better look. “They’re not that deep. It almost looks like they were made by a child.” 

Kageyama not only messed with his head, but also attacked his physical body somehow? What kind of spell is that? What can this kid do? 

“Also, you were starting to burn up at an alarming rate, but it feels like you’re back to a stable temperature,” Nobuyuki comments and crosses his arms. “Now, the problem is why you keep having these episodes and what’s going on inside your head.” 

Iwaizumi doesn’t respond, so Nobuyuki continues. “I had electrodes hooked up while you were unconscious to detect anything irregular in the brain.” 

“. . .And?” 

Nobuyuki gives a smile and rubs the back of his neck. “Well. . .the machine fried itself when you started to freak out.” 

So Kageyama could have caused it. That doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with Iwaizumi. Nothing is wrong with Iwaizumi. Nothing is wrong. He. . .he knows that nothing is wrong. He knows himself better than anyone else does. They can’t tell him what he is and what he isn’t. If Iwaizumi says he’s normal, then he’s normal

Iwaizumi looks up at Nobuyuki. “Where’s Oikawa and the others?” 

“Upstairs. You want me to go and grab them?” 

“Upstairs? . . .We’re still at the compound?” Iwaizumi asks and Nobuyuki nods his head. 

“He figured that it would be better to call me rather than figure out how to transport your unconscious body across town to the nearest base,” Nobuyuki elaborates. Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek and looks around the examination room once more. He doesn’t remember ever really exploring this section of the compound, so it’s explainable why he confused this place with the Baxter Building. It looks like an exact replica, right down to neat and orderly way Nobuyuki has the machines and file cabinets set up and arranged. 

“Does Sugawara-san-” 

“He knows, but he’s not coming over to see,” Nobuyuki answers and Iwaizumi nods his head slowly. He doesn’t know whether to feel slight relief or worry that Sugawara is angry with him. Now that another incident like this has happened that J.A.R.V.I.S. surely recorded, he’s starting to run out of excuses for the strange happenings and Sugawara will end up forcing an agent onto him so he can keep a closer eye on Iwaizumi. 

Nobuyuki turns on his heel. “I’ll go get Oikawa-san,” he says with a small smile and Iwaizumi nods his head, deciding to get more comfortable in the bed so the room can stop spinning. Iwaizumi turns his gaze up to the bright lights above him, raising his hand and running his fingertips against the scratches on his neck. 

Kageyama. . .why does he know those things? How can he know those things? Iwaizumi admits that some parts of his childhood seem to be faint and fuzzy in his memory. He remembers mostly the happy parts of his childhood, the ones that he spent with Oikawa in blissful innocence and ignorance of the world outside of their own they created. 

The visions are faintly there, of Iwaizumi lying awake at night and listening to his mother cry herself to sleep because she was still so hopelessly in love with the man that abandoned her and his son. The pain that always seemed to radiate off of her and it made just being in her presence too difficult for Iwaiuzmi to bear. . .he always thought that he spent more time at Oikawa’s home because he didn’t want to think about the drama happening at his home. Maybe. . .maybe that wasn’t the case. 

The door opens and Iwaizumi barely blinks before he realizes that Hinata is on the bed and hugging him tight. His face is buried in his chest and his hands cling tight to the front of his shirt, like he’s worried Iwaizumi is going to disappear the moment he loosens his hold.

“H-Hinata, you can’t just run like-” 

“No one can catch me. Not even that robot butler can see me if I move fast enough,” Hinata says into Iwaizumi’s chest and looks up. His face is all red and blotchy, like the child had been crying earlier and Iwaizumi feels guilt well in his chest. He runs a hand through Hinata’s hair and Hinata buries his face back into Iwaizumi’s shirt. “Kageyama-kun. . .it was him, wasn’t it?” 

“. . .I saw him, yeah.” 

“He’s not a bad person, promise. He’s just. . .really mad and stupid,” Hinata says and clings tighter. “Don’t tell them about him. Promise me you won’t let them take him. If they do, they’re going to hurt him.” 

“Hinata-” 

Promise me,” Hinata says firmly and looks up at Iwaizumi, eyes watering. “He’s not a bad person!” 

Iwaizumi looks down at the hands gripping his shirt, then back up at the child’s blotchy and upset face. He takes one of Hinata’s hands in his own and sighs. 

“. . .I promise.” 

The doors open again and Iwaizumi sees Oikawa and Nobuyuki file in, followed by Kuroo and Kyoutani shortly after. Kyoutani is glaring at Hinata and Nobuyuki looks over at the child in surprise. 

“Where did you come from? I didn’t see you come down the stairs with us,” he asks and Hinata bites the inside of his cheek. Iwaizumi clears his throat and pries Hinata’s hands off of him, settling the child beside him in the bed. 

“He was hiding here and listening in while we were talking,” Iwaizumi makes up on the spot, feeling rather disappointed in himself for how easily he can lie to everyone’s faces like this. Nobuyuki blinks then clears his throat and decides to drop the matter. 

“I’m starting to think this place is haunted. Too much weird shit is happening around here,” Kuroo suggests and scratches at his face mask, turning to look over at Nobuyuki. “Don’t suppose you can craft some ghost hunting equipment, huh?” 

“It’s not my specialty,” Nobuyuki says with a sigh and Oikawa moves from the doorway to the bed, reaching out a hand to touch tenderly at Iwaizumi’s neck. Iwaizumi flinches away at his touch and Oikawa bites the inside of his cheek. 

“Did. . .did that hurt?” Oikawa asks and Iwaizumi averts his eyes from Oikawa’s concerned gaze. He wants to scream. He wants to punch Oikawa. He wants Oikawa to make a stupid, obnoxious comment so he doesn’t feel this thing that is eating at his heart. The thoughts and Oikawa’s voice is still fresh in Iwaizumi’s mind and he doesn’t want to think about them anymore. He doesn’t want to feel them anymore. He’s. . . 

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says and his hand cups Iwaizumi’s cheek. No, no no no

He glances out of his eye at Nobuyuki observing them, then at Kuroo and Kyoutani that watch from behind him. Kuroo jumps in his spot when his eyes meet Iwaizumi’s. 

“Ah!” he shouts and runs over, grabbing Hinata off the bed and grabbing hold of Kyoutani’s shoulder. “Come on, I just remembered this cool thing I wanted to show you all! Kai!” Kuroo shouts, jutting his head outside of the examining room. 

Kyoutani tries to wrestle himself out of Kuroo’s grip as the mercenary drags him out with Hinata in tow. Nobuyuki blinks, then glances over at Oikawa and Iwaizumi. 

“Um, let me know if you need anything, Iwaizumi-san,” Nobuyuki says and follows Kuroo, closing the door behind him. 

Iwaizumi pushes Oikawa’s hand away and turns over in the bed. “Can you just let me rest for a bit before you barrage me with a bunch of questions?” Iwaizumi asks tiredly. He feels the bed dip and feels Oikawa’s hand rest on his hip and Oikawa’s chin rest atop his head. 

“You know, between the two of us, you’re the real brat,” Oikawa bluntly states and Iwaizumi’s head whirs around so fast

What did you say, Shittykawa?!” Iwaizumi snaps and Oikawa sticks his tongue out at him. Iwaizumi growls and tries to kick Oikawa out of bed, but Oikawa’s arms only wind around him tighter as he hums, dipping his nose into Iwaizumi’s hair. 

“Why can’t you tell me what’s going on in your head?” Oikawa asks into Iwaizumi’s hair and Iwaizumi clicks his tongue. He hears the remorse in Oikawa’s voice and warmth seeps into his skin. 

“Nothing is going on. . .and even if there was, there’s nothing you can do,” Iwaizumi mutters under his breath. 

“How do you know that? I’m a genius, remember? And I have associates that are also considered geniuses by certain standards and could help if I can’t. Except Ushiwaka; all he does is shrink and play with bugs, so I doubt he’ll be any use to us,” Oikawa comments and Iwaizumi chuckles. 

Oikawa smiles and Iwaizumi turns his gaze to Oikawa’s chest, slowly moving his hand up to rest against where Oikawa’s heart beat against his ribcage. “I need to figure this out on my own. . .I don’t want to drag you into this mess that I can’t understand when there’s other things that you need to focus on-” 

“Iwa-chan, how many times do I have to tell you for you to get it through your thick skull?” Oikawa says exasperatedly and sharpens his gaze. It makes Iwaizumi twitch in his spot as Oikawa holds him by his neck, his thumb tracing against his jawline. “You are my priority. I want to keep you safe,” he says and gives a little broken smile. “You don’t want to have people watching you and you don’t want to just stay put in a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility until we figure out what is going on, I’m starting to run out of ideas.” 

“How about ‘just leave me alone’?” 

“Not going to happen,” Oikawa says, running his thumb over Iwaizumi’s chin. Iwaizumi swats his hand away, cheeks warm. 

“Stop touching me like that. You’re getting so clingy,” he grumbles. 

Oikawa blinks and then smiles. “Maybe I’m touching you like this because. . .I never realized how much I like the shape of your jaw,” Oikawa says with a cheeky little smile and cups his chin. “I really like how tan your skin is compared to mine and how unfairly smooth it is even though you don’t use any skin product,” Oikawa says and his thumb brushes against the bottom of Iwaizumi’s lip. “I like how even though you forget to put on chap stick eighty percent of the time, on the twenty percent times that you do, your lips look so soft.” 

Iwaizumi’s tongue pokes out to run against his bottom lip and catches the tip of Oikawa’s thumb on accident. Oikawa laughs as Iwaizumi’s face grows scandalized. “Iwa-chan is a kitten now?” 

“S-Shut up. Just. . .just be quiet already,” Iwaizumi grits out tiredly. He’s not sure he can take any more of this. It’s all starting to become too overwhelming and too suffocating. Oikawa’s hands all over his body send too many sparks and shocks and sensations that are almost painful. He just. . .he just needs to get some rest. 

His eyes fall closed and he feels Oikawa move his hand away to brush through his hair. 

“Iwa-chan. . .Hajime. . .” Oikawa gives a small huff and Iwaizumi feels Oikawa rise from the mattress with a heavy sigh. The withdrawal of Oikawa’s hand makes Iwaizumi noticeably shiver, and he doesn’t want to admit that he wants to pull Oikawa back and just cling onto him and never let go. 

After a moment of silence, Iwaizumi feels lips atop his forehead in a butterfly kiss that barely lasts longer than a second. 

He hears the door open and close and Iwaizumi is alone once more.

 


 

“So what do you make of it?” 

Nishinoya leans back in his chair, turning around the Pocky stick in his mouth with his tongue as he scans over the laptop screen. Iwaizumi huddles in close to him, blocking the view of the screen from the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that is a few tables behind them and failing miserably to remain inconspicuous. Must be a newbie on the job. 

“It’s just a bunch of reports about future plans and chemical formulas that I don’t have a freaking clue about,” Nishinoya says with a frustrated frown, glaring hard at the flash drive that Iwaizumi has kept from Yamaguchi Corps. 

It’s been a few days after the incident with Kageyama and so far, Iwaizumi hasn’t noticed anything off that has happened around town or with Oikawa. There’s been an increase in S.H.I.E.L.D. agents stalking him and Hanamaki makes more frequent visits to the office than usual, but he gives Iwaizumi his space and heckles Tsukishima and Kindaichi whenever he is there instead. 

Iwaizumi doesn’t know if it’s because he knows that there’s nothing wrong with Iwaizumi in the first place to warrant this behavior, or if he senses Iwaizumi’s foul mood that Sugawara is now starting to suspect him of something and would rather stay clear of the ticking time bomb that is Iwaizumi’s temper. Probably the latter. 

Iwaizumi leans forward on the table, steeping his fingers. His coffee sits in front of him, untouched and still steaming. This café Iwaizumi decided to meet at for lunch isn’t that big and it isn’t that crowded. He just hopes that a waitress doesn’t walk by and hear something that they shouldn’t have heard. 

“There isn’t anything in there that relates to what’s happening right now?” Iwaizumi asks. There has to be something that Yamaguchi Corps. has that ties them to the mutants. He doesn’t necessarily know what though. Maybe there isn’t anything there to be found and he’s been sent on a wild goose chase by his own paranoia. 

“Well, there’s a list of doctors that are involved in this . . .’Weapon XIV’? Uh, there’s also stuff about something called ‘Extremis’ but there really isn’t anything that says what it is. . .Takeda Ittetsu is the lead head on both projects,” Nishinoya reads out and Iwaizumi raises an eyebrow. 

“Anything about that ‘Weapon XIV’ you can see?” 

Nishinoya rubs the back of his neck. “I don’t know, Iwaizumi-san. Maybe we should show Suga-san if it’s really important-” 

“No. This doesn’t go back to Sugawara,” Iwaizumi states flatly. Nishinoya cocks his head to the side. 

“What the hell is going on with you and Suga-san, huh? How come you’re trying to go around behind his back and how come he’s sending agents to spy on you?” Nishinoya asks aloud and Iwaizumi glances over at the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent a few tables away that has raised their newspaper up when he turns his head in their direction. 

“So you noticed him over there, huh?” 

“Hard not to. The guy keeps staring at us,” Nishinoya grumbles and crosses his arms. “Look, whatever thing is going on between you two, I don’t think we should be hiding it from Suga-san. He’s just going to find out about it later on anyways and he’ll be more pissed off at you then than if you tell him now.” 

He knows that Nishinoya has made a valid point. He also knows that he doesn’t want to follow his advice regardless. 

“The reason why I don’t want Sugawara to know about any of this is because right now, I don’t even know if this has anything to do with the Enhanced. What point would it be to waste his time over something so trivial and search through files and lists that might be irrelevant in the long run,” Iwaizumi says and Nishinoya bites the inside of his cheek. 

“That’s it? You’re not like. . .trying to do some superhero stuff on your own here?” 

“No. I’m not a hero, I’m a secretary that is just trying to get everything under control in the only way I know how. By gathering information and forwarding the things that are of importance only,” Iwaizumi states. Nishinoya chuckles at that and looks back at the laptop screen. 

“Well, something else if you want to know. Apparently, they’ve put funding into a school that is for young, gifted children ranging from elementary to high school. Maybe like some sort of prep school or something. There isn’t that much info about it, not even a name,” Nishinoya points out and Iwaizumi hums. That’s actually rather noble of them. Oikawa’s contribution to education is mainly providing college students such as Nishinoya and others in the robotics and engineering field funding for their projects and scholarships. They didn’t think about building a school

He sighs and finally takes a small sip of his coffee. “But nothing suspicious?” 

“Nope. Just the usual boring work files,” Nishinoya says and ejects the flash drive, handing it back to Iwaizumi. Nishinoya rocks back into his chair, looking up at the spinning fan above their heads. “What do you think about Yamaguchi Corps. anyways? Why do you think they might have something to do with this?” 

Iwaizumi sighs. “I don’t know. Ushijima said something to me at the gala about keeping an eye on them and when I went there, something just felt. . .off. . .they have an android as a receptionist,” Iwaizumi says and Nishinoya almost falls out of his chair. He leans forward and slams his hands on the table, eyes wide with shock and awe. 

“Really?! What model?! Are they handmade?! How lifelike?! Oh man, are they there every day? I want to see them! Who made them?!” Nishinoya rattles off the questions without even taking a breath and Iwaizumi shushes him, calming the college student before he draws any more attention with his excitement. 

“I don’t know. The entire situation was just weird. It felt like they were trying to keep me from seeing something and talking to Yamaguchi-san specifically,” Iwaizumi says and takes another sip of his coffee. Nishinoya scratches the back of his head. 

“And you think this Yamaguchi guy is some evil CEO of a wicked organization?” 

“Nah, he’s just a kid. Around the same age as Tsukishima-kun, I think. I don’t know about his father, however,” Iwaizumi mutters. He’s never even seen Yamaguchi’s father at events and galas now that he’s thought about it. He’s heard the man has a way of holding himself that demands respect and isn’t one for people to kiss up and charm him. In other words, a complete contrast to the shy and meek son that Iwaizumi has met. 

Nishinoya tilts his head from side to side. “Well, I wouldn’t mind maybe looking more into this Yamaguchi guy for you. See what kind of background he has and if there’s anything shady,” Nishinoya says aloud in a lilted voice. Iwaizumi blinks and Nishinoya raises a finger. “But only if you and Suga-san make up and let me share with him anything I find,” Nishinoya says and leans forward with a big smile. “If we’re all working towards the same goal, then shouldn’t we be doing it together?” he asks. 

Iwaizumi runs a hand through his hair and gives a slow nod of his head, a small smile coming to his lips. “Yeah. . .yeah, I agree,” he says and Nishinoya gives him the thumbs up. His cell phone on the table begins to ring and Nishinoya jumps in his seat at the loud heavy metal ringtone. He fumbles with the device in his hands and answers it, bringing the cell phone to his ear. 

“Hey, Asahi!” Nishinoya chirps and Iwaizumi almost chokes on his coffee. That’s his ringtone for Asahi?? Nishinoya’s eyes light up and red flushes over the bridge of his nose as he speaks with an excited grin. “Are you heading home already? . . .Nah, I’m hanging out with Iwaizumi-san right now, but I’ll head over there as soon as we’re done. . .I got a B-! The professor said I could have gone into a little bit more detail, but what am I supposed to say? What’s the point of fluffing up a sentence if I can say it in four words or less?” 

Iwaizumi smiles behind his coffee cup as Nishinoya begins to recount his day for Asahi over the phone from the moment he woke up to now. He never thought that Asahi would go for someone like Nishinoya, so carefree and boisterous and made up of all the things that Asahi fears he himself can’t be with the threat of ‘the other guy’. They fit each other perfectly, making up in areas that the other lacks. It’s a different relationship than Sugawara and Daichi, who meld together, or Hanamaki and Matsukawa who play off of each other and have a relationship that’s more intimate and private from outside eyes. 

He thinks about his relationship with Oikawa that clashes at times but always works. It’s just a matter of Iwaizumi wanting things to work with Oikawa when he gets frustrated or flustered by him, or not. 

Iwaizumi begins to lower his coffee mug back down to the table to reach for some more sugar packets. But has he does so, the ground rumbles and the walls of the café shake with a hard jolt and he spills the coffee onto the floor. Iwaizumi’s head whirs around and out the window, he sees a large billow of smoke rising from behind the skyscrapers. No, no it can’t be. 

“A-Asahi! Are you okay?!” Nishinoya shouts into the phone, standing up to look outside the window himself as other patrons begin to scramble to look as well or run out of the café. Iwaizumi sees the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent fumbling to get their phone out and call to see what to do, clutching the newspaper they were hiding behind tightly in their fist. 

Iwaizumi gets up and turns to Nishinoya. “I’ll be right back,” he says. 

“Back? Where are you going?!” Nishinoya shouts as Iwaizumi runs past him and out the café. He scrunches his eyes as the glare of the sun blinds him for a few moments, then tries to pinpoint just where the blast came from. It’s not too far from here, maybe a few blocks away. The worrying part is that it’s in the general direction of Nishinoya’s lab. If Asahi gets word that the institute has been targeted. . . 

He clicks his tongue and begins to run towards the blast, hoping he can scout out the area first before reinforcements come in. He raises his hand to the scratches on his neck that are barely beginning to fade, thinking about what to do if he faces Kageyama again. No doubt he’ll be stronger in the real world than in his dream world concocted by a spell. He still doesn’t have a grasp on what Kageyama can truly do with his power either, so he has to tread with caution. 

He rounds the corner and crosses a few streets with ease since most of traffic has stopped dead in their tracks to look on at the sight of the blast. He reaches the edges of the blast sight in a matter of minutes and sees the charred buildings and burnt rubble, the dead bodies that were caught and are now underneath wrecked cars. Iwaizumi fights the bile in his throat down and the stench of burning corpses, continuing further into the blast sight. 

This looks like Kenma’s work, but the blast is bigger than the one that hit the diner. Either Kenma has gotten stronger as well, or the blast at the diner wasn’t at Kenma’s true potential. Why hold back then? What separates these two attacks from each other? Iwaizumi gets behind an overturned truck and checks his phone, his thumb hovering over Oikawa’s contact. 

“So you seek me out and call for help? How lame.” 

Iwaizumi turns and finds that Kenma is standing on the truck, Kageyama hovering beside him and glaring down at him. Iwaizumi immediately jumps away, pocketing his phone and raising his hands. Kenma quirks an eyebrow. “You’re coming to surrender?” he asks and Iwaizumi grits his teeth. 

“I’m coming to show you that I don’t mean any harm. I’m not here to hurt you,” Iwaizumi states and Kenma blinks. 

“. . .Are you stupid?” he asks and Iwaizumi frowns. Kageyama grips his hands into fists and pulls down his face mask. Iwaizumi notes that he’s still in the Thor costume, but the clothes don’t look so worn out and tattered like they did in the dream spell. He still looks rather exhausted and weak, with flushed cheeks and a frustrated pout on his lips. 

“Either you’re with us or you’re against us! You can’t be in between!” Kageyama shouts and Iwaizumi stands to his feet. 

“This isn’t the right way to go about this! None of these people deserved to die! All you’re doing is creating more hatred and fear of mutants by attacking the innocent!” Iwaizumi shouts and looks all around him at the wreckage and rubble. “It isn’t a fair fight if they can’t fight back!” 

Kageyama looks taken aback at that and Kenma places a hand to his head. Iwaizumi faintly notices something black in Kenma’s ear hidden behind the dirty blond hair. So he’s like Kyoutani then; the mastermind is in his ear. Iwaizumi bites his lower lip and raises his guard in the off chance that he is closer by than he thinks. The radius of Kenma’s blast is huge and almost all the buildings that were in it are now a pile of rubble. Where else can he be hiding? 

Iwaizumi takes a step forward and holds out his hand. “Kyoutani and Hinata are with me and they’re safe. I promise that if you come with me, I’ll keep you two safe. Away from that man that’s trying to control you, from that anti-mutant organization that is killing others, whatever I have to do to make you just stop, I’ll do it,” Iwaizumi pleads and Kenma glances at Kageyama. 

Kageyama clicks his tongue and balls his hands into fists. “What can you do? You don’t even know who you really are,” he says haughtily and Iwaizumi growls. 

“Then tell me! If you all think you know me better than I know myself, who am I?!” he yells. He’s getting frustrated with this. He just wants this to end. All these conflicting feelings and the anger and rage that is boiling in his gut. He knows who he is! He’s Iwaizumi Hajime! 

He used to live in a one-bedroom apartment and he loves agedashi tofu, preferably from the food stall close by the office. He hates people that whine and don’t put 100% into what they do and he. . .he’s in love with his childhood friend and is too afraid to confess his feelings and reciprocate the ones Oikawa has. He doesn’t want anyone else to die, he wants to reunite Hinata with his little sister and his so-called best friend, and he wants to help these mutants. 

He knows who he is

Kageyama opens his mouth, but Kenma immediately grabs the kid’s shoulder. “Get down!” he shouts and Kageyama looks up the same time Iwaizumi does. 

Iron Man is flying straight towards them and Kageyama immediately pulls his face mask up and raises his hand towards him. Iron Man fires blaster shots in rapid succession and a shield of energy erupts around Iwaizumi and the car that Kageyama and Kenma stand on. The blasts ricochet off and hits rubble and stray cars, causing an even bigger mess as explosions go off all around them. 

Iron Man lands on the ground with a hard enough impact to create a small crater underneath his feet, eyes glowing as his head turns towards Iwaizumi standing in the shield. Iron Man doesn’t give off any sense of surprise or shock or confusion, and raises his palm that is glowing and ready for another charge. 

“So you’re the little punks we’ve been trying to catch, huh? Stand down and release the citizen,” Iron Man orders and Kageyama’s shield disappears in a flash of purple light. Iron Man points his finger at Kageyama. “That’s a cute Thor costume. I know him and can get you an autograph if you surrender nicely,” Iron Man says and Kageyama glances at Iwaizumi out of the corner of his eye. 

Kageyama disappears in a flash of purple static and Kenma jumps from the car, getting into a crouching position and placing his hands over his head. Iron Man changes his aim to Kenma, approaching the teenager with caution. 

“Cap, Hawkeye, one of them just disappeared but I have the explosive one right here on the ground. Check the perimeter because I doubt he’s going to just ditch his buddy that easily,” Iron Man says, stopping a few feet short from Kenma’s position. “Palms up,” he orders and Kenma turns his hands so his palms are showing. They’re not even the least bit red or scorched, though the cuffs of his suit are singed. 

“Citizen, vacate the area,” Iron Man says and Iwaizumi looks over at Kenma on the ground. 

“. . .Don’t. . .don’t do anything brash,” Iwaizumi warns. Iron Man doesn’t respond to that and lowers his gauntlet aimed at Kenma, who has yet to do anything shifty. Iwaizumi bites his lower lip, glancing around in anticipation for Kageyama to appear before them. Why did he leave Kenma to be captured and why does Kenma seem to be completely alright with this? This. . .this has to be a trap. 

Iwaizumi feels a gentle breeze blow over his sweating skin and carry with it the stench of smoke all around him. The ground beneath his feet doesn’t feel solid. Matter of fact, he feels rather weightless now as he stills his breathing and just focuses

Iron Man seems to be moving in slow motion as he approaches Kenma and cuffs detach from his wrists to place on the teenager. In the far distance across the street and behind the rubble, he feels that Daichi is trying to hunt down Kageyama to no avail. Somewhere high up with a good view of the area, Matsukawa must be stationed and watching Iron Man with an arrow trained on Kenma. Elsewhere, the mastermind must have the same view of the situation and is watching patiently for something to happen. 

Don’t move until I say to, Kenma-chan.  

That voice

It’s the same voice that he heard in Kyoutani’s head. 

Iwaizumi’s head turns to Kenma, who has eyes blank and empty and emotionless. Iron Man is now only a foot away and is reaching out to take Kenma’s wrist and place him in cuffs. W-Where is he? Where is he hiding? What’s going on? His heart is beating extremely fast and panic is starting to wrack his nerves. Oikawa. . .Oikawa is in danger. Oikawa’s going to get hurt- 

Now.  

A grin flashes onto Kenma’s lips just as Iron Man clamps a cuff around his left wrist. 

Iwaizumi grits his teeth. 

“Get back!” he screams and swings his arm in an effort to pull Oikawa away. 

Instead, Iron Man goes flying down the street just as Kenma detonates a blast. 

The blast radius is small and it knocks the car backwards towards Iwaizumi, who dives to the ground and barely manages to avoid it. But Iron Man flies farther than the car and anything else in the blast radius, slamming into a big pile of broken up concrete. Kenma stands, looking quite amazed and watches the cuff that was on his wrist melt off into a pile of goo. 

“O-Oikawa!” Iwaizumi screams without thinking and scrambles to his feet, running towards Iron Man who is slowly getting back to his feet. Before he can get past the car, Kageyama appears in front of Iwaizumi in a shock of purple static with eyes glowing scarlet. He swings his wrist and a blast of scarlet energy knocks Iwaizumi back and he goes flying down the street like Kageyama tossed a rag doll. He hits the pavement hard and screams when he feels the burning pain across his chest and his shoulder. 

“Get away from him!” he hears Iron Man scream followed by another loud detonation blast that sends bits of rubble flying in all directions. Iwaizumi weakly raises his head to see Kageyama hovering over him. 

“Who do you think you’ll be able to tell about this? You’re not like him, how can he really understand you?” Kageyama’s voice says, muffled by the face mask. 

“You keep talking like that and it’s really pissing me off,” Iwaizumi grits and Kageyama blinks. 

“Oi! Look out!” Kenma shouts and Kageyama glances behind him to see three explosive arrows aimed directly at his head. Kageyama raises his hand and flicks his wrist, red energy blasts shooting the arrows out of the sky. 

“All they do is rely on stuff they made. How can they even know what it’s like to have these abilities that people will be scared of?” Kageyama asks and Iwaizumi winces to sit up. 

“You’re using your abilities to hurt people. How do you expect them to react to you?!” Iwaizumi yells and Kageyama scowls. Immediately, a sharp pain shoots in Iwaizumi’s leg and he screams. 

Kageyama has his left hand out towards him and Iwaizumi can hear him mumbling softly ‘Twist and break, twist and break, twist and break’. Iwaizumi watches as his right leg does just that, the bones twisting and contorting beneath his skin until finally- 

SNAP!  

Iwaizumi falls back onto the ground, screaming so loud that his throat feels like it’s going to give out. Kageyama lowers his hand and places his palms together. 

“I’m bringing you back, whether you want to go or not,” he says and closes his eyes. “Take us away, take us away-” 

Kageyama doesn’t have time to finish the incantation, because suddenly something flies at him at top speed and knocks him out of the air. Kageyama’s concentration breaks and he falls to the ground, the blue energy that has begun to surround them now disappearing in the air. 

The object that hit Kageyama now bounces off the roof of a destroyed car and ricochets back like a boomerang, right into the hands of Cap who is glaring hard at Kageyama. 

“Sorry, but he’s coming home with us,” he states and places a hand to his headset. “Hawkeye, move in. New guy, come in from the rear,” he orders and Kageyama staggers to his feet. He rubs his mouth and spits, bringing himself back into the air as his hands pulsate with energy. 

“Leave us alone!” Kageyama shouts and raises both of his palms up to the sky. A ring of energy spheres appears around him and fire off at Cap, who raises his shield and blocks them. The blasts bounce off the shield in all directions, some barely hitting Kageyama back and some almost hitting Iwaizumi on the ground. He tries to pull himself away from the battle, but can’t get far enough with this injury in his chest and his now broken leg. 

In the far distance, he sees blasts detonating every couple of minutes, but plasma beams are firing nonstop. Iron Man must be dealing with Kenma and he has absolutely no clue where Hawkeye is. Who’s the new guy Cap mentioned? Iwaizumi shakes his head and pulls himself onto his elbows. He can’t lie around here and think! He needs to get out of here before he gets fried! 

Iwaizumi slowly drags himself away from the fight, trying to ignore the pain that wracks his body and the wish to just lie there and wait for someone to help him. He’s so stupid, why did he think he could resolve things like this by just talking? It almost seemed to work, Kageyama and Kenma seemed to let their guard down for a few moments before Iron Man attacked. And Iwaizumi couldn’t control the situation from escalating out of his control. He’s so fucking stupid. Stupid and weak

Why can’t he just fight them off? Why can’t he bring himself to just tell Cap and Iron Man to hold fire so he can talk some sense into these kids? Would it even help when the mastermind is still so close and still has Kenma under his control and Kageyama is still filled with blind hate? He grits his teeth and chokes out a sob as his chest scrapes against the concrete beneath him, gravel digging into his injury. What the hell is he supposed to do? At this rate, more people will die and the fighting will never end. If they killed these kids and the mastermind, who’s to say that another mutant terrorist group won’t rise with an even bigger hatred of humans and the Avengers? 

Iwaizumi grips his hand around a car’s bumper and tries to pull himself up, turning his body over so he can watch as Kageyama tries to attack and hit the Cap. His aim can’t keep up with the super soldier’s speed and he’s able to jump up and swing a fist at Kageyama just before the child disappears and reappears in another spot to continue the attack. 

He sees Kageyama is growing frustrated, since now his blasts are blood red and are being thrown haphazardly. A majority of them aren’t even aimed directly at Cap; they explode all around him with such an intense heat that Iwaizumi can feel it radiating from his position by the car. He also notes that Kageyama must be getting tired, since he’s hovering a bit closer to the ground. 

What’s going to happen to these kids if they get taken in? What’s going to happen to the unknown number of people that are still being held captive by the mastermind? Will they. . .will they kill Kageyama? Or experiment on him to find out the nature of his power? He promised Hinata he won’t let them harm his friend. But what can Iwaizumi do? He can’t do anything, he’s just a secretary. He’s just. . .Hajime. 

Iwaizumi clutches his chest and forces himself upwards, choking out another cry as he feels his blood wet his hand clinging to the front of his shirt. He sucks in a few deep breaths and glances back out into the battle where Kageyama has his hands raised above his head, eyes glowing blue. He doesn’t know what kind of spell he’s saying since he can’t hear him from this distance or read his lips, but it must have something to do with the ground since Iwaizumi feels it shift and rumble from underneath him. 

A hand clamps onto his injured shoulder and Iwaizumi screams, whirring around far too fast to find Black Widow crouching beside him and pocketing his gun in his holster. 

“Hey ‘World’s Most Wanted Secretary’, you okay?” he asks with a cheeky smile. Iwaizumi scowls. 

“Yeah, I’m totally fine with bleeding out of my chest and a broken leg. Where’s Hawkeye?” 

“He scouted you out for me. He’s helping Iron Man take down Kozume. Shouldn’t be too long, he radioed me a few minutes ago to say that he’s detonating less and less. We’re wearing them down,” Black Widow says and pulls Iwaizumi’s arm over his shoulder. “Come on, we’re getting you out of here.” 

Black Widow tugs Iwaizumi up and Iwaizumi makes another pained noise when the pressure is placed on his broken leg. He feels Black Widow’s hand hold his waist. “How fast can you move?” he asks and Iwaizumi huffs. 

“Not fast at all.” 

“Shit. Okay,” Black Widow says and places a hand to his ear. “Hawkeye, I got him. He’s injured.” 

You need backup?” he hears Matsukawa’s voice from Black Widow’s earpiece faintly underneath the explosions behind him and the ground erupting below his feet. 

“No, you almost have Kozume pinned down. I’ll get him to safety.” 

You better, because if you don’t you can kiss those reservations at Datekou goodbye,” Oikawa’s voice spits over the radio and Black Widow chuckles. 

“Then we better get moving,” he says and gets a firm grip on Iwaizumi’s hip. “We’ll take it slow, dive for cover when the ‘Kid Thor’ notices we’re on the move,” he tells Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi nods his head slowly, sucking his breath in as both of them begin to move up behind the car and down the destroyed sidewalk. 

“Who’s the new guy that Daichi radioed?” Iwaizumi asks and Black Widow hums, looking up at the sky. 

“He’s coming in right now. Took him long enough,” he says with a sigh. 

Iwaizumi glances up to see something flying in at top speed and it lands with a loud boom. Dust and rubble fly upwards from the impact, distracting Kageyama and the blue energy dissipates into the air once more. The ground stops moving and Iwaizumi sees a figure stand upright amongst the smoke, large and intimidating. 

It’s. . .another suit of armor. Similar to the MK V, but bigger and bulkier. It has a small Gatling gun hooked into the shoulder and is painted with a murky grey and black color scheme. It’s not at all flashy like Oikawa’s normal suits are and certainly looks like it’ll do a lot more damage. 

I-I’m here, Sawamura-senpai!” 

Iwaizumi recognizes that frazzled voice and frowns in disbelief. 

“That’s ‘Cap’, War Machine,” Black Widow reminds and Kindaichi sputters. 

R-Right. Is Iwaizumi-san okay?!” 

“The citizen is fine. Listen, from where I was watching, the kid can’t do two things at once. Go on the offensive and don’t let up,” Black Widow states and the suit of armor nods, Gatling gun firing up as he raises his right arm aimed at Kageyama. Kageyama raises his hands as bullets are fired and creates a shield to block the attack. 

“Okay, let’s move,” Black Widow says and continues to pull Iwaizumi along. Iwaizumi hobbles beside him, exhausted and aching. 

“I thought he was only supposed to be used in emergencies,” Iwaizumi grits out, crouching with Black Widow when a car flies overhead and slams into a nearby building from Kageyama’s energy spell. 

“Yeah, an entire street blown up with a couple hundred casualties probably isn’t that big of an emergency, huh?” 

“I didn’t mean it like that,” Iwaizumi says annoyed. 

“Oikawa thought we could use more firepower and wanted to put the suit to the test,” Black Widow explains and Iwaizumi blinks. 

“You mean that’s his first time being in that thing?!” He looks back over his shoulder as Kageyama has the shield raised up again, deflecting the bullets from War Machine’s Gatling gun on his shoulder and the barrage of bullets coming from his forearms. Cap has his shield raised and is watching Kageyama closely for any sudden moves, planning out another strategy to somehow incapacitate the mutant without anyone else getting hurt. 

“He’s doing good, yeah?” Black Widow says and Iwaizumi clicks his tongue. 

“It’s not that I don’t think he’s doing good, that was an unsafe move for Kindaichi to just be thrown out here and take on opponents as powerful as these kids without any fighting experience,” Iwaizumi criticizes and Black Widow shrugs. 

“Better sending a regular person in a suit of armor to combat these kids than a regular citizen stupidly trying to communicate with them.” 

Iwaizumi tenses and glances up at Black Widow’s face, who is glaring hard and looking very pissed. “I was the first to arrive on the scene after the detonation in order to scout out a line of attack for Sawamura and the others. And I saw you talking with Kozume and ‘Kid Thor’. What the hell are you doing?” 

“I. . .I don’t want us to fight these kids. They need help-” 

“These aren’t kids anymore. They’re monsters,” Black Widow spits and Iwaizumi flinches away at his words. “Look around you, look at what they’ve done to you. If these kids are really as innocent as you think they might be, then why are they doing all of this? Any sense of humanity and empathy is wasted on them and we just need to put an end to it before more people are hurt. People like you.” 

“But that’s-” 

“This is our problem to fix, not yours. So just stay out of it.” 

Iwaizumi opens his mouth to yell something back, but his voice dies out when he hears a pain filled scream and Cap yelling ‘hold fire!’. 

He turns and sees Kageyama lying on the ground, curled up in a fetal position as a small pool of blood forms around him. War Machine lowers his gauntlets and the Gatling gun stops firing. Iwaizumi feels terror chill him to the core and tears burn at the corners of his eyes. No, no dammit this wasn’t supposed to happen!  

He breaks away from Black Widow and falls to the ground, stumbling to get back up again and over to Kageyama’s body. He promised Hinata that things will be okay. He promised Hinata that he and Kageyama will be together again and everything will be fine. Why. . .how could have promised Hinata something so irresponsible as that? He can’t fight, he doesn’t have any abilities, he doesn’t have the gadgets or the gear to protect anyone. Not even himself. 

Still he tries to get back to his feet, crawling on all fours towards Kageyama’s body as Black Widow tries to pull him up and away. Kageyama is still and motionless as Cap relays information over his earpiece and War Machine has now realized Iwaizumi’s presence. Iwaizumi thrashes and squirms in Black Widow’s hold, pain in his chest and his leg now seeming minimal compared to the swirl of emotions now in his head. 

He’s so weak. 

He could have done something! 

He can’t keep himself safe. He can’t keep others safe. How can he expect to keep Oikawa safe? Or Hinata? 

If Hanamaki thinks they’re monsters. . .will he think that Iwaizumi is one too? 

No, no he’s human. He’s not like them. He knows who he is? 

.  .  .Does he? 

Who is he??  

Iron Man flies over and lands beside Cap. “Kozume is down and Hawkeye is making preparations to send him over to Kai and Michimiya-san,” he states and looks up at the sky where a news helicopter flies over the wreckage. He then looks down at Kageyama on the ground, then over to Iwaizumi who is still fighting in Black Widow’s grasp. “I’m going to get the citizen out of here. Black Widow, War Machine, make sure that no news crew follows us or gets close to see what’s happening here.” 

“Yeah, I don’t want a kid’s body showing up on the evening news either,” Cap mutters under his breath. 

“I-I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to go overboard-” War Machine tries to apologize and Cap raises his hand to silence him. 

“You’re still getting used to the suit and only a few bullets hit him in the shoulder and stomach. If we get him to the infirmary in time, there’s still a chance we can save him,” Cap says, crouching down to check for a pulse. 

“Good, cause we got a lot of questions-” Iron Man begins, but everyone goes silent and Iwaizumi stops thrashing when Cap stumbles backwards, blood spurting from his nose. 

Hinata stands there, panting hard and face flushed with fists raised. 

“Don’t touch him!” he screams, tears welling up his eyes. Cap places a hand to his nose and Iron Man stares at Hinata before he turns to look over his shoulder at Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi feels it hit him like a ton of bricks.

 

He’s. . .he’s one of them?

 

Did you knew?

 

You knew about this and you didn’t tell me?

 

You didn’t trust me.

 

You don’t trust me.

 

Hinata holds his arms out as if to shield Kageyama’s body. “You’re not taking him! You’re not going to hurt him anymore!” he screams, voice cracking. Cap lowers his hand from his face and reaches back for his shield as Iron Man takes a step forward. 

“Hinata-kun, he needs to be taken to a hospital immediately-” 

“He wouldn’t need to go if you didn’t hurt him!” 

“I know you’re a kid, but you’re not stupid. You must have been watching the news from that helicopter above us, you saw what he was doing,” Iron Man says angrily and Hinata closes his eyes. 

“He’s my best friend! I’m not going to let you take him away from me! The bad man already took Natsu and my Mommy and Daddy away, I’m not letting you take Kageyama-kun!” Hinata yells and Iwaizumi sucks in a deep breath. 

“Hinata, don’t,” he growls out and Hinata balls his hands into fists. Faster than he can blink, Hinata is already gone and Cap’s shield is off of his body before he can fully grab it in his hands. Hinata jumps upwards and throws the shield directly at War Machine, then runs behind him and kicks him firmly in his back. 

War Machine jolts forward and the shield hits him upside the head. The impact causes the shield to bounce off and nail Iron Main in the chest just above his core reactor. Iron Man falls to the ground and the shield flies upwards. Cap jumps up to grab it, but Hinata beats him to the punch and pulls it just out of his reach before he brings it up over his head and smashes it down on Cap’s face. 

Cap hits the ground with a thud and Hinata stumbles to gain his footing, trying to lift the shield up and stands in front of Kageyama’s body to guard him. Cap gets to his knees and rubs his jaw, smirking as he spits out a tooth. 

“You got moves, kid,” he says and Hinata huffs. 

“I watched every single one of your fights and my Daddy always took me to see your exhibit in the museum,” Hinata boasts and Cap staggers to his feet, raising fists. 

“Nice to meet an admirer.” 

“Is there an Iron Man fan in your little band of terrorists too?” Iron Man asks and raises his palm out to charge up a blast. Hinata raises the shield up to deflect the attack, but jumps and glances down when he sees Kageyama’s bloody hand gripping his ankle. 

Hinata looks back up and locks eyes with Iwaizumi. 

I’m sorry, Iwaizumi-san.  

Hinata throws the shield at Iron Man, who fumbles to catch it, and then throws himself over Kageyama’s body. Kageyama rolls over and wraps arms around the smaller boy as a current of blue energy circles around them and dust begins to rise. 

“Take us away, take us away, take us away!” Kageyama screams at the top of his lungs and the energy’s light grows blinding. Iwaizumi turns his face away as the energy surges and a bright light flashes. When the glow disappears, Hinata and Kageyama are gone without a trace. 

Iron Man curses and throws the shield over to Cap. He stomps his boot in the ground and growls and seethes for a few minutes while everyone watches him in worried silence. He then looks over in Iwaizumi's direction and Iwaizumi feels nothing but anger and annoyance and sadness that hits him like a ton of bricks.

“I’m out of here,” he snaps and takes flight into the sky above the buildings. Cap shouts out for him, but Iron Man is already long gone and didn’t bother to look behind him. Iwaizumi closes his eyes and holds his chest, feeling anger and hatred and pain. It hurts even more than it has ever hurt before and Iwaizumi chokes out a breath as he clutches at his shirt. 

It hurts. 

It hurts.  

Why are things like this? 

Why are all these emotions so painful?

He feels Black Widow cradle him in his arms as everything around him seems to grow dark. “Hey, h-hey! Oi! Iwaizumi, stay with me!” he shouts, but his voice sounds so far away now. All Iwaizumi can hear is the echoes of his own anger and frustration and Oikawa’s disappointment resonating in his mind.

 

You lied to me.

 

You don’t trust me.

 

Why can’t you trust me?

 

Why can’t you trust me like I trusted you?

 


 

“How’s he holding up?” 

“He’s stable. His leg has a few fractures, might take a couple of weeks to fully heal. He also has three broken ribs on the left side of his ribcage, the blast that hit him luckily didn’t hit him in his heart. Mild bruising and scrapes around other areas of the body, the usual.” 

“He hasn’t woken up yet?” 

“Don’t think he wants to.” 

Iwaizumi feels a hand rest on his shoulder, but it moves away as soon as it touches him. 

“I know you’re upset with him, but he needs the rest.” 

“Kai, he’s been keeping secrets from me. He knew that Hinata was an Enhanced and he lied to all of us. And for what? People still died and we’re still nowhere closer to stopping these terrorists. . .it makes sense, doesn’t it? Why he was the only survivor in that blast at the diner and how Oikawa managed to get brainwashed that night? And how Hinata just magically fell into his lap?” 

“You’re not suggesting that Iwaizumi-san is playing a part in all of this, are you?” 

“I don’t want to be. . .but it’s the only explanation for why he’s been acting like this. He never kept secrets from Oikawa and he always told me important things like this if it will help keep Oikawa safe when we go out on missions. And now I find out he’s trying to communicate with them? Sneaking around and digging into files from some tech company about mutants? What other reason could there be other than he’s working with them.” 

“Sugawara-san, he almost got himself killed multiple times when he came in contact with these kids. There has to be something else, another reason.” 

“Not like he’ll tell us if he didn’t tell Oikawa.” 

Iwaizumi winces as he feels something stab in his chest. It’s a bitter feeling, anger and disappointment. He gives a whimper and he hears the heart monitor begin to beep rapidly. Oh god, he’s so sorry. He didn’t want any of this to happen. He didn’t want to lose anyone’s trust. He didn’t want Hinata and Kyoutani to not believe him and he didn’t want the others to jump to conclusions. He just. . .he just needs some more time. He can fix this. He can fix this. 

A hand rests on his forehead. “Iwaizumi-san, Iwaizumi-san,” he hears Sugawara’s voice and the hand moves to cup his cheek. “Is he okay? What’s happening?” 

“He’s been having these weird spikes of energy,” Nobuyuki notes. Sugawara’s real hand is warm against Iwaizumi’s skin. His touch is gentle and his fingertips move down his neck, checking his pulse. Iwaizumi takes in deeper breaths and the beeping falls into a regular rhythm once again as Sugawara pulls his hand back to gently card through Iwaizumi’s hair. 

“Kai, what’s your opinion about this whole thing?” Sugawara asks. 

“. . .I think that Iwaizumi-san is connected to them, but not a part of them. If he is, he clearly doesn’t want them to be doing this. He also doesn’t want us to harm the kids that get put in our custody either. Whatever they told him, it must have been about S.H.I.E.L.D. . . .about the Scarlet Witch.” 

The hand in Iwaizumi’s hair stills. 

“Sugawara-san, I understand that Ukai-san and S.H.I.E.L.D. tracked the Scarlet Witch when she was active, along with organizations that could have had an anti-mutant agenda. It might not be my place to ask, but don’t you think that maybe these kids. . .the mastermind behind their actions. . .they’re trying to incite other mutants to fight back?” 

“Fight back against who? S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn’t responsible for the disappearance of the Scarlet Witch and extremist anti-mutant organizations have only been found overseas. There have been no known occurrences of mutant activity before these attacks and all they’re targeting is innocent people that don’t even know they exist. Who are they fighting against? What do they want?” 

“Maybe that’s what Iwaizumi-san was trying to find out. Maybe he thought that S.H.I.E.L.D. was a part of the anti-mutant organizations that went after the Scarlet Witch-” 

“We’re not an anti-mutant organization. The Scarlet Witch was attacking cities and inciting panic-” 

“But we never saw it from their perspective. We never got the full report of the towns she attacked and don’t know the scale of damage that occurred. We don’t even know the other people that were involved in it. All S.H.I.E.L.D. contributed was weapons manufactured by Oikawa’s company and suitable manpower to help with rebuilding the towns after they were attacked. But what if something happened that we aren’t fully aware of that these kids know.” 

There’s silence, but Iwaizumi can hear how hard Sugawara is breathing. 

The hand slips away from his hair and he feels his blanket pull up more to cover his chest. 

“Then maybe we should take another look into the case of the Scarlet Witch. I’m tired of not getting answers to any of my questions. Let me know when he wakes up. I’ll have guards stationed around his medical room and you have only two nurses checking on him, correct?” Sugawara says as the sound of his boots traveling away from his bed sound in Iwaizumi’s ears. 

“Yes. . .Sugawara-san?” 

Iwaizumi hears the door open. “Yeah?” Sugawara calls out. 

“I know that you’re stressed about this being your first major crisis, but you’re still a good director. And I’m sure that everything will be alright in the end,” Nobuyuki says sincerely. There’s another few seconds of silence that float by, before he hears Sugawara give a gentle chuckle. He doesn’t have to open his eyes to know that Sugawara is smiling that smile that’s filled with mirth and warmth. 

“Thanks.”

 


 

Iwaizumi doesn’t know how long he’s been asleep, but when someone gently shakes him awake and he opens his eyes, the medical room is extremely dark. 

“Hello there,” a voice greets him and the lights flick on to reveal two male nurses. The one that shook him awake is now moving to sit Iwaizumi in an upright position, while the other one that turned on the light takes the clipboard that’s hanging from the foot of Iwaizumi’s bed. He pulls down his purple face mask and hums. 

“Broken leg, broken ribs, lots of bruising. . .hmm,” he murmurs to himself and glances at Iwaizumi. “You look fine to me. Get up.” 

Iwaizumi blinks, then his hands move to pull the blanket off of himself and he swings his legs out of the bed. When he pushes himself onto his feet, the pain in his ribs and his leg stab at his body like dozens of knives and he opens his mouth to scream. But the other male nurse slams his hand over Iwaizumi’s mouth, muffling the noise with his palm. 

The male nurse with the purple mask claps his hands in approval. “Good thinking! My, you should be promoted around here with your quick wits. Now then, you,” he points at Iwaizumi, “do not make a noise or speak to anyone when we leave. Don’t even make eye contact with anyone until I tell you to,” he commands, voice alluring and smile reminiscent of a snake that wants to eat Iwaizumi whole. 

The voice. 

The voice.  

The man turns and opens the door, snapping his fingers. “Come on, we have business to take care of.” 

The other male nurse grabs hold of Iwaizumi by his shoulder and pins his wrists behind his back, shoving Iwaizumi forward. Iwaizumi’s head goes down immediately and the shout of pain that erupts in his throat is swallowed down. He grits his teeth with each shaky step as they move out of the medical room and to the right, the hallway barely illuminated aside from the walkway lights along the floor. 

What. . .what is he doing? Why isn’t Iwaizumi putting up any sort of a fight and going along with this man willingly? In the back of his mind, he feels that this situation is somehow familiar. Like it’s happened before, but he doesn’t remember where or when it could have happened. 

The man digs into the pocket of his scrubs and pulls out a cellphone, bringing it to his ear as they round the corner slowly. “Hello? You have our ride waiting? . . .Excellent, we’ll be down shortly. And everyone in the lobby, how are they holding up? . . .Good, good.” 

Iwaizumi feels fear creep up his spine, miniscule compared to the hard pangs of emotions that he’s felt before. It’s closer and quiet, like it is being masked with something unpleasant. Faintly, Iwaizumi hears a voice that whimpers in his head. 

Oh god. . .what’s going to happen to me? What is he going to do to me?  

Iwaizumi strains to see out of the corner of his eye the stoic face of the male nurse handling him. In the dark, he can make out the beads of sweat on the man’s brow and feel his sweaty grip on his wrists. So that’s it then. He is a nurse that works in this S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, but he’s under this man’s control. Where is everyone? Where’s Nobuyuki and the guards that Sugawara was supposed to have stationed outside of his room? 

They stop in front of an elevator and the man pulls back up his purple face mask, jabbing the button with his finger. “You would think that a facility with such advanced equipment would have faster elevators,” the man complains with a long drawl and rocks from side to side. Iwaizumi closes his eyes and focuses on the voice. 

What’s going to happen? What am I supposed to do?  

Run.  

He hears a sharp intake of breath come from the man and his grip on Iwaizumi’s wrists loosens. Iwaizumi cranes his neck and sees that the male nurse is staring with mouth agape. He’s violently shaking and his eyes are watering with tears as he stares at the man’s back in terror. The emotion of fear is now stronger than before and Iwaizumi winces at he feels it cinch around his heart. 

The elevator dings and the man turns to look over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow. “Why did you let him go?” he asks and the male nurse flinches back. Iwaizumi sways, staggering and falling to his good knee as the nurse turns and begins running down the hallway screaming. 

“Aw, shit,” the man curses and reaches behind him, drawing a handgun and aiming it at the nurse trying to flee. “Now, I have to warn you! I’m not as good of a shot as - ah, who cares?” 

BANG!  

The nurse falls to the ground as the bullet enters through the back of his skull and out his forehead, blood and brain matter spraying onto the walls and the floors in a dark crimson mist. The man blinks, then shrugs and walks towards Iwaizumi. “Well, I would have wanted to do this without killing anyone, but we can’t win ‘em all, huh Iwaizumi-kun?” 

He grabs Iwaizumi by the collar of his hospital shirt and proceeds to drag him into the elevator, Iwaizumi twisting and turning in his grasp as muffled cries come from his clenched teeth. The man throws Iwaizumi into the corner and Iwaizumi chokes out a cry as he lands on his injured side, stepping inside and pressing the button to close the door and then the button for the bottom floor. 

“Since you were able to put up a mental block on that man, I’m going to assume that you’ve gotten a lot stronger since the last I’ve seen you,” the man speaks, watching the little lights on the panel change as the elevator begins its descent downwards. “I bet you’re feeling scared about it. A few months ago, you believed you were just like everyone else. Now. . .you don’t know.” 

He glances at Iwaizumi on the ground and Iwaizumi glares. “Well, go on. Ask me the question that I’m not going to answer.” 

“What do you want with me?” Iwaizumi spits and the man turns back to the panel. 

“It’s not what I want. I’m just a knight moving his pawns into place. And you, Iwaizumi-kun. You’re the best pawn on the board,” he says with a smile. 

“And what the fuck does that mean?” Iwaizumi snarls and the man places a hand to his head. 

“I tell you I won’t answer and you still ask anyways. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people that are too pigheaded to understand simple commands.” 

“Like Hinata?” Iwaizumi asks and the man’s grin grows bigger.

“Yes. Like Hinata-chan. Stop talking now, we’re coming to our floor,” he snaps and Iwaizumi immediately clamps up. He growls behind his lips, frustration eating at his mind. If he was able to get that other guy to snap out of his control, why can’t Iwaizumi himself break free of it? And how did he even do it in the first place anyways? 

The doors slide open and the man grabs Iwaizumi by the collar of shirt, dragging him out of the elevator and into the lobby. Iwaizumi’s head immediately ducks down and his lips clench tightly together to not emit a sound. 

He sees people in the lobby all lying down on their stomachs, their hands on their heads. Any guards or security are also on the ground and their weapons lie out of their reach on the floor in a pile that the two pass by. The entire room has a layer of fear and terror hanging in the air, similar to the masked feeling that he felt in the upstairs hallway with the nurse. 

This medical facility is huge. Every staff member is trained in some sort of self-defense and the guards are trained in several styles of combat to take on any sort of attack on the facility. How. . .how was he able to subdue them all?  

The man stops by the receptionist desk, looking over the desk at the woman that isn’t lying on the ground and is sitting attentively at her computer. 

“Almost done?” he asks and she gives a terrified nod of her head. The man looks down at Iwaizumi and gives a little chuckle. “I can make everyone forget that I even came in here, but I can’t make security footage disappear. I’m not a god, although I think I’m as close to one as you can get, right Iwaizumi-kun?” 

“Fuck you,” Iwaizumi chokes out before his mouth clamps shut once more. The man sighs and leans over to watch the woman delete the last of the security footage with trembling hands. 

Iwaizumi bites his lower lip and looks at a nearby guard that lies to the right of the receptionist desk. Maybe if he can somehow do what he did before, he can snap the guard out of his control and he can stop him. The guard is noticeably larger and has a bulkier frame than the skinny, lean frame of the man. He can definitely overpower him if it comes down to physical combat. 

Iwaizumi closes his eyes and tries to focus on the feeling of fear that surrounds him. It washes over him slowly, a sensation that feels like fingernails clawing at his skin desperately trying to cling onto something.

 

I just want to see my kids.

 

What’s going to happen to us?

 

I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die.

 

Please just let us go.

 

Where are the Avengers? Where’s Sugawara-san?

 

Someone, please help us.

 

Help us. Please help us-

 

There’s too many. There’s too many of them. 

Iwaizumi’s breath starts to quicken. The sensation grows stronger and he feels like he can’t breathe. No, no it’s too much. It’s too much. Oh god, no he can’t breathe. There’s too many. There’s too many voices! Too many thoughts clawing away at his mind, begging and screaming and crying for help. Even with the layer of mental control that the man has over them, all of their minds are already overwhelming Iwaizumi’s brain and his senses. It’s too much. It’s too much. 

Sweat breaks out over his brow and his stomach churns and twists into painful knots. He needs to get out of here. He needs to get out of here! Iwaizumi rolls onto his side and grunts in pain. The man looks down at Iwaizumi and clicks his tongue, glancing back at the woman who deletes the final video and wait in fear for the next command. 

“Alright, we’re done?” he asks and she nods her head slowly. “Excellent! Now get on your stomach with your hands on your head like the rest of your co-workers.” 

Slowly, the woman pushes out from her chair and does so, crawling under the receptionist desk and placing her hands on her head. The man grabs Iwaizumi’s collar and drags him through the people on the ground, sometimes ordering them to move over to the left or to the right so he has some more space to walk to the front door. 

The voices seem to grow louder as they pass by the people and Iwaizumi wants to scream. He’s not sure how much more he can take; his head is beginning to ache and throb and the fear is starting to make his body grow numb. Someone. . .anyone. . .just make the voices stop.  

The man pushes open the doors and turns to look over his shoulder. “Alright! In the next minute, you will all get up, forget that this has ever happened, call it a night and go to your respective homes, and have a very pleasant night’s sleep!” he shouts out and drags Iwaizumi out the door with him to an awaiting car out on the front lawn. 

Misaki stands there with her hands behind her back as the man drags Iwaizumi and drops him by the front tire wheel. He lets out a long suffering breath and shakes his wrist. “I think I need to bulk up more. He’s heavy,” he says with a sigh and cracks his knuckles. “I don’t know how long he’ll remain docile so do you have ‘Plan B’ ready?” he asks and Misaki nods her head. 

The man smiles and turns to Iwaizumi, crouching down to kneel beside him. “You don’t have to be afraid anymore. Because when we’re done with you, you will be perfect,” he says with a smile and stands back up, opening the car door and climbing into the passenger seat. 

Misaki opens up the door that leads to the backseat and pulls out a rather large looking metal suitcase, popping it open and taking a syringe from inside it. She gets to her knees and tilts up Iwaizumi’s chin, who begins to struggle and thrash on the ground. Misaki groans in frustration and holds down Iwaizumi’s head, planting her knee on Iwaizumi’s right forearm to keep it from swinging. 

Iwaizumi raises his left hand and tries to throw her off, but Misaki quickly inserts the needle into Iwaizumi’s neck and injects the drug. After a few seconds, Iwaizumi’s vision grows cloudy and hazy. He feels his body go entirely numb and the hand that clenches at Misaki’s shoulder now falls uselessly to the ground. In his blurry vision, he can see her smile at him with warmth and care. 

“You don’t have to fight it anymore. You’re one of us now.”

Chapter Text

Sir, I’m positive that Fruit Loops with vodka is not a balanced breakfast.” 

“Yeah, but I don’t care if I’m on the road to pancreatic cancer. This is comforting,” Oikawa says, watching the vodka splash into the bowl of cereal and become murky from the color dye. He pours it to the rim of the bowl so that it sloshes out from the tiniest of movements, then turns and tosses the empty bottle into the trash to be recycled at a later date (or never). 

When he turns back around, the bowl is gone, but he sees a trail of soggy Fruit Loops on the floor and hears QT beeping in panicked fear. 

“Oi! Give that back!” he shouts and runs around the corner to see QT zipping away with his breakfast. Well, really it’s running off with a mostly empty bowl since its panicked movements have spilled a majority of the contents on the ground. Oikawa groans loudly and runs a hand over his face. Damn robots. 

He plants himself on the barstool and closes his eyes tight, trying to fight off the thoughts that he’s been keeping at bay with a glass of booze. How Iwaizumi has been going around his back to do something with those Enhanced. How Iwaizumi has been keeping secret about Hinata’s true nature. How Iwaizumi doesn’t trust him. They tell each other everything, how come he couldn’t talk to him about this? Plus, he got himself hurt again and Iwaizumi will be pissed if Oikawa suggests to just stick him in a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. Course, Sugawara will most likely be waiting to take Iwaizumi away to a base whether he wants to go or not. 

He sighs and looks up at the ceiling. “J.A.R.V.I.S., I know I didn’t program you to be an expert on love and romance, but what the hell should I do? Because it honestly feels like I’m running into a brick wall.” 

I feel that Mr. Iwaizumi has his reasons for keeping something like this from you.” 

“But what? I don’t get it, what am I doing wrong? I should have told him how I felt about him, maybe that would have unlocked a new layer of trust or something? I don’t know, is that what happens when two people are in love? You two tell each other stuff that even best friends since childhood don’t share? But what if I scare him away? Then I lose him as a lover and a best friend and we can’t talk without it getting awkward~” Oikawa groans and slams his head on the counter. “J.A.R.V.I.S., you are a terrible love guru.” 

My sincerest apologies.” 

“You sure as hell don’t sound sincere.” 

I believe you were the one that gave me this vocal tone.” 

“I know. I’m going to ask F.R.I.D.A.Y. instead. They’re spunky and will give me a straighter answer,” Oikawa says and sticks his tongue out at the ceiling, getting off the barstool to head down to the lab. 

As he steps over the mess QT left and hopes that Ye-Robot-With-No-Name will just naturally tend to the mess to please its creator, he thinks about how helpful F.R.I.D.A.Y. will actually be. If he decides to plug up F.R.I.D.A.Y. and ask, they will probably just snap at Oikawa that ‘they’re an A.I., not a fucking miracle worker’ and tell him to stop his pity party and go for Iwaizumi if he wants anything to change. 

Sometimes he sincerely regrets making an A.I. that is almost an exact copy of Iwaizumi’s personality. But meh, it’s not like Iwaizumi will ever find out about Oikawa’s guilty little secret. 

He enters the foyer and pauses when he hears someone knock at his front door. He pauses and stares at it, then glances down at his state of undress. Iron Man slippers, black pajama bottoms with constellations, and a plaid robe that he made a complete fuss about Ushijima giving him and called it the ‘ugliest thing on the planet’ but it’s too damn comfy to just throw away; he’s not at all ready to deal with people right now. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S., who is it?” 

A young woman, sir.” 

Oikawa blinks. “. . .Is she cute?” 

On that obnoxious scale you and Mr. Kuroo created, I believe she is a seven.” 

Oikawa runs to the door and peers out the eyehole. Sure enough, there’s a young woman standing there tapping her foot impatiently and checking over her shoulder. A redhead with shoulder length hair and a couple of freckles dotting the bridge of her nose. She’s definitely cute, not a stunner like Shimizu or anything, but she’s cute. 

She isn’t carrying any bags or folders with her, so Oikawa isn’t sure if she’s from some newspaper or magazine company looking for an interview. But Oikawa also can’t remember if he had an interview scheduled amongst all this chaos happening in his other life. He also can’t call for Iwaizumi to get rid of her since. . .well. 

He opens the door just a bit, peering at her with a raised eyebrow. “Uh, hi. I’m not taking interviews right now so please check back with my secretary at a later time,” he says with a forced smile. He tries to close the door, but the girl is fast and sticks her leg in the opening, trying to push it back open. 

“I’m not here for an interview,” she says quickly and Oikawa tries to force the door closed, but damn. This girl is strong

“Well business deals are also dealt through my secretary so-” he starts to lean his entire weight on the door, determined to shut her out. If there’s anything Oikawa hates, it’s pesky people that won’t take no for an answer. 

“I’m a detective on the case for-” she gives a frustrated grunt and slams her shoulder into the door. Oikawa falls back along with his 200,000 yen door, barely rolling out the way before the door lands with a heavy thud. The girl stands in the doorway and straightens out her jean jacket and brushes off her shoulder like she didn’t break Oikawa’s door down. How, how was she able to do that??? 

“Anyways,” she continues, “I’m a private detective looking into a missing person’s case-” 

“J.A.R.V.I.S.! Intruder alert! Call the police!” Oikawa shouts and the girl rolls her eyes. 

“Listen, I just need you to answer a simple question and I’ll be on my way,” she says and glances over her shoulder at the broken door. “And I’ll send a check for the door.” 

“Yeah, you want to explain to me how a girl as small as you can break down a door as big as that?!” Oikawa yells and then caution seeps into his chest. Is. . .is this girl an Enhanced? How did they find out where he lived? Were they watching him? Is this a secret attack? He takes a cautious step back and grits his teeth. He doesn’t know how fast his armor can fly up from the lab without her attacking him while he’s unguarded. He needs to- 

“Look, I know what you’re thinking and I’m not with those mutant kids that are attacking the town,” she says sharply and Oikawa blinks. 

“Er, haha, why would you think I suspected you of being one of those? I was thinking that you probably ate your vegetables when you were young,” Oikawa says and forces out a laugh as he edges closer to the secret door to the lab. She crosses her arms. 

“Because I know that you’re fighting against them and you’re trying to keep your guard up,” she says simply. Oikawa freezes in his tracks and turns to look at her, dumbfounded. 

She doesn’t look that impressed and she doesn’t look all that threatening. But Oikawa still feels on edge, standing up straight and balling his hands into fists. “What are. . .I don’t-” 

“I’ve been watching your home and work for some time. I noticed that Iron Man flies over here and Aoba Johsai Enterprises more often than needs to be and I made the assumption that you two were somehow connected, whether he was your bodyguard or you were a special client of his,” she says and then shrugs, “but I also know Kuroo and he’ll tell you anything if you make him a ‘mean salted mackerel’.” 

Oikawa is going to push Kuroo off of a cliff. 

He relaxes only for a few seconds before he crosses his arms. “How do I not know you’re with those kids? I thought that one of them was innocent and he helped in one of the more dangerous ones escaping,” he says crossly and she frowns. 

“Just because some kids are acting out doesn’t mean that all mutants are out for blood,” she says and looks down at the floor. “I’m better at hiding it and I’ve learned to put up with it. That’s what most of us have done.” 

“Just. . .just how many of you are there?” 

She shrugs. “We’re everywhere. You just never payed attention to it,” she says and sighs. “But I bet once this reign of terror ends with these kids, you won’t be seeing mutants popping up for a good while,” she mutters and shakes her head. “More importantly, I need to know if you had contact with Yamada Kairi recently.” 

“Don’t know who that is,” he says and moves to sit on his staircase to digest this. Mutants have always been around. . .then why are these kids now bringing attention to the community that has been hidden all this time? It doesn’t seem to be empowering mutants to rise up and show themselves. What purpose do they have? None of this is making sense. 

“When I asked around at her job, she had an interview with you and never returned from it. Some of her co-workers claimed they saw you and her leave together after an event, are you sure that you don’t know who she is?” she asks and Oikawa rubs his head. 

“Can you tell me your name before you start to interrogate me?” 

“Shirofuku Yukie. And I’m not interrogating you. I don’t think that you have anything to do with her disappearance.” 

“Then why bother breaking my door down at seven in the morning?” 

“It’s almost ten.” 

Oikawa has never been good with time. 

Shirofuku places a hand on her hips. “If you need to know, I think that her disappearance might be connected to someone that I’ve been trying to catch for a long time. She’s his type of target and I feel if I can just find her. . .I can get closer to bringing him down,” she says quietly. Oikawa leans back on his elbows and closes his eyes, trying to go through the faces of girls that have came to him looking for more than an interview. He honestly doesn’t remember anyone by the name of ‘Yamada’ though; it’s been so long since he even divulged in that type of easy prey before he really started to get serious about wanting to take things to the next level with Iwaizumi. 

He still doesn’t even know what type of person Iwaizumi is attracted to. If Oikawa was that type of person, would Iwaizumi had confided in him more? 

He pinches the bridge of his nose. No, not now. He can’t think about that right now. Oikawa searches and thinks and rubs the back of his neck, sighing. 

“Do you have a picture of her or something? I’m drawing a blank,” he says and Shirofuku reaches into her jacket pocket, pulling out a small photograph and hands it over to Oikawa. He takes it and inspects it closely, staring long and hard at the young woman of around college age posing underneath a tree. 

“. . .Oh! Oh, yeah! I remember her! . . .I last saw her a few months ago. Around the time when the mutants first attacked the diner,” he says. He never did bother to remember her name, they didn’t even use names when they were in bed that night. He feels bad now knowing that she’s missing; he sent her on her way without even making sure that she got home safely. . . 

Oikawa frowns. “How come you’re now looking into her disappearance?” he asks and she pockets the photo. 

“Her parents were found murdered in their home. Coroner estimates their death around a month ago and no one bothered to check on them until neighbors started to complain about a foul smell coming from their home. Her fingerprints were all over the murder weapon,” Shirofuku explains. 

“Strange for her to disappear for months and then show up only to kill her parents,” Oikawa muses and she sighs. 

“Yeah, I don’t believe it either. That’s why I’m looking for her. . .thanks for your help. You can send the bill to my office for the door,” she says, slipping her hand into the back of her pants pocket to pull out a business card. She hands it over to Oikawa, who turns it over in his hands and scrutinizes it. It’s not at all fancy and it looks like it was made in a haste; the font is making his eyes hurt just by looking at it. 

Shirofuku turns on her heel and begins to walk out the open door, pausing at the doorway. “Have you ever met someone by the name of Daishou Suguru?” she asks and Oikawa blinks, then rubs his chin. 

“Ah, no?” 

She doesn’t respond. She just nods her head and continues out the door. 

Oikawa gets up to follow her, almost stumbling over the broken remains of his door as he gets to the doorway entrance. He freezes when he sees Shirofuku pass Sugawara and Michimiya in the walkway without paying any attention to them. Both turn to look at her as they pass by, then both turn to Oikawa and then to the gaping hole in his doorway where his door once stood. 

Michimiya’s eyes widen. “What happened?” she asks and Oikawa jumps in his spot. 

“A-Ah! Long story! Door wasn’t properly on its hinges. I’ll fix it later,” he sputters out and Sugawara sticks his hands in his pockets. 

“You move on pretty quickly, don’t you?” he asks and Oikawa blinks. A few seconds later, it clicks, and he furiously shakes his head and waves his hands. 

“N-No, Kou-chan! It’s not what you think! She just wanted a few questions for an investigation, that’s it,” Oikawa clarifies. Sugawara gives a playful smile at that. 

“Good. Iwaizumi-san is too good of a catch.” 

“Hey, you already have a boyfriend,” Oikawa says crossly and Michimiya places a hand to her temple. 

“Can we get to what we came here for?” she asks and Oikawa crosses his arms. 

“Can whatever it is wait until I’m dressed?” Oikawa asks. He also has yet to have a decent breakfast and he still has to stew over what Shirofuku told him about the missing girl. Sugawara shakes his head and furrows his brow. 

“It’s about Iwaizumi-san and this case. . .how we think that they might-” he pauses when a ringtone sounds and Michimiya scoffs, reaching into her folder to answer her cell phone. Oikawa yawns and turns around, giving his lower back a small scratch. 

“Let me know when you’re done. I’m going to dig up some breakfast sandwiches,” he mumbles to mostly himself. He only hopes that the breakfast sandwiches Iwaizumi bought like, eight months ago, are still good to eat. 

“W-What do you mean he’s gone?!” he hears Michimiya shout and Oikawa pauses. “H-Hold on, we’ll be right there! Make sure no one leaves the building!” she orders and hangs up the phone. “Iwaizumi-san is missing from the medical facility and bodies have been found-” 

Oikawa doesn’t hear the rest. He’s already running up the stairs to his bedroom to change, get in the suit, and fly. His heart is beating fast in his ribcage and his breath is coming out short and quick as panic rises in his bones. 

No, no, no. 

He’s not going to let Iwaizumi get hurt. He’s not going to let anything bad happen to Iwaizumi. He promised him that and dammit, even if Iwaizumi may not trust him. . .even if Iwaizumi may not feel the same way that Oikawa feels about him. . .Oikawa isn’t going to let anything hurt Iwaizumi ever again.


Iron Man flies faster than Sugawara’s car that speeds down the highway towards the medical facility, and is the first to make it. He nearly crashes into the topiary garden out front in his hasty landing, already stepping out of the suit and linking up with J.A.R.V.I.S. through his watch. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S., take control of the suit and circle around the perimeter of the building. Give me all possible routes of exit that can be taken on foot or by vehicle and tap into street cam footage of all nearby streets that occurred from 7pm last night to five this morning,” Oikawa orders. The suit animates and it raises its arm in a salute, before it rockets off into the sky and begins to circle the facility. 

Oikawa turns and runs inside, heading straight for the receptionist desk. 

“You!” he says loudly and the receptionist jumps in her seat. She clutches at her desk as Oikawa leans over and looks at her computer screen. “Bring up the security footage from last night,” he more so demands than asks. The woman bites her lower lip and looks down at her hands. 

“There. . .there isn’t any footage from last night,” she says meekly and Oikawa blinks. 

“What do you mean there isn’t any footage?” he asks, going around the desk and getting in front of the computer himself. The woman squeaks, placing her face in her hands as Oikawa searches and opens up all the files on the computer and sweeps through the hard drive to find nothing. “Did you forget to turn the cameras on or something?” he spits and the woman shakes her head. 

“I-I remember turning them on but. . .I don’t remember anything that happened last night. I-I’m so sorry, I don’t know why I can’t remember-” 

“You don’t remember seeing anyone walk through here and leave? You don’t remember what happened to that camera footage last night?” Oikawa questions and the woman shakes her head, eyes blown wide and body trembling. 

“I don’t- I don’t remember. I don’t know why I can’t. No matter how hard I try I just. . .” she closes her eyes and grinds her teeth, hitting her head and gripping at her hair. “I don’t remember what happened! Everything is just darkness,” she grits out and Oikawa frowns. 

“Oikawa.” 

Oikawa groans loudly and turns, seeing Ushijima approaching the receptionist desk with Shirabu following close behind. Ushijima glances over at the receptionist that is currently worrying her hair out of its neat bun and frowns. 

“There’s no need to heckle her. She doesn’t remember what happened last night or what happened with the camera footage. No one here remembers anything,” Ushijima explains and Oikawa raises an eyebrow. He moves from behind the receptionist desk and crosses his arms. 

“You expect me to believe that the entire staff doesn’t remember last night? Do you think I’m gullible, Ushiwaka-chan?” Oikawa hisses with venom dripping from his words. Shirabu frowns and steps forward to confront Oikawa, but Ushijima places his hand out to stop him. 

“I don’t have an explanation for this mass amnesia. I was called by Nobuyuki-san to do some investigative work that may require someone to look in small spaces and collect any DNA-” 

“Then why are you down here wasting my time?” Oikawa spits and stalks over to the elevator, angrily jabbing the up button. He feels a hand on his shoulder forcefully turn him around, meeting Shirabu’s angry gaze. 

“Quit acting like you’re the only one concerned when we’re trying to help,” he snaps and Oikawa yanks Shirabu’s hand off of him. 

“It’s not like you have to worry about someone you’re close to since you’re always at his side,” Oikawa says and gives a mocking smirk. “Your codename fits you. Pesky and irritating like the real thing,” he says and Shirabu grits his teeth. His hand balls into a tight fist, but Ushijima is pulling Shirabu away and holds him by the shoulder. 

“We’re not here to fight, we’re here to get some questions answered,” he says firmly and looks to Oikawa. “Oikawa, I know you’re angry and you feel the need to lash out at everyone-” 

“No, just you.” 

“-But we will find Iwaizumi-san and he’ll be alright,” Ushijima continues, unfazed. Oikawa scowls as the elevator dings and the doors slide open. He steps inside the elevator and waits for Ushijima and Shirabu to follow inside, but they do not. Shirabu crosses his arms. 

“We’ll catch up,” he says and Oikawa doesn’t respond, pressing the button for the floor Iwaizumi was on. As the doors close, Ushijima turns to Shirabu and gives a knowing nod. 

“Suit up.”


When the doors to the elevator slide open again, Oikawa hears the sound of someone violently retching echo down the hall from the bathroom. He turns his gaze to the walls of the hallway, a dried blood stain splattered on the wall and a chalk outline on the ground. The figure must have been a male from the size of the outline, Oikawa thinks, and looks back at the blood stain. What the hell happened last night? 

A couple of police officers notice his presence and one of them approaches him. 

“Sir, this area is off-limits-” 

“It’s alright, he’s with us,” a voice calls and Oikawa glances behind the officers as Nobuyuki and Nishinoya approach from down the hall. The officers stand aside to let them pass and Nobuyuki bows his head. “If it will be alright, can he look around the crime scene as well? The missing person is close to him,” Nobuyuki says. One of the police officers nod their head and fishes out a notepad. 

“S-Sure! And maybe we can ask you a few questions to help with the investigation?” he asks and Oikawa waves his hand. 

“Yeah, yeah, sure,” he mumbles, pushing past the officers and continuing to the open door. He hears footsteps follow him and assumes it to be Nishinoya and Nobuyuki, but he keeps his face forward and enters the medical room. 

It’s orderly and clean, aside from a small drop of blood that is near the bed and marked. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of struggle if Iwaizumi was kidnapped. . .could he have just got up and left? Oikawa bites his lip, feeling guilt well up in his chest again. He was so angry with Iwaizumi that he didn’t bother to check in on him when he was admitted to the facility, in his childish way of pay back. He doesn’t even know what condition Iwaizumi is in or where he could have gone if he did leave. Sure as hell wasn’t his place. 

“There isn’t much in here to see,” Nobuyuki says, standing next to Oikawa and crossing his arms. “The only thing the officers were able to find is that drop of blood. Iwaizumi-san’s chest wound might have opened up when he moved,” Nobuyuki murmurs and Oikawa flinches. 

“Anything else?” 

“Well, my clipboard is in a different spot, but I don’t know if that amounts to anything,” Nobuyuki says and rubs his chin. “Iwaizumi-san had a broken leg and broken ribs. There are no crutches or wheelchairs that are missing and there’s no evidence that he crawled out or was dragged out.” 

Oikawa then glances down at Nishinoya, his eyes moving all around the room with a frown on his lips. 

“Noya-san, how come you’re here?” he asks and Nishinoya rubs the back of his neck. 

“Well, I met with Iwaizumi-san before that attack happened yesterday. He asked me to look into something about Yamaguchi Corps. and I found another article that he might be interested in. I mean, I don’t know if it has anything to do with the Enhanced or anything but. . .” he bites his lower lip and looks back up at Oikawa. “I was hoping that maybe he would make sense of it.” 

Oikawa turns to look at the bed where Iwaizumi once was. He doesn’t understand why all of this stuff is happening so rapidly and spiraling out of his control like this. Why are all these mutants coming for Iwaizumi? What does Iwaizumi know about them and vice versa? Is there anything that Oikawa could have done to prevent any of this from happening? His hands ball into tight fists and he breathes in deeply through his nose. He doesn’t understand a fucking thing that’s happening right now and it frustrates him to no end. 

Something slumps against the doorframe behind him and he turns, seeing Asahi leaning against the door looking green (not Hulk-green) in the face and hair disheveled. 

“Oh good, they got rid of the body,” he says relieved and Nishinoya places hands on his hips while Oikawa cocks his head to the side in confusion. 

“Azumane-san? You’re here too?” 

“I’m here only because Yuu needed someone to drive him to the facility and I have clearance to enter,” he says pitifully and wipes his mouth of spit. “I can’t believe someone got murdered last night. That means that this facility could be haunted-” 

“Pretty sure that’s not how it works, Azumane-san,” Nobuyuki says with a chuckle and Asahi looks down at the floor. 

“I can’t stand the sight of blood. Just thinking about the fact that I stood next to a dead body on the ground covered in blood just makes me. . .” Asahi covers his mouth and makes a retching noise. Oikawa takes a couple steps back just in case Asahi needs to vomit, but the man manages to swallow it back down and only looks sicker. 

“Asahi! We need to do everything we can in helping them find Iwaizumi-san! So come on! We need to check out those guards next!” Nishinoya demands and stomps over, grabbing at his boyfriend’s wrist. Asahi pleads and begs and whines, but he is already being dragged off by Nishinoya to wherever. Oikawa turns back to Nobuyuki. 

“The guards. Were there any on watch last night?” 

“Sugawara-san stationed two guards to watch over the room. But their bodies were found in a storage closet further down the hall,” he says and rubs his chin. Both of them died from a bullet to the head, but one of their handguns is missing. Also, the bullet wounds appear to be self-inflicted. . .but that’s just my guess. I won’t really know without there being a proper autopsy report,” he says and Oikawa frowns. 

“Is it possible-” 

“That someone made it look like they committed suicide and just hid their bodies in the closet? I thought that too, but there’s no evidence of the bodies being moved. No blood on the floors to show they were dragged. Plus, they’re pretty big guys, so I think they will be very difficult to move. Especially if we believe the people that have anything to do with Iwaizumi-san’s disappearance is that kid you fought.” 

“He’s a weirdo. He could have done some. . .mind-wavey thing and poofed them into the closet,” Oikawa says, wiggling his fingers for extra effect. 

“We don’t know if that’s how his powers work, Oikawa-san,” Nobuyuki says and Oikawa scowls. 

“But. . .why would two officers that were supposed to be on duty just decide to walk into a closet and kill themselves? This entire thing doesn’t make any sense,” Oikawa says frustrated and Nobuyuki nods his head. 

“This case is getting deeper and deeper. I’m just worried that we’re getting farther and farther from the surface,” Nobuyuki comments and Oikawa runs a hand through his hair. Yeah, he feels the same way. 

Oikawa steps out the hallway and looks at the bloodstain on the wall and the tape on the ground. Three casualties and a missing person. . .Iwaizumi couldn’t have done this. . .but that does explain why one of the guard’s handguns is still missing if this victim was shot with it and the murderer took the weapon with them. Oikawa shakes his head; no, no Iwaizumi has nothing to do with this! Ugh, he needs to find that security footage. Something must tell him what happened here. 

Oikawa turns to the right towards the elevator, glancing over his shoulder at Nobuyuki. “I’m going to head back to the lab. Call me if you find anything-” 

Oikawa pauses in his steps when a bloodcurdling scream pierces through the air. The two officers that are in the hallway jump in alarm, then quickly bolt down the hallway in the opposite direction of the elevator. Oikawa’s head jolts to look at Nobuyuki, who grits his teeth. 

“Come on!” he shouts and runs, elastic limbs stretching for him to move faster. Oikawa chases after Nobuyuki, rounding the corner and dodging the police tape that have the area marked off. The officers have stopped halfway and Nobuyuki and Oikawa push past them, stopping only a few seconds in their place afterwards as they look over the sight. 

Asahi is on his hands and knees, clutching at his heart and trying to catch his breath. Above him trying to help him up to a sitting position at least, is someone in a black and yellow suit that reminds Oikawa of a hornet about to attack. The design of the helmet is definitely frightening, no wonder Asahi screamed like that. 

Beside him, Nishinoya is admiring the suit’s forearm and the tentacle like stingers on their back, eyes bright and big and far more impressed than dealing with Oikawa’s suits. Oikawa would be lying if he says he isn’t just a little bit irritated. 

“Oi, what’s going on here?” Oikawa asks and the person in the suit turns towards Oikawa and places their hand on the underside of their jaw. 

“Oikawa,” they begin and Oikawa scrunches his nose in disgust. Even through the helmet’s minor distortion of voice, he knows that it’s Ushijima in there. 

“What the hell are you doing?” Oikawa snaps and Ushijima turns his head to look into the closet area that is marked off with police tape. The door is opened, but the bodies have also been removed and there are only police outlines of where their bodies were. There’s also a large pool of dried blood on the floor and it almost makes Oikawa sick to his stomach just looking at it. 

“I was inspecting the area to see if there was anything that was missed by investigators and also gathered some DNA samples inside the closet as well as the elevator. This suit offers more technology for me to work with and use in combat, so I wanted to test its scanning capabilities,” Ushijima explains and Oikawa bites the inside of his cheek. If Oikawa believes that there is something in here that is of importance, he would have scanned the entire floor. But it’s more important to find out where Iwaizumi has gone instead of how he got out. So this is still wasting Oikawa’s time. 

Nobuyuki crosses his arms and looks Ushijima up from head to toe. “And what do we call this new suit?” 

“Yellowjacket,” Ushijima declares and Oikawa snorts. 

“Yellowjacket, Ant-Man, Wasp. How about you make a suit with an insect people actually like? Like, I don’t know, Ladybug or something?” Oikawa snidely comments and turns on his heel, giving a curt nod to Nobuyuki. “Like I said, I’m going to head back to my lab. J.A.R.V.I.S. must be wrapping up on checking the video feeds of street cams and finding something that I can actually work with,” he says obnoxiously and waves his hand. “Let me know if something relevant comes up.” 

He begins to walk to the elevator, ignoring the sputtering of officers that try to get him and stop for a few questions on the case, but feels a hand wrap around his wrist just as he is ready to press the button to head down. He tenses, but relaxes immediately when he realizes the hand isn’t clad in armor. He turns to see Nishinoya standing beside him and looking at him with eyes filled with determination. In his other hand, he holds out a small flash drive. 

“If you want it, here’s a copy of the info that I was going to give to Iwaizumi-san. Maybe. . .there’s something on here that you can work out that might help to find him,” he says and Oikawa takes it, turns it around in between his fingers, and pockets it. 

“Thanks,” he says and Nishinoya squeezes his wrist. 

“We’ll find him, Oikawa-san. All of us working together.” 

Oikawa blinks and then sighs, tugging his wrist from Nishinoya’s grip. 

“Thanks, Nishinoya-san. But I’m the one that’s going to bring him back.”


I picked up an unmarked vehicle that left the facility at around 10pm. Unfortunately, video circuit interference occurred at every traffic light the vehicle approached. There’s no certainty which direction the car traveled.” 

Oikawa scowls and throws himself back his chair and runs a hand through his hair, glaring hard at the video footage J.A.R.V.I.S. copied from the street cams. He does notice that when one particular vehicle approaches the light, the video feed grows distorted and makes it difficult to see what is happening. It’s almost as if a surge of energy went through the device, most likely the work of that weird Thor fanboy. 

He then turns his head to his computer screen that has the information from Nishinoya’s flash drive displayed and projecting the content in a hologram above his head. 

“Anything that might be of use on this flash drive?” 

It’s a list of scientists currently and previously employed by Yamaguchi Goro. Mr. Nishinoya has some starred as being involved with the ‘Weapon XIV’ program and some who are involved in an unknown project.” 

“Names?” 

There’s only two that stand out to me after looking through their resumes and involvement with the program,” J.A.R.V.I.S. says and two pictures appear in front of Oikawa’s face. One is of a young man with a smile that is like a snake and sends a chill up Oikawa’s spine. The other is another man with soft curly hair and glasses that appear too big on his face. He doesn’t even look like he can be a doctor, more like an intern. 

The first is Takeda Itettsu, who is head of the project but has his status with Yamaguchi Corps. listed as ‘terminated’. The second is Daishou Suguru, who is his assistant and has apparently never reported back to work, according to his employee evaluation.” 

Oikawa raises an eyebrow. “When was this evaluation?” 

October of last year. Before the string of disappearances began to occur.” 

Oikawa blinks, then looks back at the picture of Daishou Suguru and that deceptive smile of his. It. . .for some reason, it feels like he’s seen that smile before. But Oikawa can’t remember where or when or why he can’t remember if he truly seen it at all. He rubs his forehead and drags his hand over his face, looking at the picture of Takeda Itettsu. 

It seems strange for the head of a project to be terminated from his job. “Does it say why he was fired? Or if they had got a replacement?” 

It appears that Yamaguchi Goro himself has taken control of the project. But there is no reason listed for Takeda Itettsu’s sudden removal.” 

“And you can’t find anything about this ‘Weapon XIV’?” 

Just this emblem.” 

A picture flashes up in front of Oikawa’s eyes of an emblem of the world being grasped by a fist. There’s no words that are embellished into the emblem and he wracks his brain to see if it is from any known organization that he’s familiar with, but comes up short. He sighs and drums his fingers over the table. 

“Print it out. Maybe I’ll see about asking Kou-chan about it. Also, check out any of my father’s files if there’s any information about this emblem as well. It might be something that has history,” he says. 

Understood, sir.” 

Oikawa gets up to his feet and sticks his hands in the pockets of his sweats. “I’m going to fly over the facility again and check for the unmarked car. See if they dumped it somewhere just in case. Forward all important calls to me and. . .can you set up the MK XII with F.R.I.D.A.Y. as my co-pilot for the evening?” 

Sick of me?” 

“I kinda miss someone yelling at me to figure this shit out and get down to business. You love me too much to raise your voice, J.A.R.V.I.S.” 

If that’s what you perceive, I won’t correct you.” 

Oikawa chuckles and steps away from the desk, sighing in deeply through his nose. He hates this. It’s going to be a fully day and they have absolutely no leads. What is happening to Iwaizumi now? Are they torturing him? He knows how stubborn Iwaizumi is, no way will he give up information without them forcefully dragging it out. Hell, they’ll probably kill him before he says anything. 

No, no he can’t think like that. Iwaizumi is safe. Iwaizumi isn’t hurt. Iwaizumi is just held up somewhere as a prisoner and he’s okay

He runs his hands through his hair and he closes his eyes tight, his heart racing fast as his memory brings up that horrible dream in small sparks. The vision still seems so fresh in Oikawa’s mind and still seems so real. In fact, it feels like it’s even realer now that Iwaizumi is gone and Oikawa doesn’t know what happened to him or where he is. The vision of Iwaizumi on the table, dying and out of Oikawa’s reach. Oikawa being useless to save the one person he cares about. . . 

He shakes his head and holds his head, yelling at his brain to shut up and his chest to calm down and stop taking in so many quick breaths all at once. He can’t panic. He has everything under control. He can pretend that everything is under control and he has a plan. He always has when he worries about Iwaizumi possibly being used as bait to draw Iron Man into a fight. He always has when Iwaizumi got targeted those few times and got put in the hospital. He always pretended that he had a plan and everything is alright. 

Now, he can’t pretend. And it’s slowly eating him from the inside out.


So what’s the plan?” 

“Well I thought I just fly around the area and listen to you talk. I am always amazed at how perfect the voice that I picked out for you is.” 

Get serious.” 

“I am,” Oikawa says with a humorless smile, scanning the streets and coming up empty. He’s been flying around for hours and he has found nothing in his sights that matches the vehicle description of the unmarked car. F.R.I.D.A.Y. has been constantly checking the police scanners and street cameras for anything suspicious and has remained relatively quiet. But Oikawa can guess that the A.I. is getting rather annoyed with Oikawa not hashing out a plan for them to properly do their job. 

They’re so much like Iwaizumi. This is actually torturing Oikawa even more to have F.R.I.D.A.Y. talking to him than J.A.R.V.I.S. 

Maybe if you hadn’t run away from Ushijima when he offered help-” 

“What help can DNA samples be? We know they’re Enhanced. What will analyzing their DNA structure do to help solve where Iwaizumi went?” Oikawa spits. 

I don’t know. But the point of the matter is that there are others that are trying to help you and you insist on figuring it out on your own. The Avengers isn’t just you, so why are you trying to shoulder all of the work?” 

“F.R.I.D.A.Y., my young and naïve A.I., you don’t understand the concept of having someone in your life and the devastation in your heart when they’re gone.” 

It makes me think that you’d do everything you can to get them back if you love them so much and look at all options presented to you.” 

“If you can give me one valid reason how DNA is going to find Iwaizumi, I’ll listen. Until then, less talky, more street cam search-y.” 

F.R.I.D.A.Y. gives an irritated grunt and goes quiet, camera footage of the streets flashing rapidly before Oikawa’s eyes. He circles around a building and rises up towards the air to avoid being spotted by the people below, then dives downwards to zip through the alleyways and upwards to the roofs. 

Another hour passes and there is still no luck. It’s starting to get dark soon and it will become difficult for him to spot an abandoned car. He doesn’t want to get too close and start up a panic on why Iron Man is in the city and fear that a threat might be looming by. But at this altitude, he can’t properly spot anything in his vision, even with enhanced zoom. 

Sir, a phone call from Mr. Sugawara,” J.A.R.V.I.S. says and Oikawa rises up, landing on the rooftop of a love hotel. 

“Patch him through,” he says and begins to scan the street in front of him. 

There is a small pause, before he hears the line connect. 

You left before I could talk with you,” Sugawara begins. 

“Couldn’t wait any longer to talk. The longer it takes to find him; the more anxiety I feel that something bad is going to happen to him. I need to keep myself moving because if I stop, I think about what could be happening to him and what I could have done to prevent this and-” 

Take a deep breath,” Sugawara instructs and Oikawa pauses, before he sucks in enough air for his lungs to be full and exhales at a slow rate. “Listen to me, I’m positive that they will not do anything that can result in Iwaizumi-san being killed. They had plenty of opportunities to do so in the past and never acted upon it. They’re keeping him alive for a reason.” 

“Yeah, it’s to be used as bait,” Oikawa says angrily. 

I thought that too. But remember, they already got to you somehow without taking Iwaizumi hostage for it. They could have just repeated the same thing and infiltrated the base if that was what they really wanted. Take us all out while we’re unprepared. No, they took him for a different reason.” 

“And what reason do you think it is, Kou-chan?” 

It has to deal with what I wanted to talk to you about. It’s going to be kind of long, so I hope you’re stationed somewhere.” 

“Ehh, can’t you give me the abridged version?” Oikawa whines and Sugawara sighs. 

You know the program that your father was involved with? The Weapon Plus program that made Daichi who he is?” 

“What about it?” 

What do you think it was for?” 

Oikawa blinks, then cocks his head to the side. He rockets upwards and begins to move to a different point in the city to search. “It was to win the war. I mean, it came around too late and Daichi got put on ice so he can be used at a later date, plus the serum got lost with the doctor in the bombings-” 

Yes, Daichi was meant to fight in the war. But that wasn’t the reason the program was created.” 

A picture flashes on the screen to his right of Daichi in ice, dated 1947. Beside the picture, holographic words appear in big bolded font. ‘WEAPON I. STATUS: ON RESERVE’. 

Back then, the Enhanced. . .the mutants. . .were unknown to the public eye. Only a few people were aware of them and feared that they will usher in a new age for humanity. They believed the mutants will overpower them and become the dominant species on Earth. So, to prevent this from ever happening, Weapon Plus was created. Daichi was their first successful project.” 

Oikawa lands on the rooftop of an apartment building and takes a knee. “So you’re saying that Dai-chan was meant to fight mutants, not other soldiers? . . .Did my old man know about this? Does Dai-chan?” 

I believe both of them were told that this project was meant for the war they were currently dealing with. I haven’t asked Daichi to make sure though. . .but I think your father figured out the true purpose of Weapon Plus later on in his life. This is where Iwaizumi-san comes in.” 

“You’re not telling me that Iwa-chan was drafted for this paranoid program-” 

I’m saying that in your father’s personal notes to S.H.I.E.L.D. and to Agent Ikejiri, he writes about an unknown person he dubs ‘Patient Zero’. This person was seven years old and believed to be in a coma, but displayed strange activity while they were allegedly unconscious. The scanners would show strong brain activity when their mother, who was very emotional at losing her husband and her child, visited. Often times, nurses couldn’t deal with taking care of the child because they suffered extreme headaches they believed to come from stress. One exceptional incident involving ‘Patient Zero’ was recorded about what seemed to be a small earthquake that only affected that one hospital room and couldn’t be explained by seismologists or the contractors of the hospital.” 

Oikawa licks his lips. He remembers visiting Iwaizumi in the hospital when his friend went into that coma. His father always insisted on going and mainly brought Oikawa along as an excuse for him to be there without it seeming strange. Most of the time, his father would only stand in the corner and watch the two of them as Oikawa would sit by Iwaizumi’s bedside and hold his hand. 

He’d talk to Iwaizumi about all the shows he’s missing and tell him about all the bugs he spotted in the backyard. He’d tell Iwaizumi about the other kids at school and about the girls that would try to walk home with him now that Iwaizumi isn’t there to scare them away. He’d tell him about all the fun things that he can’t wait to do together when Iwaizumi woke up and how he’ll be right here when he does. 

Oikawa told him that he’ll be there to help Iwaizumi and keep him safe so something like this will never happen again. 

He also remembers his father pulling him to the side when they got the call from Iwaizumi’s mother and the menacingly cold look his father gave him as he spoke in a low voice. 

Don’t you ever speak about this to him.  

Oikawa shakes his head and sucks in a quick breath, looking out into the street below. There’s a couple walking together hand in hand, while a man jogs down the street in the opposite direction and his dog trails behind him. No unmarked vehicle here either. 

This ‘Patient Zero’ seems to show the same strange happenings that Iwaizumi-san has been experiencing lately. And when I tried to look at Iwaizumi-san’s medical history, I noticed that some files from when he was a child are missing. I just. . .I just feel that maybe they’re one and the same.” 

“. . .You’re implying that my father knew something about Iwa-chan? That he’s one of them?” 

It makes sense. Why those kids keep getting drawn to him like this and why he feels so strongly about protecting them. . .why he felt the need to hide it from us because he was afraid on how we’d react. Maybe he doesn’t even know it himself and is figuring it out piece by piece. . .it’s just a hunch. I’m not a scientist or anything.” 

Oikawa clicks his tongue. “There’s only room for one good looking scientist associated with S.H.I.E.L.D., Kou-chan.” 

How mean. Are you saying that Asahi, Kai and Wakatoshi are ugly?” 

“Azumane-san is in a different league all together. Rugged and manly, you can’t compare him to me. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Nobuyuki-san is attractive, but he’s not up to my scale. And Ushiwaka is a toad. I mean, only his stupid secretary is attracted to him, so what does that say?” Oikawa says and Sugawara laughs. 

He’s still attractive. But, we all know who my personal favorite Avenger is.” 

“I know. A 97-year-old man that has a Frisbee as his weapon.” 

Sugawara clicks his tongue and Oikawa stands to his feet. “Anything else you want to run by me?” 

I’m still waiting on the results from Wakatoshi. Do you want me to keep you updated on that or could you care less?” 

“. . .Keep me updated. Just so I can call him and tell him that his efforts were futile from the very beginning,” Oikawa says. Sugawara gives a sigh and Oikawa can see his expression in his mind, pinching the bridge of his nose and shaking his head from side to side like a disapproving parent in desperate need of a drink. 

Also, Noya told me about the list of doctors that he was looking at for Iwaizumi-san. Any idea about that?” 

“Not much. I mean, it’s suspicious that the head got fired from his job without any known reason when they should have fired that guy that just stopped showing up to work. Had this ‘Daishou Suguru’ been an employee at my facility-” 

Does the name Daishou Suguru sound familiar to you?  

Oikawa’s words die midsentence as Shirofuku’s face flashes before his eyes and her question rings in his ear. 

“. . .Wait. . .wait. . .Kou-chan!” 

W-What? What is it?” 

“Are you busy right now? Can you meet me someplace?” Oikawa quickly says as he goes through his archived lists of contacts. Luckily, J.A.R.V.I.S. saved it when Oikawa scanned her business card into his phone book and it has her address for her office. It’s not even that far from where Oikawa currently is. 

“Listen, I’m going to message you the address. Be there as quick as possible and don’t bring too many agents with you. I don’t want you to freak her out.” 

Freak who out?” 

“Someone who might give us some answers we’ve been looking for.” 


Shirofuku’s office isn’t really an office. It’s more like an apartment building in the shady part of the city that is in Kuroo and Ennoshita’s patrol route. There’s an izakaya across the street and people stumbling drunkenly out of it to puke onto the curb and a couple shady individuals lurking in the alleyway away from wandering eyes. Oikawa clicks his tongue; this girl is a private detective? Who would even want to come to this part of town? 

He sees a dark car approach the curbside in front of him and he glances at his watch. F.R.I.D.A.Y. is currently piloting the suit and sweeping the streets for the unmarked car, but will be back to pick him up when he calls for them. He knows the A.I. is searching every nook and cranny and possibly running thousands of scenarios of different escape routes from the facility to track and recreate. As long as they don’t draw any attention, they should be fine. 

The car pulls to a stop and Sugawara gets out of the passenger side, looking at his surroundings before his eyes meet Oikawa’s. Oikawa smiles as Sugawara approaches and he points a finger at the car. 

“Better tell your driver to circle around the block. Someone might try to sell them some drugs,” he says and Sugawara adjusts his cuffs. 

“It’s driverless.” 

“Even worse, someone will steal the wheels.” 

Who is here again?” Sugawara asks as Oikawa holds open the door him to enter (that’s certainly not safe if anyone can easily walk into the building like this). The lobby is modestly small and there’s an elevator directly in front of them. They approach and Oikawa presses the button to go up, glancing at Sugawara out of the corner of his eye. 

“Like I said, someone that can give us some answers. Particularly about those scientists Noya-san found.” 

“You think they’re tied to Iwaizumi-san’s disappearance?” 

“Well, I believe they have something to do with this case in general. Plus, we might be offering her some help,” Oikawa says as the elevator doors slide open and they step inside. He sincerely hopes that the faded stain underneath the button panel isn’t blood as he presses the button for Shirofuku’s floor. 

“And who is this lady friend of yours? A previous conquest?” Sugawara asks and Oikawa scowls. 

“No! She’s an acquaintance I met through a conquest!” Oikawa clarifies and Sugawara rolls his eyes as the door dings open again. Someone is arguing very loud in the apartment they pass and Sugawara’s expression fills with more and more skepticism. 

“You’re sure she can help us?” 

“I sure as hell hope so,” Oikawa mutters as the arguing grows increasingly louder and louder and they draw closer to the apartment at the end of the hallway. The door is different from the others around them. For one thing, where there probably should be a glass window pane advertising Shirofuku’s private investigator office is a piece of plywood jammed into the opening with ‘KNOCK. DOORBELL BROKEN’ spray-painted in black. He winces at how bad this entire situation looks. 

Sugawara stops in front of the door and turns to Oikawa, gesturing for him to knock first. Oikawa swallows and sighs, raising his fist and giving the door two knocks outside of the plywood sign. He crosses his arms and listens as the arguing grows louder down the hall and more distracting, only hoping that Shirofuku is in. Not like he called her ahead of time to give her a heads up. 

After a minute, the door opens and Shirofuku stands before them with her hair mused and in a tank shop and pajama shorts. Oikawa blinks, then gives an awkward laugh and wave while Sugawara just stares in confusion. 

Shirofuku blinks, then scrunches her eyes. “If you’re looking for money for your door now-” 

“Yeah, hi. Forget about the door for a quick second. Can we come inside so we don’t have to listen to,” Oikawa tilts his head down the hallway as the sound of something smashing against a wall sounds. Shirofuku rolls her eyes in annoyance and opens the door, gesturing for them to come inside. 

Sugawara enters first and immediately begins to check around the doorways and locate all pathways of escape while Oikawa follows after. Shirofuku’s apartment is actually clean and well furnished. There’s no genkan like Iwaizumi’s apartment, so he figures the place to be Western-style. The living room they’re in is spacious and looks comfortably lived in, with a small television playing late night dramas and a bowl of freshly popped popcorn resting on the coffee table. 

Shirofuku awkwardly gestures down the hallway. “Uh, you can have a seat in my office while I. . .” she pauses and looks down at her state of undress. “. . .put on some pants.” 

“Y-Yeah, will do,” Oikawa says with a smile and grabs hold of Sugawara’s arm to drag him down the hall before he can start inspecting her mail. Shirofuku heads in the opposite direction and Oikawa guesses her bedroom must be that way. He goes to the open door that is on the right and peers inside, seeing a small office room set up with the lamp on the desk shining light on the paperwork. 

They step inside and Oikawa takes a seat in one of the two large chairs in front of the desk. Sugawara remains standing and picks up a photo frame on the bookshelf, scrunching his eyes at the photo. 

“Wasn’t she that girl that was at your home this morning?” Sugawara asks and Oikawa twitches, bashfully rubbing the back of his neck. 

“U-Uh well, yeah. She was there to get some information about a case she’s currently working on. Missing person that I came in contact with a while ago,” Oikawa explains and Sugawara sets the photo down. 

“Great. Two people are missing now. The police are going to have their hands tied,” he murmurs and Oikawa leans forward, resting hands on his knees. 

“We’re involving the police? I thought S.H.I.E.L.D. was supposed to handle this case.” 

“We are. But people were killed, so we have to comply with law enforcement and do the proper paperwork and procedures,” Sugawara says and looks down at the ground. “I’m also supposed to meet with someone sent by the Minister of Defense to help deal with these mutants later on in the week.” 

“Who?” 

“Michimiya searched him up for me. Nekomata Yasufumi. . .Ukai-san worked with him previously before when S.H.I.E.L.D. was asked to assist in stopping the Scarlet Witch during her reign of terror,” Sugawara says. Oikawa remains silent at that and steeps his fingers. He still has a bunch of footage and S.H.I.E.L.D. files to search through before he makes his decision on whether or not Nekomata is truly an ally that S.H.I.E.L.D. wants around these kids and Iwaizumi. 

There’s a gentle knock at the door and both turn, Shirofuku walking inside now dressed in comfortable jeans and her hair tied up in a messy bun. She takes a seat at her desk and pushes aside some papers, leaning forward with her arms crossed in front of her. 

“Okay, what do you want to talk about?” 

“You said the name ‘Daishou Suguru’ when we met this morning. Do you know who he is? Were you close to him?” Oikawa asks and Shirofuku frowns. 

“You could say that. . .if you considered being brainwashed and used as his personal sex slave ‘close’.” 

Oikawa blinks. Beside him, Sugawara takes the seat next to him and sits down. 

“What do you mean ‘brainwashed’? Who is this guy? I thought he was a scientist.” 

“Oh, he is,” Shirofuku says and leans back in her chair. “He’s brilliant and charismatic and he knows his way around a lab. He’s also egocentric and manipulative and believes that the he deserves only the finest that life has to offer. . .if you come across him, you won’t be able to control your actions. He. . .he can make you do things you would never do.” 

Oikawa feels a bead of sweat break over his brow as Shirofuku rubs her head. “He approached me one time when I was still in college and he was still an intern at a laboratory firm. I caught his eye and he wanted me for his own. I said no, and I ended up walking away with him hand in hand like I accepted. He kept me prisoner in his apartment, along with two other girls from my university. We weren’t allowed to speak unless spoken to, did all of his chores around the house and subjected ourselves to humiliating acts for his entertainment.” 

“But, eventually he got bored with us. He told us to go home, forget that all the things he did to us ever happened and tell our family and friends we went on a ‘self-discovery’ trip. And we did. . .it was now just a nightmare that felt real.” 

“So why do you still remember it?” Sugawara asks and Shirofuku twirls a strand of hair around her finger. 

“Because if I don’t force myself to fight against his command. . .if I let myself forget it. . .I’ll leave myself open to him attacking me again. . .did you come in contact with him somehow? It must have been through some files because he’s good at erasing himself from people’s memories,” she says bitterly and Oikawa leans back in his chair, feeling sick to his stomach. 

“. . .Yeah, his name came up in a file we were looking through. Do you know about any of his work with Yamaguchi Corps.? Or maybe Takeda Itettsu?” Sugawara asks and Shirofuku shakes her head. 

“No. I didn’t care about any work that he did unless he wanted me to care when he complained about it,” she says and pinches the bridge of her nose. “From what I remember, his employer talked about giving him a promotion if he managed to complete a project for him. Don’t know what though.” 

Sugawara nods his head and rubs his chin. “Now, Miss. . .” 

“Shirofuku Yukie.” 

“Shirofuku-san, do you know how he was able to brainwash you? Did he use a type of machine or-” 

“No. His body secretes a type of pheromone that makes you highly susceptible to his commands. It only works with his voice and the way he talks too, so no one can command another while he does it. And when he commands you. . .you can’t fight it. You’d want so badly to fight back but you can’t.” 

“. . .I never heard of something like this,” Sugawara murmurs and Shirofuku raises an eyebrow. 

“Wait, are you up to speed on the situation we’re dealing with here?” she asks and Sugawara looks to Oikawa, who is still searching through his mind for that one night. That one night that seems so dark in his mind and so clouded. He. . .he remembers that smile. He remembers. . .that voice. 

“Enlighten me,” Sugawara says when it’s clear he won’t get an answer from Oikawa. Shirofuku looks down at her hands in her lap and bites her lower lip. 

“Well. . .Daishou is a mutant. . .and so am I,” she says and meets her eyes with Sugawara’s. Sugawara stares at her with wide eyes and she breaks her gaze, looking over to Oikawa. “I know that he’s Iron Man and I know that Kuroo is Deadpool. I don’t know the aliases of the other Avengers and I don’t plan on telling anyone either.” 

“How do you know-” 

“I did a little investigative work on Oikawa-san in regards to the current case I’m working on and pieced together the puzzle. As for Kuroo. . .he helped me after what happened with Daishou. Taught me a couple of things on how to deal with the stress. . .with the nightmares. . .” Shirofuku says and Sugawara leans back in his chair, biting the inside of his cheek. 

“If you don’t trust me because of those kids, then fine, I don’t blame you. But not all mutants are like that. We’ve been hiding for so long and I admit, some of us are sick of it and we want to feel free to be who we are without people fearing us. But we’re not terrorists and we’re not here to hurt humans,” Shirofuku says strongly and Sugawara looks down at her desk. 

The three sit in silence, Shirofuku anticipating what Sugawara is to say next while Sugawara mulls over this revelation in his mind. Before he speaks, Oikawa suddenly opens his mouth. 

“Can this man control multiple people at once?” he suddenly asks, gripping the armrests of the chair he sits in tight. “Can he force multiple people to forget that he ever was there? . . .Can he make two men walk into a closet and kill themselves? Or a person that has injuries move?” Oikawa rambles and Shirofuku sighs. 

“So he did come in contact with you. . .you don’t know who you’re dealing with. He’s dangerous and you won’t see him coming. You won’t be able to fight him if you go looking for him,” she says strongly and Oikawa holds his head. He remembers a soft voice whispering into his ear. He remembers lips on the shell of his ear, soft and sweet. 

“He. . .I remember. . .vaguely. . .Kou-chan, it has to be him. He has to be our guy,” Oikawa says, determinedly and gets to his feet. “We need to find him fast. He has to be the mastermind, the one that Ennoshita and Iwa-chan was talking about – those earpieces! He was the one that was controlling Mad Dog-chan and Kozume! He’s behind all of this and we need to-” 

“Didn’t you hear what I said?!” 

Both men turn to Shirofuku, who’s glaring hard at Oikawa. Her hands are in tight fists and she has the bottom of her lip drawn in between her teeth. “You can’t fight him. He will have you killing each other before you can even take a breath and you won’t be able to stop it. You’ve seen his handiwork first hand, so you know what he is capable of. This man. . .” she grits her teeth and Oikawa sees tears welling at the corners of her eyes, “This monster made us beg for him to fuck us. He made us sleep on the floor if we tried to put up a fight and starve ourselves if we tried to escape. We had to cook his food, bathe him, sit at his feet like we were pets for six months. And in the end, he made us forget that it ever happened. Those two other girls went back to their lives like they weren’t his slaves for half of a year. I remember it all and I can’t tell anyone because no one will believe a man kidnapped three girls and forced them to do whatever he wanted and made them forget it ever happened.” 

Oikawa’s nostrils flare. “So what, you want me to just give up? To just forget about the person that I love that he kidnapped and let him do whatever he wants to him?! I’m sorry for what he did to you, Shirofuku-san, but I can’t let him get away with this.” 

“You’re fighting a losing fight. You’ll be better off hoping and praying that whatever Daishou wants with him, he’ll tire of it and let him go,” Shirofuku says and Oikawa grits his teeth. 

“I’m not going to give up. There’s a way to fight him and I’m going to find-” 

Shirofuku raises her fist and slams it down on the surface of her desk. It smashes in two on impact and Sugawara is up and has his gun drawn. Shirofuku’s body is shaking and her voice comes out low and trembling. 

“Are you stupid? Even if you find your boyfriend, how do you think you’ll get him away? He’ll catch you and knowing him, he’ll have his way with your boyfriend and force you to watch before he makes you kill him with your own hands. Do you want that to happen?! Because it will if you try and fight him. You don’t know who you’re dealing with and you don’t know how sick he can truly be,” Shirofuku growls out. 

She pulls her hand back at her side and sits down in her chair. “Now, since you most likely have no information about my own missing persons’ case, please get the hell out of my apartment,” she breathes out. Oikawa bites the inside of his cheek, then looks at Sugawara who is pocketing his gun, also looking concerned. After a few seconds, Sugawara turns and leaves first while Oikawa slowly follows after him. 

His eyes catch the photo frame as he exits the office. A picture of Shirofuku and Yamada at the beach splashing in the water and smiling at the camera.


Ye-Robot-With-No-Name has a rather futile way of making Oikawa fall asleep. It whirs around and under Oikawa’s bed in slow circles while Oikawa lays awake and stares at the ceiling, counting how many laps the little robot has done aloud in a tired mumble. 

An entire day and they don’t know Iwaizumi’s location. He has to wait for Ushijima to finish up with his results to see if they were actually useful and also see what he can work with. There’s still some files in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s database that he needs to look over and he also wants to do his own homework on Nekomata before Sugawara has his meeting with him. Maybe even build himself a fly on the wall to spy on the meeting to see what Nekomata wants to propose on how to deal with the mutants. 

He thinks about Shirofuku and Yamada. He thinks about if Iwaizumi is being put through the same treatment that Daishou gave Shirofuku and those two other girls. The thought alone is enough to make Oikawa want to vomit and not lie around in bed, if only to build something that will find Iwaizumi faster so he can get him away from Daishou. But Shirofuku’s words still haunt him. What if Daishou does catch them? What if Daishou makes Iwaizumi forget all about him and Iwaizumi falls into his clutches again? . . .What if Daishou kills Iwaizumi if only because he knows it’ll hurt Oikawa even more? 

He closes his eyes tight. No, Daishou has never even met Oikawa. He doesn't know anything about their relationship. . .but yet he thinks about that night and forces himself to remember the details that are murky and dark. Daishou’s face seems somewhat clearer as he tries to piece together what happened. What happened that night. . .what happened. . .

 

. . .

 

“It really pisses me off when you think you know what’s best for me when you can barely take care of yourself,” Iwaizumi spits and turns to look out into the city lights. Oikawa bites the inside of his cheek and reaches out a hand to touch Iwaizumi and pull him back. He wants to tell him now. . .his feelings for him and what he truly means to him. Why he wants to just keep him protected and safe away from this danger while he figures out a way to handle it.  

 

Before he does so, a hand is on his shoulder and lips are against his ear.  

 

“Quietly turn around and walk out of the gala. Find the boy waiting down by the stairs and forget my face,” a voice whispers in Oikawa’s ear, too low for Iwaizumi to hear. Oikawa blinks, feeling his body grow tight with nervousness and anxiety as he slowly turns around to face whoever it was that grabbed him. 

 

A man stands behind him smiling pleasantly and quietly, with a purple bowtie and eyes dark with mischief and malice. Oikawa feels his lips pull tight and muffle any noise of protest, and his legs begin to move on their own before he really has a sense of what is going on. He leaves the balcony and leaves Iwaizumi alone, the image of the man slowly disappearing and leaving Oikawa’s memory with each step.  

 

He ignores the people around him and pushes through the crowd, heading down the steps and leaving the gala out the glass doors. His mind immediately goes to searching for a young boy nearby, when his brain wants to go back and talk to Iwaizumi. He grits his teeth as he goes further down the stairs instead of turning around to go back. Why can’t he go back? Why isn’t his body listening to him? Why can’t he remember. . .why can’t he remember who was it that spoke with him just now? His head is beginning to ache and his breath is becoming short and quick-paced. What is going on?  

 

He turns left at the staircase and stops when he sees a boy leaning against the wall, face mask covering his lower half of the face and blue eyes staring at him that are filled with hate. Oikawa’s feet become firmly planted and he doesn’t move as the child approaches him and all of time seems to stop around the them.  

 

“Oikawa Tooru,” the child says, voice muffled behind the mask as he raises his hands and purple energy coils around his fingers. “Let’s find out what you’re afraid of.”  

 

He sees the child’s eyes flash white, before everything around him goes dark.  

 

Oikawa’s eyes flash open and he feels himself drenched in sweat. He’s breathing hard and his hand is grasping at his bedsheets for dear life. He sits upright and peels off his old jersey, throwing it onto the floor of his bedroom. Ye-Robot-With-No-Name will pick it up later, Oikawa figures. 

He sits awake in bed for a few minutes, trying to calm down his heartbeat and his breathing. He pushes his bangs out of his sweating face and throws the bedsheets off of him, clambering out of his bed and leaves his bedroom to head down the stairs. 

Daishou Suguru. . .he’ll be a formidable opponent for sure and Oikawa isn’t sure what will happen when the Avengers face him in their retrieval of Iwaizumi. But he’s not going to allow him to hurt Iwaizumi like he hurt Shirofuku. He’s going to stop Daishou, no matter what happens, and he’s going to get Iwaizumi back safe and sound. 

A resolve burns in Oikawa’s chest that burns brighter than the sun, and he enters his lab to tinker around with anything that can be of help in the upcoming battle until the sun rises above the horizon.

Chapter Text

It’s been three days since Iwaizumi’s disappearance and nothing new has been brought forward. It’s taking longer for Ushijima to put his results to use, but has promised Sugawara that by the time he meets with Nekomata, he will finally have all he needs to continue with the investigation. It pisses Oikawa off by extreme measures, but he bites his tongue whenever Sugawara updates him on Ushijima’s progress and continues with his own work.

Tsukishima has taken up the position of handling Oikawa’s business ventures along with Kunimi while Iwaizumi is away and Oikawa pushed all of his efforts in finding him to his utmost priority. Kindaichi drops in from time to time to help Kunimi with some paperwork, but he is now mainly in the S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities going through grueling training sessions by Hanamaki and Daichi to mentally and physically prepare him for upcoming battles.

Oikawa looks down at the training floor from the window as Kindaichi gets placed in a headlock by Hanamaki’s thighs and wrestled to the floor. Daichi watches tiredly from the sidelines, clipboard in hand with dozens of notes on how to fix Kindaichi’s errors and critiques to study. Oikawa turns away from the window to look across his lab desk at Asahi, who is currently watching Kenma pace back and forth in the holding cell through a holographic projection.

“How is he?” he asks and Asahi glances over at Oikawa, before he pulls on his reading glasses and looks down at the folder in front of him.

“He’s faring better. It took Nobuyuki-san and I a couple of hours to detox his body and get him stable. He had some sort of drug in his system that amplified his abilities five times, which explains why he was able to detonate at higher frequencies than our past encounters with him and why he fizzled out when you two fought. His brain in the neurology report resembled someone that was high off of Ecstasy, but we’re sure that it’s not the same drug,” Asahi explains and looks over his shoulder at Kuroo currently spinning around in a chair completely bored out of his mind.

Since Tsukishima is handling Oikawa’s business matters, that means he is off-limits for fooling around. Which means that Kuroo has found a new person to pester and bother in Kenma, though the teen usually just ignores him whenever he visits his cell and pretends he’s not even there.

“You know, they have their own drugs they take. . .the Enhanced kids. At least, that’s what Mad Dog told me when he threw a BF about one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. nurses trying to give him some pain meds,” Kuroo says aloud, playing with the edge of his mask. He’s wearing an old Astro Boy T-shirt that’s been through the wash way too many times and a pair of ugly sweatpants. And that stupid Deadpool mask completes the absolute fashion disaster that is Kuroo Tetsurou. It literally hurts Oikawa's eyes to even look at him.

Asahi blinks. “. . .BF?”

“Bitch fit. Mean Girls, 2004. Great movie, should have won an Oscar. We can do a little ‘Netflix and chill’ and watch it with Noya and Tsukki if you’re interested, Azumane,” Kuroo says and makes an obscene gesture with his hands. Asahi pales and gives an awkward laugh, before he turns back to the hologram and tries to forget that that ever happened.

“He doesn’t know anything about Iwaizumi-san’s kidnapping and said he was primarily used as a tank in their attacks. Kageyama-kun, the weird one, is apparently the one that is closest to the mastermind. That’s all he divulged before he had to lie down from his headache.”

“He was being controlled by Daishou too?”

“Seems like it. He’s more cooperative with us than Kyoutani-san is. I’m not sure if that’s because he knows the faster he answers our questions, the faster we’ll leave him alone, or if he wants us to bring this guy down as badly as we do.”

Oikawa looks at the hologram and sees Kenma sit down on the bed and pull his knees up to his chest, huddling in tight and close. He looks less intimidating now that he isn’t blowing buildings up and killing people with explosions. . .he turns back to his lab desk and drums his fingers over the surface. What’s going to happen to these kids? Even if they claim that they were being brainwashed by someone, will they let them off so easily? He supposes they could prove that Daishou was manipulating them, but how can they do that without risking people’s safety?

He sighs and leans back in his chair, staring up at the fluorescent ceiling up above. He thinks about Iwaizumi and his eyes. His hair and his calloused hands and his lips he so badly wants to kiss and feel against his own. Please. . .please just be okay and hold on for just a little bit longer.


At two in the morning and now four days elapsing after the kidnapping, Oikawa sits in his lab and stares at the hologram in front of him. There’s currently five different ones open and floating around him. The first hologram to his right and above his head details Nekomata’s job position and status with the government of Japan.

There’s pictures of him with the crown prince and small addresses that he gave to his troops when they were out on the field in the throes of war. A man that loves his country and will fight to protect it; it’s similar to Daichi almost. But Oikawa doesn’t feel that when he looks at Nekomata’s face. There’s something hidden there that isn’t noble and righteous like the smile that appears before the cameras.

The second hologram is above Oikawa’s head and he only looks at it when he feels himself drifting off to sleep. It’s a small montage of old clips and video camera footage of Iwaizumi, ranging from childhood to present times. When he dozes off and leans back into his chair, he sees the hologram and sees Iwaizumi at his fifth birthday party eating the cake that Oikawa offers him, or video of Iwaizumi beating Hanamaki in arm wrestling for the fifth time during their small get togethers.

He sees Iwaizumi’s smile and hears Iwaizumi’s voice and Oikawa sits back upright and pulls his eyes from the footage to focus on the task before him. He knows he needs to sleep, but he just can’t with that hologram he refuses to close reminding him that Iwaizumi is still out there and who knows what Daishou could possibly be doing to him?

The third and fourth holograms that hover to the left of him are simple news reports and video feed that flickers from different news outlets from all over Japan and a few that are worldwide. Most of them are of people worriedly screaming for someone to do something about these mutants, mass hysteria beginning to rise as doctors scramble from around the globe to find out more about these mutants and the probability that someone’s next door neighbors could be one. There’s politicians that are up for election making empty promises on what to do about the mutant problem, ranging from some sort of ‘depowering’ antidote to administer to mutants to shipping them out of the country all together.

Oikawa doesn’t pay any attention to them and figures he might as well close them, but knows that it’s important to see what the public opinion is of mutants now. It might give him a clue as to what course of action the government will take when the Avengers finally capture Kageyama and decide what to do with him, Kenma and Kyoutani. . .

He turns back to the final hologram in front of him and watches video footage of this anti-mutant militia charging into a home and gunning down anyone in sight. The idiots that are wearing his Kevlar suits didn’t realize there are bodycams installed in the front shoulder; had they known that, this footage would most likely have been destroyed. He bites the inside of his cheek in annoyance and anger, sickness welling in his stomach and grows stronger with each clip that plays. 

He knows this is before he officially joined with S.H.I.E.L.D., before the Avengers Initiative became a reality and when Iron Man flew solo. S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel do use his weapons and armor during missions, but now he is the one that looks over who gets what alongside Michimiya and decides what is the best offense for missions. He’s not sure how these men managed to get a hold of this, but assumes that they must have been bought with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s money and unawareness under a dummy corporation. 

He’s not sure if Sugawara has managed to get this far in the search of files relating to the years of the Scarlet Witch; technically these video files are deleted in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s database (though Oikawa isn’t sure by who). He’s only lucky that J.A.R.V.I.S. managed to retrieve them and save a folder under encryption that only he can crack, which means that if anyone tried to delete this footage again, they’ll have to get the password from his lips. 

A small beep sounds from behind him and he turns, seeing Dum-E holding a boiling pot of coffee in its claw. Oikawa blinks, then sighs and rubs his forehead. 

“Thanks,” he mutters and Dum-E slowly wheels forward. Oikawa holds his hand out. “No, are you crazy? I know what’s going to happen and I’m not going to let you get anywhere close with that. Give it to QT so they can pour it, please.” 

Dum-E gives a sad whir as QT rolls over with Oikawa’s mug balancing on its surface and arm extended to Dum-E. Dum-E bends its arm down and turns the coffee pot upside down, dumping the boiling liquid right on top of the little robot. It pours in the mug and overflows, but the coffee also spills all over QT and it makes a noise that Oikawa would best describe as a high pitched scream of agony.

Well, can’t say he didn’t saw that coming. 

Oikawa leans back and grabs a rag, wrapping it around the coffee mug and placing it onto his desk, before he takes the rag and begins to wipe QT down before the coffee sticks. Dum-E makes a noise, drops the coffee pot (it shatters into large shards) and also grabs a rag to help clean QT off. QT just makes pitiful noises and beeps and Oikawa wonders how did QT turn into such a wimpy being. 

“Okay, you’re all cleaned off,” he says and sits back, looking now at the mess underneath QT’s wheels and the broken shards of the coffee pot next to it. “Go and tell Ye-Robot-With-No-Name to clean this mess up and retire for the night. You,” he says and points at Dum-E, “go stand in a corner and think about what you’ve done to your little brother.”

Dum-E gives a sad whirr and slowly wheels away, while QT sets itself to vibrate and wheels off to find the other bot, leaving a small trail of coffee behind it. Oikawa pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs, looking back at the video footage.

Who are these people and what do they want? What do these kids want and why is Daishou planning all of this? This all seems to be too extravagant for the likes of him if Shirofuku’s description of him is anything to go by. A kidnapper, yes. A rapist and sadistic bastard, he’s that too. But he isn’t a mastermind hell bent on creating a better world for mutants by killing all humans in the process.

There’s something else that he’s not seeing. . .like all of this: the Scarlet Witch, Daishou Suguru and the kids, this video footage and the mysterious ‘Weapon XIV’. . .it seems that Oikawa has only got one piece of a very large puzzle.


“Okay, so I have a question. I’m not technically an Avenger so I don’t really need to be here, right?”

“You’re here because we all need to be on the same page in rescuing Iwaizumi-san,” Daichi says, irritated. Kuroo crosses his arms and looks to Ennoshita who is pretending to read a magazine in his lap, then back to Daichi.

“But I thought that this was supposed to be only a meeting between Nekomata and Suga,” Kuroo asks and Daichi crosses his arms.

“Suga wanted us all to be here so we can all hash out a plan. So quit trying to worm your way out of being here,” he says and sighs. “You’re almost as bad as Oikawa when it comes to sitting through meetings.”

Oikawa gives an exhausted grunt of protest at that, but is too tired to make up a witty comeback. Drinking three cups of boiling hot coffee, it turns out, does not reestablish energy like Oikawa thought it would. The particular brand of coffee that he had Iwaizumi purchase for him a while ago clearly states on the label that it’s a ‘real eye-opener’ and ‘gets you into the spring of things at maximum energy!!’. Yet he still feels like any other person who only had an half hour of sleep over the course of two days. After Iwaizumi is safe and sound, Daishou is in prison and the kids are handled, he’s going to sue that company for false advertising.

Beside him, Hanamaki and Matsukawa try to see if they can flick a paper football that’ll hit him directly in the forehead. 

The doors slide open and Nishinoya comes inside toting along a big box of donuts in his arms with Asahi and Michimiya following behind him. 

“Morning everybody!” Nishinoya greets enthusiastically and loud. Oikawa groans at the noise and groans louder when a paper football hits him in the nose. Hanamaki snickers behind his hand, pulling out a chair for Michimiya to sit down next to him. Nishinoya puts down the box of donuts directly in the center of the table and wipes his hands. “There’s about every flavor donut you can think of in there, so help yourselves!” 

“Oh Azumane, if you don’t pop the question, I might have to steal him away from you,” Kuroo purrs and reaches for the donuts first. Asahi flushes scarlet and Nishinoya gives a cheeky smile. 

“Nah, I’ll probably be the one to ask first,” he says and Asahi turns a red that Oikawa didn’t think was humanely possible. Everyone else nods in agreement and Asahi sinks into a chair on the end while Nishinoya takes a spot next to Ennoshita and strikes up a conversation with him. 

The doors open again and in walk Ushijima and Shirabu, who take the seats immediately in front of them. Oikawa is now more alert and sees Shirabu place down a file and a tablet in front of him, before he gives thanks and accepts a pastry from Michimiya. Ushijima adjusts his cuffs, glancing around the table. 

“Sugawara-san isn’t here yet?” 

“He’s getting Nekomata now. They’ll be arriving in a few more minutes,” Michimiya states and Ushijima hums, folding his hands. 

“Then I’ll wait before I share my findings-” 

“No, share them now. We can’t afford to wait any longer,” Oikawa says quickly and all eyes turn to him. He bites his lower lip. “The person that took Iwaizumi. . .he’s dangerous. I don’t know what he can possibly be doing to him, but I know it can’t be anything good. We need to strike now.” 

“Suga told us about your impromptu meeting with that Enhanced girl a few days ago,” Daichi says and narrows his eyebrows. “Are you sure she’s telling the truth? She might be trying to lead you into a trap.” 

“It seems like a very elaborate and expensive trap for her to bust down my door, fabricate a story about being held prisoner for six months, break her own desk and create a missing persons’ case that has documented proof the girl she’s looking for is involved in an investigation,” Oikawa says bitterly. Daichi frowns and Oikawa pinches the bridge of his nose, letting out a sigh. 

“She can be trusted. Maybe. . .maybe we’re looking at this situation from the wrong perspective. We all believe that these mutants are the enemy, but what if it’s just this sick bastard that’s on the extreme spectrum of mutants that are out for human blood? And even that I have a hard time believing because he doesn’t seem the type to care about mass murder and terrorist plots. . .from Shirofuku’s story and the evidence so far, he seems more like the type of person to operate in the shadows and draw as little attention as possible to make things easier.” 

“So why bother doing all of this now? Why is he causing all this mass hysteria if this isn’t his M.O.?” Ennoshita asks and Hanamaki leans on Matsukawa’s shoulder. 

“Could it be someone else that’s pulling the strings? Like this guy is only a red herring?” he suggests. 

“Who else wants this and for what purpose?” Ushijima asks and Kuroo licks his fingers clean of chocolate. 

“Maybe there is no reason. Maybe the guy just wants to watch the world burn.” 

“All the more reason to stop him as soon as possible,” Oikawa says and grips his fists tightly. 

“If what you’re saying is true about this guy, we can’t just charge in there and take him by force. We have to think of a strategy and we’ll be working with fewer people than normal,” Daichi says and glances over to Asahi. “I don’t want him to take control of the Hulk, so Asahi can’t accompany us in the mission. And I don’t want to enlist Kindaichi-san either since he’s still a rookie. I also want to avoid as many casualties as possible, so the number of S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel will be cut as well.” 

“If this guy can make an entire lobby of people forget he ever showed up, we’re all at risk,” Matsukawa says and everyone goes silent at that. Oikawa looks at the folder in front of Shirabu and gnaws at his lower lip. He needs to know what it is that Ushijima found. He needs to know now

The doors open and all heads turn as Sugawara steps inside and gestures to an older man that walks in afterwards and smiles like a cat. 

“Everyone, this is Nekomata Yasufumi. He has been sent by the Minister of Defense and will be aiding us in this rescue mission as well as the apprehension of the culprits,” Sugawara introduces. Everyone rises and gives a respectful bow which Nekomata reciprocates, then all sit as Sugawara takes a spot by Daichi and Nekomata sits next to Ushijima. Sugawara glances all around the table and his eyes rest on Oikawa. He gives a small nod and turns to Nekomata, who takes the donut that is offered to him by Nishinoya in a kind gesture. 

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a S.H.I.E.L.D. base. It still looks as incredible as always,” Nekomata muses and takes a bite of the chocolate donut in his hands, glancing all around at the glass windows that show the detailed interior of the base the meeting room resides in. He turns to Sugawara and smiles. “Well, let’s get started with the briefing, shall we?” 

“Yes,” Ushijima says and rises to his feet as Shirabu opens up something on the tablet and the lights inside the room dim. Oikawa sits upright in his seat, eyes now wide and heart beating frantically as a hologram fills the room of a DNA helix, photographs of the victims in the kidnapping, and an enlarged chromosome that doesn’t look like any chromosome Oikawa’s seen in textbooks. 

Ushijima clears his throat and places his hands behind his back. “Around the time Iwaizumi-san had been attacked by the Enhanced, I have been creating a suit that would allow me to scan for certain things that will be invisible to the human eye. Heat signatures, pheromone levels, anything that would aid in our investigation of what these Enhanced are. The Yellowjacket primarily does that, allowing me to collect samples and analyze them on a microscopic level that can’t be achieved with standard equipment. My partner and I collected five samples that were at the facility and found that two of them are from the same person and have a unique structure.” 

Ushijima points at the enlarged chromosome. “There is a particular gene on this chromosome that is found at the end of the DNA matrix that wasn’t found in the other three samples. At first I thought that it was some sort of abnormality in this gene, some sort of mutation of the 23rd chromosome. . .but I compared it to other blood samples in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s database and found that Kozume-san and Kyoutani-san also share a similar gene,” Ushijima explains and glances around the table. “I believe that this gene may have something to do with their innate abilities.”

“. . .So basically this is what makes them Enhanced? So is the blood sample from the people that kidnapped Iwaizumi-san? Was there some sort of fight?” Nishinoya begins to ask and Ennoshita places a hand on his shoulder to quell him down. Ushijima shakes his head and rubs his chin. 

“No. I initially believed that to be the case, but after running tests on the sample and comparing it to S.H.I.E.L.D. files and DNA samples of known subjects in the case. . .I found it belonging to Iwaizumi-san.” 

A picture of Iwaizumi flashes alongside the victim with the words ‘DIRECT MATCH’ underneath the portrait. Oikawa feels his blood run cold. 

There’s murmurs that float around and Sugawara drums his fingers over the table. Ushijima sighs and crosses his arms again. “At first, I thought it was a mistake made by the Yellowjacket’s scanner, which is why I took so long in reporting my results. But I tested and retested again and found there to be no error.” 

“. . .So. . .Iwaizumi is an Enhanced too?” Matsukawa asks. Eyes drift over in Oikawa’s direction, but he keeps on a neutral face and stares at the projection of Iwaizumi’s face. 

“It would appear so,” Ushijima answers. 

“But. . .how? When? Oikawa-san, did you know-” Michimiya asks and Oikawa shakes his head. 

“No. . .I mean, I never thought about him being one of them. He never had any problems after that incident when we were kids. My father said not to bring it up again and he seemed fine, so I figured it would be better if-" Oikawa mutters.

"You're telling me Hideo knew? . . .Did Hayato know too?" Daichi asks and Sugawara crosses his arms. 

"I found a journal entry from Oikawa's father and letters to Ikejiri-san, so I'm going to assume they figured out that humans weren't alone on this planet. They just didn't take action on it, since the case of 'Patient Zero', which we believe to be a record of Iwaizumi-san's time in the hospital in his childhood, is the only S.H.I.E.L.D. file that has any significance to our current situation," Sugawara states. Daichi bites his lower lip, sighing through his nose.

“So he was always Enhanced. . .then this changes how we need to-” Daichi begins, but Nekomata clears his throat. 

“Excuse me for interrupting, but I can’t help but notice that you all refer to them as ‘Enhanced’. By using that term, you’re projecting the false belief that they are human and became the way they are now by some sort of experimentation,” Nekomata begins, eyes glancing all around the table with a steely gaze. “The Captain is ‘Enhanced’. These kids - your enemy - are mutants. They were never human to begin with, so I believe you should stop using that term and stop looking at them like we have something in common. The faster you do, the faster we can develop a plan to put an end to them and their kind.” 

Oikawa sees everyone visibly tense around the table, Nishinoya looking the most upset. He frowns and leans forward. 

“What the hell is that supposed to mean? ‘Put an end to their kind’?” 

Nekomata chuckles. “Obviously, because of their acts of mass terrorism, they will be charged with the death penalty. The two that you have managed to apprehend, along with the two that you let get away and whoever else is involved.” 

Oikawa feels himself grow sick. 

Nishinoya’s eyes widen and Ennoshita tightens his grip on his cane. Hanamaki and Matsukawa duck their heads and Michimiya stares at Nekomata with a look of surprise. 

“Sir, I don’t think that will be necessary. We already established that Kozume and Kyoutani were possibly being controlled-” Michimiya begins, but Nekomata raises his hand to silence her. 

“I heard of your theory of them being ‘unwilling pawns’ in this scheme. I’m afraid to tell you that that’s wrong. You do realize that they murdered their human parents in cold blood and hatred before they decided to take out their vengeance on the rest of us, don’t you?” Nekomata asks. "The police report of Kyoutani Kentarou parents claim they were stabbed through their guts. Kozume Kenma's foster parents died in an explosion in their bedroom with no known explanation as to how it could have occurred other than him detonating the blast himself."

Oikawa balls his hands into fists at the superior tone Nekomata is starting to take. He opens his mouth, but Sugawara beats him to the punch. 

“The cause of Hinata Shoyou’s parents’ death was a murder suicide committed by the father. He has nothing to do with this-” Sugawara begins, but Nekomata clicks his tongue. 

“He’s an outlier. His parents still died under suspicious circumstances and he still aided in Kageyama's escape. He is an accomplice and he must be punished.” 

“That doesn’t mean he needs to die!” Nishinoya shouts and slams his hands on the table. “Shoyou is a good kid and he never did anything wrong! If anything, he was protecting his friend! If Asahi ever lost control and someone tried to take him in, you’ll have to go through me before I ever let them put a hand on him,” Nishinoya spits and Asahi wraps a gentle hand around Nishinoya’s forearm. 

“Yuu-” 

“Those are two different cases, young man. The Hulk is uncontrollable and to take him down will be for the sake of innocent citizens and the Hulk himself. Kageyama Tobio, however, is fully aware of what he is doing and wants to do it. Hinata’s protection of him is a statement that he would rather this terrorism continue instead of letting us bring his ‘friend’ to justice and the violence to end,” Nekomata explains and furrows his brows. “And the public as well as the government will not settle for anything less than the death penalty.” 

“But these are kids!” Nishinoya shouts, looking around the table. “You are all heroes, not murderers! There’s proof that someone is controlling them, we have the earpieces and testimony! Shoyou didn’t kill anyone and he shouldn’t be lumped in with the rest of them just because he’s a mutant too! And we don’t even know the reason why-” 

“I can see why you’re not S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel,” Nekomata muses and frowns, “you think way irrationally. But you’re young and naïve, you’ll grow out of it in time.” 

What did you just say-” 

“You’re still treating them like they’re humans. They’re not. They don’t need a reason to do what they do. So what if they’re kids? They’ll only grow more creative and chaotic in their destruction the longer we let them run loose. It’s better to kill the serpent before it hatches.” 

Nekomata steeps his hands and closes his eyes. “But since you fail to understand that and are non-S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel anyways, I request that you be removed so we can continue without unnecessary interruptions,” Nekomata says and Nishinoya rises to his feet, absolutely fuming

He looks around the table at everyone’s silent and uncomfortable faces, then at Oikawa who is only glaring hard at Nekomata, then at Sugawara and Daichi who are trying their hardest to keep their expression neutral. He gives an angry huff and nearly kicks his chair over as he storms out of the meeting room. 

“Y-Yuu! Wait!” Asahi shouts and gets up to chase after him, running out of the meeting room. 

Everyone is silent and the tension is extremely thick, strangling Oikawa’s throat. He glances to his left and sees Matsukawa and Hanamaki looking thoroughly pissed. He can’t tell what expression is under Kuroo’s mask, but the mercenary has his arms crossed and his head down. Ennoshita also has a frown on his lips, but he’s remaining quiet for the time being. 

Nekomata sighs deeply and turns to Ushijima and Shriabu, who were watching him closely during the entire conversation. “May we continue?” he asks. Ushijima blinks, then looks to Shirabu. Shirabu glances around the table, unsure, before he gets up and presses something on the tablet. The hologram changes to a 3D map of the city, extending far out to the border of Nakano. 

“While Yellowjacket has the ability to collect DNA samples, the Wasp has a tracking helmet that reaches a radius of over 1,600 kilometers and can track the subject the DNA sample belongs to. Once Ushijima-san found that it was Iwaizumi’s DNA sample we collected, we were able to use the Wasp’s helmet to track the subject to this particular location,” Shirabu explains. 

A yellow dot appears on the 3D map and Oikawa leans in close to peer at the building the dot is in. It’s right on the border of Nakano, Shinjuku, and Shibuya. He knows there’s a few empty warehouses in that area that are in line to be torn down, a perfect spot for someone to hide away captives. 

But it doesn’t sit right in his stomach when he thinks about Shirofuku’s story. Daishou took all three girls to his home, not some seedy abandoned warehouse. He kept them there for six months and no one would consider looking for three missing college girls at his place, compared to this location. Why would he pick someplace as suspicious as an abandoned warehouse to conduct his operations? This. . .this doesn’t feel right. 

“We were only able to capture a few stills of Iwaizumi’s supposed location at certain times, since some type of interference began to mess with the tracker’s strength.” 

“Most likely Kageyama-kun,” Oikawa mutters under his breath. Nekomata rubs his chin and gives a low hum. 

“Regardless, this is rather impressive on how you were able to pinpoint his location just from his DNA.” 

“Yes. Although we owe the tracker’s ability to analyze certain signatures of a subject to Nishinoya-san, for letting us look at his Baymax software. The irrational one you had removed,” Ushijima speaks, not even bothering to dignify Nekomata with a glance in his direction. 

For a brief second, Oikawa is actually amazed at Ushijima’s monotone, calm voice and its ability to say something so full of contempt and annoyance and make it sound like nothing is wrong at all. 

Nekomata chuckles. “So he has the brilliance of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, just not the correct attitude.” 

Kuroo abruptly stands to his feet. 

“Okay, I’m going to go because this geezer is really pissing me off and don’t you fucking dare try to stop me, Sawamura,” Kuroo spits, wrestling away when Daichi tries to grab at his wrist and keep him from leaving. “I’ll be back after the scene transition,” he grumbles and exits the meeting room. Nekomata puts on that catlike grin again. 

“You have quite the bunch here, Sugawara-san,” he says and looks at the hologram. “What’s the most recent picture of the area?” 

“Around two this morning. However, I haven’t been able to check to see if he moved afterwards,” Shirabu says and bites his lower lip. “I know that they’ve been sending out interference to jam the tracker’s signal, so they must know that we’re looking for Iwaizumi-san. The only problem is if they relocated him somewhere else in the time the tracker has been down.” 

“When will you be able to check again?” Nekomata asks and Shirabu glances at the tablet. 

“Hopefully around five in the afternoon at the earliest. I’ll have at least half an hour afterwards to monitor it until they realize I’m honing in on Iwaizumi-san’s DNA signature.” 

Nekomata rises to his feet. “Then we strike at sunset. I’ll have my men assembled by then.” 

Michimiya rises to her feet as well. “You want to attack now? We haven’t even established a way to counter the mastermind’s-” 

“My first priority is taking down those mutant terrorists. If they’re where your hostage is, then we need to strike now before they try to relocate,” Nekomata says simply and turns to look around the table. “You all will be my backup.” 

“We’re the Avengers. We’re nobody’s backup,” Hanamaki says sharply and Nekomata smiles. 

“You are now. Sit back and take notes from someone who knows how to deal with their kind,” Nekomata says and Hanamaki bites his tongue, rising to his feet. Matsukawa grabs his forearm, giving him a look that clearly states, ‘not here’. Nekomata places his hands behind his back and looks over at Shirabu. “We’ll assemble 100 meters outside the location of the hostage at sunset. By then, I want another scan of the area and for you to be our lookout.” 

Oikawa glances at Daichi, who sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. 

“I’ll assemble my team,” he says and Nekomata nods his head. He walks over to the door and bows to everyone. 

“I look forward to working with you all,” he says with that smile and Hanamaki curses low under his breath. The doors open as Nekomata departs, and as soon as they close Hanamaki is storming over to Sugawara. 

“Suga, you can’t be serious about letting him take command on this,” he says and looks at Oikawa before looking back at the director. “If we just charge in there without safely getting Iwaizumi-san out, they could try to harm him to stop our advances and he won’t give a shit about it!” 

Sugawara closes his eyes and folds his hands in his lap. “I can’t do anything about him. The Minister of Defense and the government is putting pressure on us to do something about it. Even foreign governments are demanding for the Prime Minister to stop this problem before the chances of it spreading outside of Japan happens,” Sugawara explains and looks up. “It’s not up for discussion; he has to take lead on this and results need to be seen.” 

“We caught two of them and know who is behind all this! Don’t they see that?! We’re doing fine, we don’t need him!” Hanamaki shouts and Matsukawa crosses his arms. 

“I’m not sure I like his attitude about mutants either. I know they’ve caused a lot of havoc these past months, but Kyoutani and Kozume-san appear to be rehabilitated. If anything, they can learn how to hone their powers and maybe. . .maybe they can join S.H.I.E.L.D. . . .it’s not like they have a home to go to after all this anyways,” Matsukawa mutters. 

“The government is already breathing down our neck because we have Azumane-san and Bokuto-san on our roster. Adding two mutants to S.H.I.E.L.D., it might make them fear we’ll try to start an uprising,” Ushijima states and Oikawa clicks his tongue. 

“I don’t care what he says. I’m going in for Iwa-chan and I’m not leaving without him. If he doesn’t like it, fuck him,” Oikawa snaps and Daichi crosses his arms. 

“We need to work in conjunction as a team, we all can’t have our own agendas going into this. That’s only going to set us up for failure,” Daichi says, glancing around the table. “Matsukawa, you will do recon and scope the area out for us and provide backup if we run into trouble trying to make an escape. Hanamaki, you’ll be point man. I need you to scope out all points of escape and radio with Michimiya,” Daichi explains and narrows his eyebrows. “I also need you to keep a close eye on Nekomata’s troops since no doubt, they’ll follow in after you and try to secure the warehouse themselves before we enter.” 

Hanamaki clicks his tongue, but doesn’t say anything else. Daichi turns to look at Shirabu and Ushijima. 

“Ushijima-san, do you think you can alter the Wasp’s scanner to locate any mutants in the facility?” 

“If Nishinoya-san offers to help reverse the software for us, it shouldn’t be difficult,” Ushijima says and Daichi nods his head. 

“Then Shirabu, I need you to be our eye in the sky and locate any mutants that come in and out of the facility and radio us so we don’t get caught off guard. Can you do that for us, Wasp?” 

Shirabu gives a small nod of the head. “I’ll do whatever I can, Sawamura-san.” 

Daichi nods and turns to Ennoshita, who has remained silent throughout the entire meeting. “And what do you think, Chikara?” 

Ennoshita sighs. “I agree about these kids and the mastermind needing to be stopped. It’s the part about delivering Hinata-kun to the gallows that has me feeling uneasy,” Ennoshita murmurs and Hanamaki crosses his arms. 

“. . .I don’t know. . .we really can’t think of them as being just little kids anymore. Not after all the death and destruction they caused. If these were any other war criminals, we would have sought the death penalty or life in prison. What makes them different?” he asks and Matsukawa frowns. 

“Because they’re kids, Takahiro. Not grown men with armies,” Matsukawa says and rubs his face. “I think we should try to appeal for a lesser punishment. The public doesn't have to know what happens to these kids and we can keep them at one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s bases. Maybe they can even move to the Avengers’ Mansion like Kyoutani did.” 

“Why are you so keen on trying to get them to join us? I thought Kyoutani was just some punk to you,” Hanamaki questions and Matsukawa shrugs. 

“The little shit grew on me. He’s angry 80% of the time, but I know he’s a good kid deep down,” Matsukawa explains and crosses his arms over his chest. “I’m not trying to make light of what they did or anything. They do need to be punished for their crimes, but I don’t think killing them will accomplish much. Ushijima-san, you said these kids were born with this ability. Oikawa, you actually met another one of these mutants. If we kill these kids, then who’s to say that another, more powerful and more dangerous group will rise up in retaliation?” 

“He’s right. We don’t know what kind of community or how many mutants are there. If we do something like this, we need to make sure it’s for the best for all the citizens,” Daichi says and Hanamaki clicks his tongue. 

“For all we know, there could be more of them that are causing crimes and are just waiting for the right moment to strike.” 

“Makki,” Oikawa starts, glancing at Hanamaki out of the corner of his eye, “I know that you’re scared and angry about what these kids have done. . .but they all aren’t monsters. Hinata-kun is a sweet kid and Shirofuku-san doesn’t want to start a war with humankind. Iwa-chan. . .he’s one of them too, whether we want him to be or not. And we know he’s not a monster,” Oikawa says and glances down at his hands. 

“I don’t know what kind of things Daishou told them to make them be like this, and I don’t know what kind of things they believe we did to them. . .but we can’t be rash in our judgement with all this stuff about their origins and their motives unclear.” 

Sugawara rises to his feet and folds his hands behind his back. “I understand everyone’s concern about this, so I’ll try to do everything that I can to see that these kids get a fair trial and that all loose ends are tied,” Sugawara says and sighs deeply, rubbing his face with his prosthetic hand and tracing his lower lip with his finger. “I just. . .sometimes I wish that Ukai-san was still here. He’d probably have a better hand at handling this than I am.” 

“Get yourself an eyepatch. Maybe then people will be scared shitless and won’t object to your decisions,” Oikawa suggests and a few chuckles float around the table. Daichi stands and rests a gentle hand on Sugawara’s shoulder, loving and soft. 

“We know you’re just trying to do the best you can. You don’t need to be like Ukai, you have your own way of leadership that works fine with me,” Daichi says and squeezes Sugawara’s shoulder. “I trust your decision, no matter what.” 

Sugawara smiles. “Thanks,” he murmurs and leans up to give a soft kiss to Daichi’s lips. 

Matsukawa stands up quickly. “Okay, Mom and Dad are being gross so that’s my cue to bail,” Matsuakwa says and Hanamaki nods his head. 

“Right behind you,” Hanamaki says and Daichi scowls at them both. Ushijima gets to his feet and turns to Shirabu. 

“Let’s go find Nishinoya-san and see if he’s calmed down.” 

“Right,” Shirabu says with a nod. All four leave the room as Michimiya gets up and heads over to Ennoshita, offering her hand and helping him up to his feet. 

“Do you need a ride back to your place? I don’t think Kuroo stuck around the facility,” she says and Ennoshita nods his head. 

“I’d appreciate it,” he says and bows his head in the direction of Sugawara and Daichi, before he allows Michimiya to lead him out of the room. Oikawa gets to his feet as well and sticks his hands in his pockets. 

“I better look into running diagnostic tests for my armor. I’d prefer if we avoid a fight, but I want to be prepared,” Oikawa says aloud and Daichi nods his head. Oikawa begins to leave, but Sugawara calls out to him as he’s steps halfway out through the door. He pauses and turns, looking back at the director who is looking at him with intense eyes. 

“Oikawa. . .I promise you, I won’t let nothing bad happen to Iwaizumi-san.” 

Oikawa doesn’t say anything, but gives a small little empty smile and continues his way out of the meeting room. No, nothing bad will happen to Iwaizumi. 

Oikawa will make sure of that himself.


There’s barely any time that occurs between the meeting in the morning and the phases of the attack being set into action. Oikawa flies low as he heads to the destination that J.A.R.V.I.S. has pinpointed for him on the map. Below him, he sees a small group of military vehicles heading in the same direction as he is. The first two up front most likely carry Daichi, Matsukawa and Hanamaki, along with whoever else Daichi wants to be included in the main attack group. The other three must be Nekomata’s men, and it deeply bothers Oikawa on why Nekomata believes he should have this many of his men going for what is supposed to be a quick rescue mission.

Beside him, Shirabu flies with Wasp wings rapidly flapping and keeping up with Oikawa’s boosters. 

“Any interference?” Oikawa asks over the radio. 

Negative. . .Iwaizumi-san is still in the same position as he was this morning. There’s someone else with him, another mutant from the looks of it,” Shirabu answers. 

“Daishou?” 

Can’t tell. We only had time to give the helmet the ability to pick up the ‘X-gene’ in the mutants. I don’t know if it’s Daishou or not. There’s also a bunch of them in lower levels of the warehouse, so be careful going in,” Shirabu says. 

Ushiwaka will be heading in with me. We’ll radio you if we run into any trouble,” Hanamaki’s voice replies over the radio. 

It’s already extremely annoying when Oikawa calls me that, Hanamaki-san.” 

“Sorry Makki, looks like you’ll have to find your own endearingly annoying nickname for him,” Oikawa sing-songs. 

I never said I found it ‘endearing’.” 

Alright you two, quit fighting over the radio,” Daichi scolds. 

Yeah, you heard Dad,” Matsukawa cheekily points out and there is an annoyed grunt that Oikawa smirks at. The warehouse is in his crosshairs as he lands, sun slowly being chased away by the night drawing in deep purples and blues. No civilians should be hanging around here, and he only hopes that they don’t draw any attention from the news press. If anything should go wrong, he doesn’t want it to show up on the news and further propelling anti-mutant feelings. 

Shirabu lands beside him and the first two vans arrive a few minutes afterwards. The doors open and Matsukawa climbs out, readying his bow and arrow. Hanamaki gets out next, putting in a fresh clip and tucks the gun away into the holster on his leg. Daichi gets out and pulls the shield off of his back, while Kuroo climbs out and gives his katanas a twirl. 

“So what do we do about them?” he asks, tilting his head towards the other vans that are entering the vicinity and troops of men swarming out of them with heavy armor and big guns. 

“Don’t pay any attention to them. Our first priority is getting Iwaizumi-san out of there safely,” Daichi says. Ushijima gets out of the second vehicle that followed after Daichi’s, not in the Yellowjacket suit at the hospital, but in his old Ant-Man gear. He is followed by Michimiya, who has her hand at her ear and is most likely radioing Sugawara that they have arrived at the location. 

Oikawa tilts his head to the side. “So you dragged that old thing out when you have a slightly more impressive suit built?” Oikawa asks and Ushijima presses something alongside the helmet, revealing his thoroughly unimpressed expression. 

“I still need to run a few more tests with Yellowjacket before it’s ready for battle. So, this will be the last time you see me as Ant-Man before I hand the mantle over,” Ushijima explains, closing the faceplate back up and turning his attention to the warehouse. 

“Wasp, anything out of the ordinary?” Daichi asks and Shirabu shakes his head ‘no’. Daichi bites the inside of his cheek, turning to Matsukawa. “Okay, scout out the area and find a good spot. Wasp, take to the skies and monitor the mutants. Radio if something strange happens. Black Widow, Ant-Man, move in. We’ll follow after.” 

Shirabu nods his head and Ushijima claps a hand on his shoulder. “Be safe,” he says and Shirabu hums. 

“You too,” he says quietly. His wings flutter to life and he takes off upwards. Hanamaki rushes over to Matsukawa just before the brunet tries to turn and leave, grabbing his shoulder and yanking him over to kiss him quickly on the mouth. 

“Watch my ass, okay?” Hanamaki says and Matsukawa grins. 

“I already do,” he says and winks, taking off to skirt around the perimeter of the building while Hanamaki follows Ushijima and both enter the warehouse. Just like Daichi had said at the meeting, a large group of soldiers immediately follow after them. Oikawa clicks his tongue, turning to look at the men still forming into groups and getting all their weapons ready. 

“They better not screw anything up for us,” Oikawa growls out and Kuroo thumbs his holsters on his thighs. 

“I can take out a few really quick. Just say the word,” Kuroo says and Daichi frowns.

“They’re our allies. And Nekomata is with Suga monitoring us, so watch your mouth,” he says sternly. Oikawa doesn’t make a comment at that, only focused on the warehouse in front of them and waiting for Hanamaki to give the signal. He keeps glancing upwards at Shirabu circling the warehouse for any sort of interference from Kageyama or movement of the other mutants, but there’s still nothing. A few minutes pass and another group of soldiers run into the warehouse without any orders given and not even a glance thrown in their direction. 

“Where the hell are they going?” Oikawa asks. 

Orders from Nekomata apparently. He has a special radio frequency for them to communicate over,” he hears Michimiya say over the radio. He turns around to find that the woman isn’t standing outside with them anymore and is most likely in one of the vans, possibly setting up a mobile command to work from. 

“I’m not sure if I like that,” Daichi mutters. 

A couple more minutes pass and Oikawa starts to grow antsy and debates if he can burst through the warehouse with guns blazing, before he hears something click over the radio. 

Hey. I’m in. There’s no security defenses. Ant-Man took another route and is heading down a level lower than me to check for any sort of defenses there. Those other fuckers barreled past me though, and I have no idea where they think they’re headed. But I’m going down to where Iwaizumi-san is,” Hanamaki’s voice radioed in. 

Daichi nods his head and Oikawa doesn’t even wait for Daichi to give the signal for him to fly into the warehouse and head though the opening Hanamaki made for them. He lands when he gets to the first sublevel of the warehouse, glancing around at the dark and dreary interior of the hallway. There’s a flickering lightbulb above him that barely gives off any light and glances around at how narrow this passageway actually is. The walls are also cracked and the ceiling looks ready to give. This place seems ready to fall apart at any moment. . .why did Daishou pick this place? 

Hey, Iron Man.” 

“Sorry, Cap. I’m not far in,” Oikawa says over the radio. “J.A.R.V.I.S., bring up Wasp’s helmet feed as well as the map overlay.” 

A hologram flashes above his right eyebrow of the warehouse and dots illuminate the map. He sees that Ushijima is heading towards a cluster of mutants that don’t seem to notice the warehouse has been infiltrated, while he sees Hanamaki moving through the level they are currently on. Iwaizumi is one level below them and one level above Ushijima's current location. They just have to cut through this long hallway and head down. He’s not far. He’s almost there. 

He hears footsteps behind him and assumes that it’s the others catching up, so he continues down the hallway and follows Hanamaki’s movements through the halls. He checks his peripheral camera and sees Daichi a few feet behind him radioing to someone over his earpiece while Kuroo comments how absolutely fucking creepy this place is. He turns his attention forward, keeping quiet and watching as Hanamaki’s dot on the map seems to slow to a halt with a cluster of mutants surrounding him. 

“Black Widow, you okay?” he asks. 

“. . .Fucking hell,” he hears Hanamaki mutter and a bead of sweat breaks over Oikawa’s brow. 

“What? What is it?” he asks, looking at the map. No, Hanamaki still isn't close to moving down to the next sub level that Iwaizumi is on. 

There’s. . .there’s more prisoners here,” Hanamaki says and Oikawa rounds the corner, seeing the assassin standing in the middle of a small man-made cell block, staring at something in a cell. Oikawa taps his shoulder and a flashlight appears, bringing more light and spooking Hanamaki, who is quick to grab his gun and aim it at Oikawa. 

“It’s just us,” he says and looks over at a cell that he passes on his left. There’s a reptilian person inside, a male from the looks of it, huddled in the corner with his arms over his head and cowering in fear. He looks like he’s been awake for days from his bloodshot eyes, and the stench coming from the cell makes Oikawa believe he’s gone without bathing for days too. 

He looks to his right and sees three girls all in a cell, also huddling up close to one another in fear. One girl has antlers coming out of her head, while the other two are identical twins. Oikawa notes with disgust the bruises around their arms and thighs and around their necks. 

“The fuck is all of this? I thought this guy fought humans for mutant kind,” he hears Kuroo’s voice say from behind him and Oikawa turns to see Kuroo and Daichi walking into the hallway, taking in the sight. Kuroo moves to the cell with the three girls and watches as they all shrink against the wall, quiet whimpers coming from their lips. He has his hands drawn into tight fists. “. . .This really is the same bastard that hurt Yukie. . .Bumblebee, you see him on your scanner?” 

It’s Wasp.” 

“Right, wrong franchise. Do you see him or not?” 

No. I can’t tell where he is. He might be the person with Iwaizumi-san, but I’m not 100% sure,” Shirabu says in frustration. 

Guys, I found-“ Ushijima’s voice cuts in and Oikawa bites the inside of his cheek. 

“Mutant prisoners on your end?” 

. . .Yes. . .they are all unresponsive and fearful. I tried to get one of them to approach me, but they all refuse.” 

“I guess you have a face only your assistant can love,” Oikawa muses and he hears Shirabu give an indignant squawk over the radio feed. Daichi moves over to the cell that Hanamaki stands in front of, a cell that has two men holding each other and trembling in each other’s arms. One of them has skin that resembles something like a mercury metallic color, while the other has eyes covering his entire body and looking in all directions. 

Daichi grips the bar. “We’re not here to hurt you. We’re here to help you,” he says quietly. The metallic man looks up at him and holds his lover closer, shaking his head furiously and tears burning at his eyes. 

“No, no, no, no,” the man grits out through clenched teeth and Daichi gives the bar a few shakes. 

“I might be able to break down this door-” 

“Don’t bother.” 

Oikawa jumps, turning his attention to a cell in the corner and small hands that grip at the bars. Oikawa walks over to the cell and sees that Hinata is on his knees in front of the door, chained up to the wall by both of his ankles. He notices a bruise on the boy’s cheek and wonders if Daishou or Kageyama had anything to do with it. 

Hinata looks down at the ground, averting his gaze from the glow of Iron Man’s eyes. “The doors are all unlocked anyways,” he says. Daichi releases his grip on the bars and goes for the latch of the cell, pulling it to the right. The door opens with relative ease, rust coming off the sides. He looks at the couple that only seem to grow more panicked and frightened, before he looks over his shoulder at Hinata in his cell. 

“Why are these cells unlocked?” he asks and Hinata bites the inside of his cheek. 

“Because. . .he told them to stay put and not to leave,” Hinata says and grips the bar tightly. “No matter what you do, they’re not going to leave. So just get out of here before he finds you and we all get hurt.” 

“Where is he?” Oikawa asks and Hinata turns his gaze away again. “Hinata-kun, where is Daishou? Where’s Kageyama?”

"If I tell you, he's going to hurt Natsu and you'll take Kageyama-kun away from me," Hinata mutters and Oikawa grips at the bars.

"You can't protect him after what he's done, Hinata-kun. Don't you understand that people died because of Kageyama's actions?" Oikawa snaps and Hinata clicks his tongue.

"If Iwaizumi-san did the same thing, you'd protect him," Hinata quips.

"He wouldn't do what Kageyama did."

"How do you know for sure?" Hinata asks and Oikawa grits his teeth, yanking on the bars. The door gives momentarily and Hinata quickly scrambles back towards the wall, eyes wide in fear. Oikawa feels a hand on his shoulder and turns to see Daichi looking around the cell. Sure enough, the other mutants are watching Oikawa as well, eyes just as worried and scared. Oikawa releases his hand from around the bars and ignores the indents he left in the metal with his fingers. Behind him, Hanamaki goes into the cell and tries to pull the metallic man out. He begins to scream and kick and cry and Hanamaki quickly lets him go as his yell echoes in the hallway. The metallic man wraps his arms back around his lover and they both try to get as far into a corner as possible, determined not to leave. 

“What the hell is this?” Hanamaki asks and places his hand to his earpiece. “Ant-Man, how’s things on your end?” 

Moving forward. Some of Nekomata’s men are coming up from the rear, so I’m leaving them to deal with the prisoners. I’m heading up to Iwaizumi-san’s location. I haven’t made contact with Kageyama-san yet.” 

No interference up here either and no mutants are moving in or out of the building either,” Shirabu adds. 

More soldiers are flanking around the building though,” Matsukawa grumbles over the feed. 

“All this firepower seems unnecessary. It’s clear that the only person we need to worry about fighting is Kageyama-kun,” Daichi says. “Michimiya, see about getting in contact with Suga. Let him know to tell Nekomata to order his men to fall back. We’re closing in on Iwaizumi-san’s location,” Daichi says and pulls Oikawa away from Hinata's cell. "There's no point in trying to force the information out of him and scaring the other prisoners. We'll try to just keep our guard up and get Iwaizumi-san out of here as fast as we can," Daichi whispers and Oikawa glances around at the cells and the mutants watching them with distrust and fear in their eyes.  

There’s so many of them. All of them different ages and different genders, some of them more beaten and bruised up than others. Only those three girls fit Daishou’s victims that Shirofuku explained before. And it doesn’t look like any of these mutants are fighters or had involvement with the actions of Kageyama and the others. So. . .why is Daishou keeping them prisoner here? How did he even kidnap all these people by himself? This isn’t right. There’s something else that they’re missing. There’s too many questions coming up and it’s making Oikawa uncomfortable. 

". . .Right, we need to focus on getting Iwa-chan out of here,” Oikawa says and begins to walk down the hallway. Hinata looks like he wants to say something as he scoots closer to watch them, but he bites his tongue and keeps his head down as the others pass by his cell. Kuroo crouches down and reaches through the bars, gently ruffling Hinata’s hair. 

“We’ll come right back for you and the others, Shoyou,” he says quietly, then gets back to his feet and follows after the group. 

Hanamaki leads the group down the hallway that seems to grow darker and dirtier, his gun drawn and ready to fire. Daichi has his shield up, trying not to focus on the group of mutants in the cells around them that cower in fear. Kuroo is now silent, though Oikawa can tell by the way how Kuroo holds himself in a tense posture and his hands are ready to draw his katanas, the mercenary is ready to kill someone. 

Some of the mutants’ faces look sunken in and their bodies bone skinny. Some even look like they’ve been tortured and it makes Oikawa sick to his stomach. What is this place? How can so many people go missing without police trying to look for them? How did Daishou find all these mutants and keep them here for so long? What does this bastard want? 

“Hey. . .doesn’t this all seem strange to you?” Oikawa asks aloud. 

“What do you mean? Like this is a trap?” Daichi asks. 

“A little bit of that. . .and also how could so many people are missing from their lives and there haven’t been any police or news reports about it. We’ve passed at least thirty people and don’t even know how many more are on the side Ant Man is traveling through. How did he manage to kidnap all of them without a trace?” Oikawa asks and frowns. “He may be a powerful mutant, but no way can he keep all of these people under his thumb and control the kids to do these things.” 

“Maybe Nekomata was right about them attacking out of their own free will,” Hanamaki mutters. 

“Then they wouldn’t need to have those earpieces in if he believed they wanted to do what he wanted,” Daichi explains. Kuroo looks all around at the cells and clicks his tongue. 

“How do we get them out of here if they don’t want to?” he asks. 

“We might have to take them out by force, as badly as that sounds. Although, I’m confused as to why Hinata-kun was the only one not afraid of us,” Daichi says and Oikawa nods his head. 

“He’s also the only one chained up.” 

“I didn’t check if his door was locked. . .does that mean Hinata-kun is somehow able to resist and Daishou needed to ensure that he won’t escape?” Daichi asks, pausing in the hallway to glance behind him. Kuroo looks behind him as well, in the direction of the cell block they just left. “. . .Deadpool, see about freeing Hinata-kun and figuring out his secret. Maybe he knows a way to get all of the prisoners to snap out of it and we can rescue them as well.” 

Kuroo nods his head, turning on his heel and running back the direction they came. Daichi turns forward and follows Hanamaki, Oikawa slowly following behind afterwards as they move down to the next sub level. There's no cells down here and it seems the hallway is even narrower. From the looks of Shirabu's map, they're above the sub level with the other mutants that Ushijima is currently traveling through and Nekomata's men currently reside in. There's also another passage way up that leads from the bottom sub level that passes this one entirely and takes them to the one above. He makes note of that as another possible route of escape, only hoping that Iwaizumi isn't hurt and unable to move. . .or worse, commanded to remain put like all the other prisoners are.

He’s behind that door. Iwaizumi-san is in the room up ahead,” Shirabu says over the radio feed as they round a corner and a door is up ahead to their right. Oikawa feels a stone sit in his stomach, trying to brace himself for what he’s about to see. If Iwaizumi looks anything like these mutants do, bruised and beaten and eyes filled with fear with all hope gone, he’s not sure if he can turn Daishou over alive

The doors that are before them has the window panes boarded up. The doors themselves are covered in dust and grunge and give off a feeling that something very unpleasant is behind them. 

“Wasp, is the mutant still here with Iwaizumi-san?” Hanamaki asks.

Yeah. Be careful,” Shirabu warns and Hanamaki glances over his shoulders at the others. 

“Cap?” he asks and Daichi looks over at Oikawa, pointing a finger at the door as Hanamaki and he step aside. Oikawa wriggles his fingers and raises his hand, concentrating his power to surge a small blast aimed at the entrance. The blast fires and the doors go flying off their hinges, light coming from the room illuminating the area around the doors and filling up the dark hallway somewhat. Oikawa runs inside, blaster raised and ready to shoot. 

He sees him. 

Oikawa’s blood goes cold. 

Iwaizumi is lying on a metal table, tubes coming out of his sickly pale looking body. He’s wearing nothing but a pair of shorts that cling to his body, and it looks like there is fire that is burning beneath Iwaizumi’s skin. He. . .he looks. . .no, this isn’t real. This isn’t real. It’s a nightmare! This isn’t real! 

“Hey, hey!” 

He doesn’t know how, but he’s on his knees and trying desperately to catch his breath. Above him, Hanamaki is trying to pull him back onto his feet while Daichi corners the mutant that is in the room with Iwaizumi’s body. Iwaizumi’s lifeless body. . .oh god, this can’t be real. He’s supposed to protect Iwaizumi and now he’s. . .he’s. . . 

“W-Who are you people? W-What do you want from me?” a voice stutters, frightened and meek. Oikawa raises his head and sees in the corner the mutant that Shirabu picked up on the scanner. He’s blue and has a face of a beast, teeth barred in fright more than defense. But the large glasses that sit on his nose and those young looking eyes resonate within Oikawa’s memory regardless of the current appearance. 

Takeda Ittetsu. 

“We’ll be asking the questions here. Get up,” Daichi orders, yanking Takeda up by his shoulder and tilting his head in Iwaizumi’s direction. “What did you do to him?” 

“I-I didn’t want to do it. Please, you need to help us. H-He’s coming back. He’s coming back with them,” Takeda rambles. The blue in his skin grows more vibrant in hue and his lab jacket is coming apart at the seams. He seems to be growing bigger too, possibly reacting from the stress. 

“Who’s he? Who’s coming here?” Daichi asks and Takeda hangs his head. 

“I’m so sorry. This is all my fault. I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to do this to any of them,” Takeda cries and Hanamaki grunts. 

“You’re not making any sense! Is he alive?!” Hanamaki yells and points a finger at Iwaizumi. Takeda swallows hard and slowly nods his head ‘yes’. That’s all Oikawa needs. 

He stands to his feet. “F.R.I.D.A.Y., take over,” he says and he sees the A.I. switch over controls as the suit opens up and he steps out. Daichi and Hanamaki both look over him with a look of shock and surprise, then back to Takeda and back to Oikawa.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Hanamaki hisses, but Oikawa isn’t listening. He’s runs and falls beside Iwaizumi’s body, brushing his fingertips against Iwaizumi’s neck and his pulse point. He’s so. . .warm. The color is gone from his skin but he still feels so warm. The heartbeat is faint, but it’s still there under his fingers. Oikawa wants to cry. This. . .this isn't the same as the dream if he can touch Iwaizumi. This is real. He's really here and he's alive. He brings Iwaizumi's hand to his mouth and kisses his knuckles, breathing in Iwaizumi's scent that lingers faintly on his skin. He then looks over Iwaizumi’s body at the all of the IV injections and tubes that insert into his arms and legs and hook up to machines against the back wall. There’s also electrodes that attach to Iwaizumi’s head and face hooked up to a machine behind him, a monitor steadily beeping in a monotonic melody. 

“. . .What are you doing to him? What are you doing with all of these mutants?” Oikawa questions and Takeda adjusts his glasses. 

“I. . .he had me inject Extremis into him. He thought he would be a valid candidate for it,” Takeda says quietly. Oikawa sees Daichi press something behind his ear, most likely opening up the radio feed for everyone to hear what’s going on. 

“Extremis? What’s that?” Hanamaki asks and Takeda looks over at Daichi. 

“It’s. . .it’s like the Super Soldier Serum that created him. But. . .it’s still only a prototype and very unstable. Most of the times. . .the subjects don’t survive.” 

Oikawa’s eyes widen and he looks at Iwaizumi and the tubes that are injecting something in him. Something that’s killing him

“Stop it. Get this stuff off of him,” Oikawa says, reaching out to take a tube in between his hands. 

“W-Wait, don’t! He’s been on Extremis for three days and most subjects don’t even last one hour. His body seems to be taking it and if you interrupt the process now, he’s guaranteed to die!” Takeda yells out and Oikawa quickly releases the tube. 

“How long is the process?” Daichi asks and Takeda bites his lower lip. 

“He still needs another 24 hours.” 

We don’t have that kind of time,” Michimiya replies over the radio and Daichi looks at the equipment Iwaizumi is currently hooked up to, monitoring his status and the Extremis that flows into his veins. 

“How heavy is that stuff?” Daichi asks and Hanamaki looks over at him incredulously. 

“You’re not seriously suggesting we transport all of that with us with Iwaizumi-san still hooked up, are you?” Hanamaki asks and Oikawa clicks his tongue. He squeezes Iwaizumi’s hand, warmth barely registering in his palm. 

“We have to,” Oikawa says and Hanamaki looks at the machines. 

“Even if we make those assholes Nekomata assigned come and move it, who knows how much time that will give us? We don’t even have an adequate vehicle to transport it with,” Hanamaki says and Oikawa grits his teeth. 

“I’m not letting Iwa-chan stay here for one more day, and I’m not going to let him die!” Oikawa yells and Takeda winces. 

“This equipment will be too heavy to move and is bolted into the ground anyways. Plus, we can’t disturb him when he’s in this state. It will put his life in danger if we try to move him,” Takeda explains worriedly and Hanamaki growls. 

“So we’re fucked then? Great,” he says, throwing his hands up in the air. Daichi rubs his chin. 

“There has to be a way to remove Iwaizumi-san from this machine without harming the process. Either that, or someway to flush this stuff out of his system all together.” 

Do you think that Azumane-san or Nobuyuki-san will know anything?” Matsukawa asks and Oikawa places a hand to his earpiece. 

“Michimiya, if you're listening, call them. Call them both and get them over here as soon as possible,” Oikawa quickly relays. 

Oikawa, we can’t risk Daishou running into Azumane-san and-“ Michimiya begins.

“Michimiya, he’s dying. He’s dying and I need to do something!” Oikawa croaks. He rubs his thumb over Iwaizumi’s wrist and over where the IV is injected into a vein. He sees Iwaizumi is taking slow and shallow breaths, his eyes closed and lips dry. Oikawa brings Iwaizumi’s hand up to his mouth, kissing along bony fingers. “Hajime, Hajime please be okay-” 

“Get a hold of yourself. It’s not helping with you panicking,” Hanamaki grits through his teeth and claps a hand on Oikawa’s shoulder. 

I’m almost there. We can try and work out another way of transporting him. Or maybe I can shrink the equipment and we only have to take him off for a few minutes,” Ushijima says and Daichi turns back to Takeda. 

“If we take him off, how long does he have?” 

Takeda blinks. “I-I don’t know. This is the first patient that has gotten this far in the process. I-I don’t know how stable he is-” 

“If you’re the one who created this stuff, you need to know what happens! How long can he be without it before we have to hook him back up?!” Hanamaki yells and Takeda holds his head. The machine behind Iwaizumi sparks in tone and Iwaizumi’s eyebrows pull downwards in discomfort. Oikawa tenses, squeezing Iwaizumi’s hand. 

“I-Iwa-chan?! Hajime?!” Oikawa cries out and Iwaizumi’s body goes rigid and sweat breaks out over his brow. 

Guys, something’s happening!” Shirabu shouts over the radio and Daichi quickly puts his hand to his ear. 

“What, what is it? Is someone coming inside the building? Is it Kageyama or Daishou?” 

The mutants. . .they’re disappearing off my scanner!” 

Oikawa sees something burning beneath Iwaizumi’s skin, a fiery glow that moves through his body in waves and centers at his chest. The light illuminates under Iwaizumi’s skin and Oikawa can see everything beneath, bones and organs that seem to be rearranging themselves deep inside of Iwaizumi. There’s tears that burn at the corners of Iwaizumi’s eyes and Iwaizumi’s lips twist into a pained grimace. 

“What do you mean they’re disappearing?” Daichi asks. 

Like they’re disappearing off the scanner at a quick rate. No one came into the building, but they’re not even leaving either. One second they're there and the next, they're gone. I don’t know what’s going on!” Shirabu shouts. A strangled scream croaks out of Iwaizumi’s throat and the room begins to quake, dirt and dust shaking from the machines and rising from the ground. 

“H-Hajime! Hajime, what’s wrong?! What’s happening to him?!” Oikawa yells at Takeda and Takeda runs over to the machine behind Iwaizumi, watching and listening to the frantic beeps. 

“There’s. . .I don’t. . .” 

Iwaizumi screams and it feels like an earthquake rattles the entire building. Daichi stumbles and takes a knee, while Hanamaki grabs hold of the wall, looking around alert. 

G-Guys! Are you okay?!” Michimiya worriedly asks. 

The entire cell block Ant Man came from is empty of mutants. You all need to get out of there right now,” Shirabu reports and Hanamaki grits his teeth, looking over at Iwaizumi screaming on the table and Oikawa desperately trying to figure out what is wrong. Tears are falling from Oikawa’s eyes and he’s holding Iwaizumi’s hands tight in his grasp. 

“I’m s-so sorry, Hajime! I shouldn’t have ever told you who I really was. You’d be safer! You wouldn’t be trapped in here and in so much pain! I’m so sorry! Please, please-“ Oikawa begs, looking at the machines. He needs to find a way to turn them off. He needs to turn them off and get Iwaizumi out of here. But if he does. . .oh god, what does he do? He's dying. He's dying just like in his dream and he still can't do anything! He feels himself beginning to breathe harder and he brings Iwaizumi's hand to his forehead. He can't let Iwaizumi die here. He needs to do something.

“Hey! You said someone was coming, are they the reason these mutants are disappearing?!” Daichi shouts at Takeda and braces himself as another earthquake rips through the Earth and a chunk of the ceiling falls through and onto the floor, barely hitting him in the head. 

“No. . .this. . .this disturbance in the building is Iwaizumi-san. I-I’m trying to read what’s going on in his head, but there’s too many thoughts and emotions going through his mind for me to make proper understanding of it!” Takeda shouts and Hanamaki raises an eyebrow, holding onto the doorframe as the room gives a violent shake. 

“What the hell does that mean?!” Hanamaki yells. 

“It means that everyone is panicking and it’s overwhelming him! We all need to calm down!” Takeda shouts back. 

“This shit is killing him! How am I supposed to remain calm?!” Oikawa screams. 

“It isn’t Extremis! It’s something else! Its’. . .” 

 

THEY’RE KILLING THEM!

 

THEY’RE KILLING THEM!

 

MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP PLEASE!

 

Oikawa jolts back from Iwaizumi and falls to the floor, his hand feeling like it’s on fire. Iwaizumi is still screaming and crying and blood is starting to come from his mouth. Takeda quickly runs to Iwaizumi’s body and tries to lift up his head, eyes running over his body in a panicked frenzy. The doors that were previously attached to its hinges fly upwards and up against the walls by an invisible force and Hanamaki grips the doorframe to keep himself steady.

"What's happening?!" he shouts as a light fixture collapses from the ceiling and glass shards fly in all directions. One shard cuts across his cheek and he flinches away, covering his head as the room continues to jolt. The Iron Man suit in F.R.I.D.A.Y.'s control attempts to remain rooted, but also gets thrown up against the wall and held there by the force that begins to uproot the ground from beneath them.

“His body is rejecting Extremis. We need to calm him down or else he won’t make it!” Takeda warns and Oikawa scrambles to his feet, placing a hand to his head. That voice. . .he’s sure he didn’t imagine hearing Iwaizumi’s voice just now. ‘They’re killing them’. . .who’s killing who? He looks over his shoulder and thinks about the disappearing mutants on Shirabu’s scanner, a sense of dread sinking into his stomach. 

“Wasp,” Oikawa begins, “does your scanner still show mutants if they’re dead?” 

W-What?” 

“If the mutant is dead, do they still appear on the scanner?” Oikawa asks. Hanamaki’s eyes widen and he looks out into the hall of the cell block they just went through, picking up on what Oikawa is getting at.

I. . .I suppose not. But who-” 

“Where’s Nekomata’s men?” Hanamaki questions aloud. He doesn't even wait for a response, he’s already running out the door and heading down the steps into the lower sublevels of the warehouse. As he leaves, Ushijima runs into the room and stumbles when the ground shakes beneath his feet. He holds onto the wall, looking over at Iwaizumi and Oikawa, then Daichi and Takeda. Oikawa knows that from how long Ushijima stares at him, he wants to berate him for being out of his suit. But instead, he looks at Iwaizumi screaming and crying and quickly asks, “What can I do?” 

Takeda bites his lower lip. “We need to get him stabilized before you even think about moving him! It’s too dangerous!” he shouts and Ushijima walks over to him, reaching into his back pocket and pulls out a small bag. 

Oikawa notices a little stitching on the side of it that reads ‘Watari Shinji’. Oikawa knows of the name, one of Nishinoya’s colleagues that specializes in chemistry and interdimensional wormholes. He’s always seen at Ushijima’s lab, running experiments and drinking honey lemon tea. 

Ushijima pulls out a small ball and looks over at Oikawa. 

“I’m sorry,” he says and crushes the orb in his palm into dust. With that, he puts his hand over Iwaizumi’s mouth and blocks off his air passage. 

Oikawa’s eyes widen as Iwaizumi begins to thrash and Ushijima continues to smother him. 

What are you doing?!” Oikawa screams and grabs at Ushijima’s forearm, trying to throw the man off of him. Arms are around his midsection quickly, and he feels someone trying to yank him away. He looks up, seeing Daichi is the one that is pulling him away and looking pitifully at him. Oikawa growls and begins to thrash around himself. 

“Let me go! Let me go!” Oikawa yells and turns back to Ushijima. “You’re making it worse! Stop it! Stop it!” Oikawa cries and room shakes even more. The tremors cause the walls to crack and the floor to sink beneath the machines. The remaining lights begin to flicker on and off and swing around violently as Iwaizumi’s thrashing begins to slow and Ushijima forces his palm down over Iwaizumi’s mouth and nose. The tremors occur less and less with every passing minute, in small jolts that uproot dust and dirt and gravel. Finally, Iwaizumi’s body stills and Ushijima slowly pulls his hand back away from Iwaizumi’s face. 

Iwaizumi’s head lolls over to the side, unconscious. The machine that was beeping loudly is now beeping in that simple, dull melody it was before. Takeda checks Iwaizumi’s pulse, breathing out a small sigh of relief and looking up at Ushijima before he turns back to the machines to check the flow of Extremis. Oikawa wrestles himself out of Daichi’s grip and stands to his feet, just as Daichi looks around at the damage of the room. 

“So it was Iwaizumi-san that caused that wreckage in the kitchen and not Kyoutani-san,” he mutters and Ushijima looks around himself. 

“The anesthetic mixture Watari-san created seemed to be enough the subdue him for the time being. Though I don’t know how long it will last, so we should get to-” 

WHAM!  

Oikawa’s fist cracks against the side of Ushijima’s helmet and Ushijima gets knocked against the wall. Oikawa holds his now bruised and pain-filled hand, glaring hard at Ushijima and teeth bared. 

“You asshole! Don’t you ever do that to him again!” Oikawa yells and Ushijima adjusts his helmet, rubbing the side of his jaw. 

“Calm down-” 

“Don’t tell me to calm down! You could have killed him! He was already scared and in pain and you made it worse by pulling that shit!” Oikawa yells. Daichi immediately gets in between them, holding Oikawa away at arm’s length. 

“Iron Man, calm down. He was only trying to help-” 

“Well he needs to hurry up and figure out how to get him out of here if he wants to be helpful,” Oikawa spits and turns his attention back to Iwaizumi. 

Hey, is everything okay?!” Michimiya’s voice sounds through the radio and Daichi places his hand to his earpiece. 

“Yeah, everything’s fine. We’re getting Iwaizumi-san out now. Stand by for-” 

Everyone freezes when they hear the sound of a gunshot ringing out down the hall, echoing from the cell block with the mutants they passed up above. 

It’s starting to happen again! They’re disappearing off the map again!” Shirabu states and Daichi’s head whirs around to look out the door, eyes wide. 

“. . .No. . .no they can’t be-” Daichi says worriedly, placing a hand to his ear. “Deadpool, come in!” he shouts and there is no response. “. . .Deadpool! Deadpool, what’s happening on your end?!” he yells, but still Kuroo doesn’t respond. The gunfire rings out again, sounding like a mini militia in the middle of war. 

Daichi turns to Ushijima, sweat breaking out over his brow. “Ant-Man, figure out how to move Iwaizumi-san and get him out of here immediately. You,” Daichi points at Takeda, “you need to stay close to him and help him. Oi-er-Iron Man, come with me-” Daichi bites his tongue when more gunfire sounds down the hall and he grabs at his shield. 

Takeda worries his fingers. “W-What’s happening? Why are they firing guns in here? It’s going to scare the kids-” 

“Stay here and make sure Iwaizumi-san is taken off this thing safely,” Daichi says and grabs Oikawa’s shoulder, but Oikawa pushes his hand away. 

“Send F.R.I.D.A.Y., I’m not leaving him alone.” 

“Put on the suit. Iwaizumi-san is in good hands,” Daichi says and Oikawa scoffs. 

“Yeah, the guy that tried to smother him, and the guy that’s been treating him like a lab rat for the past couple of days. He’s totally safe here,” Oikawa says, words laced with venom and eyes filled with malice. He hears clanking behind him and turns to see his suit standing there, looking down at him. 

Faster than he can blink, the suit is on its knees and sucking him back inside, gauntlets clamping around his forearms and metal coiling around his body like a snake. “F-F.R.I.D.A.Y.! Stop it! What are you doing?!” Oikawa yells, but the sound gets muffled when his facemask slips on and his A.I. interface appears before his eyes. 

Because you have a duty as an Avenger to help those in need. I know it hurts, but you can’t throw away other people’s lives just for the sake of Iwaizumi-san,” F.R.I.D.A.Y quips. “You know what they did to the mutants in that other cell block. What they’re doing to them right now. You need to stop them.” 

Oikawa bites his tongue, glaring hard. He looks at Iwaizumi’s body, still and calm. The fire is still moving through his body and his skin seems even paler and on the verge of resembling a corpse. He then looks at the hologram of the map, at all of the dots disappearing like lights. 

Make it stop. Make it stop, please.  

He curses under his breath and rises to his feet, turning to Ushijima. “If he dies, I swear-” 

“I won’t let that happen,” Ushijima says. He doesn’t need to see the expression on Ushijima’s face to know that he’s dead serious. Oikawa turns to Daichi and gives a nod of his head. Daichi nods as well, and both take off running out of the room and into the hallway towards the cellblock. 

The echoes of gunshots get louder and louder and more frequent, along with the sound of screams and crying and begging as they enter the sub level up above. Oikawa feels sick to his stomach and sees that the cells they pass have all their doors thrown open, with the mutants inside lying in a pool of their own blood, motionless and cold. All of them. . .women and children, lovers and relatives. . .how? Why?  

They don't linger for long and enter the next cell block. Oikawa sees a group of soldiers all clustering around the cells, firing into them and moving onto the next one as if this is nothing. In the middle of the cell block, Kuroo and Hinata are pinned on the ground with guns at their heads. Kuroo thrashes and screams and curses, while Hinata’s body is trembling and his eyes are red and puffy with tears. 

“Get off me! Get the fuck off of me! Stop it! Stop it! They didn’t do anything wrong! Leave them alone!” Kuroo screams. Oikawa sees in one of the soldier’s fists Kuroo’s headpiece. So that explains why Kuroo didn’t radio them for help. 

“What are you doing?! Stand down!” Daichi shouts and one soldier looks up. Oikawa notes with nausea that the soldier stands in front of the cell with those two lovers Hanamaki tried to free. There is blood that is beginning to seep out of the cell and form around a small pool around the soldier’s feet. Oikawa doesn’t even want to see what is in that cell. 

“Have you found the mutant captive?” the soldier asks and Daichi looks around at all the bodies that surround them. 

These were mutant captives! How. . .how could you gun down defenseless people?!” 

“These aren’t people. They’re mutants,” the soldier corrects and steps forward. “Is the mutant captive further down in the next sub level,” he asks again and Oikawa steps forward. 

“What are you planning to do if he is?” he says, low enough to barely register through the mask. 

“We have our orders. Put down all mutants in sight.” 

What?!” Michimiya yells and there’s a click on the radio in Oikawa’s ear. Michimiya must have disconnected herself to get in contact with Sugawara. 

There’s a fucking bloodbath down here. They. . .there’s even kids down here. . .I’m going to be sick,” Hanamaki’s voice filters in, weak and quiet. 

Babe, you okay? What’s going on? What are those-bzzt-hey-bzzzt-can you-bzzt-“ Matsukawa beeps in worriedly. 

“Hawkeye? Hawkeye, come in!” Daichi shouts, placing his hand to his earpiece. 

There’s some-bzzzt-I can’t see you on the-bzzzt-it’s the-“ Shirabu’s voice filters in next, but it’s distorted and Oikawa can barely make out what he’s saying. The soldiers start to move forward towards Oikawa and Daichi. 

“Step aside. You’re under orders from Chief Nekomata, you follow his commands,” the solider says and Daichi scoffs, pulling his shield from his back. 

“I don’t follow orders from anyone that will draw their weapon on a defenseless person,” he says and the soldier raises his gun at Daichi. 

“Sir, we will use force if necessary. Step aside.” 

Daichi glances down at the cells, at the cells that held those three girls who are now lying in a heap of tangled limbs and the cell of the lovers where the blood pool begins to flow out into the hallway. He closes his eyes and breathes in deeply through his nose, turning his gaze towards the soldier who has his gun drawn on him. 

“Make me.” 

The soldier is taken aback. 

He turns to look at his comrades, almost as if he’s surprised that Daichi is refusing to follow orders from a fellow soldier. Their hesitation to fire opens up a window of opportunity and Oikawa hears a scream of anger. The soldiers turn and a body goes flying at them, knocking them over. Daichi and Oikawa quickly step aside, seeing Kuroo up on his feet and slicing into the ribcage of the soldier holding Hinata down and shooting the soldier that held Hinata at gunpoint in the head. 

“Shoyou! Run! Run and get out of here!” Kuroo yells, firing a bullet at a soldier in the corner trying to shoot Hinata before he can even think about running. 

“I-I can’t!” Hinata cries and the soldiers quickly try to get their feet, throwing their dead comrade off to the side and readying their weapons. 

“A-Attention! We need back up in cell block-” Daichi reels his fist back and punches the soldier square in the jaw. The other two soldiers raise their weapons to fire, but Oikawa is faster and fires two quick plasma shots at their chests to stun them and knock them back. Daichi follows through with a leg takedown and drags one to the floor, twisting his foot and kicking the fallen soldier in the nose. He then pushes forward onto his hands and grabs the other solder by his torso with his thighs, throwing him down to the ground and delivering a fast and hard punch to his face. 

“Get out of here, kid! Now!” Daichi screams and Hinata balls his hands into fists. 

“B-But. . .Natsu will-” 

“Hinata-kun, you need to run! They’ve killed all of the-” Oikawa bites his tongue when he sees tears rolling down Hinata’s face and his body trembling. His chest rises up and down and his hands are in tight fists. He sniffles, pulling his lower lip in between his teeth and looks up at Oikawa. 

“You. . .you brought these men here and-” 

“Hinata-kun, we didn’t know-” 

Hinata closes his eyes and breathes in deeply through his nose, flush breaking out over his skin. He rubs his eyes and his nose, then opens his eyes and stares straight ahead at Oikawa. 

It’s unmistakable the emotion in the child’s big, golden eyes. Absolute hatred

Hinata is gone in a blink of an eye, and a large boom rips through the cell block and brings Oikawa to his knees as the sound rings up his spine and nearly blows out his eardrums. Everyone else falls down to the ground as the entire building shakes and crumbles around them. Winds appear at top speeds and splatter blood all over Oikawa’s suit and his faceplate, dead and knocked out bodies flying upwards and against the rubble of the cell block that is slowly beginning to break down. 

“H-Hey! We need to get out of here! This place isn’t stable after that kid created that small sonic boom!” Daichi shouts and struggles to his feet. Kuroo rolls over to his side, yanking a knife from his holster on his hip and stabs it in the chest of a soldier that is trying to weakly reach for his gun. 

“No one told me he can do that,” Kuroo says, dazed and disoriented. He staggers to his feet as well, but collapses back onto the ground and grunts. “Fuck. . .no, no I think my leg is broken.” 

“The shockwave must have caused that,” Oikawa says and turns to Daichi. “How’re you?” 

“Think I got some bruises and fractures, but I can still move,” Daichi grits out through his teeth, placing a hand to his earpiece. “Ant-Man, is Iwaizumi-san out? . . .Hello? . . .Yui, Hawkeye, Black Widow, anyone, come in!” Daichi shouts and pulls his hand from his earpiece and wipes his face. “This is really bad. . .Iron Man, go and get Iwaizumi-san and the other mutant. I need to get Deadpool out of here before this place comes down and get Black Widow-” 

“I’m fine,” Kuroo says. “I’m a trooper, gramps. This is nothing,” he says and gets back to his feet, swearing loudly as his leg twists to one side when he tries to take a step. Daichi rushes forward to brace Kuroo up against him, throwing Kuroo’s arm around his shoulders and holding him by his midsection. He grabs his shield and raises it over both of their heads as a chunk of ceiling falls down above them. It breaks over the shield and rubble falls at their sides, Daichi pulling the shield back and scowling. 

“Come on, I just need to get you outside,” Daichi says. Oikawa glances at the feed of Wasp’s helmet, finding that a majority of the orange dots are gone. There’s still two dots that haven’t moved from their location, Iwaizumi and Takeda. All this interference is distorting the map's image however; he can barely get a clear picture since the dots keep flickering in and out and-

Interference. . .

Oh no.

Oikawa’s head whirs around to the direction of the room Iwaizumi is in. “Kageyama-kun knows we’re here. I bet he’s the reason the radios aren’t working. We need to get out of here before he pinpoints our location or attacks the others outside-”

“Actually, you three are going to stay right here.”

Something squeezes around Oikawa’s heart like a vice and it speeds in fear. He feels it strangle in his throat and quake his bones, rooting his feet to the ground and locking himself firmly in place. His head turns as a figure rounds a corner, dressed in a sharp business suit and a purple flower tucked in the front pocket of his blazer.

Daishou Suguru.

He slowly approaches them, stepping over the bodies of mutants and soldiers and not even batting an eye at the massacre surrounding him. There’s a scowl etched over his lips and his hands are in the pockets of his slacks. He’s so clean cut and dressed, like he just came from having dinner with the most elite of socialites.

“What an absolute mess you all made,” Daishou scolds, kicking over a body that lays in his path. “For a group that is considered to be ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’, things certainly look pretty fucked up around here, huh?” he asks and looks at his shoe. He sighs and takes the tip of it, smearing the blood that is on the loafer onto Kuroo’s leg. “You don’t mind do you? Blood blends in with red easily, no one will notice,” Daishou muses. 

Kuroo’s hand twitches for his gun and Daishou shakes his head. “If you pull your gun out on me or try to attack me, the good Captain here will. . .hm, gouge out your eyes?” Daishou suggests and Daichi’s grip on Kuroo moves upwards to hold him by his face, thumbs positioned to dig straight into Kuroo’s eye sockets at any moment. Daichi’s eyes widened and he tries to pull his hands away, but they remained clamped on Kuroo’s head like they’ve been glued to it. 

Kuroo’s hand drops and Daishou nods his head. “Good, good. I know your face must be absolutely disgusting underneath that mask, so why ruin it any further?” Daishou asks and Kuroo twitches. He growls and grabs at his gun again, but Daichi’s thumbs begin to press underneath Kuroo’s eyes. 

“Kuroo, don’t. Please don’t make me do this,” Daichi grits and Kuroo lets his hand go free again. Daishou sighs and moves past them to Oikawa, looking at all of the blood that covers the suit of armor. 

“Is he really that important to you? From my understanding, you’re not even a couple,” Daishou asks and smiles. “He’s not even really your type. I mean, a rich playboy such as yourself should have people throwing themselves at you left and right, willing and begging to be beside you,” he says and chuckles to himself. “Hajime’s mind is so muddled with thoughts about you. When I had Take-chan purge his body with Extremis, all he wanted to do was see your face again. To touch you and be in your arms and have you look at him like you looked at many of your past flings.” 

"How do you know any of this stuff about me?" Oikawa asks and Daishou chuckles.

"You wouldn't remember, of course, but Kageyama-kun looked through your head when he conjured up that nightmare for you. Of course, I had to take advantage of the fact that you were Iron Man and retrieve Shoyou for me," Daishou says and then shrugs, playing with something in his ear. "Either that or killed him. I never really liked that little brat to begin with. Too headstrong, just like darling Hajime."

“Don’t call him by his name,” Oikawa grits out. 

Shut up, I’m talking.” 

Oikawa’s lips clamp shut and Daishou steps forward, tracing his finger around the suit’s core reactor and smearing the blood against the bright blue light. 

“It’s so frustrating. . .the will of a person so stubborn and unwilling to bend to the group’s wishes. It’s what makes Shoyou and Hajime so dangerous. I was so looking forward to breaking that will of theirs too. But it appears Shoyou fled yet again and left his baby sister to die. I remember specifically telling him that if I had to leave my home where she is and if I don't return within the hour, she is going to fling herself out of the window of my apartment. It'll look like an accident, of course. A little four year old girl accidentally falling out of a window, quite tragic."

"You fucking monster," Kuroo hisses. Daishou ignores him, placing a hand to his temple.

"And now you are prolonging my return in order to keep her alive by interrupting Hajime in becoming the most perfect being to ever exist,” Daishou says and sighs. “You ruined everything.” 

Oikawa’s hand reaches out and grabs Daishou by the throat and yanks the man up and away from him, throwing him to the ground. Daishou coughs, rubbing his throat and looking at the mess on his suit. But he raises his head and he’s still smiling that sneaky smile of his that makes Oikawa’s skin crawl. He laughs and gets up again, reaching into his pocket where the purple flower that is now crushed and covered with blood sits in.

He pulls out a handkerchief and wipes his face, sighing. 

“I tried to make Hajime look at me the way he looks at you. I even tried to force myself onto him, but he resisted. I have a scar on my ribcage to prove it,” Daishou muses and Oikawa feels himself bite his tongue and the taste of blood fills his mouth. “Hajime is so close to becoming perfect and unlocking his full potential. . .and you’re just in the way. But now that you’re here and he’s almost done with Extremis, I think I have the perfect way to make sure Hajime finally lets you go and he can be what he truly is.” 

Daishou turns his head to look at Daichi and Kuroo. “You two. Leave and don’t look back. Be out of here in under ten minutes or you both will slice each other’s stomachs open,” Daishou commands and Daichi’s eyes widen as Kuroo’s hand reaches for his katana. Daichi grabs Kuroo’s midsection and pulls him up against him, grunting and panting as he tries to carry Kuroo over the bodies and around the corner while Kuroo tries to keep his hand from unsheathing the weapon, screaming and cursing along the way out. 

Daishou turns back to Oikawa and reaches into his coat, pulling out something with a timer beeping and announcing there were only ten minutes left. Daishou paces around Oikawa, rubbing his chin deeply in thought. 

“Did you know that these soldiers were planning to destroy this entire building? They stashed bombs all over the place and they’ll all be going off in the next ten minutes,” Daishou says with a sad sigh. “Open your hands up,” he commands and Oikawa’s hands jerk at his sides. He looks down at his fingers that are fighting to stay closed and feels himself growing lightheaded and his stomach turning into knots. 

One palm forces itself open and Daishou places the bomb directly into it. “You’re going to hold that bomb and wait for it to explode. No one is going to come for you, since the other group of soldiers that slaughtered the other cell block unfortunately killed themselves. And you can’t radio for someone to get you either since Kageyama-kun is engaging your little Avenger friend with the wings.” 

Shirabu isn’t a fighter and is primarily used for defensive tactics. This isn’t good. Crap, they should have brought more people. They should have planned this so much better. It’s like. . .it’s like this mission is supposed to be a failure from the start. 

“Let’s see. . .this blast should be enough to kill you and kill anyone else on this floor or the floor below. Unfortunately, Take-chan is gonna have to die, but Hajime will be safe because of the Extremis. I’m sure he won’t feel a thing, like water off of a duck’s back,” Daishou says with a smile and looks at the bomb. Eight minutes remaining. 

“Do you have any last words?” Daishou asks with a grin and Oikawa grits his teeth. 

“. . .Why? Why did you kidnap Hajime? Why did you kidnap these people and forced them into these awful living conditions? Why are you doing all of this?” 

“. . .Why? . . .Are you seriously asking me for a motive?” Daishou asks and cocks his head to the side. “This is why you humans are going to go extinct. You’re constantly running around like chickens with your heads chopped off, trying to make reason of the unreasonable. Will knowing why give you any peace before you’re blown to bits? Will me answering you give you some sort of closure?” Daishou asks. 

He steps closer to Oikawa, almost chest to chest if Oikawa’s hands that held the bomb weren’t in the way. Daishou smiles at him and Oikawa feels like he shouldn’t care about anything anymore. That he should just stand there quietly and die like the foolish human he is. 

. . .Please. . .fight back. . .  

“I did it because I was bored,” Daishou says and laughs. “I did it because I felt like it. Is that a good enough motive for you?” he asks with a snake-like grin and clicks his tongue. “I can’t believe someone like you is holding Hajime back. I can’t wait till this thing explodes and you’re out of the picture. With you off of his mind, he’ll be perfect.” 

“He already is,” Oikawa chokes out and Daishou ‘awws’. He looks down at the bomb, five minutes remaining. Daishou smiles to himself and pats Oikawa on the shoulder. 

“Well, hold onto those pleasant memories of him in your final minutes. It’ll be the last you’ll ever think of him. And don’t let go of that bomb no matter what,” he says and turns on his heel, casually walking towards the end of the hall and raising a hand to his ear. “Kageyama-kun, take me out. They’re dealt with.” 

A blue energy appears around Daishou as he moves, disappearing out of Oikawa’s sight before he rounds the corner. 

No. . .Tooru, fight back. . .  

Oikawa looks down at the bomb in his hands, ticking down to four minutes left. He wants to let go of the bomb. He wants to fly away and get the bomb as far away from Iwaizumi as possible. But his feet won’t move and his grip only seems to get tighter on the bomb. He grits his teeth and focuses hard on his joints, feeling his hands stress and grip, and the metal of the suit crushing under the sheer force Oikawa is exerting. 

Oikawa, I can probably fly away with this bomb. I just have to expel you out of the suit,” F.R.I.D.A.Y.’s voice says and Oikawa can feel the suit open up from his back and the gauntlets moving up his arms in an effort to push him out. Oikawa feels the boots trying to force his feet upwards, but he fights against it. He forces his chest forward and resists the push of the gauntlets and of F.R.I.D.A.Y. trying to pull the suit off of him. No, he can’t let go of the bomb. He can’t let go of the bomb

You need to fight back. . .please, you need to fight back. . .  

Is he going crazy? Why is he hearing Iwaizumi’s voice in his head? It’s quiet and weak. . .but he hears it. F.R.I.D.A.Y. begins to squeeze around Oikawa’s wrists and Oikawa grips his teeth and tightens his hold. 

Oikawa, you need to let go or else I’m going to break your wrists,” F.R.I.D.A.Y. snaps and Oikawa feels tears burning at his eyes. He wants to let go. He wants to let go. But he doesn’t. He can’t let go of the bomb. He can’t let go of the bomb no matter what.  

Tooru. . .Tooru, please. . .fight back. . .  

F.R.I.D.A.Y. clamps down on Oikawa’s thumb and Oikawa feels the bone snap under the suit squeezing around his digit. He screams and the pressure loosens, but his thumb still uselessly tries to cling to the bomb that’s entering its last minute. 

Oikawa, please let me help you!” F.R.I.D.A.Y. shouts in his ear. He feels F.R.I.D.A.Y. hopelessly push and shove and tremor around his fingers, the suit opening and closing and trying to force Oikawa out of the suit. Oikawa struggles against the metal and fights to remain inside, while his mind screams at him to just let go of the bomb. Why is he so weak? Why couldn’t he have protected Iwaizumi from all of this happening? Now he’s going to lose him like he lost his parents and. . .and he never told Iwaizumi how he felt. 

He sucks in a breath and looks up at the ceiling. “Hajime. . .I’m so sorry for everything. I should have told you how I really felt when we had the time,” he says out loud. He feels the suit squeeze around his arms and feels his bones crack under the pressure and screams in pain, but fights back against it. He can't let go of the bomb. He can't let go of the bomb. 

No. . .no, we have time. We have time. You just need to fight back. Please don’t give up.

God, he really is going crazy.

“If. . .if that Extremis is supposed to protect you. . .if you really survive this. . .I’ll be happy. I only want you to be safe. I always wanted you to be safe.”

No, please don’t.

“Hajime. . .Hajime, I love-”

BOOOOOOOOOM!

Chapter Text

. . .

 

. . .

 

. . .Why does everything hurt so much?

 

Iwaizumi. . .he doesn’t understand. Why. . .why is all of this happening to him? Why does it feel like he can’t breathe? Why does it feel like no matter how hard he tries to help, he just feels more pain and suffering from everyone around him? He doesn’t want to feel these feelings anymore. He’s just so. . .tired.

Voices ring faintly in his ear, sounding so close and yet so far. He feels the echoes of fear creep through his spine and disappear just as quickly with dread lingering in his bones. There’s physical pressure on his body, strong arms trying to lift him up with gloved hands while light and panicky fingertips ghost over his skin in quick, fleeting touches.

This strong grip. . .somehow, he recognizes it as Ushijima. But it’s different somehow. He feels Ushijima, his presence and his thoughts, his emotions that are calculating and as stoic as ever. There’s determination that Iwaizumi feels from Ushijima, like Ushijima has a task that he can’t fail.

The fleeting touches are from the scientist that watched over him these past few days. It’s strange; Iwaizumi doesn’t even know the man’s name, yet he feels like he knows everything about him. He knows that he’s terrified, he knows that he is filled with guilt and shame and remorse. He feels so much heartache and pain coming from him, stronger than any of those kept prisoner here. Maybe because Daishou doesn’t force the man to be content here, and he allows the man’s emotions to overflow and overwhelm Iwaizumi till it feels like they’re both dying of misery.

Their voices sound strange to Iwaizumi’s ears, like he is underwater and their voices are far above the surface. There’s a heat that burns deep in his chest, desperate to join them. He just wants this fighting to stop. He wants to be with his friends again. He wants to be with Oikawa again.

Is he okay? Is he overworking himself because Iwaizumi is gone? He doesn’t want Oikawa to stress his body out and hurt himself trying to rescue Iwaizumi. He’d never forgive Oikawa if he put himself in harm’s way to try. Oikawa. . .

. . .Oikawa’s presence feels so weak, so docile. There’s a burning rage underneath all of the emotion, masked by some sort of cloud that Iwaizumi is familiar with. Daishou. . .he’s somewhere in the building. No. . .Oikawa, fight back. . .please. . .fight back. . .

He hears another voice as someone else enters the room, their energy very high and emotionally distraught. He feels Ushijima’s grip on his body loosen for only a moment as hands hold his face, strangely concerned and worried. Ah. . .this is Hanamaki. He feels so scared, so sick and terrified and desperate.

Hanamaki’s voice echoes louder in his ears than Ushijima’s or the scientist’s. “We need to get him out of here. I can’t get in contact with anyone from the outside and I don’t know if there’s any more of those bastards running around here,” Hanamaki’s voice vibrates and rings from all around. No, there isn’t anymore. . .at least, not in the building.

Was it their plan to bring those men? That feeling of righteous justice that washed over in a wave with terror and finally coldness following suit. . .why are mutants hated so much? What did any of these people do to deserve this? Iwaizumi doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand it at all.

Daishou’s presence disappears suddenly and Oikawa begins to radiate a feeling of hopelessness, of defeat and fear. No. . .Tooru, fight back. . .

There’s a spark that bursts in his chest and he winces. The ground gives a quake and Hanamaki’s hands are off of him and Ushijima has lifted him off the table. He grunts from Iwaizumi’s full weight in his arms and he feels the scientist worriedly trying to pull him back.

It’s faint in Iwaizumi’s ears, but he hears the scientist beg Ushijima ‘not to move him’.

He feels the hopelessness in Oikawa’s heart, frustration boiling and bubbling and it’s just so strong. He chokes out a breath and it feels like fire is surging through his veins. No, Oikawa can’t give up. You need to fight back. . .please. . .you need to fight back. . .

Iwaizumi feels like he’s going to die. It’s getting so hard to breathe and he feels like something is burning a hole through his stomach and eating him alive. It’s so much pain. . .humans have so many painful emotions. Iwaizumi. . .Iwaizumi doesn’t want to deal with it anymore.

There’s something that hangs over Oikawa’s heart. . .despair and acceptance. . .Tooru. . .Tooru. . .please fight back. Why? Why is all of this happening? Why can’t Iwaizumi do anything to protect him? Why can’t Iwaizumi help him? He’s so pathetic. He’s just a normal secretary. He’s nothing special, no talents or gifts or powers like his friends that can protect the one he loves. Why? Why can’t he do anything?

. . .Hajime. . .I’m so sorry for everything. I should have told you how I really felt when we had the time.

No. . .no, we have time. We have time. You just need to fight back. Please don’t give up.

If Iwaizumi was more powerful, he’d be able to stop this. He’d be able to stop Daishou. He’d be able to keep Oikawa safe. He’d protect Hinata and he would have helped all those mutants that were slayed. But he can’t.

If. . .if that Extremis is supposed to protect you. . .if you really survive this. . .I’ll be happy. I only want you to be safe. I always wanted you to be safe.

No, please don’t.

He feels fire bloom in his chest and tears burn at his eyes as darkness encloses Oikawa’s heart. He’s giving up. He’s giving up and Iwaizumi can’t stop him. He’s so pathetic. Pathetic.

No. No more.

It shoots through Iwaizumi’s spine just as he hears Oikawa’s last thoughts. A confession that goes unheard underneath a powerful blast of emotion and despair and fire. Alarm wracks Iwaizumi’s body and his eyes burst open as a scream rips through his throat. The building quakes and fire engulfs the room in a matter of seconds. He hears screams around him, but they all seem faint. He doesn’t feel Ushijima’s hands on him. In fact, he feels. . .weightless.

The fire circles around them, but it doesn’t burn them. It almost resembles a cage. It’s beautiful, yet chaotic; a flurry of oranges and reds and yellows that lick up the walls and circle around their feet. Hanamaki is looking at him with wide eyes and so is the scientist. Ushijima is reaching for him, but Iwaizumi doesn’t respond to him. He. . .he doesn’t understand these people. These humans.

He looks down at his arms and turns over his hands to look at his bare palms. He. . .he doesn’t feel Oikawa’s presence anymore. Oikawa. . .Tooru. . .why did this happen?! Why did they do this to him?! Tooru is gone! The one person that meant everything to him is gone and now he’s. . .some freak! He’s alone. He doesn’t want to be alone. He doesn’t want to be alone.

He looks upwards at the crumbling building and raises his hands upwards, desperately clawing upwards to get out. The fire surges around them all and he feels it propel him and the others upwards, through cement and through the roof of the warehouse until they are high in the sky. The sun is gone, yet the fire that burns all around them is just as bright and blazing out of control.

He sees on the ground people that are all looking up at them, at him. He. . .he recognizes these people. Sawamura Daichi and Kuroo Tetsurou, who are on their knees and staring as Iwaizumi slowly lowers himself and the others to the ground. Michimiya Yui, who stands in front of soldiers with her arms outstretched as if to protect them. Matsukawa Issei, who is running towards them and tucking his bow in the quiver. Shirabu Kenjiro, who looks up from the ground, beaten and bruised from a long battle.

Kageyama Tobio hovers high in the sky still, looking down at him with nothing but amazement and wonder reflecting in those blue eyes.

The Earth singes as they land and the fire dissipates, Hanamaki falling to the ground beside the scientist and Ushijima taking a knee. Iwaizumi himself, stumbles to his knees, sucking in deep breaths as he feels sweat roll over his brow.

What. . .what is happening to me?

“I-Iwaizumi-san! Iwaizumi-san!” he hears someone scream and he weakly lifts his head to see Daichi getting to his knees, trying to pull him up to his feet.

“Holy fuck, did he create that blast?” Kuroo asks, turning his head from Iwaizumi to the warehouse on fire. One soldier roughly shoves Michimiya down to the ground when she turns to look, storming forward with his gun raised and aimed at Iwaizumi.

“Get away from him! He’s one of them!” the soldier shouts and Daichi’s grip on Iwaizumi’s shoulder tightens.

“He’s not one of them! He’s who we’re trying to save!” he yells.

“Our orders are to take down all mutants. You have already committed treason against your commander, Cap. Stand down!” he shouts and Iwaizumi looks at the soldier. He feels it all, the fear and the panic that resonates deep in the human’s soul. It’s a flurry of emotions that all center deep in his heart and come out through his body by the way his finger trembles around the trigger of the gun. Ah. . .Iwaizumi was weak like him. But no longer.

. . .Do you really believe that will stop me?” Iwaizumi asks. At least, the voice that comes from his lips sounds like Iwaizumi, but Iwaizumi doesn’t feel like it’s really himself talking. He feels his lips quirk in arrogance when he sees the man take a shaky step back, but he doesn’t know why he’s smiling.

“Cap! You have until the count of three to stand down! One, tw-” Iwaizumi raises his hand and the soldier’s voice dies out in a strangled croak. He drops his weapon and is slowly raised upwards off the ground, eyeballs bulging and a strangled noise coming from his open mouth. Daichi is pulled away from Kuroo immediately as fire begins to circle and engulf Iwaizumi’s form, both watching on in horror as the soldier is levitated higher and higher into the air.

You pitiful humans disgust me,” the voice sneers, and the other soldiers raise their guns.

“P-Put him down! Or we’ll shoot!”

“I-Iwaizumi-san! Stop!” Michimiya shouts and Iwaizumi clicks his tongue. Pathetic humans. Pathetic.

Iwaizumi closes his fist and a bloodcurdling scream comes from the soldier, loud and pained and filled with all the agony and fear that he was trying to keep bottled inside before the soldier disintegrates into thin air.

Not even a drop of blood is left.

No. . .what am I doing? What did I just do?

“F-Fire!”

Bullets ring out and Iwaizumi turns his gaze to the soldiers. The bullets begin to slow in midair one by one, barely even a foot away from making impact with Iwaizumi’s body and remain suspended in the air. Michimiya gets to her feet as Iwaizumi raises his hand and slowly rolls his wrist. The bullets turn with the movement of his hand, aiming themselves back at the soldiers instead of Iwaizumi.

“Stop! Iwaizumi-san, what are you doing?!” Michimiya screams and Iwaizumi snaps his wrist back.

The bullets resume speed – in fact, it seems they move faster like they’re pushed by an unseen force – and fire through the soldier’s hearts, their brains, and their throats. A stray bullet passes through Michimiya’s shoulder before it makes impact with another soldier’s chest and she staggers off to the right, gritting her teeth to hold back her yell of pain as she clutches at her shoulder.

“Yui!” Daichi shouts and pulls himself away from Kuroo to run to her. Kuroo gets to his feet as Matsukawa approaches Hanamaki still on the ground, pulling him into his grasp. Ushijima also moves away from Iwaizumi and grabs Shirabu, pulling the injured man away and watching Iwaizumi carefully. The scientist sits on his knees, staring up at him in amazement.

“I. . .there’s so much power. . .” he breathes and Iwaizumi balls his hands into fists, looking over the figures cowering away from him in fear. Why. . .why did Iwaizumi ever trust that they could protect Tooru? They’re not as powerful as he is.

You can’t even protect your own comrades,” he spits, looking as Matsukawa only holds Hanamaki closer to his body and Ushijima looks over at the warehouse that has now crumbled and is up in flames.

“Wait, Oikawa isn’t still in there, is he?” Ushijima asks and Kuroo clicks his tongue, looking up into the sky. 

“That little shit wouldn’t let any of us get close,” he says, pointing at Kageyama still hovering in the air. Iwaizumi looks up too, burning irises locking with Kageyama’s. 

He is face to face with the child in a matter of seconds. 

Kageyama lets out a startled scream and Iwaizumi’s hand locks around his throat, yanking him close so he feels the flames and heat that burn from Iwaizumi’s anger. 

Where is he? Where is Daishou Suguru?” Iwaizumi growls out through clenched teeth and squeezes Kageyama’s windpipe. He feels a power surge through his wrist as he narrows his eyebrows and a dark grin etches over his face. “You forced your way into my head. I should return the favor.” 

The feeling shoots up Iwaizumi’s spine and he feels Kageyama struggling to breathe in his hold, eyes growing wider and wider and skin growing paler and paler. Pictures flash through Iwaizumi’s mind at such high speeds that he barely has time to even register what is happening right now. He sees a woman with flowing black hair that holds her head high and proud holding his hand, love and admiration framing the memory in a haze. He sees Daishou offering a hand out towards him and a smile, promising that Kageyama will be safe with him. He sees Hinata, covered in bruises from a scuffle and tears coming from his eyes as he screams he’s never coming back to that horrible place. Oikawa and Iwaizumi himself flitter in brief visions with emotions of anger and hatred attached. But this isn’t what Iwaizumi is after, so he continues. 

Kageyama is crying; he feels tears fall onto his wrist that roll off Kageyama’s cheeks that are sinking in. His mouth is desperately trying to utter some sort of spell to free himself, but all he can do is make a strangled gasp and gape for air. His nose is beginning to bleed and his skin grows so pale that Iwaizumi faintly see the outline of veins. 

Why. . .why am I doing this? Kageyama-kun. . .I’m killing him

Iwaizumi sees Daishou handing Kageyama a small note with an address, telling him to come to this place if anything should ever happen. He sees Kageyama high in the sky above the warehouse moments before, deflecting attacks from Matsukawa’s arrows and knocking Shirabu around and out of the sky. He hears Daishou clear in his ear, announcing that the job is done and to take him home in the city to retrieve Natsu and escape. 

Kageyama’s eyes begin to roll to the back of his head and his body starts to grow limp and lifeless. 

No, no stop. Stop it! Stop it!  

Iwaizumi grits his teeth and looks away, his hand releasing Kageyama and the child plummets to the ground. He hears below someone scream and he glances down as he holds his head, watching as Ushijima sprints forward while watching as Kageyama’s body falls closer and closer to the Earth. He quickly hits something on his wrist and dives forward, growing to the size of two football fields combined and reaching his enlarged hand out to catch Kageyama before the child crashes into the ground. 

Iwaizumi clicks his tongue, glancing outwards towards the city. Daishou is somewhere there. He needs to find him. Find him and kill him

No. I don’t want to kill anyone. Why is this happening? What’s happening to me?!  

It feels like his mind is split into two and something is holding him down. Fire is burning all inside his body and in his mind and he has no idea how to stop it or how to get it under control. It engulfs his senses and it circles around his heart in his chest, overwhelming him to the point that he feels that the outside world is lightyears away. 

He doesn’t feel in control of his own body. He doesn’t even feel that this is his body. He feels wind on his skin as it circles around him by an invisible current. He sees Ushijima shrinking back down to normal size and scooping Kageyama into his arms. He hears the others screaming Iwaizumi’s name, for him to come to his senses and for him to stop. He smells the smoke from the warehouse that still burns from the bomb’s explosion. But. . .it doesn’t feel like this is really him. 

“Iwaizumi-san! Iwaizumi-san, stop!” Daichi screams at the top of his lungs and Iwaizumi. . .no, this isn’t him. This isn’t him

The weak being you knew as Iwaizumi Hajime is no more!” the being roars, Iwaizumi feeling his vocal chords straining as fire encases his body. “Hear this, worthless protectors of this futile planet! If all beings on this planet are filled with fear and anger like I have seen in you, then this pathetic planet has no right to live!” 

The being lifts his hands. “I will consume this miserable planet after I kill the man that dared to try and control me.” 

“W-What the hell?! Iwaizumi-san!” Matsukawa shouts and the being snarls. He raises his hand and snaps his wrist back, a wave of fire scorching through the air and towards Matsukawa. The fire shifts form, transitioning from a large fire ball to what appears to be talons ready to claim their prey. Hanamaki grabs Matsukawa by the chest of his battle suit and with as much energy as he can, throws them both out of the way before the fire explodes onto the ground and sets the grass and trees and greenery ablaze. 

What am I doing?! Stop! Stop it!  

Silence child,” the being speaks low and quiet, and Iwaizumi doesn’t understand what the fuck is going on?! Don’t you dare refer to me by that name again. If you all should choose to stand in my way, be prepared to die. For none of you have what it takes to stop me,” the being then announces and Hanamaki grits his teeth. 

“Why are you doing this?! We tried to help you! We’re your friends!” Hanamaki screams. 

I have no friends, nor understand this thing you call friendship. Love, compassion, anger. . .they’re all so painful. . .this planet must be destroyed and with it all this pain and suffering,” the being cries out and Iwaizumi feels his chest ache with such heavy pressure. Why. . .what is going on? 

Who. . .who are you?  

He feels his shoulders relax and his chin tilt upwards to look at the night sky, fire encasing his form. He hears the sound of a bird’s screech loud in his ear and he feels his lips mumble the next few words. 

I am fire, life incarnate. I am Phoenix. And this vessel is now mine.


“Daichi! Yui?! Hello?! What’s happening?!” 

Beside him, Nekomata clicks his tongue and crosses his arms. “So he’s a monster like all the rest of them, I see,” he mutters and Sugawara grits his teeth, slamming his fist onto the interface of the circuit board he sits behind. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are glancing around at each other worriedly, while others are quickly making alerts to Nobuyuki and trying to get in contact with Akaashi to ask Bokuto for assistance. Asahi stands behind him, his hand hiding the pained grimace on his mouth. 

“Why did your men charge in there and kill those mutants?! That wasn’t the plan!” Sugawara yells and Nekomata raises an eyebrow. 

“I told you that we need to put an end to all the mutants.” 

“They had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks! Daichi and the others said they were being held prisoner!” 

“How do we know that? It could have all been a trick to let our guards down. Which it did since Oikawa-san ended up dying in that blast,” Nekomata says and Sugawara shoots up from control table. 

“He’s not dead,” he spits out and Nekomata smiles. 

“Something I like about you is your positivity, Sugawara-san. But eventually, you have to face facts. Like how the person that you believed was your friend murdered my squad and attacked your comrades, now needs to pay for his crimes and be put down.” 

“This isn’t right,” Asahi says behind his hand. “We. . .We don’t know what happened to Iwaizumi-san. They could have brainwashed him like they did the others and-” 

“Idealistic thinking, but highly unlikely,” Nekomata explains away with a wave of his hand and rises to his feet. “We need to stop him before anymore senseless killings happen and innocent lives are lost,” he says remorsefully and Sugawara growls. 

“So those mutants you had slaughtered weren’t considered innocent lives?!” Sugawara yells, stepping forward as he turns to Nekomata. He feels hands strongly pull him back by his shoulders when his hand curls into a tight fist. Nekomata narrows his eyes at him and Sugawara turns to look over his shoulder, at Asahi that is holding him back from doing something he will regret. 

Nekomata sighs. “Perhaps you’re too soft, Sugawara-san,” he says and turns, walking out of the mission control. Sugawara pulls himself from Asahi’s hands, looking at the scientist before he sits back down at the control panel. 

“Daichi? Daichi, if you can hear me, please respond!” Sugawara shouts and checks the frequencies of their earpieces. Oikawa’s has gone flat, and there’s some static still picking up on Hanamaki’s and Ushijima’s. Daichi’s frequency goes in and out, picking up noise and cutting out a few minutes later. They can’t hear everything that’s happening to the others and he’s not sure if Daichi can even hear him, or if any of them can. He has no way of getting in contact with his team and checking to see if they’re okay. . .Sugawara runs his hands through his hair and sucks in a deep breath. 

Why. . .how can he have let things get so bad like this? How come he didn’t trust Iwaizumi more? Maybe there could have been a way to prevent this from happening all together. He. . .he can’t put out a manhunt on Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi never asked to be a part of this and he. . .there just has to be an explanation for all of this! 

A hand rests on his shoulder and he looks up at Asahi, who gives a small smile at him. 

“Don’t worry. . .I’m going to head out, okay? Just try to get in contact with the others and see that they get Oikawa-san,” he says and Sugawara blinks. Asahi gives a sheepish scratch at his chin, then turns and begins to head towards the exit leading to the hangars instead of the main hallways of the base. Sugawara gets to his feet. 

“W-Wait, where are you-” 

“Call Yuu and tell him to stay inside,” Asahi says and glances over his shoulder. “I’m not going to let someone justify killing people that didn’t have a chance to plead their case. I’m bringing Iwaizumi-san in so he can do just that before anyone else decides to pass their judgement on him.” 

Sugawara blinks, then bites the inside of his cheek and then gives a deep sigh, before a small smile curls on his lips. 

“Sometimes, I forget that you can be actually cool, Asahi.” 

Asahi sputters.


Daishou has no idea how things got this fucked up so badly.

He throws his clothes into the suitcase angrily and curses under his breath, glaring at Natsu standing in the corner. The little girl is hugging onto a stuffed animal; a personal memento to keep her dream of someday being with her family again. Of course, Daishou knows that her parents are dead; he ordered her father to kill his wife and himself before he abducted the children. But no matter what, he can’t force her to get rid of the damn thing.

She’s whimpering, but not full out crying since he told her that if she even makes a sob, she’ll cut her tongue out. That’ll give her something to really cry about.

No, no he needs her. He needs her and he needs Tobio too. Dammit, where is that kid?

He doesn’t know if he’ll be able to get a car that’ll take him to the airport with this traffic outside his window and helicopters flying around in the air. All these idiots will be too star struck and confused and trying to stick their nose where they don’t belong in order to figure out what’s happening. He can steal a car and drive himself, but he needs to make sure that Tobio is able to track him amidst all this chaos.

He jumps when he hears his cell phone ring on his bed and hastily closes his suitcase shut, snatching the device up to his ear to answer.

“Hello?!” he barks into the device and hears a depressed sounding sigh.

Dad’s watching the news. There’s a fire burning in that facility where our investment is supposed to be stashed,” the voice says and Daishou feels a bead of sweat roll down the side of his face. He looks around, then quickly runs to the window and pulls the curtain shut.

“The Avengers crashed the place and bombed it. There was nothing I can do-”

You’re such a bad liar, Daishou-san,” the person says and then snickers. Daishou grits his teeth when slowly the snickers turn to giggles, then to snorts and finally to a manic cackle. This fucking whackjob is off his doses again.

“What do you want? You’re wasting my time-”

Dad is really upset that you let them all get killed. Do you know how much money some of those mutants were worth? Ah, I bet you do. You sold some of them off yourself and pocketed some extra money, huh?” the voice’s tone changes, condescending and nasty. Daishou pauses in his attempt to flee, his heart beating madly.

“I-I didn’t-”

The count was off last we were there. There only should have been two missing, Kyoutani and Kozume. We also expected Hinata to have escaped yet again since it seems you can't control a little boy, but there were more gone. Did you think just because I wasn’t my sane self, I wouldn’t notice?

“Look! My contract said for me to just deliver you the good ones and to start your war. The ones I sold off weren’t worth anything. And I have some mutants that are still alive! Hinata is still running loose but since he knows I got his sister, then-” 

Kageyama and Iwaizumi. We don’t want anyone else. And if we don’t get them both. . .“ 

Something fires through the window and barely catches Daishou’s shoulder. He jumps and stumbles back, falling onto the floor as he looks at the window. There’s a bullet hole in the glass and through the curtains that he just pulled close. Natsu has her hands over her mouth to hold back her shriek of fear and Daishou is breathing hard. 

The laughter on his cell phone rings in his ear, loud and insane, before it clicks off and the call disconnects. 

Daishou runs a hand through his hair and closes his eyes. Shit, shit, shit. What the hell is he supposed to do now?! No doubt they have that thawed-out flunky stationed somewhere by, ready to take Daishou out with a bullet if he tries to run away in the midst of all the chaos. 

But there’s no way in hell that Iwaizumi is out of that warehouse if he’s still on Extremis. It would have protected him, yes, but by now the Avengers are probably digging up his body along with the charred remains of their teammates that were inside. Kageyama isn’t responding or giving him any updates on the matter; he hopes that the child isn’t trying to find out where that Hinata brat went and waste more of his time. 

He gets to his feet and looks down at Natsu, scowling as she wipes at her nose with the ear of her stuffed animal and sniffles. She’s going to be a useless bargaining tool; the Avengers wouldn’t care if a little brat like her were to die if they involved those men that killed all of the hostages. He could try and return to the warehouse, maybe bargain for the Avengers to turn Iwaizumi over to him before he orders every person in this city to kill each other. 

He growls and grabs his earpiece that he placed on his bedside stand, shoving it into his ear as he stomps over to Natsu and yanks her to his side by her wrist. He’d have to forget about running for now. He just has to deliver those two over and he’ll be home scot-free. Maybe even see about auctioning Natsu off so he can have extra change in his pocket. 

“Kageyama? Kageyama, are you still there?!” he shouts, pulling the little girl and keeping her close by his side as he briskly walks out of his bedroom and into his living room. He’s met with static on the other end and he clicks his tongue, grabbing his keys. He looks down at Natsu and squeezes her wrist. 

“Don’t say a thing to anyone. You stay silent,” he hisses and she gives a slow nod of her head, one tear rolling down her round face before she turns her eyes towards the floor and to her shoes covered in stickers from her brother. Daishou unlocks the door, peering into the hallway to check for anyone possibly hiding to catch them, before they both exit and quickly make their way to the elevator.

He places his hand to his earpiece again. “Kageyama! Kageyama, come in!” he barks, Natsu stumbling over her feet as she tries to keep up with Daishou’s pace. There’s still static and he gnaws at the bottom of his lip. Crap, what if they caught him? But how? He knows that the kid is powerful. Inexperienced, but powerful enough to take down Cap and whatever idiots tried to fight back. So why isn’t Kageyama responding-

The building shakes and the lights flicker off in the halls as the ceiling begins to crumble. Daishou stumbles and falls against the elevator doors, looking around with alarm. The building rumbles again, even more violently. Natsu covers her head and bites her tongue, trying desperately to keep her scream from coming from her lips.

There’s one more rough shake of the building, before the walls are ripped away in a blast of fire and heat. Daishou hears it loud and clear now, the screams down below and car horns honking. His apartment, along with the others next to it and whoever were inside them, are now nothing but charred heaps of rubble and piping. And there, floating in sky above the street with flames burning all around them, is Iwaizumi Hajime.

Daishou backs against the wall, watching with wide eyes as Iwaizumi slowly approaches him and the fire burns brighter and brighter.

“S-Stay back! Stay back!” he yells, voice beginning to tremble.

You dare try and order me?!” Iwaizumi screams and raises his hand. Daishou feels a force wrap around his throat with the movement of Iwaizumi’s wrist, and is flung off to the side when Iwaizumi throws his arm to the left. His grip on Natsu’s wrist loosens as he’s hurled away from her, the little girl immediately scooting to the corner of the elevator and throwing her stuffed animal above her head to shield herself. 

Daishou pushes himself to his elbows as Iwaizumi comes closer to him, desperately trying to crawl and scoot away. Shit, shit shit. There’s no way in hell that he can fight Iwaizumi. This isn’t even Extremis; he knows what to expect from a successful Extremis patient. Enhanced strength, enhanced speed and enhanced durability in a fight. But none of this. . .fire and telekinesis and sheer power of will

I am going to slaughter you where you lie, Daishou Suguru. And I’ll do it in the slowest, most painful way possible,” Iwaizumi spits and rolls his hand. Daishou is flipped over onto his stomach and feels his something twists and snap in the toes of his left foot. He screams as the sensation moves up his foot to his ankle, then up his leg and to his left. 

First I’m going to break every bone in your body. Next, I’ll override your senses so you feel yourself burning from the inside out. I’ll make it so you want to die, but I’ll keep you alive until the last second,” Iwaizumi says and Daishou twists his neck around to look at Iwaizumi. He can’t move his arms or even push himself up to run, it feels like something is sitting on his back and weighing him down from moving at all. The sensation starts in his other foot, starting at his little toe and moves through his foot as Iwaizumi breaks every bone that exists in his right leg up to his hip bone. 

Daishou is screaming and Iwaizumi reaches a hand out towards him, the intensity of the heat growing so hot that Daishou feels like he will burn to ashes in only a matter of seconds. 

“I-It wasn’t my fault for what happened to you!” Daishou chokes out. “You’re just another piece in his game! We’re all pieces in his game!” 

Your cry for mercy falls on deaf ears,” Iwaizumi announces and squeezes his hand into a tight fist. Daishou feels his heat squeeze tight, heat and fire erupting in his chest and scorching his insides as his rib cage begins to crush and cave in, rib by rib. He screams and feels flames scorch his throat, skin prickling and eyes burning. 

He hears a pained grunt from behind him and barely has the energy to move his head. The scorching pain halts immediately and the sensation of his bones breaking stops, though there is still the dull ache in his chest and the overwhelming pain in his broken legs that occur along with it. Iwaizumi is holding his head, tears burning at his eyes. 

“No, no. I don’t want this. I don’t want this!” he cries out and then growls. 

You have no power to try and stop me. You know in yourself that you are weak.” 

“Get out of my head! Get out of my body!” Iwaizumi screams and staggers back, clawing at his hair. Daishou doesn’t have the faintest clue what the hell is going on, but he’s not going to let an opportunity like this pass away. He looks to Natsu, still cowering in the corner with her knees pulled up against her chest. Her powers definitely won’t be a match against Iwaizumi, but she can generate a powerful enough blast if she’s frightened enough. 

He opens his mouth and tries to scream out a command for her to attack, but ends up coughing up blood and gasping in pain. He makes a strangled noise, but no semblance of words or a command come from his open mouth. He clamps his lips shut, but he wants to scream. He can’t even force himself to utter a word from all this pain. He can’t even move to raise himself off his chest or scream for help. . .what is this? Is this supposed to be his karma coming to get him? He almost wants to laugh at the idea, if it didn’t feel like he was going to choke out his last breath. 

Karma is for the weak. And he is stronger than the weaklings around him. 

Iwaizumi pulls his hands from his hair and turns to look back at Daishou, eyes burning with intensity. “I will kill you for what you did to me! No mere human will ever try to control me!” Iwaizumi screeches. He raises his hand and Daishou feels like his spine wants to rip from his body in the direction Iwaizumi pulls his hand back, closing his eyes and only hoping that by some sort of horrible luck, it’ll snap and the death will be instantaneous. 

Instead, something smashes into Iwaizumi and catches him by surprise, a figure that is equally doused with flames. 

“Iwaizumi-san, stop!” the figure yells and Daishou sees a young woman with pigtails in a blue jumpsuit appear from the ripped portion of the apartment complex, running over to Natsu and scooping the little girl in her arms. No. No, no no! He can’t lose another one! Not with them watching close by! 

Natsu’s grip on her stuffed animal slips and it falls to the floor. The little girl cries and tries to reach out for it, but the woman has other things to pay attention to and pulls her closer into her chest. The young woman looks over at Daishou, then nods her head as if she’s doing the right thing, before she jumps down and takes Natsu with her. 

Iwaizumi kicks the burning figure away and raises his fist. 

You dare try to challenge me?!” 

“I don’t know what the hell is going on in your head right now, but I’m going to knock some sense into it!” the man yells, brash and angry. Daishou can barely see it underneath all the flames, but he is able to make out the details of a Fantastic Four jumpsuit that the figure is wearing. Dammit, if they find out Natsu is a mutant, she’s their property. He tries to push himself up onto his elbows, but only makes it a few centimeters off the ground before he falls back and hisses upon impact. It just hurts too much. It still feels like his body is burning inside of him and he can’t bring himself to move any longer 

The Flaming Torch rises into the air and beckons Iwaizumi with his hand. “You want to come and fight me?! Then let’s go!” he yells and flies outwards, throwing fireballs in his retreat. Iwaizumi deflects them with his hand and grits his teeth. 

Impudent being!” he hisses and the fire that surrounds him takes the form of a bird spreading its wings and beak open to let out a war cry. Iwaizumi soars off and takes after the Flaming Torch, completely forgetting all about Daishou on the floor in his rage. 

Daishou tries to take in a breath, but he coughs up more blood and scrunches his eyes tight. Oh man, he’s going to die. He’s going to die here, body wrecked and coughing up blood. If he doesn’t die now, they’re going to kill him for fucking up like this. 

Daishou feels his shoulders relax as he thinks about it. If he is going to die, he’d rather die like this. He doesn’t even want to imagine the things that they’ll do to him if they get their hands on his body. He wonders if this is what those mutants felt like, when he watched over Takeda operating on them with only his command for them to lie down and be quiet. He wonders if when they came to claim the mutants he kidnapped for their own little experiments, did the mutants knew they too were going to die at the hands of someone else? They would have gone through so much pain, especially since Mizoguchi likes to pick and choose what he wants to remove from their bodies in the most inhumane possible. 

Ah. . .maybe this really is his karma. 

At the far end of the hall, he sees the door leading to the emergency stairwell open and in walks a figure. He smirks as they approach, cell phone in their gloved hand and pistol in the other. He meets cold and empty bronze eyes that stare down at him, the barrel of the gun aimed at Daishou’s head. 

So, they’re going to put him out of his misery? Or are they going to make sure that if the Avengers or their associates try to come back for him, he won’t be able to tell them a single thing about what his. . .what their true plans are. Or maybe they’ll take pity on him and help him. 

. . .Hah, like that’ll happen. 

The figure crouches down, the cold metal of the gun bruising against the side of Daishou’s temple as they place the cell phone against his ear. 

It’s all over the news now, Daishou-san,” he hears that voice says. He sounds more relaxed and calmed, amused and delighted. Daishou doesn’t say a thing and closes his eyes. 

He’s everything we ever wanted.” 


“Ryuu, what the hell are you doing?!”

O-Oi! We’re supposed to be using codenames, nee-san!”

“Screw the codenames!” Tanaka Saeko screams and jumps over a car, trying to keep up with Iwaizumi on her skates. He doesn’t seem to notice her following him, trying to run thousands of scenarios in her head as she tries to figure out how to get her stupid brother the hell out of his path of destruction.

I got to get him out of the city! Do you even see him right now?! He’s burning up everything!

“D-Don’t panic! Just don’t do anything stupid!” she yells. Okay, okay. This is their first actual mission and yeah, technically S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t ask for her team to help and doesn’t even know they have the equipment to be of assistance but, she’s not going to let her little brother get hurt! Chikara and Nobuyuki are trying to evacuate the citizens out along with the police force, Akane is getting that little girl to safety, Taketora is further behind getting injured civilians out of harm’s way, and she doesn’t even know where the hell the Avengers are supposed to be at. Somebody has got to do something!

“Watari-san, do you think you can stop him?!” she asks and Watari shows up in the corner of her eye through her battle helmet. She also sees him struggling to run and keep up with Iwaizumi as well, leaping from rooftop to rooftop with the help of the chemical compounds that explode into a bouncy blob of goo for him to jump on and propel him forward.

I don’t think these compound mixtures would work if I just throw it on him!

“Well we got to try something!” Saeko yells, leaping onto the roof of a car and pushing off with her hands to soar through the air. She lands back on the road, losing her balance with her blades momentarily, before she quickly regains her pace and circles around the corner.

It seems that Tanaka is quicker than Iwaizumi is. However, it’s still way more than what she was anticipating when she overheard Noya’s call from S.H.I.E.L.D. about Iwaizumi tearing through the streets engulfed in flames. She knows her kohai wants to be here and fight to bring Iwaizumi to his senses as well, but now that she sees Iwaizumi like this, she knows she made the right choice in having Noya stay at the university.

It will be 100000x worse if he got hurt. Then they’d have to deal with a crazy Iwaizumi throwing fire and an angry green behemoth trashing the entire city out of vengeance.

She sees Tanaka make a sharp left and Iwaizumi hurls fire at him to knock him out of the sky, but misses and instead destroys a part of a business building. Saeko quickly pulls hard to the left and onto the sidewalk, away from the falling debris. Watari halts in his pursuit, however, stopping just before he leaps right onto the building that is now beginning to burn out of control.

Crap, I’m stuck!” he shouts over the radio and Saeko looks over her shoulder.

“Try and put out the fire! Rescue any citizens that are in the building if you can!”

But what about Iwaizumi-san?!

“I’ll think of something as I move along! Just-” she turns to look over her shoulder to see how far Iwaizumi and Tanaka have gotten since she stopped, and then turns back to Watari. She clicks her tongue and raises her fist. “Don’t worry! We’re the smartest team here! We’ll figure it out!” she shouts at the top of her lungs. She can’t see Watari’s face from this distance, but the unsure sigh that she hears from his headset doesn’t rattle her in the slightest.

She throws up a peace sign and quickly sets off after Iwaizumi again, her blades taking her in large strides as she skates down the ruined streets of their city. She doesn’t know what’s happening and she doesn’t know the full details of why Iwaizumi – or even how – is he doing this. But. . .if she just stands there along the sidelines and only hopes that someone else will help her little brother when he’s out here on his own, she’ll never forgive herself.

‘Just hang on a little bit, Ryuu. I’ll think of something’.


Stop it! Stop it! Get out of my head! Get out!

The Phoenix growls. “You have no control, so remain quiet,” they hiss and raise a hand out towards the human that is trying to fly away from them. Just one quick snap of his spine ought to stop him in his place-

No!

The force the Phoenix tried to throw against the human changes trajectory, and a building takes a hit to its right side instead. It crumbles almost immediately, some humans screaming and trying to outrun the building from coming down on them, while some others are unfortunate as the rubble comes falling down onto them and traps them in place.

I’m not going to let you hurt my friends. I’m not going to let you hurt anyone else. I’m not a monster! I’m not one of them!

You are such a foolish child. You are no better than these pitiful beings that scatter like ants below. You fear your true self; you fear the power that you know resided in you all along. So much potential lies in this vessel, power that reaches the cosmos. . .that can reach even a being such as me,” the Phoenix says. “If you are afraid of this power, then give it to me to harness and grow.”

Like hell I’ll do that!

The Phoenix smiles. Ah, such stubbornness.

The human is leading them further and further into the heart of this city, where more and more innocent lives are trying to flee from the danger. The Phoenix hears his thoughts and knows that he realizes this too, and is currently beginning to panic. They also hear the thoughts of the human that is trailing them from below, his sister apparently. She has different scenarios running through her head at top speed, all of them leading to failure.

Is this truly the best that Earth has to offer in terms of defense? Pathetic.

This planet surely needed someone like you, Hajime. Your power would have saved so many lives if you weren’t afraid. It would have saved your lover.”

. . .What do you know? What do you know about me?

I’ve always been with you, ever since you were a child. Always watching and waiting. I do not understand these feelings that are so painful that you still choose to fight for. Friendship, love, hope. . .all of these feelings brought nothing but misery to you. Yet, you still try to fight against me for trying to eradicate it all.

These people won’t hurt me. I trust them. I should have trusted them all along and I’m going to put my trust in them again! And Oikawa. . .I love him and I know that he loved me. I’m not going to let you warp my memories of him to fit your own selfish desires. I. . .I’m not going to let you do this to me. Not after he tried so hard to save me and I just ended up becoming the monster Daishou wanted!

Try as you might. You can never challenge me,” the Phoenix murmurs and raises their hands out towards the human again. They feel their power and Hajime’s surge forward through their body like a wave as it builds behind their fingertips. Yes, this time they’ll destroy this wretched being and-

STOP!

The Phoenix is jarred and the blast they fire catches the human by his ankle. He screams and stumbles in his flight, crashing onto the rooftop of a building. The Phoenix halts, looking around for the source of that voice. That power. . .it doesn’t rival Hajime’s at all but it is still very strong. It couldn’t have been that woman that is screaming out down below for her brother. The Phoenix doesn’t sense any form of power radiating from her at all. Another human in a fancy suit, just like Hajime’s lover.

Who dares challenge me?!” the Phoenix roars. “Show yourself, coward!

Iwaizumi-san, can you hear me? Can you hear my voice?

W-What?

I know that you don’t know who I am. But you must listen to what I have to say. You must fight back against the thing that is controlling you.

The Phoenix growls. “You believe that Hajime can stop me? Show yourself before I decide to hunt you down myself!

You can’t let yourself be afraid of who you are, Iwaizumi-san. You have to stop running and face it. Only then can I help you.

I-I can’t. I’m not. . .I don’t want to be-

You’re not alone, Iwaizumi-san. You don’t have to shoulder this pain by yourself. I know that you’re scared and you ache for your love. I know that you’re afraid of what’s going to happen to you now that he’s gone. But you don’t have to go through that alone. Your friends are there right by your side.

The Phoenix closes their eyes and focuses in on the source of the voice. It’s distant, not in the range of the destruction they wrought over the city or in the direction they were previously heading to. The voice is also not residing on the surface of the Earth, and is actually a few feet below the ground. Some underground facility perhaps? There’s walls of protection and security that their mind traverses as they follow the source, nothing that Hajime has seen and the Phoenix cannot identify as belonging to that organization Hajime associates with. The concentration of energy grows stronger as he telepathically moves behind a large silver door with an ‘X’ across it.

The Phoenix blinks. They’re not viewing an underground base with metal chrome walls and sealed off doors. Instead, the entire scenery changes around them to that of a bleak and dry desert plane, sand getting picked up by the light breeze of the wind. And before them stands a man with short, curly black hair and a face that remains calm despite there being an all-powerful being that stands before him.

The Phoenix senses the power that radiates from him, stronger than before now that he is in his mental presence.

“I didn’t think you’d be stupid enough to try and track me down. But I won’t say that I wasn’t prepared for the possibility,” the man murmurs and points a finger. “Now you’re trapped in my mind,” the man says and the Phoenix growls.

Don’t you act all high and mighty with me. I can tell you’re shaking,” the Phoenix spits and the man narrows his eyebrows.

“True, I might be afraid. I sense the power within you and know that you can kill me right now if you want to. But I know that you won’t. . .or rather, you can’t.”

The Phoenix frowns. “The absolute impudence of humans sickens me. This arrogance will be your downfall!” the Phoenix screeches and swipes their arm. The form of a bird’s wing engulfed in flames materializes out of nowhere and reaches out to the man. He raises a hand and the fire moves around him, bouncing off of his body as if there is some sort of invisible dome that surrounds his figure.

The Phoenix grits their teeth. How? They raise both of their hands above their heads and bring them crashing down, pulling gravity and fire downwards to crush the man into the ground and bury him in flames. But the man easily deflects it, raising his hands above him as well and the force field prevents the fire from touching his body or even coming close. The Phoenix furrows their eyebrows and concentrates their energy on the man, curling their fingers into their palms as he tries to squeeze and crush his body.

Wind currents circle around the man, the ground beneath him crumbling under The Phoenix’s force. But the man doesn’t falter and doesn’t show any sort of fear or worry on his lips. It’s makes the Phoenix even angrier, for they feel that the man they face is still scared and holds fear inside of his heart that beats rapidly against his ribcage. Yet, he still stands defiant and ready to die. They want to destroy him.

So why are their attacks so weak? Like something is holding back the full impact of their power to kill him.

The Phoenix places their fingertips against the sides of their temple, glaring hard. If they focus a shot of energy at just the right moment that he lets his guard down-

“. . .No, no more!” The Phoenix feels their lips grit out and they feel a sharp pain in their chest.

Silence child!

“I’m not going to let you control me! I’m not going to be afraid of you. . .of this anymore!” Iwaizumi manages to croak out of the Phoenix’s mouth. The man quickly raises a hand out towards the Phoenix, while his other hand goes to the side of his head and he closes his eyes.

“I bind you, Phoenix, to the confines of Iwaizumi-san’s mind!” the man yells and the Phoenix squeezes their eyes shut as a sudden pressure appears on their body, on their mind. It feels like they’re being sucked through a vacuum, gasping for breath as their hands claw upwards towards the sky. No, no! This can’t be! They feel something pulling them downwards as the vision of the man and the landscape around them begins to fade away. They feel Hajime’s energy grow stronger as theirs begins to fade in the recesses of the subconscious.

You will not hide me away forever,” their voice echoes in the halls of Hajime’s mind.

I’ll find a way to put you away for good.

You cannot destroy me. I’ll always rise, stronger than before. You, they’ll come for you before you even realize how to control this power that’s too strong for you to handle.”

If I die, then so do you. Unless you want to leave my ‘vessel’ now to save yourself, since I’m a dead man walking apparently.

“. . .Such a stubborn brat you are.”

The blackness engulfs the Phoenix’s mind and vision and they feel themselves drop downwards into the abyss, forced downwards deep into Hajime’s mind from the mental barrier placed by that man. But, they do not try to fight it and allow themselves to sink further and further down.

That man might be strong enough to take advantage and use Hajime’s strong will to force the Phoenix down, but Hajime is still nowhere in control of this power inside of him that the Phoenix craves. Eventually, Hajime will lose control once again and the barriers will break. And just as before, the Phoenix will rise.

All they have to do is be patient and see.


“H-Hang on, Ryuu! I’m coming! Just stay right there!” Saeko yells into her mic inside her helmet as she skates towards the front steps of the building. The rubble is blocking the entrance and it looks ready to collapse at any moment. She only hopes that there’s no victims inside. . .oh man, things are really bad around here.

W-Wait, sis! Look!” she hears Tanaka shout and she looks up at the rooftop of the building, then to the direction where Iwaizumi is in the sky.

One moment, Iwaizumi is floating high in the sky with the flames around him burning brighter and hotter and more out control. Then the next moment, the flames all disappear as if something snuffed them out, and Iwaizumi is falling to Earth like a lifeless doll.

Fucking shit!

He’s falling at too fast of a velocity for her to be able to reach him in time! And even if she did get there fast enough, what would she catch him with? She clicks her tongue and curses. Watari could have thrown something to cushion Iwaizumi’s fall, but she left him to figure out how to get down from that destroyed building when she should have helped him. She knows that Watari is still alive since she hears his heavy breathing as he tries to rescue civilians, but that could have been a decision that cost her teammate’s life.

And now, Iwaizumi is going to crash into the ground and she can’t do anything to help him! Dammit, dammit, dammit!

She tries to propel herself forward anyways, hands outstretched as her helmet’s visor gauges Iwaizumi’s speed and estimate time of impact. She’s not going to get there in time! There’s no way she can catch him without seriously injuring them both. Dammit! What can she do?! She isn’t like the Captain and can make actions without showing the worry on his face like she is right now. Hell, she bets that even Yuu would have already thought of something to at least slow Iwaizumi down. What can she do?! What can she do?! He’s going to hit the ground in less than-

Something soars overhead and casts a large shadow over her. A deafening roar echoes and she sees something collide with Iwaizumi and crash to the ground. She skids to a stop, bracing her arms upwards to deflect the bits of rubble that come flying up from the thing impacting into the destroyed street, dust rising into the air.

She lowers her arms after the dust clears and all she hears is the sound of a news helicopter up above in the sky, looking to see what is in front of her. There’s a large crater in the street, cars tossed off into the buildings and damaged beyond repair. In the center of the crater is the Hulk, cradling something close to his chest. He looks up at Saeko who stands at the edge and grunts, bracing his legs and makes a large leap upwards out of the crater that he made.

The Hulk lands behind Saeko and turns to her, breathing hard. In his eyes, she sees the soft worry of Asahi’s looking at her. She looks down in the Hulk’s arms, Iwaizumi unmoving in his grasp. He’s still alive since she sees the light rise and fall of his chest, but he looks like he’s not going to wake up anytime soon. She then looks back up at the Hulk and worries her lower lip in between her teeth.

“What happened to him? Where’s the other Avengers?” she asks. Of course, the Hulk doesn’t give her an answer, but she notes his expression contorting into frustration. She then glances back behind the Hulk. “I-I need to see if Ryuu and the others-”

Hey, it’s okay.

She pauses when she hears Tanaka back over her radio frequency. “I’m with Nobuyuki-san right now. Taketora’s helping Watari-san – ouch!

“Ryuu! Are you hurt?! Are you okay?!” she screams and hears some shuffling noise on the other end of the transmission.

He’s fine,” Nobuyuki’s voice responds. “He has a badly burned ankle, so we’ll need to take him to the hospital to get the burns treated.

“Eh?! How is that possible?! He sets his entire body on fire!”

These don’t look like an ordinary fire created these burns,” Nobuyuki mutters and Saeko looks back over at Iwaizumi. Just what the hell is going on?! Hey, is Iwaizumi-san down?

“Uh, yeah. He stopped moving for a few minutes and then all of a sudden he just. . .fell out of the sky. I don’t know what happened,” she responds and hears Nobuyuki sigh.

Right. . .hey, you did good for your first impromptu mission,” Nobuyuki says, like he’s trying to make light of the situation right now and put off answering all of Saeko’s questions dealing with Iwaizumi. She huffs and places a hand on her hip.

“Maybe I should learn to crawl before I run like this. I don’t know how you do this, Nobuyuki-san.”

It’ll come to you the more you do this. Being a leader isn’t easy, ask the Captain.”

“I probably would if I know who he is. Not even Yuu introduced us to the rest of the Avengers,” Saeko complains and pouts her lips, glancing over at the Hulk who studies Iwaizumi in his grasp. “Although, knowing the Hulk is pretty cool.”

Maybe another time, we’ll talk about it. . .is Azumane-san fine?

“He’s fine. . .what are we going to do about Iwaizumi-san, though?” Saeko asks and she hears Nobuyuki sigh again.

I. . .I don’t know what’s going to happen to him. It’s up to S.H.I.E.L.D. now.

Saeko looks around at all of the damage that Iwaizumi has caused. All of the ruined buildings and the fires that are still burning in some parts of the city while others are now smoldering into ashes. There’s bodies in the street of innocent victims that didn’t get out in time or were killed in the havoc of it all.

It reminds her almost of what she saw on the news report those times during the Enhanced attacks. Those times were different though. She thought those kids were just little monsters that needed to get what’s coming to them. But. . .this was the result of someone she knew.

Or at least, someone she thought she knew.

She looks back at the Hulk and she sees that his face no longer holds that anger and rage that empowers him. All that are in his eyes as he looks at Iwaizumi is. . .fear. She doesn’t know if it’s fear for what Iwaizumi is, or fear for what’s going to happen to him. 

Maybe it’s both.


 

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

“Oh god. . .what’s going to happ. . .

 

. . .

 

. . . no point in freaking out. . .

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

“. . .H-Hey, Iwaizumi-san?”

It’s the stark bright lights that shine above him and blind his eyes.

Iwaizumi blinks the sudden brightness away, his vision slowly correcting as he tries to push himself up into a sitting position. But as he comes more into consciousness, he realizes two things.

One is that he can’t move his arms.

The other is that he’s in a place he’s not familiar with.

He sits in some type of cell with a sheet of glass separating him from the outside. There’s a futon on the ground that looks rather uncomfortable tossed off in the corner, and the cell that he sits in isn’t that large and doesn’t offer a lot of space to move around. Around in a circle in their own cells sit Kenma, Kyoutani and. . .he vaguely remembers the other man with broken glasses and mousy brown hair.

In fact, everything all seems like a blur, like he hasn’t been awake in a long time and slept for years. They’re all dressed in jumpsuits that Iwaizumi recognizes from one of Oikawa’s blueprints, the ones they use for felons that are apprehended by the Avengers and deemed too dangerous to be placed in the public jail with the common criminal.

Oikawa. . .where is Oikawa?

He rolls himself to his knees at least, finding that his jumpsuit is designed differently from the others and has his arms bound and folded against his chest, constricting like a straight-jacket. There’s also something tight around his throat, squeezing around his airway that he can barely take a breath. What. . .what is this?

“Are. . .are you alright, Iwaizumi-san?” the man asks and Iwaizumi blinks. He shifts and struggles against the confines of the jumpsuit, gritting his teeth in frustration.

“What’s happening? Where are we? What is this-” Iwaizumi begins to rattle, but Kyoutani slumps against the glass of his cell. Iwaizumi sees that there’s metal gauntlets on his hands that don’t allow any way for Kyoutani to use them.

“Isn’t it obvious? They’re going to kill us,” Kyoutani announces, voice hollow and emotionless.

Iwaizumi blinks. W-What?

“What are you talking about?! W-Where’s Oikawa and Sugawara?! They wouldn’t let this happen!” Iwaizumi yells and Kyoutani grits his teeth.

You know what’s happening. You know what your boyfriend did and why they’re doing this to us,” Kyoutani growls and Iwaizumi narrows his eyebrows.

“No I don’t. I don’t even remember what happened to me or how I got here! The last thing I fully remember is-” Iwaizumi closes his eyes when a sharp pain shoots through his skull when he tries to recall what happened to him. He loses his balance on his knees and falls on his side, choking out a gasp from the impact on his shoulder.

“A-Ah! Iwaizumi-san! Are you okay?!” the man shouts worriedly and Iwaizumi slowly gives a nod of his head.

“I just. . .I just got a little bit dizzy. . .I’m sorry, but how do you know my name? Who are you?” he asks and the man blinks. He turns to Kyoutani, who is now looking over at Iwaizumi with a raised eyebrow himself. Kenma is curled on the ground, eyes looking rather glazed over and exhausted.

“I-I’m. . .Takeda Ittetsu. . .I’m so sorry for what I’ve done to you, Iwaizumi-san,” the man says, getting to his knees and bowing his head. “I’m sorry for what I did to all of you! I swear, I never wanted to hurt anyone!”

“What? . . .I don’t understand, what did you do to me?” Iwaizumi asks and the man raises his head.

“You. . .you don’t remember?” he asks and Iwaizumi scoots himself towards the glass, bracing himself against it as he tries to get a better look at his surroundings. There’s a window up above them all, possibly someone monitoring from that room and controlling the cells. On the side of each cell, there’s a handprint scanner with a small red light directly above the center of the panel. There’s also a large metal door that’s between Kyoutani’s and Takeda’s cells and directly in front of him with a fingerprint scanner on the left side.

It doesn’t look like a S.H.I.E.L.D. scanner, but he’s not observing it up close so Iwaizumi isn’t sure if the place they’re in is associated with S.H.I.E.L.D. or not. He turns back to Takeda and shakes his head again.

“No. . .like I said, the last thing I remember is-” the sharp pain shoots through his brain again and he bites his tongue, closing his eyes tight and curling inwards into his chest. This pain. . .why can’t he remember what happened to him?! He remembers the battle the Avengers had between Kenma and Kageyama. He remembers Hinata running away with Kageyama and Oikawa’s distrust of him. After that. . .it’s all just static.

“You really don’t remember?” Kyoutani asks, quieter and not as angry. “You. . .don’t know what you did?”

“What did I do?” Iwaizumi asks, looking around at all of them. Kyoutani bites his lower lip and Takeda averts his eyes. Kenma rolls onto his back, staring up at the bright lights above his head. Iwaizumi feels a bead of sweat roll down his face, dread beginning to squeeze around his heart. “What. . .what happened to me? What did I do?!

“Iwaizumi-san. . .the Avengers came in to try and rescue you. But the forces that they brought with them. . .they killed all mutants that were held prisoner there,” Takeda explains, pushing his glasses further up his nose. “I noticed that you were always susceptible to emotions that can overwhelm you. . .I believe that the fear the mutants felt before they were killed spurred you into a state that I can’t even explain. You caused an explosion in the warehouse from what I’m assuming to be psychic energy and. . .you proceeded to kill the rest of the soldiers and harm Kageyama-kun. You then went into the city and caused massive damage and casualties before you were captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s forces.”

Iwaizumi blinks. What?

. . .What?

How. . .when. . .

Iwaizumi closes his eyes tight. No. . .no that couldn’t have happened. He doesn’t remember anything that happened. He doesn’t remember killing. . .he killed someone? He killed multiple people?? No, he couldn’t have. He couldn’t have!

“Iwaizumi-san,” he hears Takeda say and Iwaizumi grits his teeth.

“No. No, I didn’t do anything. I didn’t kill anyone. I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Iwaizumi rattles. He would have remembered something as horrific as that, wouldn’t he? Why would he kill people? How can he kill people and cause destruction when he’s just a. . .

. . .No. . .he’s not normal anymore, is he?

“Iwaizumi-san. . .I know it’s a lot to take in, but I saw it with my own eyes. I. . .I don’t think that came from the Extremis that’s running through your veins. I think it’s something different, something more powerful than anything that I’ve ever witnessed in any mutant,” Takeda explains and places his hands against the glass.

“Iwaizumi-san, are you sure you don’t remember anything at all?” he asks and Iwaizumi growls.

“If I did, I would know how I managed to get in here! I don’t remember anything after confronting Kageyama and Kozume in the city. I don’t know why I can’t remember and I don’t know why I did what you said I did. I don’t. . .god, I don’t know anything anymore,” Iwaizumi chokes out and presses his forehead against the glass. “. . .Oikawa. . .where are the Avengers?”

“If you think you can plead with them to let you go or talk, they can’t,” Kyoutani grumbles and turns to look at Kenma still lying on the ground in his cell, looking thoroughly out of it. “A group of men took us and stuffed us in here, and we’re not going to leave until they’re ready for the execution. Doesn’t look like the Avengers are really fighting for us to live either-”

“That’s not true! The Captain wants us to live! So does Deadpool! I remember them trying to fight for the sentence to be discussed thoroughly as they escorted Kageyama-kun and I here!” Takeda says defensively.

“Kageyama-kun. . .he’s here?” Iwaizumi asks and Takeda scratches his chin.

“Well, at least I think he’s here in this facility. I don’t know if they moved him to another location. . .or if they already executed him. We’ve been here for two days and haven’t seen another person,” he murmurs gravely. Iwaizumi glances around at the three, then up above at the window high above. Two days have passed? Where the hell is Oikawa? Why isn’t he coming to see him?

. . .Is he still angry with him?

“Did. . .where was Iron Man when they were arguing about us being executed?” Iwaizumi asks and Takeda looks at him, eyes filled with such sadness and worry.

“He. . .I don’t know if. . .if he’s still alive, Iwaizumi-san.”

Iwaizumi feels something slice his heart in two.

“What? What do you mean?” Iwaizumi chokes out, his breath shaky and his voice barely a quiet whisper. Takeda twiddled his fingers, bandaged up and badly bruised. Iwaizumi sees that there’s a collar on his neck that chains him to the wall to his right, as if this meek man is a savage beast instead.

“When we escaped from the explosion, you brought along Ant-Man, Black Widow, and myself. But apparently, Iron Man was still in the warehouse. . .it was a very powerful blast, Iwaizumi-san. It would be a miracle if anyone survived a blast like that,” Takeda says and Iwaizumi braces his forehead against the glass, staring down at the white floor his knees rest upon.

“The blast. . .that you said I caused. . .killed him?

“B-But that’s just what I think! W-We don’t know if he’s dead! They tried to go back into the warehouse when I was placed inside one of their vehicle with Kageyama-kun, so maybe they found his body and-”

“But you said that no one could have survived a blast like that! If they found him alive, he would be fighting to help us. . .to help me! And the fact that he’s not just means that. . .that. . .” he feels tears welling up in his eyes and he bites his tongue to keep the sob from croaking out of his throat.

The one thing he was so afraid of happening, finally happened.

Oikawa’s gone.

And it’s all because he tried to rescue Iwaizumi.

It’s all his fault.

He feels a tear roll down his cheek and he turns his face upwards to the lights, opening his mouth to scream.

The lights above him flicker as the ground shakes and quakes underneath his body. Kyoutani looks around alarmed as the entire jail block begins to rattle and Takeda places his hands against the glass.

“I-Iwaizumi-san! Stop! Before they-”

Iwaizumi feels electricity surge through his body and he falls against the glass. The shock stops with his screams and he feels something burning around his neck. Barely in the reflection of the glass, he sees that the thing that squeezes around his neck is a black collar. . .a shock collar at that.

Why? Why? He thought that they were going to help these mutants. There’s a mastermind that’s controlling them! They didn’t have any control over their actions! These are just kids and. . .why isn’t anyone trying to fight to let them speak up for themselves? Why are they shackled up like animals? Why is he in this awful place like he’s some. . .is he really a monster?

Did he really kill Oikawa?

He lies on the ground, feeling something closing around his lungs and his heart like a vice. How could he have killed Oikawa? Why would he kill him? All he ever wanted was to be strong enough to protect him, to stand on equal footing with him, to not be afraid of losing him because Iwaizumi is strong enough to protect them both. He’s not a monster. He didn’t want to kill anyone. He didn’t want to make the others distrust him because of his actions. He didn’t want to hurt his loved ones.

He’s not a monster, so why are they treating him like one?

“Please. . .let us out. . .please just let us go,” he weakly says and sucks in a sharp breath. “Let us go. . .let us go! Let us out of here! We’re not monsters! Let us go! Let us out! Let us out!” Iwaizumi screams. In the corner of his cell, the glass wall begins to cracks. Iwaizumi pushes himself against the back wall of the cell and back onto his knees, slowly staggering to his feet as he faces the window up above.

He begins to scream and shout, to demand to be let go, to yell that he’s not a monster. He screams for his friends and begs for their forgiveness. He screams and cries for Oikawa and apologizes to him as well, though he isn’t there to hear it. And that makes Iwaizumi scream louder, if only to mask the way his voice quivers and breaks in heartache. He yells when he feels himself get shocked, and yells louder when the shock continues to increase.

Kenma just watches him, while Kyoutani looks at him with eyes that are pitying. Takeda slumps in the corner of his cell, hands over his head and his knees pulled up to his chest.

Iwaizumi screams and screams and the cell that he resides in rattles and shakes and the glass cracks, but never fully shatters. He screams until the shock becomes too painful to bear and his heart finally gives way to all of the emotion that feels like it’s been bottled in for weeks. He screams die in his throat and he sinks to his knees, breathing hard against the glass as he feels his throat burn.

He’s not a monster.

He never asked to be this.

He thinks about Oikawa’s face and the distrust that was in his voice last he saw him. . .did Oikawa forgive him when he went to rescue him? No, no Iwaizumi doesn’t want to think about all the things that should have been done and he didn’t do. They should have talked. . .he should have told him everything he wanted to tell him. How much Iwaizumi loves him, all the pain and emotions that suffocated him, all the confusion and fear that cripples Iwaizumi and makes him desire to feel strong.

He thinks about Oikawa’s smile and closes his eyes. He murmurs one soft apology to Oikawa, bracing his head against the glass.

He’s not a monster.

He’s not a monster.

He’s not a monster.

Iwaizumi repeats it over and over in his head as he thinks about Oikawa, his body quaking and numb all over. Every time he does, it only makes a voice in the back of his mind speak louder and louder, till he doesn’t even hear himself speak anymore.

No, you are a monster.


“I hope that it will be fast,” Kenma murmurs to himself. Takeda doesn’t say anything to that, only burying his face in his hands. Kyoutani lies on his side, facing away from the others and not contributing to the conversation either. Iwaizumi just sits there, staring blankly at the cracked glass of his cell.

He’s lost track of time. He doesn’t know how many hours passed since he awoke. He knows he’s hungry and he has to use the bathroom, but he hasn’t seen another soul outside of the three that are in this cell block with him that will escort him to the restrooms or bring them food. He sees that there’s a small metal door just above the futon and guesses that’s where food is supposed to be delivered, but it hasn’t opened and he has no way of opening it himself. He doesn’t even know if there’s anyone in the room with the window above them, but figures that someone must have been watching when he got shocked.

He sighs and slumps against the wall, closing his eyes.

Maybe it won’t be so bad if he dies. Maybe he’ll meet Oikawa again in another life, when they’re both normal and don’t have to worry about stuff like superheroes and mutants. They’d be two normal people with normal lives and normal jobs. It’d be mundane and it’d be safe; Iwaizumi will only worry about Oikawa getting home safely on the train or overworking himself. They won’t have to worry about mutant kids coming into their lives or robots. They won’t have to worry about agents and gods and conspiracies. He’d yell at him for overcooking dinner and they’d watch cheesy alien movies with bad effects on the couch. They’d retire for the night and sleep side by side, close enough for Iwaizumi to feel Oikawa’s heart beat against his own.

They’d be together. . .he wants to see Oikawa again so badly.

“Do you think Kageyama-kun is still alive?” Kyoutani asks.

“Maybe. . .maybe not,” Kenma murmurs and raises his wrist, looking at the injection site of the suppressor drug they forced onto him. He drops his wrist and closes his eyes. “It’s not like we have any family or friends. I don’t know who my real parents are and they obviously didn’t want me if they gave me up to be adopted. . .I don’t care if I die or not. No one will miss us.”

“If I die, then at least I can stop having these nightmares,” Takeda mutters, running a hand through his hair. “These nightmares of all those mutants, of those people. All the blood and the horrible smell of that awful place. No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop thinking about it,” he says, teeth chattering.

“No point in us staying alive if we’re going to be hunted down like dogs anyways,” Kyoutani mumbles. Iwaizumi thinks about Oikawa’s smile and his voice. He wants to see him again. He wants to see him again so badly. . .

So you’re giving up?

Iwaizumi’s eyes pop at the voice and he turns, expecting to see someone else who magically appeared in his cell beside him. The voice sounds so close, yet there isn’t anyone in the cell other than him. He glances around to look at the others, but they don’t appear to have heard anything. It isn’t any of their voices either. . .he doesn’t remember hearing the voice before, yet it still sounds strangely familiar.

Iwaizumi-san, are you not going to fight for your right to live?

He closes his eyes. He’s dreaming. He’s hearing things.

You’re not dreaming and you’re not hearing things. Well. . .you’re hearing me, but-

“What do you want?” he mutters, so tired of everything.

Iwaizumi-san, I’m here to help you. I’m here to help you all.

“. . .Help?” he croaks out and leans his head against the back wall. “You can’t help us.”

Not with that attitude I can’t.

The voice sounds chipper, with an overwhelming feeling of trying to remain positive. Iwaizumi furrows his eyebrows.

“How do you expect to help us? Who are you?”

My name is Moniwa Kaname. Right now, I have students that are infiltrating the base to set you free. But the plan will only work if you all haven’t given up and will cooperate with us in the escape.

Students? More kids?

“I don’t know where we are, but this obviously isn’t a place that children can easily break into. Plus, someone must be watching us from the window inside our cell block and will stop them if we try to escape,” Iwaizumi says. “I want to avoid more people getting killed so just-”

These are my top students that have come under my wing as of lately. . .Iwaizumi-san, I’ve been watching you for some time now. I’m sorry that I haven’t intervened until recently, since every time I tried to make contact with you, you would erect a barrier and shut me out. You’re very sensitive to the emotions around you, and the emotions that are in your heart. Your power manifests in various ways, sometimes in ways that you’re not aware of yet.

Iwaizumi looks down at his bound arms. “So you know what I am? What you’re trying to save?”

None of you are monsters, if that’s what you’re trying to imply. The only ones that are monsters are those that try to use fear to manipulate others. . .I want to make you all an offer. Come to where I am, to my school. I can show you how to not be afraid of your abilities and how to control them. You’ll be among others that are like you.

“. . .Why?”

Because I know that you are all good people deep down. I believe in the good in your heart, the feeling in your chest that blooms when you think of your friends and your lover.

Iwaizumi feels warmth warm his cheeks and his stomach sink low. “He wasn’t my lover. . .he didn’t know how I really felt about him. I never got to tell him how I felt and how much I love him. . .I killed him-”

No, you didn’t.

“How do you know? You’re just a voice in my head,” Iwaizumi spits.

I know that you don’t know what happened to you in these last few days. I’m to blame for that. I feel that if you are to remember what happened to you, the distress will cause that being inside of you to come back, and it will be even more difficult to stop them a second time. So I removed your memories. . .but if you come to my school and learn how to control it, I will return your memories back. . .if you want them.

Iwaizumi buries his face into his arms and heaves a great sigh. “Save Kozume-kun and Kyoutani-san, because they’re just kids. Save Takeda-san too, because I. . .I feel his pain and it’s so unbearable. If you can make him suffer less, then do it.”

And you? You’ll stay behind and await your death?. . .From what I understand from your memories, the man you knew was Oikawa Tooru. Iron Man. The same person that dedicated himself to being a superhero to keep others safe. . .to keep you safe. Don’t you think you’re disrespecting him?

“. . .The fuck you just say?” Iwaizumi whispers.

Oikawa-san was someone that spent hours on end tinkering with his suit, trying to make enhancements on it you never thought was necessary. Did you ever think he was trying to make sure the suits were powerful enough to take on any enemy to keep you safe? He worried about you just as much as you worried about him. He even revealed to you his secret, if only so that he wouldn’t fear you finding out on the day that Iron Man disappears, Oikawa Tooru also disappears without a trace. He fought so hard to protect you and all you want to do now is give up? If he tried so hard to keep you safe but in the end, you choose to die. . .it seems like Oikawa-san shouldn’t have died to rescue you then.

Something smashes against the glass wall, a force that leaves a decent crater in the middle of it and cracks spread upwards to its corners. The glass is still strong and holds itself together, but it looks ready to give at any second. The noise startles the other three, but Iwaizumi is too busy seething to pay it any attention.

“Don’t you fucking talk like you know him,” Iwaizumi growls.

You’re right, I don’t know him. I’m only making assumptions based on your memories of him. But any other person that knew you two must have seen how much you two cared about each other. Would you have wanted Oikawa-san to kill himself if you died?

“No! There’s people depending on him!” Iwaizumi shouts. He sees that Takeda is looking at him worriedly, possibly believing Iwaizumi is finally going insane and screaming at nobody.

And you don’t think there’s people that depend on you to be there for them? I remember seeing in your memories a little boy that you promised to keep safe? A friend of yours?

. . .Hinata.

Iwaizumi still doesn’t know where Hinata is. The child could still be alive out there, all alone. Iwaizumi thinks that maybe after Hinata helped Kageyama escape, they went separate ways. No way Hinata would return back to the place and to the mastermind after all the awful treatment he received. . . but what if Natsu was a part of the mutants that perished in the rescue? Plus, with Kageyama now being here or somewhere captured and awaiting punishment. . .Hinata’s all alone out there. He grits his teeth and closes his eyes, cursing under his breath.

So if you don’t want to live because it’s what Oikawa-san would have wanted, then live so that child isn’t alone in this world that will swallow him whole.

Iwaizumi looks at the large crack in the glass. Live for Hinata. . .live for the child that he promised he will protect. . .live to protect all these kids. Kyoutani and Kozume, who have no one either and are just as alone as Hinata is. Even Kageyama, despite all the things that the child did to him and the havoc he caused. Kageyama can do so much good for the world with a power like his. He just. . .he just doesn’t want people to die anymore.

Iwaizumi looks over at Takeda, then at Kenma and then at Kyoutani. He closes his eyes and sucks in a deep breath.

“. . .Okay. . .what do we have to do?”

Stay put. The person that supposedly was in that room watching you has stepped out, leaving no one to guard you. And from the excitement that I feel from one of my students, it shouldn’t be long before-

The voice gets cut off at the same time the steel door across from him comes flying forward with a loud boom. Iwaizumi’s eyes widen and he quickly jumps out of the way, the door smashing through the glass wall and shattering it into little pieces. Iwaizumi’s heart is racing, and it only begins to beat faster when the alarms start to blare loud in his ears and the red lights start flashing all above them.

Faintly, he hears someone shout “K-Kanji-kun! We’re supposed to go for ‘stealthy and quiet’, not ‘obvious and loud’! Ack! Now the alarms are going off!! W-We haven’t even got them out of the cells yet!!! AAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHH!!!!”

It sounds like a young girl.

A figure emerges from the now unblocked opening that leads out into a dark hallway, extremely large and intimidating. Iwaizumi is taken back by their appearance; a young man that looks to be no older than seventeen or eighteen dressed in a form fitting black and yellow suit. A red visor covers his eyes, while his mouth is gaping in wonder.

He grasps the seriousness of the situation a second later, since he delivers a loud squawk and turns to the person that is walking into the cell with a sickly expression.

“I-I’m sorry, senpai!” he stammers. The girl, a blond with a blue domino mask and a hand that grasps at the red fabric that hangs around her neck to pull her mouth, only shakes her head from side to side. She’s not dressed in the same uniform as the boy is, since her outfit looks like it can be pulled from the shopping bin of a trendy teen store. A blue dress with a lightning bolt, red tights and solid blue boots. . .the colors are so bright and stick out like a sore thumb, Iwaizumi will be surprised if someone didn’t already see her on the cameras running around in that getup.

The girl finally gets her bearings and sucks in a deep breath, running over to Iwaizumi on the floor. Her hands wave wildly around like she has no idea what to do with them. Her eyes are darting around at such manic speed that they look like they will spin out of her skull. She radiates inexperience and panic and nervousness, a sensation that makes Iwaizumi shiver in discomfort and delivers tiny jabs in his brain.

This is who’s supposed to help Iwaizumi and the others escape?

T-They are really good students! Well, Yachi-chan isn’t technically one of my students, but she has a very unique ability!

Yachi, Iwaizumi assumes, gives a startled squeak when the boy proceeds to shoot random blasts from his visor at the sides of Kyoutani’s cell. Iwaizumi isn’t sure if the boy believes damaging the cell enough will cause the glass wall to rise, or if he’s trying to just cut through the steel to free Kyoutani, or something.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” he hisses and Yachi places a hand to the side of her ear.

“Nametsu-san! W-We ran into trouble! Prepare the carrier for escape!” she shouts and looks back down at Iwaizumi. “C-Can you walk or anything?!” she yells at him, then apologizes for yelling at him because she doesn’t want Iwaizumi to get stressed out and also apologizes for her kohai’s recklessness and her unprofessionalism. Iwaizumi stops her when she starts to apologize for apologizing and making the situation more stressful, pushing himself onto his knees.

“Just get my arms free!” he shouts and Yachi quickly nods her head, stepping behind Iwaizumi to begin undoing the suit as quickly as she can. The boy steps back as the glass wall slides open and then shatter, Kyoutani quickly rolling onto his feet and looking between the two.

“You two, you guys are mutants too?” he asks and the boy nods his head, jutting a thumb against his big chest.

“Koganegawa-”

“Spare the introductions for when we’re far away from this place,” Iwaizumi interrupts, feeling the tight restriction of his arms beginning to loosen. He shakes and wracks his body forward and away from Yachi’s hands, yanking his arms free and the sleeves of the straightjacket jumpsuit flying upwards with his motions. He staggers to his feet and looks as Kyoutani punches the panel on the side of Kenma’s cell with his gauntlet-covered hand, damaging it enough for the glass wall to rise upwards after the system goes down.

Kyoutani rushes over and tries to pull Kenma up to his feet as best as he can without using his hands, but the teenager staggers and pales.

“Crap, you think you can run?” Kyoutani asks.

“Sorry. . .I just feel really out of it,” Kenma murmurs, raising a hand to his forehead. Koganegawa blasts the control panel for Takeda’s cell and the glass wall rises as well. Takeda gets to his feet, placing his hands on the collar around his neck that has him chained up to the opposite wall. Koganegawa gives him a thumbs up.

“Ah! Hold still for a moment!” he shouts and directs his visor directly at the collar. Iwaizumi’s eyes widen and he quickly runs over and grabs the boy by his shoulder, shoving him out of the way.

“Blast the bolts that are holding the chain to the wall!” Iwaizumi yells and looks to the open hallway. Underneath the blaring alarms, Iwaizumi hears the sound of troops storming down the halls and closing in on their location. He clicks his tongue and glances around the cell block. They can escape through the window and the room it’s attached to, but there’s a problem of how they’re supposed to get up there. Kenma can’t even stand on his own, and they don’t have time to cut the chain from Takeda’s collar once it separates from the wall, which means Takeda will have to carry it with him.

“Oi, are you still watching us right now?” Iwaizumi murmurs.

I’m monitoring you as well as the opposing forces. Iwaizumi-san, it’s time for your first lesson.

“. . .What?”

Time for your first lesson on how to control your powers. I told you that we needed your cooperation.

“Are you crazy?!” Iwaizumi yells and Kyoutani turns to him, throwing one of Kenma’s arms around his shoulder.

“Who the fuck are you even talking to?” Kyoutani asks warily and Koganegawa turns towards the open hallway while Yachi rushes over to Iwaizumi.

“Are you talking to the Professor?” Yachi asks and her eyes well up. “P-Professor! I’m sorry! I don’t know how to do things in a group!” she apologizes to Iwaizumi.

There’s four guards coming your way, heavily armed. Your first lesson is to get inside their heads and make them think you have already left.

“How am I supposed to do that?! W-Why can’t you do any of this?!” Iwaizumi yells.

“Who’s the Professor? Who are you people?” Kyoutani questions aloud and Yachi jumps, waving her hands.

“W-We’re on your side! We’re trying to save you!” Yachi answers. Koganegawa is now trying to yank the chain out of the wall, strangling Takeda in the process. The scientist’s skin begins to grow blotchy with blue spots erupting over his skin instead of the normal red hue of a human as he struggles to yell at Koganegawa to ‘not do it so roughly!’.

Kyoutani clicks his tongue, giving an irritated look to Yachi. “All you two did is barge in here without a plan and got this entire base coming after us to shoot us dead. Is that your idea of saving us?” Kyoutani spits. Iwaizumi places his hands to his head as emotions start to claw around his brain in that familiar sensation. Anger, despair, panic, fear. Too many thoughts, too many emotions.

Yachi balls her hands into fists. “W-We’ll be okay! I’ll think of something! O-Or the Professor will think of something!”

“If this ‘Professor’ is your leader or something, how come he isn’t here to help us instead?” Kenma asks and Kyoutani nods his head.

“Yeah, how come he sent you two flunkies?” Kyoutani asks and then grits his teeth. “And how do we know he’s not another Purple Man trying to get a bunch of kids to do his fucked up biding?”

“He sent us to help you!” 

“Yeah? That other guy sent us to round up mutants too. Look how good that turned out,” Kenma states, eyes cold. Yachi turns to look over her shoulder at the hallway, the sounds of the soldiers approaching getting louder and louder. She turns back to Kyoutani and Kenma, bringing her hands to her chest and closing her eyes tight.

“Please, you got to believe us! Nametsu-san can’t come to help us since she’s preparing our escape out of here, so we all need to work together! We’re good guys! The Professor is a good man!”

“Kageyama-kun thought that other guy was a good man-”

“Everyone shut up!” Iwaizumi screams.

Kenma and Kyoutani immediately clamp their lips shut. Koganegawa finally pulls the chain from the wall and Takeda falls to his knees, trying to regain his breath. Yachi turns to Iwaizumi as the man steps over to the two teenage boys, a dark glare in his eyes.

“He’s still out there. The mastermind is still out there and you two want to die for actions that you had no control over? Do you think justice will be received for all those mutants that were killed because the wrong people were sentenced to death? I know that you two. . .and me. . .have done some awful things. But that doesn’t mean that we should stop fighting for our right to live. We need to make sure that that man never hurts someone else like he hurt you two. And I still need to find Hinata and make sure that he’s still safe,” Iwaizumi says and looks from Kyoutani and Kenma. “So whether you like it or not, we’re leaving this place with these two.” 

Kyoutani bites the inside of his cheek, while Kenma just looks at Yachi with wariness and caution. Iwaizumi turns to the hallway, sucking in a deep breath as he listens to the sound of the soldiers approaching.

“We’re going to escape out of here with no one dying, not even those soldiers. Go for non-lethal takedowns. Kyoutani, you need to make sure Kozume doesn't fall behind. Takeda-san, you’ll have to carry the chain. If it gets too heavy, Koganegawa-kun will help you. So that means that Yachi-san and I will be the main defense,” Iwaizumi strategizes.

He remembers a formation that Daichi often has the Avengers use if one member is injured or unable to fight. The two strongest and versatile members take the lead, while the next two members will act as support and protection for the injured party. From what he’s observed, Koganegawa can shoot a beam from a reasonable distance. If things do get bad, he can blast the walls and block off entry ways from behind Iwaizumi and Yachi. Kyoutani can fight, but only as a last resort if he and Kenma get surrounded somehow.

He steps forward, Yachi quickly trailing at his heels. “Do you remember the path you took to get in here? We’ll have to use it to get out,” he tells her and Yachi nods her head.

“Yeah, but are you sure you can do this, Iwaizumi-san?”

“No, I’m not.”

He ignores the panic that jumps onto Yachi’s face.

He’s not sure he can really do this. He’s not sure if he’ll end up losing control again, and become the monster that resides within him. But. . .he just can’t give up. Not after Oikawa did everything he could to save him. The thought of Oikawa makes a warmth bloom in his chest and he takes a deep breath, a steely determination beginning to glow in his eyes. He needs to get these kids and Takeda out of here. He needs to find Hinata. He’s not going to let any more people die.

He’s not a secretary anymore.

He’s a mutant.

Chapter Text

“They’re closing in. Everyone, remain still and be quiet,” Iwaizumi says, placing his fingertips to the sides of his temples.

I need you to focus and concentrate. The moment they enter your line of sight, you already need to be invisible to their eyes. Concentrate. Make them believe that they can’t see you.

It sounds a lot like mind control without Iwaizumi uttering a command. He twists his lips and furrows his brows, keeping his breathing steady as the sounds of the soldiers draw closer. Yachi has her fists raised, but the worry on her face shows she’s not confident in this working. Behind him, Koganegawa has his hand on the side of his temple, ready to fire a blast if needed. Takeda stands behind him, worrying the chain between his hands.

Concentrate.

Concentrate.

It feels like he hears everyone’s breathing as they try to remain as quiet and calm as possible, despite the danger drawing closer and closer. He feels their nerves itch at his skin, but it doesn’t agitate him like before. He keeps his own breathing nice and steady. Concentrate, concentrate. His heart thuds in his chest, not as heavy as before and at a calm pace. Concentrate, concentrate.

He sees them round the corner and run down the hall towards them, guns raised and aimed.

Everyone stiffens around him and he sees a drop of sweat roll down the side of Yachi’s face out of the corner of his eye. He feels sweat form on his brow too as the soldiers slowly file into the room, guns drawn as they assess the damage. One soldier stands a foot away from Iwaizumi, face to face.

He narrows his eyebrows and curses. “How did they get away?” he grumbles to himself and turns away from Iwaizumi, placing a hand to his ear. “Sir, they escaped. Possible chances of them trying to follow the convoy with Prisoner 000. Alert to change routes. We’re commencing with lockdown in case they are still within the prison.”

The soldier lowers his hands. “Move out. They can’t have gotten too far!” he yells and the soldiers all scream in unison, charging out of the destroyed cell block and running right past the group that stands close together and stares in amazement at Iwaizumi.

Once the last soldier is out of Iwaizumi’s line of vision, he drops his hands and almost falls to his knees. Yachi is quick to steady the man and Iwaizumi gives himself a few seconds before he stands upright again and gives her an uneasy smile. He turns to the others.

“We need to get moving. They might come back this way to check if we left any clue to where we we’re going,” Iwaizumi states, already beginning to walk down the hallway.

“You’re not even going to explain how the fuck you were able to do whatever just happened?” Kyoutani asks, astonished.

“Since I don’t even know myself and I don’t want to waste time, no.”

Yachi immediately trails after him, Koganegawa following behind her with Takeda trailing at his heels. Kyoutani hoists Kenma up onto his back and takes up the rear of the group, following Iwaizumi’s lead. Yachi places her hand to her ear, eyes darting around nervously.

“Nametsu-san, we’re on our way. Is the coast clear for you to get in close?” she whispers.

You’re doing well.

“Not like I really know what I’m doing, but whatever,” Iwaizumi mumbles. He just wants to get the hell out of here. He’s so done with all of this. Things were so much easier when he was just Oikawa’s secretary. Dragging Oikawa’s ass out of bed while he balanced coffee and donuts and briefcases and made phone calls all at once seems like a much easier feat than breaking out of prison with five other mutants.

He really wants those days back. He really wants Oikawa back. . .

No, he can’t get sidetracked.

“We’re going the right way?” he asks Yachi and the girl nods her head.

“Yeah, we need to make a right turn here and-” Iwaizumi quickly yanks Yachi back around the corner when she starts to round it, pulling her against his chest while the others immediately place their backs against the wall.

So you sensed it too.

Iwaizumi nods his head, biting his lower lip.

He’s not sure what this sensation is that slowly creeps up his spine. It’s. . .very strange. He feels that there’s something around this corner waiting for them. . .something that isn’t human, nor animal. Not even mutant. Something very, very unpleasant. Its aura is shrouded in darkness and its energy is heavy with methodic calculations and meticulous planning. Ready to pounce in any moment and attack whoever tries to come near it.

What. . .what is this thing?

“We need to find another route. Something is stationed down that hallway and I don’t like the feeling of it,” Iwaizumi murmurs. Yachi pulls her face away from Iwaizumi’s chest, face flushed in embarrassment.

“What is it? Is it a mutant? Kageyama-kun?” Kyoutani asks and Iwaizumi shakes his head.

“For some reason, I remember what Kageyama feels like. . .if that makes sense. This thing isn’t like anyone I recognize and it’s not anything that feels familiar to me. But I don’t want us encountering it. It could be dangerous and we’re in no position to fight,” Iwaizumi whispers, looking down at Yachi. “You have to take us down another route. Do you have a map with you of the area?”

Yachi looks down at the ground, biting her lower lip. “I. . .I didn’t think to check for alternate routes during our briefing,” she says regretfully and Kyoutani narrows his eyes, glaring hard.

“Are you serious? You two are so incompetent.”

“Hey! Yachi-senpai is a good leader! Besides, you’re the one that wound up in jail!” Koganegawa shouts and Iwaizumi feels the thing grow alert.

“Shut up!” he hisses, listening for the sound of it move. It takes steps with heavy thuds. . .from the pace, it sounds like it walks on two limbs like a man in a heavy suit. It could be a mutant. . .but this feeling is so wrong from how a mutant feels to him. What is he talking about, he can’t even explain what a mutant and what a normal person feels like. But this thing that’s approaching them is neither and it’s terrifying him that he can’t understand what it can be.

Iwaizumi-san, you won’t be able to fool the thing that’s coming for you. You need to run. Bactktrack to the hallway you passed and turn left.

Iwaizumi grits his teeth, grabbing Yachi’s wrist. “Let’s go,” he whispers and pulls the young girl along. Koganegawa grabs Takeda and his chain, tucking him under his arm like he’s some football. Takeda squeaks in alarm and embarrassment that a teenager is able to carry a grown man, hiding his face in his hands as Koganegawa awkwardly runs after Iwaizumi. Kyoutani runs after the two of them with Kenma in tow, following the group as they go back down the hall and take the hallway relayed to them by Kaname.

The hallway is wider and Iwaizumi doesn’t sense the thing closing in on them as they run. It must be slower than a human. . .he’s partially curious as to what that thing is. . .but curiosity did kill the cat.

“Hey, what’s going on? What was that thing we’re running away from?” Kyoutani asks and Iwaizumi bites the inside of his cheek.

“I don’t know. . .it felt like a mutant, but at the same time it didn’t. And it moves like a human, but it’s slow and clunky. I don’t know what it can-”

“A U-Man.”

Iwaizumi looks over his shoulder, at Takeda who is still in Koganegawa’s grasp. Takeda pushes his broken glasses up his nose, eyes looking pitiful and disappointed. “I recognized the sound of the suit when it started to move. It’s very distinct. . .the fact that there’s a U-Men here makes me worried about our current location. 

“Why? What is that thing?” Iwaizumi questions and Takeda gives an awkward smile, looking up at Koganegawa.

“Um, do you mind putting me down now?” he asks and Koganegawa blinks. He makes a noise of understanding and rather ungracefully drops Takeda to the ground. Iwaizumi gives him an irritated glare while Yachi scrambles to help him up. The man smiles and gives his backside a rub, adjusting his glasses and taking hold of his chain. He nods his head and continues to walk behind Koganegawa, Iwaizumi falling back further in the formation to listen to the scientist.

“The U-Men aren’t mutants. But they aren’t humans either. They’re some strange being in between, not that they see themselves that way. They see themselves as above both humans and mutants, a whole new species that is to dominate the Earth. . .a colleague of mine and Daishou’s was in charge of the project to create them.”

He gives a heavy sigh. “Daishou was tasked with rounding up as many mutants as possible and to place them in a holding area. Every couple weeks or so, the colleague would come and inspect them, then pick and choose who he wanted to experiment on. That mutant. . .would then have whatever he wanted removed and placed into a willing human participant to create the U-Men. . .and often times I was the one that did the operations.”

“. . .What do you mean? What operations?” Kenma asks and Takeda lowers his head. Iwaizumi sees the hands that hold Takeda’s chain tremble and his shoulders begin to shake.

“If. . .if the human participant was meant to gain something like x-ray vision. . .then I had to gouge out the eyes of the mutant and place them in the human’s eye sockets. . .or if the human is meant to gain the reptilian skin of a mutant. . .then I had to-” Takeda stops suddenly, placing his hand over his mouth. Koganegawa steps back as Takeda moves to a wall, holding his stomach and trying to hold back his retches. Iwaizumi doesn’t blame him, the thought alone of these experiments is making his stomach churn.

After a few minutes, Takeda pulls his hand from his mouth, spit all over his palm. He swallows hard and wipes his hand onto his thigh, looking over his shoulder at Kyoutani and Kenma with teary eyes. “I. . .I didn’t want to do it. I never wanted to do it. Most of the times, the results ended in failure and both the mutant and human would die. But. . .they just kept pushing for more of them. I didn’t want to do it. I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to hurt them. I didn’t want to hurt you two-”

“Wh-What? Did you do something to us without us remembering?” Kyoutani questions and Takeda places his hand back to his mouth.

“Y-Your claws. . .weren’t always made of vibranium. . .please, I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I didn’t want them to die. I didn’t want Iwaizumi-san to kill those soldiers. . .oh god, is it all my fault? Did the Extremis trigger something and. . .” his hands go to his hair and tears fall from his eyes. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”

Iwaizumi-san, we don’t have time. You all need to keep moving.

Iwaizumi is jolted out of his thoughts from Kaname’s voice and he looks at everyone in the group. Takeda is gritting his teeth and choking out sobs, begging for forgiveness. Kyoutani stares at him, eyes wide and filled with horror. Kenma has his face buried in Kyoutani’s shoulder, not wanting to look onto this pitiful sight. Koganegawa and Yachi have looks that are a mixture of remorse and horror, not sure what to say.

Iwaizumi walks over and places a hand on Takeda’s shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. Takeda looks up at him, face blotchy with blue hues and tears coming down his cheek.

“We all know you didn’t want to do any of this. You’re a victim just like we all were. . .but we’re going to get through this together. It isn’t your fault what happened to us,” Iwaizumi says and Takeda wipes his face and his eyes with his sleeve. Iwaizumi turns to look over his shoulder, shrugging away the sadness that tries to shroud his mind. “Let’s keep moving and get out of here. When we’re all safe, we can talk,” he says.

They nod their heads and continue down the hallway, Takeda keeping his head down during the walk.

The group moves in silence, hugging the walls and the corners and making use of dimly lit hallways that have a lack of cameras. This facility obviously isn’t up to standards; Iwaizumi definitely knows that this building isn’t associated with S.H.I.E.L.D. A government facility perhaps? But it feels so understaffed and lacking proper security. Plus with what Takeda said about that U-Men. . .why would the government invest in something like that. So horrific and without any sense of humanity. Why. . .why are these mutants being treated like this? What did they ever do to humans to make so many organizations rise up to hurt them?

He wants to ask Takeda just who is the colleague that conducted the experiments, but he doesn’t want to distress the scientist any further. He feels the misery and self-disgust loom over Takeda’s head, and he walks with a slow drag in his step. Iwaizumi looks down at his own hands, palms slightly dirty and sweaty. Beneath the skin, he sees a warm glow like fire burning within his body that dims and brightens with each breath. He doesn’t know what happened to him when he was at that place. . .but whatever it is, he knows he’ll get if fixed. He’ll get back to normal. . .well, as normal as he was before. He can ask if Nobuyuki or maybe even Ushijima-

You won’t be able to see them, Iwaizumi-san.

Iwaizumi pauses. “What do you mean?” he whispers, keeping his voice low as they stop behind a corner as a soldier trudges down the hallway, grumbling into his radio as he tries to locate the escaped mutants.

Once you escape this place, you all will be considered wanted criminals. Until we find the proof to overturn your convictions, you can’t come in contact with the other Avengers.

“But they would want to help me. . .wouldn’t they?”

You don’t know what it’s like on the outside. There’s so much unrest in Japan and many people are calling for your heads. It will be bad if the public finds out that you all escaped, so I don’t think the government will reveal to the public what happened here. But if the Avengers are caught aiding you in any way, the trust the people have in them will disappear.

“So you’re saying that my friends are now my enemies?”

They don’t have to be. . .there’s also the fact that because they’re your friends, the government will try to monitor them closely to see if they had a hand in helping you escape. It’ll be too dangerous if you tried to interact with them and they ended up tracing you back to our location. I have children at my location and I want to keep them safe as well as you all. . .so I’m sorry, Iwaizumi-san. Contact with the Avengers and their associates is out of the question.

Iwaizumi clicks his tongue, but keeps his words to himself. It’s not like he would even know how to face his friends after what he allegedly done. Murder people, cause destruction. . .attacked them. . .what if they don’t trust him? What if they did try to take him in if he crossed paths with them again, not because it’s their duty as Earth’s Mightest Defenders, but because they believe Iwaizumi is a genuine threat to Japan and the rest of the world?

He. . .he wants to see his friends again, but he’s too scared of what will even happen if he faces them. He doesn’t have any control over his powers and he doesn’t know how to make them work. How can he prove to them that he’s not a threat if he can’t even understand who he is?

The soldier is out of earshot and they continue, keeping close and defenses up. Iwaizumi tries to push down those thoughts of the Avengers and tries to focus on right now. He needs to get these kids and Takeda out of here. He’ll worry about his problems later.

After a couple more minutes of walking and rounding corners as iwaizumi listens to the directions Kaname relays to his mind, they reach a diverging hallway that goes in opposite directions and leads down multiple corridors. “Okay, where do we go from here?” Iwaizumi asks.

You go up.

Iwaizumi blinks and looks upwards. Sure enough, there is a skylight directly above them that barely lets in any light. The glass is tinted so much that it almost blends in with the dark ceiling. Iwaizumi glances around at everyone, biting the inside of his cheek.

“We need to go out through there,” Iwaizumi says, pointing up to the skylight. Everyone turns their heads to look up at the skylight as well. Kyoutani looks over at Iwaizumi, adjusting his grip on Kenma.

“And how do you expect us to get out through there with me carrying Kozume-kun and Takeda-san carrying his chain?” he asks and Iwaizumi scratches the back of his head.

“Well. . .we. . .”

Here’s your next lesson. I’ve learned you have the ability of telekinesis from your memories. You can use it to propel yourselves upwards like you are flying and lift all of you out of the skylight.

“And how the hell am I supposed to do that?!” Iwaizumi hisses and Kyoutani sighs, looking back up at the skylight. 

“That glass looks pretty thick if it’s not letting in any natural sunlight. Probably bulletproof too. How are we supposed to break through?” he asks and Koganegawa raises a hand. 

“I think I can help with that!” he shouts and raises a hand to his visor, looking up at the skylight. “This beam is powerful enough to blast through anything!” the teen boasts and Iwaizumi immediately grows alarmed. 

“Wait! That’s going to cause-” Koganegawa fires off a huge beam from his eyes and the skylight shatters with a loud explosion. Everyone raises their arms over their heads to shield themselves from the falling glass, bright light from the sun overhead illuminating the hallways and corridors, effectively taking away their cover of darkness. 

“Intruders! Intruders down here!” a soldier’s voice shouts echo directly behind them and Iwaizumi clicks his tongue. Shit, shit, shit! Okay, he needs to get them up and out through the skylight. Focus, concentrate. But how? He never even flew with Oikawa in the Iron Man suit. If Iwaizumi ever was in a suit himself, he only got a few feet off the ground and it was only a test run for Oikawa to observe. There wasn’t the impending danger then that lurks over their heads now. 

Is it like lifting a weight? Is it like floating? Is it like swimming? How do you fly? He’s thinking too hard about this, he just needs to do it. But dammit, how??  

He sweeps his hands upwards and jumps with the motion, but lands back on his feet. How does he fly? How do these stupid powers work?!  

“Ah, Kyoutani-san!” Yachi shouts and Kyoutani turns to see soldiers running down the hallway directly behind him. 

“Open fire!” the soldier shouts and Iwaizumi’s head whirs in that direction, his arm waving outwards to try and push Kyoutani and Kenma out of the line of fire. Instead, the glass shards that are all around them rumble upwards from the ground and form a shield directly in front of the two mutants. The bullets get lodged into the glass and Kyoutani stumbles back, nearly dropping Kenma. 

Iwaizumi tenses and the glass falls in a heap like before as the soldiers reload and call for backup. He immediately turns to Koganegawa, who looks about ready to apologize for his blunder yet again

“Fire at the archway of the hallway they’re in! Block it off!” 

“G-Got it!” Koganegawa shouts and fires off a blast at the cement wall above the archway. The rubble begins to crumble and metal falls to the ground, piling up in front of the hallway and trapping the two soldiers inside. 

“More from that hallway!” Yachi shouts and Iwaizumi turns as an ever bigger group approaches. He curses and swings his wrist without really thinking about it, the glass shards moving from up under their feet to form a barrier and blocking the hallway off. The soldiers stop in front of the glass barrier, then raise their guns and begin to fire off bullet after bullet into it. The bullets begin to catch in the glass and the barrier begins to break even more, Iwaizumi straining to not lose his focus and question how he’s actually doing this,  and keeps the barrier up as long as it lasts. 

“You said we need to go up to get out, how do we do it?! Eventually, the soldiers are going to be swarming down these other hallways to kill us!” Kyoutani yells. 

“I’ll just block them all off like I did the other one!” Koganegawa shouts and Takeda shakes his head. 

“No, if that happens, we’ll just be stuck with no way out of this area. We need to keep them open in case we need to use another alternative route,” he explains. 

“But which hallway do we take?! We can’t waste time getting more lost in here!” Kyoutani screams. Iwaizumi closes his eyes. Dammit, he can’t think of a way out of this place. If he tries to focus lifting everyone out, then he’ll have to drop this barrier of glass and risk them all getting shot. And Kyoutani’s right, more soldiers will come from other directions if they don’t hurry out in time. Dammit, what can he do? 

Yachi balls her hands into fists and sucks in a deep breath. “If we need to get out through that skylight, then that’s what we’re going to do!” she shouts and steps away from the group. Iwaizumi looks over his shoulder at the girl, his eyes widening as Yachi begins to grow large. She ducks her head to keep from hitting the ceiling, but she still continues to grow at an alarming rate and ends up breaking through the rubble and rock towards the sky. 

Everyone jumps out of the way of falling rubble and the soldiers get momentarily distracted by the fact that just behind Iwaizumi’s weak wall of bulletproof glass, there’s a 50 foot teenage girl standing before them. Yachi lowers her hand down to the ground, her palm turned outwards. 

“Climb on!” she shouts and Iwaizumi glances back at the soldiers and drops his hands. The glass falls into a large heap once more with the bullets they fired into the barrier. That’s enough to snap the soldiers out of staring at Yachi in complete amazement, aiming their guns back at the mutants that are currently trying to climb into her open hand. 

“Open fire!” 

“Not today!” Koganegawa shouts and blasts the archway the same time Iwaizumi raises his hands out in front of him as if to block their bullets. The bullets catch in midair, freezing in place as the rubble from Koganegawa’s blast falls right in front of the soldiers and blocks off that hallway as well. Iwaizumi climbs into Yachi’s hand and the large teenager brings her other hand over them, slowly raising them upwards as she tries to avoid breaking through the entire ceiling. 

She lifts them through the skylight and opens her hands up, Iwaizumi wincing at the bright light of the sun overhead. He glances around, trying to make sense of their surroundings as he climbs off Yachi’s hand and onto the rooftop of the base. He definitely knows now that this isn’t a S.H.I.E.L.D. location; it’s in a location that’s surrounded by trees and he can barely see the outline of a city off to the north. He turns to look behind him and sees that Yachi has shrunk down and is pulling herself through the skylight with her arms stretched and extended out like long ropes. 

She slings herself upwards into the sky, landing on the rooftop with steady feet and eyes alert. 

“Everyone here?! Everyone okay?! No one’s hurt, right?!” Yachi screeches and Iwaizumi nods his head, breathing hard. 

“Okay, where’s our ride?” he asks and Yachi nods her head, placing her hand to her ear. 

“Nametsu-san?! We’re on the rooftop! Please hurry!” she shouts into her earpiece. 

Iwaizumi-san, you’re doing very well. We’re almost there.  

“Can you really keep us safe? What if something goes wrong and-” Iwaizumi begins to speak, but clamps his lips shut and grits his teeth. He doesn’t have the time to think about all the things that can go wrong and all the things that will. He’ll be branded as a criminal and escaped convict. The Avengers will now be his enemy and he can’t rely on his friends anymore. Oikawa. . .Oikawa is gone. . .and now he has to dive head first into this unfamiliar world of mutants and powers. There’s going to be things that go wrong. . .this might not be the right decision that Iwaizumi is making right now. 

But. . .but he can’t let these kids die when they weren’t the ones at fault. 

He’s not going to die for someone else’s actions. 

Yachi points west out towards the trees. “Nametsu-san is coming in that direction! So let’s all just-” 

Something blasts through the rooftop, rubble flying everywhere and dust blinding the group for only a moment. Iwaizumi feels that cold dread and methodic thinking weigh heavy on his mind and he swallows down the lump that suddenly appears in his throat. He looks up when the dust has cleared and sees it. 

It’s a person inside a large and bulky suit. It almost looks like something a deep sea diver would wear, with tubes coming out from their shoulder blades and receding into their spines. Their helmet has a glass visor for Iwaizumi to see cold, blank eyes staring directly at him. There’s a vocal box over where their mouth should be, and they stand hunched over ready to pounce. 

Iwaizumi reacts first, grabbing whoever that is closer to him – Takeda and Kyoutani with Kenma – and pushes them into the direction Yachi told them to run in. 

“Run! Go! Go!” he shouts and the others snap out of their moment of fear, quickly taking off towards the edge of the building. Iwaizumi takes up the rear, looking over his shoulder every three seconds the U Man stands there. They’re slow and move with heavy thuds, but the feeling still has a terrifying clutch around Iwaizumi’s heart. They raise their arms out towards them, gauntlets circling around their wrists at rapid speeds. 

Bullets fly from their wrists and everyone ducks low and covers their head. One bullet catches Iwaizumi in the shoulder and it’s nothing like a pain he’s ever experienced. The bullet burns and burrows its way into his skin, something moving through his veins like fire. He screams and falls to his knees, clawing at the wound in a desperate attempt to get the bullet out of his body. This. . .this isn’t a regular bullet. His body is sweating and the colors of the world smear and smudge and run together like water was thrown on its canvas. The sounds of everyone screaming echo in his ears, as if they are far off in the distance and Iwaizumi is too far away to hear anything else. 

He feels heat rise in his body as his vision goes cloudy. His bones ache and he feels so tired. He. . .he doesn’t want to move. He doesn’t want to do this anymore. He feels the dread and darkness creep closer and closer to him. He hears the U Man’s feet echo with heavy footfalls as they draw near. Yet. . .Iwaizumi can’t bring himself to move and run. His body feels so heavy and his mind feels so cloudy. He feels stupid, for lack of a better term; his brain feels like it has stopped permanently and all he can do is feel the fire eat him inside out and let the thoughts of his impending doom get washed away with his vision of the city off in the distance. 

But something grabs hold and drags him by his shoulders. In his vision, he sees the smudges of Takeda hopelessly trying to pull Iwaizumi’s larger frame up to his feet. Kenma is now holding onto Yachi to keep himself steady and Kyoutani is soaring over Iwaizumi’s head, claws drawn and screaming. 

“Get away from him, you freak!” Kyoutani yells and slashes his claws across the U Man’s chest. This startles them and they stumble backwards just a bit, flailing their arms to keep steady. The claws barely leave a scratch on the U Man, but Kyoutani continues and hooks his legs around their hips. He then delivers a flurry of swipes and slashes across the U Man’s torso, gritting his teeth and growling hard. The U Man makes a swipe for Kyoutani, but the teenager throws his body backwards and twists his hips to the right. His thighs tighten and the movement tips the U Man towards the right. 

Kyoutani releases his legs and at the same time, kicks the U Man square across the face. He barely has time to jump out of the way before Koganegawa fires a blast at the U Man’s feet and sends them falling through the hole in the ceiling. Takeda huffs as he finally drags Iwaizumi’s stiff and heavy body to his feet. Iwaizumi can’t even tell if everything that’s happening right now is real or fake. 

“Come on! We’re almost there!” Takeda shouts at Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi doesn’t respond and only tries to make his feet move as they run. Takeda seems to shift under Iwaizumi’s arm as they run. His skin turns from rosy peach to a beautiful shade of blue. His body gets more built and more hair begins to form on his face as he pants and snarls and tries to carry Iwaizumi and the heavy chain that dangles behind him. 

Yachi’s arms wind around Kenma’s body like snakes as she carries him with strangely relative ease. Something begins to rise from the side of the building, big and black and blowing winds all around them. An aircraft of some sort, nothing like Iwaizumi is familiar with. The side panel opens up, a woman standing off to the side of the opening offering her arm out towards them. 

“Come on! Hurry!” she shouts and Yachi twists her torso and throws Kenma forward, arms extending outwards like a long bungee cord. Kenma flies towards the woman and she grabs him into her hold, pulling him safely inside the aircraft. Yachi stops at the edge of the building, turning to look as Kyoutani jumps inside the aircraft next. Far off in the distance, soldiers kick open the door to a rooftop entrance and charge after them with their weapons drawn. Koganegawa jumps into the aircraft and the woman holds out her hand for Yachi to take. Yachi turns to Iwaizumi, wrapping her arms around his torso next and pulling him close. 

“Iwaizumi-san! Iwaizumi-san, can you hear me?!” she shouts and Iwaizumi blinks. He’s so tired. He just wants to sleep. Sweat is breaking out over his brow and his skin feels so hot. He makes a grunt that doesn’t answer Yachi’s question, slumping more onto Takeda’s frame. Yachi holds Iwaizumi tight to her and turns to Takeda. 

“Come on! Get on the aircraft before-” A bullet barely catches Yachi and she screams, ducking and pulling Iwaizumi and Takeda down with her as the soldiers try to shoot down the aircraft. The woman immediately jumps from her spot on the aircraft onto the rooftop, standing in front of Yachi and the others as she raises her arms outwards. 

Wind currents immediately pull from all around her and she thrusts her hands forward with a quick snap of her wrists. A powerful gust of wind flies towards the soldiers and knocks them all down. The winds have a speed reminiscent of a tornado, the rooftop slowly begins to crumble and debris begins to fly upwards into the air current. She looks over her shoulder, her eyes nothing but a milky white. 

“Hurry! The aircraft is set to auto. Hit the button on the panel and it’ll take you back home!” she yells. 

“But Nametsu-senpai!” Koganegawa shouts, but Nametsu grits her teeth. 

“I said go! I can keep them off of you until you’re out of here!” she shouts at her kohai and Yachi nods her head, tilting her head to Takeda. The scientist nods his head as well, getting to his feet and pulling Iwaizumi up by his armpits. Koganegawa reaches out and pulls Takeda into the aircraft, Takeda rolling inside as he pulls Iwaizumi upwards and then Yachi follows afterwards, scampering to the control panel and the driver’s seat in the cockpit behind the metal door behind them. 

“Nametsu-senpai!” Koganegawa shouts again and something bursts through the rooftop again, startling Nametsu from her concentration. The wind currents halt immediately and the soldiers try to stagger back to their feet, while the U Man that burst through the ceiling begins to lurch forward with their hands outstretched. Nametsu growls and Koganegawa tries to jump back from the aircraft, but Takeda grabs him by the arm. 

“Stop! It’s dangerous!” he pleads and a light begins to flash overhead as the panel’s door begins to slide closed. Nametsu raises her hands above her head, lighting surrounding her palms and zapping forward to strike the U Man and the soldiers that try and run at the aircraft. That is all Iwaizumi can barely manage to see before the panel slides shut and he feels the aircraft begin to ascend quickly into the air. 

Koganegawa yanks himself from Takeda and runs towards the front of the aircraft. “Wait! We can’t leave Nametsu-senpai! She doesn’t know about that thing! What if they hurt her?! Yachi-senpai!” he yells, his voice fading away as he enters the cockpit and closes the door shut behind him. Kyoutani collapses onto his stomach while Kenma curls his knees to his chest, looking down at Iwaizumi on the ground. 

“Iwaizumi-san,” Kenma says, but his voice sounds so far away. Why does everything echo in his ears and why is there so much heat building underneath his skin? Takeda rips the shoulder of Iwaizumi’s jumpsuit, examining the bullet wound with worried eyes. 

“I think that U-Man might have shot Iwaizumi-san with something. . .from his symptoms, I’m going to guess it was Heat,” he murmurs more to himself than to Kenma and places his hand on Iwaizumi’s forehead, running his fingers along Iwaizumi’s chin and down his neck to feel his pulse. “He should be fine. The drug that we synthesized isn’t as potent as Heat off the streets is. But we still need to treat this wound.” 

“What’s going to happen to us?” Kenma mutters, glancing around. “Will we be safe?” 

“It’s too late to ask that, don’t you think?” Kyoutani grumbles and Takeda bites his lower lip. He opens his mouth to say something, but Iwaizumi stirs beside him and gives a pained grunt, holding his shoulder. 

“We’re. . .we’re going to be okay. . .I trust them. . .” he says quietly, eyelids feeling so heavy. A small smile curls to his lips as he feels darkness trying to tug him into unconsciousness. He doesn’t want to sleep; he still has so many questions that he needs to be answered. Who are these people that rescued them? Who are those people that tried to kill them? Who are the U Men and what is Takeda’s role in their creation? . . .Who really is the person that is pulling the strings. 

But he can’t bring his lips to say any more words and he can’t bring himself to sit upwards and talk. He lets his eyes fall closed and the dull throb in his shoulder starts to go ignored with each passing minute. The quiet whispers around him go faint till he can’t hear anything other than his heart beating in his chest. 

Guess he’s not going to be going back to work any time soon.


Attention vehicle 313! There’s a possible chance that the route may have been compromised! Your orders are to change routes immediately and keep an eye out for a black aircraft following you! Get to the new holding center immediately!” 

Kageyama hears the soldier grunt in annoyance and switch off the radio feed. The stench of the soldier’s cigar makes him want to gag, but this muzzle they put on him would make that very unpleasant. His hands are bound in a straightjacket and his legs are shackled together with a heavy chain. Not to mention they also injected him with a drug to keep him drowsy and docile. The drug is losing its effect, however, and Kageyama is starting to grow aware of his surroundings as well as planning a way out. 

The van that he’s in is large and there are two soldiers opposite of him, heavily armed and unaware of his current state of consciousness. Two soldiers are up front driving and one of them is smoking a cigar. The smoke filters in through a small window separating Kageyama from the passenger seat, and he can barely see through that window and out to the right to see where they are driving to.

“Great. First we got this jackass in the fancy car that won’t get out of our way. Now we have to turn around and change course?” the driver grumbles.

“I still say we should just take the kid, shoot him and dump his body in a ditch. He’s gonna die anyway, why do we need to execute him at the base?” the passenger exclaims, no amount of remorse in his voice.

“Something about ‘preserving his body’ or whatever. They gotta see how these freaks work so we’ll be more prepared to fight them. You know there’s more of them now that are popping up. We got to be ready,” the driver says. Kageyama feels sickened. These humans are all the same. All they want to do is destroy and kill people like him. People like his mother. . .Kageyama wanted them to see what it was like. To be hunted down and never feel safe in their own homes. He wanted them to feel the fear he felt, the fear that all mutants have about humans finding out about them.

They are stronger than humans, they are better than humans. They shouldn’t have to fear them when they can easily take over this world. Kageyama can make a mutant paradise if he only grew more skilled with his power. He can keep Hinata and Natsu safe as well as the others. Iron Man won’t be there to kill them with his explosives, the Avengers won’t get in their way to stop them. They’ll be free from all these humans to do whatever they want and live in peace. A new world order where the mutants are at the top and the humans are the ones at the bottom barely scraping by.

The driver honks his horn loudly and growls. “I’m gonna run this guy off the road if he doesn’t get out of the way!” he yells in annoyance and the soldier in the passenger seat chuckles.

“Come on, don’t get angry. The road’s gonna widen up in a couple more feet and you can pass-”

THUD!

Kageyama’s head turns upwards immediately and the soldiers across from him immediately raise their guns, looking upwards at the roof of the van.

“Hey! What the fuck was that back there?!” the driver shouts.

“It’s not anything back here!” one soldier across from Kageyama shouts and the passenger turns his head to look over his shoulder through the window at Kageayama, cold eyes glaring hard.

“Is it this freak? Is he doing something we-” Kageyama’s eyes widen. It all happens so quickly.

Glass shatters and the passenger is ripped from his seat and pulled out the window of the van. The driver screams and bullets are fired, before the van begins to spin out of control and veer off the road. Something or someone takes hold of the wheel and slams on the breaks, causing the van to skid to a stop in the middle of the road.

The two soldiers across from Kageyama jump to their feet, weapons raised and panicked expressions on their faces. “W-What the hell is going on up there?! Guys?! Hello?!” one of the soldier shouts. There’s no response, but Kageyama hears someone open the door to the driver’s seat and slam it shut.

One of the soldiers curse and push Kageyama out of the way to try and look through the window. “Hey! Guys! Hey!” he screams, panic and confusion screeching into his voice. Kageyama’s scared too, but he doesn’t want to make any sudden movements. This can be his opportunity to escape, he just needs to time it just right and seize the opening given to him.

The soldier pulls back and looks at his partner. “I-I think they’re dead. Shinometa’s not in his seat anymore and the driver isn’t responding. . .and there’s a lot of blood-”

“Call headquarters! Tell them we need backup and-” The soldier doesn’t have time to finish. The back door of the van is ripped clean off of its hinges. The soldiers turn and immediately start firing at whatever it is that ripped the door open, their screams sounding over the gunfire until the machine guns’ clips are empty.

That is when the assailant strikes and jumps into the van.

It’s a man, with a muscular physique and a dirty worn out jacket. He grabs one gun and Kageyama can see a flash of silver covering his hand, before he twists the barrel downwards. At the same time, he kicks his right foot out and upwards across the other soldier’s face and drives his right fist into the soldier’s face. He pulls the gun he damaged away from the soldier’s grip and tosses it to the side, grabbing them both by the front of their suits.

He yanks them forward and kicks in both of their knees, then throws them back against the metal wall of the van. The soldier that still has a gun tries to raise it and load another magazine, but the mystery man is quicker. He grabs the gun with his left hand – and now Kageyama sees the silver not only covering the man’s hand, but it seems to go further down past his wrist as well – and bend the barrel of that gun to the right. He takes the gun, yanks it forward, and then drives it back to smash the soldier’s face in with the hilt of the gun.

He’s moving too quickly for Kageyama’s eyes to keep up. The mystery man grabs the other solider by his throat and slams his head against the metal wall of the van a few times to knock him out, then grabs the gun off the soldier’s body to throw it out and away too. Both soldiers slump against each other, out cold and unmoving.

The man turns around to look at Kageyama and he jumps in his skin. The man’s eyes are a copper shade, but they’re empty and emotionless, like Kageyama isn’t even looking at a human being. The man doesn’t say anything to Kageyama, he just walks to where the doors of the van used to be and raises his metal fist, knocking it against the side.

The man steps aside and folds his arms behind his back, standing at attention. And after a few minutes, someone else appears to look inside the van with mild interest.

“Did you get them all?” they ask and climb into the van to have a closer look. Kageyama sees that it’s a kid, maybe a few years older than him, but not older than Kenma or Kyoutani. He has black curly hair and a face mask on, his hands deep in his pockets and an expression on his face that says he really wishes he wasn’t here right now. His complexion is a light grey, far unnatural for Kageyama to believe this boy to be a human.

He stops in front of Kageyama and pulls his hands out from his jacket to reveal clean palms. “We’re not here to hurt you, we’re here to help you,” the boy says and Kageyama blinks. “I know what kind of power you have. I also know that if you try anything funny, I can also kill you. I really don’t want to, but I will if you won’t listen to what I have to say.”

Kageyama frowns behind the muzzle, but he knows he’s in no position to try and put up a fight. So the other boy continues. “I’m from a mutant organization. Our leader gathers young mutants in a safe facility and protects us. We were sent to rescue you and bring you to our organization. If you accept, I’ll get you out of those restraints and we can all be on our way. If you refuse, then you’ll be all alone with no one to help you fight against the forces that’ll come after you once they find out this van never made it to its final destination.”

The boy leans forward. “Before we take that muzzle off so you can speak, we need to know your answer. Nod your head ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”

Kageyama doesn’t know what to think.

An organization of mutants? He didn’t know such a thing even existed. How come Daishou never brought them to this organization? They would have gotten a lot further in their goal to bring about a new world for mutants if they had more people that were willing to do so. Did these people want the same thing? Is this a trap to let his guard down?

The boy stands up straight. “You don’t believe me,” he states more than asks and Kageyama averts his eyes. The boy stares at Kageyama with blank eyes, before he sighs behind his face mask and closes his eyes.

“Daishou Suguru. You were under his care, correct?” he asks and Kageyama looks back at him, alert. The boy looks back at Kageyama, staring deep into his eyes. “Daishou Suguru had his own agenda when it came to dealing with you. You both wanted two different things. I can see it in your eyes, Kageyama-kun. You want a world where all mutants are treated fairly and those that are evil are punished. Daishou Suguru only wanted a world where only he can sit at the top with all his comforts and spoils to himself. He was using you all to achieve that. He didn’t care if other mutants lived or died, as long as they didn’t get in his way of achieving an easy life.”

Kageyama tenses at that, eyes growing wide with shock. Using. . .them? Then. . .then what was any of this for?! Hinata. . .Hinata lost so much and Kageyama thought that it was all a necessary evil. They had to all lose their parents that hurt them so much if they wanted to finally stand up in society on their own. They had to launch the first attack before other mutants got hunted or hurt. They had to keep those other mutants in that warehouse for their own safety. . .didn’t they?

W-Why would Daishou tell them to start a war for his benefit if it wasn’t for creating change? Kageyama thought that this was to force the humans to acknowledge that they are there and that they can easily take control of the government if things don’t start going in their favor. What was the point of him fighting?

The boy folds his hands behind his back. “I understand you, Kageyama-kun. And I’m here to tell you that we can make your dream of a mutant utopia happen. We want the same thing you want, Kageyama-kun. And you can achieve that dream if you come with us,” the boy explains and cocks his head to the side. “We can make that happen together, Kageyama-kun. A better place for you and your loved ones.”

A better place. . .for him and Hinata to be safe. He just wanted a safe place for both him and Hinata. He wanted his friend to not live in fear anymore, to be happy. And now. . .

He closes his eyes tightly. He wants to make it up to Hinata. He wants to give him the security and safety that should have been promised by Daishou. But what if these people try to take advantage of Kageyama again? What if it’s like all he’s doing is taking one step forward and five steps back. His mother. . .Hinata. . .he needs to give them the justice they deserve. A better world for mutants like his mother wanted. A better world for people like Hinata, kind and stupid Hinata.

Kageyama looks back at the boy still waiting for his answer. Slowly, Kageyama gives a nod of his head and the boy nods his head as well. He turns to the man and tilts his head towards Kageyama. The man moves from his spot against the wall of the van and walks over to Kageyama, crouching down to undo the muzzle.

His entire left arm is covered with metal. A mechanical arm? Kageyama is partially curious as to what happened to it, but pretends to ignore it for the time being. The man’s eyes are lifeless and empty, concentrating intently on undoing the buckles and the latches. His lips are twisted in a moot expression, making it hard for Kageyama to read what is happening in the man’s head.

He knows he’s considerably weaker and will need some rest before he’s ready to make any spells. But he also needs to find Hinata right away before the child is captured by these humans or the Avengers. He won’t be able to go back and help Kyoutani or Kenma if they’re due to be executed just as swiftly as he is, and he doesn’t want to deal with Iwaizumi after all the trouble he caused Kageyama. Foolish man.

The muffle falls from Kageyama’s face and Kageyama sucks in a deep breath of air that he didn’t get before with the muzzle over his mouth. Kageyama looks down as the man begins to unshackle his legs from the chain, while the boy watches on with mild interest. 

“. . .Who is your leader?” Kageyama murmurs, voice dry and raspy.

“He’s a brilliant man. He knows all about mutants and how to utilize our powers to the fullest in order to protect ourselves against these bigots that are out to kill us just for being a little bit different than them,” the boy explains and narrows his eyebrows. “Do you still not trust me?”

Kageyama bites the inside of his cheek. “I don’t trust this man that I’ve never met before. The one that said he’d ‘protect us’.”

“He will. Unlike Daishou, our leader actually sees the value of having someone as powerful as you to make a change in our society. Surrounding yourself with people that want to work towards a common goal will be beneficial for you, Kageyama-kun. He can even help you grow stronger so that you can obtain your goal sooner.”

Kageyama feels the chain around his ankles loosen and he stands, hands still bound in his straightjacket. The boy steps back and allows the man to begin freeing Kageyama from that confinement as well, stepping around to watch him closely.

“What are you planning to do then?” Kageyama asks. “How are you going to make what I want come true?”

“Our forces right now aren’t strong enough to take on people like the Avengers should they try to interfere. You’re also not skilled enough with your power to use it to its fullest potential. So we must take our time with this, Kageyama-kun. We will train and we will observe and we will gather more people onto our side. And in due time, we’ll resurface and stake our claim in this world,” the boy says and glances upwards at the roof of the van. “Japan is already in a state of unrest and the mutant population is now getting attention drawn to it, negative and positive. We just have to see what happens next and how we can use it to our advantage.”

The straightjacket goes slack and Kageyama pulls his arms free from the restricting material. He tries to take a step forward, but his knees buckle and he stumbles into the older man. He catches him with his metal hand and holds him steady, while Kageyama mumbles an apology and places a hand to his head.

The boy hums. “So you are weaker than normal. . .well, we have a car. We’ll take you to our base so you can rest-”

“But I need to find my friend first,” Kageyama mumbles. “I-I need to find him and bring him with me. He can’t be out there on his own-”

“Hinata Shoyou is who you’re talking about, right?” the boy asks and Kageyama gives a slow nod of his head, furrowing his eyebrows.

“How do you know his name?”

“Our leader’s been keeping an eye on you all ever since the attacks. We know everything about you and everyone involved. You, Hinata-kun, Kozume Kenma and Kyoutani Kentarou. We have yet to find Misaki Hana and recruit her to her side; it seems she has gotten displaced amongst all the chaos,” the boy says and narrows his eyebrows. “And there’s still Iwaizumi Hajime and the Phoenix Force that resides inside him.”

“The Phoenix Force? What the heck is that?” Kageyama asks bluntly and the boy sighs.

“We don’t have time to explain. We need to move away from here before someone comes along this mess,” he says and steps past Kageyama and the man. He jumps down from the van’s opening onto the street. “Follow me,” he calls out, then begins to walk without waiting for Kageyama to make a move.

Kageyama bites the inside of his cheek, then staggers after the older boy and jumps out of the van. He sees in the far distance the body of the passenger lying on the street in his blood, and as he circles around the van he sees the blood splattered all over the window from the driver and all the broken glass. There’s a black car parked only a few feet away, the boy holding a door open for Kageyama to get inside.

Kageyama walks up to him and frowns. “I still need to find Hinata,” he repeats and the boy nods his head.

“You’re also too weak to try and search for him on your own. We’ll find Hinata for you and bring him back to our base,” the boy reassures. Kageyama stares at him, then down at the ground, then up at the sky above them. Storm clouds appear to be rolling in, and he hears thunder off in the distance, but there hasn’t been a speck of rain yet. He breathes in a deep sigh and turns back to the boy, eyes turning dark.

“Fine. . .but if he doesn’t want to come with you, don’t force him. If you hurt him, I’ll hurt you,” Kageyama states and the boy cocks his head to the side.

“Does he really mean that much to you?”

“He’s my best friend, and he’s my priority above everything else,” Kageyama says matter-of-factly, and climbs into the car. The boy climbs in afterwards and the door is shut from the outside. Kageyama sees the faint outline of the man walking past the car and opens up the door for the front passenger seat, climbing inside. He presses a few buttons on the dashboard with his metal hand, while his real hand runs through his blond crew cut.

“Call the base and let them know we have Kageyama-kun,” the boy commands and the man nods his head, pressing something on the steering wheel. The car immediately comes to life with the start of the engine, and though there is no one in the driving seat, the car slowly begins to move down the street and increase its speed. Kageyama stares in amazement as the wheel moves on its own and the gas and brake pedals alternate to control the speed. A self-driving car! That’s so cool!

Kageyama turns to the boy beside him, staring out the window with his chin resting in his hand. “So. . .what’s your name?” Kageyama asks awkwardly and the boy pulls down his face mask so it rests against his chin. His lips are blue and lines go from the corners of his mouth up across the sides of his cheeks.

“Sakusa Kyoomi. They call me ‘Genesis’,” Sakusa introduces and pulls his face mask back up, turning his attention back to the window. Kageyama gives a slow nod of his head and turns to look out his own window. Clearly, Sakusa isn’t one for small talk and the man up front seems to be busy with whoever he’s talking to on his phone. Kageyama’s focus isn’t as sharp, but he can hear the voice the man is speaking to on the other line. They sound kind and pleasant from Kageyama’s ears. It puts him at ease, if only for a bit.

“The place we’re going to, where is it?” Kageyama asks and Sakusa reaches into the pocket of his pants. He pulls out a card and hands it to Kageyama, his fingers barely holding onto the card. Kageyama takes it and looks at the address, staring at the large crest in the center of the card.  A school? Well, it makes sense since Sakusa’s only a teenager and Kageyama is still a kid. Does that mean there’s more mutants his age that can be his and Hinata’s friends? He feels his lips curling into a smile as he thinks about it. Hinata always went on about having more friends and desiring to be with other kids like him. He’ll love this place. He’ll be so happy and Kageyama will be one step closer to achieving his goal. They’ll. . .they’ll be happy. They’ll be safe. No one can hurt them anymore. No one will hurt them. Kageyama’s going to protect Hinata. He’s not going to lose his friend.

He’s not going to lose anyone anymore. He’ll create a mutant sanctuary for all of his friends. And no one is going to get in his way. 


 

Hinata sits on a park bench, staring as news vans all gather in the streets to make their reports as the construction teams try and clean up all the rubble and rescue teams search for more bodies. People still haven’t fully recovered after the attack on the city two days ago. There’s still more people that get pulled from the rubble and more protest groups that rise up to demand action be taken against all mutants. 

Hinata just watches them on the park bench he’s been using as a bed, cuddling a stuffed animal to his chest. 

It’s singed and most of the stuffing came out of its ripped leg, but it brings Hinata comfort. After all, it’s all that he has left of his baby sister after the futile search through the rubble that once was the bad man’s apartment. He doesn’t know if he was too late to recover her body, since he can’t move so freely through the chaos with the increase of soldiers searching through the rubble as well. He doesn’t know if she’s still alive and she managed to escape somehow. He’s searched through the entire city for her and he doesn’t know where she could be. All the mutants at that bad place are dead and he even went back there in hopes that she might try to return to her brother. 

But that area is also heavily guarded with soldiers ready to shoot on sight, so even if Natsu wandered back to the warehouse, Hinata wouldn’t have found her alive. 

No one recognizes him as one of the children that helped Kageyama escape, but he has the lower half of his face wrapped up with a dirty muffler found in the garbage just in case. He’s starving and he’s thirsty, but he can’t bring himself to steal some food or money. He can’t stop thinking about Natsu and Kageyama. They were all he had left and now he doesn't even know if they’re still alive. 

It’s all Iwaizumi’s fault. It’s all his fault

He promised Hinata he wouldn’t bring the Avengers into this. He promised that he wouldn’t let them hurt Kageyama or his other friends! Yet, they brought along those men that killed all the mutants. Iwaizumi put his trust in people that don’t care about mutants; they only care about people like them. Kageyama is right. He didn’t want Kageyama to be right, but he is. The Avengers are their enemies. They are defenders of humans, not defenders of mutants. 

A tear falls from Hinata’s eye and he wipes it away. He misses Kenma and Kyoutani. He misses Kageyama so much. He wants Natsu and his parents and for everything to just go back to the way they were. And though he’s angry at him, he misses Iwaizumi’s comforting hugs and the way he always brushed his hand through Hinata’s hair. 

Hinata buries his face in Natsu’s stuffed animal, trying to ignore his stomach’s loud growling. What can he do now? He’s all alone. Maybe. . .maybe he should just get a soldier’s attention. Run around in the streets and cause an uproar. It’ll mean certain death. . .but maybe that’s all that he has left. He thinks that it’ll be better to die quickly than die of starvation and thirst. . .he doesn’t want to die. But he doesn’t know why he should live if everyone he cares for is gone. He hiccups and a sob escapes his lips that he muffles with the stuffed animal. 

Natsu, why couldn’t he have been a better brother. Big brothers are supposed to protect their siblings and he couldn’t save her. He doesn’t want to be alone. He d-doesn’t w-want to be alone. . . 

Someone sits down on the bench beside him and Hinata raises his head, immediately seeing a handkerchief offered to him by an older man in a suit. He has a bit of stubble on his chin and dark, sea green hair pulled back into a small ponytail. Hinata can barely make out the light dusting of freckles on the bridge of his nose and his eyes are so gentle and look upon the child with sadness. 

Hinata sniffles, then takes the handkerchief offered to him to blow his nose in and wipe his eyes. He gets it dirty as he moves the material over his face, pulling it back to look at the garment with a grimace. The man chuckles beside him, waving his hand. 

“It’s alright. I have plenty,” he says, voice soft yet deep. It has a sophisticated air about it, like this man knows all of the world that Hinata has yet to grasp. The man folds his hands on his lap, looking out at the news vans and the reporters arguing for the better shot amidst the ruins. “Japan is in such a state of terror after what happened that day. . .did you lose someone in these attacks? Your parents?” the man asks. 

Hinata hugs the stuffed animal tighter. “. . .My sister.” 

“Ah,” the man breathes out, sorrowful. “I’m sorry for your lost. . .you must have searched for her very thoroughly. When the soldiers aren’t watching, of course,” the man says. Hinata doesn’t respond. He just buries his face in the material of the stuffed animal. 

“Tell me,” the man begins, “who do you think caused all this?” 

Hinata puffs his cheek. “. . .Iwai. . .a mutant,” he corrects and the man chuckles. 

“This wasn’t any ordinary mutant, though. This was the work of a god.” 

Hinata looks up at the man. He’s smiling calmly as his gold eyes scan the area. “My business deals with technological advancement. One contribution that I made to this city is the installation of cameras that can be used to catch criminals trying to evade, people speeding on the roads, minor things like that,” the man explains. “I was able to watch the entire thing happen in my office. The power that that mutant had isn’t normal. It’s like a god resides in that flesh.” 

Hinata blinks at him, then turns to look at the ruins of the buildings around him. He knew that Iwaizumi was a strong mutant. . .but a god? He doesn’t even know what kind of power Iwaizumi has since he escaped that bad place and tried to search for Natsu’s whereabouts on his own. But if Iwaizumi is able to destroy a city like this, he could be even more powerful than Kageyama. 

“I also know, Hinata Shoyou, that your sister didn’t die in the attack,” the man states and Hinata’s blood runs cold. 

The man holds out an arm in front of Hinata faster than Hinata can try to react and run, looking down at the boy with gentle eyes. “Understand this. I’m not here to hurt you. Not to mention that if you try to run, you’ll draw attention to yourself and cause a frenzy. It’ll be dangerous,” he says and Hinata tenses, but leans back into the park bench. 

“How do you know my name? How do you know she’s still alive?” Hinata asks and the man smiles. 

“I told you. I have cameras in this area that saw everything. Your sister was rescued by a member of the Fantastic Four. Which means most likely, she is with the Avengers,” the man says and Hinata huffs. No, no this isn’t good. The Avengers are the bad guys. The Avengers don’t care about mutants. Natsu. . .she’s going to. . . 

“I also seen that you frequented this area after the attack, searching through the rubble in search for her body. The cameras are fast enough to catch you running, but it is still hard to see without the right technology to slow the footage down to make out your face. Your face is in the police records and on the news, so it wasn’t hard to find your name. I’ve been keeping an eye on you. You search through the rubble up and down the streets, then try and find something to eat in the dumpsters and back alleys. You always came up empty handed, and you would retire to this bench for the night to sleep and repeat the process the next day,” the man explains. 

“Shoyou, I come to you today to make you an offer. The offer to change this cruel world. I can make you stronger and faster. I can help you reunite with your little sister. I can help you deliver punishment on those that hurt you in the past,” the man says and moves his arm. He rests his hand atop Hinata’s head, gently threading his fingers through Hinata’s hair. The gentle touch is like Iwaizumi’s, but Hinata doesn’t feel the same sense of comfort. 

“. . .What do you want from me?” Hinata asks quietly. 

“I want you to come to my school.” 

“School?” Hinata asks. He’s never gone to school. He’s never had the chance to learn from someone else and make friends with other kids his age. A school. . . 

“Yes. You’ll learn how to strengthen your abilities and be with other children like you that I am currently caring for. You’ll become stronger, strong enough to rescue your little sister and have allies that want to help you. You all will work towards a common goal, a better place for mutants like you and your little sister to live in.” 

“A better place. . .t-then does that mean you’re a mutant too, mister?” Hinata asks and the man smiles. 

“No, I’m not. . .but I understand my place in the world, Shoyou,” the man says, looking up into the sky. “The human race will go extinct because they will not be able to keep up with the advancement of mutants. Soon, mutants will be the one to rule the Earth. Why fight something as absolute as that? Why should I invest in saving a race that is too blinded by their own hatred that they cannot see past their own shortcomings?” he asks and laughs. He twirls a lock of Hinata’s hair around his finger, smiling bright. 

“They say the meek shall inherit the Earth. That’s a lie. Only those that are fit and strong-willed to take the Earth shall inherit it. And how things are now, those people shall be the mutants. . .it will be you, Shoyou.” 

“Me?” Hinata asks, eyes wide in amazement. “But. . .but what about you?” 

The man smiles and Hinata feels warmth creeping into his chest. He feels. . .happier. He feels. . .hopeful. 

“You don’t need to worry about me. When my job is finished, this world will have a new ruler. A perfect world where only the strongest and most deserving are on the top. Those that have evolved to be the true inheritors of this world. That can be you, Shoyou. You can be with your little sister again. . .all you have to do is take my hand and come with me,” the man says softly and removes his hand from Hinata’s hair. He turns his palm outwards and holds it up to Hinata. “Well?” 

Hinata stares down at the large hand, warm and inviting. He doesn’t want to be alone anymore. He wants friends. He wants to feel safe. He wants to be strong enough to protect Natsu. He wants to earn his spot in the new world. The better world. 

Slowly, he reaches his hand out to grab hold. 

Riiing~Ring! Riiiing~Ring!  

The man pulls his hand away and sighs, reaching into his pocket to pull out his cell phone. “What unfortunate timing,” he mutters to himself and answers. Hinata immediately places his hand back in his lap, looking down at a small photo that fluttered from the man’s pocket when he pulled his phone free. He reaches to pick it up, listening as the man speaks with whoever it is on the other line. 

It’s a photo of the man, but there’s also a teenager standing next to him. It must be his son, but he doesn’t exude the same kind of confidence and elegance that the man has. His eyes are nervous looking and his freckles over the bridge of his nose stand out far more than his father’s. He gives off an aura of meekness; prim and proper and well-brought up, but not a single backbone in his body. Hinata hums and turns the photo over to see some writing. He’s not good at reading kanji, but he recognizes the ‘Yama’ since it’s the same in Kageyama’s name. Yama-something. 

The man gives a soft chuckle and Hinata looks back up at him as he hangs up the call. The man looks down and at the picture Hinata is holding. 

“Ah, so you found that picture of me and my son?” he asks and Hinata hands it back to the man. The man takes it, inspects it closely. The smile that’s on his lips isn’t warm and gentle like the one’s he’s been giving Hinata. This one. . .looks different. It’s still a smile but for some reason. . .it looks colder to Hinata. It looks apathetic, annoyed even. 

He slips the photograph inside a pocket in his suit and looks to Hinata, that smile gaining kindness in an instant. “It seems one of my students has managed to rescue one of your friends and they’re heading to our home base right now as we speak. Kageyama Tobio.” 

Hinata’s eyes widen. “K-Kageyama-kun?! You saved him?! He’s alive?!” Hinata yells and the man brings a finger to his lips to shush him. Hinata bites his tongue, but he can’t help the emotions that are swirling around in his chest and the happiness welling in his throat. He brings Natsu’s stuffed animal to his face, choking out a sob of excitement. 

Kageyama is still alive. 

Natsu is still alive for the time being. 

Kageyama is with this man and they can both rescue Natsu. They’ll all be together and they’ll all be safe from the Avengers and from these humans that try to hurt them. And Hinata, Hinata will be stronger thanks to this man. He’ll be strong enough so that no one can hurt Kageyama or Natsu again. He’ll protect them both. He’ll be the one that keeps them safe. He doesn’t care if Iwaizumi is some ‘god’ or that the Avengers have someone like Thor and the Hulk on their side. He’ll fight them all and he’ll win. He’s not going to let Kageyama and Natsu get hurt. He’s not going to be weak anymore. 

The man holds out his hand again. “Do you want to go see him?” he asks and Hinata doesn’t have to hesitate. He grabs hold of the man’s hand, firm and tight. 

The man rises from the park bench and Hinata gets off with him with the stuffed animal tucked under his arm, allowing the man to lead him to a sleek and black fancy car. He opens the door for Hinata to enter the back passenger seat, then he himself gets into the driver’s seat. Hinata also notices that there’s a small mini bar built into the side hatch of the door, overflowing with snacks. His hands quickly snatch up the gummy worms and pocky sticks and rips into them, stuffing them into his mouth at such a pace that he could have accidentally bit his fingers off. 

The man chuckles as he watches Hinata in the rearview mirror, offering him a napkin. “There’s plenty of food back at the base, so don’t spoil your appetite. You and Kageyama-kun have a lot of people to meet once you’ve reunited. Your future allies and your new family.” 

Family. Allies. People like him. Hinata swallows the junk food down his throat, a smile coming to his lips as he tucks Natsu’s stuffed animal into his lap. He’s found a place to belong. He’s going to go to school and learn. He’s going to have real friends and he’s going to have a place to sleep and food to eat. He’s going to be with other kids and he and Kageyama won’t be alone anymore. 

Hinata takes the napkin and realizes that the man also gave him a small card. The man turns his attention back on driving, starting the ignition and taking the car out of park. Hinata wipes his mouth and looks at the card. He recognizes the area this address is in. He turns the card around and around in his hands. His new home. . .he has a home.

He smiles and holds the card tightly. Natsu. . .Kageyama. . .he’ll become strong for them.

He’ll be the one to inherit the Earth for them.


‘30 dead, 200 wounded, count continues to soar’

 

‘Public outcry for government to do something about these mutants’

 

‘Do mutants live next to you? How to tell if there is a mutant in your neighborhood!’

 

‘The Avengers remain tight-lipped about the attack on the city. Possible conspiracy?’

 

“Hmm. . .I suppose we really can’t kill him since he did such a good job at inciting panic.”  

Shimada Makoto nods his head in agreement and changes the camera feed from the mind numbing news articles to the cell blocks. Daishou is still lying on the ground in his cell, curled up into a ball like a pitiful animal. It’s rather funny to see someone with such pride and confidence be reduced to such a pathetic level. He didn’t even try to put up a fight against Terushima bringing him back to their base, most likely because Daishou always had someone else do the fighting for him.  

“And what about Tadashi?”  

Shimada changes the camera feed to Tadashi’s cell block. He’s pacing around and around in circles, wringing his hair and mumbling to himself. There’s new scratches over his arms and his neck, and the sight draws a tired sigh from the man’s lips.  

How pathetic. This serum was supposed to be something akin to the Super Soldier Serum produced in the Weapon Plus program. How come they can’t get the results that he wants? Now instead of the ultimate weapon at his disposal, he has a son that can go from a pathetic yet competent individual, to a psychopathic lunatic out for blood.  

Yamaguchi Goro steeps his fingers and leans back in his chair, staring at the ceiling. He knows that he can’t rush things. This is all going to take time for his plan to fall together. He’s a patient man. He knows that everything will end out just the way he wants it to be if he allows them to just happen.  

He closes his eyes. “Status of Sakusa?”  

“Currently stalling the transport vehicle that holds Kageyama Tobio. He brought along Terushima to aid him, so it shouldn’t take too long to apprehend Kageyama-san,” Shimada reports.  

“Remember, he’s just a child. We can’t force him into doing something he doesn’t want to do,” Goro says calmly. But he knows that Sakusa will tell Kageyama whatever he thinks Kageyama needs to hear. Kageyama is naïve. He’s powerful, but he’s easily manipulated by thoughts and emotions. That’s how someone as controlling and sly like Daishou managed to hide him away and keep him under his control even without the use of his powers.  

“Is the other one still in the city?” Goro asks and Shimada changes the camera feed again. This time, it’s a live broadcast from the street cameras his corporation installed as a form of ‘safety’ for the city. No one knows that he can access these cameras from the comfort of his office, nor do they know that he can tamper with them and destroy footage if necessary. He does know, however, that he’ll have to up the security on them after Oikawa Tooru started looking through the feeds when Iwaizumi Hajime disappeared. The last thing he wants is that brat tracing everything back to him.  

There’s the usual crowd of people performing the cleanup. There’s also news vans trying to get coverage at the scene of the attack and being a nuisance to those that are actually trying to clear the area of rubble and debris. He sees Hinata sitting on a park bench, fidgeting in his spot as he watches the soldiers and police officers monitor the situation and the rescue teams that go up and down the street with bodies in tow. He doesn’t look like he’ll leave to try and scrounge up some food at the moment, so it would be best if Goro leaves now and tries to catch him.  

The man rises from his seat. “I’m going out for a drive. Call me when Kageyama-kun is on his way here. Prepare a spot for both of them in The World as well. The sooner we can begin the maturation process, the better,” Goro says and Shimada nods his head, glancing down at his clipboard.  

“Speaking of The World, Weapon XIV is ready to be released. Shall I enroll them into the Moniwa Institution for Gifted Students as you requested?”  

“Of course. We need to see who our rival is in terms of educating these young mutants. Plus, if there’s even a slightest possibility that the Phoenix Force abandoned Iwaizumi-san before the execution, it could have taken residence within a student hidden by that professor,” Goro explains and smiles. “And I want that power for our Hellfire Academy and our Hellfire Circle.”  

“Of course, sir.”  

“Get the car ready,” Goro says and Shimada bows his head.  

“Right away, sir.”  

Goro smiles and exits his office, adjusting his cufflinks as he passes by the testing rooms. Yes, this is his empire that he’s built. On the surface, it’s nothing more than an information gathering and research institute. They couldn’t even get endorsement funds from Aoba Johsai to fund them building weapons (not that they really needed it. That was only so Tadashi could infiltrate the office and see what kind of security they’d be working with). But it’s other side. . .that is what society doesn’t know.  

The Hellfire Circle, an organization that goes even deeper and darker than Japan's underworld of crime bosses. But to classify the people associated with the Hellfire Circle with the common yakuza would be an insult. They're far more sophisticated than that, and enjoy the finer things in life that involve the best of dining and the highest luxuries of living. And for Goro, the power the Hellfire Club entrusts in its members will allow him to reach his own personal goal of raising mutants to become the ultimate powerful force that not even the Avengers can stop. Phase one of his plan has been complete, albeit not to his expectations thanks to Daishou getting greedy and selling off mutants Goro could have sold to members of the Hellfire Club. He’ll have to see what happens in phase two after he watches this wave of anti-mutant propaganda and fear settle in, then stir it all back up again.  

It’ll be in his best interests if the Phoenix Force stayed with Iwaizumi. If that is the case, nothing will kill Iwaizumi as long as the Phoenix Force stops it. Another gullible being powered by emotions. Another piece in his chess game to use for his ultimate goal. . .  

Goro glances back at Hinata sitting in the backseat, idly eating his snacks and junk food that Goro placed in the car to warm Hinata up to him even more. He smiles at the child and looks back at the road ahead of them, tightening his grip on the steering wheel. 

Hinata Shoyou. 

Kageyama Tobio. 

Iwaizumi Hajime. 

He chuckles quietly to himself. The biggest pawns in the game and he already has two. 

Just need to get one more.

Chapter Text

One month later

 

‘You know, it makes me wonder just how safe are we really. I mean, yes we have mutants that are revealing themselves to us every single day, but does that really help for them to wave their powers in our faces?’

‘Well what makes them different from people like the Fantastic Four or the Avengers? We’re not scared of them.’

‘Well I know that the Avengers and the Fantastic Four fight and protect us. They’re an established group whose job is to go around and save the day. But these mutants, we don’t know how many there are or what their identities are! They could be your teacher, your boss, your coworker, your next door neighbor. The possibilities are endless. And they can use their powers to do whatever they want and there’s no way of enforcing the law on them when they could do something like blow a police officer up!’

‘Yeah. I would think that I would know if someone like Thor were living next door to me. There’s nothing scarier than something unknown. And we don’t know anything about these mutants.’  

Sir, the young lady is awake.”

Click!

The television hologram broadcasting in front of the kitchen countertop immediately changes to a magical girl anime show and Oikawa goes back to preparing breakfast. Ye-Robot-With-No-Name sits by his bare feet, cleaning up his mess and fallen egg shells. This breakfast thing is not easy. There’s so many things that can go wrong. He’s already burned the bacon to an extra crisp and spent the last ten minutes picking out broken egg shells from the omelet mix. But as J.A.R.V.I.S. nagged, he can’t be feeding his darling guest sugary cereal with colorful marshmallows every single day.

Ah yes. . .

. . .

 

Oikawa sits up in his hospital bed when the door opens, expecting – or rather yet hoping – Sugawara will be walking in with news about Iwaizumi’s escape with the other mutant kids. He’s been out for the last week and is still hopped up on drugs and pain medication, so it’s difficult for him to follow the news on the tiny television in his hospital room. It mainly has to deal with the thing that they have in his chest now to keep a bit of shrapnel from lodging in his heart and killing him.

He’s thankful that Nishinoya came up with this design of an ‘arc reactor’, even more touched that he based it off the familiar chest plate of his Iron Man suits. But he’s just a little bit irked that Ushijima had a hand in saving his life and aiding in the surgical procedure. Oikawa doesn’t like being in debt to anyone, especially Ushiwaka. Dammit.

But it isn’t Sugawara that comes in through the door. It is instead Nobuyuki, leading in a small little girl by the hand and Tanaka following behind. Tanaka closes the door shut, then immediately begins to search around the hospital room. He checks behind the curtains and in the flowers and candy that several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents gave to him, then in the terrarium that Kindaichi made for Oikawa.

The brunet raises an eyebrow at the young man, but turns attention to Nobuyuki when he sits on the bed. He pulls the little girl into his lap and she folds her hands over the pleats of her plaid skirt.

“You’re looking a lot better,” Nobuyuki comments instead of explaining why Tanaka is practically ripping through his hospital room searching for something, or explaining why does he have a little girl with him.

“Uh yeah. I guess I have F.R.I.D.A.Y. to thank for that,” Oikawa says and gives a weak smile.

F.R.I.D.A.Y. really was the MVP of that operation. In the last few seconds before that bomb exploded, F.R.I.D.A.Y. did a risky move that even had Oikawa think how absolutely stupid and dangerous and not at all like the stubborn A.I.’s method of thinking.

As he clutched onto the bomb and refused the push of the suit to force him out and allow F.R.I.D.A.Y. to fly away with it, something must have clicked. In the last five seconds, F.R.I.D.A.Y. shut down the suit entirely, forcing a reboot of some sorts. This action causes the suit to dismantle and reassemble itself in quick succession, and is used as a way to save power. It also served as a way to startle Oikawa enough for F.R.I.D.A.Y. to remotely activate the blasters in the gauntlet and fire the bomb out of his palms and down the hallway.

Unfortunately, the suit didn’t reassemble in time and the bomb detonated. The parts that did manage to attach itself back to Oikawa’s body protected him as best as they could. His face remained clean and unscuffed, but he broke his left leg. Not to mention that bits of shrapnel and debris flew itself at Oikawa from the blast and some pieces lodged into his chest before his chest plate could reattach itself to his body, including the one that still resides in his heart now.

He knows that F.R.I.D.A.Y. saved his life with that play. He also knows that the moment he gets well enough to be discharged from the hospital, he’s making F.R.I.D.A.Y. an actual body as a reward.

Nobuyuki hums and glances over his shoulder at Tanaka.

“Anything?”

“We’re good,” Tanaka says and gives Nobuyuki a thumbs up. Oikawa frowns.

“What are you talking about? What were you expecting to find?” Oikawa asks and Nobuyuki sighs. He lets the little girl get off his lap for the time being, and she runs over to Tanaka who begins to offer her some of Oikawa’s chocolates. He scowls at Tanaka, but doesn’t say anything when the little girl’s eyes light up with excitement and happiness as she bites into a chocolate bar.

“It’s been pretty bad since Iwaizumi-san escaped. Nekomata-san has been conducting surprise raids on the Baxter Building and Nishinoya-san’s laboratory as well as Akaashi-san’s. I just had to make sure he didn’t bug your hospital room with cameras or microphones or something before I continue with what I have to say.”

“I didn’t let that bastard anywhere near me this entire time,” Oikawa says. “It’s his fault that everyone is so jumpy around mutants now. . .it’s his fault for making Iwa-chan act like that.”

“We don’t know what really happened with Iwaizumi-san. . .and until we find him, we possibly will never know. I meant to ask Bokuto-san since he’s back in town helping with the clean-up, but even meeting with Avengers outside of the usual meetings makes Nekomata suspicious. He’s been riding our tails for days in the off chance we’re ‘traitors’ and helped Iwaizumi-san escape.”

“If anything, I’d be the one to do that.”

“Well, he knows you’re hospitalized. Which is why us coming to visit you doesn’t come off as suspicious since it’s not like you can do much here.”

Oikawa nods his head and folds his hands in his lap. “So what did you want to tell me without Nekomata finding out?” he asks and Nobuyuki glances over at the little girl.

“We rescued her during Iwaizumi-san’s rampage through the city. At first, we planned on turning her into the police so her parents can pick her up, but she refused and begged for us not to alert the authorities. . .it turns out, she was being held hostage by Daishou in his apartment.”

“Had I known that bastard that Iwaizumi-san was about to kill was the guy that caused all this shit, I would have let Iwaizumi-san done it,” Tanaka grumbles and the girl points a little finger at Tanaka.

“Potty mouth!” she accuses and Tanaka places his hands in front of him apologetically.

“Ah! Sorry!” he apologizes with a big grin and the little girl smiles back. Oikawa raises an eyebrow, turning to Nobuyuki.

“So that makes her. . .”

“A mutant. . .Hinata Shoyou’s sister, to be precise.”

Oikawa’s eyes widened and he makes a double-take. Hinata Shoyou’s sister? Another mutant child? Now that he thinks about it, he does remember that Daishou was holding Hinata’s sister hostage and threatened to make her jump out the window, but he honestly thought that she died in the attack in the city along with Daishou since his body is still missing.

“So. . .you’ve been taking care of her?”

“I was for the time being, but I can’t any longer,” Nobuyuki says and closes his eyes. “We’ve been having frequent searches from Nekomata. If he finds out who she is, she’s as good as dead,” Nobuyuki whispers and steeps his hands. “She’s just a little girl, but I know he won’t care about that. It’s not safe having her around my building anymore.”

“So why me?”

“Word around S.H.I.E.L.D. has it you’re leaving the Avengers,” Nobuyuki murmurs and Oikawa puffs his cheeks. He crosses his arms awkwardly over the arc reactor in his chest and sighs through his nose.

“Well, I have Kindaichi-chan to take my place as my successor. And I might still pop in from time to time to see how things are. . .but I can’t fight against Iwa-chan. I want to find him, but I want to help him. I know that if I did that as Iron Man, there will be public outrage for an Avenger helping a criminal evade punishment and I don’t want to drag you all through the mud with me.”

“We want to help Iwaizumi-san too, you know.”

“Yeah, but you all don’t have secret identities to fall back on. Iron Man can disappear and Oikawa Tooru can play his part in finding his missing assistant without drawing attention. In fact, I already know a person that can help me once I get out of here,” Oikawa says with a smile and closes his eyes. “So you want me to take care of her? Kuroo or Ennoshita-san weren’t options?”

“Kuroo loves kids, but I don’t even want to think about how he can actually raise a child with his kind of profession. Ennoshita-san is in the same boat as all of us with Nekomata constantly breathing down his neck. Plus, it would seem strange for him to suddenly adopt a child,” Nobuyuki explains and Oikawa cocks his head to the side.

“So it’s not strange for me to have a kid?”

“You’re eccentric. Half of the time you don't have a reason for the things you do, you just do them.”

“I can’t tell if you’re being nice or insulting me,” Oikawa says with a pout and Nobuyuki smiles. Oikawa glances back at the little girl that is now helping herself to some of the chocolate crème puffs Hanamaki left him. “Is she going to be okay coming with me?”

“She’s slow to warm up to people. But when she does, she’s wonderful to have around. We already talked to her about how she’s not going to be staying with us for long and will be living with you, but we didn’t give the full details why. I don’t want her to feel like she’s being hunted down,” Nobuyuki murmurs and Oikawa twirls a lock of his hair between his fingers.

“What’s her name?”

“Natsu. But I’m thinking about adding her real name to the registrar of mutants that were killed in the attacks to throw off suspicion, and having her live under an alias. Her face is unknown, but she looks a lot like Hinata-kun. I don’t want Nekomata trying to stick his nose in her information if he tries to look for Hinata-kun,” Nobuyuki says and Oikawa rubs his chin.

“Is she fast like him?”

“No. She can generate small plasma explosions. She calls them ‘fireworks’. It’s actually very cute,” Nobuyuki says with a little laugh and rubs the back of his neck. “But, it’s up to you if you want to take on the role of protecting her and caring for her.”

Oikawa hums and leans back into the pillows, idly tracing his finger around the rim of the arc reactor embed in his chest.

“A little girl, huh. . .you know, I always thought the only way I would ever take care of kids is if Iwa-chan was with me and we raise them together,” Oikawa muses and closes his eyes.

His father was absolutely shitty. Always demanding more and more out of Oikawa and it never was enough for him. He swore to himself that if he ever became a parent, he would put his child first before anything. He would give them all the love and care that he never got from his father. He’ll see them as his darling child, not just another spoke in the Oikawa lineage wheel.

He opens his eyes and glances back over at Natsu. It’s funny how now both Iwaizumi and him have taken the mantle of raising the Hinata children, even if one of them is now AWOL and Iwaizumi is on the run as well. He rubs his face and looks back at Nobuyuki.

“I better call J.A.R.V.I.S. and tell him to get the bots together. We got to get a room prepared for her.”

 

. . .

 

Beep! Beep! Beep!

Oikawa quickly takes the skillet off the fames at the sound of the timer jarring him out of his thoughts, plating the extremely large mushroom and spinach omelet awkwardly. Some of the egg still sticks to the pan and he scrapes the burnt bits onto his own plate, before he tosses the skillet into the sink to be washed at a later date.

QT rolls in with a jug of orange juice balancing precariously on its surface. Ye-Robot-With-No-Name, who always seems to be exceptionally petty around QT, rams into the little robot and knocks the jug over, then begins to beep loudly as if to alert Oikawa that QT screwed up something again.

The jug didn’t break and Oikawa groans as he crouches down to get it off the floor. He pours himself and Natsu a glass and arranges it neatly on the island countertop. He looks down at the two robots and runs a hand through his hair.

“Why don’t you two. . .do the laundry? And I swear, don’t fight with QT over folding them, because you ripped my favorite shirt the last time I asked you to do laundry,” Oikawa scolds Ye-Robot-With-No-Name. The robot gives an innocent beep and Oikawa crosses his arms over his chest. The arc reactor bulges just a bit against his old David Bowie shirt, a blue light shining through the fabric. He’ll have to layer up with undershirts before he and Natsu go out to work today.

She’s coming down the stairs, sir.”

Oikawa jumps at the same time QT does, the robot making a beeline out of the kitchen and towards the laundry room. Ye-Robot-With-No-Name almost rolls over Oikawa’s foot as they try and catch up to the robot, while Oikawa quickly straightens his hair and pretends he hasn’t slaved over cooking breakfast for the last two hours.

Natsu enters through the archway, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Tucked under her arm is stuffed animal #25, a cute little rabbit covered in polka dots and wearing a bowtie. If Iwaizumi were still here, he would have probably yelled at Oikawa for buying Natsu more stuffed animals than she really needed. QT usually can’t even get in her room because of the stuffed animal mountain by the door that Oikawa keeps adding to.

“Morning, princess!” Oikawa chirps and Natsu nods her head, walking over to the stools against the island.

“Morning, Oikawa-san,” Natsu mumbles. She makes an attempt to climb the barstool, but after a few minutes of Natsu’s foot slipping off that third peg, Oikawa rounds the island and gently lifts her up onto the stool. She hums and smiles at him, hugging her bunny to her chest. Oikawa pushes her plate towards her and her glass of orange juice, then takes a seat next to her at the island.

Both give their thanks for the food and Natsu sets her bunny on the empty stool to the left of her, before she takes her fork and begins to dig in. Oikawa always sits and watches her reaction for the first bite. If it’s anything less than satisfactory (which it has yet to be), he immediately gets back up and starts cooking again. Usually he has the worst bits of the meal, all the burnt or runny ends, the extra vegetables and ugly parts. Natsu’s plates are always as close to good as Oikawa can get.

She eats a couple bites of her omelet, then has some bacon that is cooked just right.

“Is it good?” Oikawa asks and Natsu nods her head.

“Yep! It’s yummy!” she says with an enthusiastic smile and Oikawa breathes a sigh of relief that he didn’t even knew he was holding. He smiles and turns back to his own breakfast meal, eating in content silence while listening to the sound of the anime running in the background. Once Natsu finishes her orange juice first, Oikawa glances back over at the little girl.

“I need to go into the office today to have a meeting. You want to come with me? We can go shopping afterwards,” Oikawa says and Natsu hums.

“Does Tsukki have to watch me?”

“Maybe. If Kuroo is there, which he most likely will be, you can play with him. But remember-”

“If he offers me something that looks dangerous, say no thank you,” Natsu recites and Oikawa smiles, gently carding his hand through her hair in a soft touch.

“That’s my princess.”


Oikawa is surprised at how quickly he adapts to this lifestyle. He helps Natsu pick out her outfit and accessories for the day and she helps picks out his ties. He sloppily ties ribbons in her bright orange hair and she barely does a knot for his tie. Both are usually fixed by the first friend that they come across, usually either Tsukishima or Kunimi. In the evenings, Oikawa gives Natsu her baths and he entertains her with bedtime stories that are too exciting and action thrilled to sleep on, or too filled with science mumbo-jumbo for a four-year-old to cohesively follow. They watch magical girl anime in the mornings and for lunch, they eat out at the nicest restaurant Oikawa can find.

Oikawa can’t see things being any other way. He gets lectured by Sugawara every so often the director gets the chance to check in on Natsu’s status that he’s spoiling her rotten, but he doesn’t care. 

Oikawa glances over at the little girl sitting next to him, J.A.R.V.I.S. having control of the car and safely driving them to their destination. She’s dressed in a light paisley blue dress and knee high socks with white frills. The ribbons in her hair are extremely long and the bows are uneven like always, but Natsu knows that Oikawa tries his best just like Oikawa knew she did her best to tie the UFO tie hanging loosely around his neck.

They’re both trying together. Trying to make this new life even though it’s so hard to let go of their pasts.

 

. . .

 

Natsu looks up from the papers, blinking up at Oikawa confused. “Ju-bi-lee?”

Oikawa flinches, then gives an awkward laugh and scratches the back of his neck. Sugawara’s holographic form sighs deeply. Oikawa can’t tell where the director is stationed at currently, but knows that this feed must be separate from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s normal transmissions, unless he wants to risk the chance of Nekomata snooping around.

“You always were horrible at names.”

“Am not!” Oikawa cries defensively.

“What’s the name of one of your bots? The one that’s a real mouthful,” Sugawara muses and Oikawa glances down at his feet, where Ye-Robot-With-No-Name wheels around to shine his shoes.

“That’s not important!” Oikawa huffs and looks over at Natsu, worrying his lip between his teeth. “I just. . .I don’t know. I thought it was cute. I mean, I could have gone with a more normal Japanese name but. . .well, you’re not a normal person. You’re special and I wanted you to have a special name so. . .” Oikawa puffs his cheeks. “If you want to change it-”

“I like it,” Natsu says and Oikawa blinks. The smile on her lips is genuine and her eyes are kind.

“Oh. . .” he begins, and then he begins to smile. “Great! I knew you would! It’s really cute, isn’t it?! If you’re going to pose as my daughter, you have to have a cute name!” Oikawa chirps and then pauses. “Well, not saying that ‘Natsu’ isn’t a cute name-”

“Getting back on subject while I’m still able to talk,” Sugawara interrupts and glances at Natsu. “The adoption papers have already been filed, which means that Nekomata has already poked his nose through it and didn’t find anything suspicious. Still, we limit who knows about Natsu’s real identity. You, me, and the Fantastic Four.”

“You haven’t even told Dai-chan?”

Sugawara sighs, eyes heavy with a burden. “The Avengers have been rather shaken by this event. I don’t want to say that you leaving has only made team morale worsen-”

“I told you, I’m not going to fight against Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says darkly and narrows his eyebrows. “He’s my best friend and I love him. I know that they’re my teammates, but he comes first above anything else.”

Sugawara narrows his eyebrows and folds his hands. “I can’t even be angry with you about that. . .I know that I would have done the same thing if Daichi was in this situation instead.”

The director glances back up at Oikawa. “But that doesn’t mean that what you’re doing can be taken as the right thing. I’m sure that you’ve managed to hack into those body cameras on the soldiers that accompanied us and saved the footage. You’ve seen what he did.”

“The footage that Nekomata tried to delete? Yeah, I’ve seen it. I’ve also heard what Bokuto had to say about what possibly happened after he reviewed the news coverage,” Oikawa says and rests his chin in the palm of his hand. “That thing. . .the Phoenix Force. . .that’s our true enemy.”

“What are you planning? To fight something a god has said can destroy and rebuild the universe on a whim? And if this thing resides in Iwaizumi-san, how has he not known about something this powerful and this destructive?”

“He went his whole life believing he was normal. Who’s to say he didn’t also know he has a cosmic entity bottled up inside him.”

“That’s a big stretch that you’d have to convince the diet if you plan on protecting Iwaizumi-san.”

“If you don’t believe me, fine. But nothing you say will make me change how I feel about Hajime.”

“I’m not trying to make you change your mind. But you need to look at what’s happening-”

“Ah, it looks like our transmission is getting fuzzy Kou-chan,” Oikawa says aloud and reaches for the device projecting the hologram. Sugawara’s eyes grow alert and his face leans forward.

“O-Oikawa! Listen to-” Oikawa disconnects and Sugawara’s figure disappears. Oikawa feels his eyebrows are pulled down in a hard line and his entire body feels stiff and heavy. He pulls his hand back and runs his fingertips around the outer rim of his arc reactor in his chest. It’s so strange. . .right now, he should be able to feel his heart racing so fast and his skin growing red from his blood boiling. And around this time, Iwaizumi will give him a slap on the shoulder and demand him to apologize, but not before giving his own bit of advice that Oikawa always took more to heart than Sugawara’s.

. . .God, he really misses him. . .

“That man,” Natsu speaks suddenly and Oikawa glances over at the little girl sitting beside him on the couch. The papers are neatly resting in her lap, but she’s staring straight ahead at something. Oikawa follows her line of sight to see that she’s looking at a picture resting on a table against the wall. There’s a couple of tech manuals and junk mail around the photo’s frame, but not enough that it blocks the picture of Iwaizumi smiling professionally as Oikawa pulls him and Tsukishima in front of the camera. Ah, that was when Tsukishima first started working for him. . .

Natsu looks down at her hands resting on her lap atop the papers. “He was the man on fire. . .the one that hurt that bad man,” Natsu murmurs and Oikawa swallows a dry lump in his throat. She looks up at him, eyes bright in wonder. “You two are friends?”

“He’s. . .I consider him more than a friend. . .but I know that a lot of people are afraid of him and want to put him away for what he’s done. . .but I know he’s a good person,” Oikawa murmurs.

Natsu nods her head. “So. . .he’s kinda like Tobio-chan,” she says and Oikawa flinches. She smiles warmly. “Everyone thinks that Tobio-chan is really mean and a bad person, but that’s cause they’re scared of him. He’s really nice. He always tried his best to keep me and big brother safe. He’s big brother’s best friend and they love each other a whole lot. . .”

Natsu’s smile slowly turns downwards, eyes growing sad. “Will. . .will I see them again? Tobio-chan and Sho-chan?”

Oikawa looks down at his hands and takes in a deep breath. “I. . .I don’t know. . .” he whispers. He knows that the truck carrying Kageyama to the site where he was supposed to be executed got hijacked after he hacked into some data about the prison they kept Iwaizumi and the others. He knows that Kageyama is surely strong enough to be able to hunt them all down again and try to retrieve Natsu himself. The fact that he hasn’t done so makes Oikawa uneasy about the entire situation. He doesn’t know where Kageyama or Hinata are, and he doesn't know what will happen to them when they are found.

“Will you find them too?” she asks and balls her hands into little fists. “Will you find Sho-chan and Tobio-chan if you find your friend?”

Oikawa stares at her, the silence and tension growing thick.

“I. . .” he bites his tongue and thinks for a few minutes, before he gives off a weak smile that for once, doesn’t try to come off as confident and allows all of the worry and unsureness to show. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to find them all. . .but I’m going to try my hardest, Natsu-chan. I promise.”

Natsu blinks. “Can you promise Tobio-chan and Sho-chan won’t get hurt?”

“. . .I wish I could. . .but I don’t think I can.”  

Natsu tenses, but she gives a slow nod of her head and closes her eyes shut. Oikawa knows that isn’t the thing he should say to her. He should say cheerfully that of course her brother and Kageyama will be perfectly safe and allowed to reunite with her again, but he just can’t bring himself to lie like that. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen from now on with mutants or the Avengers’ involvement with them. It’d be irresponsible for him to promise her they’d be safe. He doesn’t even know if he’ll be able to keep Iwaizumi safe.

She opens her eyes and looks back down at the papers, staring at her ‘name’. “I. . .I hope we find them. . .I hope we find your friend and my family.”

Oikawa smiles and reaches his hand out, gently carding his hand through her hair.

“I hope so too, princess.”

 

. . . 

 

“Sir, we have arrived.”  

Oikawa glances out the window as the car slows to a stop. Natsu unbuckles her seatbelt and unbuckles her stuffed animal from the seat next to her. Oikawa glances at his watch, humming low to himself as J.A.R.V.I.S. unlocks the car doors.

“Pick us up in two hours or so,” Oikawa says. 

So you aren’t planning to work after all?”

Oikawa smiles and opens the car door. “If we hurry, we can still make it to Karasuno’s for crepes. That’s more fun than working, right Natsu?”

Natsu’s eyes sparkle. “Oooh! Can we get the chocolate ones?!” 

“With all the whipped cream and strawberries,” Oikawa says and gently pushes the tip of her nose with his finger. J.A.R.V.I.S. gives this long suffering sigh, but doesn’t say anything else as Oikawa and Natsu exit the vehicle and watch it speed off back towards Oikawa’s home. Oikawa takes Natsu’s hand in his, both entering the office building into the lobby.

It’s quiet as usual. Most of the employees are already to their departments and their desks, working on the projects that Oikawa had Iwaizumi stockpile so production didn’t stop for one moment. Currently, Oikawa gives them a lookover every once in a while, but Tsukishima has been the main overseer and all status reports have been going to him. As far as the company knows, it’s like Iwaizumi has never left. Oikawa plans on keeping it that way too.

Aone is standing guard by the security desk near the elevators as usual, bowing his head as Oikawa passes by and stops.

“Do you have someone to come by and relieve you for a moment? I need to talk with you,” Oikawa says. He sees Aone’s facial expression go more blank than usual and he waves a hand. “It’s nothing bad, just need to talk to you and a few other about something important. Meet me in my office as soon as they arrive,” Oikawa says with a little smile. Aone relaxes a smidge and he nods his head in understanding, turning to phone up one of his subordinates while Oikawa and Natsu continue to the elevators.

There’s really only a few people that Oikawa is familiar with in his company that he fully trusts enough with what he needs to discuss. Tsukishima is purely neutral on everything, so while Oikawa knows that it would be valuable if Tsukishima was on his side for what he’s planning to do, he can’t force the young man to do anything.

Kindaichi is now part of Sawamura’s ‘Young Avengers’ project and Oikawa doesn’t know how many more people the Captain is planning on enlisting. He has F.R.I.D.A.Y. run through the list of possible candidates and so far, none of them have stuck out to possibly take up the mantle of Avenger. There is one however, Yahaba Shigeru, that sounds like he could be a possible threat, but has yet to start training.

Kunimi does everything to the bare minimum. Oikawa knows there’s hidden potential buried deepdeepdeep inside, and it’s not worth trying to force it out of Kunimi if he isn’t ready or doesn’t believe it necessary. But Kunimi is clever and he’s quicker to think on his feet. If anything, Oikawa wouldn’t have minded having Kunimi as his successor instead of Kindaichi. But Kunimi lacks the drive and motiviation and passion an Avenger needs. . .but maybe now Kunimi is exactly who Oikawa needs at this moment.

Then there’s the last two people in his organization, Aone Takanobu and Shimizu Kiyoko. . .

The elevator dings and both step inside, Oikawa pressing the button for the main floor. Natsu quietly hums along the elevator music playing in the background, watching as each individual button lights up as they pass by each floor until they finally reach their destination. The doors slide open and Oikawa rounds the corner to Tsukishima’s desk.

Sure enough, Kuroo is seated next to Tsukishima with his arms thrown all around him as if he’s trying to pull Tsukishima into his lap. Tsukishima is putting up resistance, focusing his attention on the computer screen and at the files and contracts he needs to sort through and organize. Oikawa clears his throat to gain both of their attention, feeling his eyebrow twitch as he looks at Kuroo.

"So you're here again," Oikawa says flatly and Kuroo throws up a piece sign.

"Yep! You'd think that because I show up so many times in this fic, I'd at least get my own character tag or something. Guess the author is too lazy for that."

“Do you think that you can leave Tsukki alone while he’s at work? He’s trying to run my company,” Oikawa says through a gritting smile.

“Which I shouldn’t be, since my title is only an assistant,” Tsukishima says. Kuroo releases his grip on his boyfriend, only to open his arms out to scoop up Natsu and twirl her around in his grasp. Natsu laughs and holds Kuroo’s face that’s covered up with a surgeon’s mask and bandages.

“My future protégée!” Kuroo proudly declares and places the little girl down. “Oooh, that’s a cute stuffed animal you have there,” Kuroo compliments and Natsu hugs the stuffed rabbit to her chest, showing off the hem of her dress.

“Yeah! He matches my dress that Daddy bought me, see?” Natsu says with a big smile and Oikawa feels something twitch in his chest. He knows that Natsu only refers to him as such in front of others that don’t know the truth about her identity, but whenever she does call him that. . .it makes him rather happy. He wonders what she would call Iwaizumi if he was still here with them. . .

Oikawa shudders out a breath and tries to shake his mind free of those daunting thoughts.

Kuroo hums and nods his head. “Yeah, your entire outfit screams ‘Daddy’s Little Princess’,” Kuroo observes and Oikawa rolls his eyes, embarrassment creeping onto his cheeks. He looks down at Tsukishima, who is promptly ignoring everyone else around him.

“Is Shimizu and Kunimi-chan waiting for me?” Oikawa asks and Tsukishima nods his head. He turns and narrows his eyes at Oikawa, suspicion gleaming behind his pupils.

“Is this something that I should hear too?” Tsukishima asks and Oikawa shakes his head, waving his hand.

“Nothing. Just a quick evaluation and talks about changing positions. No worries, you’re doing great at your job, Tsukki!” Oikawa says with a thumbs up and a wink. Tsukishima obviously doesn’t believe that answer, but he doesn’t betray any hint of reporting this back to Sugawara. Oikawa decides its best to leave it at that and not make this any bigger than it needs to be. He turns back to Natsu and runs a hand through her hair.

“It won’t be long, okay?”

“Okay,” Natsu says and Oikawa snaps his fingers at Kuroo.

“Fix her ribbons while you’re at it,” Oikawa orders and Kuroo gives an indignant squawk as Oikawa heads to his office. He opens the door and steps inside, both Kunimi and Shimizu glancing over their shoulders at the sudden sound. He smiles at both of them, strolling around to his desk with his hands in his pockets.

“If you’re going to call us for a meeting, you should have been the first person here, Oikawa-san,” Shimizu scolds and Oikawa laughs, taking a seat behind his desk.

“Sorry, sorry! I’m still trying to get the hang of this single father thing,” Oikawa says with a smile. Shimizu gets up from her seat and walks over to the front of his desk. She leans over and pulls him forward by his loose tie, then begins to tie a proper knot. Her eyes are not humored and Oikawa senses a bit of tension from her, but her fingers move swiftly as she straightens his tie.

“I don’t believe Iwaizumi-san would have approved of your actions as of lately. Leaving the company for a college age boy to take care of and ‘playing house’,” Shimizu says sternly and Oikawa leans back in his chair. She goes to sit back down at her seat and crosses her arms over her chest, while Oikawa sighs and steeps his fingers.

“Yeah. . .he wouldn’t. . .he’s exactly who I wanted to talk about to you all,” Oikawa murmurs. The door opens and Oikawa pauses, seeing Aone quietly enter and close the door behind him. The head of security glances around, locking eyes briefly with Kunimi, before focusing back on Oikawa. Oikawa smiles and gestures to a chair beside his repaired bookcase, but Aone shakes his head and walks to stand beside Kunimi instead.

Oikawa sucks in a deep breath and looks at the three individuals in the room, eyes growing cold and hard. “What I’m about to discuss with you three does not leave this room. It is a matter of personal security regarding Iwaizumi-san, my daughter, even Tsukishima-kun and Kindaichi-kun,” Oikawa explains. He sees the three of them nod their heads and he folds his hands over his lap.

“I know there’s been a lot of rumors floating around the office lately about Iwaizumi-san’s disappearance. One particular rumor was that the mutant that was caught on a news broadcast destroying the city one month ago resembled Iwaizumi-san amid the fire. . .unfortunately, that rumor is true,” Oikawa says and closes his eyes. “Iwaizumi-san. . .was the mutant. . .and he’s currently missing.”

He waits for a loud outburst of shock or anger or murmurs, but all he hears is silence. He glances back to find that all three are still staring intently at him. Shimizu looks the most passive about the situation, while Aone and Kunimi both look shocked, but are waiting to hear Oikawa out before they give their comments. So, Oikawa continues.

“I’ve resolved to find him and hear what he has to say myself. I refuse to believe that he did this out of his own free will. You knew and worked with Iwaizumi-san for a long time and you three along with Tsukishima-kun and Kindaichi-kun are people that I trust. I wanted you three to know the real reason behind Iwaizumi-san’s disappearance. Now, if you three have something to say right now about the whole-”

“I know,” Shimizu says and Oikawa blinks.

“What do you mean?”

“I already knew that Iwaizumi-san was a mutant and attack the city, Oikawa-san,” Shimizu explains.

. . .What?

Oikawa leans forward. “How did – what do you – huh?” Oikawa eventually blurts and Shimizu reaches into the inner pocket of her blazer. She pulls out a badge and places it on Oikawa’s desk, Oikawa reaching for it to read what’s written around Shimizu’s picture.

 

Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Department

Agent 13

Shimizu Kiyoko

Investigation and Reconnaissance

 

Oikawa stares at the badge for a good five minutes, trying to process what the hell is happening.

“You’re. . .since when are you a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.?!” Oikawa screeches, then bites his tongue to keep Tsukishima from overhearing.

“Since you hired me,” Shimizu says simply.

“But that was before I was even involved with S.H.I.E.L.D.!”

“Sugawara-san assigned me to investigate you and your connections with Iron Man. I just stuck around afterwards since you allowed me to sign my own checks. Plus, I didn’t think that it was important for me to reveal my background with S.H.I.E.L.D. and figured you would have found out about it sooner or later. And since you revealed to us that Iwaizumi-san is a mutant, am I allowed to be under the pretense that you also intend to reveal to us you’re Iron Man?”

“Shimizu-san, why are you stealing my thunder?!” Oikawa cries. This was supposed to be a serious moment and Oikawa was supposed to look so cool when he explains his plans. Now, Kunimi and Aone are giving more impressed looks Shimizu’s way than they are him!

“So that explains those sounds of clunky metal coming from your office every now and then,” Kunimi murmurs and Oikawa pouts.

“None of my suits are ‘clunky’!” Oikawa says defensively and grits his teeth. “Can we get back to what I want to talk to you three about?”

“Oikawa-san, why are you telling us this?” Kunimi asks and Oikawa rises to his feet, folding his hands behind his back.

“I’m telling you this because I’m unofficially stepping down as CEO of this company in order to focus on finding Iwaizumi-san before the Avengers do. And I wanted to rely on you three to help me do that,” Oikawa says, glancing over to Kunimi. “Kunimi-chan, you’re PR. You’re very good at observations and reading people and finding information on people without having to do much work at it.”

Oikawa reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a flashdrive. “This flashdrive has information on it regarding Yamaguchi Corps. I want you to find information regarding the CEO Yamaguchi Goro and the projects he’s working on. Become acquainted with his son if you have to,” Oikawa says and tosses the flashdrive to Kunimi. Kunimi catches it and turns it around in his fingers, humming to himself. 

“Oh. This is the flashdrive I stole when Iwaizumi-san and I went,” Kunimi says dryly. Oikawa blinks, then pinches the bridge of his nose.

“So why am I the last person to – okay, never mind. Just do what I told you to do. Aone,” Oikawa turns to the head of security next. “I need you to make sure that you keep an eye out for any suspicious characters that enter and exit the building,” Oikawa says and furrows his eyebrows. “The people we’re up against were able to find out where Iwaizumi-san worked and were able to sneak in here undetected. I don’t want any of us be put at risk if they decide to come back. I’ll be constructing special defenses for you should you ever need them.”

“So basically his job now,” Kunimi pipes up again and Oikawa’s eyebrow twitches.

“Kunimi-chan,” Oikawa says with strain in his voice. Kunimi shrugs, while Aone gives a respectful and understanding bow of his head anyways. Oikawa turns to Shimizu and bites his lower lip. “Well, you being a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. kinda ruins my entire plan for what I wanted you to do. . .but I could use some eyes and ears that Nekomata doesn’t know about keeping me updated.”

Shimizu crosses her arms. “And you wouldn’t want Sugawara-san knowing about this, would you?” she asks and Oikawa smiles.

“Preferably not.”

Shimizu closes her eyes, taking a moment to think it over. “I would also like it if you assist Tsukishima-kun in running the company. As you said, a college kid shouldn’t have to do this all on his own,” Oikawa further explains. Shimizu opens her eyes and stands to her feet.

“Do you really believe that Iwaizumi-san is innocent? Do you think that you will be able to confront him if given the chance?” Shimizu asks. Her eyes are steady and calm, watching Oikawa and waiting for his next response with a quiet intensity. Oikawa sighs and gently runs his finger along the edge of the arc reactor in his chest, the light hidden by his layers of shirts and his tie.

“I believe him. I don’t believe that any of these mutants are what Nekomata and the public are trying to make them out of. Sure, there might be some bad mutants that are surfacing, but that doesn’t mean they’re all bad. Just because he’s a mutant doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be fairly judged among a jury of his peers,” Oikawa says and narrows his eyes. “I’m not aboard this witch hunt Nekomata’s pushing for and I’m not going to lie down for mutants to take over either. We know they exist now; all we need to do is figure out how to exist together.”

Shimizu hums and turns on her heel. “Fine then,” she says and begins to walk towards the door. Oikawa jumps and walks around his desk.

“Is that a ‘fine then, I’m out’ or ‘fine then, I’ll do it’?”

“I’ll see what I can do, Oikawa-san. Just because I’m not an Avenger, it doesn’t mean I can do whatever I want in S.H.I.E.L.D. But I won’t notify Sugawara-san about any of this,” Shimizu says without affording Oikawa a second glance over her shoulder. She opens the door and exits his office, closing the door gently behind her.

Oikawa sighs and runs a hand through his hair, glancing over at Aone and Kunimi who are still silently observing him. “Well, do you two have questions? I’m starting to feel it was a waste telling you I’m Iron Man and you’re not giving me any amazed reaction about it,” Oikawa complains.

“You mentioned this will affect Tsukishima-san and Kindaichi. Do they know about this too?” Kunimi asks and Oikawa nods his head.

“They know about me being Iron Man and about Iwaizumi-san, but they don’t know about what I’m planning. So don’t tell them about this.”

Kunimi bites his lower lip. “And. . .and even after what Iwaizumi-san did, you don't hate all mutants?”

Oikawa blinks, then cocks his head to the side. “No? Why should I? They’re like everyone else. You have the good bunch and the bad bunch. And I know that Iwaizumi-san doesn't fall into that bad bunch,” Oikawa says simply and Kunimi glances over at Aone. Aone closes his eyes and gives a slow nod of his head, while Kunimi rubs his chin and thinks to himself.

Oikawa places his hands on his hips and gives a small smile. “Listen, I want you two to be comfortable about this. If you have something you want to say, then come out and say it. I won’t judge you and I won’t force you to do this if you don’t want to,” Oikawa says and Kunimi nods his head, rising to his feet.

“Aone-san?” Kunimi murmurs and Aone grunts, balling his hands into fists.

What happens next makes Oikawa’s eyes almost bulge out of his skull.

Aone’s skin is instantly covered with a shiny metallic substance. Even his hair and his eyes grow metallic, and he grows even bigger than his normal stature. Oikawa opens his mouth to say something, but then Kunimi walks behind Aone and then steps forward. Instead of bumping into Aone or Aone stepping out of the way, Kunimi walks through him.

The younger boy phased right through a hulking man of metal.

What.

The.

HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

Both of them are staring at Oikawa and waiting for his response, while he just stands there like an idiot with his mouth hanging and his voice nothing but a dying whine at the back of his throat.

Oikawa doesn’t know how much time has passed, whether a couple of seconds or a couple of minutes, but he eventually closes his mouth and places his hand over it.

Well. . .that explains why he never hears Kunimi enter the room if he just phases through the door-

“Kunimi-chan!” Oikawa suddenly blurts, the sudden noise making the two mutants jump in surprise. “What if Tsukishima-kun or someone else saw you phasing in and out of mine and Iwaizumi’s office?! Don’t you know how dangerous that could have been?!” Oikawa scolds and then bites the inside of his cheek. Who the hell is he scolding his subordinates, Iwaizumi? God, he needs to sit down. This meeting isn’t going anything like he planned at all.

Oikawa rounds his desk and drops into his chair, rubbing his face with his hands and massaging the sides of his temple. Kunimi steps forward, folding his hands behind his back.

“There’s no security cameras on this floor. And I always made sure to do it when no one was looking,” Kunimi explains and Oikawa sighs. That’s not good that there’s no security cameras up here. He’ll need to fix that. He peeks through his fingers at Aone.

“And how did you two find out about each other? Don’t tell me you two are in some sort of mutant organization or something.”

“I was heading down to the garage. He phased through the elevator doors at the last second,” Aone states and Kunimi ducks his head away from Oikawa’s glare.

“You can’t be using your powers irresponsibly like this. Especially with so much anti-mutant sentiment rising after those attacks. I can’t vouch for other people in this company. What if they try to hurt you-”

“I’m sorry,” Kunimi apologizes, cutting Oikawa off before he can fully go into his rant. Oikawa puffs his cheeks up and crosses his arms, sighing through his nose.

“Well. . .I trust that you won’t tell anyone what I’ve told you, so trust that I won’t tell anyone about you two,” Oikawa says. He barely sees it, but Kunimi and Aone’s shoulders both relax like a weight they’ve been carrying for so long has finally been lifted.

“I thought. . .I thought that you already found out about us. . .and you called us up here so you could turn us in,” Kunimi says quietly. “I heard rumors about companies conducting tests to find out if there are any mutants and then reporting them to the authorities-”

“I wouldn’t do that to you. I wouldn’t ever do that to you two. Hell, I’m in love with a mutant, so why should I treat you two like you’re lesser than me?” Oikawa asks and Kunimi gives a little shrug. Oikawa rises to his feet. “You two are going to be safe, okay? If. . .if something happens, tell me right away.”

Kunimi scrunches his nose. “The ‘warm and caring boss’ doesn’t suit you, Oikawa-san.”

Kunimi-chan.”

“Right, whatever,” Kunimi says with a shrug. He wraps arms around himself and bites his lower lip. “Don’t tell Kindaichi about this either. I don’t know what role he plays in your plan, if he’s with that S.H.I.E.L.D. thing or what. . .but I want to tell him on my own terms,” Kunimi murmurs. There’s a light dusting of pink across Kunimi’s nose when he says it, and Oikawa understands.

“Of course.”

“That’s all we wanted to say,” Kunimi says and Oikawa nods his head. Aone closes his eyes and the silver disappears from his appearance. His stature shrinks only by a little and Oikawa notices that his uniform has slight tears at the seams. Maybe he can work on something that can expand with Aone as he changes form.

Both bow their heads and turn to leave, quietly exiting the office and leaving Oikawa alone to his thoughts.

He leans back in his chair and stares up at the ceiling, mulling over everything that is running through his mind at top speeds.

He’s quitting the Avengers and creating his own little ‘Secret Avengers’. Two – well three, once Shirofuku gets back to him about his offer – are mutants, while the other is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. He has his friends, but he knows that now his relationship with them can only be taken at face value. Until he knows for sure their feelings about mutants and about Iwaizumi, the Avengers and their associates other than the Fantastic Four are his enemy on this matter.

Natsu will need to start kindergarten soon. . .he wonders if they’ll try to test children to see if they are mutants. . .

Iwaizumi and Hinata are somewhere out there, along with Kageyama and Kozume and Kyoutani. What will happen to them in these upcoming months as anti-mutant sentiment rises and mutants are now being outed and living in fear? Where can they possibly be hiding? What will happen if the Avengers cross paths with them before Oikawa?

He idly traces his finger around his arc reactor and sighs, a small smile coming to his lips. “Iwa-chan, what am I going to do?” he murmurs.

There’s a gentle and small knock at his door and he glances back at it. “Come in,” he calls out and the door opens, Natsu peeking her head into his office.

“Are you done?” she asks and Oikawa nods his head. She enters and closes the door quietly behind her, walking over to stand beside Oikawa’s chair and look up at his computer currently playing a slideshow of pictures.

“Did you get bored with Kuroo?” Oikawa asks and Natsu shakes her head. He notes that Kuroo fixed her ribbons in her hair into perfect bows.

“Tsukki said you’re acting weird. You’re not sick are you? Are you feeling well?” Natsu asks and Oikawa smiles.

“Of course I am, princess,” he says. Natsu blinks at him, then slowly smiles and breathes a sigh of relief. Whatever worries she might have had are now gone and her smile is as bright as the sun. Oikawa looks back at his desk and pulls open a drawer to take out some files and blueprints.

“We have a while till J.A.R.V.I.S. comes to pick us up. Do you want me to call Kuroo and tell him to buy you a soda from the vending machine?” Oikawa asks, already reaching for his desk phone. If Kuroo decides to hang around his office, he might as well make some use of the extra person around here.

Natsu shakes her head. “No, I’m fine. I wanna watch you work,” she chirps. Ah, Natsu usually is at his side at home in the workshop as his little assistant and ‘keeper of the fire extinguisher’.

“Hmm, this isn’t like work at home though. It’s boring paperwork. Un-fun stuff,” he says. Natsu puffs her cheek.

“Booo,” she groans and Oikawa sticks his tongue out.

“Blech, I know,” he groans and pulls open another drawer, taking out sketches of suits and he takes some different colored highlighters out of the small jar next to his computer. He hands both to Natsu, who takes the items with a puzzled expression. “I drew up some ideas for F.R.I.D.A.Y.’s suit to pilot for the time being. Can you pick out the coolest looking design and color it for me?”

Her eyes widen and Oikawa swears they sparkle brighter than the stars. “Ok!” she shouts in excitement and runs back around to the front of Oikawa’s desk. She gets onto her knees and spreads out all the sketches for her to look over, eyebrows furrowed in concentration to discern the best design. Oikawa takes a moment to watch her and mentally fawn over how adorable she looks, before he goes back to the files on his desk waiting for a half-assed glance over.

This isn’t going to be easy.

This might get him into some hot water if he gets caught.

He glances back over at Natsu, who is beginning to color the gauntlet of one suit a hot pink and is humming a little tune.

And Oikawa realizes that he doesn’t care what’s going to happen to him if he continues forward.

He’s doing this for Iwaizumi.

He’s doing this for Natsu.

And he’s going to do what he does best: protect the ones he loves most.

 

End

 

 


Cast Listing:

Iwaizumi Hajime - Pepper Potts/Jean Grey

Oikawa Tooru - Tony Stark/Iron Man

Hinata Shoyou - Tommy Shepherd/Speed

Kageyama Tobio - Billy Kaplan/Wiccan

Hinata Natsu - Jubilee

Daishou Suguru - Zebediah Killgrave/The Purple Man

Tsukishima Kei - Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Matsukawa Issei - Clint Barton/Hawkeye

Hanamaki Takahiro - Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Ushijima Wakatoshi - Hank Pym/Ant-Man/Yellowjacket

Goshiki Tsutomu - Scott Lang/Ant-Man

Shirabu Kenjirou - Janet van Dyne/Wasp

Sugawara Koushi - Phil Couslon

Sawamura Daichi - Steve Rogers/Captain America

Akaashi Keiji - Jane Foster

Bokuto Koutarou - Thor

Azumane Asahi - Bruce Banner/Hulk

Nishinoya Yuu - Hiro Hamada/TBD in Part II

Michimiya Yui - Maria Hill

Shirofuku Yukie - Jessica Jones

Ennoshita Chikara - Matt Murdock/Daredevil

Kuroo Tetsurou - Wade Wilson/Deadpool

Kindaichi Yutarou - James Rhodes/War Machine

Yamaguchi Tadashi - Harry Osborn

Kozume Kenma - Negasonic Teenage Warhead

Kyoutani Kentarou - Logan/Wolverine

Misaki Hana - Raven/Mystique

Takeda Ittetsu - Hank McCoy/Beast

Nobuyuki Kai - Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic

Tanaka Ryuunosuke - Johnny Storm/Human Torch

Yamamoto Taketora - Ben Grimm/The Thing

Yamamoto Akane - Susan Storm/The Invisible Woman

Nekomata Yasufumi - William Stryker

Koganegawa Kanji - Scott Summers/Cyclops

Yachi Hitoka - Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel

Moniwa Kaname - Professor X

Nametsu Mai - Storm

Tanaka Saeko - GoGo Tomago

Watari Shinji - Honey Lemon

Kunimi Akira - Kitty Pryde

Aone Takanobu - Colossus

Shimizu Kiyoko - Sharon Carter/Agent 13

Shimada Makoto - Sage

Sakusa Kyoomi - Evan Sabahnur/Genesis

 

I didn't realize how many freaking characters were in this story until I typed out the entire cast list OTL. Thank you SO MUCH for all of the comments and kudos and bookmarks and recs! I'm so happy that people loved this crazy Marvel/Haikyuu monster that I created because there's so much more to this universe to come. Like I said, phase 2 will probably start around winter or after karasuno vs shiratorizawa wraps up. But until then thank you all so much!!