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Aizawa's Messy Journey to Parenthood

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Hitoshi grew up in a silent home, with children that tiptoed round each other and the adults that oversaw them. It wasn’t from danger not quite, it wasn’t from fear not quite. It was simply an unspoken rule. You stayed quiet. You didn’t cause trouble. There was enough in store for all of them.

Hitoshi grew up not really knowing his parents, only that they couldn’t take care of him but wished him all the fortune in the world, that they thought he could make it without them there. They sent messages every new year and birthday, impersonal things that came with no present, card, photo or sign they were even real people.

Hitoshi grew up with a cat perched silently on the back of his neck, almost obscured by his hair. It stared out with red, red eyes and asked any who looked to challenge it. He pet it each night and wondered if he’d ever meet the person on the other end of it.

Brainwashing was a sentence, of a sort. Not a deadly one, not quite. Not a fortunate one, never. It sentenced Hitoshi to never being interviewed by families. It sentenced Hitoshi to never being approached in school, never being asked to join groups, never being approached at the foster home after the first time it manifested. It sentenced Hitoshi to looking in the mirror for hours and hours, searching his face, his body. 

He saw a scrawny kid who probably needed to take care of himself more, eat more, brush his hair more. He knew inside there was a kid who liked cats and drawing, and who loved watching the saturday history reels because of all the heroes, who wanted to be one himself.

There was nothing there he could read as evil. That meant he wasn’t, right? Whispers could be wrong. But how could he be sure?

It was as certain as the mark on his neck. He couldn’t say. Not now.

Hitoshi got into his first fight at twelve, and it didn’t involve Quirks at all. Just good ol’ fists and teenaged rage, accusations of being a villain and sneaking into the girls’ changing rooms, of being no better than the guy who had been on the news recently for a string of assaults, being a monster because children were ignorant and cruel and he had just, what sort of person said that?

And so he’d gone and exploded. Shouting all sorts of things that didn’t make sense unless you spent hours a week practicing speeches to alley cats and no hours talking to other people. He punched the good goddamn out of the other kid and was suspended and he didn’t regret one bit, and the adults in the home didn’t even care. Not beyond being forced to come out, not beyond making sure he wouldn’t start a fight with the other kids. Maybe that was the first time he really lost any respect for them. He couldn’t say.

Hitoshi stopped trusting a lot of people by age twelve. It was easy to completely isolate himself at that point; he’d already been near the brink already. He shut himself off and stayed to his pets, stayed to his studying and clumsy training at the local gym. It was enough for him, would be enough until he could burst out from this place.

Emancipation could be petitioned for by sixteen, couldn’t it? Four years wasn’t a long time.

Yuuei. That certainly was a name wasn’t it, a whole library packed into two syllables. No matter what department you got into you were pretty much guaranteed a job in the industry, somewhere in the web of Apprehension and PR and Marketing, it was a slew of possibilities. And he remembered hearing at some point- transferring departments was possible. A pain in the ass, harder than a lot of university exams probably, but possible .

At thirteen, fourteen, Hitoshi wasn’t focused with the cat to his neck. At night he thought about it, wondered if it could be connected to a warm home, a kitchen that sounded with more than quiet movements and stilted greetings and a living space that felt lived in rather than borrowed. He wondered if the person on the other side was a woman, man, outside of both and if they were kind, cruel, sarcastic, genuine, lazy, hardworking. He didn’t know, could only guess that maybe they liked cats? Maybe they were black-and-red, maybe they worked with animals, he didn’t know, marks were never quite enough to flesh out a whole person were they?

But thoughts by moonlight were piecemeal to evenings spent studying Quirkless strategy, afternoons practicing English and mathematics, middays in class and mornings dozing to the tune of history lectures, dawns jogging around the neighborhood to stereo screaming through his earbuds. Wishes and dreams were paltry when he had the future to consider. And Hitoshi didn’t believe in miracles; at twelve, thirteen, fourteen, when would he meet them? What help would they be?
Why would they care about some frumpy, asocial brat that barely kept himself from being labelled a delinquent? So they were just a thought for the night now, dreams to doze off to.

There was a cat on school grounds.

It was a little ginger thing with white paws and green eyes and it was meowing at every person that passed it, some stopping to pet it. Hitoshi picked it up, because it was the middle of winter and he wasn’t stupid enough to think Oh it’ll be fine, it must be used to it if it’s out here. That was how things froze to death.

The kitten, a little tom, meowed up at him every other minute, pawing at his sleeves and rubbing against his chest and generally keeping his mood up while people stared at him. Yuuei was packed, stuffed to the brim for its entrance exams. Everyone wanted into the dream school of course, heroes or inventors or otherwise. He slipped the little fellow treats from his stash while one of the staff went over the procedures for the written exam they had for every department, some loud blond guy he completely ignored.

 Hitoshi was pretty sure he actually knew which hero he was, he just didn’t care to entertain the memories now while he slowly flipped through every small fact, formula, law he could in his mind, brushed through thick neck fur and made sure his pencil was sharpened.

It wasn’t easy. Of course it wasn’t, but it still made him nervous as he worked through questions he couldn’t even understand at first, doodled until some breakthrough did or didn’t him, stayed as methodical as he could through it. It wouldn’t do to panic and in three hours, he laid down his pencil with a sense of finality. Even if he didn’t win a spot, he had accomplished this, at least. He could say that.

Hitoshi wondered what the little cat, black-and-red would have said of all this. If they would have been proud to hear, scoff at him. But they wouldn’t be on his neck if they’d scoff, would they? It was such a strange thing to consider, that whoever it was would actually give a shit.

He was stopped when he was leaving, only specific department tests left. There was some scraggly-looking guy in the huge courtyard who nearly sprinted towards Hitoshi when he caught sight, black curls flying everywhere. It almost made him jump back but he kept his ground because well, what sort of hero school would allow suspicious characters on the grounds?

I’m sorry, the man said, surprisingly polite for all he looked like he might be hiding a shiv, I’ve been looking for Socks all over. Thank you for making sure he didn’t stay out in the cold.

It took Hitoshi a long moment to realise he meant the kitten, who was very enthusiastically trying to escape his arms now. The moment he loosened his grip the little fellow leapt from him to the man’s shoulder, burying himself in the grey scarf the guy had on and purring up a storm. Hitoshi could ask for a little more evidence, but, well.

The guy was checking… Sock’s pawbeans, scratching his cheeks and scolding him like some worried daddy. He didn’t really doubt him.

The guy bowed as best he could with a cat on his shoulder and thanked him and Hitoshi felt maybe a little awkward as he accepted it. Knew he sounded it with how robotic he was, but oh well. The duo disappeared as quick as it had happened and he was suddenly standing there, breathing in the cold air and looking around the emptying courtyard.

The man had had red eyes, he blandly realised. A bright red, sort of like the tint they used in comic books. It almost made them look like they glowed.

Black-and-red and threatening with such a tiny cat hanging off him, that was a jumble-

Oh. Fuck.

A coincidence it had to be right? Right? Just some off-hand matching of colours, nothing was so convenient to just happen like that.

He didn’t even know who he was .

It occurred to Hitoshi late, too late to save face, to check the Yuuei staff records and then branch to heroes. Improbable but it was a step forward, better than pacing in his bedroom and trying to stay quiet enough in his murmurs. The school’s website was an expansive one and it took him long moments to find the right page, much less any possible leads. Midnight no, he knew her, Present Mic? That was the loud blond wasn’t it, he was pretty sure he’d seen pictures of Power Loader and Bre’er in action too so it wasn’t them, which meant-

But there were a few without their hero names, just plainly writ in kanji without even a picture next to them. Aizawa Shouta, framed masculine and the training coordinator for most of the heroics classes, Nedzu, who everyone knew even if he didn’t let a picture be posted, and a Yagi Toshinori, framed masculine and added this year as a hero studies instructor. Yagi and Aizawa, maybe maybe one of them, which? But he couldn’t assume, that would just end in disappointment again-

He looked up their names. As one did. Yagi Toshinori yielded nothing but social media links that had half or one or one-half of the characters to his name and what looked like a pet blog, while Aizawa Shouta was much the same, not much to be found-

But near the top, he saw a blog link, one to some famous hero’s ramblings and posts. The loud guy. Present Mic, yeah- tons of photos of random things, it didn’t seem like he really bothered promoting himself on here beyond shitposts of cockatiels and banana sundaes. Recently though. Near the top, with a good twenty-thirty people shoved in the shot and his arms around two dark-shaded figures, he was grinning. Left was Midnight, wearing something that looked a mix of her usual costume and a belly dancing outfit. Right…

The man. Black hair, scraggly and curled down past his shoulders. Red eyes that glared at the camera, face half-buried in his scarf. He was dressed in black fatigues and boots, had something yellow in his arms.

Coincidence. It had to be. Red eyes were common nowadays, everything was technicolor and bright and everyone hit a goth phase at some point.

Hitoshi’s cat tingled, demanding attention, glared at any opposition. He covered it with his hand.

No. The black-and-red thread tied round his neck said it was true, born of soul if not blood.

He wondered if he would ever see the man again.

Maybe he could petition a Showing of the marks. Come forward and bare himself first, prove without a shadow of a doubt Hitoshi was his and he was Hitoshi’s. He’d heard of it happening before, it was how some kids escaped the system. How some claimed inheritance, or tried to. How some escaped abusive homes. 

Maybe he could go and just put the noose round his neck himself , his brain would counter. A delinquent that only pulled higher than C’s round exam time, no friends, villainous Quirk and no obvious aspirations, who would be willing to agree to a Showing with that sort of record?

But they- he- were supposed to be there for him. Fit his needs, what blood could never give him as the Gods had seen ere. Was it right of him to doubt so much? For all he knew, Aizawa Shouta was a former delinquent, had a Quirk that knew discrimination, knew how it was to be reclusive by choice and force simultaneously. 

At the very least, the man liked cats and had a compassionate bone in his body. Else he wouldn’t have spent a good hour or two looking for one dumbass kitten on a huge school campus.

The acceptance letter came in the mail a month later, printed on thick paper with filigree on the borders. It looked pretentious. He was just glad it wasn’t one of those holomails people had taken to using.

There was some sort of emotion Hitoshi felt reading it and reading it again. It was satisfaction maybe, some form of it, but not quite. He wasn’t scared, or thinking it was some kind of mistake, or disappointed. He was…

Expectant, maybe. Of the trouble he’d have to deal with next.

Hitoshi sent an email telling his parents that he had been accepted to Yuuei. Shinsou Nami and her wife congratulated him. Loves and kisses, Mama and Kaa-san. 

Hitoshi wondered what Aizawa Shouta would say to being accepted to a school like Yuuei, a behemoth people prepared for years for. He wondered if this was what it felt like to be an orphan, and realised he’d been one for the first fifteen years of his life anyways.

Everyone at this school was an asshole.

Hitoshi never approached Aizawa on his lonesome, catching glances in the halls between classes or out on the field with his class. The man seemed… Weird. No sugarcoating it. He’d seen him facedown in a sleeping bag in his classroom and heard rumours he’d expelled a whole class before. Who the fuck did that? Aizawa Shouta, apparently.

The man noticed him all of once, he was pretty sure. Locked eyes while Hitoshi was walking down to lunch and it was the oddest feeling, like someone had pointed remote at him and expected it to do something.

He’d blinked and maybe he had recognised Hitoshi. Maybe he didn’t. Hitoshi couldn’t read his expression and wouldn’t pretend to.

But Aizawa nodded. Acknowledgement, of something. And Hitoshi passed, him, one hand on the black-and-red that wouldn’t stop tingling until he reached his corner of the courtyard. He ate his food under the branches of a slowly-reviving tree and couldn’t help clenching his hands every now and then. Maybe, maybe. Maybe not.

What was his mark, hiding on Aizawa’s body?

He should probably do more than his jogging. Hitoshi wants to, but his meagre allowance doesn’t allow for buying expensive things like gym sets or memberships. He wasn’t sure either of Yuuei- would they let him use facilities if he wasn’t in a department like Heroics? They barely even had an exercise course, just the basic trash they put you through at any public school. And if he was…

He’d see other students. Get questions, prodding, hello who are you, are you trying to switch? Or worse, more annoying, Oh I know you, oh you’re that guy, oh oh oh should you really be allowed here? You could hurt someone-

Fucking pricks. They had a kid who could blow people up with his sweat and a Todoroki off in Heroics, but he was the dangerous one to them because he could make them do shit if they weren’t clumsy.

So he jogged. At least his stamina was top shape.

There had been an attack on 1-A. Off at USJ, one of the specialized teaching areas, and none of the students had been injured. Students. 

Hitoshi had gone to the infirmary, dislocated his shoulder with a handy trick that had never really hurt and made the teacher squeamish enough to wave him off. There had been a helmet sitting on a desk, shattered like a spiderweb, grey scarf thrown over it except the scarf wasn’t really grey anymore, rusted and darkened with red, crimson-

What the fuck happened?

But he couldn’t do anything. He was just some punk GE kid who wasn’t even supposed to know the man, he couldn’t exactly go barging in asking if he was okay. Would just look like he was following the rumour mill despite the cat on his neck, some needling brat. But what the hell happened was he okay, that was a lot of blood did he lose anything-

Who would look after Socks?

That was the thought that followed him out to the bathroom where he reset his arm. It made absolutely no sense to him, but it kept pinging in his brain, some odd thing that made Hitoshi want to tear his hair out.

One of the 1-A kids was out in the halls, during a study period. One of the girls, with dark hair pulled up into a spray. Hitoshi hesitated for a long, long moment. She looked. Predictable was maybe the word for it. Well-meaning, maybe.

He came up to her hesitantly, cleared his throat and kept sheepish when she spun around. Asked after the infirmary, worry lacing his voice because oh were the teachers okay? He’d heard so many bad rumours he didn’t know what to believe… And the girl was more than willing to reassure him for all she looked worried herself, and he tugged one word after another. It was easy, child’s play to draw the whole story out of her.

Who the hell took on a whole mob and then a behemoth that went toe to toe with All Might ? Were all heroes that buckwild?

He thanked the girl for the info, because she wasn’t rude and didn’t seem too troubled with entertaining him. When she turned to leave, he could have sworn he saw something dark snaking from below her collar. He must have been imagining it.

The Sports Festival was coming up and wasn’t that a laugh? Supposed to be an all-student event, but everyone knew it was just to show off the Heroics department. Everyone talked shit Gen Ed, and it was sort of a balm to have all the vitriol directed at something other than Hitoshi’s direction for once.

 ...Even if it might be directed at him in a year or two.

But. But. Everyone also knew it was an opportunity to show off, yelling to the teachers and crowds Look at me! Look, look at what they passed over! I deserve a slot in the departments, not like those assholes who’ve fallen behind!

Hitoshi was sort of worried about actual violence. He wouldn’t be surprised if some people got a little too enthusiastic with their Quirks trying to hit the top and get that recognition. Of course, he was going to be doing the exact same thing, but his Quirk was all hands-off. Thankfully, considering his noodle arms.

...He really needed to do more than jogging.

Socks was in the hallway.

It was an absolutely baffling sentence without context, but Hitoshi ignored that humour in favor of scooping up the kitten, much larger than when he’d first found him. Had he escaped his caretaker somehow? Well of course considering he was wandering the halls. Hmm.

Slowly, paws smushed against his cheek all the while, he headed to 1-A. The halls were quiet this late, sun throwing hues of orange and red over everything. It was only a quarter of an hour until five and then he’d need to leave, trudging back to the silence and sanctum of his room. 

Aizawa wasn’t in 1-A. Where was the staffroom?

Up the stairs apparently, and by that point he had shifted Socks to a potato hold, letting the cat paw at his ear and try to groom his shirt. He could hear voices up on the second floor and someone yelling and hurting his ears all the way from here, which meant only one person.

Present Mic looked ready to cry when he spotted Hitoshi. Aizawa, next to him, did not look ready to cry, mainly because he didn’t look at anything thanks to the mummy wrap someone had put on him. What the fuck.

He held up Socks. Mic started to shout, and was immediately cut off by Aizawa, who backhanded the man with one of his arm clubs. Well.

I found your cat again , he said, and Aizawa cocked his head, looking but not looking at him. Hitoshi put Socks down, watching him horse trot to the mummy with his tail in the air. It was sorta cute.

It was immensely cute. He needed to save up and visit the cat cafe sometime.

Aizawa let the cat clamber up him and exuded this air of expansive patience, letting the tiny thing treat him like a jungle gym and letting Mic whine beside him. It was… at odds with the famous intolerance he had with everything around him. Maybe the guy just couldn’t stand students.

Thank you again , Aizawa finally said once Socks had perched round his neck, It seems he likes you more than Hizashi. Not that I’m surprised. Another whine from Present Mic, but Aizawa just ignored him, head tilting in a weird way. You like cats, kid?

An hour later, Hitoshi had a new number in his phone and a ringing in his ears. He rode the train home and wondered what the fuck just happened.

Hitoshi stared at Viole-sensei. They stared awkwardly back, looking very much like they wanted to say something. Finally they shook their head and turned away, addressing the class and writing instructions on the board for the beginning assignment.

Socks trilled on his desk. Hitoshi scratched his neck and dug out a pen. Maybe he should take some pictures for when Aizawa healed? Take some for himself, more like. They weren’t allowed pets at the house in case of allergies. And it wasn’t like the man would mind, all things considered.

His camera roll was half-full by the end of the week.

Why are you at Yuuei? Aizawa asked one afternoon, typing on his computer somehow while Hitoshi did his homework and twitched a feather stick ever-so-often for Socks. He couldn’t help pausing, shifting and bracing against his stomach dropping. He should have expected even Aizawa would ask but, well, he had hoped- Most Gen Ed kids are trying to get into another department. 


He murmured about Heroics, wanting to prove people wrong, and Aizawa was quiet for a moment, still banging out on the keys.

That’s your reason?

It wasn’t. The biggest one yeah, but. It was hard to spit out the words and not feel like he was some idiot kid chasing dust.

I don’t want kids to feel like I do. Even if I can’t help a lot of them. He grabbed Socks’ paw, pressing claws out from their hiding place. No silent houses, distant gene donors. No children left wondering if it really was their fault mamma had to go to hospital every other week, or criminals getting away with splintering a perfectly warm home. He could manage that, in his dreams. Hero, private investigator, there were a lot of options to accomplish it. But Hero had the most fuck you ring to it.

Reminds me of when I was young , Aizawa murmured, and maybe Hitoshi wasn’t supposed to hear that, or he was, a small reassurement to not shame himself, not be self-conscious. He didn’t acknowledge it either way, pressing and watching the schick schick.

Only a few more days and then maybe he could prove himself. Show he was worthy of attention, catch eyes. Maybe he could catch both of Aizawa’s.

He fucked up. He fucked up bad somehow, and Hitoshi spent the aftermath of the Sports Festival hunched over himself, scratching at the back of his neck like it’d ease the feeling of hives to everything.

The green guy, seemingly reckless overconfident fuck. He’d seen the desperation in his eyes, clumsiness to his absolute everything. Some privileged fuck maybe but he stank of inexperience, same as Hitoshi. How much had he used his Quirk? Not enough if he hurt himself that badly.

The tail guy had looked at him with so much disgust. He’d wanted to punch his face. This competition was all about utilizing your Quirk - but what if he was right to?

No. He couldn’t think like that and buy into it. Even if his classmates had gotten friendlier, somehow. But now, now , Aizawa knew his Quirk. No doubting it with how loud Mic had screamed it. He scratched his neck harder. Why did everything feel so in-his-face?

Shinsou. A voice he knew and didn’t expect.

Hitoshi jolted. Hard enough to hit the wall, drawing a hiss when joint hit cement. He didn’t want to look up, nearly thought he didn’t have to, but he could see uncovered hands in the periphery of his vision, knew he was waiting. He looked up. Aizawa was eyeing him. There was a new scar right under his right eye, pink and ragged. Hitoshi wondered which villain had given him that before abruptly banishing the thought, feeling guilty.

You did well , the man said, still watching him, and Hitoshi couldn’t help shifting nervously. Did he? He didn’t really feel like it. Didn’t really respond beyond a quick smile and shrug You did , Aizawa pushed, and something in his expression shifted, he rocked on his feet, But you have lots of room for improvement, especially physical.

I could train you, He said and Hitoshi froze.

He said that did he really say that? Hitoshi’s expression must have been a bald one because something in Aizawa’s softened and he smoothly took a seat next to Hitoshi. Didn’t touch but close, so close.

When I was a student , murmured quietly, no one believed I would manage Heroics except the one or two that pushed me. 

And he would push Hitoshi, implied, promised. But why

He hadn’t noticed the man was there at first, he realised. Didn’t know what he’d seen, Hitoshi hunched over and agitating. Hunched, neck bared .

Something inside him. Wilted, maybe. There was why he approached, why he offered empathy and hand. Maybe he should have expected such, welcomed it. But it felt hollow compared to quiet afternoons spent playing with paws and talking books and assignments.

But he’d take it.

Training with Aizawa was a bit like hell. But a good sort.

He did push ups, sit ups, held weapons he’d never considered in his life- they’d decided quick that no, he wasn’t going to handle things like staffs unless he liked smacking himself every other minute too.

But. There were still limits. The man would bark at him if he was wheezing too much for his liking, started shoving snacks at him when Hitoshi mentioned he didn’t bother eating much at home. Before anything, at the beginning, he had taught Hitoshi emergency first aid, how to perform CPR and make a tourniquet. All wrapped up in Aizawa hounding on assignments, letting him play with Socks or just existing near him, a silence that wasn’t suffocating.

It was new. He couldn’t stop the thoughts of He’s only doing this because of the black-and-red, out of obligation , but the neuroses didn’t stop him feeling like someone was finally looking.

The green kid wouldn’t stop hunting him down. Literally green, because some poor fuck in the Quirk Revolution had renamded his family to Midoriya like some shitty joke. But the guy wasn’t harassing him, not necessarily, no insults, jibes, didn’t even neg him.

He just kept asking about fucking Brainwash.

How it worked, if it could only work as a complete take-over, what he could make people do, could he please use it on him for research.

Hitoshi flinched violently, ran away at the last question. He couldn’t- who-

Why ? Why would anyone want that?

He couldn’t say.

One day he finally snapped, feral cat to Midoriya’s prodding. Hitoshi couldn’t quite remember what he said. He knew it was bad, horrible, had hunched over hating himself after, but a hand had reached out. Gently touched his neck.

Because you’re not a bad person, Midoriya replied to some question lost in everything, just kind of an asshole. And your Quirk doesn’t change that.

He refused to brainwash him. It was a line he couldn’t cross, that made his skin crawl and something in him very, very unsettled. To do it to someone willing, who could predict exactly what he was capable of and was baring themself to worse- He couldn’t. Too far, too much. But Midoriya’s slew of questions, enthusiasm and genuine interest…

Meeting halfway wasn’t too bad.

He’d made a mistake. The Quirk otaku didn’t leave him alone after that, and Hitoshi inexplicably ended up at a lunch table with Shouty McFuck and a girl he was pretty sure could snap his arm.

They kept asking weird things. What did you do for fun. Do you like races, any anime, have you seen this new hero? Was this how friends were supposed to be? Man, that was depressing.

Hitoshi swiped the last dumpling on… Ida’s? Plate. The savory flood almost made up for the immediate screeching and laughter.

Midoriya Izuku, upon learning Hitoshi liked cats, decided the best course of action was to drag him out after school, refusing to say just where they were going until Hitoshi saw a storefront he recognised well, even if he had never gone in.

He asked Midoriya why in the good goddamn they were here. Midoriya said they were here so Hitoshi would relax for once and because petting animals was good for your health. Hitoshi hoped he remembered that when the cats wouldn’t stop trying to eat Midoriya’s hair. It was sort of comical watching him twist around and try to avoid hurting any of them, pretty much hurting himself in the progress. 

Half-sprawled on the floor and whining while Hitoshi laughed, his shirt was riding up while he wiggled and Hitoshi caught sight of- something- a pawprint, claws wrapping round a red eye. He didn’t. Really consider it, finally taking mercy on Midoriya and tossing the cats off but later, sitting with one in his lap and the other boy rambling about a recent lesson, his heart was thumping and he wondered- wouldn’t that be something? 

Just what did Izuku need?

Someone with common sense, going by the news from Hosu. Hitoshi didn’t know what happened to make Aizawa so unsettled when he appeared for the session right after, but it couldn’t have been anything good.

One of the students in 1-A had a fucking cat tramp stamp. Hitoshi caught sight of it watching them spar because he barely even hid it, vest only covering maybe two-thirds. Covering maybe two-thirds of anything on the guy, all things considered.

Another had one on her inner arm, only visible when she got too enthusiastic. Another, hidden on a hip and barely seen. It seemed like half the class had the mark, shared but unmentioned- did Aizawa know ?

Oh dear god. How many siblings did he have?

Hitoshi stared at the key in incomprehension Aizawa kept holding it out, patient while he had a small mental breakdown.

He finally took it. It was warm in his palm. Aizawa had been holding it a while

Why he tried to choke out but it wouldn’t come out, trapped somewhere between his lungs and tongue. Aizawa ran a hand through his hair, sighing in the way he always did when he didn’t want to be delicate.

Does going back to that house really do you any good, especially when I have to hound you anyways to eat more than takeout? He said, and those were bold words from a man who half-subsisted off protein packs.

His guest room was cozy with the meagre things Hitoshi had. The emancipation papers would only take a month to be processed, not that the caretakers cared by this point if he was gone. He sat on his bed, decorated with a Pussycats spread he’d scrounged for years ago, and looked around at what had somehow become his , the space that had been offered by his…


He wondered if he could call Aizawa father in his mind without slipping up.

A month. A month was what he got in the room he’d been given, claimed, and it felt too short, so long, quietly eating at a fold-out table while the news played or the radio fritzed out whatever music wasn’t grating. A month of walking the route home together, arguing over dinner and accidentally relaxing, catching T- Aizawa in his Quirk until the man blinked and said it wouldn’t mean they were having tempura that night. A month of saying goodnight while Aizawa went out to patrol before midnight, tinkering with the designs he and Present Mic had proposed, feeling, feeling-


And now here he was. In a room as impersonal as the first.

Hitoshi had punched Izuku the first time he saw him after Kamino. He could admit that, wasn’t going to bother being ashamed about it. And maybe Izuku knew why, sensed that something more was going on because he didn’t quite get angry, stopped his classmates from trying to beat the shit out of Hitoshi. His punch had weight now; he’d made his nose bleed.

You’ve seen his hip , Was all he murmured. You saw Toshinori-san.

Toshinori-san. What was Izuku’s second mark? A bird flying in blue, white, and red?

Neither of them apologised. And it would have to be enough for them. For now.

Aizawa let him visit his suite in the dorms. He didn’t mind Hitoshi still being in his personal space and still argued with him over food, took videos of them making Socks go ballistic with pipe cleaners. It would be enough for now; things were picking up, the first year Heroics going off for their license exams and his own training including his new equipment. 

The mask was heavy and cold on his face. The scarf would hurt his hands after too long, and he took to wearing gloves during training.

They felt like boons after a long trial.

Izuku had been gone longer and longer for his internship and Aizawa was missing with it, some case building up among the Circuit. It left Hitoshi on edge for them to be gone so long though he should have expected it, really, they were heroes unlike him-

He knew at least Aizawa would be back soon. Waiting out the end of a mission, gods knew what it was. It was chilly in the afternoon as he dodged between the buildings, hopped up the steps to the staff and maintenance building. Yamada didn’t even blink when he saw him, usual, but something in his expression distinctly twitched and there was a- leaning away sort of. What the hell happened with him?

Hitoshi used the key Aizawa had given him once everything had settled in the dormitories, expecting Socks to trill and wind around his legs, insist on grooming his hair until the cat passed out next to his head. He did not expect Izuku to be in the room pacing while Aizawa laid on the bed with a little girl, black spilled across her hand.

He tried to escape. Really. But he knew when Aizawa gave him That look, there was no point trying. Hitoshi dragged himself in, closed the door and leaned his back against it like he could phase through. What was happening? What was going to happen?

Tou-san had never had such a serious look. It terrified him.


His father was completely blind. 

Hitoshi kept his eyes closed and listened to the quiet sounds of five breaths in unison. There was a hand half in his hair and a tiny fist bunched in his shirt, and he was pretty sure it was Izuku nearly plastered to his back and trying to blow his ear out with snores. 

It was easy to fall back into his dreams.