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Snowdrops

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Izuku Midoriya stands above the corpse, looking at it with remorse and guilt. Thick bushes of tamarisk sprout from the dead man’s chest, a few branches of weeping willow sitting alongside it, making it a rather grotesque picture. He feels the unmistakable sensation, that tickling, on his head, and he reaches out a hand to feel the smooth petals alongside his tangled hair. Petals he just knows belong to red columbines and heleniums.

 

With a shaky breath, he swallows around the bile in his throat and produces a single marigold and a few aloes. A bouquet that has a special meaning. He put it on the ground, right next to the corpse, watching as it soaks with blood. Just like all the other times he’s killed someone. He turns away, even as the guilt eats him from the inside. He has to get away from the crime scene. Once he does, he can finally let himself break.

~♡♡~

He’s lying on his bed, staring numbly at the ceiling. It’s been eight years since the League kidnapped him. Today is the anniversary of that day. Somehow, it feels even worse than every other day. Maybe it’s just because it makes him think about how much time has passed. Maybe it’s because it’s been so long, no one is really looking for him anymore. Who knows. He sighs and gets out of bed. If he spends any more time in his room, Shigaraki is going to start getting annoyed.

 

“So, any more shitty missions I have to do today?” He asks, walking into the bar downstairs.

 

“Finally!” Shigaraki throws his hands into the air “I’ve almost thought I’d have to drag you here”

 

“…” Izuku doesn’t say anything. There is no point in aggravating that asshole for now. Not when he’s yet to heal from the last time. He absentmindedly runs his fingers across the bandage on his forearm, where his skin got disintegrated earlier.

 

“There’s a certain ‘gang’ that recently pissed me off. They don’t respect us in the slightest” The man says, scratching his neck “They actually want to have a fight for territory. Fucking brats. Destroy them. Make them into an example”

 

“Where can I find them?” He asks, feeling the bile in his throat already.

 

“Kurogiri will drop you off” His ‘boss’ waves his hand dismissively.

 

“Are you ready?” The mist-man asks.

 

“Yep. Ready as ever” He rolls his eyes, putting on a confident mask, hiding behind it.

 

“Let us depart then” Kurogiri uses his quirk and a warp gate appears in front of Izuku. He steps right into it.

~♡♡~

“So, you are the ones, huh?” Izuku asks with confidence he doesn’t really have “I expected something better than a bunch of standard thugs”

 

“And who the ever-loving fuck are you, kid?” Thug #1 asks him.

 

“Huh? Didn’t you want to go against the League? Well… you have a chance today. Here I am, sent by the boss” He smiles, even though he knows they can’t see that because his whole face is covered.

 

“What the fuck?!? Why would they send us some kid?!?” The thug #2 pipes up. Izuku eyes the group, five thugs in total. He should have enough time to get them all with his quirk.

 

“You know…” He trails off to stall, while focusing his quirk on the buffest thug “I have a very peculiar quirk. I don’t really think you want to go up against me”

 

“Oh yeah? And what would that be?” The thug #1 asks him, taking out his weapon. His companions follow his example. When Izuku feels his plants taking root where he wants it to, he moves on to using it on the next thug.

 

“I can make flowers, and other greenery grow anywhere” He says, taking off his hoodie, but leaving the mask. His opponents look at each other… and start laughing.

 

“What the actual fuck, kid?” The thug #2 asks “Okay… that was pretty funny. If you run now, I’ll even let you get away”

 

“…” His fingers twitch, and the plant that’s barely taken root in the buff thug’s lungs sprouts, making the man scream, kneel over and start to suffocate. He isn’t using one of his symbolic flowers. Efficiency above symbolism, and all that “What part of ‘anywhere’ did you not get?”

 

“Kill him!” Thug #3 yells and tries to go after him with the knife.

 

Izuku sighs, knowing better than to let his villain persona slip. He suffocates another villain using the same method as before. He dodges a couple of stabs and punches thrown in his direction. Looks like he’ll have to strain himself. He makes marigolds grow inside one of the thug’s heart. The man screams in pain and falls to the ground.

 

Three down, two more to go. He quickly fires off his quirk again, feeling the incoming headache and the blood lazily streaming down his face. The last thug almost manages to slice his throat, but he jumps away at the last moment, so the blade barely grazes him. No time to fire off a quirk… He takes out a knife from his pocket and thrusts it forward. The surprised thug dodges. Why isn’t his enemy using a quirk though?

 

Izuku backs away to a safe distance, and uses his quirk again. A marigold blooms, sentencing the man to death. Finally, he sees it. That’s why the thug didn’t use his quirk. He has a mutant type quirk of sorts. It looks like a fin sprouting from his back. Not like it’s going to help him now. He lets out a shaky breath, the situation finally catching up to him, on an emotional level. He feels sick, looking at what he’s done.

 

All that blood and death, and for what? Because they pissed Shigaraki off? It all feels so pointless. All this violence and killing. And he feels so guilty for doing this. For taking all these lives. But he has to… he has to… In order to protect his mom, he has to do what he’s told. There is just no other way. With shaking hands, he produces the usual bouquet of marigold and aloe.

 

He puts it on the ground, leaving it there for the police to find and link him to the crimes. The message behind the flowers is clear to anyone who knows their meaning. And there is certainly someone there who understands it. If there wasn’t, the police wouldn’t call him ‘Tussilage’. He smiles a bit. That name is a declaration. A challenge to him.

 

 

Tussilage… ‘Justice shall be done to you’. It’s a declaration of war against him. And he gladly accepts it. Because… maybe then, he’ll finally be free of this life. All it takes is one cop with a gun. He smiles a little at the thought. Well, time to jog back to the base. Too bad Kurogiri isn’t picking him up from the missions.

~♡♡~

“Shouto? Is something wrong?” Momo asks him as they’re walking through the park.

 

“…” He doesn’t answer at first, staring a bit longer at the person who interests him “I’ll be back in a moment”

 

“What? Wait, I’ll go with you!” Momo says as he starts walking towards the person.

 

The person is a short boy with messy, green hair, that have more than one flower tucked in there. He thinks he can also see some leaves, but he’s not sure – it’s really hard to tell with all that green hair. Boy’s face is covered in scars and band-aids, which bring attention away from the otherwise prominent freckles dusted across the his face. The person’s eyes are dull and glazed, but he can catch glimpses of a storm of uneasiness and fear behind the otherwise bored and bland facade.

 

He takes notice of the fact that his dark clothes seem to be wet with something. Shouto is pretty sure that this something isn’t mere water. Why? Because he can see tiny speckles of blood on the stranger’s shoes. The teenager is fiddling with his phone, and confusedly shooting glance all around. He seems lost. Shouto approaches him cautiously.

 

Maybe if he steers the conversation right, he’ll get the answer as to why does this person have blood on them. He knows that approaching the stranger is not the wisest move, but he can defend himself, and he’d hate to call the police or the heroes, and then face the possibility that it might’ve been just red paint or something. His father would certainly punish him for ‘making a fool out of himself’ if he did.

 

“Hello” He says to the green-haired boy. The aforementioned flinches a little, but snaps his head up to meet Shouto’s eyes “You look a bit lost, do you need help?”

 

“Well… uhm… I…” The teenager looks a bit scared by him, and he subtly backs away “Uhm… I-I t-think I’ll be f-fine”

 

“Are you sure?” Momo asks, concern evident in her tone.

 

“Y-yes” The boy answers, eyeing them nervously.

 

“…” Okay, maybe it’s time to be straightforward. Subtlety be damned “What are those red speckles on your shoes?”

 

“R-red… what?!?” Teen’s eyes widen, looking at them in horror. Momo stiffens besides Shouto, ready for combat “Ah, uhm, it’s just… paint…”

 

“Paint?” He deadpans, wanting to see if the boy will falter under his gaze.

 

“Y-yeah…” The green-haired person says and awkwardly shuffles from one leg to another “I-I mean… I’ve been doing some painting earlier… And maybe that’s when they got dirty. I haven’t noticed it, I’m sorry…”

 

Shouto has trouble believing that, but the teen doesn’t look particularly… threatening. Even with all his scars and wounds – some of them looking quite fresh, especially what he can glimpse of the bloody bandage hidden bellow his sleeves – the kid just looks like an awkward teenager, with jaded, scared, yet kind of innocent-looking eyes.

 

He exchanges a glance with Momo. She looks like she doesn’t know what to do either. The boy mumbles something about having to leave, and before Shouto can catch him, he sprints away from them. He tries to chase after him, but the boy is simply too fast. The crowds in some areas don’t exactly help. Shouto and Momo lose the sight of him the moment he runs into a bigger group of people.

~♡♡~

That was close. That was way too close. Izuku pants as he slows down. He’s managed to outrun the two strangers for now. But they’ve seen the blood on his shoes. They might call the cops. Even if a part of him wishes for that, he can’t get caught yet. If he does, nothing can guarantee his mom’s safety. He tries to get away from here, leaving the park and going off the main street, into the back alleys.

 

He checks his phone again, trying to make sense of the map displayed on the screen. He sighs in exasperation. It would be so much easier to move around the city if this thing worked properly. Or at least made sense. He’d taken all the turns that should’ve been correct, but no! His navigation app just has to be a bitch and send him on a ‘sightseeing’ road.

~♡♡~

“What the fuck took you so long?” Shigaraki asks the moment he enters the hideout.

 

“Got lost” Is all he says before leaning against one of the tables “Anything more, or can I have some time for myself”

 

“You have the rest of the day off, brat” Shigaraki spits out “Get out of my sight before I decide you have to train instead”

 

He doesn’t argue, just goes into his room to clean himself up before heading out. He leaves the base shortly after that, wondering what to do with his free time. There is this one flower shop where he’s welcomed – perks of being a walking bouquet – so he may just go there. The florist always tells him interesting things about flowers. Of course, in exchange he uses his quirk to grow some flowers for the man, but it’s still pretty nice. He walks there, humming to himself, unaware that a certain boy from earlier manages to catch a glimpse of him as he walks into the shop.

Chapter Text

“Good evening, Ito-san” Izuku greets, bell chiming as he enters the flower shop.

 

“Oh, is it evening already?” The florist asks, and checks a watch on the wall “…Hmmm. I’d say it’s still more of  a late afternoon than evening”

 

“I guess…” He shrugs. He honestly doesn’t care about such things.

 

“Is there anything you need today?” The man asks.

 

“Uhm… Do you have any new flowers?” He asks.

 

“Ah, yes, I think so…” The florist trails off, going to the back room to get the said flower. He comes back with a curious looking plant “It’s called Lamprocapnos”

 

“What?” He asks, the long name already confusing him.

 

“Uhm, it’s more common name is Bleeding Heart” The man tries to clarify “Here” Florist passes him the plant, so that he can look at it more closely.

 

He touches the delicate petals, ignoring the soft chime of the bell behind him – if it’s a customer, Ito-san will take care of it. The flowers grow in a row, hanging from the crescent-shaped stem. Each looks like a little, pinkish heart, with raindrop-like shape at the bottom. He’s never seen something like this before, but he likes how it looks – it’s just like little trinkets on a string.

~♡♡~

“Hello” The florist greets Shouto, as the boy enters the shop.

 

“…Good evening” Shouto replies curtly.

 

He pretends to look at some flowers, as he side-glances at the boy from earlier. Hmm… it’s definitely the same person, but it seems like the boy has managed to change into clean clothes after their earlier meeting. There are also some… heart shaped flowers in his hands…? Shouto blinks owlishly.

 

Is the boy getting those for someone? And why are they heart-shaped? He has to admit that he doesn’t know much about plants and such, but he’s pretty sure he’d notices something so odd-shaped if it was common. And if it’s not common, then it’s surely expensive. He doesn’t like judging people by appearance, but from the clothes the boy is wearing, he’d say he isn’t the type to have the money to spend on flowers and such.

 

He wills those thoughts out of his head. It doesn’t really matter. He just has to wait for the boy to leave, so that he can ask him about the blood from earlier. And those scars… If someone is hurting the boy, he’ll offer his help. If it wasn’t the boy’s blood… well, he doesn’t want to think about that option. He’s aware that there are teenage villains, but it’s just really hard to imagine this person as someone bad.

 

Again, not like he wants to judge by appearance, but the teen looks… too innocent to seem like a villain. Not to mention he’s literally looking like he’s mesmerized by that weird flower. It’s basically on the puppy-loving-person level. In other words, not exactly the villain material. He averts his gaze and refocuses on the plants. It’d be awkward to be caught staring – not to mention it might scare the boy off.

 

“They are really pretty…” A soft voice tinkles in the silence, fondness evident in the tone “What’s their meaning?”

 

“Mmmhhmm… Let’s see…” The florist says and picks up some book “Bleeding Heart… Bleeding Heart… Oh, here it is. It apparently means passionate love, rejected love, or being sensitive to the world around”

 

“What’s with the first two contradicting each other like that?” The boy asks and snorts “And I’d thought you’d know the language of flowers by heart…”

 

“First off: I’m only human, there is just no way I’d remember all of that” The man huffs “Secondly, those meanings are from completely different cultures, so yeah, they are contradicting each other. That’s just how it is”

 

“Oh…” The boy chuckles awkwardly, and Shouto turns, just in time to watch him set the flower down. He notes how the boy quickly retracts his hands when the florist gets closer to pick the plant up “Well… uhm… thanks for sharing that with me… Do you need any flowers or…?”

 

“Nah, it’s all good” The florist says. What are they both talking about? “Are you going to stay until later, or are you going home already?”

 

“Ah… I should probably go…” The boy says awkwardly, smiling sheepishly “Goodbye, Ito-san”

 

“Huh… Goodbye, I guess” The florist answers, shrugging. Even though this interaction was weird, it seems to be the norm between them. At least that’s what Shouto thinks, from the way they both act.

 

When the boy exits, he waits a few seconds, before looking up from the flowers, saying goodbye to the florist and also heading out. He spots the distinctive mop of green curls that belongs to the boy, and he goes after him. He’s about to speak up, getting the boy’s attention, before he hesitates, seeing that the boy heads off to somewhere.

 

He normally wouldn’t pry like that… or follow strangers for that matter, but… If he follows the boy, he might get some answers. And he has a feeling he’ll learn more than if he just asked.

~♡♡~

Izuku feels anxious, but he doesn’t let it show. He can feel someone’s gaze on him. He can tell that someone is tailing him. He doesn’t like it. He really, really doesn’t like it. And on top of that, he doesn’t know if it’s a villain or a hero, so he can’t just attack them. It could even be a civilian. And killing innocent person is one line he doesn’t want to ever cross.

 

For now though, he should either lose them – and it’s a solution he prefers – or go into some alley, and then confront them – he’ll only do that if he can’t lose them though. There should be a mall nearby… He really hates places like that, packed with people, loud and overwhelming, but it should be perfect place to blend in.

~♡♡~

Naomasa looks at the grotesque scene in front of him. Three fresh corpses, littered with plants. Blood is still dripping heavily from leaves and petals. Aloe and a single marigold, as always. An autopsy will reveal whatever other plants ‘Tussilage’ left for them to find.

 

As always, this is a mess, and there aren’t any real leads they can use. All they know is that the villain is efficient, precise, has a flower quirk, and apparently knows language of flowers. Flower quirks are quite rare, and it’s a good thing for this investigation. The problem is, there doesn’t seem to be anyone registered with a flower quirk who could do that.

 

They’ve already questioned all suspects they’ve found – all of them had an alibi for at least one murder. And multiple people being ‘Tussilage’ simply isn’t possible – the quirk is way too unique. Even if someone had a similar quirk, it wouldn’t be the same. So, it must be someone with unregistered quirk.

 

And he knows for a fact that cases like that are tricky. In most cases, unregistered quirk also means that the person themselves don’t have normal records. And catching someone who ‘doesn’t exist’, at least in the paperwork, is pretty hard. Not to mention pressing any charges. But, for now, he should just focus on catching Tussilage. He’ll somehow figure out the rest when they have him in custody.

 

And maybe then he’ll get the answer as to why is that villain ‘apologizing’. Well, at least that’s what they all think those weird aloe-marigold bouquets mean. It’s really strange… it can’t really be a coincidence – most of the flowers left behind by Tussilage have certain symbolic meanings – all in a similar theme. So, it’d seem that the culprit is aware of their meaning, and uses it on purpose.

 

Why is he apologizing then? Is he trying to signal he didn’t want to kill those people? Or is it some sick way of saying ‘nothing personal’? Or, just maybe, he could be apologizing to the police? For creating extra work or something. His guess is really as good as anyone’s. He sighs, sweeping his eyes over the corpses again. He wishes the killer left notes or something, instead of flowers. It’d make it so much easier.

~♡♡~

Inko’s hand hovers over the doorknob. She bites her lip, taking in a deep breath to calm herself, and pushes the door open. Stale air hits her like a wave as she enters. Despite airing the room regularly, there was just something stagnant about it. And even though she regularly sweeps all the dust, everything still looks so abandoned.

 

She’s kept her missing son’s room as it is, despite all the time that’s passed. But, as if to mock her efforts to keep it the same, the walls and posters are looking more bleak every year. Figurines and all other merchandise seeming impersonal and generic, as memories of a happy child playing with them slowly blurs over time.

 

No matter how much she hates it, the memories just fade. And no matter how much she tries to remember everything about her son, details are getting more and more undefined. Sure, she remembers how he looked, or how bright his smile was. She remembers how quick he was to cry, and his absurd amounts of energy whenever he wasn’t crying.

 

She remembers some distinct moments – when he first started walking, his fourth birthday, going out to the zoo, watching an All Might movie together. But she’s also aware that there are many more memories that she simply can’t remember. And it pains her. Because she wants to keep them all to herself. To remember him by.

 

She sighs, breaking out of her stupor. She puts the flower down – an artificial lion lily. She’s brought one every year since Izuku has disappeared… After that, she begins the cleaning – she opens the windows, trying to get the stale air out, she dusts everything in the room, she sweeps the floor, and she cleans the window.

 

Finally satisfied, she looks around the room to see if there is anything left to do. There is, she should place Izuku’s journals back on the shelf, but she can’t bring herself to do it. She sighs, and leaves the room. That… that was tiring. Even though she appreciates that the room can help her remember little things about him, it also brings back all the pain and sadness after he’s disappeared. And she can’t handle that. Not yet, maybe not ever.

~♡♡~

Izuku is starting to feel desperate. He’s been weaving through crowds for a while now, but he can still feel someone following him, he can still hear those footsteps behind him. He can also hear that this person is still trying to be careful – a sign that they don’t know that he knows they’re tailing him.

 

Good.

 

He really doesn’t want to confront them. And the fact that they don’t know he’s trying to shake them off is creating some more opportunities for him to slip away. Only, he somehow can’t seem to lose them. It’s starting to get frustrating. Finally, in a last ditch effort, he blends into a small crowd of people, and slips into the closest store. Will that person follow him in?

~♡♡~

Shouto stops for a second, surprised, as he goes after the green haired boy. The aforementioned has just entered into an art supply store. Was that thing about paint on his shoes the truth after all…? His mouth presses into a thin line, as he tries to think of what to do. He can just drop it here, and leave.

 

Or he can enter the store, and talk to the boy. The best choice would be to leave, but let’s be honest here, Todoroki Shouto is not known for making good choices. And besides, the paint doesn’t explain the boy’s injuries, and that weird skittishness. So, yeah, no sensible choices for him, it seems. He enters the shop, spots the boy, and walks over. When he’s close enough, the boy jumps a bit, and they make eye-contact. Time to get some answers.

Chapter Text

“…” Izuku stands there, frozen. It’s that boy from earlier again.

 

“I see you’re buying some more paint” The stranger says, and that’s when Izuku realises that he’s conveniently standing right in front of a shelf full of paint. Oh good, for once luck is on his side.

 

“Y-yeah!” He stammers, but manages to steady his voice at the end. He has to be convincing “Just buying some more supplies…”

 

“What’s happened to your hands?” The boy asks, and Izuku instinctively pulls his sleeves down “Don’t bother, I’ve already seen the bloodied bandages”

 

“Oh, uhm… There’s paint on them too” He says, though he knows it’s not a good excuse this time.

 

“…I don’t buy that. But let’s say I believe you. What are the bandages for?” The stranger continues questioning, and Izuku really just wants to escape. Which he’d do if the boy wasn’t blocking the exit.

 

“Uhm… cosplay?” He answers hesitantly.

 

“Why does that sound like a question?” The boy asks, frowning “Look, I know you’re hiding something, but I don’t know what it is. I have a few guesses though. So, come clean. I may be able to help you”

 

“…I somehow doubt that…” He mutters inaudibly. Then, he switches to louder tone “It’s nothing, really! As I’ve said, I’m just a cosplayer”

 

“…” The boy frowns even more “Look, I really want to help you. If you could tell me who did that to you…”

 

“No” He says sharply, cutting the boy off. Shit, that was probably suspicious. Still, he really has to dissuade this person from asking. If Shigaraki somehow finds out about this… he’ll have to kill the boy. He really doesn’t want to do that.

~♡♡~

Shouto blinks, a bit startled when the boy snaps, cutting him off. Okay, he can understand, that was really insensitive. If anyone approached him like that about his home situation, he would have snapped too. But still, something is wrong. The boy doesn’t seem angry… It seems like he’s scared.

 

Just then, he notices the flowers on the boy’s head open. He blinks, staring at the colourful petals. The flowers are now in full bloom. He… would question it, but he’s seen weirder quirks so… Some mutation, maybe? He blinks when the boy mutters something incoherent and more flowers sprout from his head. Okay… that’s cute, but weird as fuck.

 

“Hey… It’s alright” He says, after catching a quiet ‘sorry’ from the boy’s muttering “You don’t have to tell me if you think it’ll just makes things worse” He doesn’t want to say it, but that’s the truth. That’s also the reason he hasn’t told anyone about what’s Endeavor really like. Well, that and also… “But, you know, even if it’s something unexpected, I’d still believe you. So, you can tell me, if that’s what you were worried about”

 

“N-no…” The boy’s voice wavers, as he shakes his head, but he seems to have collected himself a bit “Thanks for the offer though… Uhm… I-I’ll go now!”

 

“Oh, sure” He says, still unsatisfied by the lack of answers, but not wanting to create a scene. Also, he knows he’d only make things worse if he kept pushing it.

 

The green-haired teenager just runs by him, seeming unsettlingly startled. Shouto frowns. The boy didn’t buy any paint after all… a coincidence? Or did he forget? Maybe he wanted to get away from Shouto and all the questions? Shit, now he feels bad. Either way, there’s nothing he can do for now, so he leaves the shop.

~♡♡~

That… that surprisingly didn’t end in disaster. Izuku stops in an alleyway, catching his breath. He’s run the whole way here, just in case the boy changed his mind and decided to follow him. Still, it’s a small miracle that the nice stranger backed off and stopped with the questions.

 

And yes, he does consider the boy ‘nice’, sue him. Not many people actually care enough to ask someone they don’t know about scars or injuries, even if they spot them. He sighs, sinking to the ground next to the wall. Things like that are bad for his heart. Not to mention, he’s almost freaked out in public. Suddenly, his phone rings.

 

“Halo?” He says, taking a call.

 

“Get your ass back here” Shigaraki hisses angrily. Well, at least now he knows that his boss is in bad mood “You have work to do”

 

“Didn’t you say I had the rest of the day off?” He asks against his better judgement.

 

“Well, now you don’t!” Shigaraki yells “Some things came up. Now get your ass over here or there will be consequences”

 

“I’m coming” He says, hanging up.

~♡♡~

This bouquet is much messier than the ones he leaves normally. Izuku winces, seeing that some of the aloe ended up falling out, onto the ground. Well, at least he tried. And it’s not like making bouquets is easy with a stab wound on the arm. Also, yeah, stab wounds hurt a lot. At least he’s managed to stop the bleeding by growing flowers over it.

 

Now he only has to get back, and he should be free for the day. Maybe when he gets some energy back he’ll be able to grow some herbs to help with healing. If Kurogiri is in a good mood and lets him get some hot water, that is. There isn’t much he can do without it.

 

He walks out of the alley, wincing a bit because of that damned wound. He sometimes wonders how some heroes and villains manage to act like nothing is wrong, when they’re obviously bleeding. It’s like the pain doesn’t faze them at all. Just how?

 

“Stop right there, and surrender, Tussilage” A man’s voice resounds right behind him, and he turns and oh, that’s Endeavor.

 

“…” Well, fuck, now what?

 

“Keep your hands where I can see them. Do not resist arrest, or I swear you’ll regret it” The hero threatens.

 

Well, as much as he’d like to get caught and stop killing, Shigaraki could hurt his mother if that happened. So, yeah, no thank you on that. When the man takes out quirk-suppressing handcuffs, Izuku activates his quirk. He doesn’t want to hurt the man too badly so… the legs it is. White lilies sprout from the targeted spots, and Endeavor actually yelps in pain.

 

Izuku immediately start running. He ignores sharp stabs of pain from his arm as he keeps moving, trying to get away as fast as he possibly can. He feels the temperature rise, and he instinctively dodges to the side, narrowly avoiding the fire. Holy shit, Endeavor doesn’t know how to hold back, does he?

 

The hero keeps shouting, and possibly trying to get some reinforcements. Izuku tunes it out, only looking out for the fire. He’s way faster than the hero, considering that the man’s legs are both hurt, with flowers sprouting from inside. It doesn’t seem like Endeavor is going to give up chasing him anytime soon though, and he really needs to get to the base soon to get his wound treated so… he adds some more flowers to Endeavor’s legs, silently apologizing for it.

 

When he finally makes it to the bar, Shigaraki is away – thank god for that – and Kurogiri is at his usual place behind the counter. Izuku simply walks past the man, heading to his room. There, he gets some bandages from underneath the bed. He’ll ask for hot water in the morning, when he feels even remotely alive.

 

With a wince, he takes off his hoodie to take a closer look at the wound. Yeah… it doesn’t look too well. And he’ll have to pluck the flowers out of it. And well… if experience taught him anything, it’s that plucking flowers from your own flesh hurts like hell. It’s quite high up on the list of unpleasant things, right behind needles under fingernails and cauterizing wounds.

 

So, yeah, not something he really looks forward to. He takes a water bottle from his desk, opens it, and wets some more or less clean rag. Cleaning the wound is important. Well, time to get this over with. He grits his teeth and starts working on it.

~♡♡~

Shouto lies on his bed, lost in thoughts. Was there something more he could do for that boy? Should he have done something different? And why does he care in the first place? Obviously, he wants to be a hero, but he really doubts he’d care about any random stranger. So, why this boy? Could it be that… the boy reminds him of himself?

 

No, that’s ridiculous… probably. Maybe. He sighs, changing position to lie more comfortably. He should probably try to fall asleep – if he’s awake by the time father comes back, he’ll probably be forced to train. Come to think of it, shouldn’t that man be back yet? It’s already late… His patrol shouldn’t be that long.

 

Not that he complains. Any time away from Endeavor is a blessing. He sighs and closes his eyes, determined to fall asleep. Until suddenly, Fuyumi cries out. He quickly gets up, racing out of the room and through the house, trying to get to his sister as fast as possible. When he finally arrives, his sister is talking on the phone, looking pale.

 

“Fuyumi, what’s happened?” He questions, and she puts a hand up, silently motioning ofr him to wait.

 

“I-I understand. Thank you for telling me, sir” She says “Goodbye” And with this, she hangs up “Oh my god, Shouto!”

 

“W-what’s happening?” He asks again, kind of fearing the answer. His sister can be dramatic sometimes, but it’s rare to see her like this.

 

“F-father, he… He’s in a hospital” His sister says, and he feels conflicted.

 

On one hand, it sounds unreal. Endeavor may be a sick bastard, but he’s still the number two hero – he’s still way too powerful. What kind of monster could hurt someone who’s that strong. On the other hand, he feels some weird, twisted form of satisfaction. He feels disappointed in himself for feeling it, he really, really does, but still, someone finally made the bastard pay.

 

“How?” Is all he asks, still a bit bemused.

 

“He had a run-in with Tussilage…” She says. Wait, that Tussilage? The serial killer who father has been trying to hunt down for a few weeks now? “That villain… He’s made flowers grow from father’s legs”

 

“Uhm… It doesn’t sound so bad…?” He says uncertainly “I mean, what’s the point of going to the hospital if it’s only some plants on his legs”

 

“Not on his legs, Shouto” Fuyumi says, looking distinctly sick “From his legs… they grew inside, sprouting from there. T-they have to remove parts of them surgically”

 

“…” He doesn’t say anything, a bit shocked. How…? “Will he make a full recovery?” He asks, not even knowing what answer he wants to hear.

 

“I-I… They haven’t said anything about that” His sister admits.

 

“I see…” He rubs his elbow awkwardly “I’ll… go to sleep now, if you don’t mind”

 

“Oh, right! It’s so late already!” Fuyumi squawks “I still have to prepare some things for tomorrow. Ugh… Goodnight, Shouto!”

 

“Goodnight, sis” He says, trying to keep himself from chuckling. Just a moment ago his sister was panicking, and now she’s that lively… Sometimes he can’t understand her at all.

 

As Fuyumi leaves to do… whatever it is she has to do today, he heads back to his room. Well… today was something, that’s for sure. At the very least, there was no training with that man so… that’s good, at the very least. Still, he feels exhausted, now that the shock wore off.

 

He sets an alarm for the morning, and lies down in bed. That was a long day…

Chapter Text

The next few days are rather uneventful for Izuku. Well, aside from Shigaraki yelling and beating him up for that fight with Endeavor. Not like it was Izuku’s fault, but apparently Shigaraki doesn’t acknowledge that the fight happened by accident.

 

The only thing that’s different than normal is that Izuku keeps thinking about the nice stranger. Or, more precisely, thinking what could have happened if he told the boy about his situation. Probably… nothing good, but hey, he can always have hope,  right? Maybe the boy would actually help him… not that he’ll get to know now.

 

To be honest, it’s probably not good for him to dwell on that. It just makes him feel depressed. Not that he normally isn’t – at least lately – but thinking about what-could-have-been’s only ever makes it worse.

 

If he has to be honest, there are only three people keeping him away from attempting suicide. First two are his mom and Kacchan, since if his body was discovered, they’d be sad. Well, maybe Kacchan wouldn’t be. Who knows? The third person he lives for is Ito-san.

 

He doesn’t even really know when it became like this, but at some point he really started caring about that florist, and he knows that man cares about him too. To be honest, the visits at the flower shop are probably the only thing keeping him sane. They make everything bearable.

 

Because, even if it’s just for a moment, he can forget about all the blood, death and despair. He can just… be himself. Show emotions, even. It may be a bit silly, but even if it is, going to the flower shop still helps him.

~♡♡~

“SHOUTO!” Endeavor bellows from somewhere in the house, and Shouto almost jumps, startled “SHOUTO! COME HERE!”

 

Sighing, he pinches the bridge of his nose. Of course his father wouldn’t leave him alone. Even though the man still has a bit of a problem with his legs after that encounter with Tussilage, he seems hell-bent on making sure Shouto keeps up with his training regime.

 

He’d really rather do something else, but it’s not like he can really go against his father like that. It’d just end in another screaming match ended with a beatdown. So, begrudgingly, he walks out of his room and searches for his father. He – surprisingly - finds the man in the living room.

 

“Did you need anything?” He asks coldly.

 

“If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have called for you!” He snaps, rolling his eyes “Change into something you can fight in. You’re going on a patrol with me”

 

“…” Shouto raises an eyebrow, surprised “Isn’t it against the law for me to patrol or fight the villains?”

 

“You won’t have to fight anyone” His father dismisses “You’ll only be observing today, but I want you to be able to defend yourself if it comes to that. I’ll be hunting down Tussilage, and I think seeing that fight will be a valuable experience for you”

 

“…Tussilage… The guy that already beat you once…” He says, cold satisfaction washing over him at his father’s murderous glare “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

 

“…Watch your tone, boy” Endeavor hisses.

 

Shouto just shrugs, going back to his room to change. On one hand, it’d be fun to watch his father get his ass handed to him again. On the other, he isn’t sure it’ll be safe to be anywhere near this. As confident as Shouto is in his skills, Tussilage is a villain known for his ability to kill people in one blow. Or rather, one use of his quirk. And Shouto doesn’t really want to find out which one of them would win considering all the circumstances.

 

Nevertheless, he finishes changing and heads back to his father. The man still looks angry –isn’t he always pissed though? – but at least it’s back to his normal level of somewhere between mere irritation and cold anger. He can deal with that. They leave the house, heading towards the area his father intends to patrol.

~♡♡~

Izuku finishes throwing up into the nearest trashcan. He can still taste the acidic, bitter bile on his tongue. This is never going to get any better, is it? Watching people die. Killing them. That characteristic scent of blood and flowers in the air. Sweet, yet so… so rotten.

 

Just thinking about it makes him want to throw up again. To be honest, he might have done just that, if his brain wasn’t already screaming at him to get away, keep moving, he can’t let anyone catch him.

 

He stands up on shaky legs, and runs. His heartbeat thumps in his ears erratically. His head feels weird – stuffed but light – but he knows he can’t let himself collapse yet. The bouquet he’s left on that corpse wasn’t the last one he has to deliver tonight.

 

He stops for a moment to get a grip and try to see where exactly he is. He spots a few familiar building, and starts calculating the shortest route to his next target. He doesn’t want to use the main streets – there are too many people – and sewage system is out of the question too – he’d stink of it later, and it might get his wounds infected if he trips and falls there – so the only real option are backstreets.

 

He’s about to move, when hair stands on his neck. He doesn’t see, or smell, or hear anything. He just senses it. Something is about to go very wrong. His gut just screams danger at him, and he quickly dodges to the side, not entirely sure what he’s dodging.

 

Until a familiar projectile of flames rushes past him in all its glory.

 

His head whips around, and he catches sight of Endeavor running towards him – there’s also the nice boy there, but he chooses to ignore that for now. He runs away. With all his might, he just rushes ahead, without thinking, without planning. Just bolting the hell out of there on pure, instinctual fear.

~♡♡~

Shouto runs after his father, ice ready at his fingertips. The old man didn’t even bother to warn him before attacking Tussilage, so he’ll have to catch up. The thing is… there is something eerily familiar about the figure that’s running away from them.

 

That lithe frame, dark clothes, bandages, shoes… Wait, he recognises those shoes. Could it really be that strange boy…? But… that doesn’t make sense. Or, well, it kind of does make sense, but he just doesn’t want to accept it.

 

He keeps running, ignoring the weird twist in his gut. By this point, whatever happens -  just happens, he supposes. He finally manages to catch up when his father corners Tussilage in some alley. There is a moment of absolute stillness, both sides considering their next move. Then, flames are thrown and flowers bloom in bloody haze.

 

Shouto curses when his father screams, lighting up like a forest on fire – almost hitting him too, that motherfucker. He hears another scream. Well, at least that old bastard managed to hit the villain. Shouto backs away a bit, wanting to avoid this fight if possible.

 

He winces a bit, seeing white petals with red spots peek out of his father’s legs and arms. As soon as he spots them though, they get incinerated, leaving only unpleasant smell of something burning. The villain cries out in pain again, as another blast of fire hits him. Shouto winces at that too. He knows how much it hurts to be burnt.

 

He observes the fight, ready to attack at a moment’s notice. Because, obviously, with how this fight is going right now, it’ll end in either death or serious injury on one side. To be honest, both sides are already quite injured. Endeavor has flowers in his arms and legs, completely messing up his aim, and the villain is obviously in pain after getting burnt, barely managing to avoid bursts of fire, even though they’re badly aimed.

 

Shouto stills for a moment, seeing flowers sprout around his father’s eyes. He immediately lashes out with ice towards the villain, because even if it’s illegal, he’d rather break a few laws than get himself or someone else killed.

~♡♡~

Izuku’s eyes widen when he sees a giant wall of ice coming right at him. Well fuck. He barely manages to dodge to the side. He lets his eyes shift over to Endeavor for a moment, confirming that the man is already tearing apart the plants that obscure his vision.

 

He ignores the pain in his left side – which was hit by the fire, courtesy of Endeavor – and hurls himself to the side, desperately trying to hide himself behind the glacier. He has to think fast here. Now that the boy can’t see him, he isn’t likely to come closer, since he might get attacked.

 

Which gives Izuku a few precious seconds before Endeavor can do anything. He looks around. There’s a door to some building, a few trashcans and half-burnt boxes. Well… he’s going to hate it, but it’s better than getting arrested.

 

He flinches slightly when ice gets lit up with flames. Yeah… he really doesn’t have too much time, does he? He quickly runs at the door, and kicks it in. Instead of going inside though, he covers the doorframe with a few plants, before turning the other way and jumping into a trashcan. Not one of his smarter plans, but it’s not like he has a lot of choices here.

 

He covers the trashcan with a lid and immediately stops moving. He tries to be as quiet as possible. He also tries to ignore the stench of garbage, but that one is not as easy to do. Finally, he hears the ice shatter. There are voices, shouting, though he can’t hear clearly. Then he hears two sets of footsteps – one normal, and one irregular, probably staggering Endeavor.

 

He hears fire, most likely as it burns through the plants on the door. Then more shouting, and footsteps. Then even more shouting, as third voice joins in – probably the owner of the place behind the door.

 

Okay, this is it. He’ll have only a few seconds to make his escape. He carefully lifts the lid, as to not make any noise, gets out of the trashcan, and quietly leaves the alley before the hero and the boy can come back. Thank god for the yelling civilian who is probably holding them up.

 

There are some people gathered around the alley, looking at the commotion, but he manages to get past them. To be honest, it’s quite easy – they all back off once they see his bloodstained clothes. Either way, even as Endeavor tries to get back to chasing him, he manages to run away using other alleys.

 

Endeavor – 0, Tussilage – 2.

 

He actually does snicker a bit at that thought.

~♡♡~

Shouto spends the rest of the day at the police station. It’s quite irritating, but he supposes his father can’t come and get him out of there, since the man is in hospital. Again. Because of that villain. Again. With flowers stuck in his flesh. Again.

 

Finally, the policemen let him go with a warning. Something about how doing any vigilante stuff is bad. He doesn’t really pay attention since he already knows that. He gets home and eats something. Then he returns to his room and tries to sleep.

 

He can’t fall asleep though.

 

His thoughts are plagued with the image of the boy, as he’s first seen him – bandages and band-aids, flowers sticking out of his hair – and as he’s seen him today – bloodied and desperate, not hesitating to hurt others.

 

There is just something… wrong with this. Those two images seem too different to be the same person. Not to mention, his actions were weird too. He could have easily killed Endeavor, but instead he targeted the man’s arms and legs. It’s… an unexpected thing for a villain to do.

 

Is he reading too much into this? Is it all just some sort of wishful thinking?  Or is there really something more to it than meets the eye?

Either way, thinking about it now won’t do him any good. He should just try to fall asleep. Especially since he has school tomorrow…

Chapter Text

The next few days are so normal it’s almost abnormal. Mostly thanks to the fact that Shigaraki doesn’t ask him to kill as much people anymore. Which is… weird, but not unwelcome. Though, he supposes it has something to do with recruitment plans Kurogiri was talking about – and no, he did not eavesdrop, he just accidentally overheard it.

 

He may have a death wish but he’s not going to die for something as stupid as eavesdropping.

 

After those few days though… Endeavor gets out of the hospital, and the man is pissed. Which is… understandable, but still, not exactly something Izuku wants to deal with. And what is the first thing the hero does once he’s out of hospital? He declares a war on ‘Tussilage. On TV. And Shigaraki just happens to watch it.

 

“Oh my god… pft, hahahaHA!” The man just continues laughing maniacally “You know, I didn’t want you to go up against him, but this is golden, haha… Number two hero, defeated twice in a row, by the same villain. A ‘villain’ who is just a teenager with a quirk most people would make fun of at that! That’s just priceless…”

 

“…” Izuku doesn’t say anything, knowing it’s better not to correct Shigaraki on anything. And also that his opinions aren’t appreciated.

 

“Although…” Shigaraki’s face morphs from glee to something more murderous and pissed “That walking lighter declared a war on you… and by extension on me. This will not do. This arrogance will not do at all” The man is scratching his neck now “If we want to kill All Might, the number one hero, that piece of trash can’t stand in our way! Not to mention, we’ll get a lot of new recruits if we manage to bring number 2 hero down…”

 

“…” He still doesn’t say anything, but he has a bad feeling about this.

 

“What do you plan to do, Shigaraki Tomura?” God, bless Kurogiri and his confidence when it comes to asking important questions.

 

“Let’s crush that idiot’s pride” Shigaraki sneers “It should be quite easy… we can just attack that brat of his he’s so proudly showing around”

   Oh. Oh no.

 

“Hey, Tussilage” The man turns to him, smiling mockingly “This will be your new mission. Get that bastard’s brat and make sure the police will know it was you”

 

“I… There has to be better way than attacking his family” He says weakly, feeling vaguely sick already.

 

“Oh? Could it be, are you defying my order?” Shigaraki tilts his head “Did you just conveniently forget about your sweet mother? Are you seriously trying to defy me?”

 

“NO!” He screams, shaking his head vigorously “It’s just… maybe there are other ways…?”

 

“I don’t care” The man scoffs, rolling his eyes dramatically “Just go finish off that hell spawn”

 

“Y-yes…” He says and leaves the bar.

 

He really hopes he won’t be able to find Endeavor’s son… Especially if he really is that nice boy from earlier.

~♡♡~

It takes a few hours, but unfortunately, he manages to track the boy down. He seems to be there with a friend, which would be a pretty good excuse for giving up, if he didn’t know Shigaraki won’t allow something like that. Which means, he’ll have to go through with it.

 

He quietly slips through the alleyways,  taking his mask off to better blend in with the civilians. He stalks the pair for a while, planning how to go about ambushing the youngest Todoroki. He absently notes that the girl by his side is the same one that was there when he first met the boy.

 

Some people give him weird looks as he passes them by, but he pays it no mind. He has to get closer to the boy, so that he can activate his quirk on him… Now, where should he hit? Both heart and lungs would be pretty good areas to attack, but to this day he hasn’t figured out which hurts less. Or at least which takes less time to kill.

 

Well, he may as well attack the heart. He hopes that at least the boy won’t suffer for long. Observing his target, Izuku focuses on his quirk, calling it forth. Immediately, he can feel more random flowers sprouting from his head – because apparently his quirk just insists on doing that whenever he’s not actively trying to suppress it.

 

“I’m just worried, you know” The boy says, and Izuku has to keep himself from getting distracted. He won’t be able to hit a moving target if he doesn’t concentrate “That boy from earlier… I think he was the one who attacked my father”

 

Okay, that actually makes him pause, and as his concentration slips away, so does his aim, and some random flowers sprout on the lamp post a few meters away from the boy. Well, fuck. And, of course, people immediately notice it. Fucking perfect. There is a moment when he freezes for just a second, when the guy he was supposed to kill looks around and notices him. Their eyes meet.

 

“It’s you-“ Izuku doesn’t wait to hear what the boy has to say – he just runs away.

 

With his position compromised, he runs through the crowd, ignoring the indignant cries and yells of people he pushes on his way. What he can’t ignore is the set of footsteps clearly running after him. He finally makes it to some alleyways, running into it, fully intending to enter the mazy that is this city’s back-alley system. Before he can hide though, a hand grabs him and he’s suddenly pinned to the wall.

 

“It is you” The guy says, like he can’t believe it himself.

 

“…” Izuku doesn’t answer, instead trying to find a way out of this situation.

 

“Shouto!” A feminine voice, which sounds a bit out of breath, calls out, and the boy – Shouto, apparently – turns his head to the source of it “Here you are”

 

Izuku uses the moment of distraction, freeing one of his hands, and pushing the guy away. He sweeps Shouto’s legs from underneath him and makes a break for it. Unfortunately, it seems like the boy wasn’t too thrown off by this, as he tackles Izuku to the ground just a moment later.

 

“Stop running!” Shouto commands, trying to keep him down “I’m not going to hurt you, calm down”

 

“…” He does stop, if only because he knows that he has no hope of escaping right now. There’s just too big of a difference when it comes to strength here.

 

“Shouto, what the actual fuck is going on?!” The girl asks, and he can see her over the boy’s shoulder. Yep, definitely the same girl as the first time.

 

“He’s the guy who attacked my father” Shouto curtly replies “At least I think he is”

 

“Oh…” He can hear shock in the girl’s voice.

 

“So… I have to ask you a couple of questions” The boy addresses Izuku “First, are you really Tussilage, or is your quirk just similar?”

 

“I am” He replies, not meeting the boy’s eyes.

 

“Alright… Why? Why do you kill people?”

 

“That… that’s none of your business”

 

“Maybe, but I’d still want to know” The boy huffs “It’d feel wrong to hand you over to the police without knowing. But if you won’t talk… At least give me one good reason why I shouldn’t turn you in”

 

The silence stretches for a while, as Izuku finally meets Shouto’s eyes. Probably, he could… use his quirk right now… It shouldn’t be too hard, since his target is so close, and neither of them is moving. But… he just can’t bring himself to do it. Not when he’s face to face with the boy. Not when Shouto looks so alive. But… he can’t fail the mission either. His mom’s life is on the line, and he is out of options. Well… maybe there is one other option.

 

“Kill me” He whispers.

 

“W-what?” The guy asks, seemingly shocked.

 

“You don’t seem like a bad person… so, let’s say you’ll be helping me if you kill me” He says, closing his eyes “Cause’ I don’t really have anything to tell you, and I’d prefer to die than get caught”

 

“What the hell is wrong with you?!” The girl asks, slight tremor in her voice.

 

“Momo, calm down” Shouto says, seemingly composed again “Call the police. If he doesn’t want to tell us anything, it’s best to just turn him in”

 

“Right…”

 

Alright, looks like he can rely on them to finish him off. He’s about to use his quirk on himself, when he notices an opening. Shouto didn’t pin one of his legs. Well… he supposes, he’ll have to face the punishment for failing the mission even if he escapes, but at least maybe he’ll be given another chance…

 

Seriously, what was he thinking, planning to kill himself? It could have ended horribly. He knows Shigaraki isn’t above killing his mom even after Izuku is dead…

 

Bracing himself, he quickly brings his leg as close to his chest as it could go in this position and kicks Shouto, before the boy has a chance to react. And then, he just runs, this time having enough time to disappear into the maze of alleyways. Now he only has to tell Shigaraki that he’s failed…

~♡♡~

Shouto curses under his breath when he realises he’s lost the boy. He didn’t know running through the alleyways could be this hard. Or rather, navigating in this damned maze. He slowly makes his way back, or at least he thinks he’s heading the right way. It’s hard to tell when he has no idea where he is.

After some time, he finally makes it back. The police is already there, and Momo is talking with one of the officers. Once she notices him, he can see relief that flashes in her eyes. Well, he supposes it’s only fair, after all, he took off by himself, after a serial killer. Even if it didn’t seem like the boy wanted to kill him.

 

“Thank god, you’re alright Shouto” The girl says, wrapping him in a quick hug “I tried running after you two, but I lost track of you… I was so worried”

 

“I’m fine” He answers, just a bit more dismissively than he intended.

 

“Excuse me, you two” One of the officers gets their attention “If you don’t mind, we could go to the station now, so you can give your testimonies”

 

They share a look before nodding. Shouto frowns a bit though. Should he really give a testimony? The news will surely reach his father, and the man will be furious. Not to mention… even if he can’t tell if Tussilage was honest or not, the guy seemed just a bit suicidal. And with Endeavor’s brutal tactics – sometimes even murderous ones – it seems like a recipe for a disaster.

 

There’s also another matter that bothers him. There was something… off about the boy. He hasn’t seen many villains, but from what he knows, they usually don’t behave like that. He knows that the boy could’ve easily slain him, just as he did to all his previous victims. And yet he didn’t. Instead he ran away…

 

Not to mention, he asked Shouto to kill him. And even if it was only meant to throw him off, it was still weird. Especially because… he’s seen Tussilage’s eyes. Those were eyes of someone fully prepared to die. At least he thinks so. Maybe he’s just overthinking this… And yet, he can’t shake this weird feeling that something here is wrong.

~♡♡~

“I’m back!” He calls out once he’s back at the bar. Fear coils inside his stomach, but he forces himself to remain composed.

 

“Did you kill that brat?” Shigaraki asks, without even greeting him.

 

“No” He grits out “It was impossible to kill him” A little lie, maybe it’ll lessen his punishment “He wasn’t alone. And people called the police. I had to run away”

 

“Huh?” Shigaraki tilts his head “Isn’t that weird? Why were you even noticed at all? You should’ve been able to take him out without getting anyone’s attention. So, tell me. What. Did. You. Do.?”

 

“I… I accidentally missed when using my quirk” He confesses “He was walking, I got distracted by something, so my aim was off. They noticed random flower growing out of nowhere, and then noticed me”

 

“How useless can you get?!” Shigaraki yells “That’s it!! I thought you were useless before, but this is just…! How am I supposed to win this game when the NPCs working for me are so stupid?!” He doesn’t even bat an eye at being called a NPC. Rather, he’s glad Shigaraki seems to believe his story.

 

“Calm yourself, Shigaraki Tomura” Kurogiri says with a long-suffering sigh.

 

“I am calm. I am completely calm!” The man says, eerie smile gracing his lips “I just can’t get over this level of incompetence! I think I’ll have to ask Sensei to tweak him again. He’s useless like that”

 

Izuku can feel his heart drop. Being sent to sensei is never good. The man is even worse than Shigaraki. And Izuku still has nightmares about ‘training’ and ‘tweaking’ done to him by that man. He really doesn’t want to see him ever again.

 

“But first!” Shigaraki’s eyes focus on him again “You failed your mission. So, what do you think would be a suitable punishment for a failure like that? Maybe I should pay a visit to your mother? Do you think she’d enjoy losing a finger because of her useless son?”

 

“No! You can’t just-!” He protest suddenly realising that the man may really go after his mom just like that.

 

“I can do anything I want, you damn brat” Shigaraki snaps, slapping him across the face “But it’s true that it’d be too much of a hassle… What to do…?”

 

“I’d suggest making him use his quirk on himself” Comes Kurogiri’s indifferent suggestion “Just take him somewhere else first. I don’t want to clean the blood again”

 

“Yes, yes that sounds good enough” The man smiles menacingly “Come on, you heard him”

 

And thus, he’s taken to one of the rooms in the basement. He really hates that place. He can’t even begin to count how many times he’s been tortured here. But, without protest, he does what the man wants him to do. He uses his quirk and lets flowers sprout from inside his skin, hissing at the pain. Of course, he makes sure to grow them in a way that would damage his body the least.

 

The problem is, Shigaraki isn’t satisfied until his arms, legs, and entire torso are covered in flowers. By this point, he has to fight to keep himself conscious. Not only because of the overwhelming pain, but also cause’ of the exhaustion that comes from overusing his quirk as well as blood loss. He can’t even stand anymore…

 

“Oh, what’s wrong?” Shigaraki asks, malicious smile still on his lips “Don’t tell me it’s too much for you. If you weren’t prepared to face the consequences of failure, why did you even come back here? Would have been better if you killed yourself, you trash. At least I would finally have peace at the bar”

 

“…” He remains silent.

 

“Well, guess I can’t let you keep using your quirk if I don’t want to break you” The man crouches in front of him “But I’m still not satisfied. This pain is nothing compared to my disappointment in you. Let’s see…”

 

Izuku’s breath hitches when Shigaraki reaches out for him, placing all five fingers on his skin. The man touches his skin disintegrating it. Starting from his shoulders, going down his back, stopping only once he’s destroyed the soles of his feet. Everything hurts. He feels like he’s dying. He tries lying on his stomach since he doesn’t even have skin anywhere on his back, but Shigaraki rolls him over again, laughing at his cries of pain.

 

The man finally leaves the room after a while, closing the doors behind him. Izuku can hear the key securing the lock. Well, it seems like he’ll be here for a while… At least he can finally roll over to not lie on his back. Lying on his stomach still hurts because of the flowers poking through his skin, but at least it’s vaguely bearable. He zones out, letting his consciousness slip away. He’s really happy when sleep claims him, freeing him from all the pain.

Chapter Text

 

“Hey Kurogiri…” Shigaraki gets his attention once they’re back at the bar “No matter how I look at it, that brat shouldn’t be that useless”

 

“Calm yourself, Shigaraki Tomura” He sighs, going to the bar to polish glasses “Even if you feel like he’s not up to par yet, he’s still useful. After all, despite this time’s blunder, he still manages to kill most of the targets you give him”

 

“That’s why it’s suspicious, you idiot” The man snaps, scratching his own neck until it bleeds “If he’s so good, he shouldn’t have ‘missed’. For god’s sake, he sent the number two hero to hospital. Twice. He might say he got distracted, but I don’t buy it”

 

“…What do you intend to do?” He continues polishing the glasses despite the uneasy feeling that tells him something is going to go wrong soon.

 

“I’ll have to confirm it first. How to do it though…? Well, I’ll think of something” The man stares at the ceiling absentmindedly “If that Endeavor’s kid is somehow special to that brat… don’t you think it would be really interesting? Oh, the things we could do with it”

 

Ah, yes, the uneasy feeling just keeps intensifying.

~♡♡~

Izuku wakes up in so much pain he almost wishes he died instead. He should probably go to his room before Shigaraki decides to come for him, but he just can’t move. Everything is so hazy, and too bright. He can vaguely feel the hard floor beneath him, and shrivelled up flowers digging into his wounds. Oh, right, he remembers now. It’s the result of Shigaraki’s punishment. The door should be locked too, so even if he could move, it wouldn’t change much.

 

That kind of makes not moving a little more bearable. Though he wishes he could just fall back asleep. As it is now, he’ll just have to lie here for unspecified amount of time – that is till Kurogiri takes pity and comes to bandage his wound.

~♡♡~

Shouto scrolls through the news, trying to find anything on the villain from before. He doesn’t find anything concrete though. There’s just one thing he finds strange… The way media paints Tussilage, and the boy himself seem completely different. He knew that before, but looking at it now, he can’t help but feels like his behaviour is just too different. He’s painted as a merciless serial killer but… even when he was going against Endeavor, that boy only ever aimed to escape, not kill. And he’s sure that it wasn’t out of fear or from lack of ability.

 

Because even if his father is the number two hero, Shouto is sure the man would be killed in seconds if Tussilage wanted him to die.

 

He shudders at the thought. Even though growing flowers seems like such an innocent quirk, it’s used to kill people like that… Shouto doesn’t think he’ll be able to think about flower quirks the same way ever again.

 

With a sigh, he closes the news app and gets up. Maybe a short walk will help him clear his mind.

~♡♡~

Izuku sighs in relief as Kurogiri finishes bandaging his wounds. He’s still in pain, but it’s much better now, with the flowers gone. And also the fact that he’s lying on his bed and not on the concrete floor helps. The only thing out of place is that Kurogiri seems somewhat gloomy… or is it worried, maybe?

 

Either way, he instinctively doesn’t like it. He can just feel the kind of bullshit Shigaraki is up to if even the ever-calm bartender is showing concern.

 

He doesn’t ask about it, obviously. It’s better to not know, as long as it doesn’t involve him. He waits for the man to leave, and then gets up and puts on a new hoodie. It’s not exactly comfortable to wear anything with that many wounds, but he feels too exposed without it. He lies back down on the bed.

 

What to do now? He should probably sleep while he can, but the pain won’t let him. Sighing, he combs a hand through his hair, and pauses when he feels something in it. Oh, shit. He forgot about those flowers that randomly grew on his head. They’re all withered now, so it’ll be hell to untangle all of them later.

 

But if he lets them be, it’ll only make him irritated.

 

Fuck it, he’ll deal with it when he has to actually go out.

~♡♡~

Shouto sits on a bench in some random park, headphones on, though he’s not actually listening to music. He just doesn’t want people to bother him right now. He’s lost in thought, one question continuously coming back to bother him: ‘Why did Tussilage let him live?’. He thought about it after the attack too, but he was mostly preoccupied with the fact that the boy asked Shouto to kill him.

 

Now though, he just can’t help but wonder. It’s obvious that the boy was there that day to kill him. And yet, when he got the perfect chance to do just that, he didn’t. Why? It doesn’t make much sense. It would if it was only the first strike that missed. But later, Shouto was full of openings, and the killer just let it go. Something doesn’t add up here.

 

If he didn’t want to kill him from the start, why seek him out? Was Tussilage really just trying to get Shouto to kill him? Or was there something else…? He can’t fathom what that could possibly be the reason for his  behaviour…

 

Or is he just overthinking this?

 

Maybe the villain wanted to kill him but changed his mind. Maybe the boy just has mood swings or split personality or something similar. There are all sorts of psychos out there, he really can’t rule anything out, can he? Either way, he’ll probably get the full story when the villain gets arrested. If he gets arrested.

~♡♡~

“What did you want?” Izuku asks once he’s at the bar, after Kurogiri fetched him. He can still barely move, but he knows better than to ignore Shigaraki’s orders.

 

“Ahh, I just wanted to give you a little proposition” The man is grinning madly, and that’s never a good sign… “So, since today I’m feeling generous, I’ll let you choose~. You can either wait until your wounds are healed and then finish your job by killing the Todoroki boy, or you can spare his life, but you’d have to go after another target right now”

 

“…What target?” He asks, gritting his teeth. He doesn’t think he can bring himself to kill Todoroki, so there is really only one option left.

 

“The pro hero Slugger. He’s been getting a bit too bold, actually walked by our bar a couple of times. Pisses me off” Shigaraki scratches his own neck till it bleeds again “He’s not really all that skilled, you should be able to deal with him even if you’re injured”

 

“Alright, then I’ll be off” Because that’s better. Even if he’s injured and it hurts, and it may get him caught, it’s still easier than going after Todoroki.

 

“Oh, and one last thing” The man sing songs “Don’t bother returning after that. We’re going to recruit some fresh meat, so get lost for about three weeks or so. I’ll call you when we’re done”

 

“Huh…? Weren’t you going to let me heal?” He asks in a whisper, talking more to himself than his boss, but Shigaraki still seems to hear him.

 

“Oh? It was only if you chose to kill the Todoroki brat. It was an offer of kindness, you know? But you already refused it, so there’s no use whining about it”

 

“Yeah, yeah” He rolls his eyes, already walking away before the man can change his mind “I’ll be going now”

~♡♡~

“…I didn’t think you’d give him a choice” Kurogiri says after Midoriya leaves.

 

“How dense can you be? Of course I’d let him choose” Shigaraki scoffs “Now we know that for whatever reason, he doesn’t want to kill that brat. I’ll use that to my advantage… somehow. Or, I’ll just have a bit of fun with that fact later on. After all, aren’t we already planning to attack U.A.? The breeding grounds of heroes? I mean, where else would Endeavor send his spawn to?”

 

“Is that so…?” He humms, polishing the glasses again “But, I think you should think about it carefully… Tussilage is still an asset, a useful tool. It wouldn’t be good to break him”

 

“Oh, fuck off” Shigaraki sneers “Even if I broke him, I’d still have Nomus at my command. And sensei can always get me a new toy if anything happens”

 

“Tomura Shigaraki… Even if that boy is expendable in your eyes, it still took a lot of time and resources to develop him” He sighs “Even if you don’t like him, at least respect sensei’s efforts”

 

“Alright, alright. Stop nagging. I’ll ‘respect’ him or whatever. I won’t break him… for now. But it’s not my fault if he gets himself killed”