“Aizawa, are you sure I’m the best person for this job? There are a lot more qualified people on campus. People who have been teachers for years, and—”
As All Might spoke, Midoriya Izuku crawled the length of the couch, ducked under All Might’s arm, and made himself comfortable on his lap. All Might’s hands rose into the air, as though unsure of what to with his arms now that he had a toddler curled against his stomach like a cat seeking the warmth of its owner.
“Um,” All Might said.
“His mother is too ill to care for a toddler, and after her, you’re the person Midoriya trusts the most,” Aizawa said. “He might become stressed if he’s with an unfamiliar staff member, and I don’t want to permanently entrust him to a group of excitable teenagers.” He paused, considering the sleepy toddler pawing at All Might’s oversized shirt. “I’ve never seen him this relaxed.”
All Might patted his curls. Izuku made a happy burbling sound beneath his hand—more asleep than awake, but responding to All Might’s touch nonetheless.
“As a teenager or as a child?”
“Both,” Aizawa said. He collected his paperwork, near-doubled since this latest incident, and stood. “I’ll see you in class.”
“Wait,” All Might said, trying to stop Izuku from drooling on him with one hand, reaching out to Aizawa for mercy with the other. “I’m still expected to teach?”
“That is what we pay you for,” Aizawa said, and disappeared around the corner, leaving All Might with a lapful of toddler.
“We are here!” All Might stepped through the door, toddler held aloft. Izuku kicked his legs in the air, and yelled, “I am here, I am here!”
The class squealed and jumped out of their seats. They crowded around All Might, phones out, scrambling to see their tiniest classmate. They had all heard what had happened, but this was the first time they had seen Izuku.
“He’s so cute!” Hagakure jumped on top of Ashido, who was too busy craning her arm to get the best photo of Izuku to push her off.
“Just when I thought Deku couldn’t get any cuter,” Uraraka said. She was also taking photos at lightening speed. She looked more determined and focused while trying to capture as many photos of Izuku than she did while taking exams.
“Maybe we shouldn’t be taking photos of Midoriya,” Yaoyorozu tried. “He’s going to be embarrassed when the effects of the quirk wears off, and if we have photographs of this, um, indignation—”
Kaminari, busy looking over Ashido’s photos, asking her to send him the best ones, laughed. “It’s his fault for jumping in the middle of that fight without knowing anything about the quirks involved.”
Bakugou was the only person not crowding around Izuku. He hadn’t even left his desk. When Izuku, clasped in All Might’s arms, saw him over the heads of his classmates, he waved. Bakugou sneered and flipped him off. Izuku frowned, considered Bakugou, and then flipped him off in return.
The class screamed, and All Might coughed blood down his front, just barely managing not to get it on Izuku.
“Hell yeah, little man,” Jirou said.
“Please tell me you got that on camera,” Kaminari begged Ashido, “and please tell me you’re going to send that to me. I need a new lock screen.”
“Of course I did,” Ashido said.
“I love you,” Kaminari said.
“I know,” Ashido said.
Kirishima and Iida tried to scold Bakugou for flipping off a toddler, without much success. Bakugou seemed dazed at baby Izuku’s boldness—and grudgingly respectful.
Despite the students fighting to get near Izuku, it was Todoroki that stood closest to the toddler. Held in All Might’s arms, Izuku was almost eye-height with Todoroki.
“You keep sticking your nose into other people’s problems, don’t you?” Todoroki asked him seriously. “You had to intervene this morning. Now look what’s happened to you.”
Izuku leant over the edge of All Might’s bicep and planted a sticker—All Might’s smiling face above the words, Hero-tastic!—on Todoroki’s cheek, right below his scar.
“Ah,” Todoroki said.
All Might laughed and pulled Izuku close to his chest, before he could tumble right out of his arms. “Sorry, young Todoroki. Midoriya wanted to be involved in the teaching process since he isn't able to participate as a student, so I gave him stickers to hand out to the best students. Show everyone the stickers, my boy.”
Izuku proudly held up a hero-themed sticker sheet. The class made appreciating noises, and complimented his stickers, and Izuku lit up at the praise.
“But we haven’t started the exercise yet,” Todoroki said. “We haven’t even changed into our costumes.”
Izuku leant over again and poked the sticker glued to Todoroki’s cheek. “Good boy.”
“But we—” Todoroki tried again.
Izuku patted the sticker twice more, and said, more firmly, “Good boy!”
“Accept that you’re a good boy, Todoroki,” Sero said.
“Say it,” Ashido demanded. “Tell Midoriya that you understand that you’re a good boy.”
There wasn’t much Todoroki could do under the intense stare of twenty would-be heroes, desperate to please the toddler cuddled up to All Might. There wasn’t much he could do under Izuku’s gaze, anyway. Like this, his freckles even more pronounced, features rounded out with baby fat, tiny fingers clutching at All Might’s shirt, Izuku was too powerful.
Todoroki sighed, and said, “I’m a good boy.”
“Midoriya,” Ashido said, holding out her hands for Izuku, who stayed stubbornly at All Might’s feet, one hand knotted in his pant-leg. “Can I have a sticker? Look how cool my hero costume is! Don’t you think I deserve a sticker, too.”
“Stickers are for the people who win,” Midoriya said.
“But you gave Todoroki one!”
“Todoroki is a good boy,” Midoriya said, and then hid his face in All Might’s leg in a fit of shyness.
“What about me?” Aoyama asked, striking a pose. “Am I a good boy?”
“No,” Midoriya said.
Aoyama crumpled to the ground like a puppet whose strings had been cut. Ojiro nudged him with his foot, but Aoyama whined and covered his hair with his hands, refusing to get up.
Uraraka bounced over and knelt beside Izuku. “Deku, am I good? Do I deserve a sticker?”
Without speaking, Izuku peeled off a sticker and placed it gently on the back of Uraraka’s hand. She squealed and pulled him into a hug. He went stiff at first, not expecting it, but then hugged her back. When Uraraka drew back, her eyes were wet.
“No fair!” Ashido said.
The class crowded in around Izuku again, clamouring for a sticker. Izuku placed one on Yaoyorozu’s arm, and that only made the students grow louder, desperate for a sticker of their own. All Might tried to shoo them away and point them at the training grounds, but they didn’t listen to him.
“I’ve never seen teenagers so interested in stickers before,” All Might muttered to himself. “Maybe I should have been using this teaching method all along.”
“That’s enough!” Iida pushed his way through the crowd. “You’re going to overwhelm Midoriya. He dislikes being crowded as a teenager, and now that he’s smaller and more vulnerable, it’s our job as his friends and classmates to—”
While Iida spoke, Izuku pulled off a sticker, stood on his tiptoes, and placed it on Iida’s armour. He could only reach mid-thigh.
“Good Iida,” Izuku said.
Iida stopped talking. He looked down at Izuku, clutching at his sticker sheet and staring up at him with big eyes, and spluttered. He tried to continue on, but his words came out choked, like there was a stone lodged in his throat.
Asui took that chance to duck under Iida’s legs. She crouched in front of Izuku, and held out an arm. Izuku obediently laid a sticker on her forearm.
“What!” Kaminari demanded. “How is that fair?”
“It’s not our fault you’re not a good boy, Kaminari,” Todoroki said, sticker still on his cheek.
The class descended into fights over who deserved a sticker. All Might scooped Izuku up so he wasn’t caught in the middle of it and settled him on his shoulders. Izuku clutched at his bangs like they were reins, smiling at the chaos unfolding beneath him.
The students offered—or, rather, begged—to look after Izuku at lunchtime, but All Might wasn’t comfortable letting him out of his sight. He couldn’t put his finger on why, but the idea of Izuku being somewhere else, out of arms reach, where All Mght couldn’t protect him—
It was ridiculous. He trusted his students implicitly, and he knew they were all competent hero students who could easily defend themselves and others if something did happen, but he couldn’t shake the feeling. So when lunchtime came, All Might scooped up Izuku and headed for the staffroom.
While they were gone, someone had loaded the mini-fridge in the staffroom with chopped fruit and diced cheese. There was a platter of sandwiches shaped like stars on the table. The teachers floating around the room, busy even during their lunch break, helped themselves to the pile as they passed.
Mic caught All Might’s stare, and laughed. “Lunch-Rush heard about what happened to the nice hero course kid who asked for his autograph at the beginning of the semester and made all this.”
“He’s never gone out of his way like this before,” Snipe said as he headed to his desk, a stack of essays under one arm, star-shaped sandwiches bundled in his hands. “I was beginning to think he didn’t love us.”
Mic shrugged. “Anything for a fan—and speaking of fans, I heard a certain little listener is giving out stickers …”
Izuku hid his half-full sticker sheet in the couch cushions and glared up at Mic, as though daring the pro hero to try and take them from him. Mic laughed, and held his hands up in defeat. He stole another sandwich before dancing back to his desk.
“Are you hungry, Izuku?” All Might asked. He placed the fruit and cheese on the low table, pulled close so Izuku could reach. “Do you want a sandwich? Some fruit?”
Izuku grabbed a handful of grapes. Instead of eating them, he held his fist out to All Might.
“They’re for you,” All Might tried, but Izuku shook his head, face scrunched up in determination. All Might sighed and opened his hand. The grapes were deposited into his empty palm.
“All Might eats, too,” Izuku said.
He kept staring at him, refusing to eat his lunch, until All Might had eaten all of the gifted grapes and picked up a sandwich. Then, he nodded like a proud mother, and picked up an apple slice. All Might obediently ate his sandwich, a warm feeling warm too-big to name unfurling in his chest.
When Aizawa returned to the staffroom that afternoon, All Might was sprawled on the too-small couch, feet hanging over the edge. Curled on his chest, drooling into his button up, was Izuku.
There was barely an hour left until Izuku was due to transform back into his teenage self. Aizawa figured he would hear the second Izuku was back to normal when All Might was woken by the sudden weight of a muscular teenager pushing on his ribs.
Aizawa hesitated in the doorway, staring at the sleeping figures. Nothing was amiss—no injuries, or ruined clothes, or drying tear tracks—but he couldn’t help but wonder why All Might’s face was covered in stickers.