One of your eyebrows raised at what was before you.
“Do I dare ask?”
At the threshold of your home was none other than the current No.1 hero, Endeavor, with a winged child in his arms that appeared way too familiar. Said hero simply sighed in frustration, his brow furrowing with blatant annoyance and that large scar on the side of his face scrunching down alongside it.
“You might want to.”
You had pleaded with Hawks not to work for the next few days. To at least take a day off so he could relax—so you could celebrate his birthday together tomorrow. To give him his gift.
Your damn pigeon of a husband had decided to work instead saying he’d at least try to get out early to be with you if that’s what you wanted. You tried not to be mad. Now you were practically seething at his stupidity. Endeavor took to explaining what happened quite fast. Apparently while out on patrol with him, Hawks engaged some villain on his own. And like the precocious idiot you knew him to be he’d gotten himself struck by their Quirk. What Endeavor and the rest of the heroes found when chasing after them to back him up afterwards was what he deftly passed to your arms: a young child version of your husband. With the memory of one to boot. According to what Endeavor told you, the doctors said this wouldn’t last long. At most the effects would span one or two days before at most.
But until then you faced a dilemma. How do you console a rather apathetic child Hawks that did not seem at all comfortable with his surroundings?
Certainly the question of the century. He’d been fine with Endeavor but you understood why. Knowing how much Hawks adored the hero even as an adult, you could only imagine what it’d been like for the young boy to meet his hero so up close.
“Hey, Taka-kun?” Small red wings tucked closer to his back. His hands clutched the edges of his somewhat over-sized shirt and his bare feet fidgeted beneath him as his eyes veered up to you. “Do you like Endeavor?”
Almost instantly and to your excitement, his amber eyes brightened in a manner you’d never seen them before. It almost seemed like they grew two sizes by the mere mention of his hero. A broad smile came to him and it warmed your heart seeing it after he’d appeared so uncomfortable in your home. Hawks nodded jovially. Hooking him with that, you took him to your room and to the walk-in closet that you shared where you knew he kept a stash of paraphernalia. Though you two kept your house mostly clean, the closet was an exception mostly due to him. Because of that, the floor was littered with his red feathers, something this young version of him found rather curious when he realized he could control them too. While he entertained himself with that, you busied yourself with bringing out all the neat collectibles you never had any particular interest in till today for him.
It was simply amazing to see how his face lit up at each item you brought out. You found it ironic how that childish innocence seemed to appear because of that. At least, he wasn’t backing away from you anymore. At least now he seemed a little bit more at ease with you after bringing so many new shiny toys for him.
Some though you worried about opening. They seemed really vintage. And though you tried keeping the ones that were marked as collector’s editions away from his sight, you couldn’t say no that angelic face of his expecting to see what you had in your hands.
You’ll find it in you to forgive me.
Out of the box he had stashed away, you noticed one thing in particular more worn out than the rest. A small plush of the said hero tattered by the years.
You glanced down at the chirpy voice that called to you to find tiny Hawks stretching out his arms your way. More specifically to get his hands on the plush by the looks of it. Crouching before him, you gave him plush which he hugged adoringly.
"Who got it for you, Taka-kun?"
"I…I-um…” It was strange how he stammered at such simply question. But when he couldn’t bring himself to say it, he quickly changed the subject. “L-Look!” He pressed the stomach and a ‘whoosh’ came out, the voice box that was inside practically beaten where the sound came out choppy. “Isn’t it cool?”
“It is,” you humored him, a broad grin on your lips. Reaching out, you asked if you could press it too. It took him a moment before letting you press the plush’s chest down. The 'whoosh’ came out a little more broken but he didn’t mind it much.
“Right!?” he exclaimed, holding it so tight in his gasp that he pushed the button again. “He’s my favorite!”
The way he fawned over that toy made you remember something you forgot about. A topic you had talked about in passing with Hawks that he effortlessly deviated from. So elusive about the subject. Almost like he didn’t want to give an answer to it. Now that you had such a forthcoming little Hawks before you, that question came back up again. This time because you couldn’t help think that perhaps you’d get an actual and truthful answer this time around from his younger self.
“Say, Taka-kun, you like Endeavor, right?”
“Do you want to be a hero like him?”
Hawks quietly mulled over the question for a minute or two before smiling and shaking his head.
You’d known the answer—at least what you surmised was the answer from the way he wouldn’t say anything at all when you asked that same question to him. You always had the feeling, an inkling of something not being right. Of him not being right. It had nothing to do with his precociousness or his straightforwardness. No relation whatsoever to his odd way of obsessing over work in a way he never noticed himself doing. But it did remind you of the way he sometimes lost himself. It reminded you of the times you found him vacantly observing the horizon atop the roof of your home, wings tucked behind him yet twitching eagerly. Almost as if wanting to take flight and travel as far as they would take him. To somehow touch that horizon.
But he never would.
Hawks never left. And those beautiful amber eyes of his would just longingly watch what he could never have—what he was never allowed to chase after.
“I’m needed here. So this is where I’ll stay.”
Hearing him say that with such heaviness in his voice tore your heart apart. Almost like he found little reason to stay and only did because he felt obligated to. So you never spoke of it again. You never asked because knowing wasn’t worth hurting him. It wasn’t worth seeing that painstaking longing in his eyes to sate your curiosity. But hearing this young Hawks deny what he would become without any pain or forlorn in his voice made you wonder just what had turned one into the other.
What made him so ambivalent for something he hadn’t a care for before?
The sudden rumble that came from him snapped you out of your solemn thoughts and forced you to look down at him. Almost immediately, he hid his face behind his plush but even that didn’t hide the darkening of his cheeks.
“Are you hungry?”
He held himself back and fidgeted in place as if not wanting to answer. It’s something you found odd until you remembered long ago what Hawks told you about his past. About how he’d find himself often going days without eating much aside from some candy he stashed away. How if he ever found anything edible around the house, he’d have to ask for permission to eat lest he got in trouble with his mother. It made since why he wouldn’t want to admit his hunger.
“Say,” you started as you crouched down to his level and smiled, “I was thinking of maybe going out to get something to eat. Maybe some chicken.”
“Chicken?” he repeated, his eyes peeking from behind his plush.
You nod, glad to have his attention back. “Would you like to eat with me, Taka-kun?”
It took him a moment to relax, at least enough to give a feeble reply. “…y-yeah."
"Then let’s go get some food."
But as you two left the house and he kept fiddling with the sleeves of his long shirt, you couldn’t help but think that perhaps there was something that needed to be done about those baggy clothes of his before you went to eat. Knowing it wouldn’t take long, you decided it best to go buy a few change of clothes for him before heading out to eat. Nothing much, just a couple of outfits. Enough to last him the few days he’d be like that. It worried you that he was so small even despite being a child. The clothes you bought him were little; a size and a half smaller than he should’ve been wearing for his age. You never doubted the few times he told you about his lackluster childhood. You just never thought it had been this bad. Indulging him a little, you bought him a few other things that had caught his attention but that he didn’t raise his voice about. It lightened your heart a little from those dark clouds to see how his eyes brightened at seeing all the things you’d gotten just for him.
Boy, you deserve that and more.
Outfitted with better suited clothes for him—thank goodness the clothing stores adjusted for any kind of Quirk—made it much easier for his younger self to enjoy the chicken nuggets you’d gotten him. Fast food wasn’t exactly what you had in mind when you said 'chicken’ but he’d seem to like them all the same. Plus, it was one of the few things open still. As he ate away at his nuggets, you stared down at your phone’s calendar where tomorrow’s date was brightly bookmarked by the device—December 28th.
You tapped in and out of the day to stare at the title you used for the day: his birthday.
"What’re you looking at?"
Little Hawks tilted his head to stare at your phone from where he sat beside you. You showed him the screen and tapped on the day once more to bring it up.
"Nothing much. Just thinking about tomorrow.”
Your nose scrunched at the answer that popped into your head. “The birthday of someone I love very much."
Curious as could be, Hawks bombarded you with more questions until he came to ask what day tomorrow was. It was when you told him that his eyes widened before narrowing and his energy simply left without a trace.
"Something wrong?” you asked.
“No.” Finding his demureness disquieting, you asked again. It took him finishing his food before he mumbled out an answer, almost soft enough to not be heard. Or more like he didn’t want to be heard. “My birthday’s tomorrow too.”
“Really?” You wanted to sound excited and surprised. It came out halfway between that and a snort. It wasn’t until you realized that he wasn’t coming back to the bright little boy he’d been for the past few hours that you tilted your head down to look at him and ask. “What’s wrong?”
You couldn’t get a peep out of him after that. At least not about his birthday. He talked about anything else aside from that on your way back home though. It was almost like he didn’t like the idea of it. Like he didn’t want to think about it at all. Thankfully, he’d forgotten about all that after you’d given him a bath—something that you had trouble with considering how much his wings splashed around in the tub—and dressed him in the Endeavor onesie he hadn’t once taken his eyes off of after spotting it at the clothing store.
“Alright, Takahiro. Time for bed."
You clapped your hands to call for his attention. Hawks readily gave it, running to you and letting you pick him up for you to take him to your room. For once you were glad for the humongous bed that Hawks had even before you got together. Something about it being much more comfortable for his wings. And though it certainly was barely enough space for you two with his wings included, there certainly was space to spare with him having shrunk ten sizes. Tucking him in alongside his beloved plush, you laid beside him as he started succumbing to his tiredness with a yawn.
Though you didn’t want to say anything to remind him of it, you couldn’t help but bring it up. Especially after the way he’d reacted during dinner.
"You don’t like your birthday, do you, Takahiro?” His eyes widened a little but since he was more asleep than awake by then, he didn’t bother hiding much of anything. Hawks shook his head slowly as he rubbed one of his eyes. “Why not?”
“'Cause…” He yawned again, longer and louder this time. “…my birthday…makes mommy sad…”
Hawks passed out without another word. Though that told you very little, you couldn’t help but think of the many things that it could possibly mean. Hawks never talked about his mother. Not even to you. You very rarely found pictures of the woman and when you did, he would simply take them and you’d never see them again. And with no word or pictures of his father, your mind immediately assumed the worst.
Taking him in your arms, you held the little boy tightly with an aching heart for what he had to endure. For the mindfulness he was forced to have for others. For having to grow up far too young to survive.
Maybe his mother hadn’t appreciated him for the treasure he was, but you wouldn’t let him think any less of his own existence any longer. At least for these few days and especially tomorrow—even if he ended up not remembering any of it by the end—you would show him what it meant to be cherished for simply being born.
Hawks made you promise the next morning that you wouldn’t do anything for his birthday. He was adamant about it and even made you cross your heart and pinky promise to satisfy himself that you wouldn’t. But for as much as that was clear, you didn’t think that taking him out and doing things he found fun was any different from anything you’d do any other weekend. Or at least that was the excuse you gave him. And though he seemed a little skeptical at first, he eventually lost himself in his fun. So you celebrated a little with him without really letting him know you were celebrating. Not like he had much complains about going out to playgrounds and arcades, or eating ice cream and yakitori.
You thought that this would be good enough. That him having fun and seeing him smiling would be enough. And it would have been. It would have had you not gotten a call from Miruko to meet you at Hawks’ agency. She didn’t tell you for what. You thought it’d be something about the incident that had put you in this situation in the first place. But had you known what they had planned, you wouldn’t have taken him there.
“What’s all this?"
The question left your lips almost immediately after the poppers exploded so close to your face that it left your ears ringing. Miruko grinned wildly, brandishing out her arm at the small gathering she’d gotten. And by small you meant small. It was just his sidekicks, a couple of your own mutual friends, and her. That didn’t stop her from making it as boisterous as she could though. Food was everywhere in the meeting room with bright colored balloons and streamers decorating every square inch of it.
"What’s it look like!” she called out. “It’s a birthday party for the birthday boy!”
Hawks buried his face against your leg, not liking this more and more by the second. You held him close and a little bit away from Miruko who you smelled a tiny bit of alcohol from.
“You should’ve told me,” you mumbled but it was kind of hard to hear you over all the noise the handful of people were making.
Little Hawks covered his ears but when he couldn’t handle it anymore, he pried himself off from your leg and hovered away. Before you or anybody could say anything, he ran off, his wings propelling him forward and flying him a few inches off the ground in his hurry to escape the room. You wanted to yell at Miruko and the rest of them. But you held your tongue despite the annoyance you felt boiling inside you.
They didn’t know any better.
Just like you hadn’t.
Still you couldn’t help shake your head at her and hissed, “You really should have warned me,” before running off while calling out for him.
It took you a while but you eventually found his hiding spot. It hadn’t been too hard after finding the small trail of red downs that led you to his office and beneath his desk. He wasn’t glum like he’d been before though. No, this time he seemed annoyed if his tinted cheeks and ears said anything. And those amber eyes glaring up at you only added to that.
“May I join you?"
That he didn’t answer you wasn’t much of anything but that he didn’t shoo you away either was enough for you. Scooting closer inside, you sat beside him and waited for him to calm down a little. His emotions were brimming over too much for him to give himself time to do that though.
"You said we wouldn’t.”
“I didn’t know, Taka-kun. I swear I didn’t.” He didn’t seemed at all convinced.
“Those people said it was a birthday party!”
You let him shout for once, mostly because it shocked you that he had. Not even Hawks as an adult did anything remotely close to raising his voice. But seeing as he felt betrayed, you could understand where he was coming from. All the same, you couldn’t let him continue hating his own birth for something that wasn’t his fault to begin with.
“That’s because that is exactly what it is,” you admitted, “And you know why those people are doing that? Because they appreciate you.”
That glare of his looked less menacing when his amber eyes began to tear up. His feathers ruffled themselves though in an attempt to make himself look mad.
“That’s not true.”
Gently, you approached him. To your surprise, he let you and you picked him up to sit him on your lap. Though he still looked peeved, Hawks wrapped his arms around your neck and buried his face against you. Soothingly, you stroked his back wanting him to calm down further. It took a few minutes but when he finally did, you let yourself continue what had been on your mind since before all this happened.
Something you had wanted to tell him for a long time already.
"They care about you and are happy that they know you. I care about you too. That’s why we want you to be happy today when it’s your birthday.”
“But it’s not a happy day,” Hawks mumbled against you, “Mommy doesn’t like it.”
“I know,” you said and held him tighter. “But even if she doesn’t, we do. We cherish you and love you, Takahiro. And nothing and nobody will ever make us think that you’re not worth treasuring. You’re a wonderful little boy that deserves every bit of love we can give. And don’t let anybody make you think any different.”
For a moment there was nothing but silence until Hawks spoke up again.
“…you really like me?”
“I don’t just like you, Takahiro. I love you very, very much. And I always will.”
At this point, he started sniffling and wiping at his face. Almost as if not wanting to be heard, he buried his face further to hide it. You simply held him as his weeping became louder and louder until he couldn’t stop himself from crying freely, letting out emotions that must’ve been cooped up for the whole of his young life. And all you did was hold him, whispering soothing words to him and assuring him that what had been his biggest fear wasn’t true.
He was loved. Very much and by so many people.
Eventually his weeping calmed down and he wiped the last tears from his face. Hawks looked at the door where everybody else was at before staring down at his hands. Sniffling one last time, he looked up to you with his query.
“Is it okay…is it okay to go out there again?”
“Of course. You want to leave?”
Hawks shook his head and rubbed at his cheek. “I wanna say thank you…and, I guess, have a party.”
“Let’s go then,” you said with a smile, holding his hand tightly in yours.
Taken by the hand, you and Hawks walked out of the office and came to the meeting room Miruko and the rest had been at. Curiously enough, Miruko and Hawks’ sidekicks were getting a thorough scolding by someone that hadn’t been there when you two got there. Certainly the last person you expected to see.
The No.1 hero turned at hearing you call him and his eyes went from you to the little boy that stood beside you. A tiny gasp brought your attention to said boy whose eyes sparkled brightly at the sight of his hero. All woe from before completely forgotten.
The box Endeavor held in one hand caught your attention and when you asked about it, he set it down on the table before lifting the cover off of it. Both yours and Hawks’ eyes went wide as saucers at the beautiful cake he’d brought. As you stood Hawks on the chair right before the cake for him to gawk at it, you turned to the hero with a raised eyebrow.
The way Endeavor hesitated to say anything at first was odd. But the wait was definitely worth it.
“Thought he’d like it.”
“Is this for me!?” Hawks exclaimed, amber eyes shinning almost gold as he looked between you and Endeavor.
Before you could respond, Endeavor did for you, telling him that he guessed a birthday needed to be celebrated with a cake. Hawks was mesmerized by the exquisite desert and pursed his lips as his cheeks reddened before turning up and looking at each of the people there. Grabbing at the hem of his shirt, he mumbled something under his breath that you all heard by how quiet you got at his sudden change in demeanor.
Smiles spread across the room at his meek show of gratitude before all at once a jovial mood spread across everybody.
“Well, what are we waiting for!” Miruko placed cups of pop for you, Hawks, and Endeavor on the table before lifting her own cup of beer in the air. “Let’s celebrate baby bird’s birthday!”
Poor thing got home exhausted beyond believe but with a smile on his face all the while he slept. It wasn’t hard to change him out of his clothes and tuck him into bed. But as you were rising from the bed wanting to shower after the long day out, a small hand gripped the sleeve of your shirt.
Turning down you found Hawks’ sleepy eyes blinking slowly as they focused on you. His parted lips turned into a small, sweet smile that warmed your heart.
“…love you, mommy…”
You felt your chest tighten, happiness and heartache flooding you in equal parts at what he thought he saw in his tiredness. Nevertheless, you went along with it, whispering your answer to not wake him up any more.
“I love you too, my little bird.” You bent over and placed a soft kiss on his forehead. “Now go to sleep.”
Almost like magic, he fell back asleep and his grip lessened easily for you to get off from the bed. You took that shower afterwards, taking your time to indulge in the lightheartedness that soothed you after the long day you’d had. A good half hour later, though, as you stepped into the bedroom while drying your hair off with a towel, something felt amiss. It wasn’t until you glanced at the bed to find it empty that you realized why.
Frantic, you searched the room and closet before heading out to search the rest of the house. Outside of it, you found a trail of feathers that led you to the living room and to the open balcony door. Your heart dropped to your stomach, your mind going to the worse of places as you rushed to the balcony railing to look over it in search of the little boy.
But instead the loud flapping of wings took your attention and you whirled around to find Hawks as he lowered himself onto the balcony—as a fully grown man in a long sleeved shirt and pants. A half grin came across his lips as you stared at him in disbelief and he brushed his hand through his messy windswept hair and averted his eyes.
“Sorry, love, didn’t mean to scare you.” He chuckled as if trying to dismiss the little bit of awkwardness between you. “Kind forgot what it was like to not be able to fly and well, just needed some fresh air—”
You didn’t let him finish and threw yourself at him, wrapping your arms around him and holding him tight as you laughed.
“It’s alright. Just don’t scare me like that—” But suddenly, something about what he said clicked in your head. You pulled away from your embrace and looked up at your husband. “Wait. You remember?”
“Some of it,” he chuckled before a broader grin spread across his face. “Gotta say, you’re quite the loving caretaker, y/n.”
It was hard to not fall for his teasing after the last couple of days of missing him. “Someone had to after the trouble you got yourself into, you bird brain.”
“True.” Hawks swept one of his wings around you, covering you from the cold that came with the sudden breeze and walking you back inside your home. “I’ll have to apologize to the others for the trouble I put them through too. Especially you.”
“No apologies,” you said, burying your face into his chest and inhaling deeply. “I’m just glad you’re back.”
“Oh, come on. I wasn’t that bad of a brat.” You snickered which only made him mock pain from your disbelief. “I’ll have you know I was always a good little boy.”
Yes, you were.
But instead of giving him the luxury of being right, you pulled him towards your bedroom.
“Let’s go to bed already. It’s been a long day.”
Hawks snickered at the folded onesie in his hands. You’d really gone all out taking care of him after his little mishap. Though according to you, you only did what anybody else would’ve done. But your actions spoke louder that you would’ve wanted them to. Hawks knew as much simply from all the clothes and toys you bought for him during his little regression into childhood.
He found it odd how despite recalling very little, he did recall feeling happy and warm and loved. Something that he sorely missed in his childhood. But that was neither here nor there. All of that was in the past already.
And well, he guessed all this clothes would need to be returned or at least donated. He wouldn’t be needing it anytime soon after all. But as he held onto the onesie in his hands, he tucked it away with the rest of his collectibles before closing the box with the rest of the clothes. It was as he headed out of the closet that he bumped into you.
“Whoops, my bad.”
“What are you doing with that?”
Hawks stared at the half-opened boxed that you stared at before lifting it for emphasis. “Gotta donate all this.”
“Donate?” You stepped forward and opened the flaps, gasping at the clothes inside that he was planning to give away. “Why are you giving this away?”
“Don’t know if you noticed but I’m not a kid anymore.” Hawks spread out one of his wings to give you a better view and remind you just how large those by themselves were. “Doubt any of this will fit even a wing.”
“They’re not for you though.”
That confused him, especially because you said it under your breath. As if mulling over something in your mind that happened to slip.
“Who’re they for then?”
Snapping out of your stupor, your cheeks tinted a little as you turned thoughtful, this time over something that seemed a bit more interesting to him. But he didn’t get a straightforward answer. Instead, you headed deeper into the closet to your side of it and searched through a cranny hidden by your winter coats and jackets. From it you produced a tiny red box decorated with glitter and with a bow on the lid.
“I was going to give you this yesterday but so much happened that it kind of went over my head."
You took a deep breath as if preparing yourself for his reaction. That worried him a little. All the same, Hawks put the box he was carrying down by his feet before taking the small gift from your hands.
” ’s okay if I open it?“
The lid came off rather easily. Bright gold and red tissue paper poked out from the box and made him dig through it to find what was inside. At first, he didn’t know what he was looking at. It was a black photo with white blotches spread around. He couldn’t quite discern anything from it, really. But it didn’t take him long to decipher what it was.
His heart stopped once he did. Amber eyes wide, he lifted his gaze to you. You stood there expectantly—both in the figurative and literal sense—hands resting on your belly.
"Wait…are you serious?”
You chuckled at his confusion and how it slowly started to clear as his mind started working again. Reaching out, you took his hand and placed it on your belly. There wasn’t much difference in it, at least not anything that he could tell at first. But he could feel it just a little more rounded than usual.
Suddenly his heart started beating again. This time like crazy as excitement rushed through his mind and a wild grin spread across his lips.
“A little over three months already.”
“So you’re telling me that I'm—that we’re gonna…”
“We’re going to have a baby.” Hawks let out a breathy laugh from disbelief and glee. And you couldn’t help but add and finish what he had meant to say before. “You’re going to be a father.”
Unable to keep his joy quiet anymore, Hawks took you in his arms and held you tightly against him as he twirled around and shouted in glee. He even took you out of the closet and into the room to hover the both of you briefly in the air with a few flap of his wings. Gently Hawks let himself lower the two of you onto the bed as feathers spread out like red snowflakes around you. He gently kissed your lips, the joy unmistakable on his face.
“I’ll be the best father you’ve ever seen, y/n. Just you wait and see!”
“I know you will.”
His grin suddenly turned into a smaller smile as he pressed his forehead against yours.
“And you’ll be the most wonderful mother ever.”
“And thank you, y/n. You couldn’t have given me a better gift.”