Izuku woke up early -which was already an abomination in itself- and completely disoriented. He didn't recognize where he was, his bed was weird, and everything was weird and not his, but it wasn't so bad at first .
Not until reality hit him without mercy, shattering his disoriented peace.
Izuku wasn't recognizing anything because he wasn't home. He was at Todoroki's. In a Japanese-style house, on a king sized bed too soft for his taste, because his own home was still being decontaminated since no one was really sure of the effect of the quirk powered by an absurd dose of nectar, and his mom was in a hospital bed.
All those quirks and you can't even protect the people you love.
Slowly, he realized that what had woken him up was the use of a quirk. A powerful one. Further down, away from him but still in the house.
He closed his eyes, spreading his strange sixth sense to make sure it was only one quirk. Probably Endeavor's and there was only one, so Todoroki hadn't been roped into an early training.
Knowing this allowed Izuku to lie down again. He knew he wouldn't be able to sleep. Despite how tired he still was, there was too much worry in his mind, too much of everything, really, but maybe his eyes would stop burning if he simply closed them.
Just for a second.
Shouto had always been an early riser and this morning was no exception. He trained outside for two hours, not using his quirk. The familiar movements were almost soothing, grounding him until he reached a peace born from habit and concentration.
Finally, he stopped, calling some ice to cool down, and went back to the house. He kicked his shoes at the usual place, by the door.
And then, he noticed a familiar pair of red sneakers.
Shouto pondered, not sure of what was happening. He placed his own foot next to the sneaker, noticing it was the same size, so it couldn't be one of Natsuo's.
For a moment, he entertained one strange thought, but he realized that it was absolutely impossible.
But still, he looked for Fuyumi. He found his sister in the kitchen, eating her breakfast while reading something on her phone.
''Shouto? Do you want some breakfast?''
'No, I... If there someone else in the house?''
Fuyumi looked at him strangely. ''Dad didn't tell you?'' she asked, putting her chopstick down. ''You were already sleeping last night, but I thought he would since you both wake up so early.''
Of course not. My schedule was expertly crafted to avoid this old bastard, Nee-san.
''Didn't tell me what?'' Shouto asked instead.
Three minutes later, Shouto was carefully opening a bedroom that hadn't been used in years. There was a lifeless form on the bed, under a blue blanket, with a mop of green hair on the pillow.
Something moved from under the blanket, and honestly, if Fuyumi hadn't told Shouto that Midoriya had arrived late this night because his home had been in the middle of the gas attack, Shouto would have started to worry that some strange caterpillar had mutated into this abandoned room.
Instead, an arm appeared, fist clenched except for the thumb up. Then, Midoriya let his arm fall back on the bed and curled up even more on himself.
Shouto silently closed the door.
Izuku didn't get up because he had enough sleep, but because he needed to move. He had a thousands things to do, a thousands more things to plot, and right now, he was wearing the clothes he had on his back when he had arrived during the night. He still remembered the weight of Endeavor's hand on his shoulder as he guided him through the house, and the voice of Todoroki Fuyumi right after he had passed out on the bed, too exhausted to do anything else than saying thank you and calling it a day.
A horrible, stressful, and soul-eating day.
Two people had entered the room while he was asleep. He was almost certain one had been Todoroki. The other, his sister, and she was probably responsible for the clean clothes on the desk.
It was thoughtful because Izuku couldn't access his apartment, his possessions, and had nothing except what had been in his backpack at the time of the attack.
He dragged himself to the bathroom, took a burning hot shower, and he thought about using Stamina to replace his coffee today. He was just eager to use quirks, to be soothed by their influence, but ultimately, Stamina was a bad idea. The quirk was between the pure essence of caffeine and a shot of adrenaline, but once he stopped using it, he would crash down, so it wasn't worth it.
Once he was dressed, he took a moment to compose himself.
He looked in the mirror, taking in everything he was showing to the world. Noting everything that he didn't want people to see.
He erased the pain, replacing it by a smile who reached his eyes. Anyone thinking eyes couldn't lie just wasn't trying hard enough.
He couldn't do much about the dark circles under his eyes, but he reached for his quirks. One by one, all of them, shiny beacon of lights inside him, and knowing they were here brought a measure of peace. Just enough to summon some optimism.
As for the rest, he locked that behind a door.
And once he was ready, he paid attention to where he was, examining his new environment.
This was an... extremely western room in a very Japanese house. And something else was drawing his attention now that he was calm enough to notice it.
The room Izuku was occupying had the furniture strangely arranged.
The bed wasn't perpendicular to the walls, the desk wasn't against a wall, and the wardrobe and the library seemed to have been placed randomly in the room.
Izuku considered feng shui for half a second, but then, remembered his first official quirk, so he pushed every bit of furniture to find out what was underneath.
He wasn't surprised when he found scorch marks. The wood under the library, in particular, had all but disappeared and there was still some ash left. There was also an extinguisher half empty under the bed, and that was almost a relief.
Well, whoever was here before, he has a fire quirk.
Midoriya appeared in the kitchen without a sound and made a beeline for the coffee machine, only used by Fuyumi. He greeted Shouto with a nod, but didn't say a word until he had downed his tiny cup. Shouto wondered if he realized it was a Espresso, something only Fuyumi drank in this house, so it was stronger than common coffee.
Since his eyes widened and he gave the cup a nod of respect before taking another one, he was probably appreciating the near heart attack Fuyumi's coffee gave.
For a moment, Shouto had no idea of what to say. More precisely, Midoriya wasn't giving him any possibilities to say anything, acting like it was completely normal for him to be here. Even Iida hadn't pretended that much when his brother had been hurt.
So Shouto still tried to reach his friend : ''I heard about your mom.'' Not from you.
''She is asleep for now. They are trying to counter Mustard's poison but they need time, so all I can do is wait.''
Asking him if he was okay would be stupid.
''I have something to do today,'' Midoriya continued. ''Then, I have to go to the hospital to take care of... everything.''
Something to do sounded ominous, and Shouto could suddenly perfectly remember Iida being stabbed by Stain. I have to keep an eye on him.
''What do you have to do?'' Shouto asked when he really wanted to ask if he was planning to track down Mustard.
''Visiting a friend,'' Izuku explained, and something breached his mask, something that looked like annoyance. ''I was supposed to see him yesterday, and now, I just want to get that behind me.''
It looked ticked off enough for Shouto to believe it has nothing to do with the villain. He trusted Midoriya to hide his true intentions if he ever planned some vigilantism, but that still didn't take care of the invisible wall between them.
What would a good friend do?
Shouto had no idea. He never had friends before. But he could try.
''About your mom... Do you want to talk about it?''
Midoriya looked at him, surprise and something as cold as when he had fought Shouto during the Sport Festival shined in his eyes.
''Why would I want that?'' his friend smiled.
Shouto realized that Midoriya was right there but he had no idea of how to reach him.
Jin was nervous as he was waiting in the middle of the crowded market, and not only because Akatani Mikumo had delayed their meeting by a day. To be honest, this unease had started the day after he had abandoned his quirk.
Not that this quirk was needed. A quirk that was never used. A quirk that was going out of control in his old days. Being found by this strange boy, this powerful and kind young man who wanted to be a hero and who had appeared in his life like something born from a fairy tale... it had been a wonderful opportunity that directly benefited him.
Jin was aware of it. He was aware that since he had given his quirk away, he didn't have any misfire, his life was easier, and no doubt that Akatani was actually using it instead of letting it wither because of the anti quirk law.
And yet, he was feeling incomplete. The sparks weren't answering to him anymore, something that had always belonged to him was gone, and despite all logic, he couldn't forget it.
So he had called Akatani.
And now, he was waiting in rush hour in the middle of the market, and no one cared about an old gentleman, so he was pushed around and there were moments where he regretted not having a cane with him. Maybe people would think before bumping into him if he had a way to retaliate.
Another reason why my quirk would be useful, he thought with a smile.
Not that he would do it, but the thought was entertaining.
At some point, he admitted what he had actually realized when he had contacted the boy : he wasn't getting his quirk back. A choice was a choice.
And that when he was leaving that he received the message.
Akatani Mikumo : [It's done.]
The old man looked at the screen, not understanding.
Raised his hand.
And sparks of lighting appeared on his fingers.
Jin gulped down, realizing that among all those people who had bumped into him since he had arrived, one of them had left him a gift.
Without being seen or noticed.
As Izuku was leaving the market he had specifically chosen for the crowd, the same way the mall had been bonded and allowed Shigaraki to approach him undetected, he was feeling the emptiness -where Taser should have been- clawing at him.
Deep breath. In and out.
Giving a quirk back was never painful, but right now, his mind couldn't keep itself from coming back to the empty spot again and again. It was just gone, missing, and he wasn't liking it. At all.
He kept breathing, but by his mouth, not feeling well. It was like there wasn't enough air around.
Think about all the cool quirks you still have.
Izuku dragged himself to the first isolated alley he could find, hidden behind the dumpsters that would keep curious people and good Samaritans away, and he sat, his back against the wall.
He stopped trying to count his quirks, because he was always coming back to this empty spot. No matter how many quirks he still had, Taser had left a hole more important than the rest of his treasures.
Remember how you survived all your previous fights because you had the ability to electrocute anyone getting too close ?
He was gasping for air, but he couldn't hear it because of the drums resonating inside him, his heart trying to painfully escape his chest.
It had never been so bad before. Not even close. Izuku knew this was because of the stress, knew that it was because he was mentally in a bad place.
But it didn't matter.
Anyone can touch you. You're vulnerable.
Izuku would be fine.
He just needed to breathe.
When Izuku returned to Endeavor's house, Todoroki almost jumped out of his skin when the green-haied-boy entered his room. He might have been using Silencer.
He was actually using a lot of quirks he didn't really need to, but he didn't care.
Izuku made sure his friend wasn't about to have a heart attack, but the pro hero egg was holding on.
''Do you... Do you want to watch a movie?'' he asked Todoroki.
By that, he meant : I need company and distraction but also to keep all my emotions right here, and then I will die.
Todoroki stared at him for a moment without blinking. Izuku had no idea of what he was thinking.
''Sure,'' he finally said.
Izuku appreciated the fact he didn't ask questions.
''So, you don't want anyone to know you're living with me for now?'' Todoroki asked Izuku as they were riding the train to UA.
Aizawa-Sensei had called everyone for an emergency meeting, and if Izuku had been a betting man, he would have said the summer camp was cancelled. It made sense since between villain attacks and All Might's declining health, UA wouldn't be incline to take the risk.
''Exactly,'' Izuku answered. ''They don't need to know.''
Todoroki raised an eyebrow at him. The red one.''Would you have told me?''
Izuku hesitated, because he knew what Todoroki wanted to hear. But he chose to say the truth.
''No, I wouldn't have.''
The air around them got colder and it wasn't because of a quirk.
''Oh, yes,'' Todoroki mocked, sarcasm dripping from every word, ''I now remember how you said to Iida to deal with his grief on his own and to keep everyone out...''
''There is no grief. My mother isn't dead.''
Todoroki froze, realizing what he had said. A slip of the tongue, nothing grave, but for a moment, it pissed off Izuku so much that he could feel the rage burning within his chest.
He smothered it with a thought. He was getting better and better at that.
''I am tired, Todoroki. Really tired. It's not that I don't want to worry them or even you. Trust me, I am not trying to protect you," he smiled, and the very expression was broken. "It's just that I have no energy to spare, and I would worry about you, about how you see me. And I can't deal with that right now.''
Thankfully, his honesty seemed to convince Todoroki.
''Fine. But since I know... Don't hesitate to lean on me.''
Izuku only smiled, but this time, it was real.
The two boys. arrived last to the class meeting in UA. Every student was wearing civilian clothes, so Izuku's lack of uniform wasn't a problem, but Uraraka still raised an eyebrow at the clothes that were slightly too big for him. Only slightly because he had raided Todoroki's closet, and not the one in his borrowed room.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow, I can go back home.
To a place he knew. To a place where he wouldn't have to pretend.
Despite what he had hoped, his friends immediately noticed something was amiss, but thankfully, Aizawa-Sensei was already here. Also in civilian clothes, jeans and black shirt, his eyes red because of the lack of sleep, it was clear he didn't want to waste time.
''You all know what happened at Mustafu two days ago. This was the result of a villain who risked overdosing on a new drug called Nectar in order to make his quirk more powerful. We know that this drug is used by young people who wants a stronger quirk, and it affects several hero schools.''
Izuku barely paid attention to it since he was already aware of the Nectar situation, and his mind detached itself from Aizawa-Sensei's words, more interested by the empty spot where Taser should have been.
''I will not assume that UA is too good for that,'' their homeroom teacher continued. ''There is a possibility some of you are using this drug. And UA won't tolerate it.''
Izuku didn't fail to notice how his classmates were looking at each other, uncomfortable at the idea of someone desperate enough to use Nectar.
''So if you're caught using it, it's over. You're expelled. And trust me, no hero agencies will accept you.''
And then, he put a little plastic bin on his desk.
''If you have drugs, you get rid of it here,'' Aizawa-Sensei explained. ''No questions asked. If you need help to stop, you go to Midnight or me, and we will help. No questions asked. You either own it up or you're get caught and your career ends right here.''
Only silence answered him.
''That will be all. I will all see you at the Summer Camp. Cheer up. You're on vacations, now.''
Ah. It was a good thing Izuku wasn't a betting man or he would have lost.
They started to leave, no one even daring to look at the drug bin.
''Midoriya?'' his teacher called. In front of everyone. ''How are you holding on?''
Nineteen heads turned towards Izuku.
Well, so much for secrecy.
Izuku talked with Aizawa-Sensei for a while, telling him he was fine, that living at the Todoroki household was fine, and he fled as soon as it was possible.
Only to find Iida, Uraraka, and Todoroki waiting for him right outside the door. At least, the rest of the class had left.
''Midori? What's happening?''
There was so much worry in Uraraka's voice that he told them.
Not caring anymore.
Uraraka gasped. Iida's face became white.
''What didn't you tell us?'' Uraraka asked, not understanding why Izuku hadn't called her in the minute. After all, she understood perfectly what it was like to be hurt like that. And so did Iida.
He had friends who were in the perfect place to empathize with him.
Come on. Tell them you don't trust them. Because you can't let anyone in
Iida didn't let him the time to find a good answer. Instead, he just hugged him, a bear-like embrace that made Izuku's bones groan.
It was warmer than what Izuku expected.
Or maybe he was just realizing how cold he had been since he had waited in that hospital.
N: [My mother left a present for you at my house. Hurry, I don't have all day.]
At first, Izuku was confused of why Nagisa was offering him a suitcase. It's only when he opened it and found it full of clothes that he realized what was gifted to him.
Without a word, he took the first item, a simple black shirt with the white letter HERO on it. The fabric felt like Nagisa's hoodie. And like his hero costume.
Protective clothes. Of high quality, the kind only a well ranked hero could access to, not really comparable to the student costumes 1-A had.
And it felt like touching a hug. It must have costed a fortune. He could probably use any quirks he wanted in those and it wouldn't have a scratch.
He looked at Nagisa, who wasn't saying anything, but she seemed awfully smug.
''How?'' Izuku asked and he had to try several times for the word to pass his throat.
Nagisa pretended to be absorbed by what she was doing on her laptop, but it was a lie because she always typed, even when she was watching something. She was incapable of doing one task at the time.
''I think my mom wanted to do that for a while. Your tee-shirts are an insult to everything we stand for. And it should be your size. The many eyes aren't for nothing.''
He just stared at her.
Nagisa shrugged. ''You helped a family of tailors. You should have seen that coming.''
This was incredible.
''How much ?''
Now, Izuku had enough speed quirks to rival with Ingenium. But even that wasn't enough to avoid the pillow that Nagisa threw at his nose with such strength that he almost fell. He managed to stay upright in extremis while his dignity as a hero student was scattered somewhere on the floor.
''I will pretend I didn't hear that,'' his friend growled.
Izuku had never been arachnophobic but he suddenly understood why some people were afraid of spiders.
''I think you're so tired that you're not really seeing what's happening,'' Nagisa continued and Izuku saw how she was getting closer to another pillow. ''So listen to me : there are a lot of people who care about you. Rest. Breathe. And when you're ready, let us in, because we are here to help you and I am personally not afraid to kick your ass to do so.''
Izuku managed to avoid the second pillow.
Todoroki seemed extremely pensive and Izuku doubted it was because of the All Might movie they were watching on Netflix, in Todoroki's room.
Izuku fidgeted. Hesitated. And finally asked.
''I know I should be the last person to ask that, but is there something on your mind?''
The sarcasm in Todoroki's glance burned Izuku to a crisp, but he still answered. ''It's about the Summer Camp. We will train our quirks.''
Personally, Izuku couldn't wait for all those classmates who would go beyond with their quirks. He would have to pack a new notebook.
''I am thinking about it,'' Todoroki simply said.
Izuku immediately understood he was talking about the flames he was still ignoring most of the time. He only used the heat as a way to avoid being encased in ice, but nothing like what he had showed to Izuku during the Sport Festival.
Izuku didn't push the subject.
Living with the Todorokis was strange, and not just because Izuku was still numb due to what had happened to his mom.
The house was big, and often full of people because even when Fuyumi and Todoroki weren't here, they was a staff who helped cleaning and cooking, but somehow, everyone tried to be invisible. Everyone made sure to stay out of everyone's way, and Izuku didn't manage to establish any connection to them. They just waited politely to see if he wanted something. Made him feel like he was in the way. So he stopped.
The other thing that he didn't manage to get used to was the silence. The house was never empty, but that wasn't something Izuku could know by ear. In the apartment with his mother, he could know what she was doing from his room, just by listening, and in return, he made sure to use his Silencer quirk when he didn't want to bother her. But here, voices were muffled, people moved silently, and there was no music or no noises from the TV.
It was only until the first evening that Izuku understood why.
Endeavor was quiet. For someone his size, he moved without making enough noise, and didn't announce himself, so everyone in the house had to watch out for when he returned. No one wanted to notice him when it was too late, because there was something inherently intimidating about him. Especially compared to All Might, taller than him and just as large, but who always appeared non-threatening -except in front of villains or during exams- and more precisely, took measures to be non threatening.
It was like the whole house was holding its breath when he was here.
The day when the authorities declared that going into Izuku's neighborhood might not be lethal anymore, Todoroki Natsuo came back home and apparently, no one had told him Izuku had moved in, but he still didn't blink when he saw Todoroki, Fuyumi, and Izuku eating breakfast together.
Yes, Izuku had starting calling Todoroki's sister Fuyumi because she had insisted, despite how funny it could be to call a Todoroki only for three heads to turn towards him.
''I’M BAAACK!'' Natsuo sang as he threw his bag on the floor and hugged Fuyumi. They both shared Endeavor's body type and had white hair with red streaks. ''Did you miss me? Don't lie, I know you all did...''
Izuku -with his mouth still full of rice- greeted him by waving his hand, and Todoroki Natsuo answered the same way, a smile on his face, before he realized Izuku wasn't a Todoroki with a new hair color.
He tilted his head. Looked at Todoroki. Then at Izuku. Then at Todoroki again, to finish on Fuyumi, who quickly explained the situation in what she thought were hushed words. But Natsuo seemed like he had trouble wrapping his head around the very concept of Endeavor helping someone.
''So... My father... From the goodness of his heart... decided to let you stay here for as long as you need?''
''Exactly,'' Fuyumi said.
''How generous of him,'' he said as if he was disturbed by the very notion of Endeavor being nice.
Izuku thought he was done.
He was wrong.
''Are you… Are you my father’s secret lovechild or something?''
Todoroki choked on his rice, Fuyumi gasped, and Izuku suddenly saw the family resemblance.
That's how Natsuo got recruited into accompanying them to Izuku's apartment to help him take some belongings. Even if Izuku told them they didn't need to and that there was nothing to carry. But they simply ignored him, so here they were.
Izuku finally realized that the siblings were less motivated about accompanying him than spending time together. In the car trip, they had been awkward, and trying a little too hard, and with Todoroki admitting at the Sport Festival that he had been isolated from his siblings, it explained why they weren't natural with each other.
Anyway, since this apartment was compromised, his mother and him would move as soon as possible. Them knowing his address wouldn't be of any consequences as soon as his mother would wake up.
Everything would be fine. Eventually.
The first thing Izuku grabbed was his mother's red shawl on the couch. She loved it so it was better if he kept it close. Then, he went to his room, Todoroki in tow while Fuyumi and Natsuo were exploring, checking if anything needed to be done like taking out the trash or washing dishes. Izuku didn't tell them that it had already been taken care of. He was in charge of the cleaning duty in his house after all, so he would know.
Todoroki stopped when he saw All Might everywhere in Izuku's room, and he smiled, just quietly happy, which made Izuku smile in return.
Izuku knelt by his bed and grabbed the duffel bag under it. It already contained money, burner phones, passports, and clothes, and he added an All Might plushie and more clothes before walking to his desk and his notebooks.
Todoroki's eyes were wide. Izuku assumed if was because of the mountain of hero merch in his open closet, but it appeared he was focused on what Izuku was carrying.
''Why do you have a get-away bag under your bed?''
''In case I need to leave quickly.'' Obviously. ''You don't?''
It was something Izuku had always done, ever since he was little. And there had always been at least an All Might plushie in his bag.
''I don't think anyone does, Midoriya,'' Todoroki mocked but suddenly, Izuku's attention was elsewhere.
Izuku looked at the notebooks on his desk. Touched them.
He had been studying them before going to the mall that day, trying to get his mind away from the future loss of Taser. He had selected five of them, placed them on a pile, and... it was untidy. Not that Izuku always made the pile perfect, but he tended to fuss on things when he was stressed and he had been nervous at the time.
I left them like that, right?
''Is there a problem?'' Todoroki asked.
Izuku replaced the notebook 13 correctly on the pile.
''No, I don't think so...'' he started before being interrupted by a squee of delight.
The two boys turned to see the two other Todoroki siblings peaking by the open door. Natsuo was completely focused on the mountain of merchandises in Izuku's room and he wasn't the only one to see the glint of mischief in his grey eyes.
''Don't you dare,'' Fuyumi said.
Endeavor returned home earlier than usual and was greeted by the sight of everyone of his children wearing an All Might hoodie.
Todoroki was wearing the blue, white, streaked with red Young Age hoodie, and seemed quite happy about it, like a cat who had just eaten the canary. Fuyumi hadn't planned on Endeavor returning so early, and froze in her Silver Age hoodie, mostly red and white. As for Natsuo, there was no way anything Izuku owned could fit him, so he had tied the sleeves of a Bronge age hoodie around his waist.
Endeavor, in front of this spectacle, froze like a man who had just found his church's sanctity defiled. He didn't say anything, but Izuku could almost hear him silently counting to ten, and he certainly wasn't breathing.
Finally, he glanced at Izuku, the only one not wearing a hoodie.
Only a Plus Ultra tee-shirt, with the colors of All Might's Golden Age costume.
The news of what had happened to his mom spread through the class and everyone asked how Izuku was doing, if he was fine, how he was coping.
And every time he received a message, he was brought back to the hospital, where his mother was waiting. He went there every day, stayed as long as he could, and fled when he couldn't bear it anymore. But it didn't matter, for his mind could always bring him back there every time his guard was down.
But since Izuku could hardly answer something like : I am pretending everything is fine and that I am not about to have a breakdown. Could you kindly stop reminding me I manage to lose both parents without being able to do anything? he did the next best thing.
And distracted himself.
Now, he knew he couldn't find Mustard. Too many pro heroes were after him, and they would notice a vigilante on his track. Worse, there were simply no leads, and Izuku was aware of it because he shared a roof with the hero who had the most resolved cases in the country.
But there was something else. For Mustard wouldn't have been able to hurt so many people without Nectar.
And Endeavor had a lot of intel about those rings.
Shouta groaned, a monstrous headache trying to split his skull open as he was working at his kitchen table, surrounded by screens and reports. Criminals activity was on the rise.
A cup of coffee appeared in front of him, and he grabbed it with both hands. If he stopped being supplied in caffeine, he would probably fall into a coma.
''Thank you, Hizashi.''
His friend looked above his shoulder. ''Let me guess. A mysterious vigilante with no face?''
If only. Whoever they were, they had given up on quirk trafficking rings and were taking care of Nectar dealers, and just for this reason, Shouta was willing to let them work.
Especially when there was now someone worse.
''Whoever they are, there is now a bigger fish,'' Shouta sighed.
''Someone is going through the quirk trafficking rings and isn't taking any prisoners. I am pretty sure the villain who did this painted the walls of a warehouse with their blood.''
It was like Stain all over again. The criminal was never seen but killed with ease, the police didn't want to admit they had no idea of who it was, and the news weren't talking about it.
Hizashi grabbed a report and sat in front of Shouta, frowning. ''Were there casualties among the victims?''
And there it was. The reason why the police might not inclined to find him : the criminal only targeted other criminals, and despicable ones at that.
''Not by whoever attacked. But they are in bad shape. Some of them are so traumatized they can't use their quirks anymore.''
Izuku finished duct taping some dealers and was about to call it a night – especially since he slept soundly but less and less since he had started his activity- when one drug dealer who could turn into an enormous red creature and who wouldn't shut up despite being already tied up drew his attention.
''… Are you even listening to me, you stupid son of a bitch ?''
Izuku tilted his head. Turned towards the dealer, his roll of duct tape still in hand.
''What did you say about my mom?'' he asked calmly.
Shouta looked up to see a dealer entirely covered in duct tape. From his toes to his collarbone, there wasn't a inch of him that wasn't covered in gray tape, but the vigilante had mercifully left his head alone.
What was not so merciful was the fact he had been somehow duct taped to the ceiling, like a fat fly stuck in a spiderweb.
''Please, sir,'' the dealer asked very politely, ''could you let me down?''
Izuku was living in a house full of early risers. Apart from the fact than before his arrival in the Todoroki household, he thought those strange creatures were only a thing of legend, he had no problem with those strange persons.
Except when they entered in his room at 7 in the morning and tried to wake him up.
Izuku categorically refused to leave Morpheus' sweet embrace, so Todoroki pulled out the big guns and put his hand on Izuku's naked shoulder.
Todoroki's right hand. The cold one.
Izuku jumped, now completely awake but not happy about it.
''Now, that's just cruel,'' he complained while grabbing the red shawl he was sleeping with these days to put it away.
But Todoroki had no mercy. He was already ready to start the day, in gym clothes, which wasn't surprising because he trained as soon as the sun rose, unlike Izuku who could stay awake late into the night but who was incapable of functioning before 10 am.
''Get dressed,'' Todoroki said, which earned him a pillow to the face. ''I am going to train and I could use some help.''
This made Izuku pause. He passed a hand on his face, trying to get rid of the remnant of sleep and wasn't quite successful but it would have to be enough.
He never needed Izuku before, and when they sparred, it was quirkless, and more of a fun activity than actual training.
Todoroki hesitated, but only for a moment.
''I need to relearn how to use my flames,'' he said quietly.
And with that, he got Izuku's complete attention.
Shouto had realized he was limiting himself and that he would one day need to use his full power, even before Midoriya started to live with them. The problem was that it was like yielding. Like admitting his old man was right.
However, using his flames was ineluctable. And the few times he had tried, they had been out of control. So he needed to train. But still, he had delayed his use of his left side for as long as possible.
He hadn't managed to get the necessary motivation because he kept imagining how happy the old bastard would get. But the occasion arrived in the form of Midoriya who one day left the house in the middle of the night, and disappeared before Shouto could follow him.
Shouto believed Midoriya when he said he had no attention to go after Mustard, but that didn't mean he actually trusted him on his own, so he decided to kill two birds with one stone : distract him with a quirk and outweigh the inconvenience of pleasing the old bastard with the benefice of keeping an eye on an uncontrollable and reckless force of nature who could disappear into the darkness like a ninja.
Shouto knew Midoriya loved quirks, but he didn't expect him to react to his proposal with such enthusiasm.
Midoriya started to stop waking up so late. He started to smile more.
He stopped pretending he was fine and just had fun training with Shouto.
And the fact he was looking at Shouto's flames the same way he looked at his ice -like it was something beautiful and wonderful- combined to the need they had to outdo each other, made Shouto start to forget his father's shadow.
It also added the bonus of not letting this moron out of his sight. He couldn't let him end up like Iida.
Fuyumi was glad to see that Shouto and Izuku were getting along so well. The two boys were spending all their time together, training, having fun, and she was relieved to know her little brother had a friend.
But it wasn't all. Izuku's arrival had brought a new balance to the house. The family had always been fragmented, every member apart. But now, they were on their best behavior, eating together, spending time together, talking and joking.
And in front of Izuku, Fuyumi's father was watching himself, not letting his temper transpire.
They were being the better version of themselves, and they finally looked like a real family.
And she couldn't help being apprehensive at the idea of Izuku leaving.
As he came home from work, Enji was surprised to find light in the kitchen, but only from the open fridge. Half hidden among the shadows, someone was moving without a sound as if he was perfectly at ease in the darkness.
He stopped, and even if Enji couldn't quite see him, his eyes not used yet to the obscurity, he knew he was being stared at.
The boy's fingers found the switch and white electrical light spread through the room, confirming what Enji already suspected : Midoriya wasn't only a night owl, he was nocturnal. For a moment, he wondered if it was because of his quirk. It wouldn't be the first time a human predator obtained strength and speed.
But like with his half-assumption that he might need sugar to sustain his strength, he put that thought away. It was just half guesses, so not worth much. And it might have been motivated by his horror at the amount of sugar this boy put in his coffee in the morning.
Enji would have taken Midoriya in even if Shouto and him didn't knew each other. He was a victim of a villain attack, he had the means to help him, and as soon as Principal Nedzu had asked, his decision was taken even before All Might intervene and tried to say that his house would be better.
But since it was Midoriya Izuku, the boy who had showed so much promises during the Sport Festival, Enji had hoped that having a rival so close to Shouto would push his creation to go beyond. After all, competition made the best motivation.
Instead, the two boys trained together. And somehow, the green-haired-boy had coddled Shouto into using what Enji had gifted him.
''I am grateful that you convinced my son to stop his childish behavior,'' he thanked him sincerely.
Midoriya took a sip of the ice tea and, to Enji's horror, he added a cube of sugar to it.
''I assume you're talking about the flames,'' the boy asked flatly, fatigue probably getting to him as he twirled a spoon in his cup.
''Todoroki is my friend. I don't have a lot of them.''
In Enji's experience, it wouldn't improve over the years. Those boys would grow more and more alone as they learned to put aside distractions, and... heroes weren't here to be coddled, but to do a job, and the competition was cut-throat.
''But there is little I wouldn't do for them.''
For a moment, Enji saw something fierce and chilling, that went beyond protectiveness.
And then, it disappeared as soon as it had appeared, but Enji didn't make the mistake of thinking he had imagined it. It had been as real as the silence between them.
This is what happens when a child loses his only family. Midoriya was probably clinging to Shouto and Fuyumi because right now, they were the only thing he had.
''Iced tea?'' the boy asked.
It's only then than Enji noticed in what he was drinking : an All Might cup, the stupid plastic face grinning stupidly at him, anger burning within him because this stupid man had managed to sneak into his house in this form.
Not in front of him. Don't lose your temper in front of him.
''No, thank you,'' Enji managed to say, not showing how annoyed he was.
Even when Midoriya sipped loudly on his way out.
Mashirao went to UA for the facility, or at least, that was what he pretended. He trained for an hour, incorporating his tail into his movements, using it to increase the power of his hits.
And when he was done, he passed in his classroom, his hand in his pocket, clutching a blue inhaler.
He didn't even know why he had taken it. The vial had been offered, and though he hadn't used it... He had still taken it. Kept it.
For the day when he wouldn't want to be the boring one anymore.
Mashirao put the Nectar inhaler in the bin, then fled the empty classroom.
He had never used it. But he had been tempted, and that said something about it.
''… So, everything is fine. Todoroki, Fuyumi and Natsuo are good people. I don't see Endeavor much but he welcomed me into his home, so there is that.''
Izuku was sitting in the comfortable chair of the private clinic. Next to him, his mother was laying on a bed, connected to machines that were beeping, monitoring, and kept her fed and hydrated.
It wasn't the hospital where Izuku had found her, but a new one, a better one, because they had been so many victims and not much to do for treatment, so they had been spread into long term establishments.
Of course, Izuku had been far less understanding when they had moved her without asking for his permission. But that was in the past.
It helped that this clinic was far better than the public hospital, with less patient and more caretakers. And even though Izuku had the means to pay, a really nice nurse had explained to him that the government was taking care of everything.
So maybe, just maybe, Izuku's mom was in good hands.
''Summer camp is approaching,'' he continued. You have no idea how grateful I am to not have failed, because Aizawa-Sensei said that the remedial training will be hell, and he is the king of euphemisms. But... that also means that I won't be here for a while.''
Even though until now, he came here everyday. Talked to her. Made sure she wouldn't disappear.
''I love you, mom,'' he said and he kissed her on the cheek.
Izuku caught his reflection in the glass panel as he left. He looked tired and sad, and that just wouldn't do, so he paused. Forced himself to smile, with his face and his eyes, just like All Might.
Everything will be fine.