Enji was surprised to see Fuyumi up and dressed as he was leaving the house in the middle of the night. His daughter was already drinking her first cup of coffee, her face blank as she was checking her phone. No doubt that she was meticulously checking any news about Midoriya and Tokoyami Fumikage.
''I will go and meet Shouto,'' she announced tranquilly.
''I was going to do that,'' Enji said as he was making his way towards the exit.
He needed to go to the Wild Wild Pussycats base in order to know exactly what had happened in order to investigate. Getting Shouto back in the same time would allow him not to waste time and to make sure that his son wasn't injured.
''No need. You have to focus.''
Enji stopped and looked at her, frowning because Fuyumi wasn't usually this assertive.
''You have to find Izuku and bring him back,'' his daughter told him, and she wasn't asking.
In a forest deep in the mountains, Shouta was looking at a crater where someone with an especially powerful enhancer quirk had lashed out with all his strength. This feat, especially when one could see the signs of several other quirks, including Cremation and Decay, being used, would remind anyone of All Might, and of how, with one powerful attack, he would always manage to defeat his opponents and to be victorious.
However, instead of a pro hero, it had been an exhausted student against several members of the League of villains, and children didn't fare well against killers.
Especially as a pillar of blue flames had been seen in the night. It was what had drawn the attention of every hero in the area, a stupid move for criminals on the run. Unless it had been necessary, and the overkill was what the villain with a blue fire quirk had judged necessary in order to take care of a student who shouldn't have been here, but who was powerful enough to refuse to go down without a fight. After all, Midoriya had once fought despite a broken arm, going toe to toe with someone designed to fight All Might himself. Several weeks later, he had survived an explosion provoked by Todoroki as he was using his flames for the first time since the start of the school year.
How long had the villains waited before fighting without holding back?
And at the temperature necessary to create blue flames, a human body will turn to ashes, without leaving any trace of its existence.
Shouta didn't want to think about that. Midoriya had been declared kidnapped, but not missing or any other alternative. They had to think that the League was using him as a hostage, because if he wasn't...
The memory of Midoriya screaming as the noumu was snapping his arm like a toothpick hit him like a train. This scream, the sound of a child realizing he was about to die, haunted Shouta's nightmares.
''The students were already exhausted when the evening started,'' the detective Tsukauchi said as he kept inspecting the remnants of the fight, ''And Midoriya then fought Muscular. It's not impossible that the League hounded him until he dropped from exhaustion. They would only have to pick him up, and there would have their hostage.''
But the problem was that Kouta had told them that Midoriya was on Muscular's kill list. And since they didn't know each other before, this had to be the League's.
''We will find him,'' Shouta said instead, and glanced at the man who hadn't said a word since they had arrived.
All Might was standing there, looking at the crater without moving.
And his perpetual smile was gone.
Nagisa was in her family home, surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and probably some strangers who had one day wandered into the house and promptly been adopted in the family for all she knew. Usually, she avoided being in the middle of the swarm of siblings, because they couldn't help to put their faces in front of her screens, and there was always some well-meaning and annoying aunt or uncle to ask her if she had a boyfriend, and when she would get married.
But right now, she couldn't stand the silence of her home.
Midoriya Izuku had been missing since the day before, and the whole country was losing its mind over it. Not only had 1-A been attacked again, proving that UA's security was a joke, but a student had been kidnapped as he was trying to protect a classmate. And not any student, but the boy who had showed at the Sport Festival that he could withstand an incredible amount of power. That put the League into a whole new category.
The reputation of UA was plummeting. How could it not? Most of the forty students had been lightly injured, be it because of the fire or the inhaled smoke, when it wasn't because of the villains. Eight were at the hospital. The target of the attack, Bakugou Katsuki, was injured. And one pro hero was reported missing.
But one of the two abducted students had been recovered. Nagisa had learned that before it was announced to the public, because she was pretty much spying on the police.
And she wasn't impressed by what they were doing.
No, it wasn't that. One part of her was aware that they were doing everything they could. But another, the one silently screaming, was pissed off beyond measure that this had somehow happened.
They were children. They were supposed to be safe. And the heroes had failed to protect them. To protect her friend.
Two arms passed around her as her mom had visibly detected that her favorite daughter needed a hug. Nagisa automatically leaned into the embrace and rubbed her face against her mom's shoulder.
''It's going to be okay,'' she assured, and Nagisa almost believed her.
Her mom sat next to her, putting her hand on Nagisa's arm. The sensation had changed since Midoriya had come into their life, as her mother now didn't have the biological features allowing her to create a web anymore. Of course, she never had the thick hair that allowed members of her family to not get stuck to it.
It had handicapped her all her life. Every time she used her quirk, she had to call someone to get disentangled. And since it was sometimes activated by strong emotions, it was more than a minor inconvenience.
Now, Nagisa was the one who had her quirk.
''We both know what he is able to do,'' her mother reminded her as if she could read Nagisa's thoughts. ''If there is one person who can come back from that, it's him. And if you think for one moment that the heroes aren't doing their best to bring him back, you tell me and every Shirubakumo will make their displeasure known.''
And as they were the people creating the outfits required to protect the powerful of this world, be it most of the heroes with a high ranking or simply the wealthy, this was no small threat.
''Thank you, mom.''
Shouto was in Midoriya's room and he wasn't sure of what he was looking for. He obviously knew his friend wasn't here. After all, unlike Tokoyami, he hadn't come back.
Because Shouto hadn't managed to save him. He had been just a little too far away.
No, he hadn't been fast enough.
Shouto sat on the bed, the weight of everything that had happened pressing on him. He could feel it on his shoulders and on his neck, as if he was carrying something that kept getting heavier and heavier. He probably needed to sleep, but he had tried earlier and he had miserably failed. Shifting his weight, he tried to convince himself that if there was one man able to survive anything, it was Midoriya.
The movement sent his foot a little backwards, enough to touch something under the bed. Frowning, he took a look and found the getaway bag that seemed to be a common item in Midoriya's world.
Since the bag was half opened, Shouto didn't strictly look inside it. Its content was just there, for anyone to see, and the notebooks were on top of all the other stuff.
On one hand, he knew Midoriya liked his secrets and his privacy. On the other, he was certain he had seen him letting Uraraka look at those notes and he hadn't seemed to mind.
Somehow, one of the notebooks landed in his hand. Shouto wanted reassurance that Midoriya's quirk was as powerful as it seemed to be, that he would be alright. The questions he had about Midoriya's past, how he had managed to train his quirk to compete with pros, and why he was so careful and reacted so strangely at times, were secondary.
He started quickly reading through it, realizing that Midoriya must have started young because his handwriting started polished and clean, then progressively got worse, and by the last journal, Shouto was wondering if he wasn't writing in code.
Shouto found his page, with him wearing the first version of his costume. There was a note saying that it had been changed, and how he had to rewrite the page to add the new design and new theories about Shouto's fire side.
The notes concerning All Might were born from something between admiration and obsession, theories and observations scrambled across the pages. Some of them crossed, some of them with interrogation points, and in the last notebook, several pages had been ripped off, which made Shouto pause.
But there weren't only notes about heroes. Or more exactly, about heroes' quirks, because that was what was obviously interesting Midoriya. Their quirks, their activities, their fights. There were other quirks, only their names, and the people to whom they belonged weren't mentioned, but it had to be people Midoriya had met, because there were quotes.
Shouto read more, completely forgetting how he was supposed to be uncomfortable with reading what was pretty much Midoriya's diaries.
He found more notes about his classmates' quirks. Only I-A. Also the teachers.
But there was absolutely nothing about Midoriya's quirk.
Momo woke up in her hospital bed to see Ochako half asleep on her legs. For a moment, she just watched her, not daring to move because her friend looked so tired and she didn't want to wake her up.
Then she remembered everything that had happened at the summer camp and she -well, there was no easy way to describe it- sprung from where she was like a devil out of the box, ejecting Ochako from where she was and as if it wasn't enough, the world started spinning around Momo because she had risen too quickly.
''Where is Aizawa-Sensei? I need to speak to a hero!''
But Momo wasn't listening, because she had to find the nearest hero or police officer, or anyone in uniform.
''If the villains took the noumu back with them, I can track them,'' she explained as she was waiting for the world to stop spinning madly. ''I created an emitter that was fused to him. I can find them!''
Ochako stared at her for a second, something on her face making Momo freeze as something coiled inside her. Her friend didn't move for a moment, but her eyes slowly started to be filled with tears.
That's how Momo realized something terrible had happened. Because Ochako didn't cry for nothing.
''What... what happened?''
Toshinori wanted to run as fast as he could, to not waste any time, to find Young Midoriya now, but it was panic talking. It was him wanting to rush towards a problem to fix it with overwhelming power, but life wasn't that simple and he knew that wasting the precious time he had with One for All would be a mistake.
So he was driving to the police station, Gran Torino in the seat next to him, a wall of silence between them. The two men had somehow silently agreed not to ask the terrifying question. After all, worrying themselves sick wouldn't do them any good. They just had to do their job, and focus on nothing else.
''What if All for One found him?'' someone blurted out, and Toshinori realized it had been him.
Gran Torino just stared at him, but it was a very real possibility.
The League was connected to him.
''You can't torture yourself like that,'' Gran Torino quietly said, the exhaustion in his voice so unlike him.
He was as worried as Toshinori. He just didn't want to admit it.
''Oh, I shouldn't torture myself,'' Toshinori corrected, ''but I definitely can.''
He had never wanted for Young Midoriya to be confronted to him. Even when the boy had claimed he would help, even though Toshinori had been moved that this child would so readily help him, he had wanted for them to never meet. For All for One to never be aware of the existence of this boy.
Because Midoriya was certainly a descendant of this thing of evil, while being someone fundamentally good. And knowing that good could be born from evil had always been a comfort, and evil should not be allowed to destroy those kind of miracles.
''Midoriya is unique,'' Gran Torino tempered. ''He is the only person similar to this bastard. He wouldn't want to kill him. He is narcissistic enough to give us time to rescue the kid.''
And what will he do to Young Midoriya in the meantime?
''Yeah, goodbye,'' Katsuki said to his father as he was leaving to follow his wife who was currently being escorted out of the hospital because she wouldn't shut up. He could have kept listening to her screaming about what the hell was wrong with them and so on, but even though he was reduced to wait and to stare at the ceiling, he still didn't have enough time to deal with this bullshit.
He picked up his phone, put on some music, and savored the peace that came with people leaving him the fuck alone. That was all he was asking for. Some damn peace and quiet, and no one treating him like a weakling or telling him how he should feel.
Of course, he picked up his phone with his right arm. Thanks to Recovery Girl, it wasn't a mess of broken bones and burns anymore, but it still felt a little raw and Katsuki was under strict order not to use his quirk. Any fracture in his upper limbs meant weakening his bones which already had to withstand the impact of his explosions. And to add insult to the injury, Katsuki's wound had been the result of his own quirk fucking him over, the villain's fire just a detail in a sea of irony.
Katsuki raised the volume, then made the mistake of closing his eyes, and immediately, images slammed into him. The warped gate. The scarred motherfucker. Deku, so close, before he was transported away.
And Katsuki, on the ground, right fucking there because Deku had just saved him, but to out of it to react and to grab the reckless idiot. To save him back.
He gritted his teeth, unable to escape the memories because if there was one emotion that could recall every detail with an uncanny precision, it was shame.
This is fucking ridiculous.
He did something he had swore he wouldn't do and checked the news again, to see if there was anything new. He was already aware that Birdface was back, but Deku was still missing. Not only did the media knew squat, which should have been expected, but people in the comments were still talking about how violent Katsuki could be and that the League had probably been trying to recruit him.
Because Katsuki was calm and reasonable, despite what everyone else said, he didn't throw his phone against a wall. He also didn't put it in his left palm to destroy it with satisfying little explosions, this time because he knew he was in public space and the fire alarm would probably snitch.
But even anger wasn't enough to completely snuff out the shame. That wasn't something he was used to. And it didn't make any sense because he certainly wasn't the one to ask Deku to fucking appear and rescue him. He hadn't wanted anything from this guy.
And yet, the same thought kept swirling in his mind.
What if Deku is dead because of me?
Kurogiri opened a warp gate and checked inside the cell holding the UA student, not understanding what was happening. Sensei worked in mysterious ways.
Several items had been dropped into the cell, from the ceiling, so Midoriya wouldn't be able to jump through it. A mattress and blankets. Cleaning swipes. Clothes. A medical kit. Food and water.
But the boy had used none of it. He had been lying on the ground, and didn't interact with his environment in any way.
Actually, Kurogiri was starting to worry because it seemed that Midoriya Izuku hadn't moved or reacted in any way for twelve hours.