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Gentle Hearts

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When Midoriya Inko gives birth to her sole source of pride and joy, Midoriya Izuku comes into the world quite unlike any other child. He doesn’t cry the way normal babies do when the doctor gives a light slap to his grime covered bottom. The boy shrieks and chirps instead, sounding like a distressed chick who’s lost its mother after falling out of its nest.

The doctors give shaky praises; they say that her son will probably be gifted with a strong Quirk if it’s already manifested in the smallest of ways this early. Inko connects the dots in her mind, decides that their phrasing is weird- among other things- and lifts only one sweaty brow before promptly passing out.

Inko doesn’t get to see how her son looks like; a female nurse wraps him in a blue blanket and carries the boy in her arms. A frown forms between her eyes.

As a baby, Izuku is small. Practically malnourished and it breaks Inko heart to see her son in literal skin and bones no matter how much she has him feed from her. The doctors tell her not to worry, they’ve done the tests and Izuku is technically as healthy as a horse.

It’s the Quirk, they later add when concern is evident on the mother’s face.

Several reassurances later, Inko relaxes and truly appreciates the feeling of bonding with her child as she hugs him gently against her chest. It had been a relief, at least, to know that Inko hasn’t already failed her son at the very beginning of things, but the newly made mother will strangle someone if one more person comes barging in to sound a complaint of starving her baby in the privacy of her own room.

Darling Izuku doesn’t put on much weight even after he turns 2. Thankfully, the semi-annually check-ups say he’s fine, so Inko simply accepts that her son will always look as if she doesn’t even feed him the bare minimum.

She vouches to wait till her son turns 4 before sending him to school, the least Inko wants is for Izuku to feel left out and teased for his appearance. If her son is 4, she hopes that he can at least brush off his malnourished frame under the pretence of his Quirk. Perhaps his classmates will be kinder to him then.

Izuku is everything to Inko after all. Her son has been an absolute delight to raise and Izuku is quiet and so very smart for his age. Gentle in nature as he possesses kind milky green eyes, Izuku doesn’t cry (shriek) incessantly and only does so if his diapers are dirty or if he feels hungry. He seems to be naturally empathetic, so Inko rarely finds herself frayed by single motherhood when it comes to Izuku.

She loves him with all her heart. Although even if Izuku weren’t all that, she knows that she’ll love him either way.

The young child with gaunt cheeks, thick green hair and big doe eyes turns 4 and suddenly, Inko fails to find him within the safety of their home. She panics in a way only a mother can and after her own searches fail to give her a clue as to where her precious treasure was, Inko’s hand is already at the phone.

A soft, haunting trill enters her ears and Inko shudders. Goosebumps appear on her skin and the sound makes her think of winter and death- the day her parents passed away had been full of grief. Sadness overcomes Inko and memories of a day she’s accepted years ago come smashing into her mind like a freight train.

Whatever is making the sound is outside their door, Inko is almost too afraid to answer it. The fear eases when she hears a chirp and shriek which sounded too familiar to belong to a stranger. Inko practically yanks the door open and behold, the presence of a skeletal looking foal clicks its hooves nervously.

Looking into its (now) completely white eyes and scanning the malnourished looking face sprinkled with freckles, Inko suppresses a sob. “Midoriya Izuku! Where have you been?! I was so worried!” the mother raises her voice before pulling the dark coated foal into a tight hug- caring less about the way sharp bones dig into her skin.

Her son, her darling Izuku more important than air and water itself- this is the first time Izuku has done something to actually upset her but Inko cannot bring herself to scold him anymore than this because the relief is overwhelming.

Izuku breaths a wheezing sound, something like a cross between a chirp and someone coughing. His long, whip-like tail with forest-green horse hair growing at the tip swings feely. “Young man, you’re going to give your mother a heart attack one day.” Inko jokingly laughs with a tremble in her voice. She tries to recover quickly, afraid of making her son feel too guilty.

From the way Izuku chirps lowly, she can tell he feels bad about making Inko worry. “But what is this? Have you gotten your Quirk already?” Inko asks kindly, trying to distract her son for a bit.

The question seems to excite Izuku, dragon-like face nuzzling against Inko’s. Then, the boy flare’s his wings that were originally tucked against his sides; they are large and leathery, looking about twice his size from wingspan alone. “Wow!” Inko gasps, eyes wide. “You have such pretty wings, Izuku. I’m so proud of you!” the woman coos, and her son fidgets shyly within her arms.

It’s a memorable experience when Izuku changes back. They are in the living room when his form shifts, bones rearranging themselves in a seemingly painful matter; Inko hopes it’s not as painful as it looks. It isn’t, she knows, when her now human looking son is babbling about his newly found Quirk with words going faster than he can fly.

Which was apparently, really fast, if the way Izuku’s eyes sparkled as he talks about his little trip around their apartment’s area.

“I’m very happy you got your Quirk, Izuku. But from now own, please don’t go out without telling me, ne? Kaa-san needs to know where you’re going so that you are safe, okay?”

Izuku nods rapidly, left-over guilt coating over his large eyes. “Okay… I promise I’ll tell you whenever I go out from now on. I’m sorry for worrying you.”

Inko kneels from where her sun is sitting on the couch hugs her little boy tightly. “Thank you. Alright then, we’ll have your favourite Katsudon for dinner and since you’ve just gotten your Quirk, you can sleep an hour later. Take a shower now, Izuku. You can watch some episodes of All Might after that.”

The boy beams at her, rushing off to the bathroom as if fire was at his heels. Inko finds herself smiling. She starts washing the rice before- “Oh!” the lady freezes briefly. Inko looks over her shoulders before yelling “I love you, Izuku!”

“I love you too, mom!” Izuku yells back, giggles breaking over the rumble of the heater turning on. The Midoriya household is peaceful once more.

Chapter Text

Ever since getting his Quirk, Inko notices that Izuku starts to become more and more partial to meat in his diet. Sure, he still eats his vegetables like a good boy wanting to please his mother and grow strong like All Might (his mother’s words also), but then Inko really takes the time to consider how her son acts around raw meat.

The signs are surely there, much to her dismay.

It starts off like this-

The mother and son duo leave for the market one crisp morning when the skies are still a palate of pinks and pale oranges. With recycle bags on their arms, it will be Izuku’s first trip to the market in general.

Gone are the days where Inko leaves Izuku with a trusted babysitter while she goes out for groceries. She’s been wanting to go out with her son like this for a while.

Inko aims a soft smile at the boy’s restlessness; Izuku hasn’t been out this far ever since he’s gotten his Quirk. Nevertheless, only a week has gone by and as far as Inko is aware of, there hasn’t been much change in their lifestyles even if her son can turn into a spooky looking foal now.

Izuku jumps up and down with excitement as he holds her hand while they walk down the hard pavement. They haven’t gone to the Quirk registration building to list down Izuku’s Quirk yet, but the due’s 3 months away; Inko can afford to wait while her intelligent son figures the ins and outs of his Quirk.

So far, the green haired boy has discovered that he can somehow summon some of his Quirk’s features on his human body.             It’s tiring, but practice makes perfect, or so his mom says. Izuku is determined to be able to fly bipedal by the end of his discoveries.

They don’t exactly know what he is. Inko has an inkling of what he might be, though, but even the word is an itch at the back of her head. She feels like she should know what her son can transform into, but it slips her mind oh so easily.

It doesn’t help that the internet has been down for a while either. Maybe she’ll bring her son to the library? He hasn’t ever been there before.

She’s sure that Izuku will adore the place. The boy is always hungry for information ever since he’s learned to read. Thus far, Inko has done her best in teaching Izuku on her own, she gives him books and teaches the alphabets and numbers to him. And now that the boy’s turned 4, with an excuse when it comes his emaciated appearance by his side, Izuku will start to attend proper schooling once the next spring arrives.

Inko knows better than to think she can teach Izuku everything he needs to know on her own.

They’re almost at the market when Izuku tells her that he wants to grow out his hair. Inko gives a questioning noise and her son lights up when he elaborates, “Ne, kaa-san, my Quirk is me right? So, I thought that if I grow out my hair, my mane will grow too; and since I’m gonna start school next year, it means I’m gonna make plenty o’ friends. We’ll have so much fun and I’ll show em my Quirk and they can braid my mane while I’m a horse and, and, and- Wouldn’t that be SO COOL?!”

Inko smiles widely at her son, her cheeks practically aching. At this rate, she will spontaneously combust and evaporate at how cute her adorable son is being. The mother ruffles her son’s soft green locks, “That’s wonderful, Izuku. I’m sure that your friends will be very happy to braid your lovely mane and hair!”

The happiness Izuku radiates is priceless.

When they arrive at their destination, the green-haired boy’s pale eyes dart around frantically. It’s not obvious- considering his pupils are usually quite faint- but Inko understand how the new sights and scents is making the trip as interesting and stimulating as visiting Universal Studios Japan for the first time.

Her boy’s gleeful squeals are loud and high pitched when he points at some Pro Hero’s brand on one of the vegetable stalls.

Holding on to Izuku’s hand firmly, she bends down to remind him not to let go or stray too far from her side in the event he does let go. Her son nods, heading bopping like a small chick pecking at grain.

People stare when they walk past; their eyes are an endless row of sharp piercing looks that Inko wants to shield her son from.

It’s not that bad, considering they weren’t openly whispering. Yet, Inko inwardly berates herself for forgetting this particular issue in her excitement. Children, or any human being actually, don’t normally look like they physically deserve to be in a hospital.

Izuku is worth more than this; her sweet child deserves better. Inko wants to see anything but the cowed posture in his body language. She decidedly hates the way he clenches her skirt like a lifeline while pressing himself into her leg as though hoping it’ll merge with his physical body. It doesn’t take a child psychologist to recognise that he feels afraid, eyes wet and soft lips trembling.

“Kaa-san… why are they looking at us like that?” Like we’re different? Like I’m something scary? Izuku’s voice is weak, seconds away from tears. Inko desperately scrambles to search for an answer, only to fail in her findings.

Within their area, where neighbours are plentiful, Izuku hasn’t ever had the chance to experience the judgmental stares before. Inko has already diffused the situation there, slowly explaining to every passer-by why she’s not a negligent mother.

Yes, he is as healthy as can be. No, please don’t call the police. Heroes have better things to do than save a boy that doesn’t need saving. Your nose in our business is appreciated, thank you very much.

There are always the one or two that voice their scepticism anyway; Inko’s learnt to tune them out if their accusations come forth illogical. Honestly, the mother welcomes all forms of genuine concern and helpful advice, not baseless scorn.

Here’s new territory, however, and Inko panics briefly. She steels her expression and straightens her back. “It’s going to be okay, Izuku.” She soothes, “They’re just curious. Don’t pay them any mind.”

Her son whimpers- honest to Kami-sama whimpers- Inko is about ready to gauge out the eyes of some impolite folks. She’s never tried attracting eyeballs with her Quirk before, but there’ll always be a first for everything.

It only gets worse when another mother is passing by with her own child, a girl about Izuku’s age with dark eyes and darker hair. The daughter points innocently, colour-blind and ignorant of the world’s obsession with putting people in little boxes.

“Kaa-san, why does he look like that?” she inquires. It is shocking to see the other mother cover her daughter’s eyes with a well-manicured hand.

Excuse you?! Inko wants to screech.

“Don’t look at them, baby.” The flat-nosed lady answers and underneath her breath, Inko hears the unsubtle click of a tongue and a quiet mumble of “If you can’t take care of your kid, don’t get one.”

Izuku, with the sharp hearing of his equestrian Quirk, surprises Inko with an outburst of angry tears. “DON’T SAY THAT ABOUT MY KAA-SAN!” He cries. “SHE’S THE BEST MOM ANYONE CAN HAVE YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING! Kaa-san takes care of me and loves me more than anything in the world so why… why are you being so mean?

Izuku’s voice breaks a little at the end before he is sobbing into Inko’s skirt. In the midst of her own shocked silence, Inko barely realizes that her son is beginning to shift from the stress and immediately carries him into her arms.

She turns the opposite direction and leaves with hurried urgency.

Inko finds that she doesn’t really know what to feel about what happened.

On one hand, she wants to be proud of Izuku for defending her, but not at the price of his own tears. It’s kind of unfair that Inko’s used to it, the rude words of people don’t cut her as much as it used to, but Izuku doesn’t know that. In his eyes, his Kaa-san is the best and it had hurt to see her slandered like that.

On the other hand, Inko is…

There isn’t anything other. Bluntly put, the mother’s heart is full of sad regret and pride. No one’s there to change that or input something else. Hisashi is off earning money overseas, non-existent in the art of parenting made for two.

Her darling son trembles.

Shh… shh… Izuku, look at me. Please look at me. I’m so sorry you had to hear that. Kaa-san loves you, you know that right? I’m so proud of you, my brave, brave boy. Thank you so much for defending your Kaa-san. You are the best son anyone can ask for.”

Izuku’s shoulder make ripples underneath his skin and Inko is greeted by huge wings like a bat’s ripping through Izuku’s clothes. They stretch out with dissonance, stretching and flattening wildly; later beating the air at a breakneck speed, it’s an unanswered plea to carry the two of them away from this horrid place as soon as possible.

Wind is in Inko’s face, making her forest green hair flutter about from the gust. Barely wincing, she presses Izuku’s wet face into her neck, later caressing his soft hair and murmuring sweet words to calm him down.

Before she knows it, Inko is with two armfuls of a chortling foal. Someone calls her by her name, Inko turns around to see one of the elderly lady vendors chasing after them. She waves, a plastic bag at hand. Inko recognises her, it is one of the friendlier people in the market.

Nakamura-san has 2 sons who work in the city, her husband’s passed years back and the meats she sells are as fresh as it gets. “Nakamura-san?” Inko squints.

“Hold it, dearie.” The old lady huffs, patting down her undoubtedly aching bad. “Can’t run as I used to no more.”

“Nakamura-san?! What’re you doing here?” the young mother gasps. Izuku is still wheezing; although his wings are thankfully tucked back close as the staccato breaths grow softer. Despite the shut eyes, Izuku’s ears twitch to face the newest stranger. Inko barely manages to rub soothing circles on his sides while balancing the foal she carries.

She’s unprepared when Izuku’s entire body tenses, seemingly alert to something. Inko sees her son’s nostrils flare for a second before relaxing, resulting in a sigh of relief escaping her lips.

“I’m sorry ya had ta hear that, dearie. But here, I got yer usual. On the house.

Don’t be afraid ta come back hrm? The others have all chased away tha’ bitch from earlier.” Nakamura-san grins, full of teeth.

“You’re a good girl, Inko-chan, an’ everyone knows ya ain’t the type to abuse yer kid. Ya speak about em all the time.”

Inko flushes. “Thank you.” she nods gratefully.

“Is that yer son?” Nakamura-san then asks, tone curious.

“A-ah… Yes! His name is Izuku. He isn’t really in any state to meet anyone though. I’m really grateful for your help, Nakamura-san, but I’m afraid we have to go. Please understand.”

“Sure thing, dearie.” Comes the casual wave of Nakamura-san’s hand. While the elderly passes on the plastic bag, her light brown eyes sharpen. Taking a full look at Izuku nearly gives her poor religious heart a heart attack.

Scanning him up and down, an expression of shock slaps across her wrinkled face. It stays for a good while before something reverent replaces it. Inko, unaware for she busily attends to her son, hastily thanks the kind old lady and eagerly speed walks back home.

That went well, Inko sighs internally.

It’s pretty quiet on their way home; Izuku has stopped crying, although strangely enough, his attention has been reverted to the plastic bag she’s hung on her wrist. Her son stares at it with unparalleled attention- like the All Might video he so adores. There’s something predatory about it, Inko brushes it off when a kiss to his cute little beak snaps him out of it.

“You are Kaa-san’s world, Izuku.”

Izuku hums; body warm as he presses deeper into the crevice of his mother’s neck. They both go home smiling.  


“Izuku?” Inko calls out to her son whose head pops up from over the living room at the sound of his name; his ears are up and alert, flicking towards his mother’s voice like a pair of space dishes.

They’ve returned from the market; It’s early in the evening when Izuku is lying down sideways by the couch in his equine form, resting on the seat of the couch as an All Might movie plays (sideways, from his point of view).

Sometimes, the woman wonders how her son doesn’t get headaches that way. She takes a mental note to getting Izuku into dropping the habit soon; it wouldn’t do any good to harm his eyes at such a young age.

Attention away from the chopping board, she hears Izuku give an answering whinny. “In proper words, Izuku.” She gently reminds and the boy is shifting back in the blink of an eye. “Yes, mom.” He says, trotting up to her in an oversized All Might T-shirt and grabbing the hem of her apron.

(It had taken forever to find one that fit his other form when he transformed. Izuku cried- shrieked- like never before when the Present Mic one tore beyond repair. From then on, Inko had begun to seriously consider thorough research when it came to clothing brands before purchasing any shirts, pants, or underwear. If dragon Quirk folks could live with proper clothing, why couldn’t her son do too?)

Inko places a palm on her cheek, “I noticed you paying attention to the beef at the market today. Did you want that for dinner instead?”

“U-um, no… not really.” Izuku shakes his head from side to side. His expression is troubled, like he doesn’t know how to put what he wants to say into a sentence; Inko waits patiently, they have time to spare. “I just thought that the meat looked really good like that that’s all.” Comes the rapid fire of words.

Humming, Inko processes his words and a light bulb brightens up above her head. “Izuku, you mean that it looks tasty uncooked?”

Fiddling with his fingers, “Is that weird?” Izuku tilts his head cutely. “It just smelled really good.”

It isn’t like Inko to deny her son much, because what if it’s his Quirk at play? Will she be deriving her precious Izuku of something essential in his growth? The mother worries, however, only Kami-sama knows what kind of diseases Izuku can get. Like what about Salmonella, or some kind of life-threatening virus?

And wasn’t Izuku a supposed herbivore? He has a beak, but Inko doesn’t want to assume. The horrors are all there, it’ll be a disaster for both her mental wellbeing and her son’s general one if anything bad ever happens to Izuku under her watch.

Cold sweat rolling down her temples in a comically slow manner, Inko coughs into her fist. “I-It’s not weird, Izuku. But people normally don’t like the smell of raw meat. Ah! don’t cry, baby. It’s probably your Quirk, okay? There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sit down at the dining table first, please. I’ll let you try a bit of chicken after cleaning it.”

(Very thoroughly for an hour.)

(Make that two actually.)

Inko honestly has no tears left to cry at this point. Equal parts horrified and worried for her son, she prays that whatever she’s about to do will not make either of them regret it.

One small chunk of chicken (half the size of a baby’s hand) later, Inko learns that Izuku loves the taste of uncooked meat more than Katsudon and she becomes a bundle of mixed feelings. Morbid nervous anticipation fills her veins as she waits day by day, monitoring Izuku for any sign of illness. It doesn’t come.

Izuku is as lively and vocal as ever, prancing about as he learns the joys of hoof painting rather than the typical finger kind. They hang up one of his better masterpieces on the corridor walls- a work of pretty greens, stark reds and bright yellows.

By the next month, there’s news on a new neighbour moving in and Inko finally allows her anxious nerves to rest. Her son is as healthy and can be and maybe- just maybe- she’ll let him snack on some mince pork balls on special occasions from now on. A mortal can only take so much of Izuku’s baby horse(?) eyes after all.

The Bakugous, it seems, will replace the diseased old lady Anko from a few blocks away. She catches wind of the neighbours saying they have a son around Izuku’s age, Inko idly wishes that he and Izuku will get along once they settle down.

Chapter Text

Despite his small frame, there are many things Izuku loves in this world.

He loves his mother, and perhaps his father whom he’ll never meet; he’ll love him because Inko does- or once did, enough to bring him into the world.

He loves heroes. Especially the one known as All Might, adoration adorned upon his head like a silver crown. Izuku has fallen in love with the idea of a Symbol of Peace, to have a world where evil doesn’t exist. Where people as kind and great as his kaa-san will never hurt.

Can you imagine just how amazing that’ll be? To have no pain or pointless deaths; no harsh words or forced loneliness. Izuku has read the books and watched the news, not everyone inspires to be good like heroes. He learns that people call them villains.

(Flames danced in a tango of horror; terror like running lava had spilled everywhere as Izuku could practically feel the sheer weight of damage sinking heavily in his bones. Death had been plentiful that evening, and with it came so much grief and burns and understanding.

So many seers, roused an instinct within him. We’ve wings, bring them home. It suggested with hushed whispers.

There had been darkness despite the brightness of autumn colours lit with smoke.)

Izuku loves helping people and most things that breathe under the sky. His wish puts saving them as its main goal; a part of him understands that although Death is kind, sadness rarely is. Full of empathy, the boy naturally shies away from the sorrow and seeks to bandage the wounds. He wants happiness for those in need.

‘I’ll be like All Might; I’ll be a Hero so no one can be sad anymore.’ It’s a selfish conviction, but dripping with good intentions nonetheless. The child remains ignorant of the whys of his desire, basking happily underneath the light of technical infancy.

He loves his mother’s food even if its uncooked. He loves his home and the collection of hero merchandise that resides in it. He loves the world and people even if its dirty, so says the weird skeletal being in his dreams at night. He loves Quirks, he’s in love with learning about them. He’ll love the bad guys too, if they had a heart.

Izuku doesn’t not love a lot of things, and normally, the extent of it comes in something like phases. The feelings don’t fade, per se. But something stronger pops up, replacing the former obsession.

And for many more years to come, Izuku will love his herd.  


The boy sits in the sandpit in a park located some few hundred metres from their apartment; there’s a bench nearby which Inko reads a childcare magazine with her purse on her lap. She looks focused, Izuku himself mirroring the look.

Isolated from weary children who avoid what they don’t understand, Izuku purses his lips and refuses to complain about the loneliness he feels. Inko notices- of course she does- but Izuku had begged to not push it. He’s technically home-schooled for a reason, much to the irony of Inko.

Plus, he doesn’t want to inconvenience his mom. Inko has experienced enough trouble because of Izuku already; it hadn’t taken a lot for the boy to realise that.

To occupy himself, Izuku plays with his Quirk; tens and hundreds of ways to experiment with it flies through his mind, both logical and illogical. He’s read many horse facts throughout the months since he got his Quirk and so far, the enhanced senses are only second to his ability to fly at great speeds.

The world simply glows alight with a kind of indescribable intensity when Izuku transforms into a colt or allows some of the enhanced senses factor bleed through his human form. Scents burst with flavour and Izuku also hears much better this way; from the singing birds that warn of Summer’s end to the children that play their fun games as the sun starts to sink.

“We're so happy we won, hana ichi monme.”

“We're so upset we lost, hana ichi monme.”

“We want that kid.”

“We don't understand which kid you mean.”

“Let's talk about it!”

“Yes, let's do it!”

 

“We want Hayato-kun, with the regeneration Quirk!”

“We want Rika-chan, with the strength Quirk!”

Izuku kind of wants to join, if he’s being honest.

Taking a look at his mother, the boy abandons the thought. Sticking to theorising and experimenting more of his Quirk in the sandbox instead. Running a finger through the sand, Izuku supposes it’ll work as makeshift paper. He regrets forgetting his notebook back home, but this’ll make do.

He’s found out that apart from the improved sense of smell, sight, taste, and hearing and becoming a weird dragon-like headed flying horse that definitely isn’t a unicorn, Izuku’s elated to find out he can also see in an almost full view of his surroundings.

How does his equestrian brain do this again?

The world spins at first. Izuku falls on his knees, the soft ground thankfully breaking the pressure on his joints. Wings automatically flaring to keep balance, Izuku gives a startled noise when he can suddenly see the back of his head! Not exactly, but it’s like the extent he views things has increased greatly.

Despite the slight headache, delight brews like a storm. Izuku decides he’ll celebrate later when the world stops looking like an endlessly long TV screen on HD. Inko tenses on one side, the milky-eyed boy simply raises a hand to indicate he’s okay.

Having a 360-degree view is about as incredible as being able to sleep while standing, concludes the experiment. He can be a super amazing hero if no villain can escape his sight. They’ll be unable to ambush him, giving Izuku the advantage of surprising his opponent instead of the other way round.

To Izuku, the more vibrant shades of yellows and blues are unsurprising. He’s read about it long before, how horses see certain colours better against the usual greyscale. He’s also read about how horses have 6 senses instead of 5 (perception is hard to explain, though). It also mentioned something about how horses couldn’t vomit? Izuku doesn’t know if he’s actually brave enough to try that fact out.

Nevertheless, the boy’s head whips to the side until it faces the total opposite direction of where Izuku had initially been facing. Behind a dull coloured bush, a distinctly bluish-purple figure lies practically a living personification of a neon highlighter in Izuku’s eyes.

Whoever it is hasn’t stirred an inch despite Izuku’s little activities. He must be very tired. “Izuku?” his mother calls, snapping him out of trance. How strange, the green haired boy thinks. He hadn’t seen the other person earlier when they arrived, nor had Izuku smelled him. No sounds to catch his attention too! Surely, the person’s either very experienced in the art of stealth or naturally unnoticeable in general.

Maybe it’s a Quirk? Izuku perks at the thought.


Shinso Hitoshi hates a lot of things.

Actually, he hates a selected few things.

The loud crash of fallen cups and plates are too loud at night. His parent’s voices get an octave higher when it happens, so Hitoshi hates it when sleep is nigh impossible on days like those. Which is getting pretty frequent, one (fearful) sleepless night too many for a child who’ll turn 5 years old next year.

They yell at each other for reasons Shinso cannot comprehend. Tensions are always high at home; his mother screeching while his father yells. The only time they’re remotely kinder on their voice box are when they discuss putting him up for adoption.

(Hitoshi doesn’t want to leave. He’s only 4 and it had killed him to have to search up what ‘adoption’ meant in the first place.)

Getting them to stop with his Quirk will only make him hate one more thing- himself, which he already does more since his birthday came.

The year feels too long with too many turning points in his life that has happened already or is happening. Hitoshi hates that too. He hasn’t really thought about it, but maybe it’s the- his- Brainwashing Quirk working itself in a fit of irony. The boy who can control others like a villain doesn’t like the feeling of his metaphorical rug being pulled from underneath his feet without warning.

Speaking of which, school is another nightmare altogether. They call him a villain, which he isn’t. They’re afraid that he’ll control them, which he won’t. Human children have never seemed so scary. Has it really only been two months since his Quirk manifested? Wow, Shinso really does hate everything but cats and sleep. 

Anyway, to make up for the sleep time lost back home, Hitoshi enjoys going to the park whenever he can to make for it. He naps behind thick bushes that are almost impenetrable in their density, and with the shade of several large trees and bearably prickly grass beneath him, it’s paradise.

The day’s normal. Hitoshi is in control of today. He attends school in the morning and hops from playground to parks to another playground in search for one empty enough to nap in.

This particular park is good. Comfy enough for the boy to fall asleep within an hour- practically immediately in his books- but there’s the faint sound of someone arriving. Mentally shrugging, it’s already the fourth playground and Hitoshi is reluctant to leave. Whatever, it’s not like they can see him anyway. Visual-safe greenery and all.

It is safe, for an hour. Hitoshi is half-lucid in dreamland when a rustling sound has him scrunching his brows tightly. Hitoshi is squinting when his indigo eyes open. A frankly, very terrifying and very ghastly face greets him and Hitoshi is more than just shocked. The… boy(?) looks like he hasn’t eaten in days and Hitoshi could’ve sworn he’d just seen a zombie with the way the green-haired boy has no eyes apparent?!

Hitoshi yells out a very loud “GAH!” in his second of mindlessness. The boys return the vocal gesture, looking equally freaked. “GAH!” they both go in turns and before Hitoshi knows it, he and the zombie looking boy are GAH! -ing and AH! -ing at each other for a solid 30 seconds.

Thankfully, with a moment of coherence, Hitoshi stops with his undignified noises and says “Stop it!” instead. Green-boy does, and proceeds to just stare at Hitoshi instead. Or maybe he is? Hitoshi cannot honest to Kami-sama tell with the way his eyes are all pale without pupils. The other boy is facing his direction at least. Hitoshi bites his tongue before blurting something he’ll regret later- like ‘You’re being creepy and I’m scared.’

It’s bad to judge someone by their appearances. Hitoshi wants to be a hero after all, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to be like those mean children back at kindergarten.

“Hi!” Green-boy cheerfully greets. Flinching at the volume, Hitoshi is the most confused he’s ever been when green-boy somehow changes his expression in a split second. Looking like the start of someone getting upset. “My name’s Midoriya Izuku,” he says, much softer this time. “What’s yours?”

Pulling back a bit, “Shinsou Hitoshi.” Hitoshi answers back. “I- You- do you want something?”

Midoriya shakes his head, eyes literally lighting up at certain angles where the sun manages to shine through. “Nope! I’m sorry if I’m rude, but you don’t hafta answer if you don’t wanna. But, is your Quirk Stealth?”

Hitoshi stills, inwardly panicking. “No.” comes the single answer, feeling like bile on his tongue. “What does my Quirk mean to you?”

A switch clicks from within Izuku and suddenly the boy is babbling on about his love for Quirks and heroes and his mom…? Hitoshi is appropriately lost in this conversation. Although he does perk a bit when Midoriya talks about heroes.

There’s suddenly only two of them in the world. Behind the bushes and underneath the trees with grass beneath them. Midoriya’s words are an endless stream, but he never speaks too loudly or too quickly for it to become annoying. Hitoshi fights the sleep that threatens to let him fall from the soothing rhythm of Midoriya’s one sided conversation. Green boy has a nice voice, kind of like the birds that sing in the morning.

Hitoshi wakes with his head on Midoriya’s shoulder and the boy’s on his wild fluff of hair. A kind looking woman with hair as green as Midoriya’s smiles fondly down at them. Hitoshi wonders if this is a change he’ll appreciate. Because the hate he normally has within him was muted in Midoriya’s presence. From the first too-loud ‘Hi!’, to the way Midoriya’s body heat makes something so tired in him sigh with relief.

Starting to fidget, Midoriya slowly wakes. Rubbing his eyes and yawning in a way that stretches his face- Hitoshi stares. “Oh! Guess we both fell asleep.” Midoriya giggles. “Hi, Kaa-san.”

“Izuku,” the nice looking lady and mother to one Midoriya Izuku croons. “Did you make a new friend?”

Midoriya turns to Hitoshi, those weird eyes making sweat crawl down Hitoshi’s back. “Are we? Hey, Hicchan. I want to be friends with you, can I?”

Hitoshi doesn’t know (or ask) why Midoriya’s voice wobbles when he asks him or why he doesn’t meet Hitoshi’s eyes as well; but Hitoshi tells himself that yeah, maybe he can afford having friends for a while even if they’ll leave later. Not a hard decision really because to put down the facts, Midoriya will stay as long as he doesn’t use his Quirk, green boy is also awesome in helping him sleep. Hitoshi’s willing to compromise for the sleep eye.

It’s not as if he doesn’t already avoid using Brainwashing as much anyway. So “Sure,” Hitoshi says with a tired (resigned, weary, afraid, Izuku knows- he can feel it) glint in his eyes. “Let’s be friends. You’re my first, by the way.”

“Me too! You’re my first friend too, Hicchan- can I call you that? I hope we get along!”

Hitoshi decides he really likes the way Izuku doesn’t raise his voice much even through the loud happiness of the boy’s body language. The downside’s that Hitoshi is feeling as if a month’s worth of sleep’s just waiting for one more sentence from Midoriya before he-

"Oh! He fell asleep again, Kaa-san."

 

Chapter Text

It takes a lot of courage to be Midoriya Izuku’s friend. Shinso is somewhat aware that although he’s been winging it all this while, surely, friendship isn’t supposed to make his heart threaten to throw itself out of his rib cage so that it may lunge itself into Izuku’s face in replacement of his fist, right?

Already, he can hear the satisfying ‘splat’. By all things under the Heavens, it’ll be a balm to his poor soul to see Izuku’s mouth drop in horror; maybe then the green haired boy will understand a fragment of the sheer worry and fear (and oh Kami-sama please-) Shinso felt as he watches his best friend jump from the top of a tree that was at least three to four times their height without a care in the world.

“IZUKU!” Shinso screams, and he swears he actually blacks out for a split second.


Earlier in the morning:

Shinso opens his eyes with a foul taste in his mouth and a throb in his head that promises the end of the world. He swings his legs from underneath the blankets and quietly tiptoes to the bathroom. It’s a holiday, but a quick glance to the cat-eared clock by his bedside tells him that it’s the crack of dawn. How nice, even more reason to keep his footsteps silent.

With stealth even a cat will envy, he makes it to the bathroom peacefully. Shinso takes a quick shower and brushes his teeth- purple toothpaste squeezed a top a purple toothbrush also purchased by yours truly. Thank Kami-sama for the monthly allowance.

Throwing on a black hoodie and jeans, Hitoshi practically sprints his way out of the house, feet leading him to the boy who his happiness has been revolving around.

Time has flown by ever since meeting Izuku. A few months into trudging about unfamiliar territory and it’s like in the blink of an eye, Shinso’s waking up to the sound of spring birds harping each other for new nesting materials.

(‘Hurry! Hurry!’ Shinso once liked to imagine them say when he’s by his lonesome, ‘We’ve got kids to love and responsibilities to keep!’ Seeing the brown flight of feathers fret over the details of their homes made from scratch, the boy had also wished upon the newly risen sun that his parents would care for him like that too.)

In about a week, school will resume its bland, bland torture with old classmates and literally older teachers. Yet, despite the Hell awaiting him by his hands and feet, Shinso’s heart isn’t anywhere near there. Most days, it lingers where Izuku is.

They meet up at the same part they met. Izuku gives Hitoshi a football worthy tackle-hug and the boy is falling backwards into the sandbox. He’s covered in sand; light grains in his hair and on his face. Hitoshi sneezes, sandy bullets flying and the sniffle after is uncharacteristically loud.

They’re laughing by the end of it; there’s snot, saliva and Izuku smothers a tissue in Hitoshi’s face. Then in the midst of calming down from their giggling fit for reasons unexplainable, Izuku gives yet another hug that makes Hitoshi feel like he means the world.

Hitoshi loves it. He loves the hugs, the conversations, Inko’s invites for lunch and dinner- he loves everything that has to do with being friends with Izuku and he honestly believes that death will be preferable than having to experience Izuku leaving. Who knew that the feeling would come to life so quickly?

It’s ridiculous. Izuku drags him to one of the trees nearby and says “I wanna show you something, Hitocchan.” while they’re climbing to the top. Hitoshi nods, curious and full of anticipation.

Up on the highest branch, Izuku raises his arms until they’re stretched out like a bird’s wings in flight. “Watch.” The green haired boy grins and maybe Hitoshi might’ve felt like there was something he might have missed in that context when his friend suddenly jumps, giving Hitoshi a good test on what heart attacks felt like.

The indigo eyed boy screams Izuku’s name till he’s hoarse. Panic seizes in Hitoshi’s chest and he cannot remember how to breathe-

Air escapes his lungs as Hitoshi wheezes. His jaw feels tight and the logic behind it is that he’s keeping the air inside even though technically, it meant that nothing else could get in either. Vaguely, he hears someone calling him. Cold sweat runs down his face, crawling into his hoodie which feels too hot all of a sudden. The surroundings feel like static and is that his nickname he’s hearing?

“Hitochan! Hitocchan! Oh Kami-sama, are you okay? Look at me, please. You need to breathe!

Izuku hiccups, tears on the verge of spilling and it makes Hitoshi cringes instinctively. He hates that sound, absolutely loathes the bitterness that spread throughout his dry tongue. The indigo-haired boy’s eyes dart up to look into his friend’s. Voice rough, he shakes Izuku somewhat jerkily. “Don’t do that EVER again! What were you thinking, Izu? Were you even thinking in the first place? You can’t just jump off the tree like that, do you want to DIE?!”

“N-No… No! I don’t. I just- Can’t you see them, Hitocchan? M-My wings! That’s what I wanted to show you. I… I’ve finally mastered flying with them.” Izuku says weakly as his petal lips tremble. Hitoshi immediately gives the green-eyed heart-attack simulation a fierce hug and presses an awkward kiss to Izuku’s forehead. Aunty Inko did it all the time to stop her son from crying.

He grits his teeth, jaw aching. Wings? What wings? Hitoshi hadn’t seen anything!

“Where?” the taller one of them tries kindly, “I can’t see them, Izu. That’s why I got so worried.”

Izuku brightens, “Here!” He proudly exclaims. Hitoshi doesn’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but only thin air continued existing behind his friend. “I can’t see anything.” He states bluntly. Goodness, he wants to sleep everything off under a tree while Izuku rattles on about some mundane thing like hoof painting- of all things.

(They talk about everything and anything underneath the sun except their Quirks. Hitoshi can easily tell that Izuku is proud of his when the lines come close, but since Hitoshi doesn’t feel the same about Brainwash, the green haired boy has stopped bringing it up in their conversations.

Guilt aside, Hitoshi’s grateful to find out Izuku refrains from talking about their Quirks in consideration of him. He guesses that Izuku’s Quirk has something to do with his emaciated appearance, though. No one’s that underweight without something going on behind the scenes.

Plus, he may or may not have spotted Izuku chowing on raw meatballs once. It had been the first time he used that bad word Dad said when he argued with Mom the night before.)

“That’s weird.” Izuku voices out loud. Hitoshi wants nod along in agreement, but he really doesn’t understand anything that’s been going on since Izuku jumped off a tree. “Kaa-san can see them just fine.”

Hitoshi settles for a lazy shrug instead. He knows how to play the I’m-totally-chill-about-it game. No biggie, really. They climb down the tree, Hitoshi watches Izuku fidget once they’re on solid ground and can’t decide if it’s impatience that’s churning in his stomach, or pure endearment of the green bean.

“Um, Hitocchan.” Izuku tugs on his friend’s sleeve. “I hope you won’t mind, but can I show you my Quirk to check something out?”

“Sure.” He smiles, “You don’t have to hold anything back for me, y’know. I haven’t said it before, but I want to know more about your Quirk, Izu. It’s just- I don’t like talking about mine.” Whispers Hitoshi at the end. Izuku’s mouth draws into a thin line, concern lining with the pinch tightening on Hitoshi’s clothes.

At that moment, without warning, Izuku disappears. Gone. ‘Poof!’ into thin air. Hitoshi spots neither head nor hide of his best friend. “IZU?!” His tongue slips. Only to come into greeting with a nudge of something solid and real to his chest. Hitoshi looks down. There’s nothing there.

A long whistling chirp is all he gets. Hitoshi raises his arm forward, hovering over an approximate location from where the nudge came from. He drops his hand, and beneath his palms lied something silky. Solid. Like the head of a dog. “What…?” Hitoshi wonders with no little awe. “Izu? Is that you?”

Another chirp, this time less eerie than the last. Hitoshi hears a throaty chortle and back where he last saw Izuku, appears the boy himself. “Was that your Quirk?” Hitoshi asks, brain whirling. What he touched certainly wasn’t Izuku’s hair; it hadn’t felt like any parts of another human, either.

“Yeah!” Izuku exclaims happily, lifting his arms in motion. “I don’t know why you can’t see me, but I turn into a horse! A really cool one with wings and everything.”

“Wow, Izu. That is pretty cool. Still don’t get why I can't see you, though.”

Izuku hums, thoughtful. “I know! We can visit the library. Maybe we’ll find out why over there. Kaa-san brought me there once. Have you seen it, Hitocchan? It’s so big and cold and-” And “Okay,” Hitoshi says, because who’s he to deny the boy who is seemingly made from the personalities of the angels themselves?

Angels, Gods, divinity. Hitoshi mentally laughs to himself. Izuku even said he had wings just now. Truly, it takes a lot of courage to be an angel’s friend.

They hold hands when they walk to library. Afternoon sun shining strongly as the bright blue is smeared with fingers of white. It’s the start of the beautiful day despite the earlier commotion, Hitoshi asks if he can come over to Izuku’s house for dinner as the boy brightly agrees.

“Hey, Izu.” Hitoshi calls.

“Yeah, Hitocchan?”

“We’re friends, right?”

“Of course! You’re my best friend, silly.”

“That- That’s good.” Hitoshi stutters. “I think I’ll tell you my Quirk over dinner tonight. You’ll still be my friend, promise?”

“Promise. Cross my heart and hope to die,”

“Stick a thousand needles in my eye.” They both finish, giggling.

“Thank you, Hitocchan.” Izuku smiles, eyes wobbly with a fresh wave of tears. For trusting me, for letting me stay by your side. You’re one of mine, now; part of my family, part of my herd. Death is kind to Their children, They will not touch you.

(They spend 2 hours in the library. Leaving with more horse care knowledge than a child ought to know. Izuku draws out a sketch on what he looks like as a horse, Hitoshi shakes his head because nothing of the sort came out in the Japanese section during their search.

Maybe they’ll have better luck when they get to the European part another day.)


 

School officially starts.

Hitoshi is an hour away in a different school; His hair is unkempt, bags heavy underneath his indigo eyes. The hatred once subdued comes up bubbling with vengeance. Hitoshi looks out from his window seat feeling like a shaken soda drink. He longs for a friend, and hopes that his light doesn’t dim from the demons than lay in human skin. At least Hitoshi sees his class and knows that he is not a villain.

Izuku sits nervously in his first class on his first day of school; there are eyes on him- curious, but not unkind. (Yet, Hitoshi would’ve remarked bitterly were he there.) Izuku meets a boy whose personality is brighter than a star with palms full of sparks and sweet smells. Izuku calls him ‘Kacchan,’ and the blond boy growls.

Katsuki is hurt on the inside, but he doesn’t- cannot-  let it show. Irritation shoots in his veins and he wishes that all these extras in his new school will shut the hell up. Katsuki's just watched his grandma die and everyone’s acting as if everything is alright. It isn’t, but nobody understands that and it makes him so. Very. Angry.

Chapter Text

Katsuki really likes it when his grandmother combs her hand through his hair on afternoons like these.

Sweat soaks through the black singlet he wears, and his shorts are in no better state. Coming from the harsh heat of the sun is a glare that’s hard to take from the wooden porch they’re resting on. Katsuki idly watches how the air trembles and groans, soon closing his eyes to the sound of rusting leaves jostled by wind as hot as steam.

Their family has a history of sweat that smells sickly sweet, and the scent is particularly powerful this afternoon. It makes Bakugou Maya laugh when Katsuki’s hand blindly reaches out for the clay tea pot filled with cold water and floating tea leaves. “Lazy brat,” She says fondly, and passes him a traditional tea cup over twice the size of his palms.

It’s a good day to hang the bed sheets and dry laundry. The fabrics flutter about, wafting with the scent of something fresh and outside. Like time, if Katsuki must put words to it. The moment feels magical in a way, just like the stories his Baachan loves to tell.

Maya digs calloused fingers into her grandson’s blond spikes, “Aye,” She lets out a quiet breath, “Your hair’s really just like your grandfather’s. Be grateful you got your looks from the royal side of the family,” she chuckles softly.

Katsuki gives an indignant sound, “Bullshit,” he states, earning a light smack on his arm. “This family ain’t royalty. And I’m going to be the number one hero when I grow up, not one of those wussy-looking princes.”

“Watch your mouth, little firecracker. You should be proud of your blood. Your grandfather’s line runs from the dukes of old, and your amazing baachan isn’t a pushover in the family name either. Be proud you’ve got the genes in the family, or you would’ve turned out ugly and weak.”

The tease has Katsuki scrunching his nose, adjusting his position from where his head lays in Maya’s lap. “I’m not weak! And I don’t care about things like looks. Why does it even matter? I’m saying that nobody thinks that fairy tale shit is cool anymore.”

It gets him another smack, but being a potty mouth runs in the blood, so Katsuki casually shrugs of the non-verbal reprimand. “Fairy tales don’t equal to the royal hierarchy.” Maya shakes her head despite her amusement.

For a moment, she stops petting her grandson, and opts for tying up her ebony hair streaked with grey. The woman’s scarlet eyes gleam in the sunlight, letting out an eerie glow.

Bakugou Maya’s straight back catches dignity like a kite in the wind. There’s always something about the air around his grandmother which Katsuki adores. It feels powerful, heavy. The weight of a forest fire in full, able to take lives on a whim.

It’s half the reason he sticks with her as much. Why he bothers to walk 30 minutes to and fro their houses. Turning, the boy buries his face into her thigh, ears tipped with embarrassment. “Fine,” He muffles. “Maybe that fairy tale bullshit’s not as lame. You’d pass for an okay princess, stupid old granny.”

“And you’d pass for an okay knight, disrespectful brat.” She pinches his cheeks. “Don’t give me that look, it used to be a respectable job- they save the ladies and get rewarded for it. Ultimately, they’re heroes in their own way too. What did I tell you but close-minded boys? You won’t get a good Quirk that way.”

She pushes him upright, ignoring the unpolished glare. “Come on, move in a bit. It’s getting hotter out here. I’ll tell you a story inside.”

“But I’ve heard everything already,” Katsuki groans with immaturity only a child can achieve. Smirking, Maya pinches his soft cheeks and weaves a story of a story of old. About a separate world who chooses to leave their future in little boy’s hands. Katsuki thinks it’s pathetic and weird.

The characters wield Magic like how the world Katsuki knows have their Quirks, but Maya strongly emphasises in the difference. Magic is Magic she says, as though it explains everything. Katsuki makes his point by lighting up an explosion, calling it ‘Bombarda Maxima’ in pain-worthy mispronunciation for the foreign tongue.

The unfortunately disguised Explosion Quirk breaks two tea cups and a chunk of the sliding door, but Maya only cackles. Her hair with silver and blacks as dark as shadows tickle Katsuki’s overheated face and he entertains the thought of burning them too.

Nevertheless, throughout the large castles, untimely adventures, and infinite owls, a certain part catches Katsuki’s attention. Thestrals, his granny calls them, as Katsuki asks why no one can see the fascinating sounding creatures.

(A ride worthy of a knight, the blond thinks in a moment of enrapture. A child’s fascination with animals burning strong from within. Grinning sharply, he wonders what it’s like to ride a creature a Saviour has.)

Rubbing her grandson’s shoulders, Maya does her best in explaining how death works. Katsuki nods, pretending he gets it because the one thing he doesn’t want is for his grandmother to think that he’s stupid. Maya simply kisses his cheek knowingly. The blond boy, does not, in fact, truly get what it means for someone to go away spiritually and never return again.

“Thestrals can’t be seen by people who haven’t seen death, but even if they did, you’d have to understand what it means too. No use pretending with me, brat. It’s not something you’d want to know and best leave it that way. You’ll get it when you’re older, though. No rush.”

Maya ruffles his hair. Was that a bit too obvious?

Idly, she hopes that she lives long enough so that he’ll never have to find out at such a young age. Katsuki is a bundle of trouble, but the attitude is as much a front as he is a boy on the inside. Mitsuki has told her about Katsuki’s habit on picking up underlings; it makes her insides churn when he realises that in a way, Katsuki knows death like he knows cruelty.

The boy knows how to be cruel, but he doesn’t understand what it means to knife someone down until it leaves never-fading scars- both literally and non-literally. No half-way decent Bakugou will grow up ignorant of consent and maliciously picking on the weak for things that can’t control. She’ll have to remember to knock the bully out of him before then.

Katsuki’s dozing off by the time the sun’s setting and Maya’s in the middle of underhandedly telling off the questionable life choices of the Saviour’s mentor apparent. She lets out a fond breath and cradles her grandson as if he were still a baby against her chest. Standing up, Maya carries Katsuki to the guestroom that has implicitly always been his.

“Burn brightly always, my little firecracker.”


When Bakugou Maya passes away half a year later, it is within cold rain and poetically unplanned flame.

A single gas leak is all it takes, and Katsuki cannot comprehend the consequence of such. It’s pouring when his mother grabs her son and drags him to the hospital 20 minutes away. The walls of the place are clean with the scent of disinfectant and hand sanitizer. Beds on wheels roll, each repetitive clicks on the tiled floors build something akin to fear in Katsuki.

His mother’s grip on his wrist don’t get any gentler. Sweat collects in his palms and his feet- withdrawn in their own world, almost no one notices the tiny sparks. Katsuki’s lowers his head as his feet take to a semi-jog. He’s used to playful knocks on the head and pinches to the cheeks, this is a new experience entirely.

His father fails to be by mom’s side, but calls and says he’s on the way from work. The knowledge only manages to ease the Mitsuki marginally, it escapes her notice that not once does Katsuki try to wriggle out of her bruising grip.

Storms continue to churn outside; it perfectly reflects the state of the Bakugou family. The mother, father, but not Katsuki. He doesn’t feel anything at all when they announce his granny’s death at 12.34 midnight.

The fact fails to register in him. Katsuki can only stare at the unbreathing body and messy burnt hair spilling off the side of the bed. There’s a strong stench of charred flesh, but it doesn’t really affect Katsuki when all he can think of is it stinks, and she’s dead?

A strange urge to laugh wells upon within him; Katsuki pushes it down with everything he has, but he painful pull of the corner of his mouth comes anyway. It feels like betrayal.

Mitsuki breaks into tears. It’s something Katsuki has never seen before, his mother looks angry first and foremost. As her son, Katsuki blankly tries to imitate it without knowing. She is your caregiver, protector, teacher, the monkey part of his brain provides. Watch and learn, this is how you bow your head to Death.

The rage comes easily enough, rubbing itself aggressively all over Katsuki’s heart. Still, his eyes feel dry and his insides are light. The anger flickers in and out of life, but extinguishes easily when the blond is suddenly pulled long into another room. Vividly, Katsuki can remember how his granny’s legs are covered in exposed patches of red muscle.

He walks a lucid dream after that. There are no nightmares and Katsuki’s somewhat aware that he’s acting as usual save for the silence he wields as easily as the Quirk his Granny often praised. It comes in explosive bursts- Mitsuki cries when he’s soundless for days at a time.

Katsuki learns the language of flowers during his spare time. Excused from school as his parents make arrangements for whatever happens when someone dies, the blond tries to find solace in the meanings of his Granny’s favourite flower. It comes in a book his mother gives him when she catches him staring at one of the flower shops she’s had business in.

The funeral is contrary to what people would think of the loud, magnetic Bakugou family. It’s quiet and private, inviting only close friends and family members which aren’t many to start with. Katsuki is dressed in all black, save for a white button up inside and a flower of mourning in his breast pocket.

He wears it despite his mother’s very vocal concerns, throwing a tantrum to insist that he’s allowed a Higanbana.

He is the favourite grandson of the deceased, and can’t tell the difference between the funeral and wake. Yet, whereupon people are drying their tears or covering their pathetic sobs with wet handkerchiefs, Katsuki stoically sits through the smiling portrait of his granny staring at him with sharp eyes and sharper cheekbones.

Hours later, people whisper that he doesn’t cry.

Katsuki doesn’t get it. He still doesn’t. There’s nobody to call him out on his words from half a year ago.


Time passes, moving easily like how waves coil on the surface of the ocean. Masaru gets a promotion, and there’s news on the family shifting to Musutafu. Katsuki has had plenty of time to think before and after the move. Doing so has him searching out for his dad in the house stacked with cardboard boxes.

“What’s gonna happen to granny’s house?” He asks.

Masaru informs him of their intentions to clean the place up. Perhaps once they’ve settled down, the family can go visit again. Katsuki nods, strangely meek and it makes Masaru’s heart ache. The boy’s come far ever since the first few days, but the bouts of liveliness are counted.

Getting into a new environment seems to put away Katsuki’s emotional turmoil away temporarily. He packs his bag and puts on the uniform with a frown on his face. Stepping into the new class feels like hell.

It’s challenging being among people he doesn’t (want to) know or care about. The urge to simply blow up everything stirs. Their voices are grating- entirely too whiny or bitchy about having to wake up early for class. They talk about idle nonsense like a new curriculum, a new class, two new students! It annoys Katsuki like no other when everyone is acting like the everything’s all fine and dandy.

Like his granny’s death doesn’t matter. To them, it’s only another day in on the calendar. The nonchalance makes Katsuki wants to scream and kick and screech. The fire is stuck in his throat, his tongue feels dry and heavy resting in his mouth.

With a scowl that’s deepening with every second he’s here, Katsuki feels cold relief when they get to pick their own seats at least. The blond glances to his right, where a weak and wimpy looking boy is practically ready to pop open like a soda filled bottle.

Midoriya Izuku has too big eyes and a flickering silhouette. “Hi,” the boy first introduces himself, putting out a hand Katsuki refuses to take. “My name’s Midoriya Izuku.” He continues awkwardly. “It’smyfirstdayhereit’snicetomeetyou!”

Katsuki harrumphs, reluctantly giving his name as well; because when she’s not joking, his granny doesn’t appreciate rude brats who can’t return a greeting properly. The thought stings vaguely, the weak looking loser’s body seems to shift closer to him in their chairs.

“U-um, Kacchan?” Midoriya tries, Bakugou barely supresses the urge to get up and hiss. The teacher’s here though, and it’s the only reason why Midoriya’s not dea- not learning his place in front of Katsuki’s superior self.

(Fine, maybe he did binge a little on the fairy tale books he found in Granny’s personal library. According to the printed family tree, Katsuki’s grandpa is actually a legit Duke. It doesn’t help Katsuki’s re-emerging arrogance.)

Deku, or so Katsuki’s taken to calling the second new kid besides him, is as sticky as melted ice cream. Like some lost lamb, the skinny boy tags along Katsuki during lunch break and beyond.

The blond tries to lose him at the playground, but to no affect. It’s like the stupid Deku’s attracted to him from some unknown force or something. Katsuki feels pissed, he wants to be left alone to cradle the lingering weird feeling left by his Granny. It’s the only thing he actually gets nowadays, taking it as a remembrance.

“Stop running, Kacchan!” Deku calls from behind. Though not from being unable to keep up or anything. On the contrary, the boy doesn’t look even a bit tired or out of breath. Katsuki wonders why for a moment, understanding popping into his head when he spots the teacher a distance away.

“I’ll stop running when you stop following me, stupid Deku. Leave me alone!”

“I- I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”

“And why not?” Katsuki sneers.

“That’s cause- you… you’re- I don’t know! But just let me see you properly!”

“No. Go away, and don’t talk to me.” Katsuki picks up the speed, running further than they’re supposed to in the compound. Thinly lining where the older children normally hang out. Suddenly, Deku’s beside him in a burst of speed. Katsuki screeches to a halt when the boy’s emaciated appearance is right up in his space.

A small explosion comes between them. “Don’t come near me if I say so, stupid Deku! Didn’t your gran ever teach you bout staying away if someone says no?” Katsuki spits angrily. Deku pauses, flinching slightly. The nerd realises his mistake, the blond concludes. And feels proud of himself.

“I’m sorry,” Deku genuinely apologises. Katsuki’s eyes widen with shock when he sees something shimmer behind the green haired boy. The image is blurry, and appearing and disappearing equally quick. Nevertheless, Katsuki had seen it. They look like wings- large and leathery and plus Deku, like the Thestrals his gran once drew out.

A switch flips in Katsuki, desperate to hold on to any sign of his gran. Logical or illogical. He still doesn’t understand it, and maybe he never will. But he knows he misses her, and dreads going back to Granny’s old home without her inside.

“What is that?!” Katsuki raises his voice, making Izuku’s sensitive ears ring. “You can see it?” Izuku wanders out loud, shock evident on his face. “I thought that people my age can’t see them, but you can…?”

“You’re a Thestral!” the blond immediately jumps. Never mind that the creature might as well be mystical and non-existent in real life. “Shit! Hurry up, stupid nerd. Show me, change into your other form.”

Izuku does, if only out of confusion and the stunning wild look in Katsuki’s crimson eyes. He gets the feeling that Katsuki’s looking for something, though, and it’s probably the same thing that’s driving Izuku’s senses crazy into following the explosive boy around.

In his other form, Izuku is taller than Katsuki by about an inch or two. He’s grown since revealing himself to Hitocchan, and hopes to keep the steady progress. Izuku bobs his head, paying careful attention to Katsuki’s reaction.

The blond freezes when he spots the faint outline of the Thestral flickering in and out of sight. He’s seen death, hasn’t he? Watched as the last of his Gran’s life left her. He’s confusedangrysadlonely- so why?

Why did you leave me? Why can’t he fully see the Thestral?

And it hits him, harder than anything else. Worse than when he activated his Quirk for the first time and gave himself burns that lasted for months. It hurts, Katsuki realises. It hurts that his Granny’s no longer here. He can’t drink cold tea with her during summer anymore, can’t unintentionally break cups older than him or can’t sleep with his head on her lap.

He can’t soak and whine in the stink of sweet smelling sweat as she tells stories that last on end, or feel delicate fingers in his hair as she compares him to a prince. Granny’s gone. Buried beneath the earth from whence she’ll return to.  

Everything’s crushing down and Katsuki cannot deal with the weight-

In cold echoes, an eerie trill snaps him out of it. Katsuki jerks from where he stands as still as a statue with wide, unblinking eyes.

Izuku walks up to him, wings relaxed and open by his sides. The Seer is sad, instinct tells him. It makes the Thestral lick a cold swipe up the young Seer’s wet and salty cheeks. Izuku chirps, in what he hopes come off as soothing. Rubbing their cheeks together, Katsuki looks scarily blank.

The Thestral- for now he knows what he is- nudges his body forward gently. Katsuki is easily pushed back, appearing surprised at the unexpected show of strength. The look is somehow vulnerable and open on him, and Izuku lets out yet another eerie sounding chirp. With his head over the blond’s shoulder, their fronts touching, Izuku stands still, waiting.

Finally, Katsuki understands and wounds up both arms around Izuku’s neck. He blinks, and finds that he can see the stupid horse. His eyes trace each individual rib and knobby spine, observing how the skin and short furs on Izuku’s back are a shimmering dark green and a little translucent.

Katsuki tightens his hold, hugging Deku. A wave of calmness washes over him as his fingers fiddle with the long hairs. Burying his face into the growing foal’s neck, Katsuki’s hands instinctively comes to braid Izuku’s mane- taught and practiced on Bakugou Maya herself.

For hours (and years) to come, the two stick together even when the other children complain about Izuku skipping class because they can’t see him.  

Chapter Text

Hitoshi can say that because he’s young and the first best friend (adoptee) of one Midoriya Izuku, he has every right to shoot Bakugou judgemental stares when the boy’s palms literally give out explosions on their first meeting.

First of all, rude. Secondly, ‘This is the boy Izu wants me to meet? The ‘amazing’ Kacchan with a Quirk as awesome (drilled in by his green friend’s own Brainwashing session) as mine?’

Izuku hurriedly defends his new puppy; because if Bakugou is not some kind of rabid mutt, Hitoshi doesn’t know what he is. “I’m so sorry, Hitocchan! It was an accident,” Izuku tries to explain. “Kacchan’s a bit nervous, that’s all.”

The blond boy’s following growl is directed at his best friend first, and soon Hitoshi. Towards the latter, it sounds infinitely more threatening and genuine.

Nervous? Honestly, Hitoshi begs to differ. He recognises the look in Bakugou’s eyes, one that mirror his own. They both have experienced things children their age shouldn’t have to, but they did and they’re here with Izuku in spite of it.

It’s frustrating when Izuku doesn’t understand the problem; for with the requiem he sings for their sadness, alongside too understanding eyes, Izuku’s touched and seen far too much in their souls to the point they cannot help but want to keep him all to themselves.

Locked into a non-verbal battle, there’s a possessive streak a mile long in Bakugou’s glare. Hitoshi can’t be more familiar with it when he has them too. Unfortunately for Bakugou, Hitoshi will not be sharing the one good thing in his life. The wild animal must dance all over his dead body first.

They’re in the park and playground hybrid again. The exact one where he gets his first heart-attack and where Hitoshi and Izuku first meet. The temperature is lukewarm, the soft scent of flowers wafting in gentle winds.

If any of them look up, they’ll notice the sky crowded in fluffy clouds- to the point even finding a hint of blue will prove difficult. A squirrel scurries past at lighting speed, climbing up a tree bark and making the leaves rustle when he finds home on a branch. It’s like the world is sighing, and Hitoshi holds back his own. 

Tired, but determined, Hitoshi utterly despises the way the new mutt has his destructive paws all over Izuku. He preps his Quirk, the tug in his throat and mind ever so familiar. For once, he’s thankful for his Quirk. The way he’s planning to use it might seem a tad villainous, but there’s no helping it. Izuku means so much.

A rude statement wiggles on his tongue. Hitoshi knows boys like Bakugou like the back of his hand, the sunshine coloured dog will take the bait, for sure.

Fine, Hitoshi also thinks, aside from plotting the how-to in pushing Bakugou’s metaphorical buttons. I’ll fight you.

(In between them, Izuku’s expression is oddly serene. Disappointment disappearing with a literal blink, his two friends don’t even notice. They’re too occupied with themselves, fighting over him like he’s some toy to play tug of war over. Anger feels foreign and new for Izuku, but being treated like an object warrants it.)

Pulling down his face mask for the pollen allergies, Hitoshi moves closer to where Bakugou hoards Izuku like some deranged dragon. “Don’t touch him, stupid dog. Izuku’s my friend.” Hitoshi purses his lips thinly, bracing himself for inevitable loudness.

Unexpectedly, Bakugou doesn’t grace him with a reply. Hitoshi internally curses, he can’t use his Quirk if there’s no answer! Bakugou roars with rage instead, skilfully manoeuvring his Quirk to blast him towards Hitoshi.

Flinching makes Hitoshi’s pride sting. The dog has nothing on his parent’s inane arguments, but the explosion flying towards him is both flashy and loud. Plus, it looks painful and he doesn’t like pain at all. Hitoshi cowers, putting up his hands to shield him from Bakugou. The blond smirks, smug at the petty win.

See how you like talking shit about me now, huh?! He mentally spits. Gran scolds him at the back of his mind, but the Einstein wannabe started it first. Thus, let it be known that no self-respecting Bakugou backs down from a fight.

“STOP IT, YOU TWO!” They hear, heads snapping to the side. Deku looks on the verge of tears, biting his lips as the angry tears barely hold. The boy’s shivering, hardly from the cold. His hands are bunched tightly, nails pinching into soft palms. “Hitocchan. Kacchan. I- I’m not some… thing for you to fight over.” He says louder than Hitoshi’s ever heard since they met.

“You’re both my friends, so I thought that if you two meet, you’ll feel as happy as I did when we play together. I wanted to play; Kaa-san even said hide and seek or tag. But, you’re fighting and it’s dangerous- we could get in so much trouble- I also hate that you’re acting as if I’m not here. That’s just so mean, Kacchan. Hitocchan.”

Izuku’s voice breaks at the end, stunning both of the boys into stillness. Guiltily, Hitoshi feels like a villain now. The way Izuku calls them mean hurts way more than when his mother’s hurtful words.

“I’m sorry, Hitocchan. Kacchan. It’s late now, I’ll go back first. Sorry. Bye-bye.”

Their treasure leaves with hot, ugly tears rolling down his freckled face. Hitoshi and Katsuki don’t move until they can’t see Izuku’s back anymore. They look at each other, making eye contact filled with shame. Something eats at their insides, even the emotionally compromised Katsuki knows what it means.

“I’m sorry.” Hitoshi blurts first, eyes like purple gems sparkling in panic.

Katsuki turns his head, hanging it shallowly. “I’m sorry, too.” He mumbles.

Tension fills thickly in the air. Hitoshi barely avoids anxiety’s whispers to clamp his mouth shut while it takes his breath away.

“Hey.” The blond calls, in which he nods jerkily to while crossing his hands against his chest in obvious discomfort. “Shinso, right? Meet me here again tomorrow. There’s no school and I don’t think Deku’ll like to see us soon.”

“What do you want to do?” Hitoshi asks wearily.

“We’re gonna throw the nerd a surprise party as an apology. I know I was kind of rude to both of you. My gran always said that giving gifts always made her happy when she was sad. Or hearing interesting stories. We could get him a book on Quirks, or something. You’re paying half.”

It pries a small smile on Hitoshi’s face. “Yeah.” He says. “Yeah, let’s do that. I’m sure Izu will love it.”


The idiotic loser- that looks as though he desperately needs the length equivalent of sleep lasting Katsuki’s lifespan- shuffles beside him with a hunch. Only because his gran abhorred horrible posture does Katsuki slap the purple boy’s back.

The act results in a rather splendid sound, from both body and boy- if Katsuki doesn’t say so himself. It’s second to Gran’s, at least. The lady could be a demon to the models she managed back then. Hitoshi gives him glare, in which Katsuki tells him to shove it before saying “You’re welcome.”

Nobody’s nicer that he is, at this point. The Eggplant better appreciate Katsuki’s thoughtfulness. He doesn’t give it out to every Tom, Dick and Harry.

They arrive at the shopping complex with little problems. Getting to the bookstore, however, becomes another matter entirely. Shinso’s in charge of that part, they’ve agreed on it already. Unfortunately, the loser has no sense of direction to save his life. It’s a miracle he even makes it to his and Izuku’s meetings. Not that Katsuki cared.

The blond yells, obviously. Kicking up a commotion that pulls attention on them twice. There’s almost a third when unbeknownst to the pair, Bakugou Mitsuki shoos away a patrol officer after pulling him by the elbow as she hides behind a well-positioned signboard. The man leaves after an “Oh.” of understanding. Normal children have their first errand; these ones go shopping to salvage a friendship on the verge of tipping.

No half-decent parent will let their child adventure alone in such a crowded place, so it strikes Mitsuki in all the wrong ways when she doesn’t see a hint of her son’s new friend’s own parents. Then again, she doesn’t exactly know what they look like.

They finally find their way to the bookstore, thank Kami-sama. It’s been an hour.

Katsuki is the one to drag the basket equipped with wheels. They make their way down shelves of colourful covers, the face of a man on a mission etched on their expressions. Hitoshi walks behind Bakugou, pausing long enough for Katsuki to notice.

The blond pops his head from the shelves on the next row. “What’cha waiting for, Eggplant? Hurry up already!”

Hitoshi waves a hand. In his hand is a white book with pictures on its cover. He traces the spine, reading off the cover. “Hair-styling for the Idle Beginner.”

“What’s this shit for?” Bakugou says, taking (read: impolitely snatching) the book from Hitoshi. “Izu likes it when I play with his hair. Thought we’d get a book about it. For us. To learn, that is.”

“I don’t need a stupid book to tell me how to braid hair.” Comes the complaint. “I already know how to do it!”

“Look inside.” Hitoshi drawls. “There’s like, a hundreds types. I don’t think you can know all of them. And it’ll make Izu happy. This one’s on me, if you don’t want to pay. I’ve got enough cash saved up.”

“Shut up, shitty Eggplant. Don’t look down on me, you saying I can’t learn all of it? Screw your money, I’ll pay more than half and keep the book.”

Smirking, the purple haired boy shrugs. Amusement dances in his eyes. “Fine. But I get it on Wednesday to Friday. It’s my money too.”

“Deal.”

The book on Quirk is an easy task after that. Turns out, it sits prettily only 2 rows away. ‘Quirks from the Beginnings of Time.’ It’s called. As promised, Hitoshi and Katuski pay half each for the hard-covered thing. Hitoshi quietly thanks all the gods above that both books are with discount. His poor (literally) wallet is crying.

The next day, Hitoshi and Bakugou arrive on the Midoriya’s apartment doorstep. Inko answers the ring with wide eyes. She’s anything but unwelcoming, though. “Oh my~ Come in, Hitocchan, come in. You brought a friend. And who are you, young man?” she smiles gently.

“Bakugou Katsuki.” The uncharacteristically meek Bakugou answers. “My mom got some sushi just now. It’s for Dek- Midoriya.”

If Inko notices the slip, there’s little indication. “Thank you so much, Bakugou-kun. Now, don’t just stand there.” She giggles. “Please, have a seat in the living room. I’ll call Izuku out for you. He’s been feeling under the weather lately and hasn’t gone out since.”

Both feel guilt at the casual mention. Bakugou trails behind Hitoshi as the latter’s more familiar with the Midoriya’s household. They plop on the comfortable couch as Inko carries a tray of tea while calling for Izuku from his room.

Did he not hear them earlier?

The door with the All Might name plate squeaks open. Hitoshi personally can’t see anything, but Bakugou’s body freezes so it must be Izuku lounging about in his other form again. “Hey, nerd.” Bakugou says (too) softly.

Hitoshi hears the answering chirrup before he greets Izuku to. “Hi, Izu. It’s… um, nice to see you.” Great job, Hitoshi. And it was the only one.

Izuku shifts, and shimmers back into humanoid existence in a grotesque transformation. The boy nibbles on his lips nervously, fidgeting and playing with the loose thread on his Midnight t-shirt with a specially customised open back. It’s unplanned, but Hitoshi and Katsuki apologise at the same time without warning.

“Sorry!” “We’re sorry!”

The latter belongs to Hitoshi, while the former Katsuki. Izuku startles, hands gripping his shirt. Bakugou moves towards the boy, Hitoshi easily following. He hands him the paper bag with the book his father helped wrap in Hero-themed wrapping paper. “It’s for you. Cuz we were being asses and didn’t think about your feelings. The shitty Eggplant and I picked it out. Will you play tag and hide-and-seek with us tomorrow?”

“I forgive you, Kacchan. Hitocchan.” Izuku vehemently nods. Happy tears pour, Hitoshi quickly grabs Izuku into a long overdue hug. The boy smells like home and pretty winters. They’re both laughing at the end of it, Bakugou shifts his weight by the side.

“Heh. Can I hug you, Kacchan?” Izuku learns to ask this time.

Bakugou is bright red before he consents. “If you want to, Deku.”

Izuku squeals with delight. “I do!” he cheers, and squeezes Katsuki that the bony frame against him presses indents into his skin. Meanwhile, Hitoshi takes the chance to pet the sunshine spikes. It’s softer than it looks, surprisingly.

“Boys!” Mother Midoriya calls from the kitchen. “I got the sushi ready, come here if you want some!”

All three scramble to the kitchen, Izuku almost tripping over himself. His wings spread wide instinctively, which knocks into Hitoshi as the corridor is that narrow. Two effectively taken down, Katsuki reaches the counter first.

He steals the most expensive one from the two on the platter. It causes Hitoshi and Izuku to deck it out when the purple eyed boy simply resorts to bribing his friend with a new type of braid to test out.

 

Chapter Text

When Izuku opens his wardrobe sometime after breakfast, he notices more than one difference in the stack of wearable Hero merchandise. It results in a short glance over his shoulder, jitters of anticipation vibrating in his chest.

If nothing else, Izuku is hoping for a prank of some sorts, one that he’ll honestly welcome during any time of the day. But even after several minutes have gone past, there’s no one to jump through his room, screaming ‘Surprise!’.

It’s illogical, he knows, but disappointment rolls in his gut anyway.

Hitoshi and Katsuki are both away for the short break from school. The former had gone to live with his mother’s parents for a week, while the latter had left for his Gran’s house to clean up and pay respect to the late Bakugou matriarch.

Nevertheless, Izuku feels the loneliness like how clothes churn and turn in the washing machine. It’s unpleasant, making him woozy with the consistent longing for his best friends.

But moving back to the matter at hand-

First of all, there’s simply more stuff than usual, which makes the boy frown a bit. Curiosity burns first and foremost in his mind, though, rather than annoyance. Inko has known better than to raise an ungrateful child and honestly, he might even be feeling a little bit happy.

Conflict is the emotion he’s looking for; because at the same time, Kaa-san doesn’t normally buy his clothes without at least bringing him along herself to choose, or taking a picture first.

What’s curious is that the newest additions look expensive on top of new. Izuku gives a questioning hum before taking out a dark Midnight shirt with an empty triangle right below the soft collar. The design is feminine, but Izuku is also a horse, so anything gives.

With practiced ease, Izuku ties his shoulder length hair into a messy bun, soon pulling up a pair of grey sweatpants. “Kaa-san,” he calls from the All-might plated door, “Was there a sale recently or something? I have more stuff to wear now.”

His mother’s head pops up from where she’s crouched down behind the counter. “Ara, do you like them, Izuku? I got them from some of the kind baa-san and jii-san at the wet market. They said that no one in their family can wear it anymore, so they wanted you to use it. It’s so nice of them, don’t you think?”

Izuku doesn’t voice any questions out loud even though he does experience a large wave of puzzlement at the situation. Licking his lips, nothing in there is old, the boy imagines saying. Inko hums as her fingers turn the knob on the stove, it lights with a few clicks. “Would you be a dear and chop the vegetables please, Izuku?”

Ever the dutiful son, he naturally agrees, so the comment will remain unsaid. Attention diverted, Izuku doesn’t even spare a second glance the next time he pulls out a limited edition turtleneck of the elusive hero Eraserhead.

The mystery of the wardrobe filling up quicker in weeks than it has in years shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Another funny thing among it, nevertheless, is what Izuku realizes next. They’re having meat at least four times a week- a feat practically impossible in their household.

Hisashi’s income is the mirror to how much Inko spends; as such, Izuku can only give a wobbly grimace when the boy sees his mother refraining from buying new skirts or kitchenware for herself.

Pityingly, they don’t buy as much posters or figurines after the occasion dawns an epiphany upon Izuku. He tells himself that his mother is grateful despite the apologies she whispers by his bed.

Meat is expensive, but they’ve been having it so often lately. So, “Kaa-san,” Izuku blinks, registering up a familiar sense déjà vu. Inko’s response is a hum. School’s starting today, and Izuku’s always been an early riser. Sometimes more so than his mother.

Today is one of those days, where he had fallen asleep while standing, and had woken up to the slightest of sounds. Izuku is already out by the counter when Inko leaves her room to start making breakfast and packing her son’s lunchbox.

“We’ve been having meat a lot, huh.” He tries, because being subtle is not really a skill he’s been practicing. Maybe he will one day, but for now, he waits for his mother’s eyes to light up with realisation. How are we affording this? Did the market people give you food too?

He’s eleven this year, he can handle a few household matters. His mother doesn’t have to be ashamed of anything, Izuku understands everything perfectly and he really just wants to help. Well, at least that’s how it looks in his head anyway. The conversation doesn’t flow any further than that when Katsuki’s characteristic doorbell rings fill the apartment.

The bell-like gongs are rapid and impatient, exactly like how Izuku feels. It’s exasperating when Katsuki does that. Especially for his sharp sense of hearing, Izuku has reminded his friend countless of times that ringing twice was more than enough.

Katsuki hates listening, as usual. The sound of Hitoshi reprimanding the blond also reaches his ears, however, and Izuku can’t help the fondness that creeps up like an unsuspecting predator. “Coming!” the Thestral yells from one end of the apartment.

“Deku!” “Izu!” they both gushed immediately after the door squeaks open. Katsuki playfully wrestles him into a head noogie, his grin is as sharp as ever. Hitoshi waits till his friends are finished before enveloping Izuku into a warm hug. “I’ve missed you.” The violet-haired boy smiles, “And the stupid firecracker also, I guess.”

The greeting shouldn’t be making him feel any warmer, but Izuku brushes of the denial with ease. He’s ecstatic to have his friends back. “I missed you both too, Hitocchan, Kacchan.”

“Of course! I wouldn’t expect anything less for me, nerd. Good morning, Aunty Inko. What’s this? Is there a celebration or something you have beef and- shit- a square watermelon! My mom always said those villain-damned conmen will go to hell when they make them pricey as f- frick!”

There’s a chime of laughter that comes from the kitchen. His mother seems to find infinite amusement whenever Katsuki comes over; Hitoshi is laughing too, hands covering the snicker.

“Ah! Kacchan! You forgot to take your basket with you.”

The boy in question turns his head at the statement. Hitoshi looks confused, hands tensing because there are no gifts to leave behind. He’d walked with Katsuki the entire way here. “His Majesty Murder didn’t bring a basket when we left,” Hitoshi informs as he sees Izuku carry the well weaved carrier into the apartment.

“Yeah, I didn’t.” Katsuki admits, tone slightly weary. “Put the unknown shit down Deku. Didn’t Aunty Inko tell you not to pick random stuff up from wherever.”

Izuku does, settling it down by the corridor. Sniffling subtly to pick up on anything unfamiliar from the gift basket, all he gets are sweet scents of fresh fruit. “It’s safe, I think. There’s apple and oranges; even pears and grapes! An’ If it wasn’t you who brought this,” the boy points, “- Kacchan, then who did?”

Inko wipes her wet hands on the wide space of her apron. “Can you find any cards, Izuku? Close the door, please, it’s getting cold out.” Or there could be some creep, she doesn’t say. Seeing Izuku shake his head with the implication of no makes the mother’s protective instincts hiss. The worst case scenario spins tales in her head like an untameable cyclone, “Izuku. Don’t touch that, and come here.”

Trotting over with solid hooves against the hard wood, Inko takes little more than 10 minutes before she’s hurdling her boys into the car. “Where’re we going?’ one of them asks and the mother of three naturally says that it’s the police station.

Unfortunately, the Midoriya matriarch is brushed off. To be fair, there’s nothing to indicate any danger, plus the incident is a first as well. A policewoman is sent when Katsuki screams at the counter person’s face. A compromise, considering Hitoshi volunteers to Brainwash someone for a proper investigation.

(Izuku feels proud, he really does, with the fact that his first friend is finally comfortable with his own Quirk, but is that ethical…?)

With a curt introduction of her name, the police folk inform them that the policewoman with narrow eyes has a Quirk that allows her to sense the intent behind an inanimate object of the person that last touched it. The information doesn’t come from herself as the lady’s already busy with her eyes closed, mind reaching far into a space where normal people cannot reach.

With a gasp, Izuku flinches when a crack literally echoes from the police lady’s neck when she spins hard enough to face him. Eyeing the family with a dazed glower that looks more instinctive than anything else, “Mrs. Midoriya.” Echiko Komine grits. “I’d like to have a word with you.”

Izuku, Hitoshi, and Katsuki are left behind as Inko is guided into a private meeting room. A man who adds the word detective behind before his name babysits them in turn. “Call me Detective Tsukauchi. It’s nice to meet you.”

Hitoshi clams up, already on edge by being in the place that could potentially destroy his life as he knows it if they ever find out about the crashing plates and increasing yells. Empathetically, Izuku- who’s also holding hands with the purple-haired boy- catches on to it like a daffodil flower on jeans, flunking his own name by accidentally biting on his tongue. It’s like a domino effect, because the somewhat subtle tears from both his friends then sets Katsuki off.

There’s at least three explosions before Tsukauchi calls backup with the infallible composure of one Aizawa Shouta. People are scrambling towards the commotion in records time; somewhere, the detective even vaguely hears someone hissing “Damn it, Fujimoto, what did I tell you about not putting out your cigarette light properly?!”

There’s even a cop who’s dragging an old man with him. A visitor? Suspect? Came for the lost and found? Either way, the Katsuki kid is burning holes with a glare as though Tsukauchi had offed at least three generations of his ancestors. “YOU FISH-EYED FUCKER!” Growls the boy prepping up a fourth explosion, “WHO THE FUCK GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO MAKE THEM CRY!”

Blood dribbles from the green haired kid’s mouth, in which he’s frantic to stop with cupped hands and a wince. The bite must’ve been deep, Naomasa concludes. The familiar smoke of the fire extinguisher blinds any form of vision. “Izu!” a high pitched voice yells over the clouds of white. “Kacchan! Izu’s gone! Someone snatched him away from me.”

“WHAT?!” Comes the ear-piercing screech.

Frankly put, the station is in chaos. As the white fades, scorch marks stain the tiled floors and civilian and officer alike are scrambling towards every direction on the compass possible to find the child allegedly kidnapped under their noses.

“Oi, someone look after the kids and find the missing one. Fujimoto! Where’s the man you were with?”

“Huh?” Fujimoto with the Koala Mutation Quirk answers unintelligently.

Right, Tsukauchi blinks. First find the little Midoriya, then the old man, or both. What a day.


 Seemingly remembering that academy training exists for this very reason, everyone quickly follows through with protocol in a quick and orderly manner. The station is properly quarantined with cops at every entrance; Midoriya Inko and her guide are made aware of the situation and the mother pushes her worry away temporarily to prioritise calming Katsuki and Hitoshi down.

It’s the least she can do as the police are already hot on her boy’s heel.

They find Izuku in less than hour, sitting on one of the waiting area’s chairs at a rather unobtrusive corner. The aforementioned missing old man is there too, on his knees with hands put together in prayer. His head bows down in worship. “Izuku-sama…” He mumbles reverently.

It’s one of the most awkward things Naomasa has seen. But the thought changes when Izuku seems to know what the man’s waiting for, or expects. He places a small, dainty hand on the man’s head and whispers something into his ear.

The old man weeps. Ugly tears stream down his face as a wretched sob leaves his chapped lips. “T-Thank you…” the crowd that’s slowing forming hears despite the soft vulnerability of the scene. “Thank you.”

At the end of the day, they don’t find out who the basket belongs to, but the police lady with Inko would eye the old man every so often before she, Naomasa himself, and the family of four walk towards the station exit. Katsuki asks out loud what the ‘shitty geezer’ wanted. “Closure,” Izuku says with a weird tone, slightly too old and too wise. “He wanted to know if his family made it to Heaven properly.”

“And how would you know that, Deku?”

“Cause I never get lost, Kacchan.”

Like Hell that answers anything. Pity aside, Tsukauchi kind of sympathizes with Eraserhead. The man deals with kids like this for a half his living expenses; five days a week or more if the situation calls for it.

  

Chapter Text

Sometimes, the shitty Eggplant likes to say that people won’t believe in his firecracker of a friend’s capability to be a thinker with the way he normally acts. The mere jest of it is so ridiculous that Katsuki doesn’t even beg to differ.

Afterwards, in a purposeful bout of pettiness, the blond will then take all of Hitoshi’s cat themed stationary (which includes the entire pencil case, with the exception of that one pencil) and say, after a good old wrestling match, something along the lines of how those extras are equally blind as they are braindead.

Entertainingly, Izuku will literally be in the middle of the spat, and the boys will mysteriously never touch him with their fists or Quirks. He only loves them more for it.

My grades are shit fucking tons better than yours, Katsuki will argue with new bruises on the expanse of his back and face, with arms crossed cockily over his chest. Why? Because due to their superior genes, a Bakugou will always be at the top with their keen and perceptive mind that is never stupid.

The police incident never truly leaves Katsuki’s mind because of said mind. It’s been half a year, but the memory simply wiggles about in his mind like a worm stuck in a decaying apple.

Unsaid stories were told in their exchanged words. Repeating and repeating and reappearing.

“Closure.”

“… if his family made it to Heaven properly.”

“Cause I never get lost, Kacchan.”

These lines may not have triggered anything particularly bad, but Katsuki needs to know.  

What did Deku mean when he had said all these? What is he missing from the picture perfect painting of his best friend?

In all fairness, the conversation had sounded like Deku would lead the dead into the afterlife for fun! The place of hellfire and pristine gates, where his Gran may be with Mochi-filled plates.

Regardless, its somewhere Katsuki won’t be going anytime soon. He’ll make the world spin counter-clockwise if push comes to pull, no one even remotely involved in tickling his heart is allowed to leave; Katsuki loathes to admit what’ll happen to his fucking soul if they do.

Think, the boy tells himself. What could Deku mean?

To put down the facts, Hitoshi and Katsuki both have realised that the Thestral has a watertight sense of direction- a GPS without the connection error. But it has never struck Katsuki that Deku even knows the route to Heaven.

That can’t be a thing. There’s nothing even close to make sense with that information. Yet, even if the afterlife is somehow tangled in the yarn-ball known as Midoriya Izuku, Katsuki knows too much about fairy tales and folktales to understand the importance of letting the dead lie.

Being a thinker is partially the reason he calls Hitoshi over. Currently, the boy is braiding the wig of a mannequin head for practice while Katsuki thinks, fingers pinching the sharp jut of his chin.

“Calm down,” Einstein Hair idly chides, “Fuck you.” Katsuki jabs back with little heat. “And you’re doing it fucking wrong, your sections are uneven, that’s why it’s coming out like shit.”

Hitoshi nods, immersed in getting the waterfall braid right. For someone who’s eerily skilled in tying the Macramé in 4 different variations, the guy can’t braid to save his life. Katsuki eats up the offered soft thanks with a smug smirk, soon continuing to pace back and forth on the plush orange carpet.

It goes on for what feels like too short of a time to think things through, but Hitoshi’s irritated grunt tells Katsuki that it’s been way longer. 1545 reads the digital clock on the bed-stand next to a standing frame containing a picture with all three of them.

Shit, they’ll have to meet Deku for sign language classes soon. For the life of him, Katsuki can barely even remember if he’s done the practice-based homework. “FUCK!”

“Your bad.” Chuckles the unhelpful Eggplant, apparently reading his mind. “This wouldn’t have happened if you stopped riding Izu like a pet horse last year. Taking sign language classes to spite my Brainwash might’ve been the best thing ever. For us, I mean. Not you. Who would’ve thought that responding non-verbally could work too?”

“Not me, no shit. But- fuck- you just wouldn’t stop bitching about it! Deku already said he didn’t mind! And I didn’t learn sign to spite your lame ass. I’m going deaf, fuckwit.”

“Right,” Hitoshi deadpans. “Even though you only realised that after the fifth class.”

“I was 10!” groaned the blond. “My Gran told me that children are always stupid at 10.”

“You literally just said that Bakugous are never stupid,” Hitoshi sighs, and seeing the Firecracker’s vexed expression, “Later, then.” He waves. “Izu’s probably outside already. I can hear Aunty Mitsuki calling for us.”

The scowl on Katsuki’s face is all bark and no bite. Grabbing their bags, an explosion blows where the blond suddenly hammers his beaten desk. “I got it!” he gasps with an excited breath. Hitoshi jerks his head back, lips twitching.

Great, the second oldest of the area-famous trio sighs sarcastically.

“We’ll tail him! Deku doesn’t hang out with us after school on Wednesdays so it’s a fucking free pass to see what he’s up to. We’re gonna find out what the nerd’s been hiding from us.”

“Isn’t that… like, stalking? Y’know, illegal stuff?”

“You using your Quirk on me to buy cat treats is fucking ‘illegal stuff’. Suck it up, pussy-lover. And you’re a liar with your pants about to catch on a fucking explosion if you tell me you aren’t curious too. Not when Izuku’s everything.”

The thing is, Hitoshi worries while looking into those blazing scarlet eyes, he’s not wrong.

The feeling’s ugly, hideous beyond compare. Worst still, they both aren’t ignorant of it; like how people know that the Earth revolves around the sun, everything’s as clear as day: scheming like this behind someone’s back is wrong.

They’re supposed to be better than this. Especially as each other’s personal self-reflection journals.

Deku and Hitoshi know of Katsuki’s searing ambition and simmering anger. They burn him until kindness can no longer gauze the wound. They tell him this, so the boy cannot pretend that his temper could not have become something villainous.

Similarly, Katsuki and Deku are also aware of Hitoshi’s bottomless anxiety that takes his breath away amidst locked jaws and an anchored tongue. The sight of porcelain represent danger, words that are sharper than broken glass make his reaction dull with compliancy.

It’s a constant battle in a dessert of quicksand; he’s told them about the first time his mother laid her hands on him. He felt nothing.  

Deku too, is aware that he’s dangerously kind, but just as sad because of it. Always knowing and understanding, the boy will take on emotional baggage from any person on the street until he’s dragging the weight on his knees, shredding up the smoothness of his skinny legs.

They share and tell and show in simple words and scars. Helping and loving and supporting each other in spite of it. Co-dependency draws a thin line if anyone will look deeper into the trio who are together six days a week.

One line can sum it all up. Shinso cries- a terrifying thing- when he’s made to go back to his parent’s house or if he’s not within the presence of either one of his friends for more than a day.  

(Bright Katsuki, calm Hitoshi, and selfless Izuku, neither of them know of Inko’s intentions to send each of them to a counsellor one day.

Mitsuki agrees, no one had sought help when Katsuki’s Gran passed away. Regret stinging a bit too late on her and her husband’s conscience.

Hitoshi’s case in itself deserves to have an arc of its own for it is no less insignificant and no more significant than the others. The boys may have been born with a shadow’s child in their mind, but that’s okay. They can learn to cope, together.)


The implicit promise comes true on the following Wednesday. Hitoshi personally feels little guilt when it comes down to it, leaving wondering thoughts on when his moral compass became so warped wherein Izuku is involved.

But that in itself is screwed up too, in a way, because it’s like he’s blaming his best friend for the subtle change.

The blond is already at the meeting place, ever the over-achiever as punctuality can and will become a competition if a Bakugou declares it so.

The skies look good today, full of azure blue against smears of white that are barely present; there’s not even a trickle of warm wind blowing heat waves like nobody’s business. The weather’s suspiciously nice.

So nice, it’s kind of hateful.

Hitoshi breathes out softly when a ray harsh light hits his eyes, forcing a squint. “Yo,” he greets, hands tightening on the strap of his cat-eared bag. “Last call now. To go, or not to go? That is the question- cause as much as I am loving the idea on doing illegal things, I don’t wanna see Izu cry.”

“He won’t.” the blond scoffs with a roll of his eyes. “The nerd’ll understand.”

“I sure hope so.”

“We’re his friends, aren’t we?”

“Friends trust each other, last I read.”

“Friends don’t keep shit from each other too. Update your fucking manual.”

“Point.” Hitoshi relents. “I’m keeping a secret though, by the way. I haven’t told you or Izu cuz I needed time to think about it.”

Katsuki cracks his neck, eyebrows scrunching until they almost touched. Piss poor as the blond is at hiding emotions, the cat-lover’s heart clenches the moment he sees an ugly kind of sad anger crumple into his second best friend’s face.

“Is it about them?” He enunciates at the last word; Hitoshi gets a nod for the glower. “I’ll fucking kill them one day. I’ll do it, I swear, I fucking will.”

It’s one hundred percent sincere when Hitoshi says “Thanks,”. Unfortunately, they both know Katsuki can’t. Not if they want to be Heroes; not if they want to stay by Izuku’s side.  

The heat gets stronger the longer they stand beneath the clear blues filled unbridled tension. Streams of sweat are pouring down their faces when Katsuki breaks the air by grunting.

“by my side, Shitty Eggplant. We have secrets to dig the fuck up.”

Hitoshi follows.

 

Chapter Text

Tagging Izuku is a lot less boring than people would believe. The green-haired boy simply lingers around a selected playground for what feels like hours. Katsuki and Hitoshi boringly watch him go back and forth on the swing, repeatedly.

It drags to the point Katsuki grunts and looks as if he’s constipated. The blond twelve-year-old is about ready to throw a fit when an unknown figure approaches Izuku.

The woman wearing a well-woven straw hat with a light blue ribbon tied around it is as shifty as some amateur on the lookout for drugs. The boys can see her nervous expression as they’re hiding behind a tree that’s facing their friend’s back.

“Who the fuck’s this bitch?” Katsuki mouths voicelessly. Hitoshi shakes his head; he doesn’t have a clue either.

As Katsuki’s hearing is half reliant on his hearing aids, it’s normally decent at best if he wishes to eavesdrop. The blond nudges Hitoshi’s shoulder with an elbow as a result, the implicit order to replace him in the task is as transparent as glass.

Much to either one’s dismay, their cover is way too far to hear anything clearly. Therefore, the information that comes in short and broken phrases are decidedly unreliable.

Numb on both legs with lashes dripping with sweat, the two stick to pure sight-based observation.

There are strands of hair that stick out of the circular dome the hat has to fit her head. She’s bespectacled with dark-blue hair, still young and pretty looking. Perhaps around her mid-to-late twenties.

Katsuki almost compares her with his mother when he remembers that Bakugou Mitsuki doesn’t age like normal people do. “I think she’s called Nemuri.” Hitoshi suddenly interrupts the blond’s train of thought. 

The purple haired boy is squinting as he says it, forehead all tight and furrowed. He’s working hard, so Katsuki’s logic tells him that he can’t be the only useless one in this endeavour. He purposefully smacks Hitoshi in the eyes, temporarily blinding him.

The victim of the violence gives a silent cry, too shocked for any sound to leave him. “She’s bowing,” Hitoshi hears Katsuki’s scratchy pubescent voice narrate. “I think she wants something. Shit, she’s touching him now too. Get your filthy hands off, perverted hag!”

“What?”

“Bulk up, Eggplant. Can’t you see what’s happening? Damn, you’re useless.”

You were the one who did this to me, dumbass!” Hitoshi hisses. “I can’t see and I wonder why.” He adds with venomous sarcasm.

With a good traditional rub, Hitoshi’s sight returns even if it may be blurry around the edges. He sees the woman that Katsuki’s talking about with her hands on Izuku’s forearms, eventually lowering herself to her knees.

“That fucking paedophile!” Katsuki assumes with horror and is quickly hushed.

Hitoshi, for one, wears a sombre expression. “She’s crying.” He says, voice soft and stable. He doesn’t like seeing people cry.

“Is she one of those extras that’re looking for closure too?”

“I don’t know.” Violet lashes lower in response. “We’ll follow them. Look, they’re going somewhere.”


They end up in a temple. One of those with classical tiled roofs and torii gates that lead up a set of staircases that can last forever. The passageway is spacious and wide, and practically an open invitation to get caught.

Katsuki’s pulling his hair when Izuku and the woman are a quarter way up in their steps. He swears, but Hitoshi tunes it out in favour of figuring out their latest dilemma. Who knew that following people could be so hard?

This is why he low-key believes he can’t become an underground hero. He’ll need plenty of training before he can live up to the task.

“We’ll get masks.” The violet-haired boy suggests. Animal masks are normally available all-ear round. It shouldn’t be too hard to find one.

He gets one of a snake and Katsuki’s a tiger. Just for good measure, they get one of a fox for Izuku too. The boy in question has long been gone though, so the pair find themselves sprinting like their lives depended on it.

A wide space greets them and the bespectacled woman is there, but not in the way they initially expected. A funeral is in the middle of attendance; the woman seems to be a friend of the deceased- if the wide difference between live and still portraits are any indicator.

People are on their knees on soft tiled mats. They take turns offering stick incense in respect, it is the final send off. Beyond wax paper doors, Hitoshi even thinks he sees a man that looks a lot like him. He shrugs off the notion.

So that’s the reason the woman was crying.

His gaze leaves the area shrouded in flower arrangements and slight wisps of scented smoke, they turn to the boy beside him. Katsuki seems to be in a world of his own, teeth grinding as his upper lip tremble.

What is it? Hitoshi bites his tongue before he can blurt. What do you see?

As one of them hasn’t forgotten the original goal, Hitoshi’s quick to find Izuku. His best friend is sitting near the front like he knew the deceased, wearing fine clothes of mourning that must’ve been new because he’s never seen that set before.

They share wardrobes, Hitoshi knows what he’s talking about.

The chants of an airy robed priest fill the air. To mourn and grieve is not something Hitoshi is familiar with; it’s been years, and he’s still blind to the form Izuku takes when he ceases to be human.

Some openly wipe their running tears, stifling ugly sobs with a plainly embroidered handkerchief or plain tissue; others pretend to be stoic, unaffected by the sadness that has physically manifested in the classic arrangement of flowers. Katsuki’s shared their meanings before.

Lilies, for peace and tranquillity. May the deceased return to a time of purity and innocence; carnations, as pink as the skies at dawn, represent remembrance. Remember this death, so do the flowers seem to say.

Like smiling spirits with their mouths sewn together with vines, they can only stand by idly without action. Understand that those returned to the Gods may not return. Strangely enough, Hitoshi silently sighs how he can easily see Izuku as one of those symbolic decorations.

Chrysanthemums lament and grieve, wherein dark red roses without thorns express the deepest of sorrows. The boy counts all of this with clinical methodology, attention left bare to the blurred figure that crashes down on to the aged temple floor.

Pieces of cement fly and Quirk-cause hot air streams through as screams and fearful gasps spread faster than a plague. Even then, Hitoshi wonders with an unwrapping ache in his chest, could he see Izuku now too?

“VILLAIN! VILLAIN ATTACK!” Someone yells fervently, because the shock has overridden all the usual human rational into mindless sleep. So much so that he or she or they can only state the obvious.

The cackling funeral-wrecker has a grating voice that Hitoshi wishes desperately to cut off. He steps backwards instead, one arm spreading out to feel for the living firecracker that’s supposed to be there but isn’t.

“… Kacchan? Izu?”

Panic on par to the time Izu jumped off a tree swells in Hitoshi’s chest – too fast does his awareness of the surroundings fade, tunnelling his vision into one goal only. Find them.

Violet eyes well with barely kept tears that this doesn’t become something of his fault. Because how could he think otherwise? when at the very moment he wishes to see Izuku, Kami-sama answers his prayers in the most twisted way possible.

“Where are you two?” the youth frantically searches, stealthily avoiding the Villain that has found logic in narrating his life story to the bunch of civilians that’re actng weirdly composed about all of this.

His heart pumps blood faster than oxygen can diffuse through the stretch of his veins. Every second lost, and Hitoshi can feel the ache growing increasingly painful. His breath comes short, cold sweat collecting at the base of his neck. Crouching, Hitoshi creeps behind large chunks of rubble that mysteriously litter the place.

Danger finds him anyway. Distantly, his friends scream. The violet haired boy spots Kacchan first, bleeding and bent over on his stomach on seemingly solid air. Izuku’s safe by default, that means.

Chaos waits for none, so he cannot even afford the time that comes with the irritating sting when he sees the two of them together without him. The villain groans, wretchedly and full of pain – both physically and mentally. The spilt second his eyes land on Hitoshi’s small build, he lunges.

(Where had they been just now? Left alone without a companion that was only inches away earlier, Hitoshi has a place beside them as well; Izu and Kacchan can’t abandon him like this. I won’t survive, not again.)

Stomach dropping, Hitoshi closes his eyes and braces for the impact which hits him harder than a freight train. The villain has him, arm cradled by his vulnerable neck. “Stay away!” the wild-eyed monster cries with open desperation. “One more step and the kid dies!”

It’s warm, Hitoshi breathlessly realises as his legs grow weak. He also notes that the man is touching him and he hates it. “EGGPLANT!” Kacchan yells shakily over the distance with frustrated worry. “USE YOUR QUIRK! USE IT, FUCK!”

Izuku trills, front hooves raising as Katsuki slips off to the back. The melody is one full of threat and mysterious magics. Almost enchanted, Hitoshi can almost imagine the pied piper playing his pipe, dressed in green with a tune that leads to Death.

It’s a promise, Hitoshi understands. Blink, and one will miss it. Izuku’s wings were never just for show.

“SHUT UP!” The villain barks angrily, gooseflesh over his tan skin. “Shut up shut up shut up!” His muscular arm tightens, and Hitoshi painfully chokes when the pressure crushes his windpipe as it crumples like paper.

Katsuki can only stare through his lashes that drip with sweat. Izuku rears on his hind legs, beaked mouth pointing upwards – his teeth show, one belonging to a carnivore. Leather wings spread and the wind behind them whistle. In this form, the Thestral is already twice Katsuki’s height.

Izuku charges, ironically deaf to the deafening warning of a familiarly blond hero that shrieks “WAIT, LITTLE LISTENER!”

Katsuki almost grins, but the expression falls before it has the opportunity to build. The nameless villain’s skin glows, and the blond recognises the Quirk activation because he’d been hit by it and sent flying before Izuku caught him. Never before had Katsuki wanted for Izuku to put on a little more meat.

But Izuku’s speed ensures that his jaws catch onto the arm that’s bringing their beloved friend pain. The villain screams, blood pouring despite the stopper that’s the Thestral’s teeth. The equestrian creature in question makes a guttural sound from his throat, and Hitoshi–

The boy simply goes slack– as much as the Villain’s unkind hold allows. He’s become something akin to a doll. Save the trembling, Hitoshi’s eyes are wide and unseeing, skin layered with a wet shine belonging from both the Heat Release Quirk and the monster inside his head.

His mouth opens and closes like the air around him isn’t enough, yet the breaths gradually become more and more shallow until Hitoshi stops breathing entirely, entrapped in a mind that forgets how.

Redness films his pale skin when the boy even registers Izuku’s appearance in front of him, Hitoshi’s violet hair starts to singe and smoke.

Izuku gives a high whiny, yet his bite stays strong and true. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

He needs to pull, tear a chunk off of the one that’s harming part of his precious herd. Tears start to run down his face, the monster’s Quirk only grows hotter. Izuku somehow manages to swallow a mouthful of something bloody when suddenly, everything ends.

The Villain’s Quirk stops. The glow from his skins dims like a light switch turned off. “What…?” the man gapes, his hold on the child hostage easing. Hitoshi slides downwards, too weak to support himself.

But that isn’t important. What matters are the white bandages that appear out of nowhere, snaking around his body and the Villain heaves out a soft grunt as his ribs squeeze into a position they’re not supposed to be in.

Defensively, Izuku nearly teleports to Hitoshi’s side, wings curling protectively around the older boy. The dust by the boys’ feet pick up, an invisible force appearing to manipulate the forces of gravity. Not enough to pick up a human, but enough that their saviour’s hair stands.

His eyes glow like rubies underneath the sun. Glare in place, “That’s my nephew you got there, damn it.” he says, but Hitoshi’s too gone to hear it. Izuku sings, and his song isn’t kind.