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Fight or Flight

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Izuku smiled a little bit as Shouto made his way into his view. The dual-haired boy gave him a curt nod, their usual greeting, and Izuku handed the taller boy a headband. Shouto smiled just a little bit, and held onto it, then they headed into school. Once they were inside, the noise and chaos of UA filled their ears. The top school in Japan, known for its brilliant classes of people made to do great things in the world. Known to produce some of the greatest engineers to some of the best doctors in the world. Was one of the noisiest places on Earth it seemed.
The place teemed with excited chatter and gossip. The scent of teenager filled up their noses, and people moved. No one ever stopped moving at UA. No one ever stopped moving forward at UA, if you fell behind. You ran and caught up. No one is left behind at UA, everyone picks each other back up, and then they move forward. This is how it goes, everyone’s accepted it already.
Anyways, they make haste to get to their homeroom. Knowing Mr.Aizawa would be all over their asses if they came in a second late.
A few moments later, and the duo had arrived at their classroom. The teacher not yet in the classroom. The classroom brimming with life, excitement, and teenage body odor. Not the greatest combination, but the combination that brought a sense of stability to Izuku’s life. The stability he clings to, never letting go. It’s like he’s dangling off a cliff, and this is the rope keeping him from falling. His hands are calloused, and his arms strain with an effort to keep holding on. Even when the rope’s been stretched to a bare thread, able to snap with a slight wind. He holds on for dear life. He can’t imagine letting go.
The boys take their seats, and Katsuki whirls around to face Izuku. His signature scowl in place, but Izuku doesn’t mind. This is one of the threads in the rope keeping him from falling. Katsuki is one constant he’s had for forever, forever and a day. He intends to keep Katsuki for even longer than that. If he can, if Katsuki lets him if nothing else snaps first.
The blond looks at him, ruby eyes alight with fire and challenge. Izuku can hear the insult coming his way, and it does come. A weak insult, something on the lines of ‘shitty Deku.’ So Izuku responds in turn,” What a weak insult Kacchan, I expected better from you. Such a lame insult, you use it every day it seems.”
Much to Izuku’s surprise, Katsuki’s pale cheeks color light pink, and he huffs, looking away to the side. Arms crossed over his chest, a slump was evident. That will hurt his back soon enough. He’s pouting, like a four-year-old that’s been told he cannot have any chocolate cookies until all the broccoli has been eaten.
He looks to Shouto, who’s hand is clamped over his mouth, concealing the grin stretched across his face. Kirishima notices Bakugou’s pout and starts giggling to himself. Soon more people catch on, and Katsuki soon realizes people are giggling at him. A fit of anger explodes in him, and before they know it. It’s back to the usual routine, no one able to forget that the mighty Bakugou Katsuki has pouted like a baby.
Soon enough, the quiet down, and just in time for Aizawa to enter through the door. A pair of hot pink sweatpants concealing his legs, a yellow jacket tied around his waist while he has donned a shirt full of galaxy cats. His hair is slightly matted, and he’s rocking the “I’m-so-fucking-dead” look. He kneels down and lets the lump form in his shirt crawl out. It’s two little kittens. Molly and Excalibur. Molly is a tortoiseshell that’s been blinded in one eye. Excalibur almost drowned in a river, Aizawa saved him.
Soon the lesson begins, and the rest of the day is a blur. Between lessons to becoming doctors, and saving the people at hospitals. It’s gone much too fast for Izuku’s liking. He dreads the idea of returning to his home. The home where so much pain and despair is. His mother has lost all of her roundness, giving her food to her children. His father will return home in three hours. Enough time to do his chores, and homework before it’s too late.
But his twin should be arriving at any moment's notice, and Hanji should arrive shortly after, followed by Rin. He is correct, much to his relief. Seeing the familiar mop of curly red hair, and bright green eyes. Followed by a young, curvy, girl with forest green hair streaked with the same red as the boy in front of her. Then it’s a boy with yellow hair that fades into the red. They board the train and head off to their home. A hell of all hells for them.
Izuku’s twin, Yona, holds his pinky in his own pinky. His other pinky is wrapped around Hanji’s pinky, who’s another pinky is laced with Rin’s. A few stops go by, and then it’s their turn. They exit off the bus and stick close to each other. Pinkies always intertwined. They turn a street and walk a few more houses before turning into a rundown, two-story house. The grass is up to their waists, swallowing them whole. They creak the front door open and rush to do whatever they need to do.
Izuku makes up the bed, knowing the way his father likes his pillow fluffed, and arranges all the clothes and shoes into the right place. Hanji brings up the small cooler, and places it in it’s spot, then they rush out. They hurry to mop and sweep the house, make sure their father’s favorite is cooked, warm, and do their homework. It’s tiring, exhausting. But they get it done. The door creaks open again, in the middle of all their homework. Much to their relief, it’s Inko. Their mother. She’s worn, bruised and wobbly. Somethings wrong. Their mother never comes home like this.
Her eyes are teary, and she speaks, voice raspy and thin,” You four have ten minutes. Take everything you need, and run. Run to the safest place you know. Ten minutes.”
Fear spurs in the children’s souls, and it starts to rise. Inko yells at them to get everything and run, so they do. She gives them a kiss good-bye and says she will try and meet them at the treehouse. She will text them if she gets there. She loves them oh so much, and then they’re gone.
The hide in the tall-grass, knowing their father is on his way home. They know they will be caught by him if they continue to walk, so they settle down in the tall grass. Bags flattened underneath them. They are in the opposite side of where their father walks home. They can sort of see the house from where they are. Hanji cries silently, and Rin keeps his hand over her mouth. A figure comes walking down the road, and it has fire-red hair.
Quickly the siblings shrink back and run as discreetly as they can behind a house, and down a road, they know. Izuku can feel his heart beat faster than ever, adrenaline coursing through his body. He checks his siblings, they are alright. Quickly they get on the bus and head to Katsuki’s house.
They run to his house, not willing to be caught or seen by Hisashi. Mitsuki is the one to answer the door. Her eyes widening when she sees the state they're in. Clothes and skin dirty from running and hiding. The scraps and bruises all over their skin. White scars running across their bodies. She ushers them in and sits them on the couch. Katsuki comes down, and his eyes are bigger than his mothers when he sees them. In an instant he’s in front of Izuku, checking over him. Masaru rushes in, and he has the first aid kit in hand.
He sets to work on cleaning up wounds and treating bruises and whatnot. Katsuki and Izuku help with it, more Katsuki than Izuku. Katsuki insists that he cleans up Izuku, and who is Izuku to disagree. So he sits back and allows Katsuki to clean the cuts and scrapes, bandage them, and gently brush his fingers over the bruises and welts across his skin.
Something escaped past Katsuki’s lips, and Izuku doesn’t question it. Mitsuki comes in cups of steaming hot tea in hand. Her expression is full of worry and concern. Graciously, they all take a cup. Izuku has been pulled into Katsuki’s lap, resting against him. He doesn’t really mind, not at all. Katsuki has taken the liberty to wrap one arm around his abdomen. Izuku holds the hand there, he does this without him realizing. Mitsuki smiles softly at this, as does everyone else.
Then the questions start, she speaks, voices soft and caring,” What happened to you four? And where is Inko?”
Yona inhales, then starts to explain,” Let me explain, it will make more sense. Okay, so basically. It started when we were five. Or, Izuku and I were five, Rin was three, and Hanji was two. Dad began to turn his love to the drink instead of us. It got worse and worse. He began to beat us, his anger fueled by the alcohol. He promised to not do it again, he promised for a while. But then it came back full force. It’s been like this ever since. He’ll beat us even if he’s sober. Anyways, Mom came home today. She obviously ran into Dad. She went to work today, and dad doesn’t let her work. He claims she is the wife, she must stay at home, clean, cook, and submit to his command and hand. So sneaks out every day to work, make more money for us. I think she got caught. So she told us to get what we could and run. We ran, fast as we could to your place without getting caught. That’s the story.”
Mitsuki’s face has twisted up, her face bright pink and fat tears slip down her face. She bites her lip and sets her cup of tea down. She looks at them all,” Eleven years of abuse, and I-I didn’t. Oh god, fuck. I’m so, so sorry I didn’t see the signs sooner. I didn’t know. Goddamnit, I’m so, so sorry. We’re going to call the police. Send someone after your father, and find Inko. God, you four are going to stay here. Where it’s safe. That man is never going to so much as fucking touch you again.”
She’s up then and stumbling out of the room. Shock evident, pressing at her like a sack of rocks upon her back. Guilt ebbs away at her, the pain of not knowing. Not looking hard enough, not noticing the signs. The agony of the situation sits deep in her bones, and she knows. This ache will never go away, not for a very long time, if it even goes away at all. She picks up the phone with trembling hands and dials the cops. Her breath gets sucked away when they answer, it takes her a moment to respond. But once she does, they have already begun to send out police to the home. Mitsuki sits in her chair, and hopes for the best.
A longing settles in her. A longing to see Hisashi locked away, never to see his family again. For him to realize his wrongs, to be guilty of it. To suffer from the pain of it all, suffer from this knowledge, this blood on his hands. She knows he has blood on his hands, she can see those scars on the children's legs, their arms, and their hands, she wants him to spill an equal amount of blood. But something is off, she knows it. Something is about to get so much worse.
Katsuki shows all the siblings to their room, they know they will sleep in different spots tonight. Izuku is sharing a bed with Katsuki. Who holds Izuku close to him, something shifted in the blond. Something has snapped, and he doesn’t completely mind it. Izuku doesn’t seem to mind it either.
They lay in the dark, pressed against each other. Bodies flushed with the sweetness of the moment. The can hear the quiet murmurs from the living room, not loud enough for them to know what they are saying. But there’s friction between them, it's enticing. Something they both can’t explain. Without saying anything, the ruby-eyed male meets the green boys' lips with his own. Locking the two in a short kiss. It's a test, to see what will happen next. In this moment, that’s when Katsuki realized he had fallen. He finally put a label to the strange warmth that engulfed his body. This warmth he had only around Izuku, the strange sensations of his body. He had felt weightless when he had kissed Izuku. In turn, Izuku felt the same. They guessed they had fallen in love with one another. So Izuku grabbed Katsuki by the neck and met him for another kiss. This time, longer, sweeter. A deeper meaning behind it. Their lips moved in a messy rhythm, still seeing how they work together. It’s not perfect, but it’s something. And anything is good, is what flows through katsuki’s mind. Because it’s Izuku kissing him, not Kirishima or someone. It’s Izuku, the one he loves.
The one he feels the most with, the one he has spent an eternity with. They break the kiss, and Katsuki whispers against Izuku,” I love you.”
Izuku smiles and whispers back,” I love you too.”
Katsuki smiles, the biggest smile he’s had in forever, and leans up to kiss him again. Shorter, not as passionate as before. He rolls onto his back and drags Izuku up onto him. Turning him into a personal heater, not that Izuku minds. He loves it, loves the one below him. Loves how he is, how he looks, how they work together. They breathe, letting it all sink in. Izuku hums and looks at Katsuki,” What does this make us?”
Katsuki breaths, and manages to talk through his fogged brain,” You are now mine. Mine, got that? You’re my boyfriend now. Not half-n-half, but mine. All mine. Don’t forget it.”
A low chuckle escapes Izuku, and he nods against Katsuki’s chest. With that being said, the two slipped into sleep. Deep, but not peaceful. Twice they awoke, Izuku a withering mess, pained whimpers escaping his throat. Katsuki twice shook him awake and held him. Not caring how long it took for Izuku to calm down.
Morning came, and they groggily made their way to breakfast. Mitsuki’s eyes were blank, a mist over them. She served them breakfast like she was on auto-pilot. Masaru sat them all down,” I think we can all take a day off of school.”
Izuku nodded,” How’s Mom? Any word on her?”
Masaru’s face fell, and everything went dead silent. He took a deep breath,” They found the body. They have a high estimate that its Inko. But, they are going to need all four of your guyses help identifying the body in a few days.”
Everything was silent until a quiet whimper made its way out of Hanji, and that’s when it all went into chaos. The crying, the shock, the silence. The disbelief that their mother was gone, dead. They immediately dispersed. Headed towards their rooms, shock evident, and the pain burned them from the inside.
The pain spread like a fire, crawling up their bodies, Rin gagged, puking into the toilet. Yona curled up on his bed, shutting his eyes, desperate to find some escape from reality. Hanji grabbed some ice cream and curled up on the couch. Mitsuki joined her, and together they began the rom-com marathon, comedies. Anything to cheer them up. As for Izuku and Katsuki, they curled up on the bed. Caught in one another's embrace, trying to process everything. The body, it remained on their minds. It wouldn’t go away.

Chapter Text

Izuku took a deep breath in and exhaled through his mouth. The waiting room walls seemed to glare at him. A pristine cleanness to them, sterile and unwelcoming. The floors white, not a hint of a muddy footprint upon them. Hanji sat beside him, a small blanket wrapped around her shoulders. Yona and Rin sat beside him on the couch, desperately trying to sleep within the confines of this place. A receptionist glanced at them, pity deep in her eyes. Izuku gulped and tried to prepare himself for whatever he might see.
Images flashed through his mind. Just what would he see? What would they all see? A door opened and a man walked out, a clipboard in hand, and a face of steel. They stood, knowing it was their time to go and see the body.
They were led down a hallway, turn, another hallway, a flight of stairs, another turn, a bit down a hallway, and into the room. The doctor turned to them,” I am Dr.Hazme, a pleasure to meet you four on unfortunate circumstances. I hope you all will find the strength in you to identify the body.”
With that being said, they entered the room, and he uncovered the body. Sharp inhales and horrified gasps were heard once their eyes landed upon the body lain before them. The body.
Her jaw is missing, and her eyes were slashed, clumps of hair are missing, torn out of her skull. Jagged ridges along the left arm and right leg. A sign of the limbs being torn off. Her stomach was slashed open and revealed only a small portion of her insides left. Blood was still splattered across her body.
Yona spoke,” That is our mother. This is her. This is our fathers doing.”
Dr.Hazme nodded,” The bite marks, I think you all know what form your father can take.”
The four of them nodded. The form their father can take. It’s terrifying, and strong, fast. No one knows if he is the only one who can take his form, or if someone else can. This world, people can turn into one form other than human. This form can be anything, as long as it resonates with the personality. About 20 years ago, someone shifted into a velociraptor. An extinct species. The person who shifted into the dinosaur was an eleven-year old girl who had come home after watching Jurassic Park. That’s a prime example of shifters. Anything, as long as you share a connection with the thing you shift into. It can even be from your imagination.
Hisashi Midoriya, a creature he thought up himself. The torso of a wolf with eight limbs, a tail that has the head of a lion on the end. The lion has fangs drenched in poison. The neck and head of a dragon. The dragon that spits out flames hotter than lava.
The day progressed, and soon it was nightfall. Hanji curled on Rin, and Yona lay on Rin’s shoulder. Mitsuki and Masaru sat in chairs by one another, sipping at the tea Mitsuki had brewed. Izuku sat on Katsuki, sleeping peacefully, cocooned in a blanket. Tomorrow they would return to school, and they all knew, deep down. That it would be hell. Inko’s death was not a private affair, and Hisashi’s name has been put out there. Wanted, a criminal in the missing. His form has been put up too.
The city's been on edge ever since the news about Hisashi leaked out. People have been on the lookout. Because yes, dangerous criminals with dangerous forms have been loose before. But this is one of the most dangerous to be loose in this decade. So no one is just chilling at home without having their doors and windows completely locked up. Now people know, at least at UA, who Izuku’s dad actually is. It’s going to be hell.
A few hours pass and soon everyone is going to bed. The tea has long since gone cold, Hanji has long since fallen asleep, and Yona is the only one truly awake for his siblings. Katsuki carries Izuku up to the bed, while Mitsuki grabs Hanji, and Yona takes Rin. Soon everyone has been tucked away, and they are asleep. Mitsuki and Masaru even, alarms are up, and everything is quiet. For once, the night is peaceful.
Izuku awakes before the sun is up. There’s a cold sweat surrounding his body, soaking into the sheets beneath him. The air is cold against his skin, caressing him in an unwelcome way. He sucks in a breath and exhales after a few seconds. He glances down at the body beside him, breathing and whole. Nothing like the dream he had awoken from.
The dream where he had seen Katsuki’s body, bloody and mangled from the jaws of his father. Hanji, Rin, Yona, Mitsuki, Masaru, everyone. His father’s shadow looming over the valley filled with the limbs, guts, and washed with the blood of his world. The shadow loomed over him, engulfing everything in his father. The red eyes were suddenly in his face, a wicked smile crawling over his father’s snout. Flames licked his hair from his father’s flames. Izuku could see those teeth, once white, now tinted red from all the blood that he had spilled, chunks of flesh laden between his teeth. The maw opened, and Izuku awoke.
Covered in sweat, barely able to breathe, and shaken, not to the core, but shaken. He sighed in relief when he saw Katsuki asleep beside him. Breathing from his nose and out of his mouth, brow furrowed and scowl devoid of his features. Eyes shut, and body relaxed for once. Katsuki never really relaxes anymore, always tense, ready to fight and spew out insults like there’s no tomorrow.
A small smile forces its way onto his face, and a small blush rises to his cheeks. He glances out the window, the sky is now a dark grey with the hints of a deep blue on the very edges. Carefully, he slips out of bed, and into the other room where his siblings are. Careful not to wake them, and careful not to wake them. He fails at not waking up one of his siblings. Yona. His twin, nearly identical, except his hair is that of his father's hair. The red hair makes him think of Hisashi, a flash of his face enters Izuku’s mind. Sending shivers down his spine. Yona tilts his head upwards, and speaks softly,” Izuku, what is it?”
The events of the recent days are suddenly tipping over the edge for Izuku. A strangled sob rises out of him, which he covers with a hand. Hunching over, his breath comes in short, panicky gasps. Yona is quick and light on his feet. It doesn’t take long for him to come to Izuku and wrap his arms around him. It doesn’t take long for Yona to start crying along with Izuku.
Both rocking back and forth in the very early hours of the morning. It doesn’t take very long for the other two to join them, and soon they’ve all collapsed on the side of the bed. Huddling together for comfort in each other hold. Sobs turn into sniffles, which turn into small breaths of sleep.
Katsuki awakes to the other side of his bed empty, and panic is quick to spread in him. Quickly he hurries out of bed and hurries to find Izuku. He heads to the bedroom with the siblings first, which is a wise choice, because he finds him there. He finds all of them dog pilled, faces pale, he can see tear tracks down their pale cheeks. Contentedness washes over him at the sight. He is happy to know they have each other still, no one is lost from each other in this ordeal. That they have one another, and that they can manage.
Carefully he slips back to his room and begins to get ready. Taking a shower, drying his hair, slipping into his school clothes, and then he slips into the other bedroom and shakes them awake.
Yona awakens first, flinching when he sees Katsuki, but relaxing when he recognizes him. Yona is quick to awaken the rest of them, Izuku in his sleepy haze unable to walk right. Katsuki guides the sleepy boi out of the room, and into his own room. Where Izuku gets ready after his face is splashed with cold water.
Soon they are all down in the kitchen, eating the breakfast Mitsuki has prepared with the help of Katsuki. Before they know it, they are out and headed to school. Tense as soon as they walk out the door, eyes darting to every face thy might see, and constantly looking over their shoulders. Hoping they do not see the face of their father, knowing he would kill without a moment of hesitation.
Hesitantly they board the train, the same train they took when running from their father. They bunch together, and they do not look up. Katsuki hovers over them, looking out for them, and locking his hand with Izuku’s.
The train stops, and the five of them hold their breath and wait for the people to get out, and watch the people that get in. There are a few shady people, but none that they recognize. Soon it’s their stop, and quickly they hurry away, not caring about the people they bump into. Muttering quick apologies, but nothing more. They practically run every one to their school, and soon it’s just Katsuki and Izuku again. Hands still intertwined together, not daring to let go. UA makes its way into view, and they all but run up the steps and into the building, not caring about the strange looks they get from people passing by.
They burst into the classroom, Izuku before Katsuki. Slamming the door behind them, and breathing hard. People are staring at them, and then it erupts into chaos. People swarm Izuku, asking questions, and checking over him. Katsuki fumes and rage tips over his edge, he shouts,” BACK THE FUCK AWAY!”
People scramble back, and Izuku hides behind Katsuki, who growls at everyone, and then he manages to spit out,” Any questions for Deku go to me, and I’ll answer them. Got it? Good, follow this, and we won’t have a damn problem.”
Denki speaks up first,” Is he okay? Is there anything we can do to help?”
Katsuki’s eyes flash, and he speaks,” Obviously he’s not okay, and I’ll let you extras know if he needs anything.”
The class nods and Izuku grins gratefully at Izuku. Words have floated off the tip of Izuku’s tongue, leaving him with cotton in his throat. Dread pooling in his stomach, but it dissipates when Katsuki catches his pinkie in his own. They take their seats, awaiting Aizawa, who should arrive any minute. Never has the teacher been late for his job, never. Many times he has expelled, given out student disciplines, but never has he been late.
True to the word, Aizawa crawls in five minutes later, his hair falling into his bloodshot eyes. Most likely from smoking weed, let’s be honest. That’ what he does in his free time. He smokes weed, hangs out with Mic, takes care of cats with Shinso, his maybe son. No one really knows, but everyone’s fairly certain Aizawa’s long lost father.
Aizawa lets out two kittens, and they crawl around, people coo, and scratch the kittens. Making them purr, and Aizawa gives his lopsided smile, the one that scares people shitless sometimes. As fast as the smile appears, its vanished and he’s begun talking.
They follow the lesson, copying notes, and glancing at each other with worried glances. The lesson ends, and they move on, as a group. Keeping an eye on the resident green haired sunshine boy. Who doesn’t look as sunshiney as usual, and they know why. He doesn’t bother hiding the bruises and cuts anymore. Now that his secret is out, he doesn’t care anymore. There is no need to hide the scars and cuts from his past.
The day progresses, Katsuki being the appointed bodyguard for Izuku. Who is quiet and responds to only a few things. Shouto is one of them, thank god, as well as Ochako and Iida, along with Asui. But that’s about it, and the teachers. He barely responds to them, the most he’s responded to as far as teacher wise is All Might. The retired hero. The hero who took him in, and managed to draw out Izuku’s form. Izuku’s form, no one’s seen the full thing. But they have seen glimpses of his power that he holds. The green electricity that surrounds his body, yet they have no idea what his form looks like. Izuku is more than ready to hide who he is, willing to show his power. Not who he is.
Not even Katsuki has seen Izuku’s form, and everyone knows what Katsuki is. Katsuki is a large fox, with a tail of fire, a body able to erupt into flames, and whatever he wants, he can explode. A flick of his tail, and whatever he wants to blow up, will blow up. He’s powerful, sly, cunning, seductive, sexy, and Izuku’s boyfriend.
Kirishima knows when he sees them, a million-watt smile splitting over his face, showcasing the shark-like teeth that fill his mouth. Katsuki puts a finger to his lips when no one but Kirishima is watching. The red head’s lips pucker into an ‘o’ and his eyes widen, but he flashes a thumbs up anyways.
Katsuki nods satisfied, if it was Dunce Face, it would be another story or Soy Sauce for that matter. He leaves it alone.
The day goes by, and then it’s time to head home. Katsuki takes Izuku’s hand, and they rush to grab everyone. Once everyone is here, and safe, they take the train and hurry back to the Bakugou residence. Immediately they lock the doors and latch the windows, careful to make sure no one has snuck in by any chance. That no one knows they are home.
They split to do whatever they need to do, homework, bathroom, and just a nap. Or food, food is good. They settle down into a comfortable routine, which is great. Everything’s somewhat peaceful for once. Katsuki enjoys it while it lasts.
This cycle goes on for a good few weeks until Hisashi murders again. A pair of siblings, a four-year-old and a six-year-old. Playing in the park, he snatched them, and killed them during the middle of the night, in the town square. He writes a message with the blood, dragging the bleeding corpses around to make a message. It reads: I know where you four are, I know your routines. I know the schools you go to. I know everything, you can’t escape me. But you can try, you can try and find me. Hide and seek. I’ll hide, you seek. You have four months until I come out of my hiding place.-Hisashi Midoriya”
The message sends news up into a blizzard, and heroes are dispatched to the Bakugou residence, and around the schools. The search is pushed even harder than before. The paranoia is stronger than ever before, and time is short now.
Izuku realizes something a few nights after the message is delivered. He realizes that out of everyone, he is the strongest. He has the strongest form and powers out of UA, he doesn’t know about his dad. But he knows, that he is exceptionally strong, his form is, as well as his power. He realizes it’s up to him now, he doesn’t have a choice. It’s his time to step up and save people. He can’t let his father get away with this one, not this. Can’t let Hisashi get away with mass murder, the murder of his mother. Izuku won’t let this happen, he simply won’t.
Something inside of Izuku snaps like it was a rope supporting a thousand tons over the side of the cliff. Something has snapped, the lights flicker. His eyes glow red.