Keigo felt that he was going to lose his fucking mind.
The days after the High End with no progress of Dabi letting him in the League, the Hero Commission and his handlers has been on his ass, constantly calling him for any updates. Their impatience was growing equally with Keigo’s personal frustration, their stern eyes metaphorically plucking out his feathers with the silent threat of exposing him inside out.
It wasn’t helping with Dabi calling him the day before, warning that if Keigo could not prove his willingness to join the League with his prevention of Endeavor-san’s death, then he should either find another beloved hero to target or just forget about joining at all.
Yeah, to say that Keigo was not in the best of moods was the biggest understatement of the week.
He had spoken to his handlers about his dilemma, the Dabi Dilemma as he secretly called (Jesus, he was losing it), hoping and hoping for some way to find a loophole that would allow the flame villain to let him in without a casualty. There has to be some way for what the Commission can do to help out. Even with the fact that Keigo was a grown ass man in the number two ranking of the popularity charts, he was human with his own limits ( you are never supposed to have limits, Hawks. Heroes are needed everyday. The professional voice in his brain kept on saying as if he were being taunted.) and his handlers had even helped him in few of his worst cases. Hopefully, the Commission would take pity on him again.
“Best Jeanist is the best choice for extermination.”
As a child, Keigo was taught to focus less on himself and more on the world around him. He has to be faster than the other heroes, more aware of every environment he steps in, and always prepared for a fight. Even in his meetings with Dabi made Keigo more cautious in their places. But for once, Keigo wasn’t focusing on the world. The world had closed around him, forcing his eyes to stare into the apathetic faces of his handlers.
At least Dabi wasn’t completely emotionless.
“What?” Keigo managed to croak out, subconsciously hunching in himself as his handlers glared at him.
“You are knowledgeable of Best Jeanist’s condition, are you not?” One of them, Nakama, questioned, her grey eyes flickering as she looked at him.
“Yes.” Everyone and their nanny knew about the now-Number Three hero being on paid leave, his anticipated return to the public becoming more noticeable in the past week. It would be difficult for Best Jeanist to patrol normally after he was unfortunate to gravely injure his lung after the calyptic fight at Kamino.
Keigo felt his heart drop.
“We have been monitoring his movements for months-”
No no no no no no no-
“-his doctors even reported that he should just retire-”
Why did it have to be him? Why him? Why Best Jeanist?
“-would actually be nice for us as we won’t miss him for his current state of uselessness.”
With that, Keigo was brought back to reality, back to horrified staring at his handlers. “W-What?”
Nakama sighed and spoke again, slowly and deliberately as if Keigo was a child. Keigo fought the urge to hide behind his wings. “Best Jeanist has been our thorn on our side following the Kamino fight. He has been making promises to his fans that he will return. He doesn’t listen to his doctors’ orders of retiring. He couldn’t even attend the hero poll conference last week.” Nakama’s eyes stared down Keigo, shamelessly stealing his namesake for the imagery. “If Dabi wants a body for you to join, then Best Jeanist is the perfect package.”
Keigo forced an easygoing smile as he nodded in understanding and left, as if the Commission hadn’t just broken the windows of Keigo’s world. He tried to ignore the twitching of his fingers, desperate to
( kill strangle their necks rip them )
grab onto something other than his own hair and arms.
Dabi reluctantly agreed to see Keigo near Osaka after the latter had called him. Not even ten minutes later, Dabi approached the pacing hero as if he were approaching a bird and trying not to spook it.
“Hey, I thought I was the man who goes too fast.” Keigo greeted him. God, he was shaking so badly. His feathers were trembling despite the forced stillness of his wings. His hands were gripping an apple he stole from Best Jeanist’s kitchen, right after he instinctively grabbed a glass and had it crushed into pieces. Keigo hoped that Dabi wouldn’t smell the blood collecting in his gloves.
“You promised a prize, Hawks.” Dabi drawled, his hands in his pockets and his eyes drawn to the large black cargo bag near Keigo’s feet. “Who was it?”
Keigo felt like laughing. The small, darker place in his mind was poking at him. Daring him to just rip the bag open and throw the body right at Dabi. Let himself enjoy a sadistic moment of happiness to see Dabi express something other than boredom and anger.
Instead, Keigo stepped back and gestured at the bag with a hand - shit that’s the one gripping the apple.
Dabi stared at Keigo's hand, but he already lost attention of it as he walked over and crouched down.
Keigo looked away, holding his breath as Dabi slowly unzipped the bag. Then the sharp, metallic smell hit him. Keigo finally felt his body frozen, but not with the usual tense anticipation of disapproval. It was something... calmer, shutting down his mind as he slowly breathed in the scent of blood and meat.
His dry mouth started to salivate.
Finally, finally , Dabi broke the silence. “Ah, so you finally got your hands dirty.”
Keigo breathed in through his nostrils slowly, forcing his eyes open as he swallowed
( Snap their necks to end the suffering. Cut through the stomach for the most nutrition. Break the arms to get the marrow. )
before speaking, “Yeah, I did.” Keigo heard nothing behind his own voice. That was good. He didn’t need to fake it. Not that he needed to tell Dabi that right after he snapped Best Jeanist’s neck, he had thrown up in the kitchen sick, cut his hands for grabbing and breaking a glass, had a panic attack, and had to keep himself from sobbing again as he called his handlers.
“Aw, look at you.” Dabi chuckled behind him. “So sick and scared of your first kill. I thought birds of prey aren’t pussies when it comes to hunting.”
Never had Keigo imagined that crushing an apple with a bleeding hand would have been so easy.
He blinked dumbly at the mess on his glove, the core almost destroyed with the juice and some pieces on his glove that would be a mess to clean up. Keigo glanced over his shoulder to see Dabi’s wide eyes staring at the remains of the apple. Bright blue met with gold ambers and Keigo saw it. He saw morbid interest and mild horror in Dabi’s eyes.
They stared at each other for a painfully long time before Dabi cleared his throat. “R-Right, take the bag with you. I’ll make a quick call and let you meet the League.” The man’s face threw back on his familiar unimpressed expression as if he didn’t just witnessed the Winged Hero crushing an uneaten apple like a water balloon. But Keigo saw the specks of fear that stayed in Dabi’s eyes as the other brushed past him.
For the second time since his previous meeting with the Commission, Keigo did not feel victorious of his progress.
He felt (hungry) disgusted.
The Commission had given Keigo a tiny bit of information about the League of Villains, which was actually all that they had. They already knew that the members of the League had been sighted numerous times all over the country in the past five months after the Kamino battle, some taken seriously and mostly false alarms.
Keigo had the idea that the League would have trouble with securing a permanent residence for themselves, but he did not expect them to currently settle in a filthy, abandoned house in the middle of the woods far away from the nearest city, all during the time that Shigaraki had been fighting a monstrous man called Gigantomachia for the past month.
After an intense afternoon of glares that promised death in the most creative ways possible, Keigo would later report back to his handlers.
“Gigantomachia?” Nakama looked alarmed, the closest thing Keigo ever saw her expressing emotion in the past fifteen years under the Commission’s care.
Keigo nodded. “Turns out that Shigaraki’s been fighting him to prove that he is worthy for Gigantomachia to stay with them. Considering it’s been a full month, it would take a long time for the two to settle down.”
Nakama’s face turned back to stone, all businesslike as ever. “Inform us as soon as this Gigantomachia finally decides to be the League of Villains’ ally.” She paused, sniffing the air for a moment. “Don’t tell us that you have been sleeping with Dabi now.”
Keigo squawked, jumping a few feet in the air, his wings ruffled in a defensive mode. “Wh-What?! Fuck, no, we’re not!”
“You smell like smoke.” His other handler, Yamaji, retorted in a disgusted voice.
“Oh? Oh , no!” Keigo laughed because Jesus Christ , his handlers are certainly on something today. “It’s just meeting with Dabi every so often makes you used to the smell of smoke.” It was easy to say it. Not that it was because fucking Dabi never crossed his mind, but it was better to recall the sobering incident of Dabi burning Best Jeanist’s body when Hawks had wasted half an hour of just staring at the corpse with tempting fantasies of ripping up and eating the still-fresh flesh.
It was surprising how the League, with the exception of Shigaraki, quickly warmed up to Keigo, although he could still sense their skepticism. He didn’t blame them. He too would be suspicious if someone with villainous traits managed to join the hero side. But Keigo wasn’t that heartless; after seeing the League’s hideout for the first time, he started packing a few bags of water bottles and some of his food, usually veggies and cuisine dishes, every time he visited.
Even Shigaraki had grunted a “thank you” while inhaling his bento so that seemed to be a success of earning the leader’s trust. Dabi had said nothing as he just stared at Keigo like he was some alien creature.
If he had to pick favourites, Toga, Twice, and Spinner were the most willing to talk to Keigo whenever he made visits.
For Toga, she did threatened Keigo with her knives when Dabi had first introduced him to the League.
But after Keigo brought in food the first time, Toga was quick to take him by the face and whispered with her cat-like eyes brimming in tears, “ Thank you . You deserved better than this.”
When Keigo had asked her later what she had meant, the teenager simply showed off her canines. “No one liked it that I always loved blood and tried to make it go away. That’s why I love this new family of mine!”
“The medications are to keep your mutation hormones unusable. Your wings are the only Quirk you have. No one wants heroes with mutation abilities. You’ll disturb them, especially with that disgusting cannibalistic disease of yours.”
Keigo tried to ignore that sudden memory.
With Twice, the villain whose Quirk can let him make numerous clones, Keigo was taken aback when the man spoke rapidly between two different voices. He was more taken aback when not even the second time Keigo visited, Twice declared him as his new best friend.
“You look like a very swell guy, Hawks! And a fucking idiot too. ” Twice had complimented-insulted him.
As for Spinner, it was accidental.
They were chatting about nothing and everything in particular while watching Shigaraki fight Gigantomachia in the safe distance. At one point, Spinner had asked him about his, quote-unquote, birb oddities.
“I’m sorry, my what?” Keigo stared back, expecting Spinner to laugh.
“You know,” the lizardman gestured with his hands. “It’s kinda inspiring to see one of the top ranking heroes as one of us and doesn’t care about how you look. I’m proud of that, man.”
Keigo chose not to tell him about his Commission-approved medication, which is now sitting heavily in his utility belt like a chain.
It took some time but Keigo finally convinced himself to throw them away.
Not a day had passed when Keigo stopped his medication that he felt the first prickles of small feathers growing on the sides of his face.
His fingernails were faster to darken and grow into sharp talons that he gave up wearing his gloves. It didn’t stop the accidental cuts on his palms, arms, and everything else he touches. It made his hungry thoughts more frequent and distracted him.
It’s been nearly two weeks since Keigo had last contacted his handlers. Days since he last continued his hero duties.
The battle in Deika City was a straight up slaughter.
No sooner did Slidin’ Go lead them into the city before leaving them once again, every fucking resident began attacking the League with their Quirks. It barely took a minute for everyone to get seperated, left to their own devices.
Keigo managed to stay with Dabi and Mr. Compress, his feathers zipping back and forth between them, dragging the crazed locals farther away. But it became increasingly clear that some of the people are not willing to give up without having a personal fight with the Number Two hero by themselves.
“Hawks, just go!” Dabi yelled at him, swiping blue flames at a few cement blocks thrown his way. “If we’re taking care of it, then you can!”
Keigo was taken aback by Dabi’s genuine comment that he missed a stranger diving towards him and wrapped their arms around Keigo, wings and all.
Immediately, he felt his body exploding as spikes pierced through his outfit and into his skin. Keigo screamed in agony as the pain just kept on squeezing him, feeling the spikes meeting his bones, his vision turning white. He tasted blood in his mouth. The person wasn’t letting go and was crushing his ribs, ruffling his feathers, which in turn was clawing the scalps of his brain-
-just shred them kill them stop relying on the League just EAT-
The weight was suddenly gone with the rush of heat behind him, allowing Keigo to collapse face first on the ground. He was shaking so badly and vomiting up blood that he could barely push himself up.
He flinched when he felt a smoking hand on his back. Of course, it had to be Dabi but Keigo couldn’t hear him. Everything was sounding muffled. He wasn’t seeing shit other than spots and red all over. Keigo fisted his hand uselessly, feeling his talons already dug deep into his palms. His mind would not
Need meat. Need blood and marrow need to eat need to hunt
meat meat not their blood not my blood not this blood need need need starving
Then he felt a rough hand pulling on his wings-
Keigo instinctively reached out, grabbed the hand that dared to touch him, and pulled .
He finally opened his eyes, his senses suddenly clear and sharp. The first sight Keigo saw was a wide-eyed man holding a bleeding stump of where his arm used to be. The first sound Keigo heard was the man’s hysteric and pained screams. The first touch Keigo felt was the soft flesh of the said arm he was gripping on.
Feeling blissful happiness blooming in his chest, Keigo grinned as he lifted the arm to his still bloody mouth and bit through the tissue while keeping eye contact with the terrified man.
Oh god, it was delicious . It even tasted better than any chicken Keigo had eaten.
The thought made Keigo laugh into sudden hysterics. He instantly straightened up as he caught movement out of his eye and took out a primary feather, sharpening it in time to stab the stomach of a woman with large clawed hands.
Keigo turned his attention back to the Liberation members, who were drawn back as far as they could, fear visible on their faces.
Keigo threw the arm and woman aside and flashed his claws. He licked his teeth, savouring the euphoric taste of fresh blood. Just before he made the lunge, Keigo looked over his shoulder, seeing Dabi and Mr. Compress shock-still and staring at him like everyone else surrounding them. It was nice to see Dabi with that shocked look in his face, looking at Keigo in awe rather than horror.
“Thanks for the reassurance, Dabi! I needed it!” Keigo called out before he turned back to attack, reigniting the fight in the block.