Touma had two sons.
One son- the first one- was not really his own. That one was someone’s discarded trash that Touma decided to pick up on a whim. Trash attracted other trash and Touma felt a certain kinship towards the child. And he was also curious… He wanted to see what would happen if he raised another human being in his own image. An experiment of sorts. So he took this unwanted child and gave him a home, gave him a purpose, and gave him a life. It was exhilarating- playing god. But Touma wasn’t really a god, just a monster. He was only good at doing vile things so he decided that that is what he would excel at. A monster can only be a monster, afterall.
And that was how he came across Tsurugi.
So even though he wasn’t really the child’s father, he still raised him from youth into adulthood. Raised him to be a doll. A doll that would move on command without question. Touma would pull a string and Tsurugi would become a marionette. It was fascinating, having so much control over someone else. Despite that though, the boy considered Touma to be a god for taking him in and providing for him. It was laughable how someone could find a shred of kindness in something so selfish, but Tsurugi did just that. No matter how cold Touma was to him, how mean, or stern, the boy would still smile warmly at him. It was almost heartbreaking how dedicated Tsurugi was to him, except that Touma did not allow himself the luxury of a heart. Indeed, the organ was in him, pumping blood constantly throughout his body, but it was just a necessity for surviving. He did not think nor act with his heart. He denied everyone entrance to his heart and ruthlessly guarded it. Tsurugi’s smiles and bright eyes would try- and almost- enter Touma’s cold heart, but he would always find a way to shut them out.
In the beginning, the boy was a wonderful doll that would perform flawlessly. The older he got, though, the more he rebelled. He was influenced by those around him- his friends - and he began to question Touma. It was unfortunate, but to be predicated. Touma knew that Tsurugi could never truly be a doll or a monster like him. He was frustrated and disappointed, but despite that he felt a sense of relief.
Touma’s second son was actually his biological son. Unlike the other one, Touma had absolutely nothing to do with raising his real son; mainly because for several years he had been completely unaware of the child’s existence. And in Touma’s opinion, it was really for the best. He was a monster after all and his child would have the same blood running through him. That was enough. The boy didn’t need to have anything else to do with Touma.
He only found out about the child after she had already died. She was someone that had somehow gotten past his walls and into the bleeding bloody mess that was his heart. It was utterly terrifying how easily she managed to slip by all his defenses as if it were child’s play for her. She was clever, beautiful, brave, and kind. Everything that Touma didn’t deserve.
They worked together and spent time together. Those moments with her sometimes made Touma forget that he was a monster. When he was with her he didn’t feel evil. She made him feel like he could be better, that he could be someone good. But when she would leave and he was alone, reality sunk in: he could never be someone like her. He could never be someone worthy of her.
She loved him and he hated it. He hated it because in the end he really did love her too. But monsters are not meant to love nor be loved in return. And so he pushed her away. He pushed her away so many times until one day she was gone. Just like that. As if she had never been there at all.
And then one day… she died.
He didn’t know what day it was that she passed. He didn’t want to know. Was it a Monday? Was it a Saturday? What had he been doing that day? The two had already lost contact by that point, but what if he had finally replied to one of her many old voicemails that he never deleted? What if he had just shown up at her house? He knew where she lived, afterall. If he had just done something then… But he didn’t and she died. And he didn’t know that till about a week or two after. One day, just a normal day, Tooru had confronted him, desperately clinging to him and demanding: “Is it true?”
And that was how he found out about Mahiru.
She had had a child- his child- but never told Touma about him. It was a mercy, her shutting him out of their son’s life. He knew that she knew the idea of a child frightened him. Tsurugi, he could handle. Something of his own flesh and blood? Different story. He could not play house. A domestic homelife was something too warm, too comforting, too normal for someone like him. And besides, if Touma was a monster then what would that make his own offspring? Nothing good came from him, not even Tsurugi. The boy was broken and lost, constantly trying to pick up pieces of himself. No, Touma only ruined things.
By the time Touma had learned of her death, the funeral was already long over and custody of Mahiru had been given to Tooru. She had made it amazingly easy for him to walk away from the entire situation. And so he did. Because what would be the point of getting involved? She was gone. Mahiru would be the sad reminder that she had slipped through his fingers for good. What did he even look like? Did he take after her? That would be too painful to bear, but Touma preferred that over the boy resembling him. What would he even say if he saw the child? Did the boy even want anything to do with Touma? Of course not. Why would he? It’s not like the child even needed Touma anyways. He had Tooru now to care for him. And Tooru was a much better substitute than Touma could ever hope to be, if he even allowed himself to hope. Touma was not a gentle person nor a soft person. He did not know any words of comfort. He did not know how to be a father.
And then several years later, he finally met Mahiru. The boy had indeed taken after her and for a split second Touma thought she had come back for him. He spoke like her, acted like her, and even had that same soft yet defiant gaze as her. Their child had all the characteristics that she had and none of Touma’s villainous qualities. Mahiru was just like her. She had done well with raising their son despite such little time she had. For some reason though, that also made him angry.
Could Touma have become like that too, if she stayed with him?
He didn’t want to think about it. It hurt to consider the possibility of being anything other than a monster. He knew it was hopeless… thinking of the “what if’s”. He was not good, there was nothing in him that was good. So he tried to kill the part of him that wasn’t evil.
In the end he failed, but was surprisingly content with the outcome. As the C3 building crashed around him he heard Tsurugi call out his name and he couldn’t fathom why the boy- no, young man- would still care about him. He thought back to his and Mahiru’s conversation and struggled to comprehend how the Eve of Sloth could shatter all his barriers or why he would even bother.
They must be good people.
It was the only logical explanation. Somehow, despite their connection to Touma, both Tsurugi and Mahiru managed to turn out good. Touma had two sons, but they were nothing like him. It was a relief, knowing that he hadn’t completely ruined them. It almost gave him hope for himself, but he crushed that thought as soon as it sprung up.
He had to remind himself that he was not a good person. Tsurugi had Yumikage and Junichirou to help keep him grounded and Mahiru had her and Tooru as an influence. Touma may’ve been a father figure to one and the real father to the other, but in the end all he ever had to offer either boy was pain. That was what he knew so that is what he gave. Pain, hurt, and anger. He could never be good like them and there was no point in thinking otherwise. He would always be nothing more than a terrible monster.
But when he saw her reflection in Mahiru’s eyes and heard Tsurugi’s voice calling out to him, Touma secretly wished that he wasn’t.