Dabi’s scratching voice cuts through Keigo’s brain on repeat, a broken record. He sighs, shoving the key into the lock and opening his door into his apartment.
It took him only a few staggered steps to reach the couch and collapse, wincing slightly at how the soft cushion pressed against his tender skin. He reached up, feeling the rough ends of his skin where Dabi’s boot has pressed for far too long. There would probably be scars, but for the most part he could see. That’s what mattered.
His wings, however, were a different story. He remembers telling Tokoyami how his one weakness was fire. How ironic of it to be Dabi’s greatest strength.
“Who are you?”
Best case scenario he would grow most of his feathers back. Worst case scenario they would remain like this forever. Keigo knew it would end up somewhere in between. There was too much damage to even return back to the way they used to be before.
Fuck. A second rock drops in his stomach, right next to the one Dabi had already spoken into existence so easily.
Keigo’s exhaustion hits its limit, his eyes blinking shut, letting the darkness encompass him completely.
He dreams of his childhood.
He sees Endeavor, big, strong, bathed in flames, slapping handcuffs around who he used to call his father. His mother hadn’t been seen in months.
The first sign of light flickered into Keigo’s eyes, after all those years. He knew what he wanted to do.
He would bring the light to others, just like Endeavor had brought to him.
Keigo was going to be a hero.
The dream shifts, and Keigo’s slightly older. He’s at the Commission, sparring against some red haired boy he had just met.
Endeavor steps into the room, watching his progress from afar. A pleasant feeling bubbling in Keigo’s gut. He hadn’t seen the hero in awhile, and being in the same room as the man brought a sharp pang of adrenaline he hadn’t before. He takes down the boy in front of him with sudden ease.
“Fantastic, Hawks.” The head of the Commission says, devoid of emotion as usual. She writes something down on the paper in front of her.
He sees Endeavor scoff, crossing his arms and looking away. Did he do something wrong?
“Pathetic, Touya.” Is all the fiery man says. Keigo blinks in confusion, looking down at the boy sprawled onto the floor below him.
A growl escapes Touya’s throat, sending a hard glare towards Endeavor. Keigo’s feathers bristle. The boy looks up, strong, familiar blue eyes connecting with Keigo’s gold. He’s seen those eyes before.
The flame hero wasn’t there for him after all.
Keigo offers out his hand, and the boy looks at it warily before finally accepting. His skin feels rough and calloused. The more Keigo stares the more scars he can count along the boys skin.
“Thanks.” The boy mumbles, tugging down his sleeves most likely to ward off Keigo’s very obvious staring.
His gaze startles back up to his face. Touya stands there uncomfortably for a moment before swallowing tightly.
“Bye.” He says, turning and walking towards the adults on the other side of the room. Keigo blinks.
Three days later Keigo’s muscles are still sore. His wings look terrible. Haggard and sparse, the slightest bump against the wall has Keigo wincing in pain. His neck has a bad kink from sleeping on his stomach. The only plus is the swelling in his eye has gone down.
He hasn’t left his apartment much, only to buy groceries and a spare visit to the Commission and to Rumi’s hospital room. Needless to say he’s off for awhile, the first time in years.
Probably because his mission is over. Failed? Maybe, in the Commission’s eyes. He did gain a lot of intel, and he took out one of the League’s prominent members. That had to be something right? They were never satisfied.
Unloading his groceries onto the counter, Keigo shivered, pain shooting out from the ugly pit of guilt in his stomach. An image of his feather through Jin’s back flashes before his eyes. He drops the carton of eggs onto the floor.
“Fuck.” He mutters, shaking his head, bending down to check if any were broken.
Except the eggs weren’t there, and a pair of dead eyes stared back at him, wrapped in a familiar jean suit and a black body bag.
Keigo jumps back, hitting his back against the shelf and closing his eyes at the pain in his wings. When they open the carton of the eggs sit innocently on the ground in front of him.
Keigo grabs his hair, tugging on the ends and sinking to the floor. What’s happening to him? This was never a problem before. Why is he seeing things now?
His phone starts buzzing atop of the counter, but Keigo doesn’t move, eyes locked on the eggs in front of him.
Dabi said he should’ve marked him, not Twice. Would he feel any different, if he did? He blinks, a flash of red hair crossing his eyes.
The voice whispers in his head, graveled and angry like it was Dabi himself right now speaking it next to him.
Keigo doesn’t get up until after the sun sets. Darkness fills the room, so much so he thinks it might be pouring out of him too.
That night he dreams he was flying near the high ceilings of the Commission, waiting to begin training when the door bust open and Endeavor walks in, Touya dragging behind him.
“Endeavor. Touya isn’t scheduled to be here today.”
“No, but he’s been skipping his training lessons and I have to work for the entire day. I’m sure you can fit him in somewhere.” He says, placing his hand behind Touya’s back and shoving him towards the woman.
Keigo hadn’t seen him in a few months, but even that little passage of time was enough to show some clear wear to Touya’s condition. The summer heat now forced the child to wear shorts and a t-shirt, unveiling extensive bandaging around his arms and calves.
“Is he even able to train in this condition?” She asks, looking Touya up and down.
“My child is not weak. He’s doing this to himself. You’ll see his performance is the same if he is trained like usual.”
The Commissioner nods, dismissing Endeavor and turning back to write something down on her computer.
Touya glares at his father’s retreating figure, watching him as he exits the building before going over to the sparring mat to stretch. Keigo dives down behind him, landing as softly as he could.
“Hey.” He whispers. Touya nearly jumps out of his skin.
“Shit! Warn a guy next time. Where did you come from?”
Keigo simply points up. Touya scoffs, rolling his eyes before turning around and continuing to stretch. Keigo’s eyes fall down to the bandages on the back his legs.
“I can feel you staring at them.” He says, still not facing Keigo.
Touya freezes, and then turns towards Keigo slowly.
“You ask everyone where they got their scars?”
Keigo swallows, suddenly nervous he’s overstepped some boundary. Touya just rolls his eyes once more.
“My quirk isn’t suited for my body. Whenever I use my flames they burn me.”
“Oh.” Keigo whispers, eyes still fixated on the bandages. He can see the slight redness peaking out the side of several layers of gauze. “Can’t you stop it though? You’re dad said you’re doing it to yourself.”
“My dad’s a lying sack of shit.”
Keigo’s eyes go wide, he’s never heard anyone talk about Endeavor like that, and was surprised to hear it coming from his own son.
“Endeavor’s a hero.” Keigo mutters to himself. He suddenly feels a lot younger than Touya although they couldn’t be more than a few years apart.
“You’re just delusional then, little bird.” He frowns.
Keigo’s balled his fist. “Don’t call me that.”
Touya raises his eyebrows in affront. “Fine. What do I call you then?”
“Hawks? That you’re real name?”
“So what’s your real name then?”
Keigo opens his mouth, but a voice behind him beats him to the answer.
He turns, and suddenly he sees Dabi standing over him, boot coming down firmly against the side of his face. His hair is now red and wild, but the blue flames and scars are still prominent, shining brightly against the rubble of the building surrounding them.
“Was it worth it, Hawks?” He asks, manic smile on his face. Keigo is about to ask what he’s talking about when Dabi kicks his head to the side.
Twice and Jeanist lay on the ground together, side by side in a dead heap, empty eyes burning into Keigo skull.
“Was it worth it?” A new voice appears. Keigo looks and sees himself, young again, clutching an Endeavor doll and staring at the dead bodies in tears. He turns and looks at the older Keigo in fear. “Are you sure you’re a hero?”
Keigo jolts awake, painful shivers racking down his body despite being soaking wet with sweat. The knot in his neck was worse, and he uses his hands to peel his stomach off the wet sheets. 4:17am, the clock reads. He sighs, knowing the idea of even trying to sleep again was lost in the sheets of his bed as he stuffs them in the washer for the third night since the battle.
The next night Keigo lays in his bed, unable to fall asleep. The physical exhaustion from overworking himself for the past couple weeks has worn off, in it’s place a large fog has settled over a majority of Keigo’s brain. He stares at the ceiling, eyes wide and burning because he’s been awake too long but his eyelids refuse to shut in fear of what he’ll see behind them.
He waits until the clock hits 3am before he rolls out of bed and throws on a jacket.
It’s a bit chilly outside, but the crisp air feels good in Keigo’s lungs. He hasn’t been out since his trip to the grocery store and he didn’t realize until now how stifling his apartment really was.
He sets off to the nearest park, a nice short walk only a few blocks away from his apartment. The stars are out, although few, and the moon is nowhere to be seen in the sky, making the alleyways a bit darker and the street lights shine just a bit brighter. Keigo hugs himself tighter in his jacket.
His feathers were still sparse, and even though he’s been trained in quirkless combat for over 10 years, the lack of the security blanket left him feeling awfully vulnerable in the dead of night.
“Takami Keigo.” He hears suddenly, spoken from an alleyway across the streets.
He halts, breath quickening in his chest. Of course this would happen right now. He pinches his arm slightly, trying to wake up from whatever dream this is only to find this was reality.
A tiny flash of light catches his eye, before several other little glimmers begin to make their way into the yellow beam of the street lights. The first sighting of staples and purple scarring cause Keigo to take a step back.
“Thought I’d never see you out again, traitor. You’re wings looked a little charred last time we met.” Dabi’s smirk becomes evident as he lights up a small flame on his pointer finger, bringing it over to light a cigarette in his mouth.
“Oh, and that’s a nice scar.” He winks, tapping the toe of his boot on the ground lightly.
Keigo swallows. He usually isn’t afraid of this man, but recent events have tipped the scale in Dabi’s favor. Heavily.
“You going to kill me?” He says finally, voice remaining steady and confident despite a ball of emotion building in his stomach.
Dabi shrugs. “Nah.”
“I thought you didn’t care if I lived or died?”
“That’s true.” Dabi says, taking a long inhale of his cigarette. “Doesn’t mean I have to be the one to kill you. Although you might deserve it after what you did to Jin.”
The guilt in his stomach rapidly builds so high it reaches his throat. He swallows roughly.
“You look like shit. Is it eating at your weak morals? Can’t say I didn’t have similar regrets in the beginning.”
The beginning. Like it was a road, a destination Keigo intended to approach.
Dabi taps on his cigarette slightly before crossing the street. Keigo instinctively wants to take a step back but he doesn’t, willingly himself to hold a facade of confidence. Dabi comes right up to him, barely an inch apart, and looks him up and down before blowing smoke into his face. His nose scrunches.
“Why do you look like you’re stuck in a cage, little bird? I thought you might’ve been free now.”
Keigo’s stomach burns at the nickname, a flash of red hair sweeping his vision.
“I’m not stuck in a cage.”
“Yes you are. I can see it in your eyes. You feel trapped.”
Keigo glares at Dabi, and all he does is snicker, pulling the nicotine to his mouth once again.
“Lighten up. I told you I wasn’t going to kill you.”
What’s left of his wings flutter behind him, trapped below his oversized coat. The familiar blue eyes bear into his own once again, after all these years. Keigo feels his heart twist.
“Touya,” Is all he says, voice surprisingly gravely like he’s trying to mimic the voice in his memory. He hasn’t told anyone yet, not even the Commission. It feels private, almost.
Dabi rolls his eyes, breaking the contact. “Don’t call me that.”
“That’s your name.”
“Fine, Takami. Have it your way.”
He grits his teeth. Fair, he should’ve seen that coming. But it doesn’t feel any better hearing his father’s name again.
“You like the new look?” Dabi blurts out, stepping back from Keigo and giving a little twirl. It’s such an odd shift in tone Keigo snorts beside himself.
“Very goth.” Dabi hums in agreement. “Although I don’t think the red hair would make you look any less emo.”
“Hm, maybe not. I’m not trying to be recognized that easily though, what’s the fun in that?”
He looks up at the sky in exasperation, familiar with Dabi’s dramatics from when he was closer with the League. It was so familiar it almost felt like it was before his entire mission had gone to shit.
He looks back down at Dabi.
“Why?” He finds himself blurting out. Dabi cocks his head in confusion.
“Why are you are villain, Touya? You were training to become a hero. I thought you were dead.”
“Technically, I am dead.” Dabi breaths in, biting his cheek as he seems to contemplate answering the rest of the question.
“I don’t think Endeavor’s biggest fan would like this story too much.” He decides, tapping the cigarette out against the light post. “But in summary daddy dearest is an abusive piece of shit. He married my mother for her quirk to try to breed kids strong enough to beat All Might, because he couldn’t. Then he beat the shit out of me in training trying to get me strong enough, but it never worked, obviously. My body can’t handle my own quirk.”
“He kept having more until he got Shouto, and you’ve probably seen the shape that brats in. All in all he beat his kids and fucked with our family so much it drove my mother to a mental institution and me into the grave. Yet besides all that society looks up to him as a great hero, not once even trying to question the bruises on my arms or the burns on my brother’s face or my mother’s condition.”
He clicks his tongue, looking out into the darkness of the night. “The Commission knew, you know, I found out that day I ran away and I saw you. They dismissed the domestic abuse files because he was the number two hero.”
“I will follow the ways of Stain because he knew how corrupt the system is. How utter shitbags like my father don’t deserve to be a hero, much less number fucking one, and how unworthy half of you brats are. If there wasn’t for piece of shit heroes like him there wouldn't be piece of shit villains like me.”
Keigo stands there in shocked silence, trying to absorb every detail of Dabi’s story. He hadn’t expect him to lay it all out like this, so easily and fluidly. It’s so honest and abrupt and horrifying Keigo doesn’t know how to deal with it.
“I thought Stain didn’t want unnecessary bloodshed.” He finds himself saying stupidly, despite all the other important information his brain struggled to process.
“Yes. That’s why I everyone I kill deserves it.” Dabi smile grew wide, almost manic. “But we all have our differences. Guess he wouldn’t really like you very much, huh?”
Keigo paled, fallen into his own trap. Tufts of blonde hair flash in his memories.
Dabi just keeps smiling, backing away from the clearly troubled Keigo. He quirks his eyebrow a bit, turning his body slightly while still looking back at the winged man.
“Be careful, hero.” He says, voice dripping in sarcasm, before falling into the darkness of the night.
Keigo stands there alone, bathed in a sole yellow light amidst the black of the night, with flashes of jeans and clones and flames and scars crossing his vision, growing so rapidly he feels like they’re tearing him apart from the inside out.
That morning he dreams of his mother. It’s one of his first memories, she’s smiling sweetly down at him, stroking each of his wings with both of her hands.
“Look little bird,” She smiles, turning slightly so he can see her wings, much darker red than his and smaller. “We match!”
His father comes home and his mother turns around, grin faltering slightly when she hears the door slam.
As she turns back the scene shifts, and Keigo is sitting on the couch, slightly older, one of his toys gripped between his hands. His mother still stands over him, drink in one hand and staggering slightly as she yells at him for looking like his father.
She then breaks down, dropping her drink on the floor where it will stain the carpet for the next couple years. She drops to her knees in front of Keigo, not noticing how he flinches slightly when she reaches up to touch his wings.
“I’m so sorry little bird.” She says. “You have such beautiful wings. And a good heart. Do well for me.”
She gets off her knees and wipes her eyes, before walking out the front door.
Keigo’s subconscious knows the rest of the story after that. His mother doesn’t come home for months on end, only popping in once in awhile after a few drinks to check if he’s still alive. It’s Keigo and his father, who sleeps all day and gone all night.
The door opens again, except this time Endeavor steps through, big and strong as ever. Keigo jumps off the couch and runs to get his Endeavor doll, but when he returns the hero and his father are no longer there.
A different bright red head in the middle of the room turns, and Touya smiles manically at Keigo.
“Aren’t you gonna stop me? You could’ve really changed things.”
Keigo blinks and suddenly he’s by the doors of the Commission. Touya is standing in front of him, eyes wide and panting. He lashes out suddenly and grips Keigo’s arm.
“Don’t tell my dad you saw me.” He says, bright blue eyes staring into Keigo’s. He nods quickly, unsure of why Touya was even there in the first place. He doesn’t really train with him anymore.
Touya lets go and stands there nervously, eyes shifting slightly as if he’s unsure of what to do. Suddenly, he reaches out and pulls Keigo into a hug.
Keigo stiffens at the sudden intimate contact, but eventually loosens up and hugs the other back.
“Thank you for being my friend.” He says, breath hot against Keigo’s ear. He nods, shocked Touya would even call them friends, and squeezes him a little tighter.
Touya pushes back abruptly, nodding down at him before pushing through the door.
Keigo stands there in shock, before pulling open the door himself.
On the other side is a funeral home. The entire Todoroki family stand at the front, Touya’s brother and sister with tear tracks down their face, Endeavor next to them, expression stoney and controlled.
Keigo is pushed into a booth, where he sits next to a man with black hair.
“Crazy right?” The man says, leaning into Keigo.
He jumps, looking over to see Dabi staring at him, signature smile and all.
He cellphone buzzed next to him incessantly. The head of the Commission has been trying to reach him for four days now. Keigo’s ignored every single call.
This call was different however. A few years ago the number calling would’ve made his heart leap out of his chest. The Commission must really want to get to him, if they’re having Endeavor try.
Except it wasn’t a few years ago, he thought, declining the call and promptly blocking the heroes number.
His feathers ruffled behind him anxiously, fuller than they were even just a few days ago, but not back to their original plumage. They would never be.
Keigo leaned his head on the back of the couch, the call still in the back of his head.
What is a hero? By definition, it’s a person admired for their achievements and noble qualities. A picture of All Might, the obvious answer.
But then there’s Endeavor, who’s picture followed right behind him. Who bred his children out of self interest and beat them if they weren’t good enough. Who used his wife so much it drove her insane. Who got of on all accounts, just because he defeated more than a few villains on the way.
And then of course, there’s a picture of Hawks. ‘Attractive AND Talented’ one article gushes, ‘The Fastest Man Alive’ another writes, ‘The Perfect Hero’ the last one says.
‘Manipulative’ none of them say.
‘Pawn’ none of them write.
‘Murderer’ none of them know.
Keigo rakes a hand through his hair, scratching hard enough at his scalp he thinks he might’ve drawn blood.
A hard knock startles him out of his thoughts. Fuck, it’s probably the Commission.
He moves slowly, inching his way towards the window to slip out the fire escape.
“Hawks, it’s me.” Rumi. Keigo sighs in relief. “I’m here on my own.”
He gets up and opens his front door to reveal the bunny hero, out of costume with a pair of crutches and sporting a new prosthetic arm and leg. Guilt gnaws at his stomach slightly. He should’ve been stronger, quicker.
“Stop looking at me like that, you chicken. You did everything you could do.” She says, practically yelling with that loud voice of hers. She pushes into the apartment, crutching on Keigo’s foot as she goes past. He yelps and she only smirks, definitely having done it on purpose.
She makes her way over to the couch and sits down, clearly wanting him to join her.
“You haven’t been answering my calls.” She says, crossing her arms.
Keigo sits down and goes to scratch the back of his head in embarrassment, wincing slightly as he can feel the skin raw where his stressfully ripped it before.
“Haven’t been answering any calls, Rumi.”
“I can tell, you look like shit.” She snorts. Her face turns into something more like concern. “What’s going on dude?”
He looks down, hands beginning to shake. He can’t tell her. About Twice, maybe, but Jeanist? She’ll never forgive him, nobody will. A hero doesn’t kill. A hero doesn’t kill another hero for a mission that fails in the end. A hero isn’t a murder.
She’ll never forgive him, but isn’t that what he deserves? How is he any different to the other murders rotting in prison right now?
“—wks, Hawks!” Rumi is snapping her fingers in front of his face. He looks up quickly, tremors having made his way up his whole body. “Hawks, just breathe with me, okay? Just breathe.”
She takes a deep breath, hand rising with the movements of her chest, coming back down as she exhales. He tries to keep up with her, he does. His breath does nothing but stagger.
“Rumi—“ He starts, voice cracking, before he feels the trail of tears beginning to make their way down his face.
“Oh, Hawks…” She pulls him into a hug and finally he breaks.
Loud sobs echo through his apartment, barely muffled by the sweater on Rumi’s shoulder. It feels like an exorcism, a release of all the built of pain and guilt inside himself that’s been growing ever so steadily throughout the past week.
He doesn’t know how long he cries, wet and disgusting and all consuming. By the end, his throat is raspy and sore and he’s gasping for breaths as if there’s not enough air in the room for both of them.
His brain swirls. The last time he cried had to have been before high school.
Rumi combs through his hair softly, soft enough it doesn’t hurt. She’s silent, simply holding the hero as he breaks down, and Keigo has never felt more grateful for someone in his entire life.
“Hey Hawks.” She says softly, quieter than Keigo’s ever heard her. He sniffs loudly and looks up. “I think you need a break.”
He laughs, though it sounds strained and garbled. “I’m on break right now.”
“No, a real break. A long one.” She says. “I know about your mission, Hawks.”
A flash of panic rings through him, his eyes bulging. Did she know?
“I don’t know exactly what happened in there, or what you’ve done, but an undercover job like that couldn’t have been good for anyone. I’m sorry.” She pauses, seemingly contemplating what to say next. “You’ve been through a lot of shit Hawks, but you have a good heart. Don’t let them change that.”
A stray tear falls down Keigo’s face, a straggler. A good heart, she says. He hopes so.
That night, Keigo exhaustion pulls him under quickly, and for once in the past week he doesn’t dream.
The Commission manages to contact him three weeks out from the battle. He’s picking up groceries, because he is mostly human being who needs to eat, when he arrives back home to see the head Commissioner standing at his front door.
“Hawks.” She spits.
He sucks in a deep breath. Fuck.
“Why are you here?” He asks calmly.
“Why do you think? You haven’t been answering our calls. We’ve given you more than enough time off to heal, don’t you think it’s time to come back?”
He grits his teeth, pushing past her slightly to unlock his apartment door. He hears her growl behind him.
“Do not ignore me.”
“Or what?” He turns quickly, eyes boring into hers. She’s a brave woman, intelligent and strong. She won’t take no for an answer. Her gaze fights a battle in itself.
“Careful Hawks.” She says, and an image of Dabi saying a similar thing flashes before his mind. “Remember we know everything about you. Everything you’ve done.”
He stills, crumpling his fist in his grocery bags. He’ll never escape, will he?
“I’m sorry.” He grits out through his teeth. “I haven’t been feeling well.”
She smirks slightly, knowing she’s won. “One more week. If you’re not back by then we’ll release everything. And we won’t make it look good on you.”
Keigo swallows. “Understood.”
“Thank you for your time.” She says, turning and walking away without looking back. He heart is beating so fast he thinks it might nearly fall out of his chest.
It was nighttime when Keigo turns off the television and let his apartment slip into darkness. He doesn’t remember what he was watching, brain zoned out and an empty pit in his body that made it hard to focus on anything.
Next week he’d be a hero again. By title, at least.
Just the thought of it twists his stomach. His faith in the Commission was dwindling day by day. Keigo knows, has known for awhile now the Commission has been using him. He’s a tool, a powerful hero to do their bidding. And that was fine, for the greater good.
But was this the greater good? Writing off abusers and murders… for what? Peace? Order? Power?
Unthinking he reaches for his phone next to him, a burner he picked up at the grocery store, and types in a familiar number.
K: Hey. You still there?
When a response doesn’t come through immediately he kicks himself. What was he doing? Hopefully the villain wouldn’t even answer the new number.
His phone vibrates shortly after.
D: depends who you’re looking for
Fuck. It has to be Dabi, but he can’t be too sure. He tended to ditch his phones a lot.
K: This guy with red hair
D: he’s dead
He sighs, figuring that’s the end of the conversation, but his phone vibrates again shortly after.
D: whatever. 12am here
Here was a run down factory outside the city. Keigo had to leave quite early, unwilling to attempt flying yet and not wanting to draw attention to himself if he did. It was a Thursday night, the city louder than usual but not filled with the bustling crowd that comes with the weekends.
He had passed a few groups of businessmen on the way, drunk from what looked like a work party. Keigo envied them, almost. What a simpler life.
The smoke coming from the side of the large brick building signaled that Dabi was already there. Keigo walks over, the stones crunching beneath his feet doing nothing to conceal his arrival.
Dabi slid off the wall, dropping and stamping out the cigarette. He looked the same as he always did, all black everything except for that white t-shirt. The familiarity almost made Keigo comfortable.
“Bird.” Dabi addresses him, eyes raking over his appearance. Keigo wouldn’t say he necessarily dress up for the occasion, wearing sweatpants and an oversized fuzzy sweatshirt.
“Hey.” He says, shoving his hands in his pockets, not saying anything more. This was a bit awkward.
Dabi shuffles from foot to foot, tilting his head up to look at the sky. It’s quiet for a few moments longer.
“Did you come here just to fucking stare at me?” Dabi muses, sounding bored despite the smirk on his face.
Keigo jumps slightly, eyes flitting away from the villain. His heart raced in his chest. Fuck, this was a bad idea.
“No, I—“ He pauses, trying to find the right words. “I just— I don’t know.”
“If you wanted a therapist you’re in the wrong place.”
Keigo sighs. Of course he didn’t expect Dabi act as his psychiatrist, but he was the only one that knows what Keigo’s done besides the Commission. He brings his hand up and brushes over the scab on the back of his head.
“I know, it’s just— the Commission is making me go back to work next week.”
“Well, mission’s over here. We know you’re a traitor.” He’s still smirking, purposely being obtuse.
Keigo scowls. Does he always have to be this difficult? Well, there is a reason people call him a villain.
“Obviously, asshole. They want me to return to being a hero. How the fuck can I be a hero after I—“ He cuts, himself off, voice failing him.
“Say it. It’ll help.” Dabi says, crossing his arms and looking at Keigo expectantly.
He curses, kicking at the stones on the ground before looking up at the sky.
“How am I supposed to be a hero when I’ve killed two people. Two people who didn’t deserve it.”
Dabi snorts. “There you go. Well there’s no room for you here, sorry. No longer recruiting.”
“Would you— Fuck!” Keigo says, walking up to Dabi and shoving him roughly into the wall behind them. “Would you fucking talk to me Touya! You’re the only one who knows about this. I don’t know what the fuck to do! I don’t deserve to be a hero! I’m a fucking murderer!”
Dabi’s face remains unchanged, staring at Keigo’s hand on his chest before pushing it down.
“You understand what I’m fighting for, right?”
Keigo’s lets out a long staggering breath, quickly wiping at a tear threatening to fall from his eye.
“Yes.” He says, looking into Dabi’s eye. “I didn’t say anything before, but your father’s a piece of shit.”
“Yes, he is. It’s not just him though, there’s other. Countless others. The entire fucking system is corrupt and you’re just a product of it.” He says, staring back intensely. “Why not just quit. Retire.”
“I thought of that. They’ll bury me for it. I gave my life to the Commission when I was seven years old, and I can’t fucking take it back now.”
“That’s ridiculous. But fine, go back then. Learn to deal with it. You may not deserve to be a hero, but you can’t do anything else. You don’t have it in you to be a villain.”
“What, so I just go back to how everything was before? Pretend to be a hero while the Commission keeps using me like some chess piece?”
“Maybe instead of fucking whining so much you could do something about it. Change it from the inside, all that jazz. Release the dismissed files, talk to others, use your position to influence things, I don’t know.” Dabi leans his head back against the old brick. “I can bet that half of the heroes you work with have done similar shit as you. You’ve just got too good of a heart.”
Keigo steps back, visibly deflating. A good heart, they all say.
“Yeah, yeah. I guess you’re right.”
“Of course I am.”
Keigo rolls his eyes. God, this guy was a fucking dick.
“You know, the Touya I knew wasn’t such an asshole.”
It was Dabi’s turn to roll his eyes now. “God thing he’s dead then, isn’t it?”
“Keep telling yourself that.” He says, smirking proudly at Dabi. He scoffs, turning in the opposite direction of where Keigo was going.
“See you later Keigo.”
The glint of staples disappear into the night, leaving Keigo alone in next to the abandoned facility. He smiles to himself, Dabi had called him Keigo.
That night he dreamed he was in a large open field, grass overgrown up to his knees and white flowers scattered around in batches. Above him the sky shined bright blue, cloudless, open and inviting. He wings rustled behind him, eager to take off. He takes one step forward.
He turns his head, and sees the head of the Commission, hard black eyes boring into his own.
“Come back here, Hawks.”
He sees the grass move with the light breeze, yet he doesn’t feel it.
“What do you think you’re doing?” A new, stern voice emerges. He looks up and sees Endeavor, fire ablaze around him and expression morphed in to one of harsh judgement. “I thought you wanted to be a hero, like me.”
“Where are you going Hawks? Your wings look beautiful.” A softer voice calls. His mother steps out behind Endeavor, the same young face he’s always remembered.
Then two of his handlers step into focus, clad in all black speaking into cellphones. A pro hero, then 3 others appear, blood on their hands and cash stuffing out of their pockets. His father, wrists in handcuffs, dark circles covering his eyes and dirt caking his blonde hair.
They stare at him, expectantly. Willing him to come, shouting at him.
But instead, he turns, taking in the view of the open sky, and takes another step. And another. And another. With every step, the voices get quieter, until he’s broken into a full out run, and suddenly he’s lifted up in the sky.
Then he’s alone, surrounded by nothing but the beautiful shade of blue that wraps him up and holds him lightly. His wings stretch, soaring higher and higher and higher. He’s free.