“Has he found the kid?”
Shigaraki growled under his breath, lowering his set of binoculars as he scratched at the dry skin on his neck absently with his free hand. Nothing about his plan had gone right.
He needed that kid, Shoto Todoroki. Once All Might was out of the way, the son of the replacement number one would be needed to take Endeavor down too. Shigaraki wanted to leave a scar on society larger than any it had laid on him.
This whole world was full of fakes. Fake smiles, fake morals, fake promises, fake heroes. That’s why he wanted Stain on his side. But the idiot took one look at the tattered All Might poster on the wall of the dingy bar the League of Villains had claimed as their own; at the tears through it and splattered blood, and had decided that their goals did not align. Righteous bastard – and he was all the media cared about!
Beforehand, Shigaraki had encountered Dabi, the infamous villain who had set young Todoroki off on the path to villainy in the first place. Shigaraki had been bitter at first. He wanted control, but this Dabi guy just laughed in his face; seemed to think that the League was joining him, rather than him joining the League. It had taken some convincing on Kurogiri’s part to let Dabi tag along. At least he was doing what he was supposed to do, unlike Stain and that irritating brat, Shoto.
He hadn’t followed them at the USJ, and now he was finally free from that retched school, Shoto still seemed to believe the League were the bad guys in his story! All because of that Quirkless little President of theirs.
Oh, he was an interesting piece. The very thought made a smile creep across his face. Shigaraki hadn’t expected it then, back at the USJ when Nomu almost snapped the boy like a twig, but Midoriya had some special skills that no Quirk could grant. It was clear why he was in UA; the kid knew it too. The reasons, alone, were all fleeting and difficult to comprehend, but the conclusion was obvious.
Left to his own devices, Izuku Midoriya would rise up as one of the biggest threats hero society ever faced, something of society’s own doing. It was so… poetic. Shigaraki needed that piece. He’d told Sensei so. He’d replied with the usual. Whatever Shigaraki wanted, he would receive, eventually. But the longer he waited, the more UA would corrupt him. He was a bonus character; a cheat code – something that, if he were to unlock within the time limit, would guarantee his victory. Left too long, however, and his chances dwindled.
Not that it mattered now, of course. Right now, Shigaraki was standing on a roof top, glaring down at the city of Hosu. The plan was this, Dabi was cox Shoto out of his prison-like home, and Kurogiri would warp them to their meeting place in Hosu. Dabi had requested that it would be Hosu, Shigaraki only agreed because then he’d be able to find the Hero Killer, Stain, in the same time frame. Moreover, Dabi and Shoto would run amok in the city for a short period of time, just to freak out the heroes a bit, stop them from hunting Stain. This of course, didn’t go to plan, because Shoto took one look at the League and bolted. Kurogiri had offered to teleport the boy back, but Dabi insisted he’d go after him; make sure he was spotted once or twice to lure Endeavor over, not that Shigaraki cared.
Whilst they were gone, Shigaraki met with the Hero Killer, a meeting that, evidently, didn’t go so well. After teleporting back to Hosu again, in a fit of rage, Shigaraki requested that Sensei would send him more Nomu – three of them. He’d release them on the city, stand on the rooftops and watch it all burn by his hands. The media wouldn’t blink at Stain’s actions after the havoc that Shigaraki caused. They’d finally learn to treat him with some respect, unlike Stain.
But Dabi still wasn’t back with his stupid prodigy. This was getting ridiculous.
“Might I suggest we go somewhere more undercover?” Kurogiri told him as the distant blades of a helicopter sent its distinct sound through the canopy of this concrete jungle.
Almost shaking with rage, Shigaraki tossed his binoculars off the rooftop, watching them fall into the dark depths of the city below. The action pulled at his arms, the bullet wounds still tender and sore – the pain fresh. It was made far worse by the cuts that Stain left.
As the sound of the helicopter drew ever closer, Shigaraki grudgingly complied, “We’re going after Dabi. I don’t care if he doesn’t have the kid.”
The two disappeared in a whirl of violet fog, captured distantly by the reporter sitting in that helicopter.
This was how Iida would die. Victim to his mistakes, ignorance, and rage.
The world was blurry not only because his glasses lay out of his reach, broken beyond repair, but because of the tears that burned his cheeks; filling his eyes and running like waterfalls.
Stupid, stupid! He should have listened to Midoriya. Oh, Midoriya – a friend unlike any other. The boy had some interesting ideals, some questionable motives and state of mind. He had a long way to go at UA, but his improvement was paramount. Perhaps Iida really had called him in hopes that he’d be able to change his mind, but Iida was blind; the sanity that had made him pick up the phone was gone before Midoriya had a chance to answer.
It was back now; too little, too late.
How he could have thought that he could take down Stain alone, was now beyond him. The man had hurt countless heroes already, including his brother – why did Iida think he’d be any better?
The answer to how he did this was now clear. Stain had a paralysis Quirk. Iida had found him in an alleyway surprisingly close to the centre of town; appearing a little disorientated and lost. Iida brushed his own confusion aside as he yelled his reasoning at the villain, who simply stared at him whilst he tried to make out his face in the dark. It didn’t take long to realise who Iida was. Stain had sighed, ignoring Iida’s words as he tossed a knife that skimmed past his cheek. Iida was too quick to fall for a trick like that. Stain stalked him for a moment more, Iida refusing to get any closer to him. They circled each other – Stain picked up his discarded knife – and by then, it was all over.
The droplets of blood on that blade, that was all it took. When it reached the villain’s tongue, Iida felt his whole body seize up. He fell to the ground, glasses clattering on the concrete. Stain stood on them for good measure as he recited his own reasonings. And now, Stain stood above Iida, his heavy boot on his back, pressing him into the ground, sword raised high.
Iida clenched his eyes shut. He felt something from that sword drip onto his back, and he realised in a moment of abject horror, that Stain had attacked someone else that night; that the blood was still fresh. All Iida had done, was add to that list of death – that was his legacy.
He was an idiot.
Some vice President he was. As if he thought he could ever be the class representative. It was shameful – he couldn’t compare to Midoriya, and certainly not that of the hero course – like Kendo! He didn’t deserve it. He never would.
“…And what do we have here?”
Iida opened his eyes again. It was futile, for he couldn’t see a thing. But at the end of the alley, he could just about make out the two blurry figures that Stain was addressing.
A bubble of hope rose in Iida’s chest, one which he quickly swallowed. Whoever they were, they would only make things worse. They didn’t look like heroes – not brightly coloured nor spouting words of heroic justice. But they took a fighting stance. With a sob, Iida realised he’d be the fault of their deaths.
“Step away from my friend,” the shorter of the two proclaimed.
Iida’s breath hitched – he knew that voice, “M-Midoriya?” he stammered. “What are you doing –”
“Saving you, idiot!” he yelled.
Iida furiously blinked the water from his eyes in an attempt to make his vision clearer. It barely did a thing, but now he knew the context, the identity of the figure beside Midoriya was clear. It only took one look at his red and white hair.
It was Shoto.
There were about a million questions buzzing through Iida’s mind by this point, but he knew this was not the time to ask any of them. Right now, all he could feel was the horror of the two of them dying at Stain’s hands, because of him.
“No,” he croaked, “get away!”
“I know who you are,” Stain said slowly, lifting his boot off Iida’s back and trudging towards them, footfalls heavy, echoing around them.
Iida desperately tried to get up, but it was no use.
“More UA kids,” the villain grumbled. “Class 1-A – villain kids.”
“Yeah, that’s what everyone says,” Midoriya replied daringly. Iida couldn’t hope to describe the look on his face, but he could guess from the tone of his voice – from the slight tremor, a toxic mix of fear and unadulterated rage. Iida knew it all too well, but the context here was far more valiant than Iida’s own.
Stain studied the two for a moment, “Once upon a time, the class 1-A system was a step in the right direction. Now its purpose is nothing more than fear mongering. You have done nothing to help this. Heroes, villains – they’re all the same. Power hungry. Heroes have become ignorant to the world they pledged to save. They build towers plated with gold, raising themselves up higher, not caring about those who fall through the cracks – at least, not until they become strong enough to climb back up again. Those heroes use the bodies of their fallen foes to build their prideful towers even higher. The only way to stop it is to cut them down.”
Iida glared over at Midoriya, praying he wasn’t about to say something reckless and stupid –
“…Yeah, but murder’s bad.”
Oh, my God.
Stain started to step closer. In the meantime, Midoriya took a cautious step back. Shoto stood strong and defiant.
“Y-You know you’re right,” Midoriya quickly added. “More than anyone else, we know that! If you know who we are then you know what we’ve done. And I agree with you – everything you’ve said! But the one thing you haven’t considered is the fact that the people you’re murdering do actually help people! And sure they’re not really doing it for the right reasons, but they are saving lives! Killing them is, by consequence, killing the people they would have saved!” he was speaking very fast now; Stain was getting closer. “H-Have you considered err, instead of chopping down the pillars, r-raising the ground level?”
“Only for the heroes to rise even higher again.”
“– Well, chopping them down has the same consequence.”
“I prune the faults of society –”
“You’re arguing with me about morality and you’re about to kill an innocent kid!” Midoriya yelled right in the face of a mass murderer.
Shoto just stood to one side, more than slightly bewildered, ready to step in at a moment’s notice.
Stain glanced back at Iida for a moment, “He is far from innocent.”
“And who’s fault is that?”
Midoriya continued, counting the reasons off on his fingers, “Yours? Society’s? A hero’s? A villain’s? Mine?”
Stain simply glared at him, sword swinging by his side.
“Look, I can’t fight you – because you’ll kill me.”
“Y-Yeah – but I will fight, if it means there’s the slightest chance that my friend lives.” Midoriya pointed over at Iida, who had given up on the struggle against the invisible bonds of Stain’s Quirk. Through his blurry vision, Iida continued to stare at Midoriya, dumbstruck.
Stain wavered a moment more before he replied, “Who are you?”
Midoriya clearly wasn’t expecting those words – no one was, “I-I thought you said you already knew?”
“That I do, Izuku Midoriya,” Stain said in his menacing tone, his grip on his sword strengthening. Shoto noticed; his ice crawled across the ground. “But tell me, who are you?”
Midoriya seemed confused for a moment – Iida could tell from the way he held himself. Eventually, he summoned up the strength to reply, “I’m nobody,” he said. “Quirkless and useless and nobody.”
“Midoriya –” Shoto started. Yes, it was definitely Shoto.
Midoriya raised a hand to stop him as he continued to speak, “And that’s why I can make a difference. Why I can raise the ground level. Because if I can do it, anyone can. I can make heroes look human; make villains look like victims. I’ll prove that those titles are arbitrary. Heroes can be villains; villains can be heroes. But do you know what? You don’t apply – you’re not a hero, not by any stretch of the word. Let my friend go.”
For a second, Iida really thought he might. But that moment passed.
Stain charged. Shoto skidded in front of Midoriya and sent a wall of ice in Stain’s direction, something that the villain smashed in an instant with a swing of his blade. Shoto pushed Midoriya away as he sent up another pillar of ice. Stain leapt from it, pushed off the wall, and slammed into Shoto’s chest. Midoriya cried out as Shoto’s head hit the ground, and the spikes on Stain’s shoes dug into his shoulder.
But the fight was far from over. As Iida desperately reached forwards for his glasses, his fingers brushing against the ends as every fibre fought against his movement, he could just see the battle through the broken glass on the floor.
With gritted teeth, Shoto yelled out and sent a torrent of flame at his attacker. Stain leapt back, the spikes ripping painfully away from Shoto’s shoulder as his fire licked his own wounds. But before either could make another move, out of nowhere, Midoriya barrelled into Stain’s side, punching at his arm, the closest thing to him. Iida thought it had been simply a desperate attempt to save Shoto, but he soon realised it was more calculated than that.
Stain was forced to dodge another wave of Shoto’s ice, and the impact Midoriya had delivered loosened his hold on that sword of his. It was tossed high in the air. Iida almost had to tear away his gaze as the weapon came spinning back down towards his friend, but Midoriya caught it, shifted his stance, and pointed the sword back at Stain with a gaze as sharp as the blade he held.
“Impressive,” Stain leered. He pulled a knife from his boot and tossed it at Midoriya. Shoto realised just a little too late to block it with his ice. Iida couldn’t see what happened because of that ice, but Midoriya must have either dodged or deflected, because as he vaulted over the ice wall, he appeared unscathed.
In the meantime, Stain had drawn another blade from the many on his person. This was no sword but was certainly long enough to fight Midoriya.
The two clashed with the sound of clanging metal. Midoriya deflected and parried, but it was clear that Stain was far more advanced. Shoto knew this too, and stepped in at any point he could, burning Stain and forcing barriers between them.
They were pushing him back with frantic attacks from all sides, getting closer to Iida.
A lump of ice was tossed in his direction. Iida instinctively flinched and moved out of its trajectory. This was when he realised whatever hold Stain had on him, it was well and truly over.
He was going to wait for his moment, glasses now securely on his face (despite being cracked and barely useable), but something changed.
Stain clearly became frustrated with this fight. He kicked Midoriya back and in a flash, he was in front of Shoto. He drew a second knife and drove it into his shoulder before anyone could do a thing. In seconds, Stain had that blood on the tip of his tongue, and Shoto was frozen on the ground, shocked and unable to move.
“No!” Iida cried out as he leapt to his feet. With a boost of his engines, he flew at Stain with a speed that he couldn’t possibly match, but it didn’t matter, for he had prepared. Iida’s cry was just enough warning for him to toss another blade blindly in his direction. It made its mark, digging into Iida’s arm, but that didn’t stop Iida from kicking the man around the head with all the force he could muster.
The two fell to the ground. For a moment, Iida was convinced Stain had been knocked unconscious, but luck wasn’t on his side. Iida hadn’t had time to power his kick with his engines too, and although he was clearly disorientated, Stain was still up and fighting. The way he held his shoulder was abnormal, however. As Iida clenched his eyes shut and ripped out the blade in his own arm, he realised he hadn’t managed to kick his head at all but had missed and likely dislocated the villain’s shoulder.
Midoriya jumped in whilst he had the chance, actually managing to nick Stain’s skin, “Don’t let him taste your blood, Iida!” he instructed as Stain pushed him back again with a slash of his knife. “That’s his Quirk – he’ll paralyse you!”
Of course, Iida already knew this, but neither Shoto nor Midoriya could have. Stain voiced Iida’s thoughts immediately after.
“Smart kid!” and the two were locked in combat again.
Iida knew that without Shoto helping him, Midoriya would be defeated quickly, even in the discipline he’d begun to excel most at, he still lacked the training to fight someone so advanced.
Despite his injuries, Iida ran back at Stain, making sure to toss the blooded knife as far away as he could.
Stain cut a gash in Midoriya’s hoody, whether or not it grazed the skin was unclear. Iida pressed forwards and slammed into Stain’s side with far more power than Midoriya had earlier. He was knocked to the ground but was up again in an instant.
“Behind you!” Shoto yelled, still unable to move.
Stain had darted between the icy remains of Shoto’s previous attacks, only to remerge behind Iida and Midoriya. He swung that longer blade at Midoriya, aiming for the wrist that gripped his sword.
In a burst of speed, Iida was able to push him out of range, but the knife drove into his bad arm once again. The united cries of Midoriya and Shoto filled his ears, his own lost to his breath. The tears that fell down his cheeks were more of frustration than of pain, as he fell to the ground once more, paralysed.
He couldn’t see the end of the fight, but he could hear it – the clashing of blades. It lasted longer than he could have expected. By the time that Midoriya stumbled back into his view, the sword was back in Stain’s hands, and it was pointing right at his friend’s neck.
Silence filled the alley, broken only by their own heavy breathing.
Midoriya had his hands raised slightly in surrender, his back against a wall. He had nothing to defend himself with; no chance of stopping Stain now.
After a moment, Stain spoke. “One’s character doesn’t change so quickly,” he said. “Your friend hunted me down to kill me. Today, he did it again. Following you, he would become another fake, no matter how hard you try. No true hero should act out of revenge.”
“If he was ready to be a hero, then he would have already graduated class A,” Midoriya almost whispered.
Iida simply stared, watching Midoriya’s eyes flicker towards him through cracked lenses.
“But we’re not ready,” he continued. “Just like our teacher said. We’ll only be ready when we really understand why we’re here – and not all of us do. Is that really enough to warrant his death?”
Iida could see Stain’s smile. “Your words are sharp,” the Hero Killer told Midoriya. “Your skills need sharpening.”
The tip of the sword was pressing right on Midoriya’s skin now. He didn’t dare look at it, his eyes focused on the deadly villain before him.
“For that, class President, I will let you and your friend live.”
Iida breathed a shaky sigh of relief, but he was all too aware he may have just been referring to Midoriya and Shoto.
His fears were quickly confirmed, “But I will be finishing my work here, today. The young Ingenium shall die.”
And without further warning, two actions occurred in immediate subsequence.
Midoriya punched Stain in the gut, ducking and hitting the side of Stain’s wrist harshly with his other hand to bat the sword out of the way. The movement was so sudden that Stain couldn’t have possibly countered it.
The second action was Shoto’s. Far quicker than Iida had recovered, he leapt to his feet and sent another barrage of ice at Stain’s back.
Midoriya ducked and rolled out of the way. As Stain was hit by the full power of the ice, Midoriya was just able to twist his wrist and yank that sword away once more.
With Stain temporarily immobilised, Shoto and Midoriya quickly came to the same conclusion – run.
“I’ll get Iida!” Shoto announced. He charged over, bent down and lifted Iida up, resting Iida’s good arm over his shoulders.
“No…” Iida said weakly, trying to convince them to leave him behind.
“Shut up,” Shoto hissed, and Iida didn’t dare utter another word.
Midoriya was behind them as Shoto tried to get Iida away as quickly as they could. Their unspoken plan must have been to make it to the main street, where a hero might be around to come to their aid.
Stain yelled out in frustration not far behind them, desperately trying to get out of the ice. Iida knew they didn’t have long.
“Where’s Dabi?!” Midoriya asked Shoto.
“I don’t know!”
“D-Dabi?” Iida repeated, his mouth almost too numb with paralysis to form the words.
“I thought he was right behind us…” Midoriya muttered, glancing over behind him as they turned a corner.
“Well, I’d really rather not run into him right now,” Shoto muttered bitterly. “Considering how well that last interaction went, I don’t think he’d think twice before cremating either of you.”
Iida noted Midoriya’s hesitancy but didn’t comment on it.
“Anyway,” Shoto breathed, “we need to get as far away from here as possible before –”
There was a distant cry and the obvious shattering of ice.
“T-That?” Midoriya stammered.
Stain skidded around the corner.
Midoriya stood ready with his stolen sword – Shoto ready to protect Iida at a moment’s notice.
Stain stood up straight, eyes wide and manic, “Fine,” he hissed, “die.”
Iida clenched his eyes shut as the villain charged. He knew this would be the end.
But it wasn’t.
Stain never reached Iida, nor Midoriya nor Shoto. For out of the blue – from no feasible direction, came someone Iida had never seen before, in a great, tattered, red cape.
“Lemillion!” Midoriya exclaimed as the hero copied his earlier movement and punched Stain in the gut with far greater strength, a crackle of yellow lightning behind the punch.
Stain was tossed across the alley, tumbling to the ground.
“Are you ok?!” Lemillion called back.
“I’m fine!” Midoriya replied, “But Shoto and Iida aren’t! Stain has a paralysis Quirk – you can’t let him taste your blood!”
But the explanation didn’t come quick enough. A blade had already been tossed at the young hero. It sunk into his arm –
– actually, no – it went right through his arm. Not… injuring it – simply passing through, as though it were not there at all. The knife was lost amongst a collection of bin bags to their left.
Stain stared for a moment, confused – and soon came to the profound realisation that this particular hero, was not one that could fall victim to his blades.
“Stay there!” Lemillion ordered as he made his charge at Stain.
Iida would have wanted to watch the fight, but Shoto lay him down on the ground, facing away from the action. “Is it just your arm?” he asked.
“Yes,” he replied shakily. “And you?”
“I’m fine. Midoriya?”
Midoriya was staring at the battle between Stain and Lemillion. From the sound of it, it was an intense one.
Without warning, Iida felt himself begin to cry.
“Iida?” Midoriya gasped, kneeling down in front of him, “Are you sure you’re ok?!”
“Why did you come after me?” he sobbed, feeling so stupid, breaking down like this.
“Because you needed someone to,” he said, as though it were obvious.
“You could have died!”
“The fault of life.”
“I-I’m serious, Midoriya!”
“So am I!”
“That’s the difference,” Shoto perked up.
“Hm?” Midoriya blinked.
“That’s the difference between you and Dabi.”
For the first time in a while, Iida looked up at Shoto and saw him smile.
He kept smiling, and said, “You came after me.”
For a moment there, they forgot there was still a psychopathic murderer on their tail.
He slipped past Lemillion for just a moment – but a moment could have been just enough.
Midoriya reacted before Shoto could. He blocked Stain’s blade with his own – he didn’t have the strength to hold it back for long, but it didn’t matter. Shoto stepped in next, for once, choosing fire over ice to push Stain back. He was forced to leap away from the flames, and between him and Iida, right from underneath the ground, Lemillion seemingly teleported. With a final, powered punch, this time making its mark around the villain’s head, Stain fell to the ground, unconscious.
They were all silent for a moment more.
Stain had been defeated.
“H-How did you find me?” Midoriya finally asked.
Lemillion took a second to catch his breath, “Phone,” he explained. He drew his own from his pocket. “Took the liberty to make your phone send mine its location when we were back on the train. I didn’t think you’d let me if I asked.”
Midoriya bit his lip, “Yeah… that was probably a good idea.”
Iida didn’t know the context, but it was clear that whoever this was, Midoriya had travelled to Hosu with him. But he seemed to trust the hero, so Iida did too.
“Now what?” voiced Shoto.
They’d take Stain to the proper authorities first. In the rubbish, Shoto managed to find a length of rope, with which he helped Lemillion tie Stain up with. Midoriya removed all the weapons from his person and lay them out in the alley as Iida recovered from his paralysis. As soon as he had, Midoriya delved into his rucksack, which he’d been wearing this entire time, and revealed a small first aid kit. Lemillion laughed at the sight of it and pointed out that he had his own on his utility both. Using material from both, Iida’s and Shoto’s arms were quickly cleaned and wrapped with bandages. Midoriya put a small plaster on the cut on his arm – but that was the only injury he received, except from maybe some invisible bruises.
They moved all of the stuff in Shoto’s backpack into Midoriya’s and used the now empty bag to stash away Stain’s weapons. Midoriya held the sword as Lemillion dragged Stain’s bound body along behind them as they walked to the main street.
“I sent out a distress call,” Lemillion explained. “There should be some heroes on the look out for us. Once we reach the main street, I’ll send a proper location. Then, it’s probably best you three have a check up at a local hospital. Those wounds looked deep.”
“I’m fine,” Shoto shrugged. Iida wasn’t so sure about himself.
“Are you sure?” Lemillion asked Shoto directly this time. “You gave everyone quite the fright, disappearing like that.”
Shoto didn’t reply, so Midoriya did for him.
“We left Dabi behind somewhere before we ran into Stain,” he explained. “I thought he’d follow us, but he just… vanished.”
“He’s probably with the League,” Shoto said angrily.
“Maybe the warp guy took him away when he couldn’t find us,” Midoriya suggested.
“I don’t know – don’t care.”
“What the hell?!” Dabi exclaimed. “Let me go after Shoto!”
“You were taking too long,” Shigaraki hissed.
He had ordered Kurogiri to teleport him to where Dabi was. They’d found him running through the back alleys of Hosu on some kind of wild goose chase.
“You wanted me to work with you to get Shoto – this is the entire point!” the scarred villain snapped.
“We’ll find him – it’s not like he has anywhere to go!” Shigaraki retorted.
Dabi was furious, the smell of smoke hissing from his burnt fingertips. “See, if you listened, you’d know that was wrong. That bloody kid – Midoriya – I didn’t think he’d actually go with him!”
Shigaraki furrowed his brow – oh, this was an interesting development. “Izuku Midoriya?”
“The class 1-A president,” Dabi growled. “Chased us all the way to Hosu.”
“…And he’s with Shoto. Oh, it worked…”
Dabi rolled his eyes and ignored him, “Heard some kind of yell and went running after it. And if you’d let me go, I might be able to find them!”
But they’d already left the area. After some argument, Shigaraki had ordered Kurogiri to take them all back onto the rooftops, ignoring his warnings. They’d been back and forth at this conversation for a while now, but this was the first time any mention of Midoriya had appeared.
“…Kurogiri, bring a Nomu to me.”
“Shigaraki, the Nomu are –”
“I don’t care! Bring me the winged one!”
And he did.
The winged beast landed on the rooftop beside them. Dabi didn’t flinch at its arrival but stared at it with some discuss.
It would only answer to Shigaraki, “Bring me Todoroki and Midoriya,” Shigaraki ordered. “If Shoto wants to be with his friend then we’ll simply have to accommodate them both.”
Dabi almost grinned as the Nomu took off with an inhuman screech, soaring over the rooftops in search of the two.
“He may be a pest,” Dabi spoke up, “But that Midoriya kid really is something.”
Shigaraki didn’t reply – but he wholeheartedly agreed.
“Midoriya!” Shoto cried out.
They’d reached the main street. There were a couple of paramedics tending to his wounds, and professional heroes had arrived to detain the Hero Killer. Lemillion turned out to be a third-year hero course student at UA, one who’d been patrolling Midoriya’s neighbourhood when he saw Midoriya climb out his window and bolt it towards the train station. He’d been unable to catch the train he was on, but quickly followed in the train after. What didn’t add up, was what he’d said about tracking Midoriya’s phone. Shoto soon realised the whole truth wasn’t being told here, but he knew better than to speak up.
He’d been sitting there, fearing the inevitable arrival of his father, when one of the beasts he was supposed to be fighting, swooped in from the sky and grasped Midoriya in its claws, just before he was able to hand Stain’s sword over to the police.
Pushing away the paramedics, Shoto ran after it. In the background, he could just hear the other heroes cry out, but they were held back by Stain, who suddenly began to fight against his capture in the distraction the Nomu had caused.
Lemillion caught up quickly.
“Stay back, Shoto!” he yelled as he leapt up into the sky to fight the Nomu.
Shoto obviously ignored him, but he did skid to a halt when that Nomu disappeared in a flash of purple light – Midoriya along with it.
Lemillion landed beside Shoto, just as shocked as he was.
“Where did it go?” Lemillion gaped.
But Shoto recognised that light, “Kurogiri.”
He would have explained more, but he didn’t have time. Before he knew it, that Nomu had reappeared – without Midoriya. This time, it was Shoto in its claws.
It climbed high into the sky – Lemillion sunk into the ground so he could leap up in pursuit.
Shoto knew he could easily fight against this monstrous bird – but he wasn’t going to. This was the only way he could go after Midoriya.
The portal reopened before Lemillion could reach them, and soon swallowed them whole.
Shoto hit the ground harshly. He lay there for a moment before slowly getting to his feet. The order to get up was what made him do so slowly.
Dabi glared at him. Shoto ignored him and stepped to the side to stand in front of Midoriya, who still had Stain’s sword.
“Finally,” Shigaraki sighed. “I’ve been wanting to talk to you two for so long now.”
“We don’t care about what you have to say,” Midoriya growled, stepping away from Shoto’s protection and holding that sword firmly. They stood next to each other, facing the three villains defiantly. The winged Nomu circled above their heads.
Shigaraki laughed, “I think we’d all get along so well if you gave us the chance. We have such similar motives.”
“I doubt that.”
Shoto didn’t know if Midoriya needed to shut up or keep talking. He made no move to stop him.
“Put that sword away,” Shigaraki said with a roll of his eyes, straightening the dismembered hand across his face. “I’ve already felt it once today. Chuck it away before I disintegrate it.”
Midoriya didn’t follow his orders.
Shigaraki stepped towards him to do as he’d warned, but Shoto wouldn’t let him, “Unless you want to feel it again, I suggest you stay where you are,” he hissed.
Dabi let out a huff of laughter, “Shoto, we’re not against you.”
“Well, I’m having a hard time believing it – since you just essentially kidnapped us!”
Dabi groaned like he was being an idiot. He ran a hand down his face in frustration. “The two of you are so filled to the brim with heroic nonsense. Any logic goes in one ear and out the other.”
“Err, you mean the logic that keeps us alive?” Midoriya interjected. He turned to Shigaraki, “You might not remember, but you ordered your last Nomu to kill me at the USJ! And you –” he pointed his sword at Kurogiri – “redirected a bullet into my shoulder!”
They were very clearly done with this conversation, “You’re coming with us, Shoto,” Dabi glared, “Whether you like it or not. You’ll thank me later.”
“He’s not going anywhere!” Midoriya yelled. “Leave him alone! He’s made up his mind!”
“And I’m about to make up mine,” Dabi hissed menacingly, holding a blue flame in his hands towards Midoriya.
“Now, now,” Shigaraki sighed. “Why don’t we be a little less hostile to our guests?”
Dabi gave him a look, “You’re one to talk.”
Whilst the two bickered, Shoto glanced around for any possible exit, but struggled to find one. Kurogiri would teleport them back if they dared to go far, or else that Nomu would strike. They were well and truly stuck – and it was all Shoto’s fault.
But sometimes, help can come from the most unlikely of places.
With a cry, that Nomu was struck down from the air. It crashed into the roof top with a knife in its eye – a very familiar knife.
Shoto gasped as Stain leapt onto the rooftop from the one next door. A second knife met Shigaraki’s shoulder, and Dabi sent a wall of blue flame between the League, Stain, and the two UA students.
Shoto pulled Midoriya to the edge of the rooftop, as far away from the fight as they could get without risking jumping. For some reason, Stain didn’t seem to be after them.
Shigaraki had been paralysed. Kurogiri stood over him and deflected any blows sent in his direction. The main fight was between Dabi and Stain, which involved a lot of fire that Shoto blocked with his ice, all of which quickly melted.
“We’re not against you!” Dabi yelled as he dodged another attack.
“I am not against you,” Stain replied as he ducked and rolled under deadly fire, hotter than Endeavor’s himself. He injuries were apparent, yet he still fought. “I am against the League.”
“We have the same goals!”
“Then teach their true meanings to Shigaraki!” Stain cried. “And leave the kids be.”
The two were at a stale mate, staring each other down.
“You don’t know anything about me and Shoto,” Dabi snarled.
“They have a future,” Shoto actually heard the Hero Killer say, “and it is not with the League.”
Dabi’s gaze flickered around him – to Shigaraki and Kurogiri – to Stain – to Midoriya and Shoto, who shifted into a fighting stance the moment he did. His expression softened for a moment. With it, Shoto felt his doubt creep back.
“Kurogiri – get us out of here,” Dabi ordered.
The warp villain didn’t hesitate.
Shoto’s brother disappeared into a dark, violet abyss – his chance gone; decision made.
Stain turned back to them.
The three of them stood prepared to fight for a moment more, although, Stain knew he couldn’t win, not in his condition.
He fell to the ground, blood dripping from his mouth, painful burns across his skin and clothing – and once again lost consciousness.
Midoriya and Shoto exchanged glances. They were left on the rooftop with the dead Nomu and an unconscious Stain.
“…What just happened?” Midoriya asked shakily, almost smiling in his confusion.
Shoto heard the roar of a helicopter draw closer; shouts of heroes as they ran along the streets below. He grabbed Midoriya’s arm, “We need to get out of here.”
“Drop the sword – we need to go!”
Midoriya did as he was told, dropping the sword between Stain and the Nomu as Shoto led him to the fire escape that Shigaraki had been standing in front of before, blocking their path. Midoriya carefully stepped around the small pool of his blood before thundering down the staircase behind Shoto.
Once they were on the ground, Shoto led him deeper into the city, as far away from the action as they could get. There were still two more Nomu on the loose, and Stain or the League could return at any second.
“Shoto –” Midoriya started. “Shoto!”
He skidded to a halt.
Breathing heavily, Midoriya reached Shoto’s side, “W-Where – Where are we going?”
Shoto hesitated, he hadn’t thought of that. His mind simply screamed away – away – away from the villains – away from the heroes – away –
“We need to get back to the others,” he insisted, still panting a little.
Shoto slowly shook his head, “I don’t need to go to the hospital – that paramedic already gave me stiches remember? You were gushing over her Quirk –”
Midoriya pushed him playfully, “I was not.”
“Yes, you were,” Shoto grinned.
Midoriya waved the matter off, “Iida’s probably worried about us. And Lemillion too.”
Shoto wasn’t sure what to say. For some reason, this was enough for Midoriya to understand.
“You… don’t want to go back, do you?”
Shoto looked to the darkened streets, and then back to Midoriya. He was still wordless – for what could he possibly say? Even he didn’t know what he was doing.
“You don’t want to go back to your dad,” Midoriya guessed.
Shoto nodded, realising this was the problem.
Midoriya exhaled deeply, thinking this over. He glanced around, and his eyes settled on something – something which made him grin.
Shoto frowned and followed his gaze – not far away, was the bridge that supported the train tracks.
Midoriya pointed up at it, “Then follow me!” and he turned on his heel and ran towards it.
He wavered for a moment more, then made up his mind, and ran after his friend.
Midoriya led him along the roads underneath the bridge. It wasn’t long before they found their way to the end of it and charged up the stairs to the train station.
No words between them were exchanged when Midoriya delved through his backpack and pulled out two return tickets to his hometown and handed one to Shoto. They pulled up their hoods, used the tickets to get on the bullet train, and off they went.
Midoriya disabled the tracking ability on his phone, and messaged Lemillion to say that they were on their way back. Lemillion tried to call him – and frantically sent various text messages – none of which Midoriya replied to. In fact, Shoto was quite certain he blocked his number.
Not long after, they got off that train and wandered along some very familiar streets, right up to the apartment block Shoto had left Midoriya behind at only a day beforehand. As quietly as they could, Midoriya unlocked his front door and let Shoto inside. He led him to his room, where he left him whilst he collected sofa cushions and various blankets so Shoto could sleep on the floor.
“Good night,” was the first thing Midoriya said since they’d left Hosu.
Shoto sat down on the makeshift bed, slightly dumbstruck. Eventually, he lay down, and before he closed his eyes, he said, “Midoriya?”