It took three days for the grapevine, customarily twisted and distorted from it's humble beginnings , to finally make its way back to 1-A during lunch. Which was impressive, when one thought about who they had on their side in the art of gossip collection, but let the technicalities be technicalities.
"Did you hear about the dude who snuck into the dorms?" One student said as they went. The twenty ears of their class perked up in unison. "They posed as a kid's dad and tried pulling them out."
Another chortled, "no way, wasn't it an actual parent?"
"I heard," said a third, "it was a thug who got hold of an ID from a parent and tried to cause trouble."
"Pff, as if!"
Outwardly, Izuku didn't react to the conversation, but to the rest of them as they made their way to the cafeteria, the hunch in his shoulders and how he looked away was clear as day. Iida had half a mind to tell them off from their unprofessional behavior concerning word-of-mouth when someone stepped between them.
"That's enough gossip from you," Aizawa interrupted, waving a hand, and class 1-A stared - the pro hero was never in the halls or cafeteria when he could help it. "Go and get lunch. Sit down, stop loitering and blocking the way. Shoo."
The others slunk off, and, path clear again, Yaoyorozu led the way forward. They nodded at their teacher as they passed, Kirishima flashing him a bright smile; he simply blinked. Eyes stayed on them as they rounded the corner before Aizawa turned back towards his classroom, coming face to face with Present Mic.
"Yo, Aizawa!" He grinned. "So, it's been a few days. Is your ban on visiting the kids at the dorms lifted yet, or do I have to wait for the next lesson?"
Aizawa thought of the sheets draped over every chair and couch and tall table available, the surplus furniture shoved aside where errant limbs couldn't reach, the dead-asleep faces of his students and coworker as they snoozed in the middle of the room.
"Give it another day before you ask me again," he replied, and walked away.
"Ugh." Kaminari slumped into his chair. "I can't believe Midnight-sensei is giving us these big projects out of nowhere and making them due in three days. How are we supposed to do them that quickly?!"
"It's not that bad. All we actually have to do is pick something that's not well-known and do half a paper about it," Ojiro pointed out.
"Yeah, but why?"
"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Shouji said.
Jirou grinned. "You don't want to be stuck in remedial lessons because you didn't want to do a tiny assignment, do you?"
"Hey hey hey, who said anything about not doing it?! Come on!"
They all grinned and laughed as Kaminari moved on to begging for help, practically throwing himself over the table. Trays were shifted and shoved out of the way without a single blink.
"Oh relax, you drama queen." Ashido stuck her tongue out, stealing a handful of edamame from one of the trays and crunching two at a time. "Of course we won't let you hold us back by failing in class that badly."
"That doesn't exactly fill me with confidence, you know."
Sero shooed Ashido's hand away as she came back for seconds. "Hey, we're a class, aren't we? We're gonna be graduate and become heroes together."
"Whether we like it or not," Hagakure added. "So we might as well make sure we're good heroes while we're at it, right?"
"Well," Tsuyu said, "I hope accidentally getting stuck in trees and balconies isn't part of that help, or no one's going to want to ask for it."
"That happened once."
There was a round of snickering. Kirishima glanced at Izuku, who was shaking over his lunch, then grinned at Kaminari. "Seriously man, relax," he said, slinging an arm over Bakugou's shoulders. "It would be unmanly of us to leave you when you're asking us for help! I bet Midnight-sensei will let us swing working together as long as we all do our own things like she said. Right, Bakugou?"
"Get your arm off me, shitty hair."
"See, even Bakugou agrees with me!"
"SINCE FUCKING WHEN!?"
Uraraka and Izuku snorted in tandem, spluttering into their tea and rice, which only sent them into another fit of laughter. Beside them, Tokoyami gave an amused huff.
"What a mad, chaotic banquet this is."
"...Yes, of course. I trust my kids, and I can hardly say I do not trust one of their parents, but you must understand that it's my job to keep their needs and wants in mind, as one of their teachers and supervisors. I'm certain they'll think it's far too soon, with such an event fresh in their memories, but how about I bring the possibility up with them?" Toshinori nodded. "Excellent. I will inform you of the verdict when I can. Thank you."
He hung up, sighing. Business calls were never fun, and that particular call was no exception. Should I ask them all at once, or individually…?
Only a few of his students were lingering inside as the afternoon started to fade, Satou playing with the oven in the kitchen and Mineta, Todoroki and Izuku gathered around one of the tables. The latter two were hunched over schoolwork while Mineta tried getting their attention by "regaling" them with his "exploits". This would've worked better if he wasn't so into his story that he sounded incomprehensible to anything with ears, and if either of them actually cared.
As it was, they simply nodded whenever it seemed like they should, despite not hearing a word coming out of his mouth.
Izuku glanced at the clock. "Ah, sorry, guys." He shuffled everything into his hands. "It's a little early but there was something I wanted to do, so I'm gonna head up for now."
"Sure thing, Midoriya." Todoroki looked up. "Have a good night."
"Aw, you sure you wanna go up now?" Mineta drooled. "I was just about to get to the best part-"
"YesI'msurethankyou." Izuku shot up. "Good night, guys!" He spun around and nearly sprinted across the room. Mineta shrugged.
"Well, it's his loss. As I was saying-"
"Actually, I should be heading up soon as well."
Izuku sighed as Todoroki made his own escape, bustling past with a brief nod. He looked up to meet Toshinori's eyes, and grinned sheepishly.
Toshinori smiled back. "I'll see you in the morning, my boy. Have a good night."
"Ah, yeah! I will!" Izuku paused in his step, smile growing wider. "Good night, dad!"
Toshinori's brain shut down. Izuku had scampered off, which meant that the only witnesses to Toshinori's gradual return to cognitive function and his bliss as he returned to his room were a clock, the various chairs and tables, and Mineta.
Yes, Toshinori would definitely have a good night.
Izuku stood before his mother's door, green and blue unevenly glowing and fading in the hallway lights and afternoon sun. He'd spent the past few days thinking about this, making a decision, but now that he was here the anxiety churning in his gut gave him pause.
'I don't have to take it onto myself to rebuild the bridge between us on my own. That's not my job, when neglect is what burned it down. That's okay...'
He shook his head, repeating the thoughts that had pushed him to come over and over like a mantra, and knocked. At the muffled call, he pushed the door open gently.
"Izuku, sweetie!" Inko looked up from her drink. The UA room they'd given her was more than she really needed, with it's double bed and spacious closet, the desk pushed against one wall, the loveseat she sat in and a couch framing the coffee table. "Are you okay? How was class? Do you need anything?"
"I'm doing fine, mom. Class went well!" Izuku beamed for a moment. "But, um, do you mind if I ask you something?"
"Of course not." She shuffled a few papers and her teacup out of the way as he came in, headed for the seat across from her. Even when she split her nights between staying at home and staying at the dorms, Inko made the room feel lived-in. "Is something wrong?"
"No, no, it's nothing big or important like that, really! It's, uh, it's just..." Izuku faltered. A tide of this is a terrible idea started to well up inside him, telling him to take this back, to forget about it.
Then he took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and pushed that doubt away.
'...Still, if I want to, I can meet him halfway. Everyone will stand by me, no matter what I decide. Whether he comes back or not is up to him. That's alright. And, regardless…'
"Mom, can you tell me more about my, um, dad? My birth father?"
Inko paused, studying his face. Then, she smiled.
"Yes, of course I can. Where should I start?"
'... There are still questions I want to have the answers to, if I can. Someday, maybe you'll be here to answer them.'