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A Place to Be

Chapter Text

 

"HA! Take that!"

The smack of rubber hitting rubber reached their ears, followed by a familiar crackle. Kirishima swat the attack away and swerved around the table to avoid a follow-up, eyeing the other's weapon with a grin.

"Dude," he said, "that is so cheating!"

"It's not my fault your quirk can't do something like this." Kaminari taunted, waving his static-cloaked hand.

His hand tightened around the legs of the toy. "Well, if that's how you're playing..."

Kaminari yelped as Kirishima launched himself over the table, ducking beneath the swipe and skittering back while batting away the second hit with his rubber chicken. Sparks flicked from his fingertips and Kirishima laughed, rearing back and shaking off the pinpricks of electricity. Around them their classmates cheered, egging the two on as they duelled.

"GOOOOOO KAMINARI!" Hagakure shouted, arms waving wildly.

"You've got this, Kirishima! Win!" Ashido whooped. The two boys grinned at their audience and Kaminari drove forward, sparks again flying. People came down the elevator and the stairs, attracted by the noise and the temptation of a meal, and most either sat on the sidelines or headed for the kitchen. Toshinori peered into the living room, took one look at the clamor, and sighed. What his students wouldn't do for a bit of amusement around here....

It was a serious fight for all intents and purposes, the duo giving their all as they dove beneath the other's strikes. A blow to Kirishima's arm was swatted away and followed by one headed for Kaminari's leg, which was carefully dodged and redirected by a burst of electricity. They both swung once more time, one chicken aimed for the shoulder and the other aimed for the side, everyone holding their breath with anticipation for what could possibly end this...

"Break it up, everyone," Inko called. "Lunch is ready!"

They all paused, Kirishima and Kaminari comically frozen in mid-strike. For a moment there was nothing but the clatter of dishes and the quiet tap of feet on the floor as Toshinori moved past, but soon they began to trickle towards the dining tables. All the tension from the mock-fight dissipated, replacing the serious air with laughter. The chickens were dropped on the couch as per Inko's orders, plates were passed out and set down, and soon the food was laid out, handed around and finished amid eager conversation.

"OK, but seriously." Kaminari leaned forward. "Between us, who do you think would've won that?"

"Sorry, Kaminari, but I think Kirishima had it," Yaoyorozu said. "He knows a lot more about hand-to-hand combat than you do, and even with your electricity, you can't aim it properly enough without your equipment for it to be a real advantage."

"Woo-hoo!"

"Aw, really?"

Hagakure seemed to tap her chin. "You could have tried shocking him through the chickens, but I thought rubber wasn't good for electricity?"

"It isn't," Jirou said, popping a sausage tip into her mouth.

"I don't know, I think Kaminari was doing pretty good back there!" Ashido said. "If the fight went on a little longer, he could have won."

"Either of them could've won if they kept going any longer, Ashido-chan," Tsuyu said. "That's why we're debating about it. If I have to give my opinion, though, I think they would've tied."

"Whaaaa- you expected such an anticlimactic ending?! No way, no, at the very least it should have gone something like this..."

Ashido nearly knocked a pitcher over in her exuberance as she animated how the fight could have gone and Inko smiled, turning away from the antics. "A co-worker needs me to fill in for them today, so I'm be leaving after lunch. I'll either be coming home late tonight or early tomorrow morning," she said, passing a plate of pancakes to a groggy Tokoyami. "You'll all be fine without me for the afternoon, right?"

"Of course!" Iida said, his arm narrowly avoiding the glass of juice in front of him. "Not a thing will go wrong, I'll make sure of it myself. You can go to work without a worry on your mind."

"Aizawa wants them in for training later anyway," Toshinori said. He gulped down more tea, clearing his throat. "We'll be fine for one day, Inko. It's as Iida says - no need to be concerned about us."

She smiled, piling some of the already empty dishes together with her own. "It's hardly my fault for that, considering what happened last time I picked up a shift on a free day." The cry of "we swear we didn't mean to!" was teasingly ignored as Inko stood up. "But if Aizawa and Toshinori are both here to look after you all, I'm sure you will be fine."

"Nobody tell her about the wrestling incident," Sero whispered when she turned to wash up. Everyone nodded in unison.

It was as quiet as the dorms got during lunchtime after that, Ashido still doing her dramatic reenactment of the chicken fight and roping the others into sparring with their forks. Kouda and Todoroki rose to help Inko clean while the rest lounged or stood to get changed for later.

"Before you go," Toshinori called out, "someone left the equipment out in the courtyard, and I'll need some help moving everything back into the storage shed."

"Oh!" Uraraka shot up from her seat, the chair teetering on its back legs. "Don't worry about it dad, we can handle it!"

"It's quite alright, Uraraka my girl, I just need a few extra hands is all. I can manage this much."

"Who forgot to put the stuff away again?" Mineta whined, following the slow-moving group towards the back door. "This is the third time this week!"

"We can figure that out later, Mineta." Tsuyu hopped past. "Right now, we have a job to do."

"It is starting to get a little old, though, you've gotta admit."

"Let's go put everything away for dad. Come on guys, chop chop!"

"Ah, wait for me!" Izuku swallowed the last of his lunch, shooting after them. "Sorry about the mess, Toshinori-san."

Toshinori ruffled his hair and gently pushed him towards his classmates. "Don't worry about it, my boy. Let's get going before they finish without us."

 


 

 

"Thank you for helping me; I'll finish locking up. You can all go clean up and get ready for training now. I won't ask who did it this time either, but do try to remember to clean up when you're finished the next time, alright?"

"Yes, Toshinori-san!"

"Yes, dad!"

Toshinori smiled as the kids scattered and filed back into the dorm building, friends bounding over to other friends and conversation springing through the air.

"Hey, Deku," Uraraka said, sliding up next to him, "do you mind if I ask you something?"

"Sure. What is it?"

"Well, I haven't really paid any attention to it before today, but I noticed you never seem to call sensei 'dad' like everyone else does."

Izuku blinked. ".......Huh?"

"You know... now that I think about it, you're right, Uraraka-kun," Iida said, glancing curiously between them. He slipped a wedge beneath the door, checking it was propped open before following them. "Though it's undoubtable there's a certain element of the relationship between you and sensei that the rest of us haven't yet achieved to the same extent, Midoriya, you've never seemed inclined to call him anything apart from his name, unlike the rest of our class."

"Exactly," Uraraka chirped, skipping ahead and walking backwards down the hall. "Now, Deku, you don't have to answer if you don't want to, but why don't you? I mean, I kind of thought you'd end up being the first one of us to, since you and dad are so close."

"Is it really that weird? Well..." Izuku paused, shoulders hunching slightly, "I don't think it's my place, really, if I just started calling him that out of nowhere. I mean, what if he doesn't want me to call him dad? T-that's not to say any of you guys are wrong or shouldn't do it!! But I don't want to impose on him by doing something like calling him that."

It was Iida and Uraraka's turn to blink at him now. "You've seen how happy he is whenever one of us calls him dad though, haven't you?" She asked, squinting at him. Her voice carried a hint of concern. "I mean, you'll never really know how he actually feels if you don't try it or ask him, right?"

Iida nodded. "Yes! I'm sure he'd be thrilled to hear you call him dad if you so chose to, Midoriya."

"I.... I just don't think I should. But I'll think about it. Later. Maybe." Izuku fidgeted, giving them a quick hesitant smile through the faint red growing on his face. "Come on, we should go get ready and head down to the gym before we're late."

Rounding the corner and all but sprinting through the doors, Izuku missed the look his friends exchanged with each other as they hurried after him, along with the quiet sigh that echoed between the others who had been listening to their conversation as they trailed behind.

"I don't think there are any two people more oblivious to each other's feelings than Midoriya and dad-sensei," Kirishima said, watching the three rush off.

Sero's shoulders sagged. "That feels like an understatement. I don't even understand how they've managed not noticing anything for this long."

"This whole thing is starting to drive me nuts," Hagakure piped up. "Do you think that we could convince them to just... say something?"

Tsuyu shook her head. "I doubt it. At this point, trying to force them like that would probably do more harm than good. You know how the two of them can be sometimes."

"All we can do at this point is try and get them to understand how they both feel about this and encourage them to be open about it with one another," Yaoyorozu said, brushing past them to pull the doors to the shared locker rooms open. The hall resounded with the quiet thump of the door against the far wall. "Until then, the best course of action would be to wait, alright?"

With the debate firmly ended the students were left to their thoughts as they filed inside, still lingering on the subject of their little makeshift family. How Izuku was the last one to realize Toshinori was already his dad in all but blood was entirely beyond them - really, could one person really not notice something so obvious? Idly, the class wondered what it would take for them to convince their classmate to see the look on their teacher's face whenever he was the last one left calling him 'Toshinori'.

 


 

The early evening air was round and crisp that day, cool enough to have a feeling but not so much to warrant a jacket. Still, the man strolling through the UA barrier with his temporary pass in hand barely seemed out of place despite the thick brown bomber he wore, clear smoke curling from his lips as he blew a short sigh. His hair was dark, sticking up in awkward lumps and spikes, his skin so pale it looked nearly white in the light despite the dusting of pink over his cheeks and the faint dots spattered across the bridge of his nose. As he moved towards the secretary in the main office, nodding in greeting, no concern in his actions or expression.

"Good evening!" He said, pleasant bravado in his voice and a charming smile on his face that failed to be out of place. "I'm here to visit someone currently living in the dorms, but I was informed I would need to check in with the main office beforehand?"

"That's correct, sir," the young man chirped, the name tag reading 'Florian' glistening in the fluorescent lights as his chair swiveled to face the computer. "Its simply a security measure we have in place for the students, don't you worry. If you'll please lend me your visitor's pass, I'll check you in and you can be on your way."

Handing the slip of paper over, he tapped absently on the underside of the desk, waiting as the click-clack of keys filled the near-empty room. He resisted the urge to bat at the stiff locks of hair poking at his cheeks and forehead in order to give his hands something more to do, instead settling to carefully blow them out of his face and dust off his jacket as the worker pulled up several files.

"Hmm, so you're...." Florian looked up, a smile curving on his lips. "Ah, your son gets most of his looks from his mother then, does he? She comes by so often it's rather difficult to miss the resemblance."

"Yes, he sure does! It's a shame my job has kept me so far from home, he looks in the mirror and finds his mom instead of me all the time!" They shared a laugh. "I heard she's been visiting him often, but I haven't had the chance to see him in such a long time so I thought I'd surprise both of them by stopping by today."

"I'm afraid the missus is out right now, but though I don't have their schedules I know the students haven't left the main grounds today, so you should be able to see him at least. You're aware of our policies on no quirk use on the grounds unless you require it in everyday life or unless you've been approved by UA, correct?" At the nod of affirmation, he slid the pass back over the desk, along with a small map. "Great! Just head outside this building from the front doors and take a right, then straight and turn on the second left. You'll come across the dorm buildings, which are labeled by class - 1-A's building is the first one."

"Thank you very much!" The man bowed, gathering the papers up and turning to leave.

"You're welcome!" Florian called after him. "Have fun visiting your son, Midoriya Hisashi."

 

Chapter Text

 

It all started with a knock on the door.

Memories of a surprise cleaning inspection from Aizawa sprang to mind, and everyone flew into panic as Toshinori went to answer it. Iida gathered all the dishes and passed them to Uraraka, who lightly hurled them into the sink where Shouji got to work; Sero yanked a stray rubber chicken off one of the light fixtures while Kaminari and Mineta swept up abandoned papers; Tokoyami and Dark Shadow quickly shoved stray chairs back into order at the table; the rest got out of the way and tried to act as natural as possible.

As a result, when the door swung open to reveal a rather unassuming and unfamiliar man rather than their homeroom teacher, the only thing approaching out of place in the dorm was the duo sitting upside-down on the couches playing video games.

"Why, good afternoon!" The stranger beamed. He bowed, almost too deep for his casual greeting. "I, ah, it's nice to meet you. My name is Midoriya Hisashi. My son is a student here, and since I'm back in Japan for a bit I thought I should drop by, maybe take a look at the school while I'm at it. I was told he is living here right now?"

Toshinori did an admirable job of repressing his own shock and covering the way Class 1-A collectively froze by returning the bow and replying, in entirely too loud and exuberant a voice, "Hello, Midoriya-san!" Stepping towards his students to allow the man in, he eyed the jacket slung over Hisashi's arm and the papers sticking out of the pocket. "My name is To- ahem, Yagi Toshinori. You likely knew me as All Might previously but please, call me Yagi. It's nice to meet you as well."

"Thank you, Yagi-san." The smile on Hisashi's face didn't change as he came in, shed his shoes, and bowed again. "I apologize for my sudden appearance today, but I was hoping to be a surprise and to perhaps learn a little bit more about what my son's life at UA is like. I hope that isn't a problem."

"Not at all!"

The class shared a look. Towards the back of the room, Kirishima and Iida barely managed to catch Izuku before his legs gave out completely.

 


  

Izuku wasn't really sure how he was supposed to feel about all this.

Lgoically, he knew he should feel something. Anger, maybe, or sadness. Possibly even joy? But as the man claiming to be his father bustled towards him, all he could really muster was unease, confusion, and a deep instinctive wariness honed through a single year of hero training. The "why?"s and "what for?"s piled up, the cumulation of years spent wondering and wondering and wondering. He struggled to breathe normally past the thud of his heart in his throat, and his head felt like it was going to burst.

But there were no tears as Hisashi came to him, no heartfelt reunion hugs, no heavy explanations and promises to try better - there's just two hands on his shoulders, a brief hug, a glance at his face and a strategic turn to his classmates.

"I'm only here for the afternoon, I'm afraid. It's not much, but it should ample time to get to know about the school life," he'd said earlier, a knowing smile on his face. "I'll give you some time. Don't worry, my son. Go."

Izuku was all too ready to take the escape offered and stay out of the way for as long as he could. His friends and Toshinori 'distracted' Hisashi until he was ready to come out, and he made a note to treat them later as thanks.

Still, this was something he'd been waiting years for, and Izuku was nothing if not opportunistic when he wanted to be. So, the time not spent thinking was used watching as the man hovered over shoulders like it was his sworn duty, and slowly but surely Izuku's mental notebook filled with details about his father that he hadn't gotten from his mother before.

A handful of things Izuku matched up with his own, like the way Hisashi mumbled observations and ideas, fiddled with his hands, had the faintest collection of freckles over his nose, and liked holding his bottom lip whenever deep in thought. A few traits were entirely Hisashi's own, like the fact that he seemed to have no filter but enough tact to either stop talking or apologize, liked jogging or biking in his free time, and was blindingly good at talking to people.

While interesting, it didn't really help Izuku get to know his father as a person. Hisashi was a silver tongue - though he seemed to get along with most of the class, questions about his job or hobbies were answered vaguely (what was so special about "fiddle names"? They'd probably never know), and he refused to elaborate on his vanishing act past "business trips". The deeper questions piled up in Izuku's head were given the promise of "in private" and "I'll explain later", when Izuku finally got the chance to talk to him about it. If he didn't know any better, he would've thought the man had only been gone a few months or a couple years.

"Maybe he isn't sure how to deal with the fact that he's here now, so he's acting like nothing's changed," Kaminari suggested after overhearing Izuku's thoughts. He'd made his escape from Hisashi's endless curiosity when the man had been distracted by Sato. "I'm pretty sure it's a psychology thing. He'll talk to you properly and figure it out eventually."

"I hope he figures it out soon, because the fact that he keeps talking to us instead of you is getting kind of awkward," Jirou said, frowning. "Kouda disappeared the moment your dad turned his way. Bakugou and Todoroki have this look on their faces. Everyone knows why Bakugou’s like that, but nobody wants to find out why Todoroki of all people looks like that too. I don't know how much more we can take of this."

The end result was that, by the time Toshinori ushered them towards the gym to meet with Aizawa again, all they knew about Midoriya Hisashi was that he liked ramen, jumped from subject to subject like a gold medalist, and a half dozen other arbitrary details no one knew what to do with. Izuku couldn't help glancing back at him as they walked, mind still swirling with everything he hadn't been able to ask earlier.

He wondered if he really wanted to know the answers anymore.

 


 

Three hours, six explanations and two-and-a-half battlefield shouting matches later, class 1-A finally dragged themselves back out into the world. Though Aizawa had left them under Toshinori's supervision an hour ago to finish "important" paperwork, the constant questions and requests for demonstrations lobbed at them had kept them until the sun streaked the clouds and sky a myriad of dusty dark blues and rapidly fading orange-pinks.

"That was incredibly enlightening," Hisashi said, appearing just as chipper as when he walked through the heights alliance doors earlier. His lips curled into a grin like he'd solved some incredible puzzle that had been plaguing him the whole week.

He lingered towards the back with Izuku as Toshinori pushed forwards to check on the others, waited as the teacher passed his son with a silent question and a bobbed head, and stepped closer.

"Izuku." Hisashi watched as Izuku leapt a foot into the air, delirious training mumbles interrupted, and couldn't hide his chuckles. "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. But I was wondering if I could talk to you before we head back."

Izuku hesitated, tried and failed to ignore the sweat seeping into his shirt, the dull burn of a long workout in his bones, the hesitation. "Not right now. It shouldn't take long to go back and change," he said in lieu of the no on his tongue. "Let me run back with everyone to drop my stuff off."

"I won't keep you forever. It's already late, I need to get going soon."

"Can you just tell me on the way instead? I'd rather not stay in these clothes any longer than I have to."

"It's important, yes, but it's also private," Hisashi said, a frown making itself known. When he took a step, Izuku matched it with two more. "Come on, my son. I promise it won't take long at all."

Neither noticed that they'd stopped walking, that the rest of them were waiting and watching.

"Well, I-"

"Midoriya-san," Iida spoke up. "I personally assure you it won't take long at all for us to return to the dorms and make ourselves more presentable, and none of us would dare think of invading your privacy by listening in on your conversation if you chose to speak to him on our way. If you have any concerns you need to share with your son, please don't let us be in your way!"

Jirou coughed, and nodded.

Uraraka gave a light laugh. "Besides, I bet Deku's feeling as dead on his feet as we are!"

Hisashi's frown deepened. "It's partially my fault for losing track of time, I suppose." He nodded. "But I'm already pushing my schedule by still being here. I know what a workout feels like, thank you. I'm sure you want to rest and I'm sorry, but this is urgent."

"Why not come back another day, even just for a bit?" Izuku's brow furrowed. "If... if it's that important you tell me this, I mean. I know you're busy and that's why you could only spare an afternoon, but I don't even know if I can stay on my feet for much longer. Better to pay more attention if I need to hear it, right? Or you could call, while you're still in Japan-"

"It really won't take so long, and it's too important for a phone call," Hisashi bit out. They were all too tired for this back and forth arguing, really. "It can't wait, so-"

"Hey, you and shitty Deku aren't the only ones who need to be going somewhere, you know!" Bakugou snarled.

"Curfew will begin soon, and if we need to be out after that with reason, we're required to stick together," Todoroki said. A bold-faced lie. "At that point, we wouldn't really have a choice about privacy. Either tell him on the way, or tell him at the dorms."

"I don't have time, and we're already wasting more of it talking about this." He stormed forward, and the class surged.

"You're the one insisting on running off when we could have finished back home already-"

"If you could just reconsider-"

"Midoriya obviously doesn't want to talk to you right now-"

"You might be his father, but he doesn't have to go anywhere-"

"Take a hint, you-"

Sparks built up between his teeth, tickling his gums. "He's my son," Hisashi snapped. "And I can ask him to talk to me if I want him to, so back off!"

All but one froze at the flames that sprouted from his lips. It chased the dark and chill of night away for only a moment, leaving nothing but moonlight to illuminate the surprised faces of Hisashi Midoriya and Class 1-A.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Aizawa sighed, sliding into his desk chair. He rubbed his eyes, a glance at the clock telling him it was already 9:00pm. As he reached for his eye drops, a name at the top of one of the documents caught his attention.

 

Surname: Midor
Given name: Hisa

 

He frowned, pausing as his mind flew to the innocuous man who had accompanied his students to the impromptu evening lesson earlier. Why would an ordinary business man, and the father of one of his students, have a file on his desk...?

"Oh!" Aizawa's head shot up at the cry, along with the heads of the few teachers still in the office.

"The sensors picked up unauthorized use of an unfamiliar quirk down on the grounds," one of the faculty said. Aizawa narrowed his eyes. "I'm trying to track it now, but it only happened for a moment. I think it came from by one of the training-"

"Call security and send them down to delta gym immediately. I'm going to investigate."

They looked up, and only caught a glimpse of the white scarf trailing as he darted out the door. There was silence as the empty chair slowly spun and struck the table with a gentle 'thud'.

"I guess we know where he was earlier and what his students are doing, I guess," one of the teachers piped up. "Man, he's completely taken by those kids and he doesn't even know it."

"Absolutely."

"That's been obvious from the start."

"Security's on their way, but they probably already have everything handled down there anyway."

 


 

1-A stared, Izuku was more startled than a rabbit, Toshinori's face was stone, and Hisashi went pale. His hand clamped against his mouth like it just caused the ultimate betrayal, and in a way, it kind of had.

"I'm sorry," Hisashi said, after a moment. His hand dropped to his side. "Losing my temper like that was uncalled for, and my quirk coming out like that was even more so. I, I guess the long day's gotten to me more than I thought." He shifted from foot to foot, eyes darting from face to face. "It's important, but I can wait until the dorms before I talk to you, Izuku."

"Honestly, I think after that, it might be better if you come back another day," Tsuyu said. Hisashi's face twisted.

"Are you still-"

"I'm afraid," Toshinori interrupted, "that young Tsuyu is correct. As a member of the UA faculty, I cannot allow a breach in regulation from a visitor to be tolerated. Even if this was a burst of passion and emotion on your part, unless you're willing to impart your important message to young Izuku right here and within my sight I must ask that you leave campus for tonight at the very least. My apologies, Midoriya-san."

"Are you telling me I can't talk to my son properly before I leave?" He looked disgruntled, a contrast to the faint relief barely visible on Izuku's face. "I understand your rules are important, but isn't that a little harsh?"

"It's a necessary precaution in light of events as recent as a few months ago."

"Besides!" Sero sauntered up. "Not to accuse you of anything, Midoriya-san, but it wouldn't be hard for someone to impersonate a family member we're unfamiliar with."

"Plus Midoriya's told us about how he hasn't met you before. Or at least, not for a really long time," Kaminari spoke up.

"You already showed your judgement is impaired since you used your fire breath," Tokoyami said. "Forgive us for saying so, but many of us here are hesitant to put our trust in you after that display."

"A matter of trust?" Hisashi narrowed his eyes at them. "Well if that's the case we're talking, why should parents like me put trust in UA and it's rules? I can't be sure your school can look after my child sufficiently, or keep them safe when you're training them for one of the most dangerous careers in the world."

Izuku stepped up to the plate. "If you can't even keep a promise to make time to tell me important things and answer important questions, how can I trust you?"

"Of course you can and should trust me, I'm your father!"

Toshinori coughed. "UA has the best systems available to keep our students and staff safe. While I can understand you have doubts, given past inexcusable incidents, it's important that we believe in one another during this critical time."

"I wasn't even consulted when you pulled my son from home to live in these dorms. Isn't it your job to inform the parents of these kinds of changes?"

"You haven't so much as set foot in Japan for years. I know, because I accidentally asked Inko-san about it once and she told me herself." Uraraka frowned. "You didn't even call about the Sports Festival! Deku wasn't top three, but he put up a good fight the whole time."

"The Sports Festival is the reason I had to come back in the first place. I watched the footage - a quirk out of nowhere, ten years after it should have developed? It's unbelievable after the doctor reports, but now I can't deny it. Still." Hisashi turned to Izuku. "Fighting with something so damaging was reckless of you, but not as reckless as the people who let it happen." He whirled on Toshinori. "Being left in the dark is one thing, but letting my son scar himself permanently is another thing entirely!"

"That's why I'm here, to learn how to use it properly," Izuku said.

"What happened then was wrong on our parts," Toshinori said, hands held up. "We failed to be diligent, and young Izuku paid the price at that time. It-"

"You will not fail my son any longer," Hisashi growled. "That's why I'm here, to tell you that I want to pull him from UA."

Izuku froze along with the rest of the class, but Hisashi didn't. "Do you realize what it was like, for a father to watch his son, who he last saw as a small weak child , destroy himself on public television? He's lived what, fourteen years of his life without a quirk of any kind? It's not like he can't live without using it. Quirks aren't always needed for a good full life."

"Wait." Izuku's heart hammered. "Hold on, I-"

"What made you think someone who has less than a year's experience with their own quirk could be a hero in the first place? Isn't that kind of thing just cruel?"

Izuku flinched and, like the tide, his friends surged around him. Toshinori stepped between them and Hisashi, assured that his students would take care of each other. He said nothing as they clamored, scrambling to let their thoughts be known, and stood ready to intervene.

"That's not true at all!" Ashido yelled, waving an arm in Izuku's direction. "Midoriya is a great hero already!"

"Midoriya has proved time and time again that he belongs here as much as the rest of us," Iida said, glasses glinting.

Kirishima stepped in. "He's one of the stronger guys in our class too, with and without his quirk."

"And he's really really smart. He's like, fourth in class! I learned half our lessons by listening to him mumble while he's studying."

"Midoriya's our friend and classmate, you can't just take him away!"

"That's why I was going to talk to you, Izuku." Hisashi sighed. "I’m sure Inko will agree with getting you out. There's plenty of other places to go, things to do. You've always been sharp, surely you already know that UA isn't the best school for you."

"That's your own opinion, not to mention it isn't your call to make on anyone's behalf. Don't go putting words into Inko-san’s mouth, or Midoriya’s for that matter." If his quirk was sight-based, Todoroki's gaze would be a blizzard. "It's not your wishes or dreams resting on Midoriya's shoulders, it's his own. You don't have a right to come in here and try to take that away from him when he's come this far already, and not when you've spent this much time not here to witness that growth."

If Todoroki's look was cold, Hisashi's was blistering. "Even when it's what would be best for him? He's a teenager who was born quirkless and got into school because of some freak mutation that gave him one. That gap isn't something you can just forget about or change."

"Like fuck that's ever mattered to fucking Deku," Bakugou snapped. "Deku, who never shut up about quirks and his hero shit. Deku who fucking made into goddamn UA in the first place! Even if he's a fuckin moron who can't use his quirk for shit yet, he's here, isn't he?!"

"Midoriya's come incredibly far since school began," Shouji said. "Just like everyone else. You can't ignore that, either."

"He's smart enough to know better than to pick what you think over his dreams."

"That's enough." He moved to push through their ranks. "Who are you to stand between me and my son? This has nothing to do with you kids."

"I think, that is a question that needs to be asked of you."

Hisashi stopped, gaze locked with Toshinori's. The class stopped and stared, all but humming with anticipation. Unnoticed, Izuku snapped out of his shock and whirling thoughts (hethinksicantbuttheythinkicantheyremyfriendsbuthesmyfatherwhatdoidowhatdoido), looked up at the two figures in front of them, and felt understanding sweep over him.

"Who are you to come back into your child's life after years of being absent?" Toshinori asked, face impassive. "To call him son and take him away from his hopes and dreams? Young Izuku is here to learn and be a hero, like all these students here. What right do you have to claim that you know best when you barely know him?"

"I think I have more claim than their teacher, the retired shell of a man that's standing right in front of me!" Hisashi snarled. Heat twisted the air in front of his face, but not fire. "You've only known him for how long, two years? A year and a half?"

"Longer than he's known you, his birth father off overseas for work almost as long as he's been alive." Toshinori stepped forward. "Young Izuku is one of the most determined, heroic young men I've ever had the honor of knowing. I and his other teachers, at least, were able to be here for him when he needed us. The fact that you can't see how much he's thriving here tells me everything I need to know."

Hisashi regarded Toshinori for a moment, then spun on his heel to Izuku. "My son," Hisashi said. "Do you want to throw away your future so much? For the belief that your fledgling quirk will bring you anywhere in the little time you've had it?"

"Don't call me that." Izuku's expression was set. "I'm not yours, and I'm not the same son you left with Mom when you went overseas for the first time."

"Of course you're my son, don't say that. Honestly, I don't know why your mother let you stay."

"At least mom was here to decide in the first place," he said. "I'm not going anywhere."

"You're really convinced by all this?" Hisashi's eyebrows furrowed. "Honestly, Izuku, what made you think you could ever belong here, with people have been working with their Quirks for years? All the experience in the world, the things they want to teach you, they're worthless in the wake of how little time they actually have before hero society expects you to be forced out into the world! Just come back home, find something to do with your life that won't get you killed!"

There was silence, for just a moment.

The surprise faded from Izuku's face. "If you think I can't find my own way or place to be a hero or, or anything else at so all here at UA, you're wrong." He stepped towards Hisashi, and the rest of them shifted out of his way. "No one here is worthless-" like a quirkless boy, like me- "and the fact that my power manifested late doesn't mean I'm worth any less, or don't belong where everyone else does."

Hisashi blanched. "No, I, no, Izuku, I'm sorry, that's not what I meant-"

"Going home isn't going to make you happy with me, either," Izuku pushed forward. "Home isn't our old house, it's right here. It's this campus, these buildings, where I get to come back to my friends and teachers and mom every single day while I work towards my goals. I might not need to be at UA to be a hero, but at this moment in time? I feel like I'm exactly where I need to be." He rubbed the rough skin and dips of his right hand. "Somebody told me once, that, all of this, it's is what I've earned, with my own power and hard work. It's not much, but it's not something you can convince me to leave behind."

"I… You won't even hear me out as your father, concerned for your well-being?"

"That doesn't matter! Mom was worried, but she let me go, didn't she? I spent such a long time wondering about who you are, wishing I could meet you once in my life, but... There's more to being family than being related to each other. You might be my dad by blood, but we're as good as strangers right now. If you think I'll listen and leave with you after half a day, you don't know me at all."

The worry and underlying anger sank into hurt and incredulity. "You trust your classmates and teacher more than me."

"Toshinori-san's been there for me more than you have," Izuku said softly. "And so has everyone else. That's what's important."

“Izuku… I…”

Hisashi reached out, but Toshinori shook his head, stepping between them and next to his student. "Pardon me, Midoriya-san. I cannot speak for young Izuku, but... I think you would do well to come back another time. Talk to Inko, relearn your home, understand the differences in your family that came to be while you were gone." Toshinori put a hand on Izuku's shoulder. "Until you can tell me with confidence that you're willing and ready to  be an ally and friend to my son before you make him see you as his father again, I'd like to ask you to wait before you think about coming back."

Hisashi’s lips thinned, but he said nothing.

"Yagi!" They both turned. "Security is on its way. What's going on here?"

"Ah, Aizawa." Toshinori blinked. "Just explaining a few things to Midoriya-san, and... Talking about a possible second visit date. He simply wanted to say something to young Izuku before he left."

"I, ah, that's...... yes. That's correct." He took a deep breath, and bowed. "I apologize for the trouble I've caused. I suppose the stress of travel before today might have had something to do with it!" He gave a weak chuckle. "Thank you for having me. I will see you around... Yagi-san. Izuku."

Hisashi brushed past Aizawa, who glanced at the trembling face of Izuku, the hand on his shoulder and the slowly dawning realization on Toshinori's face, and turned to follow him to the gates.

 

Chapter Text

 

The walk back to the dorms was a blur. No one said much, though they clumped together all the way up to the side door, at which point they had to file through separately, lest they get stuck in the frame. Izuku trailed behind, mind spinning now that the moment of adrenaline and shock was over. He just said that. All of it. Thoughts twirled and flew without rhyme or reason, and he jammed his emotions aside for a moment - logic now, feelings later.

Toshinori nudged him through the door, slipping it shut behind them as the others vanished around the corner into the living room. His student's eyes were glued to the floor, and he shuffled towards him.

"I'm sorry, Izuku."

His head jerked up, eyes wide. Toshinori cleared his throat.

"I overstepped my bounds today when I called you my son earlier," he said. His hands twitched, up and down, like he kept having the same second thought over and over. "It was an intimate act that made you uncomfortable. I'm sorry."

Izuku bit his lip, unable to stare straight at Toshinori's face for long.

"It's, it's okay," he said, trying to quirk his mouth into a smile. One step at a time, one thing at a time. "But it's. That's not really what I was thinking about."

"Your father, then?" Izuku nodded. "Yes, I can see why. It must be hard for you, my boy. A father reappearing in one's life so abruptly, and leaving just so."

"Yeah, kind of." Toshinori raised an eyebrow, and Izuku slumped. "W-well, it's..." He swallowed, sifting through his thoughts, the the elation and lingering determination and sadness and other feelings he couldn't put a name to. "I guess... I wondered what he was like, yeah, but I never really had an, an expectation, of who he'd be or what he'd be like. I've been thinking about him coming back for so long it's surreal, but he just came in and went at his own pace and I mean, he might know who I am, or who I was as a kid, but I didn't, I don't know him at all! He's not a bad person, but, he's not really my dad, yet. I didn't expect more, out of all this, but, I still feel a little disappointed too. I wanted him to stay, but not like that."

Toshinori let out a long breath. He started to reach out, stopped again, folded his arms to look casual and only succeeded in looking incredibly awkward. Izuku didn't notice.

"Even if he was proud of me, and wanted to come into my life, what else was the point of coming back? To let me know he didn't believe in me?" Izuku wrapped his arms around his head. The dam started to bend. Not yet, he told it. "That he didn't understand me or the fact I still want to be a hero? Did he even care about who I am now, or was it who he thought I'd still be?"

A beat. "Oh, Izuku, my boy," Toshinori said softly. Izuku looked up. "You really are one of the most noble young men I've ever known, without a single doubt. No matter what your father says, even a glimpse of your spirit is all I need to know you'll be incredible one day. The fact that he cannot recognize that in you yet is his own loss." Toshinori dropped his arms to his side. "Regardless of my promise to your mother, there's nothing I want more than to be able to watch you and your classmates grow, and be there to believe in you for every step of your journey. How your father might not agree with your chosen path or not want to do the same for you, it's beyond me."

He lay a hand on Izuku's shoulder. "And, while I never intended to overstep my bounds as your teacher and mentor, if you ever need to talk, or need someone like him in your life proper, I would be honored to be there for you. It's entirely your choice, no one else's. And regardless of that..." Toshinori ruffled Izuku's dark hair and smiled. "I am and always will be proud of you."

It broke.

Toshinori turned to leave. Izuku reached out. When he looked back at the hand grasping his shirt, he choked at the sight of tears flooding down Izuku's face, twisted and shaking. He raised his arms, instinct screaming to comfort, to wipe that look off his student's face, but a weight buried itself in his chest before he could move, strong arms wrapping around and clutching at him. One for All lapped at his back and sides, tingling bolts of static and power.

For a moment Toshinori froze, surprise overtaking him. Then he folded, curling around his boy and drawing him close. He pretended not to notice the tears soaking through his shirt, the ones beading in the corners of his eyes.

"You don't have to say sorry!" Izuku all but wailed. "You, you don't have- You don't have to apologize for calling me your son. I don't mind, I-I promise, and I just." He wheezed, a breath in and a breath out, pressing his face to the white shirt of his teacher and muffling his words. "I'm sorry for crying, buh, but, I'm really happy right now, really! And, and, thank you. For, for believing in me, all the time. And, for sticking up for me, and everyone else too, you-you all, I couldn't even say or do anything but you kept sticking up for me, all of you guys, that's not, that's never happened before! It was, I don't, I never had friends, really, back then, but not any more, you all, you spoke up for me, and-" he sniffed, chest heaving, Toshinori holding him steady- "and, now I-I've got mom, and I have you, and I have Aizawa-sensei and Iida and Uraraka and Tsuyu, and Todoroki and Kirishima and Ashido, and Kaminari, and Sero, and, and just, ev-everyone here, so, so, I think if he doesn't want to come back, or he can't, I mean, I know you're worried, but, I-I think I'll be okay. It'll be okay. But, I, th-thank you, I, I'm just, I can't, I, you-"

"Shhh, my boy, prince of nonsense." Toshinori rubbed Izuku's back, running a hand through curly hair and smiling like he didn't have rivers running down his own face. "I should be thanking you, too. Always trying so hard to be strong and do everything right. Your friends will always stand by your side, just like Aizawa, just like your mother, just like me. You've gone through a lot, tonight. Breathe, my boy, cry. It will be fine, because I am here."

 


 

Neither could tell how long they'd been standing there, by the time the tears had run their course and One for All stopped flowing. Izuku stopped some time ago but hadn't seemed inclined to let go, and neither did Toshinori. Still, they were in the same clothes as earlier, and it was getting late.

"We'd best get ready for bed, my boy," Toshinori said. He lightly shook Izuku's shoulder, gently untangling himself.

"Alright." Izuku slowly unwrapped his arms from around Toshinori's waist, hesitating as he pulled away. "...thanks, dad."

It took all of Toshinori's willpower to keep from bursting into tears again as he put a hand on his boy's shoulder and pushed them both around the corner.

The sight that greeted them gave them pause; piles upon piles of sheets and blankets haphazardly spread over couches and armchairs, tables pushed aside in favour of plush toys and pillows. Most of the class was draped atop them, chatting quietly. Kirishima glanced over and lit up, scrambling upright.

"Dad-sensei, Midoriya!" He cheered, and the rest of the class perked up, turning expectantly.

"It's a sleepover tonight, no exceptions," Hagakure said.

"We hope you don't mind," Iida said, standing, "but we grabbed your things so you wouldn't have to go all the way up to your rooms."

Izuku blinked at the pants and shirt being held out, the sight of his things (was that his limited-edition All Might stuffed plush sitting next his pillow?!) carefully bundled in the middle of the sprawling blanket nest, the nineteen mostly-smiling faces, slightly overwhelmed. Toshinori wasn't much better off, but he took the offered pajamas with a smile.

"Thank you, my boy," he said, padding towards the change rooms.

"Th-thank you!" Izuku squeaked, taking the clothes and dashing after him. It didn't take long to pull the sleepwear (All Might-themed) on and throw the gym clothes into the hamper in the corner, not bothering to make sure they made it in properly. Toshinori was waiting for him on the edge of the makeshift fort.

No one said a word or glanced at them as they hopped and hobbled through, moving cushions out of the way and settling down on top of the various duvets and thick comforters currently making up the floor. They only shuffled closer once they were done, dragging their piles of well-loved blankets and beloved pillows to huddle around the duo in the center.

"So. Guys, Deku," Uraraka whispered from beside Izuku, "I've got a story for you."

"Don't take too long, Uraraka," Iida whispered back, somewhere behind them. "Even if we don't have lessons tomorrow, we can't let our habits grow bad."

"Oh don't worry, Iida, you're gonna enjoy this one, I just know it." She grinned. "So it was when I was just a kid..."

Come morning Izuku would wake up to the sun beating down on him through the tall glass windows, warm beneath his best sheets in his favourite pajamas and his favourite doll clutched to his chest. He would open his eyes and be met with the sight of wild blond hair and a gaunt face at peace, look around to be greeted with the sight of his friends, fast asleep, curled around them and sprawled out atop and across each other (and him) like it was the most natural thing in the world. He'd feel something stir in his chest, the joy that pulls more tears to his eyes, and go back to sleep, content.

But for now he grinned at Uraraka, soft All Might pillow at his back, and listened.

 

Chapter Text

 

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.

"Hi, mom."

"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.'