“This seems… excessive.” Todoroki observed politely from his spot at the counter.
Izuku sighed wearily, hand still wedged partway into the cabinet. “I just wanted to put an extra barrier around the tools in my workshop.”
“This is the kitchen.”
“It is,” he agreed.
“Did the bagels also require extra security?”
Another sigh. “The woman at the hardware store was very convincing.”
With a final pained wince, Izuku managed to wedge his index finger against the child lock, allowing the cabinet door to finally open. He pulled down the colorful box he's been aiming for, then let the door swing gently against the frame, making sure the lock didn't catch again.
Todoroki watched him pour three bowls of cereal from the brightly patterned box, All Might's winning smile shining up at them. He accepted one of the bowls with a curious expression.
“On second thought, maybe it's best to keep something this sugary out of everyone's reach.”
“Ha ha,” Izuku enunciated dryly. “It's just a precaution. Kids are too curious for their own good, sometimes. And the locks aren't that bad.”
Todoroki leveled his neutral gaze in Izuku's direction. “I'll pay for dinner if you can open a single cabinet in this room on the first try.”
Izuku’s eyes darted down and to the left, guilty.
Todoroki's eyebrows lifted. “Should I pay for dinner anyway? You've basically rendered your kitchen useless.”
“It's fine.” Izuku repeated, taking his own defiant mouthful. “…I'm planning to remove them this weekend.”
Their chewing was the only noise for a long moment, until the sound of slippered feet came from the hall. An upright cocoon of blankets shuffled into the room, a tuft of light curls peeking out the top.
“No blanket at the table,” Izuku said, watching the bundle worm its way onto the barstool next to Todoroki.
“Counter,” a tired voice replied.
“No blanket at the counter,” he amended easily, and watched with a fond smile as the blankets shifted enough to reveal a small pout.
“It's cold, Deku-san,” the young boy said with a whine.
“I can help with that,” Todoroki offered, pressing his right hand into the bundle of blankets. A second later the body inside shot off the stool with a startled yelp.
“Cold! ” Katsuma shrieked, darting around the counter and behind Izkuku's legs.
Todoroki gave a rare grin, looking quite proud of his successful teasing. Izuku shook his head fondly at the two. Given Katsuma's original nervous awe at meeting the hero several months back, Izuku actually preferred this more easy dynamic between the two. Even if it made his ears ring a little.
“Todoroki-kun, say you're sorry to Katsuma-kun,” Izuku said with an exaggerated finger wag.
“I apologize, Katsuma-kun,” he said, bowing his head.
“Katsuma-kun, tell Todoroki-kun he's an ass.”
Todoroki looked suitably offended, and Katsuma giggled at the rare use of profanity. “I don't want to call him that,” he admitted, laying his chin on Izuku's hip to look up at him.
“That's because you're a good boy. Unlike some other people in this kitchen.”
“Onee-san says I'm good with children.”
“Your sister is very generous,” Izuku said, and ignored the sour look his friend sent him. He bumped Katsuma with the leg he was clinging to, pushing him back towards his seat. “I know breakfast isn't much, but we're going to have a brunch with some of my friends today. Does that sound alright?”
Izuku tried to hide his nerves as he watched Katsuma return to his seat and start shoving cereal around in the bowl. The boy got along well with Todoroki – after the initial star struck shyness had worn off - but Katsuma hadn't met any of Izuku's other hero acquaintances outside of brief introductions. In the three months Katsuma had been living with him, this would be their first big outing as a family.
“Will Hatsume-san be there?” Katsuma asked.
“Not this time. We’re celebrating something not work related, that's why Todoroki-kun's in town for the weekend. But do you remember my friends Uraraka and Iida, Uravity and Ingenium?”
Katsuma perked up, nodding, his hands coming together to play excitedly with the beaded bracelet on his wrist. “Will there be other heroes too?” he asked.
“Maybe,” Izuku said, relieved at the enthusiasm.
Katsuma continued nodding, but his face had taken on a familiar fanatic glaze. “Will Edgeshot be there?”
“Well, no, but All Might will be! You like All Might, remember.”
“If you have to remind him-" Izuku waved a hand in Todoroki's face to cut him off.
“Everyone in this house loves All Might, it's a family rule.”
“Like no blankets at the table!” Katsuma added, and Izuku gave an approving wave of his spoon.
They finished their simple breakfast soon after, and Izuku quickly found himself falling into the newly established routine of getting everyone ready. He changed his own outfit before checking on Katsuma, adding a warm coat to his already wintery ensemble. Todoroki, who only had his suitcase to choose from but tended to dress more trendily than either Midoriya, was looking fashionably cozy as well by the time Izuku herded Katsuma into the genkan and then out the door.
The train ride into the city was shorter than Izuku's typical commute to work, but he found himself growing restless in his seat. Katsuma was nearby, using his grip on one of the standing rails to spin in careful circles.
“He looks happy,” Todoroki said from his seat to Izuku's right. He'd been kicking out a low-grade heat since they left the house, an unconscious gesture against the cool winter air.
“You think? I don't want him to get overwhelmed. We haven't done any big outings yet. What if he doesn't like the restaurant? What if he doesn't like Iida and Uraraka? What if he doesn't like All Might? ”
“You'll have to return him, then.” Todoroki made a displeased face almost instantly. “That was a joke.”
Izuku bumped his friend's shoulder. “I know. And I would never, by the way.”
“I know,” he echoed, and Izuku felt a bit of extra warmth, this time from the center of his own chest.
Adopting Katsuma had been a hard fought battle, mostly on the front end. Izuku was a well-paid, well-known support engineer with a flexible schedule and a decently sized apartment, but he was also young and single and, quite unavoidably, quirkless.
It'd been frustrating to find out that would be a limitation, but Izuku had argued vehemently that he could handle a child even with a strong quirk. After all, it wasn't unheard of for children to develop different abilities from their parents. Izuku knows the statistics well; he'd written an extensive essay on the matter for his case worker to review.
Still, it'd taken half a year and a reference letter from All Might himself to get an interview set up. Waiting on an appropriate candidate, had been the official line he was fed. Given the outcome, Izuku had a hard time staying bitter about it.
Katsuma, he had decided minutes after meeting the boy, had been well worth the wait.
The child in question suddenly collided with Izuku's knees, giving a wide smile as he wobbled slightly on his feet.
“Will Ingenium be in his hero outfit?” he asked, and Izuku let himself fall into the lull of Katsuma's endless questions. The boy had been hesitant with them at first, but Izuku's own enthusiasm for heroes and quirks had quickly won him over. Todoroki had on more than one occasion said that it must run in the family, and the comment, though joking, had warmed Izuku's heart.
Family. It was a pleasant thought.
They reached the restaurant just before their reservation was set, and a man waiting at the door checked their IDs before bringing them inside. If Katsuma noticed the unusual security measure, or that the establishment was mostly empty, he made no comment, instead zeroing in on one of the few occupants.
“Ojiisan!” he called out excitedly, sprinting forward.
“Young Katsuma!” Yagi Toshinori boomed back, his voice hardly faltering even in his slighter form. He stood to his full height, only to crouch to Katsuma's level and receive an enthusiastic hug. “How are you, my boy?”
“We took the train!” Katsuma said by way of an answer, then proceeded to tell Yagi loudly about the ride over.
“Volume,” Izuku reminded as he approached the table, though his gaze was for both of them.
Yagi stood back up, Katsuma still held in his thin arms. Izuku hovered nervously for a second but his grip seemed steady. He must not have used his quirk much that day, then.
“Apologies, young Midoriya,” he said in his typical media cadence, and then dropped to a more bashful tone. “I got excited to see you both.”
The part of Izuku that was eternally four years old and obsessed with the man in front of him was quietly screaming. All Might approves!
(The other, more mature part of him was similarly enthused.)
“It's good to see you too A- ah, Yagi-sama.”
Yagi gave him a Look.
“Yagi-sensei?” he tried again.
The Look developed an Air Of Disapproval.
Izuku blushed, well aware of the other people watching them. “Please stop, it's weird enough not calling you – you know.”
“Call him what?” Katsuma asked, perfectly at eye level while being held.
“Uh.” Izuku floundered.
“Dad,” Todoroki supplied.
“Yeah, D— would you stop that. ”
Todoroki simply shrugged and sat at the one occupied table in the entire dining area. The other guests were looking at them with unmistakable fondness.
“You three are so cute, I can't handle it,” Uraraka said, squishing her own face in excitement.
“Such an easy display of familial bonds,” Iida added, a large hand placed over his heart, “I can't express how happy I am to see you like this, Midoriya-kun!”
Izuku's blush had reached DEFCON 1, and was seemingly spreading to Yagi's tanned complexion as well. “You guys, stop, come on.”
He was saved from further teasing by a waiter hesitantly approaching. Izuku knew the reservation was under his own name, but that three of the four heroes present were easily recognizable. Doubtlessly the kitchen staff were already speculating as to the nature of the meeting – if they hadn't already after the whole restaurant had been booked for a single small party.
“Um, menus?” the waiter offered nervously, holding out some laminated cards. Izuku accepted them gratefully and took his own seat, Yagi doing the same and settling Katsuma between them.
“We've been here before, actually,” Izuku said. “We'll be doing the hot pot, but can we start with a round of sake and water for the table? And a soda, please, if you have any.”
Katsuma sat up beside him. It was a day of rare treats for him, sugary breakfast and drinks. Izuku waited for him to catch onto the special treatment, but he seemed game to just accept it as it came.
The waiter bowed and then blushed, nodding his head a little more casually but still nervous, and then scampered into the back.
“I think he's a fan,” Uraraka teased, lightly elbowing Iida.
Iida bashfully adjusted his glasses. “Please, I'm hardly recognizable outside of the armor. I'm sure it's you and Todoroki-kun he was excited to see.”
The conversation went back and forth until their food arrived, Uraraka going as far as to ask the poor waiter who his favorite hero was. When he stammered out ‘All Might' the whole table exchanged knowing looks, but then let the subject drop.
At the name, though, Katsuma seemed to finally notice the missing member of their party. “Where’s All Might?” he asked, looking around at all the empty tables.
Izuku exchanged four separate but equally encouraging looks before answering. “Well, about that. You know how I said this lunch was to celebrate? We’re celebrating the three month probationary period the agency put on your adoption. Do you remember what that is?”
Katsuma nodded. “If I’m good for three months, I get to stay.”
Iida choked on his water and Izuku was quick to correct. “No! Um, no, it’s more if I’m good for three months, at - uh, at being a, um, legal guardian that is, then the adoption gets finalized. Um, becomes permanent, I mean.”
Katsuma stared unblinkingly through the bumbled explanation. “And today is three months?”
“Well, yesterday actually. The agency sent me a copy of the finalized papers last night. So - celebrating! And, um, I had a surprise, too. I wanted to wait until - well, it’s just easier to tell you now, I guess.”
Katsuma seemed stuck between grinning widely and looking confusedly around the room. “Is… All Might the surprise? But you already told me he was gonna be here.”
To Katsuma’s other side, Yagi cleared his throat, standing up once more. He looked nervous, even with his permanent smile in place, before squaring his shoulders and planting his hands on his hips.
“I,” he said, and Izuku felt a little thrill of excitement go through him as the other man's form suddenly ballooned up and out, filling his previously baggy suit to its limits, “ —am right here. ”
Izuku darted his eyes between the two, waiting eagerly for Katsuma's reaction – which was currently a kind of slack jawed confusion.
“But... what about Ojiisan?” Katsuma asked.
All Might gave a booming laugh, dropping back into his seat and leaning down towards Katsuma, one elbow placed jauntily on the table.
“Ah ha ha, young Katsuma, don't you see? He and I are one and the same! It's a long story, but young Midoriya felt it was best to tell you sooner rather than-"
Katsuma burst into tears.
Izuku flailed, quickly grabbed his napkin and then tossed it down again, opting instead to scoop Katsuma into his arms. Uraraka and Iida were making similarly frantic displays, while Todoroki hovered awkwardly halfway to standing. All Might's smile started to falter.
“Ah ha… ha… um. Sorry, am I missing something?”
“Bring him back, ” Katsuma sobbed against Izuku's shoulder. “I want Ojiisan, not All Might! I want Ojiisan back, now! Please! I - I want my grandpa and big sister! ”
Izuku sat, stunned, the sobbing toddler in his arms continuing to cling tightly. After a horribly long pause he managed to pull Katsuma away enough to look at his blotchy face.
“Katsuma,” he said carefully. “You have a sister?”
“Two,” Katsuki said, voice stern.
“Three,” Mahoro insisted, just as stubborn.
“What!” Mahoro dropped her hands from where they’d been planted on her hips, an unconscious mimic of Katsuki’s own posture. Hers, now balled into fists, beat rapidly against his leg. “Dummy, that’s not a compromise, that’s worse!”
“I offered two, you didn’t want it. Lesson for next time.”
“Um,” said the man behind the counter. “S-so will that be two single scoop cones then?”
“One single,” Katsuki said. “Make the other a triple.”
“Ugh.” Mahoro stopped her ineffective punches and slumped against his side instead. “You’re the worst and I hate you.”
“I’m the best,” Katsuki corrected. “And no hitting, brat.”
“Sorry,” Mahoro mumbled half-heartedly. After a beat she tacked on, “I don’t hate you, either. Most of the time.”
Katsuki accepted the two ice cream cones from the cashier, handing over an excess wad of bills in return. He waved away the change and then handed the taller cone to Mahoro. “They messed up the order and gave us three scoops of your flavor. Call it your lucky day.”
Mahoro’s frown turned to an eager grin as she accepted the treat. “You’re a bad liar,” she said as she took a large bite. A brain freeze set in instantly, along with regret. “We got the same flavor.”
“Nah, mine tastes better.”
“Does not .”
“Oh yeah? Let me try yours then.” She quickly darted away from his reaching hand, squealing as she ran out the door of the convenience store.
“Dammit, kid!” Katsuki called after her as he followed. “What did I say about running around without looking first? You coulda brained someone coming through the door.”
“I didn’t, though.”
Katsuki felt an instinctual ‘die’ bubbling up, but managed to beat it down. He’d let some of his harsher catchphrases loose only a couple of times around the kid before deciding her hurt expression was just about the most annoying thing he’d ever seen. Or something.
“So, where to next?” she asked, taking daintier licks of ice cream as she started marching down the sidewalk.
“Home,” he said. “And don’t give me that look, you know the deal. Ice cream only when patrol’s over, and no patrol after ice cream. That’s called ‘work-life balance’.”
Mahoro still gave him a disgruntled pout, letting her stride slow until they were walking side-by-side. Katsuki shivered as a passing breeze crawled down his collar, and eyed the treat in his hand with distaste. “We might need a new routine, actually. Getting too damn cold for this.”
“Ice cream’s always yummy, you’re just weak.”
“I’m what -” His phone buzzed in his pocket, cutting him off. It then buzzed again. And again.
Thinking it must be ringing he pulled it out and checked the screen. Instead of a call, he had several texts from a number labeled simply ‘Don’t Answer’. Half of his contacts had similar names, however, so he checked the messages anyway.
How do I make Midoriya stop crying?
Midoriya Izuku, that is.
How do I make him stop?
Is there a trick? He doesn’t want any food.
Proper capitalization and punctuation. Typical fucking IcyHot.
Not everyone eats their feelings, dumbass, he texted back, then quickly added, Stop texting me.
Just as he shoved the phone back into his pocket, it started to ring for real.
“Who is it?” Mahoro asked.
“Nobody,” he said, thumbing away the call. He opened his messages again.
Don’t call me either, he texted. The reply was instantaneous.
I’m worried he’ll get dehydrated. He’s been going for a while.
“Ugh,” Katsuki muttered under his breath, biting into the ice cream still held in his left hand as he texted with his right. The brain freeze was instant and untenable. He dropped the rest of the cone into the next trashcan they passed.
Mahoro gasped in horror.
“Can it, or I’ll throw you in too.” Another text buzzed into his inbox before he’d had a chance to finish replying.
You two are friends again, right?
“Ugh,” Katsuki repeated.
We talk, he typed, then couldn’t think of anything else to add so he just sent that.
You’ve known him longer than I have, was Todoroki’s response.
Hating each other for over a decade doesn’t mean I know what to do when he blubbers about a sad commercial or some shit.
You don’t hate him, Todoroki said instantly. You’re friends.
Katsuki may have been exaggerating about his hate of Midoriya Izuku, but Todoroki Shouto was quickly climbing up his shit list.
Just tell him to knock it off. If he’s not dying then he’s fine. Just let it run its course.
There was no response for the next several blocks, and by the time Mahoro had finished her own ice cream, fingers red and shivering, Katsuki had decided there probably wouldn’t be. His conversations with Todoroki tended to go like that - quick and bitchy. Rinse, repeat.
“Are we doing the same neighborhood tomorrow?” Mahoro asked as they approached the train station. They had a long ride ahead of them, almost an hour back to the city, and then another twenty minute ride to his house.
“Nah, got a lead last week I wanna check out. North this time.”
“Last week ? Why didn’t you tell me!”
“Because it doesn’t matter, you’ll be at school anyway.”
Mahoro made an incoherent groan of anguish, surely dying from the injustice in Katsuki’s words. He watched on, unmoved.
“School’s important. You go learn shit, I’ll check this place out after my shift.”
“Do it first,” she insisted. “This is hero work, too, you know.”
“I know.” His voice dropped into the closest register he had to soothing, which was just a quieter version of his usual growl. Still, Mahoro calmed down and leaned against his leg, cold fingers wiggling into his coat pocket and against his palm. At no point in the last five months had she shown any wariness of his hands. That was… something.
Feeling generous, he took his phone back out of his other pocket, scrolling through his short list of text conversations until he found one he hadn’t replied to in a while. To an outward observer the recipient was labeled by their given name only, an intimate gesture. Katsuki knew better.
Oi, Deku, he sent, ignoring the long list of messages he’d left on read. Since he’d taken on the responsibility of raising Mahoro he had - in his own opinion - become far too busy to entertain nerds who sent entire paragraphs.
IcyHot said you were losing your shit over something. Your mom okay?
Katsuki expected a longer pause than he got, but the phone buzzed only a minute later - two texts in rapid succession.
Thank you for asking that’s so sweet Kacchan!!!!
Katsuki tucked the phone away, deciding Deku wouldn’t lie about his mom, and that Todoroki probably would have mentioned if the nerd was on his deathbed.
“You’ll tell me if you find anything, right?” Mahoro suddenly piped up, still slouched against his side. Her own voice had softened, taking on the sad tone which had grated on his nerves until he’d finally come up with the hair-brained plan they were currently enacting.
“Obviously,” Katsuki said. “When I find your brother, you’ll be the first to know.”