Toshinori Yagi was not in the best of places. A year had passed since his last encounter with All for One, and time had not been kind to him. He'd spent more time inside hospitals than out of them, the damage to his body, his respiratory system having taken the majority of the damage. He'd spent more time under the knife than most people would see in three lifetimes. Some of the world's best surgeons had worked on him, but all it had done was take him from Death's door. Not by much at that. Where once he'd been quite fit when he didn't have the power of One for All flooding through him, he now looked more like a living skeleton than a person. Combined with his reduced ability to stay in his buffed form, his body was on the decline. To the world though? He was still as strong as ever, making sure to keep his iconic smile the few times he'd managed to fight against villains during this last year.
None of that even touched on the mental damage he'd suffered. It might not be rational, and many of his friends had told him as much, but he couldn't stop blaming himself for the death of that couple he'd tried to protect. By extension, the fact was that their kid was left an orphan because of his inability to save them. This was a cross he bore despite any reasonable person knowing that he'd done all he could and it not being his fault. Today, he intended to lessen that burden just a touch.
Toshinori had used his connections in law enforcement, namely his friend Tsukauchi. The cop had been willing to bend a few rules and spread a net to find out what had happened to the child, leading him to the orphanage he was now in front of. At first, he'd intended to just make sure the kid was taken care of, but once he found out he was quirkless like he'd been? There was no way he wasn't going to take care of him himself, at that point. After all, quirkless kids almost never got adopted. He'd gone all out, even bothering to get a suit for his smaller, weaker frame. He could have easily used his connections to expedite this whole process, but it would have almost cheapened the act in his own mind.
Taking a deep breath, he stepped inside the orphanage, promising himself to not let himself get too emotional. Walking up to the office of the lead social worker, he knocked on the door, trying to get her attention. "Afternoon. Toshinori Yagi, I called you yesterday?" he ventured, trying to get her attention as she sorted through paperwork.
At first, the unexpectedly young worker was confused before she lit up with recognition. "Ah! Mister Yagi, right. You were interested in… Young Izuku Midoriya, right? I must say, deliberately looking for a quirkless child is… odd, to say the least."
Rubbing the back of his head, Toshinori smiled as he explained, "Well, I was actually born quirkless, just like him. I figured that it would help if he had somebody in his life that he could relate to. Not to mention, you know how hard it is for a quirkless kid to get adopted anymore."
Snorting, she just shook her head, handing him a stack of papers. "Alright, well, we have already run your background. We got an oddly fast response time from the agency. They apparently managed to run you through in less than a day." She gave him a somewhat knowing look, implying she knew he must have known somebody to have had that pulled off. "If you'd like, you can meet Izuku today and, assuming you hit it off, fill the paperwork out and take him home before the end of the week. After all, we'd still need to assess the suitability of your living arrangements for a child."
Getting up, she motioned towards the door, asking him to follow along. She led him down a hall towards the back of the home, opening the backdoor where there were well over a dozen kids playing and running around, several even using their quirks. This was something that was quick to set the young lady off. "OI! I told you lot, no using your quirks without supervision! I don't care if you're just having fun. No adult, no quirks!" she shouted. The few that had been using their quirks ran off and hid behind a green-haired boy who was sitting on a swing, a notebook in hand.
The green-haired child chuckled nervously, trying to not look too scared, as his face has smile on his face that Toshinori would recognize anywhere. It was just like the one he wore when he was All-Might, a smile for those around him, not for himself. "Sorry Nana, I might have given them a few ideas on how they could better use their quirks. They got excited and just couldn't wait." While it was clear he had given them ideas, the way he was covering for them now was truly unneeded. After all, they'd made the choice to use their quirks themselves.
Sighing, Nana rubbed her forehead, coming up to the gaggle of kids. "Izuku, you have to stop defending them when they decide to do something wrong," she admonished him, messing with his hair, her small smile showing that she wasn't really mad at him, despite him having attempted to inappropriately take the blame. "So, what bright ideas did you come up with this time?" she asked, knowing that the kids were just dying to let her know what new ideas they'd tried out.
Toshinori watched with a smile on his face as the kids almost swarmed her, each trying to tell her first of their new skills that they'd figured out. He looked past them, trying to figure out how Midoriya is doing. While the kid still had a smile on his face, the hero could tell that it was hiding pain behind it. If he had to hazard a guess, he'd probably assume it was from watching the kids enjoying their powers, something that he'd never get to do himself. Shuffling around the mob of kids, he stood to the side of Midoriya, watching the kids with him now. "So, you gave them all these ideas?" he asked, watching as one kid showed his teacher how Midoriya had suggested using his Density Control to throw a pebble but massively increasing its density just before letting it go, so that it was like throwing a thumb-sized boulder almost. That demonstration led to a bit of yelling by Nana over the destroyed chair the kid had hit.
Nodding, Midoriya's smile was a bit more real this time as he explained, "Yeah. I really like studying people's quirks. I do write-ups on them and everything. You'd be amazed at how much overlap there can be between a pro hero's quirk and another person." Holding up his notebook, he had a big smile on his face as he showed off his hard work, the cover reading Hero Analysis Vol. 2.
His eyes widening a bit, Toshinori sat on the other swing, straddling it so he can face the young man. "You're on your second notebook already? That's quite impressive, young man. What got you interested in all of this?" the skeletal man asked, leafing through the offered book a bit and seeing notes that a high school student would have the right to be proud of.
Rubbing the back of his own head, Midoriya seemed a touch embarrassed as he started to explain, "Well, I wanna be a hero! I might not have a quirk, but I figure that if I work hard enough, I might be able to be one anyway. So, that's what I am doing, putting in twice the work of all the other kids, because it's going to be twice as hard for me!" By the end of his little speech, Toshinori was touched by the amount of 'can do' this little kid had. At first, he might have been intending to this visit to try and alleviate his own guilt, but this kid was actually a lot like a younger him.
Smiling, the pro-hero stood up, offering a hand to the aspiring hero. "Well Midoriya, I hope you'll let me help you. My name is Toshinori Yagi, and if you'll let me, I'd like to adopt you."
Izuku was almost floored, his mental gears crashing to a halt as he tried to process what he just heard. "B-but, I'm just some quirkless kid. I'm even a bit older than most of the kids here! Wouldn't you rather have a younger kid with a quirk?" he asked, his lack of self worth kicking in.
Letting out a deep laugh, Toshinori leaned over, holding a hand up to stage-whisper to Midoriya. "Let me tell you a secret, kid. I was born without a quirk, too." His piece having been said, he stood back up, letting the child process that.
Midoriya was torn. He didn't want to live the rest of his childhood here, and he had assumed he was doomed to, seeing as most adults saw him not having a power almost like him being handicapped. Now that he saw a way out? He couldn't help but feel guilty, as if finding a shred of happiness was betraying his parents. Keeping his smile on, his eyes teared up, trying to explain, "I want you to, mister. I do, but… my parents. I just don't- I don't want to-" Izuku is cut off as Toshinori saw the problem and knelt, wrapping the kid in a gentle hug.
With this man holding him, Izuku froze up, because the contact unexpected but oddly welcome.
"Midoriya. The fact that you are worried about forgetting them is all the proof you need to know that you'll never stop loving them. Just remember, they wouldn't want you to deny your feelings, they'd want you to be able to find your own happiness."
Izuku started to hiccup as a repressed year of sadness threatened to let itself out, the boy having taken his mother's last words to heart and never expressing his feelings, having kept on smiling the whole time.
"Let it out, young Midoriya, even heroes like All-Might cry when they need to." Not that Izuku would know it, but Toshinori was proving it right then too, his own eyes leaking as he comforted the child.
Those last words were exactly what the boy needed to hear. Knowing that even his hero could feel sad was enough for the dam to break, his body wracked with sobbing, choking tears as he let it all out, clinging to Yagi's new suit.
In the year that Nana had watched over Izuku, she'd never seen him let go, despite there being many chances and opportunities for it, and she knew it had to have been eating the kid up inside.
Having listened to the stranger's every word and knowing that after all this time he'd finally gotten Izuku to finally feel? She couldn't be more happy with this man walking into their little home. Corralling the other children inside, she gave both of them a bit of privacy, knowing that this wasn't something Izuku would want the other kids to see.
It took three days for the paperwork to be done, expedited as it was from Yagi's many connections. He felt like he was cheating a bit, but he just reminded himself that it was for a good cause. In preparation of adopting Izuku, he'd moved out of his spartan apartment into a full blown house. It wasn't like he didn't have the money to do it. He had a bit of a challenge in deciding between too large and too small, but he eventually told himself that he'd rather go overboard, much like everything else in his life. So, calling it a mansion might be more accurate, with a decent sized amount of land surrounding it, a small lake and forest included in his new property's borders.
Izuku's face was almost glued to the window as Toshinori drove them up the driveway, the child baffled at just how well off his new guardian seems to be. "Wow, Mr. Yagi, you must be rich to afford all of this!"
Chuckling, the man tried to keep focusing on the driveway; it was still new to him, too. "Yeah, you might say that. Kind of what happens when you work for one of the biggest hero agencies in the world."
Izuku's head whips around, an excited smile on his face. "Wait, you work for a hero agency!? What do you do? Which one? What pro-heroes do you know?" The questions came flooding out of the you man, unable to contain himself.
Now full-on belly laughing, Toshinori ruffled Izuku's hair. "One question at a time, kid. I work for All-Might's agency, I know a lot of heroes, and I do whatever needs doing." He answered, though not in the right order. None of it was technically a lie, even if it wasn't the complete truth. This only excited Izuku even more as he badgered him for details on his favorite hero, Toshinori remaining annoyingly tight lipped about specifics.
As they pulled up to the garage, the door opened, seemingly on its own, letting them park right inside. Opening the car doors, each of them grabbed a box from the back seat, the two boxes were all the possessions that had survived Izuku's year in the orphanage. Of course, what Yagi didn't know was that the contents of smaller of the boxes was almost nothing but action figures of him.
Foisting the box on his shoulder, he opened the door, leading into the kitchen. "Come along, Izuku, le'ts get your boxes to your room and you can explore, alright?" he asked, testing to see if the boy would be receptive of him using his first name so casually.
Izuku nodded, more happy to have a room of his own once again than worried about how Mr. Yagi referred to him. "Yeah! I can't wait to set my toys back up. I've had to keep them in storage since I moved into the orphanage, to make sure the other kids didn't break them." The excited youth nearly vibrated with excess energy as he followed behind the thin man.
Toshinori was almost tempted to go slow to mess with his charge, but refrained as he led the way what was going to be the boy's new room. "Alright, here you go." Opening the door,Izuku saw that the room was bigger than the old Midoriya living room.
Izuku wasted no time in rushing into the room, his mouth hanging open at just how much room there was. "Wow! This is huge! And this is all for me, Mr. Yagi?"
"Yup, all yours, kid. Now, why don't we put your stuff away and I can order us some dinner. Pizza sound good?" Setting the box on the bed, Toshinori started setting the clothes into piles for Izuku to put away, while Izuku start unpacking his the contents of said box, Toshinori almost bursts out laughing. "Bit of an All Might fan, eh?" He asked, the laughter demanding to be let out obvious as he spoke.
Izuku blushed a bit before smiling, unashamed at his fanboy tendencies. "Yeah! He's the absolute best! I mean, he helps people all the time! And he always does it with a smile. He even-" The boy went quiet for a moment as he realized what he was about to say, but still said it, his voice much less excited now. "He even protected my parents, even if it almost cost him his life. I know he didn't succeed, but… He tried and that's more than I can say about any other hero, right?" Izuku asked, unsure himself still how he felt about the fact that All Might failed him when it mattered most, even if it wasn't the man's fault.
Toshinori had no idea how to handle that ticking time bomb, so, he settled for putting it off. "Well, nobody but you can decide how you feel about him. Just know that I know about the incident and that All-Might is the reason I knew about you. I heard about what had happened and... He felt very guilty about failing to save your parents. He reached out to a lot of his friends and allies to make sure you were okay and helped me adopt you. He's the reason the house is so big, even." Once again, no real lies, just half-truths. Internally, he cursed himself though, 'I can't stand being so dishonest to this kid damn it. I… I just hope I can explain everything to him soon enough.'
Izuku's smile wasn't quite so big this time, but was honest. Toshinori felt the boy needed to get on making more of those, as opposed to the large, fake ones. "That's nice of him. He doesn't need to beat himself up, though, he took such a beating to try and save them." It is clear that he was done with that line of conversation as he set to putting his toys up, zoning out a bit.
Toshinori sighed, pulling his phone out and standing out he started ordering pizza. "Pepperoni okay, kid?" Accepting the nod for what it was, he headed off, letting the lad get a bit used to the new environment. Then again, it was a big change he'd have to get used to, too.