A/N: Okay, first of all.
Yo, who made a TV Tropes page for AIV?! You have no idea how happy that makes me. TY got one a long time ago, and I thought it was really cool. And now AIV has one to grow, too?
I don't know why it just makes me feel special. Thank you!
Now, I have an important announcement in the end author's notes, but for now…
…Who wants a goofy cold-opening to an otherwise extremely serious chapter?
( A Few Days Later: Kyouka's Room )
Izuku peeked his eyes open, a sunbeam hitting the floor next to the bed. He stretched his legs out, his feet hitting another pair that rested behind his.
This caused Izuku to hear sleepy grumbles from behind him as Kyouka's fingers tried to wedge between his arm and his side. He raised his arm up, allowing Kyouka's arm to slip through and wrap around his body.
Izuku smiled as Kyouka nuzzled in between his shoulder blades and sighed against his skin. "Good morning."
"Morning doesn't start until I get out of bed."
"Is it safe to assume that I don't get out of bed until you do?"
"It's not the wildest idea," Kyouka smiled, pressing a kiss to his back.
Izuku could feel Kyouka's jacks perk up, aiming towards the door. "What?"
Kyouka stretched out against him, a yawn escaping his throat, "A car pulled up to the drive. Probably the mailman."
Izuku furrowed his brow, raising to rest on his elbow, "What day is it?"
"Sunday," Kyouka mumbled.
"...What day do your parents come back again?"
Izuku suddenly felt a foot on his back, kicking him out of the bed and onto the floor. He rubbed his back, sitting up as the blankets that fell with him pooled around his legs. Izuku watched Kyouka blitz across the room, throwing his clothes towards his bag.
"You gotta pack! We need every trace of you out of this house before they get up here!"
"What else? Uh, uh, oh! Your toothbrush! Crap, and you might have hair in the drain! You even said my dad would freak out if he found one green hair!"
"Ah, screw it! Just throw your stuff into my closet, jump out the window, and then come around the front and pretend you just got here! I'll distract them!" Kyouka rushed for her door, throwing it open.
She flipped around, stopping her panicked whirlwind in its tracks, "What?!"
Izuku reached up onto the bed, pulling a t-shirt down and extending it out to her, "Shirt."
Kyouka looked down, their activities the night prior coming back to her as she realized she was only in her bra and shorts.
"Shit! Thanks!" Kyouka grabbed the shirt and threw it over her head as she rushed out the door. Running down the hall and down the stairs, Kyouka rushed into the hall behind the stairs towards the laundry room. She picked up a random basket of clothes and threw the clothing into the dryer and turned it on.
She ran out, leaving the door open in hopes that the sound would drown out any stray sounds Izuku made.
Making it back to the front of her house, her eyes widened as her gaze landed on Izuku's shoes sitting by the door. Her jacks could pick up footsteps approaching the outside steps.
Her jacks shot out, wrapping around his shoes and throwing them up into the air over the railing of the second floor landing.
She whipped around, a smile plastered on her face as the doors swung open. "Welcome home!"
Kyoutoku quickly dropped his bags to the floor, rushing towards his daughter. "Ah! Big hugs!"
Kyoutoku wrapped Kyouka in a bear hug, lifting her off the ground and shaking her around. "Alright, alright. That's enough, old man."
"No it's not," Mika joined in, hugging Kyouka between her and her husband.
"Of course," Kyouka feigned a sigh, letting her parents hug her all they wanted.
Whatever kept them from going upstairs. Out of the corner of her eye, Kyouka saw Izuku's hand very slowly creep out from the upstairs hallway, carefully and quietly pulling his shoes back with him. Okay, so far so good.
Kyoutoku set his daughter down, kissing her forehead, "Okay, I'm done for now. I'm starving!"
Mika wrapped her arms around Kyouka's shoulders, resting her chin atop her head, "Because somebody refused to eat on the train."
"Did you see those prices?! I already paid out the ass for the luxury compartment on the train!"
"The broadcasting company paid for our seats."
"Not our seats," Kyoutoku corrected her. He reached out, pressing a finger to Kyouka's forehead, "This dingus and her dingus boyfriend's seats."
Kyouka squinted in confusion, "Why didn't you get a refund?"
"Are you kidding me? We were in the back corner, and your seats were in front of us. No strangers remotely close to us on public transportation is perfect, I'm not giving that up." As his family laughed, Kyoutoku hung his jacket up on the nearby rack. "Speaking of which, where is Izuku?"
"Wh-? What?" Kyouka asked, her stomach dropping.
"It's past ten o'clock. When is he not here?"
"O-Oh, he's on his way," Kyouka lied, not realizing what time it was. She then realized they probably could have just hid Izuku's stuff in her closet and said he had been here for only a couple hours. It wasn't just believable, it was expected. But, it was too late now. "He wanted to be here when you guys got back."
"Ah, well tell him to hurry. I gotta give him his birthday present before I crash. Our last show ran until three in the morning."
Mika chuckled, "Next time, give the bands a limit on how many encores they're allowed to have."
Okay, this was good. With any luck, Izuku would be coming around the front of the house any second now. Her parents suspected nothing, or at least nothing they felt was solid enough to vocalize.
This would work. She had faith in Izuku.
…Until the sound of Izuku losing his footing and falling from her bedroom window into the backyard reached her ears.
Both Kyouka and Mika's jacks shot up at the sound, the latter turning her daughter around as they stared at each other in silence.
Thankfully, her father didn't have their hearing. He went about his business, heading into the kitchen and leaving mother and daughter alone.
"...So," Mika started, her expression unreadable. "...Were you safe, at least?"
"No one broke in."
"We both know that's not what I meant."
"Then I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about. Even if I did, I'd tell you there was no reason to be safe, because nothing of the sort happened. In this hypothetical situation, we aren't ready for whatever you're talking about. End of story."
Mika nodded, crossing her arms. "Alright then. Did you have fun all by yourself with absolutely nobody else here, at any time, except for Izuku's party?"
As much as she tried to keep up the act, Kyouka couldn't stop the corners of her lips from turning upward.
"One week in and it's been the best summer of my life."
Mika saw the undeniable glee in her daughter's eyes, love radiating off of her like a pulsing electricity.
Damn it. She couldn't even pretend to be mad.
"Then, I suppose, I couldn't ask for anything else." Mika kissed her forehead, cupping her daughter's cheek. "I'm very happy you had a good time."
"...Please don't tell Dad."
"Yooo!" Kyoutoku rushed out of the kitchen, toaster in hand. "Mika! There's a laser on the toaster!"
Mika turned to her daughter, a brow raised. Kyouka laughed nervously, "Mei is a very, uh… strange girl. I can ask her to take it off."
"Are you kidding me?!" Kyoutoku smiled wide, hugging the toaster to his chest. "I'm gonna zap everything! Ah, wait! Mrs. Nakayama across the street said she had a hornets nest she needed to get rid of!"
"...Oh boy," Mika sighed as Kyoutoku rushed out the front door. She followed after him, but not before calling over her shoulder to Kyouka. "I'd go help Izuku while your father is distracted. Especially since he's now armed."
"Right…" Kyouka waited for the front door to close before booking it to the back door. After heading out to her back porch, she had to stifle her laughter at the sight of Izuku still on the ground, staring up at the sky. She moved towards Izuku, stopping once she stood over him. "You didn't move?"
Izuku sighed as he continued to gaze up at the sky, "I knew she had to have heard me. I accepted my fate."
"Hmhmhm, well, luckily for us, my mom is cool. You wanna watch my dad incinerate a hornets nest?"
Kyouka reached her hand down towards her boyfriend. "When we're done, we need to come up with an alibi for the trip we never went on."
Izuku nodded, taking Kyouka's hand and rising to his feet. "Are you going to ask your parents where they ate and what bands played?"
"Perfect. Hopefully keeping our cover will go much smoother with my mom."
( One Hour Later: Outside of Midoriya Family Apartment )
"I think your dad is strong-arming me to get back to my guitar practice," Izuku said, holding up the vibrant red electric guitar Kyoutoku had gifted him as he climbed up the steps.
"He's right to. We studied mostly just piano this week. Besides, he's showing he's serious. He gave you one of his 'Red Specials'. Those are very important to him."
Izuku didn't need to be told that. When Kyoutoku handed it to him, Izuku practically had to yank it out of his hands. He offered it back, but Kyoutoku insisted. Mika had surprisingly seemed to not show any sign of teasing him about knowing of his presence in the house. Maybe she was being merciful.
…Or saving the teasing for a rainy day.
Who was he kidding? She's the mother of Kyouka . She was holding on to it.
"Yeah, but…is it a little egotistical that he put his autograph on it?" Izuku raised the guitar up, the black ink contrasting against the red material.
"Hey, that makes it even more valuable," Kyouka defended her father as they approached Izuku's door. "A lot of people would kill for that guitar."
"Hm. You know, your parents are pretty popular. Are you supposed to be a celebrity?"
"Me," Kyouka chuckled, "Sure, why not? The kid of musicians and composers who aren't known by anyone under thirty. I couldn't get recognized even if I wanted to, and thank goodness for that."
Izuku raised a brow as he put his key into the door, "But, you're becoming a hero. Being recognized is part of that job. Did you want to be underground like Mr. Aizawa?"
"Eh, I dunno. I just don't think I'll be popular enough for it to be that bad…Except I'm just now realizing I'm the partner to the kid who has All Might's powers…You sure you wanna be number one?"
Izuku smiled, opening his door, "No doubt in my mind."
Kyouka blew a raspberry, shrugging her shoulders. "Ah, for you? I guess I can suffer through it then."
Izuku held the door open for Kyouka as she walked in, "You didn't even try to convince me to go underground. I'm sure you could've convinced me."
"You? Yeah, right. Besides, how else are you gonna kick Bakugou's ass in the rankings?"
"Good point." Izuku closed the door, walking towards the living room. "Mom! I'm back! Are yo-..."
He stopped himself at the sight before him. Inko looked up from the dining table, her eyes meeting her son's. Izuku's heart dropped as the warm and loving smile he expected to greet him wasn't there. Instead, it was the very rare stern and serious expression Inko adorned.
"I would ask you how the trip was…" Inko stood up, walking around the table to lean against it, "...but you didn't go."
The couple froze in their tracks, with Kyouka's jacks picking up a very quiet "Shit" under Izuku's breath. She could see Izuku start to scramble for any sort of excuse or cover story, but everything they had planned just went down the drain.
He set his guitar down on the couch, his brain trying to come up with anything , "I-I…I don't know wha-"
"Stop. Don't even bother. Izuku, did you really expect me to let you leave the city without having a way of checking up on you? Did you think I would get the Jirous' phone numbers? Did you think I wouldn't get in touch with them, or vice versa. For instance, the Jirous texting me, wishing you a happy birthday, wishing you could have come along with them to celebrate it in Nagoya? How's that sound?"
"Yeah. 'Oh.' Where were you then?"
Did she think Kyouka still went with her parents? He didn't want her to get in trouble, nor did he want to lose the trust of her parents.
He had to think of something. Where could he have gone? It had to be somewhere believa-
"I can see it running through your head. You're just trying to think of another lie. I know where you went, Izuku. Where else would you go? Kyouka already said she wasn't going to go without you. I wanted to see if you would tell the truth, and you failed."
They were done for. But, Kyouka wouldn't let Izuku go down alone on this one. Not that she had much choice, but still. She would at least own up to it.
Kyouka stepped forward, "Inko, it was my idea. I'm so sor-"
Inko raised her hand, stopping Kyouka in her tracks. "I'm not mad at you, Kyouka. It's not about that. I'm not going to tell your parents."
The couple shared a look, Kyouka turning back to Inko, "You're not?"
Inko pinched the bridge of her nose, shaking her head, "No. I'm not going to get you into trouble. The thing is, Izuku, I'll be honest with you, I honestly don't even think the lie is that big of a deal on its own. It's mostly harmless, and you're teenagers. Lying to fool around isn't crazy, it's damn near expected of you."
Izuku furrowed his brow, dropping his bags to the floor, "Wait, if this isn't about the lie, then what is this about? Why are you mad?"
"It's not about the lie, Izuku. It's about lying , and how accustomed you've grown to it."
"All of this lying, half-truths, distance…This. This right here is why it still feels like we're so far apart from one another."
"What? That's what this is about? I…" Izuku pinched the bridge of his nose, pushing down his frustration to gather his thoughts. Kyouka took a few steps back, leaning against the wall. She felt like she shouldn't be there, but maybe a third-party was what they needed. "Yes, okay. I stayed with Kyouka. But, if it's not that big of a deal for you, why is this the straw that broke the camel's back? Wanting to spend a week alone with my girlfriend constitutes bringing our entire relationship for the past eleven years into question? Did you expect me to tell you I wanted to secretly stay with my girlfriend?"
"No, I-...I just…" Inko sighed, her gaze falling to the floor. "Believe me, I know how it seems. No, I didn't expect you to tell me that. I wouldn't tell my own parents, if I was in your situation. But, I've been so happy for you. I am so very happy for you. But, the moment I realized you lied again, I just…I couldn't help but feel just like I've felt for so long. The lie itself isn't bad, but…it's like you just said. Eleven years, Izuku. I just felt like I was deceived again, out of the hundreds of times I've already been by you. We've gotten better, yes, but some people can only wait so long. And, unfortunately, I think I might be the only person that's waiting."
Izuku felt like he had been slapped after that one. His mom would never accuse him of not caring…
"Well, Mom I-...I-I just don't know how this is supposed to work! I don't know what you expect of me! We've been trying to make this work for months, and we're doing good! Or, I guess I thought we were? I don't know what it is you want from me!"
"I just want you to be honest with me! To be open, even for small things. And, yes, you've shared more. But, that's mostly because I've practically had to claw and dig just for the tiniest bit of information from you, or because I indirectly make you feel guilty. I don't want that. I'll never want to make you feel anything negative ever again. I understand you want your privacy, I do. I've respected your privacy for sixteen years, and I will continue to do so for whatever you deem truly private. Yet, I can't help but feel so in the dark."
"I…" Izuku sighed, his frustrations no longer on his mother. He wasn't sure where they were headed now. "I'm sorry. Really, I am. B-But…I guess I thought this was normal."
"Izuku, this is our normal now. And, we haven't made much progress, because…"
Izuku furrowed his brow at Inko's pause as he leaned forward at the table. "Because of what?"
"...Because you haven't tried."
Izuku felt like he had been struck. Inko blamed him for something? That had never happened. "Wh-...What?"
Inko wrung her hands together, tears beginning to brim in her eyes.
"Izuku...this distance between us has been here for years. And, everyday for all these years, I've been trying, and trying, and trying to close it. But, you keep backing away from me. This year alone, it's nothing but secrets and lies, and I know to you it's not that way. To you, it's simply keeping your privacy, and I respect that. But I can't fix us, put us back together, when you keep all the parts to yourself. Everything I learn now feels second-hand. It's like I'm getting the scraps of what everyone else already had."
"Let me finish!" Inko said sternly, an out of character reaction. Izuku sat back with wide eyes, and Kyouka continued to stay silent, having zero idea of how to handle the situation unfolding before her. Perhaps, this was the answer. Maybe both needed to unleash what they had been holding back for so long, but also have the honest feelings of the other thrown back as well.
Either it would help their relationship in the long run, or cause it to crumble into dust, never to be fixed. As painful as the latter outcome would be, at least some sense of closure would be achieved. And when all is said and done, after all these years, that was all they needed to move on with their lives.
"In this past year alone, you've hid your girlfriend from me, your school life, basic daily information, and I don't know what you think of me, but I'm not an idiot. I was at your diagnosis. You're 16. Quirks just don't appear like this. I don't know how you got it, but in the end it's just another secret. You weren't even the one who called me when you fought the Hero Killer! I had to get a call from the hospital hours later, when I knew you had your phone. A serial killer, Izuku!"
Inko choked back a sob, doing her best to speak clearly. "I know I...I know I hurt you all those years ago. I know I caused a pain that still lingers to this day, but I need your help to heal it. Izuku, I need you to heal my pain. Do you think you're the only one who is angry with your father for working away for so long? Do you think I didn't try to stop him from taking that promotion overseas? Of course I did, but I know there are just some parts of our lives we can't control. And I thought I would at least have you, but...but...I haven't known you since you were five. I tried so hard to apologize, to reconnect with you. At first I gave you all the space you wanted, but then you had no intention of leaving that space. So, then I tried hinting at it, then trying to make you talk to me. Finally, I begged for you to come back to me, but I just can't seem to outrun my mistakes."
Inko covered her face with her hands, taking deep breaths before continuing. Izuku was sitting in shock, mulling over everything that his mother was throwing at him. It was beginning to be too much to take in. And Kyouka almost wanted to cry herself after seeing Inko in the state she was in. The mother finally looked back at her son and punctuated her rant with her final words.
"Izuku...You. Are. My. Life . No matter if you never talk to me again, or if you hate me, you are the reason I live and breathe, because I love you so much. So much that you'll never truly understand it until you have children of your own. But, I've been living with a stranger for the last eleven years. I just...I don't think I can live like that anymore. Not when it's my own son."
Inko lowered her gaze back down to the table, her piece spoken. Izuku furrowed his brow, looking down at his lap with a mix of features Kyouka was barely able to make out. It was a mix of concern, hurt, and realization. Suddenly he started walking away silently to his room. Kyouka quickly followed him, leaving a comforting hand on Inko's shoulder as she passed. Opening Izuku's door, she found him looking out his window, both hands on either side of the glass.
"...Can we go to your place? Anywhere? Just not…here."
"Izuku, you can't run from th-"
"I'm not running, I just...I need to recollect my thoughts, think about some things...dig up old memories I've stashed away, forgotten until now. I need your help going over all this, coming to terms with it. A-And...I need to get out of this apartment for a while. At least, out of this room." He looked over at his hero journals, a frown developing, "I don't want to look at them right now."
Kyouka wasn't sure what that last part meant, but she had a strong feeling she would learn soon.
"...No. No, you can't leave her like this. That's the same thing that happened last time. I won't stop you from leaving, but I'm not going anywhere."
Izuku sighed, but nodded, "You're right. Yeah, okay, just…can you go to her? She needs someone right now."
Izuku rubbed his eye, sitting on the edge of edge, "I-I just need to think for a while."
"...Okay. Come get me, if you need me before I come back." She walked over and kissed his temple, gently guiding his gaze to her's, "I love you, okay?"
He kissed her, resting his head against her chest, "I love you, too."
Well, Kyouka can't say she didn't sign up for all this. It was bound to happen. Kyouka turned away to exit, but stopped. "What did you mean, 'coming to terms with it'? Come to terms with what?"
"...Come to terms with the fact that I've deluded myself for the past eleven years to think that this isn't my fault."
'...Uh-oh.' Kyouka left Izuku to his devices, preparing herself for whatever that was going to entail. On the bright side, at least Kyouka could say Izuku always kept things interesting.
She made her way back into the kitchen to see Inko sitting back down at the table. She wasn't crying, like Kyouka had grown to expect. Inko merely had her head resting in one hand as she stared down at the table. She was pressing her tongue against the inside of her cheek. That was also one of Izuku's signs of being in deep thought, along with rubbing his chin.
Kyouka pursed her lips, walking into the kitchen and grabbing a couple mugs from the cabinet. A few minutes later, Inko was looking up as Kyouka placed a mug of coffee down next to her.
Kyouka smiled down at her, "Emotional endeavors are exhausting, right?"
Inko sighed, taking the mug, "Don't I know it. I probably should have figured you were a coffee person over tea."
Kyouka sat down next to her, drinking from her mug, "I take in the bitterness and add it to my personality."
Kyouka was proud that she at least got a chuckle out of Inko from that. Inko sighed as she took a sip from her mug, "I wouldn't call you bitter. If anything, I'd say you're very sweet."
"You haven't seen me around the people I don't like, but…maybe just a little. At least with Izuku. But, don't blame me. He's so sweet he'd put a bakery out of business purely from his presence."
"I'm happy to know he's a natural at relationships. Less I have to teach him," Inko grinned. "Did you at least have a good time? Trip or no trip?"
"Oh! Well, yeah. But, u-uh, nothing happened! I swear, we ju-"
Inko raised her hand up, cutting Kyouka off, "I understand. You don't have to explain anything to me. I believe you, but none of that aspect of things is my business. I didn't mean to appear as if I was trying to pry into your relationship or anything. I'm so sorry. You shouldn't have had to see any of that. But, I'm assuming you basically already knew most of that. Unlike me, I'm sure he tells you everything."
"O-Oh, well…" Kyouka rubbed her arm, clearing her throat. "I still learn new things from time-to-time. It's more about letting him take his time to say whatever he wants…Which I guess I've had to wait a lot less time, and I've learned a lot more, I-...Sorry."
"No, don't be. Please, don't take that the wrong way." Inko took her hand in both of her's, "Izuku needs somebody in his life he can tell everything to, even if it's not me."
Kyouka gripped back, nodding with determination in her eyes, "I'll always be that person. I promise. But, what about you?"
Inko smiled, but waved her off, "Don't worry about me."
"God, so you're who he gets it from."
"What?" Inko asked, a brow raised.
"Not wanting anyone to worry about you. Trust me, I get it. I do it, too. But, Izuku and I have learned the hard way, on multiple occasions mind you, that you need somebody else to at least talk to. What about Mr. Midoriya?"
Inko shook her head in sadness, "Hisashi is horribly busy. He can't call much, and I don't want to disturb his work."
"Well, I'm extremely new to this whole love business, but I personally think your partner trumps work. I'd call, but…if you need someone right now, I can try."
"Oh, Kyouka, I can't do-"
It was Kyouka's turn to cut her off, "I've gotten plenty of practice with Izuku, and I've also watched him help some of our other friends through rough spots in their lives."
Inko still looked tentative, which Kyouka understood. She wasn't the only one with over a decade of pain to sort through. "I-...I don't know. I'm sorry."
"It's okay. I won't push you, but can you at least answer me one thing? What were you talking about when you said you begged Izuku to talk to you?"
Inko took a deep breath as she ran a hand through her hair, "...There were days when Izuku would come home and he wouldn't even let me see him. He'd try to sneak through the door, hide his face, rush to the bathroom or his bedroom. At first, I thought it was something I did, like he was angry with me for something. But, then one day, he came home and ran into me while I was in the hall. He…He had a bruised lip and black eye."
Kyouka knew it was coming, or at least something similar. She had to grip the edge of her seat to hide the fury building up inside. She hoped Inko couldn't see her white-knuckling her chair.
"I begged and begged for him to tell me what happened," Inko continued, wiping the stray tears in her eyes, "but he insisted it was nothing. 'I was hit by debris from a villain attack I was watching,' he had said. It was at least a fairly believable lie from him, I'll give him that. He loved watching heroes work. But, I knew. I went to the school, but they apparently knew nothing. No other parents knew anything, most of them didn't even know who Izuku was. I didn't leave a single stone unturned, except for Izuku, but I couldn't get through to him. You have no idea how painful it is to see your child hurting so much, but it hurts even more knowing he won't let you help because he doesn't trust you."
Kyouka set her mug down, quickly taking Inko in for a hug. If she was being honest, she needed it, too. Every time she learned something new about Izuku's past, it always ended with Kyouka thinking her promised kick to Katsuki's groin was too weak of a punishment. She eventually pulled back, rubbing Inko's back as the mother wiped her eyes again.
Kyouka asked, "What made you drop it?"
"I still haven't dropped it, I just came to every dead end there was. Izuku stopped coming home with bruises again after that, and I made him let me check every time. It wasn't long after that when he came home one day so happy. I kept asking him, but he never gave me a solid answer. He started training after that day, and he was dead set on UA. He always said he wanted to go, but I had never seen invigorated. Then, of course, you came along. I couldn't bring myself to interject on his happiness after that. I-I don't mean I blame you! I ju-"
"I understand. And, thank you for telling me that. I…Try not to worry about that right now, okay? All of that's over, believe me. Just give him some time for that stuff. I know you've waited a long time already, but it's hard for him to talk about, even to me."
Inko wasn't even surprised that Kyouka wasn't caught off guard in the slightest. Of course she knew. Kyouka had to be the top expert in everything related to Izuku, but she wouldn't reveal anything and Inko was at least happy for that.
"...Alright," Inko nodded. "And, I was wrong. You're incredibly sweet."
"Ah, whatever," Kyouka tried to dismissively wave her off, but the blush on her cheeks couldn't be missed. Inko chuckled, and Kyouka smiled back. She was happy to have brightened such a dour atmosphere, even if just a little.
"You do that a lot, you know?"
Kyouka was jostled out of her train of thought, "Do what?"
"You smile when you see others smile. Others' happiness is infectious to you."
"I-I never noticed, but I guess so. My goal as a hero is to make people smile. Give them hope."
Inko shook her head, a light laugh escaping her lips, "Oh God, you really are perfect for Izuku."
Setting her mug down, Kyouka grinned. "I try. But, speaking of him, I'm gonna go check on him. If I've learned anything from my time with Izuku, it's that he's not very good at asking for help directly."
Inko scoffed, dryly, "Believe me, I know."
Kyouka smiled apologetically, placing another comforting hand on Inko's shoulder before she made her way back to the hallway. Opening Izuku's door, she found him still at the foot of his bed, but had now moved to lie on his back. He gave Kyouka a tiny smile before continuing to look back up at the ceiling.
After closing the door, Kyouka went to the bed and laid down next to Izuku. She rested her arm across his chest and nuzzled her nose against the side of his head.
"Asking if you're okay is stupid, so I'll just ask how you're coming along."
"Yeah, well you'd be surprised how easy it is to deconstruct yourself when you actually start thinking about your past and start acknowledging the stuff you don't like about yourself."
"Ah, c'mon, we're not that bad."
"Kyouka, when was the last time either of us wanted to acknowledge a part of us that we hated?"
"...Damn, you got me there," Kyouka chuckled, eliciting a tiny one from Izuku. It was a serious situation, but Kyouka would do whatever it took to make sure he didn't sink too far into his own head. "Whenever you're ready."
Izuku sighed through his nose, thinking of the best way to start, "...I couldn't take it."
"Couldn't take what?"
"Being quirkless, which in turn led me to thinking I couldn't handle being around my mom. Becoming a hero was everything to me. When you're a kid, you don't have the bigger grasp on life or the real world. It was so simple to me. Be a hero. There was no other option. Why would I ever want to be anything else? Hm…I guess I never really grew out of that mindset, huh?"
Kyouka propped herself up on her elbow, rubbing her hand across Izuku's chest, "There's nothing wrong with having a dream. You can't get mad at yourself for that."
"It's not a bad thing to be realistic either."
"Izuku, we have know way of knowing what could have been if you tried."
"You wouldn't bet on me, though, would you? Besides, therein lies the other problem. I didn't try. I thought from the second I was diagnosed I had no hope. When she said she was sorry, I…" Izuku sighed, rubbing his temple, "Do you remember when I said I would rather my mom have just told me no, rather than that she was sorry?"
"Mhm," Kyouka nodded, remembering that specific train ride from months ago.
"When she said she was sorry, it sounded like she blamed herself for how I was. It sounded like she felt guilty for how I was, that I was born that way. It…I know she didn't mean it this way, she never would, but…it made me feel like a mistake. I was this anomaly. My parents have quirks, their parents had quirks, but I was born with nothing. I…I couldn't be that. I couldn't have my mom blame herself for giving birth to a mistake."
"I know," He cut Kyouka off. "I'm not a mistake, and she didn't mean that. Of course she didn't. You just can't help how you feel sometimes. You know that more than most."
Kyouka sighed, nodding as she took Izuku's hand and kissed his knuckles before answering quietly, "Yeah, I know."
"It's just that…" Izuku struggled to continue, clearly forcing himself to keep digging. "Being a mistake? A burden? Having no dream? Being useless, or even worse, a detriment? I-I couldn't live with that. All Might represents hope. He was all I had to cling to. I had no hope left…so I created my own."
Kyouka thought back to the look Izuku had given his books before they left his apartment, the image becoming clear. She gazed across the room at the shelf just above Izuku's desk. "Your journals…"
Izuku laughed, but there was no amusement behind it. "Hero Journal Number One was started only a few days later. I think my fantasy was a sort of self-defense mechanism. I don't think I understood at the time, but I needed something to keep me going. I thought that maybe if I knew everything about quirks, how they worked, how to counter them, how they can be used in crisis situations, that I could be…"
"...Useful?" Kyouka finished for him.
"...Yeah. If I could just be useful, in some capacity, I could be a hero. Not number one, like I wanted, but if I could just help I-...I don't know. But, I was terrified of facing the idea that it would never happen. I walled myself off, trying to keep all of the doubt out. And, my mom…she was a threat." Izuku scowled at his own phrasing, but he didn't know how else to put it. "She didn't believe in it; my dream. She didn't believe in me . So, I roped her in with everybody else. Kacchan, the other students, the teachers, the doctor…my mind put her in the same category. She didn't believe in my fantasy, and I couldn't take that. It was all I thought I had. I couldn't lose that; not for anything. Not even for my mother, who I pushed away out of my own stubbornness, selfishness, and delusion, and was the only person that even liked me . There was even a point in time where I would have rather everyone hated me than thought absolutely nothing of me. At least if I was a target of hate, I was acknowledged. I existed. Without my dream, I felt like nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was a kid so stubborn, naive, and selfish that he blinded himself into thinking he was selfless , and was even willing to throw his family to the side when they didn't meet the standards created by his own little world."
"Izuku…" Kyouka tried to stop him, hearing the sudden growth in aggravation in his tone, but Izuku wasn't done.
"So God-damn stubborn…" Izuku growled, clenching his fists. "I dug myself deeper and deeper into my little bubble. After a while, I was so good at lying to myself that I actually believed I was doing something. I truly thought that my journals were going to help me get into UA, despite the fact that I never even bothered to lift a single damn weight, learn to fight, look into support gear. No. No, all I did was run. I ran from bullies, I ran from my own family, I ran from reality, and I ran from myself…and I hurt the only person that gave a damn about me. I hurt her for over a decade."
Izuku shook his head, looking over to Kyouka with accepted defeat in his eyes. A look she never wanted to see from him ever again.
She cupped his cheek, using her thumb to wipe away the first stray tear that fell, "You didn't mean to."
"Not meaning to might have mattered a decade ago. Now? All that time…"
"It didn't stop her from loving you. You can't think less of her for being put in an impossible situation, and the same thing applies to you. You were just a kid, and no child deserves to have their dreams shattered that young. And, no mother should ever have to look their child in the eyes and break their hearts further. Yes, you're stubborn, but that doesn't make it inherently bad. We're both stubborn, but now you focus that stubbornness into what matters. You refuse to back down, to waver in your morals, or to let anyone in arm's reach to continue to suffer. All that matters now is that not only do you recognize what you did, but you have the opportunity to fix things. Inko wants nothing more than to fix things; you heard her. But, she's suffering right now. What would Deku do in that situation?"
"I don't feel much like Deku right now."
"Well too damn bad. You are Deku. You're the best person I've ever met, flaws and mistakes included. Honestly, your flaws just make me love you even more, because despite everything you turned into the person you are today. You feel ashamed, but that's good as long as you learn from it. After eleven years, a lot of people wouldn't even have the chance to do so. Another problem you and I have is we like to sit and wallow in our personal problems a bit too much, until you or I have to come in and remind the other that we're being stupid."
"Well, our problems are pretty complicated."
"That they are."
Izuku pressed his face into Kyouka's hair, his eyes closing shut, "...Damn, emotions are exhausting."
Kyouka giggled, kissing his knuckles again, "Don't I know it."
Izuku finally relaxed again, a large weight off of his shoulders. Well, half of it. He still had to actually face his mom again. Could he though? How do you make up for all this? He knew his mom wouldn't care about that, as long as Izuku apologized and truly embraced their relationship.
But, would he be able to repeat all of what he said? There was so much context that his mom still didn't know, context that he wasn't sure he wanted to talk about just yet. Kacchan, the other bullies, One For All, the… darker days of the past.
There was just so much to unpack. Maybe he was just far too conditioned after all that time, but Izuku just couldn't help but instinctively try and cherry pick between what he should and what he wanted to tell.
Izuku stopped, something was wrong. Suddenly, he didn't feel Kyouka against him anymore. But, he never felt her move. She just vanished. Did he fall asleep and she just left at some point? He was tired, but he didn't remember falling asleep. He had closed his eyes for a minute, at max.
And had his voice…echoed?
"Midoriya." Izuku's eyes burst open at the sound of the stranger. He tried to activate One For All, but nothing happened. He couldn't even move. Was this sleep paralysis? Was he supposed to see a black void during sleep paralysis? "Jeez, even in your own head you're a wordy kid."
…Wait. He knew that voice. He had been hearing that voice in flashes for weeks now. Izuku looked around, still seeing nothing. But, he took his shot.
The black void before him suddenly shifted. The dark clouds began to take a new form, the body of a woman emerging from the entity. He was met with piercing, yet kind eyes and a soft smile.
"What was it you said about a golden opportunity?"
"Snrk, hehe! Hi."
"U-Um, so…right now is your golden opportunity?"
Nana chuckled, floating around Izuku, "Yeah, I know. A big feud with your mom seems like a pretty terrible time, but just trust me. Now, I'm sure you have questions."
"A million! What was All Might like back then? What's your quirk? Can the other users talk to me? Do they like me? Do you have any strategies to help fight against All For One? Eh, I mean, I guess they didn't work for you. Bu-! Eh, sorry. I just me-mmph!"
Nana pressed a finger to his lips as she giggled, "Like I said. Wordy. What I was gonna say is, we don't have that kind of time right now, but later. I promise. But, just to satiate you: He was still a goofball. I can float. Yes, but not now. It's complicated, but mostly yes. You know how my fight went, so you tell me."
Izuku blushed, "Th-Thanks."
"Hmhmhm, no problem. Now, let's see if I can…" Nana grabbed onto his shoulders, yanking him forward, the black mist around his body breaking away. He nearly fell forward at the sudden movement, but was happy that he could not move at all. "When I first showed up here, I was stuck, too. It's like being trapped in a dream where you have no control."
Izuku moved his limbs around, grateful that he wasn't locked up anymore. Most of his body wasn't fully there. Outside of some of his torso, his right arm, and the lower half of his left arm, he was covered in a black veil, making the parts of his body that it covered hazy.
"Thank you, but what is this place?"
"What do you think? One For All."
Nana smiled, "Pretty crazy, right? Our own little space of consciousness."
Izuku reached his hand out towards the void, his hand grazing through the black mist, a buzzing passing through his hand. "Consciousness? One For All is…alive?"
"Eh, yes and no. It's complicated."
"Why do I get the feeling I'm gonna hear that a lot."
"Because you are. Here, we can speak freely, ask for advice, and…" Nana flew closer to him, pressing a finger against his forehead, "...access memories."
The void suddenly began to take shape again, but on a much larger scale. Buildings began to form, and the ground(?) beneath him turned into concrete. Cloudy skies awoke, casting light across the city. The skyline in the distance was unrecognizable, so Izuku knew he wasn't in Musutafu.
"What is thi-?"
"Kotarou…" Izuku whipped around to see Nana, but not his Nana. She was dressed in a large winter coat with her hair down. Gazing down, he then saw a little boy. If the name wasn't already a giveaway, his sharp eyes were clear indicators that he was Nana's son. Snow began to fall around them as Nana knelt down to give him an envelope. "Hold this for me, okay?"
The boy took the envelope, gazing at it curiously, "Who's this for?"
"I-...I-It's for you…Don't open it yet, I-" Nana's voice broke, causing her to turn away from her son to hide her face. Izuku's heart broke as he watched her bite down hard on her forefinger knuckle, trying to stop her shaking. But, he could still see tears threatening to spill unabashedly. It was at that moment Izuku looked up and saw the building they were in front of.
Hosu Family Foster Agency
How old was Kotaro here? Definitely not old enough to even know what a foster agency was, but still old enough to realize something was wrong.
"Mommy? What's wrong?"
"N-Nothing," Nana just barely managed to compose herself. She turned back around, trying to muster some semblance of a smile. She looked up, seeing the agents she had called in the window, waiting for their cue. "I need you to stay here for a little bit. You see them? They're gonna watch you while I go do something important for you father."
Kotaro looked back at her with confusion, "Dad? B-But…But, he's…gone."
"I know, sweetheart. It's just that I made a promise to him, and I have to keep it. But, I have to do it alone. It's incredibly important that I do this."
"Oh…okay. But, can't I stay with Uncle Torino? Or Toshi?"
"Torino is busy out being a hero, and Toshi is at school. Don't worry, I know these people. You'll be just fine while I'm…gone." Nana had to turn her face away again, fighting with everything she had not to just grab Kotaro and run. "J-Just…Just please, be good while I'm away."
"Mom?" Kotaro worriedly gazed up at her.
A sob escaped her lips, she couldn't help it. She turned back to Kotaro, hugging him tightly to her chest, "I-I…I love you s-so much! I love you, Kotaro. Please, please, never forget that. I love you so much."
She brought a hand up from Kotaro's back, waving for the agents to come outside and take him. If she didn't do it that very second, she wouldn't have the strength to do it.
Two young women quickly came outside as Nana left one last kiss on top of Kotaro's head. One with a ram horn quirk knelt down, putting a hand on Kotaro's shoulder, "Hey, buddy. I'm gonna watch you for a bit, okay?"
Kotaro looked back up to Nana, "Mom?"
"Don't worry about me," Nana consoled him, fruitlessly wiping at her eyes. "I'm just thinking about your father. I'll be okay. Be good for them, okay?" Kotaro was nearly being dragged towards the building as he kept looking back at his mother. Nana turned to the other woman, her voice low. "You got all of my specifications for him? His medicines, his records, his-"
"Yes, ma'am. Trust us, we're not just professionals. We're caretakers. I'm just…I'm very sorry for y-"
"Don't. Please, just…" Nana's lips began to quiver, causing her to cover her mouth, turn around, and walk away. "Forgive me, Kotaro."
Kotaro watched as Nana sped down the sidewalk, sobs echoing down the street. Something was wrong. Very, very wrong . Kotaro ripped his hand out of the woman's grasp, rushing away from her as he tore open the letter.
"Kotaro, don't read that yet" The woman tried to stop him, but it was too late. The boy had dropped the paper to the ground, rushing down the side after his mother.
"Mom!" Kotaro could hear the women calling after him, but he continued to run as the snow started to fall harder. He could see his mother turn the corner up ahead, "Mom! Wait, please!"
The agency workers were on his heels, he could hear them. But, he refused to stop.
Kotaro turned the corner, his heart dropping as he saw nothing but an empty street before him. "Mom?! Mom?! MOM?!"
Up above, Nana had floated to the top of the building, curled into a ball as her son's voice echoed into the sky. Each call for her name caused her body to wrack with more sobs, muffled against her coat.
Izuku stood next to the devastated memory of Nana, wishing he could reach out to her.
"...Why now?" Izuku turned around, finding the actual Nana behind him. "Why are you showing me this now? This isn't even my memory, but…but it's torture."
Nana looked over his shoulder, her expression unreadable as she watched her former self. "It may not be your memory, but you're so close to living it."
"Wh-? I don't understand."
"I know how that old curmudgeon," Nana continued, not directly answering his question. "Torino feels about relationships. It's not like his feelings aren't understandable. Everything we have and love can be stripped away from us in the blink of an eye. I know how it feels to lose the ones I love more than life itself. They were my life."
Izuku's mind was suddenly ripped back to his mother, hearing her say almost the exact same phrase to him.
…Is that really what he was doing to her? Did she feel like she was losing her son?
He turned back to the memory of Nana, who was still curled up on the rooftop.
…This was the kind of pain he was inflicting on his mom?
"I can see the look on your face…I'm also in your mind. Don't beat yourself up so badly. It's not gonna help, not now." Nana turned back to him, her eyes still carrying such sadness. "I know what it's like to push away the ones we love."
"There's a difference in our reasoning," Izuku sighed.
"I know." Nana put a hand on Izuku's shoulder, looking at him solemnly, "But, we both couldn't stand the idea of losing something we held dear, but in the process, we didn't just lose what truly mattered all along. We hurt them. Pain and love are both so influential, but most of all, blinding. We think we can go it alone, as long as the ones we love, or what we love, are safe. But, our connections, those who love us, are irreplaceable. All I could think about was saving my son, not even thinking about the fact that All For One probably could have found him without any issue. Back then, he had every connection he needed. But, I was too late to realize that he didn't care about Kotaro. Not even a little bit. All he wanted was to break me…and he did. After my husband and Kotaro, I…I wasn't the same. You'd think I'd at least have vengeance to fuel me, but no. I couldn't even gather the will to fight, because all I could think about was where my son was. All I could think about was my regrets, how I hurt him, how I needed him."
Izuku nodded in understanding, "I couldn't imagine giving up Kyouka. I…I just couldn't. I know how selfish it seems, bu-"
"It doesn't matter," Nana stopped him. "Anyone you're close to is a target, far away from you or not. All For One will find them if he wants to. Toshinori, Jirou, her parents, your friends…your mother. As long as it ends with you dead, he'll go to the ends of the Earth."
Izuku clenched his fist, growling in frustration, "Then what am I supposed to do?"
Nana knelt down, both hands on Izuku's cheeks, "Keep them close. Protect them. Those connections, their love, it's not just what keeps us going. It's what pushes us further than ever imagined. Pushing them away? That's how we fall. Don't make our mistakes. Go back, let your mother love you, and love her twice as much back. Without her, without any of them, you'll fail. I know your life has been difficult, and it will continue to grow in difficulty. But, that's exactly why we need them. Your past together may be troubled, but that doesn't matter anymore. You wanted her to have faith in you? Then have faith in her now. From another mother, believe me when I say she won't let you down. She'll never let you down again."
The world suddenly shifted, the cityscape disappearing. Nana grew confused for a moment. This wasn't her doing. Soon, they were in a small, simple apartment, with what was seemingly a bundle of blankets on the floor.
The blankets shifted around, showing a woman underneath. "Help me! Please, oh, somebody help me!"
Nana smiled warmly at the sight, recognizing the woman instantly. "Your mother…"
"I am here!" Nana turned around, her heart nearly exploding at the sight of a tiny Izuku in an All Might onesie bursting through the door, and running towards his mother. He hopped into his mother's lap, hugging her tight. "Don't worry, ma'am! You're okay!"
"Oh? Am I now? For I am…A secret tickle villain!" Inko suddenly began wiggling her fingers against Izuku's sides, causing her little one to break out in laughter and try to escape.
Nana couldn't wipe the smile off her face if she tried as she watched the scene. She turned to Izuku, her heart dropping as she saw him covering his eyes with his hand, his shoulders spasming as he held back sobs.
Nana gently turned Izuku around and brought his hands down. She cupped his cheeks, wiping his tears away with her thumb, "...Now, don't let her down either."
Izuku wiped his arm across his eyes, holding his chin up high, "I won't."
"I know you won't. Damn, she's one lucky mother. You're gonna be great, kid. Better than us all." Nana gently kissed his forehead and ruffled his hair, "...See you soon, kid."
The scenery suddenly began to evaporate, with Nana going along with it. "Wait! I-I want to learn more!"
"Good. Just meet me here again whenever you're ready. I'll answer when you call this time, I promise. Now, get back to your mom. She needs you just as much as you need her." Nana began to dissipate, the void around Izuku becoming harder to latch on to, "...Don't make our mistakes."
Then, she was gone, with Izuku's vision consumed by nothing but darkness.
Izuku's eyes shot open, and Kyouka's violet eyes met his. "I-...Wh-What?"
Her hands came up, her thumbs caressing his cheeks, "You're crying."
Izuku touched under his eyes, confirming what Kyouka said and finding tears. He looked around, realizing he was finally back in his room. "How long have we been sitting here?"
"Hm?" Kyouka raised a brow at him. "A couple minutes, I think. Why?"
"I…I'll tell you in a bit. Just not now…Hold on." Izuku suddenly shot up, rushing out of his room, much to Kyouka's confusion. She followed him out the door as he rushed back into the main room of the apartment.
Inko looked up from the table, shocked to see Izuku suddenly rush into the room. She quickly stood up at the sight of tears in his eyes, worry instantly appearing on her face.
Izuku was silent for a moment, trying and failing to compose himself. He raised his arms out from his sides, "...I am here."
Tears immediately sprung into Inko's eyes, a sob escaping her lips as she rushed to her son and brought him into the biggest hug she could muster. And, for the first time in years, Izuku hugged back just as hard.
"I'm so sorry," Izuku cried into her hair. "I never meant to hurt you. I-I was just so tired, and in pain…I was just so afraid of bein-"
"I know," Inko cut him off, gripping his shirt. "I know."
"There's so much I have to tell you, and I will. I promise."
Inko kissed the side of his head, sighing into his hair, "Just take your time, whenever you're ready. I just…I just needed you to know that I'm here, too."
"...Okay. I love you."
"Oh I love you, too. I love you so much, Izuku."
From her position around the corner, Kyouka had absolutely no idea what just happened. But, really, it didn't matter. They were going to be okay, and that's all she cared about. She did know one thing, though.
…This family was so God-damn stressful.
A/N: If anybody is at all interested, I have started a P-A-T-R-E-O-N page. (Yeah, they don't let you actually type it out) And, no, this will not affect the stories.
ABSOLUTELY NOT. My fics will always be free. This is actually an art related . The best examples I can think of for what I'm going for are the likes of Krumbs, and maybe dashingicecream, if you've heard of them.
You can go to the page for a more in-depth explanation, but the only tiers are super low prices, and this is mainly just a side thing. But, it's for general support, and to increase the amount of fan art I make FOR THE FICS.
So, general fan art, redesigns, gear designs, manga covers, etc. I'm nowhere near ready for it, but the idea was thrown around that maybe I could do some scenes, or even one day make a fan manga. Who knows?
This was just an idea my advisors (not my writing ones, but my actual advisors from school) recommended I do, and I'd love to create more for my stories and be given more time to focus on them. Also, for the people reading on , this will actually be the first time any of you actually see my artwork. The other sites have seen it before.
Also, the is EARLY ACCESS ONLY. As in, everything I do will either be included in the stories, or posted later on my twitter (which I need to actually start doing. As putrid as that place it, it's a good hub for advertisement)
I don't want the people who can't support, or read on FFN and can't see my work and can't support to just be cut off permanently.
This is just general support, so PLEASE think about yourself first. You're more important. I will not pretend to be struggling (to a desperate degree)
Oh, and next chapter is the start of something I've been looking forward too for a very long time now.
The Almighty Man: Part One
...Yeah I'm not allow to put links here either, so...
My handle Pat-page is just MizuTori
And twit is MizuToriMHA