Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Wishing you all a good time and to Horikoshi who I hope gets well.
Disclaimer: I don't own My Hero Academia
Izuku lay still on the bed in the same position for an uncertain amount of time. His breathing had become tense and shaky. Sweat began to leak through his clothes.
"H-H-H-H-How?" he stuttered uncontrollably. "W-W-W-W-WW-Why-y-y-y-y-y-y?"
How did you get my mother's phone?
Why do you have it?
Followed by the two most important questions of all:
Where is Mom?
What have you done with her?
Questions he wanted to ask but lacked the stability and mental fortitude to do so.
"Why do I have Mommy Dearests' phone? How did I get it? Where is she? What did I do to her? Is she dead? Did I kill her? Am I holding her hostage as one of my slaves?" Shiro listed off with a chuckle. "Even on the phone, you are easy to read. You really need to do something about that. I'm surprised AFO never did anything to correct it given his multitude of quirks. My condolences by the way. I'm sure you're still grieving him along with Shigaraki and Kurogiri."
Izuku didn't respond. He was still processing the situation and all its implications of it. so much that his breathing remained the same.
"Izuku… can I call you that? I feel like we've been through so much together at this point. You sound like you need a minute. Take it. Breathe in and out slowly like a good little boy," Shiro requested in a high and merry tone. Izuku did as he was asked and (as best as he could manage) calmed down. "Good boy! I knew you could do it! You can do anything if you set your mind to it." The crime bosses' words of encouragement did nothing to soothe Izuku's nerves. "Now, down to business."
"Where is she?" Izuku demanded softly.
"Right next to me," Izuku's entire body froze. "Oh, yeah. I invited myself in, your mom made tea, and then served your favourite, Katsudon. I got a look at your baby pictures and by golly, you were so adorable back then especially in that little All Might onesie. Speaking of which, your old room. I heard it was an All Might shrine but seeing it in person, you were quite the fanboy last year, weren't you?"
Izuku was going to be sick. He could literally feel vomit starting to come up his throat as he violently fought to keep it down and under control. Something he was failing quite miserably at.
"S-S-S-Shiro, p-p-please," he stammered. "Whatever you're going to do."
"This has been such an interesting visit," Shiro swiftly cut him off. "Well, it would have been. If you know… I was actually here."
The silence was deafening. Izuku was almost certain he had heard him incorrectly.
"What?" he exclaimed.
"Oh, that. I'm not actually at your apartment," Shiro stated. "I never was. I only said that because I thought it would be funny. And boy, you did not disappoint. HahahahahahahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!"
Izuku could hear laughter on the other end of the phone. It started off small but got bigger, louder, and more hysteric.
"But, her phone number," Izuku said still not believing it.
"You have Cu Chulainn to thank for that. Apparently, some scammers in his country impersonated the local banks to get their customer's details and then rob them blind. I thought I could do something similar. All that aside, your mom isn't anywhere near me," Izuku exhaled in relief. "I thought it would be a good way to scare the shit out of you. Given your reaction, I'd say it was a success."
At that precise moment, two specific emotions surged intensely through Izuku (one stronger than the other two). The first was overwhelming relief over the knowledge that his mother was nowhere near Shiro and that she was safe (for now). And second, was sheer unrestrained unforgiving rage towards his former captor for initiating the act in the first place. It was so strong that it made Izuku temporarily forget his terror.
"Fuck you! You fucked up demented piece of shit dressed in a stupid tight-ass white suit!" Izuku seethed in low voice.
"Okay first, that hurts Izuku, it really does. You can insult me as much as you want but my outfits are off-limits. Shita made them specifically for me and by insulting them you're insulting him. Second of all, fuck me? No thanks. You're a bit young for me," Shiro replied nonchalantly.
"In that case, go fuck yourself! And if you can't do that, get Eros to do it for you!" Izuku snapped back.
"No can do I'm afraid. Doctor's orders," Shiro quipped. "And trust me, Iwatani's quite serious about it. Just ask Akuma."
So, Dr Iwatani was still alive. That was good to hear. From what he could remember, the Doctor was one of the longer residents of Hades who possessed a wealth of medical knowledge and a healing quirk that he hated. It was somewhat similar to Recovery Girl but more… intimate. Izuku respected him for his reasonableness and resourcefulness.
"Izuku I just want to talk," Shiro explained. "Is that so wrong?"
"Talk? Wrong?" Izuku repeated slowly as if making sure he had heard it correctly. "The last time we talked it involved you beating the living hell out of me in front of everyone in an All Might onesie before trying to kill which led to me putting a knife through your eye. And this is all after a month of making me a slave in your little hell hole. So, yeah. I'd say it's wrong."
"And I ripped it out afterwards," Shiro retorted. "And I now wear an eyepatch with pride as a symbol of my loss. We could go on about this for hours Izuku, but it wouldn't get us anywhere. What's done is done and can't be undone."
Izuku's face turned slightly pale. What he did was dangerous, and he'd done it out of desperation, but for Shiro to just tear it all out afterwards was even worse. He should have had one of the doctors do it instead.
And… to talk about something so casually was just.
"I actually rang to say sorry," Izuku blinked. "It appears you were right about Graphene, you and the rest of the kids."
Izuku suddenly felt lightheaded. He grabbed a bottle of water and gulped it all down within a minute.
He felt like he should know who that was but couldn't remember them. Pieces of his time in Hades had been coming back to him including the things he had done, places he's gone, and people he met. He remembered why Shiro was angry at him, but for some reason, he couldn't remember the other person involved. He knew he had killed that person, by accident yes, but still.
In all his dreams, Graphene had never once appeared or been mentioned. Maybe because they had barely known each other in Hades. He didn't know.
"Why bother investigating now?" Izuku asked confused.
"Recent events, which I don't want to get into, have forced me to evaluate the people I trust and work with," Shiro admitted. There was a bitter edge in the way he spoke. As if he truly regretted not doing this sooner. "That's why I'm apologising. Back then, you were right, and I was wrong. I'm sorry."
Izuku was surprised at how sincere Shiro sounded. The man wasn't above being humble, but it was rare for him to do so.
"For the record, that was just an apology, not a plea for forgiveness. If you want to hate me for the rest of your life you are well within your right to," Shiro clarified. "Especially with what's coming next."
And just like that, the conversation had returned to its tense atmosphere.
"You're coming after me, aren't you," Izuku said.
It wasn't a question, but a statement of fact.
"I will, just not right now," Shiro clarified much to the teen's confusion. "I'm going to be a little bit busy over the next few weeks, so I won't have time. A bunch of idiots are going to try to take a shot at Hades while I'm down. Gotta step up and defend the territory, and all that." Izuku wasn't all that surprised. Sensei had warned him before about this situation when a high-ranked villain was down. "Especially with a fuckbag like Atrocity making his move. Watch out for him by the way. The guy doesn't have a high opinion of people like you. And I can't have you dying before I get my hands on you now, can I? Of course, you could just surrender yourself willingly and save me the trouble."
Izuku raised an eyebrow. "You still want me after what I did?"
That was not something he had anticipated at all.
"Of course," Shiro assured. "Missing eye or not with your skillset you're worth a lot Izuku. If you weren't I'd just straight out kill you, but you do so."
Izuku didn't answer. At that moment, he started to heavily weigh his options.
If he did surrender himself, it's likely Hades wouldn't kill him and put him to work as they did before (although not before roughing him up a bit). There would be fewer casualties and could prevent his mother from becoming a target. However, it would involve him becoming a slave again (only this time voluntarily) which didn't sound very appealing. Especially since it would render everything, he did to escape all for nothing.
He could try running. Perhaps going underground or fleeing to another country. Razor taught him the skills to make it happen should it become necessary. The fact that Shiro was occupied right now made it easier. However, Shiro was not the only one after him. There was Atrocity's group, who Izuku didn't have any intel on. He didn't know where Tomura was either as there had been no reports since Kamino. There was also the fact that he was confined to UA. If he set foot out even once people would know.
Then there was fighting, which didn't really settle him. For starters, how was he supposed to? He was severely lacking in numbers and resources to pull off such as feat. Perhaps he was just being lazy since he only supplied information on their opponents' quirks and abilities, not coming up with a strategy, but still. Even when exhausted and beaten down, Hades was not to be underestimated.
Then there was Razor. He still had her number, well emergency number, but still. If BUTLER was as powerful as she described, then they could certainly help. Then again, they weren't the type to do things out of the goodness of their hearts so there was still no guarantee.
No matter what way he went about it, Izuku couldn't see himself (or anyone) coming out of it unscathed.
Putting things simply, he was screwed.
"I'd advise against running," Shiro said softly. "We both know I'd find you eventually. Kind of like how I found your mother."
"What?!" Izuku exclaimed.
Shiro sighed at the other end.
"Izuku, I knew all about her when you first entered Hades. Afterwards, it wasn't hard to find where she lived and is still living," he explained. "With limited hero protection, I might add."
Once more, Izuku was frozen in place. He understood what Shiro was saying and the implications. But there was more to it.
He knew there was.
"I could have gone after her anytime I wanted to," Shiro stated. "Be it when you were with me, or when you returned to AFO. I didn't. Not because I didn't want to or because it wasn't worth the effort, but just because it wasn't convenient. If I had taken her while you were with the League, I don't doubt AFO would ensure you wouldn't find out." He paused to let words sink in. "I could have sent anyone to collect her unless All Might was guarding her. Fortunately, he's out of the picture. And you know what that means, right? For villains and the entire country… it's open season."
Izuku remained silent. He hadn't noticed it until now but he was shaking, badly. His bad breathing had returned worse.
Running definitely wasn't an option. Even if he got out, Shiro would get to his mother first.
"Well, that's all from me," Shiro announced. "Gotta run and recover. I await your answer Izuku. And please, take your time. I'm sure you'll make the right choice. And hey, if you decide to fight me, I'll welcome your challenge with open arms. Until then, try not to die. Bye."
He hung up leaving Izuku alone in the dark.
He didn't move. He was too shocked to.
"Well," the apparition of Kai was leaning against the wall. "You're certainly fucked!"
Understatement of the decade.
At the same time outside the room
Kyoka had not intended to eavesdrop. She really hadn't. She only came up because Shinsou had made coffee (very much appreciated) for everyone and asked one of them to grab Midoriya. That was all she came to do.
Unfortunately, when you are born with a quirk that boosts your hearing you tend to overhear things you shouldn't. Unintentionally, of course.
So, when she could hear Midoriya conversing with none other than the leader of Hades well…needless to say she was shocked. Even more so when she discovered Shiro wanted Midoriya back. Based on what little she knew of their relationship Kyoka assumed the man would want him dead. Apparently not.
The other parts of the conversation were something to dwell on.
Should she get the teachers? She knew they were swamped with work, but she couldn't just let Midoriya leave. Nice guy or not he was still a villain confined to UA. Though letting him become a slave to the man who defeated All Might wasn't a much better option.
The door swung right open with Midoriya wearing a frustrated expression accompanied by a dishevelled appearance. Their eyes met causing them both to freeze up.
"How long have you been standing there?" he asked.
"Um," Kyoka started causing Izuku to groan loudly.
"You heard everything, didn't you?" he deadpanned.
"Well," she tried only to be swiftly cut off.
"Guess the cat's out of the bag," Izuku deadpanned as he started walking off.
Kyoka's eyes widened in disbelief as she hurried after him.
"Seriously?" she exclaimed. "That's it!"
"Yup," Izuku deadpanned. "That's it! Feel free to tell everyone downstairs. I'm gonna go take a shower."
"You're not going to escape?" Kyoka asked confused. "Or maybe contact the League for help?"
"You heard it yourself that's not an option," Izuku reminded her. "Also, I don't know where the League are or how to contact them since they probably changed their numbers after I was captured. Heck, I don't even know if they're alive."
He had tracked the news closely for any updates, but nothing came up. While he was confident that they could lay low and survive he couldn't rule out the possibility of their deaths either.
"So you're just going to do nothing?" Kyoka clarified.
"I'm not sure there's anything I can do," Izuku admitted. "I'll use what time I do have to come up with a plan of survival. Until then, I'll sit here while everything else goes to shit outside. And believe me, it will go." He paused. "On a completely unrelated note, why are you here Jirou? Did you have something you wanted to ask me?"
Kyoka briefly hesitated. "Shinsou made coffee for everyone. He sent me to get you."
Izuku stared at her for a few seconds before heading towards the elevator. The showers could wait. Right now, he was in dire need of some caffeine.
Twenty-five minutes later
"I should have made more coffee," Hitoshi lamented.
"Yes," Izuku agreed. "Yes, you should have."
After Kyoka announced it, Izuku gave a basic synopsis of what happened, though not before chunking down a large amount of coffee.
"Wow. You certainly are a magnet for trouble," Neito deadpanned. "And with little effort, I might add. What happens when you actually try?"
"Don't know. Never tried," Izuku deadpanned back. "For the most part I'm just lucky, or rather, unlucky."
Neito and Hitoshi both snorted while the others remained silent.
Momo was concerned about the threat to his mother, not just for him, but what it meant for the rest of them. If Shiro could target his family, then realistically he could do the same to theirs.
And thanks to the Sports Festival their names were public.
"Hey Midoriya, are you sure there's nothing you can do?" Dark Shadow asked. "Like nothing at all? You've fought some of the strongest here and managed to come out on top."
"I think you'll find that first-year students are much easier to deal with than A/S-Rank villains," Izuku pointed out. "SS-Rank in Shiro's case."
"Doesn't answer the question," Dark Shadow pointed back. "And didn't you beat those two from Hades by yourself?"
"Oh, for the love of it," Izuku groaned. "Dark Shadow, what you are asking for is essentially a miracle. If I wanted to free everyone, I'd need to be at the heart of Hades to turn off all the collars, which is nigh impossible thanks to security. And even if they were free there's no guarantee they would side with me since for many of them Hades has become their home for years. Additionally, breaking in would require a team of elites and resources which I don't have. It would also need to be timed perfectly." He paused. "Another thing, I didn't beat Shino and Blade, I fended them off…barely. If it weren't for Shinsou and Monoma and later the teachers, they would have won."
There was an uneasy silence among the students. When he put it that way, it did sound impossible (the results of the Raid making it worse). Even worse they had all fought members of Hades, so they knew how strong they were. The three from the mall recalled how easily they had been defeated by Atlas, while the other two considered their own fight. The only reason they managed to pull off a win was because of the element of surprise, not because they were strong or anything like that. Neito himself would admit that despite his training from Vlad Sensei, he had never fought villains before.
"Ever pessimistic, I see," Kai appeared behind the chair Izuku was sitting on. "And also, right."
Izuku didn't say anything. The illusion of Kai appearing when he was around people now. Well, wasn't that just perfect?
"We could always sell you out to them," Neito suggested. "Do a hostage trade and all that."
"Monoma!" Momo exclaimed in horror.
The other students appeared to share her sentiment. Kyoka appeared shocked while Hitoshi and Fumikage were disturbed by the idea. Even Dark Shadow was horrified as his mouth hung down open.
"Well now that's just cruel," Kai complained sardonically. "I like this one."
"No, no, that's quite pragmatic," Izuku replied nonchalantly. "But ultimately pointless. Shiro doesn't do trades unless it is on his terms. Still, it was a smart idea, Monoma. That devious thinking of yours will be useful in the future."
"Pity," Neito said flatly.
"Are you seriously okay with the idea of being turned over to that madman?" Kyoka asked incredulously.
Izuku shrugged. "Of course not. But even then, it's not like I wouldn't have it coming. You all seem to forget that I joined a villain organisation which involved studying heroes, creating and working on quirk drugs, working with a serial killer, being involved in the USJ and attacking a student, not to mention having worked alongside several villains in the past. I may have been pushed towards this life, but it was still my choice to go through with it. At the end of the day, I'm still a villain. The only reason I'm here instead of prison is because of Atrocity."
Izuku may have offered explanations for why he did what he did but that's all they were, explanations. No excuses. Though he did feel he was justified in what he did to Bakugou, he mostly kept that part to himself.
"Actually, you're just a criminal," Neito corrected. "Villain is defined by the government as someone who freely uses their quirk to commit crimes. Since you're quirkless you don't qualify." Izuku shot him a look. "What? Not trying to be racist or xenophobic here. It's just the way it's defined by the law."
"Well, that's just fucking perfect," Izuku lamented. "Quirkless people can't be heroes, and now we can't even be villains."
"That's not such a bad thing," Hitoshi intervened. "Believe me, villain is a much harsher label than criminal."
He wasn't wrong either. Once a person became a villain, they were treated a lot more harshly by the law, even if they were minors.
Kai patted Izuku on the shoulders.
"Don't worry Izuku, you'll always be a villain to me," the illusionary Kai reassured him. "Although, I guess this is undercut by the fact that I'm a figment of your imagination."
Izuku restrained himself from rolling his eyes lest he causes confusion. The last thing he needed was for people to catch onto his frail state of mind.
"I'm sorry but there's nothing I can do," Izuku admitted. "If you want my advice, I'd say got back to your families and get out of the country while you still have the chance. It's quiet now, but that'll soon change."
That was something much easier said than done.
For Neito and Momo, it wouldn't have been an issue. Kyoka and Fumikage were slightly more challenged because of the financial and legal processes involved. Hitoshi on the other hand was definitely stuck. He lived with his grandmother, and they only made enough to get by.
There was something particularly chilling about the suggestion. It was one thing to move away from an area because of a problem, but another to literally move out of the country.
Just how bad were things going to get?
Once again, Izuku was lying on his bed staring at the ceiling. His conversation with Shiro weighed on him heavily. Even though it was less than two hours ago for him it felt like a lifetime.
Kamino. The hospital. Now, this. How had everything gone so far to hell in such a short time?
"No point mulling over it Izuku," Kai declared. "Gotta work on that big plan of yours."
"There is no plan," Izuku said flatly. "I just made that up."
"Really? No survival plan like you told Jirou?" Kai asked quizzically. "Are you giving up?"
"Don't know," Izuku's tone remained flat.
The illusion silently stared at Izuku in contemplation for over a minute.
"What are you going to do then?" he asked.
Izuku let out a long loud groan. He sat up and glared furiously at the hallucination.
"What are you going to do? What are you going to do? What are you going to do? What are you going to do? What are you going to do?" he ranted. "Seriously! Why the fuck does everyone keep asking me that? What do you all expect me to do? Go in there snap my fingers and make everything okay again? I can't create miracles, Kai. The reason I have managed to stay alive as long as I have is pure dumb luck, and even that will run out eventually. Also, in case you forgot, I am sixteen. I'm not a leader or master tactician like Sensei was. I am a side character in this story, not the protagonist of some fucking Shonen manga or fan fiction. I am a quirkless boy with no power or authority with high-level villains after me and locked in prison I can't escape from. So what, just what, the fuck do you all think I can do?"
Izuku was panting heavily as Kai stared at him with an unreadable expression.
"You can try asking for help," Kai suggested softly causing Izuku's eyes to widen. "That's the one thing you haven't done so far." Izuku looked at him confused. As a result, Kai rolled his eyes. "You never pester anyone with your problems, you work yourself constantly to the point of exhaustion just to meet expectations, and you always think you have to do things by yourself. You'll always stick your business into someone else's and try to help them but never the opposite." Kai stared Izuku directly in the eye. "I'm only going to say this once Izuku so pay attention. You are a self-absorbed, overworked, masochistic idiot who is just as bad if not worse than All Might."
Izuku's jaw dropped, offended by the accusation. He was nothing like All Might. Although he did some of those things, but he had asked for help before…right? Yeah, he did when…
"Kurogiri coming to your rescue doesn't count," Kai stated firmly. "Neither does Razor training you nor agreeing to work with me against Tenome. Because your circumstances made them necessary. Whenever confronted with a problem though you never ask for help. Not even from those who are willing to give it, not even your own mother."
"That, that's because…" Kai immediately cut him off.
"Because you don't want to trouble anyone. Sorry to tell you this but you can't keep using that excuse," Kai chastised. "You'll end up dead otherwise, or worse, along with someone you actually care about."
Izuku looked like someone slapped him hard across the face. Kai looked away and walked up to the window.
"What do I want you to do? I'm a figment of your imagination brought on by the culmination of stress and trauma so what I want isn't fully relevant, but if I have to give you an answer, then I want you to do what's best for you. You're a very intelligent boy who's been sought out by the most powerful villains in Japan. You have allies here and out there willing to help you. Use them. If you want to fight, then fight. If you want to run, then run. If you don't want to do anything, then do nothing. Whatever you decide, don't do it alone."
Kai vanished after that. When he would manifest again Izuku didn't know nor care. That little speech however got him thinking. What he wanted to do, what he needed, how he would go about it, and who he would need to contact. All of which culminated in him saying this.
"Ugh, I hate my life."
"Just so we're clear, I am not promising anything," Izuku firmly stated. "But I do need to be sure of something before we can proceed." Everyone gazed at him attentively. "First, would please take out a phone and dial a number I specify and delete it afterwards. I'd do it myself, but I was instructed a long time ago never to with my own nor hold it. Don't ask me why."
He would need to call a lot of people who wouldn't normally be called. But if he wanted to succeed, he needed her first.
Kyoka dialled the number he requested. For a few seconds, there was silence while the phone buzzed. Then it stopped and a familiar voice came through.
"Who the fuck is this?" Razor demanded on the other end.
"Your pathetic excuse of a student," Izuku deadpanned but was smiling on the inside. "I need your help. I want to take down Hades and that bastard Shiro with it."
Hi there! Well, what did you think of that?
I intended to get this finished before Christmas but struggled with writing. There were meant to be other scenes with Razor but since the tone of them doesn't fit I decided to save them for the next chapter.
Huge thank you to everyone who has read, favourited, followed and reviewed this story. I hope to get it done at some point in the future along with my other stories so until then I won't be doing any new ones aside from one-shots and a few chapter pieces. One story I really want to do in the future though is Touya's World which is inspired by WandaVision. Agatha All Along and Kingdom Hearts 2: Roxas's Journey are others I'd like to try my hand at.
The recent season of MHA has been a major improvement to the last one. I am sad the manga is ending soon and am looking forward to the climax. Especially since the Dabi/Touya vs Endeavour/Enji is finally happening.
The next chapter will feature Izuku talking with Razor and a bit of what Razor has been up to.
Hope you enjoyed reading it!