“Wow, your quirk is so cool!”
If there was one thing Tomura didn’t ever expect to hear from another human being it was those string of words tied together so earnestly and said with such genuine awe and innocence, that for just a moment he could almost take it as a compliment.
“Isn’t that stealing though?”
And the moment was ruined.
Red eyes looked into green, the curly mop of hair the kid sported moving gently in the rare breeze that blew through the alley, stirring up loose bits of trash across the ground, with a few bits blowing through puddles of last night’s rain.
The kid wasn’t wrong per se, he was stealing. The glass of the vending machine he’d been perusing was just a pile of sand at his feet, allowing him free reign to grab at the quick meals and snacks inside without having to pay.
“Maybe.” His voice was raspy and dry sounding, it had been awhile since he’d actually spoken to anyone outside of the bar. Or anyone for that matter, keeping to himself in his room with his games and occasionally going downstairs to eat whatever Kurogiri had prepared for that day.
“You hungry?” The kid asked, eyes still bright with curiosity.
Tomura looked from the packaged snacks and meals in his hands to the pile of sand at his feet, and then lastly towards the kid, the amount of "No, really?" held in his impressive expression(even by a nine year old) just enough for the kid to flinch nervously, sputtering out an apology right after.
Good. The brat had reason to be scared of him.
"What do you want?" Tomura asked, starting to get somewhat annoyed at the kid's overall presence. He just wanted to back to the bar and lock himself in his room for the foreseeable future with his games, not talk to some brat.
And yeah, maybe he was of brat age too but that wasn't the point! And between the two of them the kid here was more of a brat than him by principle.
"Ah, well. I don't...um..." His words slid together in an uncomfortable mess of nervous energy too fast to follow with basic human hearing.
"Whatever kid." Tomura turned on his heel to leave, thoroughly annoyed by the kid now.
He stopped mid step, turning his head back to the kid, one red eye set in a hard glare that caused the other to flinch under his gaze.
He duly noted that this kid seemed to not have any type of self preservation.
"What?" He bit out, annoyance clear.
"Um...well...my mom's making katsudon tonight." The kid said, words trailing lamely from his mouth, curling in on himself as he seemed to actually consider how odd the words sounded coming from his mouth.
"So what? You offering or something?" Tomura asked, eyes narrowing in suspicion. As he had every right to be, no kid just comes up out of nowhere and offers someone dinner. Right?
Though his interest was piqued when the kid nodded.
And while some would say Tomura was being dumb following this kid he was old enough now he could take care of himself.
Sensei said so and Sensei was always right!
As long as he played it smart and didn't let anyone get the jump on him he'd be fine. Sensei trained him well enough by now that he had confidence in his abilities to at least get out alive out of whatever trouble he had gotten himself into.
He had only himself to rely on and couldn't trust others to help him out.
Back to the present...this kid was strange, what four year old invited a stranger to their home for dinner after talking with them for barely five minutes? And who still did that even when they had seen said stranger use their villainous quirk to steal prepackaged meals from the vending machine?
And if this was somehow a trap why was this kid talking to him so casually?
The kid was strange.
He was also weirdly smart.
Though he found it annoying how the kid seemed to ramble on and mutter about different quirks, the analysis of it all was detailed and thorough for a four year old, the nine year old taking mental notes on some of the points listed for later use; mentally making a reminder to let his Sensei know about the kid.
He might prove a useful NPC.
Not essential in the least of course, but he could build up to that point depending on the circumstances and the value of his usefulness.
Their walk led them to a simple apartment complex, the kid leading him up several flights of stairs. All of which he cursed to hell the higher up they went.
"What's your name anyways?" Tomura asked, only slightly out of breath, realizing he hadn't even gotten the name of the strangely, small child that barely looked as if he'd even broken a sweat.
The kid flushed, clearly embarrassed at having forgotten to introduce himself, "Midoriya Izuku!" He said a tad too loud, causing Tomura to wince. The kid was holding his hand out like he expected him to shake it.
Tomura ignored it.
He hadn't decided if this kid was worth keeping alive yet, better not tempt fate.
"What's your name?" Green eyes opened, alight with nervous energy and tinged with curiosity as the kid looked up at him after having asked his question.
Tomura kept the stare for a few seconds before looking away, "Shigaraki Tomura."
Midoriya brightened considerably at that, a small smile adorning his face as he seemed to bounce with a restless energy now.
Tomura soon realized it was because they had come to their destination, the kid opening the apartment door with a shout, "Mom! I'm home! I brought a friend!"
Tomura winced, the kid was so loud.
And since when were they friends?
Tomura didn't have friends.
A woman came from the kitchen, eyes pleasantly surprised as she took in her son and the strange boy with him. Though she quickly composed herself, a small smile settling on her round face.
"Hello dear! My name is Midoriya Inko, but call me Inko please!" She said politely, her smile never once wavering from the warmth it seemed to emit.
Tomura just nodded in response, his eyes taking in the woman with a critical, judging glare.
The same glare Kurogiri tensed at and yet this woman hadn't even flinched.
The woman was a spitting image of her son sans the freckles, a bit on the larger side but just as soft looking as any mother Tomura imagined would be like.
How his own mother might have been like.
Her smile was just as wide and bright as ever, leaving no doubt where the kid got his own smile from. Her dark green hair pulled back in a bun, a few loose strands coming loose to frame her face, clinging to her skin from sweat. Likely from whatever hot food was currently cooking back in the kitchen.
Wiping her hands with a kitchen towel she stuffed it in the pocket of her apron as she approached the two boys, her hands coming up to cup her son’s face, eyes tinged with worry and mouth set in a thin line as she looked him over.
Specifically over the bruise on his cheek and the shallow but bleeding cut on his lip, something Tomura hadn't really noticed until now. Just another detail that bled into the background, a trait picked up from how he was brought up and occasionally trained.
Wounds and bruises tended to become the normal when you were so used to receiving them yourself.
"I'm fine mom! Just fell in some bushes at the park!" Midoriya chirped, the lie coming easily enough that his mother took it as the truth.
Tomura knew better.
Though he kept silent as the woman-Inko, fussed over the small boy, sending him to the bathroom to wash up, leaving both her and Tomura alone together with the latter still standing somewhat stiffly in front of the apartment door, scratching uncomfortably at his neck as the nerves got to him.
Why was she staring?
"Would you like to wash up before eating sweetheart?"
The term of endearment threw Tomura off, her voice sounding so sweet and sincere that he could'nt help but actually believe she was talking to him. And as they were currently the only two in the room he had no choice but to believe it.
He was many things to people, a sweetheart wasn't one of them.
He nodded tersely, red eyes looking between shaggy, unkempt bits of hair that fell over the front of his face like wet seaweed.
She led him to the kitchen, where a pot of something simmered and bubbled a bit, the aroma mouthwatering. Reminding him that he hadn't really had a home cooked meal for as long as he could remember. And while Kurogiri had tried to cook him something on multiple occasions he hadn't felt in the mood to eat his prepared meals not even once. Opting instead to stay in his room and nibble on snacks and other packaged monstrosities as Kurogiri liked to call them.
Inko took a ladle from where it was resting on the counter, the utensils and actual counter separated by a napkin. She stirred the pot a bit, humming as she slid a foot against a step stool, the discolored scratches on the floor revealing its permanent fixture in the kitchen as she pushed it up against the sink. Her eyes looked to Tomura, a kind smile on her lips as she gave him permission with a nod towards the sink for him to use it.
With small steps he shuffled over, stepping up to the sink with a discontented huff of breath, only slightly frustrated that he actually needed to use the step stool to reach the entirety of the sink comfortably.
Using the soap and knobs for the sink was easy enough, a pinky up solving this sort of simple hurdle in his daily life. It was when he had to actually dry his hands that his face twisted up into a puzzled frown, unsure of how to go about this exactly.
It wasn't necessarily easy to dry hands when all fingers had to touch it at one point.
Kurogiri had gotten so tired of having to buy new towels they had just gotten one of those hand dryers for the bathroom instead.
"Are you okay dear? You've been staring at the towel for a minute there." Inko asked, a hint of concern in her gentle voice.
Tomura bit his chapped lips, pondering for a moment if he should reveal such a weakness to a random NPC.
Sensei had always said never to show weakness, especially to your enemies.
His red eyes met worried green, the woman having put away her ladle and turned off the stove to focus her full attention on Tomura, the concern in her eyes just as worried and attentive as when she had looked over Midoriya's scrapes and bruises.
And that...well that did something to his bitter little heart, already full of hatred with the memories of years prior when another woman had looked at him fearfully and with a look of disgust he'd only seen matched on his father's face time and time again from what he could remember of the man.
Which wasn't much or good if that particular memory was the only one he had clearly of the man.
But her concern was genuine, it had to be. She knew nothing of his quirk, didn't know what he'd done and there was no way the concern and genuine sincerity in her expression was faked.
"I..." The words wouldn't come, flashes of memories where those that had found out had either turned away and abandoned him or worst case had tried to get rid of him flashing through his mind, instincts telling him not to trust.
To get away before she did.
To hurt her before she hurt him.
Luckily he didn't have to answer, or give into the instinct to get rid of her immediately, the quiet pattering of feet coming into the kitchen.
"He can't hold the towel good mom, his quirk needs five fingers!" Midoriya chirped, surprising Tomura with his cheerful demeanor and knowledge of his quirk despite only seeing it in action once.
"Oh! Why didn't you say so sweetheart? Would it be alright if I help you then?" Inko asked, lifting the towel and only slightly hovering over his hands, waiting for-
She's waiting for him to answer her.
Still kind of struck by his earlier thoughts, Tomura could only nod kind of dumbly, something he'd berate himself for later when this was all said and done. But for now he focused on Inko gently running the towel around his fingers, being careful not to have all five touching the towel.
Nearly everyone that knew of him or his quirk didn't want to even be in the same room as him, his temper tantrums something of a legend in the bar as marked by the piles of dust and one less piece of furniture present when they got really bad.
Which was usually once a week.
Twice if he was particularly irritated.
And thrice if he was having a bad week.
But here this woman was, wiping down each finger until they were dry with no fear whatsoever, as if he wouldn't have been able to just place a finger down and ruin her life.
But she only gave him a small smile, sending him off to help Midoriya set the table with a gentle nudge out of the kitchen.
He was still in such a daze he hadn't realized they were at the table eating until he blinked and there it was, a bowl of food that tasted as if it had come straight from the gods with a little boy and his mom chatting amicably around him. The mom sending him concerned looks when Midoriya wasn't paying attention, to busy retelling the heroic tales of whatever hero fight was on the news today.
Tomura looked down back at his food, shoveling in another bite in his mouth if only to get her to stop staring.
But the small smile she gave him when they met gazes, eyes still as warm as the first time she looked at him when he came through the door, settled whatever unease he previously had for her staring beforehand.
She was concerned.
And that...that was new to him.
It wasn't like Kurogiri's concern, the man of mist only took care of him because Sensei asked it of him; that much Tomura knew.
But Inko had never met Sensei or Kurogiri, she was a complete stranger and yet she found it fit to take him in her home and feed him, even after knowing what his quirk was.
And despite him being a brat, her son was the same way, gushing about his quirk like he couldn't end lives with just a touch.
Like he hadn't ended lives with just a touch.
Despite the dark thoughts Tomura didn't let it ruin his appetite, finishing off the food just as Inko asked him if he wanted seconds.
If anyone asked, he only nodded as eagerly as he had because it was just that good.
No one had better ask.
By the time they had all finished their meal it was nearing dark, Tomura clicking his tongue in irritation at the lecture he'd definitely get from Kurogiri about his tardiness and lack of check ins.
The man could be insufferable when he got like that.
"You have someplace safe to go back to sweetheart?" Inko asked, eyes looking deep and worried for him.
If only she knew anyone who crossed him would have to be the ones to be worried about.
He nodded silently, leaving the apartment with a halfhearted wave and nothing more, mind going over the evening he just had.
Before he could really think it over properly he heard a door open and the small pattering of feet. He turned his head to look back, red peering into bright green.
"What do you want?" He rasped, scratching idly at his neck, more out of habit than an actual itch like usual.
"Will you come over tomorrow?" Midoriya asked nervously, messing with the hem of his shirt with a restless energy.
Tomura was tempted to say no, almost had until he saw the hopeful look in Midoriya's eyes, instantly remembering the genuine awe as he talked about his quirk(what he knew firsthand about it anyway) and how both him and Inko had invited him in their home with nothing but kind words and warmth.
He thought it over.
The smile he got in return was blinding.
He went to his room without another thought, remembering only warm looks, bright smiles, and a belly full of a home cooked meal made with care.
The emotions he felt as he thought about it were strange and foreign, puzzling him the more he focused on them.
He'd wait before telling Sensei about them for now.
He was old enough now he had to figure it out for himself first. And if it was truly something he couldn't come to terms with he'd go to Sensei about it.
Sensei did have all the answers after all.