As the weeks wore on, Izuku found himself gravitating towards the bar whenever he had to study. Some days he finished his work early and just sat and listened to the drama playing on the television that day, already finding himself invested in how Joanne would go about at her sister's wedding after having had an affair with said sister's husband.
The drama was tacky, cliche, and every episode hung on an expected and predictable cliffhanger that began the next episode only to cycle back through it all over again.
Izuku loved it.
Usually after putting his things away, if he had enough time he'd just listen, his bright eyes only slightly weighed down by the usual mental exhaustion he'd experience after his more mentally taxing sessions. With his chin resting in his hand he'd just stare at nothing in particular, the sights fading to the background as his attention focused solely on the audio from the television.
He was so far in his own bubble of space he didn't notice the person that had stood next to his table until they had waved a hand in front of his face, startling him so hard he knocked his knee into the table.
A low hiss of pain left his mouth, face scrunched into a grimace as he tried to soothe the newest spot of pain on his knee.
"Sorry! Didn't mean to scare ya." A feminine voice said, a light giggle tacked on the end of it.
Green eyes met gold, cat-like and bright even in the dim lighting of the bar. It was the woman he saw from the first time he set foot in the building. Through his weekly visits her and her companion had been a regular sight, the guy usually asleep in the most uncomfortable positions Izuku had ever seen, and the woman sipping on whatever drink she had ordered that day.
And now she sat across from him, hands intertwined under her chin, looking as dainty as ever.
Though her gaze held a certain dangerous glint just under the surface of gold that made up her eye color.
"Whatcha staring at?"
It took Izuku a moment to realize she was talking to him, a wonder in itself, and even longer to process what she was asking.
Once it did process he turned red in embarrassment, sputtering an incoherent mess of what might have been human language, wringing his hands nervously in his lap.
“Not, I don’t- um…nothing really, I just, I like, like listening to the tv.” He mumbled, eyes looking everywhere but at the woman across from him, her eyes piercing and making his skin crawl uncomfortably. Like if he turned his back she’d strike and get him down in one hit.
He knew that sort of feeling all too well.
Izuku froze, a cold chill traveling over his skin as his heart pounded, blood roaring in his ears as uncomfortable and painful memories rose to the surface. His throat felt dry as he finally responded to her inquiry. “Um, what?”
The woman pointed to the papers spread across the table, a few that indeed did have his name written, her head tilted in such a way to try and read them from upside down. “Your name, Deku right?”
Somehow hearing it a second time didn’t help matters, his hands shaking as he hastily put his things away, “No-not… not that.” He cursed himself internally for his stuttering, rushing out a hasty apology as he grabbed his bag and left the bar in a rush.
"What? What I'd do?" Toga complained, a look of utter innocence and confusion on her face.
Dabi cackled from where he lay sprawled across the leather seat of his usual booth, this time with most of his legs either out across the floor(a tripping hazard Kurogiri noted) and the other over the back of the seat, dipping into the next booth over. His voice sounded hollow and echoing, his head dangling off the side in a disturbing angle that Kurogiri was sure necks shouldn't be humanely able to bend at.
"Dumbass, you called him a dumbass to his face."
Kurogiri sighed, seeing the worried look on Toga's face as genuine.
Therapy really did help them in the long run.
Dabi cackled again at the look on her face, falling off the chair with a loud thud and a muffled "ow" from under the table.
Some of them.
Therapy helped some of them.
"Deku can mean blockhead, or useless Toga-" Kurogiri started.
"Or dumb of ass!" Dabi piped up from the floor, seemingly content to make the floor his place of rest and relaxation as it were.
Kurogiri sighed painfully, "What Dabi also said...more or less." He confirmed, "Deku might have been one of the ways to read his name, I don't see any self respecting parent with love for their child purposely naming their child Deku of all things."
"Well why'd he leave like that then? Why didn't he say anything?" Toga exclaimed, voice pitching into the whining category.
"Please, dude looks like a moth could scare him off, doesn't look like the type to speak up and correct someone. Doesn't seem like he has many friends either." Dabi piped up, face still mushed against the hardwood floor.
"These floors are clean as fuck." He whispered softly, wiping the pads of his fingers against the floor as if to confirm that they truly had not even a speck of dirt on them.
Kurogiri tried not to show how he puffed up at the praise in a proud manner.
"Besides," Dabi continued, "Dude is always here most of the week and on weekends too, I doubt he has any friends, the opposite really. You probably triggered a panic attack or some shit."
"I-" Kurogiri looked over at Toga, nearly dropping his glass in surprise at the unshed tears building up in her eyes.
"I didn't mean too!" Her voice was watery, two seconds away from becoming a watery, blubbering mess.
"Chill leech, he probably knows that already. The next time he comes in you can just apologize and start over or some shit. Just don’t be a creep about it like you used to be, capiche?." Though it was said with an air of nonchalance, Dabi's bright blue eyes were glancing worriedly at the blonde, looking as if he was hoping his words sufficed enough for her to not start bawling out of nowhere.
It took ages to calm her down when she got worked up.
Much to the two men's relief she stopped her bout of tears before they could really begin, sniffling softly as she used a sweater sleeve to dry her eyes as she nodded at Dabi's words.
"Why don't you gather up the papers he left and keep them safe until his return? I'm sure he'd appreciate it." Kurogiri suggested.
Toga nodded, turning to gather up the few papers the green haired man had left behind in his haste to leave the bar, a few ideas on her apology already forming in her mind.
Izuku stood in front of the door to his mother's apartment, shifting his weight nervously from one foot to the other as he debated whether or not he should have even come here.
He should have and he did because he knows he should have.
They talked about this. His therapist talked with him about this. Him and his mother talked too.
Hell, he even went to Rei-san about this and she had absolutely no reason or obligation to invest her time into him at all. (He was grateful for her nonetheless.)
There was no reason he couldn’t go to his mom about this.
He was not a burden on her.
She told him herself she’d rather he talk to her about things than deal with it alone. Because then at least he was somewhere she could keep an eye on him and know where he was than to wonder and worry if he was doing alright somewhere else.
Before he had a chance to even decide to knock the door opened, the visage of his mother coming into view as she looked at him, the wide smile she had for him turning to a slight frown when she looked upon his disheveled state.
“Izuku are you alright? Our dinner’s not until tomorrow.” She asked worriedly.
Her green eyes took in how he seemed to open and close his mouth, no words finding him, and the fact that his hands were shaking quite visibly she was able to piece together some of what happened.
With a gentle hand Inko guided Izuku inside, leading him to the couch to sit while she went to the kitchen and puttered about, likely for a glass of water and whatever leftovers were in the kitchen.
Izuku predictably, stayed put, trying to calm the shakiness of his hands and get his breathing down to a normal, human level that wasn’t so uneven and difficult to keep a rhythm to. But that in itself was hard to achieve. The panic attack he’d been holding off at bay coming through full force.
Better at home safe with mom than on the train surrounded by strangers.
He barely registered when soft hands cupped his face, thumbs wiping away his tears in an easy, gently practiced motion all too familiar from his various trysts and incidents during his childhood. Soft words guided him through his breathing, helping to steady it and in turn slow the flow of tears and the shakes that still wracked him.
By the time the attack had subsided he was exhausted, both mentally and physically. He let his mother guide him to his room, voicing no protest when she tucked him into bed, the covers she pulled up over him smelling freshly washed and still warm from the dryer.
He was out before his head had even hit the pillow.