In the Shadow @my.hero.xiii
Chapter 30

Watch Me.


Two simple words came out of my mouth that day facing the crowd of nervous people and hawking reporters, all asking me what I'd do as the Number One Hero. A message also to my family, my sons and my daughter… and my wife. As easy as it was to just overlook the failure of fatherhood I was, with terrible excuses coming out of a man that scared his own family into submission, this was the purest form of truth I could give them all. I clenched the mic, my eyes set forward, my flames burning through my new suit.

I couldn't believe I saw my family as tools, but I glared at the cameras gawking at me and breathing everything in.

"Watch me," I growled.

The entire building cheered but…

"Boooorrrrrinnnnnngggg! Who wants to hear all this lame samey stuff? Maybe bring up Stain?" A youthful voice sighed, I didn't even have to look to know who it was. It was that young winged hero named Hawks… he reminds me of my children when they get snarky.

"Look, we all know what happened in Kamino, All Might's gone and Mr. Flaming Shoulderpads here isn't well liked, but hey… something is better than nothing, am I right?" he asked. There were mutterings in the crowd before he continued.

"Besides! Everything else from Ryukyu and all these other heroes was nothing but canned crap! At least our flaming new symbol kept it brief!"

'Tch! This asshole is making light of the situation…' I thought, 'I should have a talk with him…' He continued on and the ceremony came to a close. I remembered something I should've written down for what Fuyumi likes, something about… books I think? Then I saw that non-stick frying pan that I thought would be just perfect for Koyurei and Shoto's next birthday… for Koyurei of course. Shoto has always been closed off. The bird boy interrupted my thinking.

"Hey there, Endeavor! How's it feel to be- Whoa! Whoa! Easy!" I had grabbed him by the shirt and lifted him, flames intensifying.

"What the hell were you thinking, boy?!" I boomed.

"Hey… I just wanted to make an impact! Can't fault me for trying… All that same old same old, but you nailed it with that brief speech!"

"Come on, Enji! Say the line!"

"Uh… uhm…. Uhhh… Uhhhhh…"

"How could he forget the wedding vows?"

"Tch, you know nothing," I snarled, putting him back down and scaling back my heat, "So. You wanted to speak with me."

"Yeah. Seems like your youngest is really a pretty good monster beacon! Not only that but the big guys have their eyes on him!" He exclaimed. I huffed and tried to stay calm. Hawks floated a little.

I just stayed mostly to myself. But something about that comment about the Commission being interested in one of my sons made me pause for a bit. Of course I well knew the shady dealings of the Commission.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, let's go talk somewhere else, okay? I've got some things about our friends that ya might wanna hear about," he said, leading me out of the area and into the streets. Many people saw us walking together.

Seems like there were a lot of them here, a lot of fans. Some of them fanned out away from me as more seemed to squawk and gather towards Hawks. It was almost like I was sick.

"Whoa! Look, it's Hawks!" one of them shouted, "Can we get a picture?"

"Alright! Say cheese!" he exclaimed, posing with them and when the flash was done the rest of the crowd poured in like a gushing wave. While mine… I forced a smile on my face, muscles straining as I tried to use the charisma my predecessor had.

"Hey! I'm doing that kind of thing, too! Come on over!" I yelled.

"Whaaa…"

"Scary…"

"Endeavor never does fanservice…"

'Ow… harsh…' I thought, looking away. Then a young kid, shaky, unsure, holding his mother's hand as he looked at me star struck. There was something wrong with his quirk, instead of feet he had wheels.

"Mom! Didja hear what Endeavor said?" He said "He was gonna do the things that wing guy was gonna do! Lemme go ask him to sign my poster, pleaaaasssee?"

The boy's mother sighed, "As long as you hurry straight back, okay?"

"Okay!"

The boy got on all fours and wheeled over, steadily standing as he looked up at me, "Mr…. E-Endeavor, sir C-can you sign… uh, my poster?" he asked.

"Sure," I said, feeling an actual smile stretch across my face, the boy's eagerness reminded me of…

"Dad! Teach me the Prominence Burn! I'm ready!"

And…

"D-Daddy! I swear I wasn't… I wasn't ignited! M-Mommy hates that! I just… wanted to… feel like you,"

Touya and Koyurei both were rather eager. But… My mother had taken Koyurei's fire training under her jurisdiction. I looked down at the poster, Face it, you're not worthy. You didn't even try! Five kids, and one of them is suicidally after pleasing you. I just quickly signed the poster, and seeing that boy smile made my heart feel a little lighter.

I watched the boy wheel away, "Mom! He was so cool!" He whirled around, "Thanks, Mr. Endeavor!"

As they wheeled off, Hawks came back over.

"Oh wooooowwww… first time doing any fanservice, and to a kid no less! You really warmed up, Mr. I-Only-Do-My-Job!" he exclaimed.

"Tch! I only did it because the kid asked me to! I'm not exactly approachable, you know!" I growled.

"Okay, okay, whoa there! Look, I was thinking of a Hot Pot place down that way but… Yakitori sounds WAY better," he said. I followed him to the Umai building, mostly thinking about what had gone before me.

How much of a challenge it would be to make the public trust me. No one could ever fill his shoes completely. But…

"Hey… Heeeeeyyyyy… Mr. Flamey Flamey Mans?" Hawks asked.

"What is it?" I said.

"Well, I was gonna tell ya about the Nomu… and the whole resurgence of the Destro Manifesto, and then… what the Commission wants to do for Koyurei-kun," he listed.

"Start wherever you want," I stated.

"Okay, so… the whole manifesto thing has always been in print, I guess that's why your parents suddenly retired, buuuttt that's always the tin foil hat theory, it always goes back into print when things get bad, that brings me to the Nomu," Hawks rambled a little, bringing my parents into it was a low blow.

"You faced those mooks in Hosu, but when Kamino happened, well… they found a whole warehouse of them, who's to say that there's more? That's the rumor I'm chasing, but… as the number one, I need your help to assuage the rumors and tell the people there's nothing to worry about, besides, as your brave winged producer that wants time for heroes to have free time like you do to have FIVE ENTIRE KIDS, then… were square,"

"Tch, HEY! BRING US THE CHECK!' I roared, but then… a shadow fell over the room. Hawks called for the server to get back as a massive Nomu crashed into the side of the building. A fleshy hood obscured its face as its red eyes glew golden, hanging onto the side of the building.

Pitch black skin was what it was covered in as it glowered at us. "Which… Which of you is… the strongest?" it haltingly asked.

"Hawks! Get everyone out of here!" I thundered, "I wanted to know more about these monsters and here's one! Today's my lucky day!" The monster turned its attention to me.

"You… flaming… one… strongest here, yes?"

That's right! Now… JET BURN! My flames blasted the monster right out of the building, shattering the window as I blasted out after it. Using a technique my mother taught me, just to stay aloft, I glowered at the Nomu as it regenerated.

"Come on… I'll show you who's truly the strongest here!" I challenged, flying above the ground.

"Hey, Endeavor, I didn't know you could fly!" Hawks yelled at me.

"I'm just not falling! Now stay alert! This thing is still moving!" I warned, seeing it bend back, most of its chest was burnt away, its arm too. Of course I had to keep my distance.

"Ha… how could you think… you could beat me… with such… puny flames, did you… HERO!" the thing asked.

'It's like that other Nomu… it could regenerate… but the gray ones couldn't…' I thought, 'Hm… almost like that Nomu Koyurei fought… was it a prototype of this one?'

'No, it's not just that… it can talk!'

"Show me… Strength!" it snarled, its mouth coming out and I smirked.

"In that case, I'll bring it in alive for interrogation! FLASHFIRE FIST… HELL SPIDER!" I spread my fist as columns of flames shot right at the monster, It weaved right through and its meaty paw slammed into me, pain shot through my body as it slammed me harshly against a window. The agony was nothing compared to my resolve.

But this thing… was faster and stronger! I willed my flames to burst out and burn away its arm but more tendrils shot around me. It's on the attack again I thought, it sent the tendrils crushing into me and it plunged me through the building, cleaving it in half and sending debris everywhere. I burned through it and a couple of support beams before my flames caught me again. Blood sped down from my head as I glared at the monster with a rage I never felt more strongly.

'It overpowered my reverse thrust…' I thought, How is this thing faster and stronger than me!' I gritted my teeth, 'First All Might, now this… monster!' I spread my fingers, seeing Hawks saving the civilians in the damaged section, shooting a beam of Hell Spider at the monster's neck, making it regenerate once more.

"Issat all ya got, tough guy!" Hawks yelled.

"OF COURSE NOT!" I thundered, "TIME TO SLICE AND BURN… HELL SPIDER!" I brought the strands in on the top half of the building and it broke to shards, Hawks tried to keep the damage to a minimum but ran out of feathers.

"Whoa! Look, you might not spend all that time in the kitchen but your food has to be uniform!" Hawks quipped, I found that to be in poor taste.

"Just shut it and get your feathered ass back in the air!" I snarled.

"Love to, but my feathers are gone! It makes it really hard to fly!" Hawks snapped back.

"Then deal with it!" I roared. The Nomu roared at Hawks.

"BIRD! YOU RAN AWAY!" It shot out more of them! These ones were gray however, crawling around grotesquely. 'It stored them inside its body?' I thought. Two other heroes on the ground were trying to cover us but had to deal with the Nomu, leaving me alone with this monster. "You… Flaming one… Strongest here, yes?" 'It's not after someone who's weak… but… I'm overheating… and this Nomu is thinking!'

"The… heat rays... Stopped… does… does that mean you're… out of power?" it asked.

'It's even perceptive! Flashfire Fist concentrates my heat into a super hot blow, at this rate I'll cook alive! It's always been an issue…' I thought. Rei was showing up in my thoughts with short hair. 'It's what drove me…' I thought, her broken gray eyes staring back at me, remembering my other children next. Remembering the news that Touya burned to death, 'What drove me to…' Koyurei and Shoto showed up next, one of them covered in so many bandages.

'TO MAKING ALL OF YOU!' I thundered at the memories, 'I WILL BURN THE PAST AWAY! AND MAKE A NEW BEGINNING FOR YOU ALL! That is all I owe you…'

My heat rose, flames burst from me in a loud, furious ball of fire. An all consuming inferno The Nomu seemed to enjoy it.

"LET ME TEST MY STRENGTH AGAINST YOU!" It roared, extending its arms and flying right for me. I amped up the heat.

"I WILL BURN YOU IN HELLFIRE SO HOT THAT YOUR REGENERATION CANNOT POSSIBLY KEEP UP! PROMINENCE… BURN!" A heavy stream of flame shot out at the Nomu, bathing it in flames, blasting it but I wanted to destroy it utterly, I wanted to erase it, remembering how much Koyurei loved to sit with me when he was little. Remembering how much Touya tried to fulfill my old dream. Remembering…

Enji… Mama and I… well son… Just be stronger than me, okay Be stronger than me.

The basis of it all. To be stronger than my meek father, to be stronger than him, then it turned to All Might. I wanted to be stronger than my parents, but… knowing what I did to Rei… 'I cannot show weakness! I WILL NOT ALLOW IT IN MYSELF ANYMORE!' I thought back to my two word speech to the masses, to my family, wherever they are…Watch me.

The flames burned the sky orange for just a moment, a flicker flash of little me holding my mother's hand and watching a volcano erupt. Just a tiny memory of something similar. Then… dread filled my heart.

"Not… ENOUGH."

Suddenly, the Nomu had regenerated again, 'It threw its head out of range!' I thought before…

Agony. Pure agony caused my eye to go dark, blood shooting everywhere as I plummeted from the sky. I landed harshly, skidding back as the Nomu landed, still trying to fight, it slammed me into a building, shattering more as I tried to rebound. My body screamed at me, told me to rest, but… something in me told me not to… something… Screams echoed from the distance as I heard something about humans.


"DAAAAAAADDD! KEEP FIGHTING! COME ON!" I screamed at the TV, "Dad! I just got you back! You can't lose!" Tears burned from my eyes as I fell to my knees, sobbing, "D-Dad… I… I can't…"

"There's no symbol!" The newscaster cried in devastation, and that's when I fell to the floor, sobbing my eyes out, Momo and Shoto both were on either side of me, trying to calm me down.

"You gotta be kidding…" Shoto muttered.

"Koyurei… Koyurei, hey… it's okay." Momo assured, still sounding nervous, but I knew better.

"How can you say it's okay when Shoto and I's dad is almost dead! We just got him back and now he's out about to die! Where the fuck did Hawks go? No one's with him! He's alone now! I swear, I'll go out there and kill that fucker myself! THAT MONSTER IS AS GOOD AS-" I bellowed before...

"What are you saying! You think scaring people is good TV! Look! Look over there!" The camera panned over to the distance as the pink-haired guy continued, "Endeavor's flames are still burning! That means he's fighting for us! Stop saying that stuff just cause All Might isn't here!"

"Those flames mean he's still alive and fighting for us!"

I looked at the screen, seeing the flames. "Ahhhh! Ahahahaha! DAD! KICK HIS ASSS! YEAHHHHHH! DO IT! BURN HIS FACE OFF!" I screamed. The others all flinched at the incoming heatwave from my hair.

"Oops! Sorry…" I giggled.


I flew towards the Nomu, its tendril stabbing into me, the pain keeping me awake. I'm grateful for it… I always was… for it gave me a drive to reach beyond being a rich kid living with a mother who was a bodybuilder and a father who is an actor… I wanted to be stronger than EVERYONE! Darting, dodging the two of us in a deadly race for life. I needed to. No matter what.

'I have to catch up! Burn hotter! Burn stronger! OVERCOME THIS IMPOSSIBLE CHALLENGE!' I felt some of Hawks' feathers help speed me up, blasting right for the maw of the beast. It clamped down as my flames were burning its insides, roaring and snarling. It was flying me straight towards a crowd of buildings, but my flames extended into wings as Hawks' voice crackled through the comms.

"I'm sorry! But it's all you now! It burned all my feathers up!"

I looked down at the monster as we flew upward. "Nomu… you're a bio-engineered freak obsessed with strength! Always questing after something… abstract! You are me… from another future… or my past…"

Past the buildings, nearly ast the sky… Higher, higher! Ever higher!

I looked down at it and closed my eyes. "Burn up… and be put to rest…" I sighed.

"GUWAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" I howled, my flames consuming the Nomu, consuming my horrible ast and leaving the recent memories I made with my sons, leaving a new road burned in its wake… 'I always hated this school motto…' I thought.

"PLUS ULTRA… PROMINENCE BURRRRRRRRRRNNNNNNNNNNNN!" I let it go, let it burn away, let it all just become kindling for this brave unknown world. A world my sons and daughter would inherit. I fell. The wind howled as I burned away the last of the painful memories. They were still there, still there. But I could make something better from the ashes. So many things I didn't know about my family…

Fuyumi and Koyurei's passion for cooking, Shoto loving cold soba, Natsuo even being in college never crossed my mind. Even my mother, for all her faults, raised Koyurei to be kind and passionate, to inherit my father's soul. Something Rei and I couldn't do for him. Or for any of them… was to give them the lives they deserved. And it was both our faults. The burnt shell of the Nomu burst on impact as the flames burned around me.

In my mind… I imagined that time my father and I were at the beach, and we were laying on the sand after I got swept out to sea by a riptide. My father had saved me and revived me… and now he stood over me, hand out for me to take.

"Come on, son, it wasn't so bad! Yeah, it was scary, and yeah, you could've gone bye-bye, but…"

"You always stand up."

One foot, another, bearing my weight, agony coursing through my body, every movement of my overheated body felt like lead. But… one more thing.

My left fist raised high above my hanging head. High into the sky… my start.


Endeavor is standing! He's standing!

Shoto knelt as I grabbed onto him, shaking him, "He won! He won!" I cried, over and over. I grabbed Momo and hugged her, got up and hugged Sero and Kirishima. I ran over to Mineta and hugged him too.

Everyone got hugs, except for Mr. Aizawa. I just sat back down and slowly let a smile spread on my face…

Dad was finally, finally, back. Momo looked at me in shock.

"Koyurei… you're smiling," she said.

"Yeah. I know… I'm just… so happy… my Dad made it out…" I felt a sob coming back, I knew… I knew after all this time… Dad was still there… I smiled because for the first time in my life I knew…

I could start again with him.

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