Fuyumi was saying goodbye to her fellow teachers when she saw her dad waiting for her in the parking lot.
Many things had changed in the last few years.
Enji bought them a new house, their mother had been discharged from the hospital, she could spend more time with her brothers, her parents had gotten divorced, and even though Rei didn’t feel comfortable being around her ex-husband, things were going okay.
It might not be the happy ending she wanted, but this was more than fine. She had learnt there were some things you just cannot force. And one of them was the time they spend with their father.
Out of the three, she was the one who spends the most time with him. Shouto does too, but it’s because of work, so he doesn't count. And Natsuo, well, it’ll take them a long time to finally bury the hatchet.
She couldn’t hang around her father as much as she did in the past, so she cherishes moments like when he’d go pick her up to go and have dinner somewhere.
They were on their way home, listening to the radio. The patrol report was already over, and her dad always lets her listen to her programme afterwards.
When her father got off to refuel the car, she searched for her favourite station and waited for the rumour mill to end before her live music programme began. She wasn't someone who enjoyed listening to the showbiz segment, so she didn't pay much attention to it, or at least not until she heard something she wasn’t expecting.
"... All his fans are sure to be devastated, but it seems that our ice prince is spoken for~
Are you sure? Do you have proofs or something?
My sixth sense has never been wrong~ If I tell you that hero Shouto is dating, it's because he is..."
She changed the station quickly when she saw her father opening the door.
“Do you know if Shouto's dating someone?”
She could see her father was trying to seem calm, but the fact that he almost dropped the keys of the car was proof enough that he was not expecting that question.
“I don't know," he said, taking a deep breath, "and if he was, that’d be okay. I don’t mind as long as it’s not a distraction.”
They didn't talk about it anymore, and in less than twenty minutes she was at the front door, saying goodbye to her father, agreeing on meeting next week.
As she made her way inside, she found Natsuo cleaning the table while her mother put the leftovers in the fridge. Shouto was on duty, but he should be here soon. She put her things away quickly, and approached her brother to help him clean up.
“I heard something really interesting on my way back today,” Rei turned to look at her, and Natsuo hummed to let her know he was listening, “There's this really popular rumor show on the radio, and well, according to them, Shouto is seeing someone.”
“'Yumi, shows like that are only trying to hurt people with their lies,” Natsuo claimed.
“Yes, but Natsuo, the host’s quirk is just that, discovering rumours.”
“I'm telling you it's a lie. It’d be awesome if Shouto was dating someone, but we would have noticed by now, don’t cha think? He's not as subtle as he thinks he is," said the white-haired man as he dried the glasses and put them on the shelf.
“I'm telling you, it could—“
Both heard the jingle of keys at the front door. Their youngest brother soon appeared under the threshold, with a questioning look in his eyes as the two oldest stared at him without saying anything.
“How was your day, honey? Are you hungry?” asked Rei, and it was then that the two older siblings realised that their mother had not uttered a word since they had started gossiping.
“Oh, no thanks, Mom. I went out before coming here.”
“Did you go by yourseEELF?!” Fuyumi asked, exclaiming as she felt her brother pinching her side.
“What she means is if you went out with your friends, you know, it’s been a while since you went out with them," Natsuo said trying to save his sister's misstep.
“Yeah, something like that. I’ll go change.”
He stepped out of the kitchen followed by his mother, but not before giving his siblings a weird look.
Fuyumi lifted her gaze to look at the tallest one once the other two were gone.
“Told you so.”
“He said he went out with his friends. That doesn't prove anything.”
“He could be lying!”
“And he could be telling the truth. We’ll just make him feel uncomfortable if we start interrogating him. Just drop it, 'Yumi.”
They didn't talk about it anymore, but that doesn't mean they had gotten over it. And this was true for all family members.
Endeavor had lost count of how many reporters asking if the rumours were true he had already kicked out of his agency. He had promised he would stop meddling in his youngest son's life, unless his son allowed him to be involved. And if his son hadn't said anything, well, people were crazy if they expected he’d do so instead.
Fuyumi paid more attention to him than ever. She tried to question him in subtly, but she couldn't get much information. Actually, perhaps the most drastic change she had seen in her brother was the sudden interest he had for curry, and any of her spicy food recipes.
Rei couldn’t say she saw anything different about her youngest son, for Shouto had always been very open with her. His smiles were more frequent, but they weren’t a rare sight for her. Even when she was still in the hospital, he’d always smile when he’d tell her about his classmates’ latest mischief. What she could say though, was that her son's smiles were brighter now.
The most sceptic of all had been Natsuo, and so life was taking care of making him see things differently.
Natsuo had caught him smiling as he looked at his phone more than any other member of the family. And while it was true that his little brother could’ve been watching cat videos, that did not explain the small laughs, the sighs he tried to hide, much less the almost imperceptible pink colour of the tips of his ears.
He wanted to ignore it at first, but it was impossible for him to turn a blind eye when he saw a hickey under Shouto’s turtleneck which he had lowered to scratch it, thinking that no one was paying attention to him.
But the most obvious of all proofs came in the form of Shouto trying to sneak into the house in the middle of the night as he was leaving for his shift at the hospital.
He greeted him as usual, noting how dishevelled he looked: his hair was a mess, not to mention how wrinkled his clothes looked.
“Ah, you could say that," Shouto replied as he limped discreetly toward the stairs.
“Are you all right? If you are in pain, I can check you before I go to the hospital.”
His brother froze as soon as he had climbed the first step, turning to look at the older man, sporting a bright red blush on his face.
“N-no, Natsu. That won’t be necessary.”
“If you’re sure, but have that leg checked at the agency infirmary if you are still limping in a couple of hours.”
“I- I will.”
Natsuo left the house, and got into his car. He buckled up his seat belt, turned on his radio, and got going.
It wasn't until a red light made him stop that he dropped his head on his horn making it beep incessantly, that he realized what he had just witnessed.
“Damn it, damn it, DAMN IT!”
“You were right, 'Yumi. Shouto is dating someone...”
“What made you change your mind?” asked his sister as she shook him by the shoulders, “What happened? Tell me!”
“Ha! I don't even want to think about it.”
“Oh, come on, Natsu!” asked the older one, but her brother wouldn't budge. “Ah, I wish I knew who it is. I bet it's someone cute," she said with her hands clasped and her eyes bright.
“Pst. Cute. Yeah, right.”
“What do you mean by that?” she asked, turning to look at the tallest one.
“Shouto is not dating anyone cute," he said, emphasizing the offending word with his fingers, remembering things his poor eyes would rather not have seen.
“What do you know, Natsu? I know him better than you," she said, sticking out her tongue and crossing her arms.
“Oh yeah? I know my brother well enough to know I am right.”
“Wanna bet?” said the girl, grinning wickedly.
And that's how it all started.
They had agreed to write down the name of the person they thought was their little brother's lover, put the papers in a sealed bag so that neither could change their prediction, and that when Shouto told them, whoever lost would have to pay the other ¥5,000.
Initially it was going to be just the two of them, but in one of Natsuo's rare moments of weakness, when he pondered out loud "whose name do you think the old man would write down?," the bet became a family affair.
So the next time Fuyumi went out with her father, she asked him if he wanted to join their little game.
At first Enji didn't want to, but as soon as Fuyumi told him that it was Natsuo's idea to include him (not exactly how it had happened, but her father didn't need to know the details), he was in. If the son he was still having trouble with was involving him in family activities, he wasn't going to say no. Even if it was at the expense of his youngest.
“I'm sure it's Creati. I've seen them work together, and they have very good synergy. She's an excellent hero, not to mention pretty, and from a good family, too. It's definitely her.”
“Oh, Dad, you were supposed to write her name, not to tell me!”
“It's all right. You write it down and put it in with the others. I'm going to win, regardless.”
So that Saturday afternoon, when Natsuo didn't have a shift (and Shouto had told them he'd be back late), the two siblings found themselves cutting out papers of different colours and writing the name of their chosen one.
Natsuo had written on a grey paper, and Fuyumi was writing on a red one.
“Didn't you put yours in already?" said Natsuo, pointing at the pink paper inside the bag, and reading what she had written down on the red one, “Creati? Are you serious?”
“It's dad's bet," explained the eldest, folding the paper and tucking it in with the others.
“That old man... He's so obsessed with his ideas that he doesn't realise that the last thing Shouto is interested in, is a nice chest", he said, laughing, knowing that at least someone had already lost.
“Mmm, I wouldn't rule that out just yet," they heard their mother say, and she peeked in to see what her two elders were up to.
She was well aware of their plans, so she took a baby blue paper, wrote on it quickly, and folded it put it with the others.
It had been agreed that the perfect place to hide it would be behind the set of knives that Shouto was strictly forbidden to touch after his last attempt at cooking without supervision.
Natsuo took the bag, and heated a metal rod to seal it in the same way he would cauterize a wound in the hospital.
He turned to see his mother and sister once he had hidden it, and smiled.
May the best one win.
Part of the rules was that they could not intervene in any way to find out who Shouto was going out with, but Fuyumi was of the idea that if she played her cards right, not only would no one notice, but she’d come out victorious too.
“How does it feel to be officially a side-kick?” She asked her little brother while drinking tea in the clinic's waiting room. They had taken their mother to her weekly session with the psychologist, and waited patiently for her appointment to end. Shouto didn't have to patrol that day, but had to be alert in case of an emergency.
Fuyumi gave him an unimpressed look, letting him know his response wasn’t enough.
“You have way more responsibilities, but you also have a lot more independence than you do as a student.”
“I imagined that’d be the case," she nodded, "that's how I felt when I stopped being an assistant and got my own class.”
“Yes, but you have a lot of patience for this... Besides, all the people there think I went up the ranks so quickly just because I'm Endeavor's son... They're not bad, but I have a hard time working with them sometimes.”
“Working with others was never your forte,” commented his sister with a little smile, “Your friends at UA did you a lot of good. Maybe you need to see them?” she suggested. “Why don’t you invite them to come over! I'm sure you'll find a day when everyone’s available. I'll cook! I'll even prepare Midoriya's favourite.
“Great! Just tell me when.”
And so, two weeks later, Fuyumi was preparing a big dinner for her brother's four guests. Other than Midoriya, Shouto had invited two friends whom she hadn't met in person, but whom her brother talked about quite a lot. Iida (who was extremely polite), and Uraraka (whose pupils would dilate the more she saw around the house). Shouto was giving his friends a tour, and Midoriya was sharing curious facts about some of the paintings they had hanging. Bakugou, who had already visited a couple of times, stayed in the rear, telling Midoriya to let her brother talk about his own house.
She promised herself she wouldn't eavesdrop, but she took advantage of every time she went to leave a plate to spy on her brother and friends. Midoriya sat in front of him, and next to him was the girl. The blonde was on her brother's right, and the one with the glasses sitting at the head of the table.
It wasn't how she would’ve sat them, but there wasn't much to do. Nor was it the romantic dinner she wanted to give her little brother, but at least he looked less stressed, and happier.
The first to leave were Iida and Uraraka, thanking her for the hospitality and good food.
Soon after that, the blonde's phone rang. He got up, picked up as many dishes as he could and took them to the sink.
“Do you really have to go?” asked her brother as he leaned against the kitchen's door.
Fuyumi watched all their interactions from where she was standing.
“One of the new interns didn’t lock the back door at the agency, and someone broke in. We don't know yet if they took anything, but the place looks like shit, apparently. You know how annoying Jeanist gets when things aren't the way he likes them.
“Hm. That’s why you work so well with him," said her brother with a playful smile.
“What are you saying, Icy-hot?”
“Nothing,” said her brother, elongating out the first syllable, broadening his smile and raising one of his eyebrows in a gesture between a joke and challenge, “I’ll show you out” said her brother, leaving for the door, and Bakugou carried the last set of dishes over to Fuyumi.
“Did you put something different in the Mapo tofu?” asked the blonde.
“Ah, yes! A new spice I bought recently.”
“You’ll have to give me the name," he said before taking his mobile phone, which was ringing again and leaving the kitchen without saying another word. Fuyumi didn't expect anything else. Out of Shouto's friends, he was the coarsest and crudest. While he did not thank her as the other two did, his comments about her food let her know that he had liked it.
His brother returned, and sat back down where he had been before. Fuyumi cleaned everything up as she listened to the green-haired hero talk about the last case he had been working on and the children he had saved.
She thought Midoriya was very sweet and cute. She really liked him for her brother, and she hoped that now that the other three had left, that they could feel more comfortable in showing affection, intimacy... that they could show her something! But alas, she couldn't see anything, and eventually there were no more things to clean that would justify her staying in the kitchen.
“You were right," her brother said after closing the door, “Thank you, Fuyumi.”
Although she had other intentions, she was pleased to know that she had helped her little brother feel better. She was happy to see him so comfortable and to laugh with his friends. She couldn’t help but notice, however, that while her brother was laughing, that playful smile did not return to his face.
She would’ve liked to confirm that her assumptions were correct, but perhaps her brother respected their home so much, that he didn’t want to behave inappropriately.
Another person who had promised to stay out of Shouto's private affairs was Endeavor. He had finally understood that it was best not to force anything on his son, to let him seek him on his own. And Shouto did, even though he was only doing it for work purposes. Step by step, Enji said to himself. Step by step.
He hoped that Shouto will eventually reach out to him for something not work related. In the meantime, he was satisfied with the time they shared discussing missions. Like that very moment, with them figuring out a rescue plan together. It was very rare for his agency to receive such assignments, but his son liked them so he takes them whenever they get one.
Shouto had grown a lot since he started his internship at the agency. He still needed to be supervised, but he handled himself very well. Enji would let his son work on all the plans for the missions he was assigned to by himself, and he would make corrections or suggestions if necessary.
“According to the report, there were about 20 people working in the area during the collapse. I've already asked Ground Zero to come with me to get rid of all the rocks that are blocking the way, as well as most of the debris on the surface.
“Hm... and you're not worried his explosions will make the situation worse? Their vibrations could create a second landslide.
“I do not," said his son with conviction. "He has great control of his quirk, he would never let something like that happen. Not to mention that it's the fastest way to remove the obstacles.”
He still believed his concern was valid, but his son trusted him, and he had to acknowledge that they worked well together.
“Still, we need to bring an excavator, but the terrain we have to go through is very narrow. It'd never make it through.”
“And what other solutions have you thought of?” he asked, letting his son come up with the answer on his own.
“It could be done manually. We could bring people who—”
“That would take them a long time.”
“I know. That's why I thought of contacting a third agency.” That was perhaps the best solution, Endeavor thought. If he remembers correctly, there was someone in Shouto's class whose quirk made him spin like a drill. That was the best option, “which is why I was thinking of taking Creati with me.”
Or maybe not.
“With her, mobilizing wouldn't be a problem. Besides, she’s able create much bigger objects now. Not to mention we wouldn't need any machinery. She can create anything on-site," Shouto explained excitedly. Or well, as excited as his son was when he was with him.
That did not go unnoticed by Enji. Shouto sounded very proud of her.
Of course he is. How could he not be proud of her, he thought, remembering what he had talked about with his daughter. Creati was an excellent choice, without a doubt. Moreover, he remembered that Mt. Lady had once told him that she has more fun when she and Kamui Woods worked together.
His son's plan was good, and on top of that, he could spend time with his girlfriend. Ha!. He didn’t have to be the one pulling the strings! Shouto himself had suggested it. It was perfect.
“Contact Majestic's agency, then. You leave in two.”
He couldn’t accompany his son, but he followed every transmission he could of the rescue. Everything had gone according to plan. His son coordinated everything perfectly, and they had managed to rescue the 20 workers who had been left underground.
His only concern had been in vain. His son's ice structures prevented more debris from falling because of the explosions (and yes, he had to acknowledge the great control Shouto's friend displayed). He has seen them fight together, and they are a formidable team on the battlefield. He should have known it would be the same on this mission. Creati, on the other hand, had created a practical machine to drill the surface and, at the same time, created another one to get everyone out.
His son had done a splendid job. He was becoming a fine hero.
The only thing that caught his attention was how he never got any closer than necessary to Creati. He seemed to be stuck to Ground Zero, instead.
Well, his son was smart. If people were already aware of his relationship, it was normal for him to want to keep it private and not fuel the fire.
Natsuo's case had been different.
Having seen things that he would ultimately rather never had, and finally accepting that his little brother was indeed with someone, he began to wonder who his brother's beau was.
He knew Shouto was not interested in women. Not that Shouto had said anything, but every time they watched a film or a show together, and he talked about how beautiful the female leads were, Shouto always ended up commenting on the muscles of the male actors.
If anything else, at least he knew his father was going to lose.
He also thought he knew who his sister's bet was, but he couldn't imagine the little green guy as someone who leaves marks all over his brother's neck.
He thought he knew his brother well enough to know that he was not dating a complete stranger, so that option was also out of the question.
But the important thing here is that, no matter who it was, it must be someone he’d approve of. It was a law written into the “Older Brother Code”, and who was Natsuo to break that code?
He met Bakugou when he and Midoriya interned with his brother under Endeavor.
He couldn't say that the blonde's personality was the easiest to deal with, but, one: his little brother liked him, two: he saved his life, and three: he didn’t take any shit from his old man.
What more could he ask for? He had earned a perfect score for Natsuo’s Seal of Approval™.
And it was Katsuki Bakugou's name he was going to write on his paper, were it not for the fact that a few days earlier, he had run into Shouto on what he could only describe as a date with his friend Inasa.
He was on his way out of the best noodle restaurant near the hospital. He was fed up with the tasteless food the cafeteria served, and wanted to treat himself. Usually he couldn't do that because the restaurant was too crowded during his break, but they had changed his shift recently, and the restaurant was no longer as busy as it was during rush hour.
He was getting his bill when he saw this huge guy holding a door open as someone wearing a hat, huge dark glasses, and a very familiar sweater walked in. Of course he recognized it, he himself had given his brother that blue sweater with the white embroidery that said 'ice' on the front.
He wanted to spy on them, but at the same time, he didn't want his brother to see him, so he bent down and pretended to check that everything was okay with his bill. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the head waiter greeting them to take them to what he called their 'usual table in the private area'.
People didn't seem to recognize them. In fact, were not for the sweater, Natsuo might not even have noticed them either.
The head waiter guided them through the tables, and as he thought he could make a run for it, they turned to pass right by his side, and her brother's companion crashed into him.
“I'm so sorry!” exclaimed the tallest one, bowing his head so low, he bumped into the table.
“Ah, it's all right,” he said, “are you okay? You're bleeding...”
“Natsu?” Okay, there was really no way out now.
“Shou? Wow, if it wasn't for your sweater, I never would have recognised you!”
“I haven't seen you here before," said his brother, looking in every direction but at him.
“Ah, I have a different shift now. And you? You come here often with..." he said, pointing to the boy whose head was still bleeding. He was incredibly surprised he didn’t break the table, considering how hard he hit it.
“Oh, right. This is Inasa”, said Shouto, pointing to his companion. “Inasa, my brother Natsuo.”
“Well, it is nice to finally meet someone in your family besides your father! I thought you were never going to introduce us.”
He hadn't met the wind hero in person before, but he knew about him from Shouto's stories about his friends from the provisional course.
“Ah, my pleasure," he said, bowing his head a bit.
The atmosphere was quite strange. The silence was uncomfortable, his brother wouldn’t look him in the eyes, his... boyfriend? wouldn't drop that strange smile, the waiter was getting impatient, and he couldn't wait to get away.
“Well, it was nice meeting you, but I was just leaving," he said, putting his bill in his wallet. See you tonight, Shou.”
“About that, tell Fuyumi and mom not to wait for me,” he said looking away, scratching his neck as he always did when he was nervous.
As if that wasn't enough, his companion glanced at his brother with his broad grin, moving his eyebrows suggestively.
He really couldn't wait to get out of there...
“Sure, I'll let them know.”
...but he couldn't walk away just like that, or he would break the very code that he was a faithful follower of, and grinning, he dedicated a few last words to his baby bro.
“You take good care of yourself, okay, Shou?”
And as he was leaving, in the distance he heard the huge man ask the waiter for two plates of udon.
“No, I want soba.”
“Ah, of course, I always forget...”
Certainly, Inasa was not his first choice, and he still couldn't say whether he approved of him or not. He didn't remember his brother's favourite food? That already lowered his score on Natsuo's record.
Still, he had more evidence in favour of the wind hero than of the explosive hero, and so he ended up writing his name on the paper.
It didn't sit well with him, but getting ¥5,000 from the rest of his family might just fix that.
It had been more than a month since their bet, rumours continued, and Shouto still told them nothing.
The four of them were at home that evening. Fuyumi was grading exams in the dining room, Natsuo was reviewing the contents for his post-graduate training in the living-room, and Rei was painting on the couch in front of her son. Shouto had been locked in his room for hours doing who knows what.
“These kids,” said Fuyumi, dragging the chair as she stood up and went to her brother, "look at these answers, Natsu!”
Natsuo took the three tests his sister was holding and read the question she was pointing to.
"How do you convert centimetres to metres? I don't know. Removing ‘centi’. Teacher Fuyumi is the prettiest… did they draw a portrait of you? It's good.”
“It's not the point, Natsuo! It’s always the same with these three.” She said taking her tests back.
“Well, I don't know about the first two, but you should suggest the third one to enroll in an art class...”
“I don't even know why I showed you. You never take it seriously... You're not even paying attention to me!”
And he really wasn’t, neither was her mother. They were both staring at a spot behind her.
Fuyumi turned around and found her little brother fixing his collar in front of the mirror at the end of the stairs.
Her brother was dressed elegantly, wearing white tailored trousers and a blue shirt unbuttoned at the neck, with his white jacket hanging from his elbow. It was not until he turned around that they noticed how much he had done to his appearance. He had tucked a lock of hair behind his ear, exposing the left side of his face, and Fuyumi could swear there was a subtle hint of makeup on his eyes.
“Shouto, are you going out tonight too?” asked Rei, who had gotten up to fix her son's shirt, “Is someone driving you? You can take one of the cars if you want.”
“No thanks, Mom. He’ll be here soon.”
“Where are you going looking like that, Shouto? You look so handsome!” Exclaimed his sister, searching for her other brother’s eyes, finding them looking back at her. “Is there another gala for the commission?”
“No, we’re just going out.”
“You’ve cleaned yourself quite nicely for just “going out”, don’t cha think?” asked his brother.
“It's my anniversary, I want to look good," replied the youngest one, shrugging his shoulders.
Natsuo nearly choked on his own saliva, and Fuyumi felt her as if her heart was going to pop out of her chest.
“Well, I'm sure Katsuki will like it," said Rei, who had walked over to her other son to pat him in the back.
“You knew!” accused Fuyumi.
“Why didn't you tell us?” asked Natsuo.
“You never asked.”
“Shou, this is the kinda stuff you have to share with us! I introduced you to my girlfriend...” said the older man, his tone sad.
“But you’ve already met Katsuki.”
Their little brother's logic really surprises them sometimes.
“So it was Bakugou? I thought you were dating Midoriya.”
Her brother stared at her in curiously, as if the mere thought had never even crossed his mind, “Katsuki respects you very much, don’t let him hear you say that again.”
“Damn it, I knew it! You made me believe you were dating that big guy.”
Shouto grimaced like he had the chills. “Because of that time we met at the restaurant? We go out for noodles sometimes. We always have to ask for a table in the private area because Inasa is very loud and he scares the other costumers.”
“Oh, Shouto, where is he taking you?” asked Fuyumi, overly excited, completely over her loss.
“He didn’t want to tell me. But he did say there'd be soba afterwards.”
That last comment made the Natsuo smile. He should have trusted his instincts more.
Suddenly, Shouto's cell phone rang. He took it out of his pocket, and smiled as he read his message.
“He's here. I'm leaving," he said, saying goodbye to his siblings and his mother.
Though the two older knew their brother was with someone, they never expected the revelation to catch them so off guard. So much so, that they didn't have time to say anything else to the youngest before he left the house.
The two of them ran to the window where they could see main entrance of the house, trying to spy on their little brother and his boyfriend, without a care about being seen.
Rei had also drawn the curtains just a bit, but it was enough to see the blonde emerge from the car, dressed as elegantly as Shouto, and look absolutely stunned when he saw her son.
So dazzled was he, that he did not even notice when Shouto froze one of his shoes to the ground, walking quickly to the other side of the car with a cheeky smile.
“Just you wait, you dumb popsicle," was all Rei managed to hear, but she was able to see the dumb smile on the blonde’s face. She saw him let out a tiny explosion to free his foot, get into the car and drive away.
Her elders seemed disappointed they couldn’t spy a bit more, but if these two thought her youngest didn’t know he was being spied on, then perhaps they did not know him as well as they thought.
Fuyumi was the first to move away, and went to the kitchen. She returned with the bag containing the four small papers, and left it on the table.
Silence reigned, only for a few seconds.
“Agh man!” Natsuo exclaimed, hitting his forehead, “I didn’t give Bakugou the talk!”
“What talk?” asked his mother, resuming her painting.
“The talk where I threaten him to treat Shouto right.”
“Didn’t you say you like Bakugou? That he's a great hero and all that?”
“Hey, the guy saved my life and I like him a lot. I know Shouto will be okay with him. That doesn't mean I can't torment both of them a little. It's in the big brother code!”
“Don’t give me that, ‘Yumi. You did the same thing with me…”
While her children argued, Rei opened the bag and checked everyone's bet. She left her paper for last, reading the name “Katsuki Bakugou” in her neat handwriting.
“Did he tell you?” asked her daughter.
“There was no need. I know all of you like the back of my hand.”
Besides, if her children read half the letters Shouto wrote to her talking about him, they would’ve never question it.
The contents of his letters changed over the years. At first, he talked about a very rude classmate who can put up a good fight. Then how guilty he felt when said classmate was kidnapped. Or of the time when he failed his exam, but it was fine, because he was given another chance and would not be alone. About how they were good friends now, even if the other one denied it. He’d tell her about how passionate and diligent his friend was, that he had a lot of fun when he fought next to the blonde. He was overly fond whenever he talked about him. Shouto stopped describing him as just another classmate to someone whom he could always count on. And let’s not get started on the amount of times he told her how well the hero's costume fitted the blonde.
Shouto stopped writing to her when he graduated from school, but she was pretty observant too.
Not to mention that Shouto had brought Katsuki to meet her when she had just been discharged from the hospital. Whether that was cheating or not, she didn't know, but she didn't have to tell her other kids her secret.
“Mom, you won!” said a very excited Natsuo, “I'll transfer to you right away.”
“I thought you'd be more disappointed about losing...”
“Are you kidding? It's the best outcome ever!" he said as he typed on his phone.
“What are you doing?” asked his sister.
“I'm collecting the debt.”
Enji was finishing packing up all his things to go back home when he felt his cell phone vibrate.
Hey old man.
You owe mom ¥5,000.