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No More Heroes

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Heroes had become too comfortable with their position as authority figures, grew bolder in their actions whenever they felt it was “the right thing to do.”  The population had gotten too complacent, believing that no matter what, the heroes would always manage to save the day.

The day that the world realized the flaws in their ‘hero society’ had started like any other.  People commuted to work, trains and buses ran their usual routes, and heroes started their patrols.  There had been little activity among the major villain organizations, leaving people with a sense of peace that had led to the heroes growing lax in their own duties.  Many of them bragged about how they had too much time on their hands now that crime and villainy had become nearly non-existent.

It was this way of thinking that gave villains the opportunity to quietly combine resources to arrange a coordinated attack across the globe.  The major crime organizations provided intel to each other on the heroes within their territories and planned their targets accordingly.  Their goal wasn’t to eliminate the heroes, but to give the civilians an eye-opening view on how useless their heroes had become.

The damage was wide-spread, veterans and new heroes alike were caught by surprise as bombs went off without any warning.  People screamed in fear and shock as they ran from the blasts, yelling for their local heroes to help.  It didn’t take long for those in need to see that those they had depended on had failed them.

“What are you waiting for?!” A young boy screamed at one of the recent graduates from America’s acclaimed hero studies school, Vanish.  The hero stood frozen in place, staring up at the billowing black clouds that darkened the sky.  “They’re trapped inside,” the boy said as he pointed to the crumbled entrance of a building that was engulfed in flames.  “How can you just stand there while people are dying, you fake!”

Aggravated, the boy ran for the door, tears in his eyes as he disappeared into the chaos, only then had Vanish managed to respond, calling out for the boy to stop as he gave chase.  The front of the building collapsed then, the force of the falling brick and mortar knocked him to the ground.  His chest heaving, Vanish waited for the dust to settle to find a way inside, realizing once his vision cleared that there was no building left to enter.

People nearby had watched the scene unfold, saw the child call out the hero and then rush inside to do what he could to help.  They witnessed Vanish fail to save him and the other victims trapped inside.  At that point, all the failed man could do was kneel as tears flowed down his face, leaving filthy wet tracks where the dust from the collapse had covered him.

“Fake!” yelled someone nearby, soon it developed into a chant from all the civilians as they fled the chaotic scene, occasionally pushing or kicking Vanish as they passed.  Not that he’d felt any of it as he only kept seeing the back of that young boy disappear over and over again in his mind.  

“Worthless heroes, none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for you!” an angry woman called out, steam rising from her body thanks to her quirk as her temper rose.  The building had been her home and now she had nothing left but her rage at Vanish, who had only watched as it was destroyed.  Seeing no reaction from him, the woman lashed out, sending a searing blast of steam in his direction.

Her attack didn’t manage to hit as another new hero, going by the name Barrier, appeared at the scene covered in blood; his costume was torn and exposed several deep bruises.  Blocking the steam with a nearly transparent force shield that he emitted from his palm, Barrier then used his shield quirk to form a perimeter around himself and Vanish.  “There’s too much going on right now to have people using their quirks wildly.  Just calm down and let us handle this–”

“What exactly have you handled, huh?  That fake just let a child die along with whoever else was in that building when it fell, and you’re scolding us for getting upset over it?  You’re all useless!”  The crowd surrounding them agreed, yelling their disapproval and growing more aggravated as explosions went off nearby.  The shield he’d put up was being pelted by broken concrete and whatever else the civilians could find and throw.

“We can’t stay here, it’s gotten too volatile,” Barrier said as he glanced back at his fellow hero.  “Can you walk?”

The ground shook beneath them as another explosion went off nearby, jarring him enough to lose his hold on the shield.  Rocks and debris landed hard against the side of Barrier’s head and shoulders as he decided it best to retreat, attempting to pick up the other hero.  “Come on!” he cried out, struggling to lift the larger man.

“Just leave, there’s no saving me now after this,” a broken voice answered before he raised his hand and touched Barrier.  A short burst of light flashed between his fingers before the man that attempted to protect Vanish disappeared as another round of debris was thrown by the angry mob.  Barrier reappeared only a block away, past the crowd but still able to see Vanish viciously attacked with no intent to defend himself.

The world quickly saw how useless those they called heroes were, through this incident and many others like it at the scene of every attack.  The villains had taken their time and planned well, ensuring that the more inexperienced heroes would be closest to each targeted location.  The initial attacks were nothing compared to the bloody skirmishes that followed in their aftermath.  Quirks were used as weapons as heroes fought both amongst themselves and the civilians they once sought to protect.

Hero society crumbled to the ground once the dust and blood settled.  Having been blamed for much of the damage and lacking any of the government support they’d once had, hero work was outlawed.  Heroes were stripped of their rankings, licenses, and banned from ever using their quirks again.  Villains moved in quickly to assume control over the broken cities, the leaders of every criminal organization claiming their respective territories.  

Any attempts at resistance were met with the full strength of their quirks and authority, many of the leaders making violent examples of those that tried to rise against them.  Even as the villains took over and repressed the population with fear and power, the civilians still bore ill will to the former heroes and would quickly betray them to the villains if it meant more favorable treatment in return.

Eventually, small underground groups of former heroes were the only ones who wept for the past and the peace they had so recently lost.  It was their constant reality that even the slightest lapse in caution could result in their capture and bring an end to their cause.  Those few broken hearts still held onto the hope that one day they could set the world right once again.

Another day began in Musutafu, sunrise peeking through the remains of partially fallen buildings along the horizon.  Shigaraki met every new day on the roof of his headquarters, admiring the destruction with a crooked smile.  He silently laughed at the irony that even though his quirk was Decay, he’d hardly had to lift a finger to bring hero society down.

Musutafu was now under his control, the great city of heroes that had failed him as a child was now his to rule as he saw fit.  He positioned his League of Villains members into the places where their talents were best put to use.  Dabi returned as the leader of the newly reformed Vanguard Action Squad that also included Toga and Spinner, while Mr. Compress used his talent with words and manipulation to keep the public and the few remaining active government agencies in line.

Descending back into his base, Shigaraki retrieved a cold can of black coffee from the expansive kitchen before walking into the main chamber.  The throne-like chair had been found while they explored the remains of the rubble after the main attacks had ceased.  Without speaking a word, Compress used his quirk to easily encase it within one of his marbles, later situating it in the place where he now sat.

His people knew that a king deserved a throne.

Sitting down, Shigaraki cracked open his drink and took a long swig before breaking free to take a breath and savor the cold rush of caffeine that began his mornings as of late.  The chamber felt as chilly as his drink, void of any movement due to the time of day.  At least, not until Dabi returned with the rest of the reformed Vanguard Action Squad to show off his latest acquisition to their cause.  The scarred, pierced man grinned maniacally as he pushed his captive down to the ground before Shigaraki.

Dirty, matted green hair, with cuts and wounds littering his head and face from the recent fight that had turned against his favor, Izuku glared at the confidently poised villain before him as Shigaraki finally acknowledged his presence with a smug grin.  The young hero known as ‘Deku’ had been a thorn in Shigaraki’s side ever since the hero’s first year at UA.  Many years, wars, and scars had been shared between them since then.  

“It’s been a while, Izuku Midoriya.  You look a bit worse than you did the last time I saw you.  Tell me, has your little resistance reached its ‘game over?’  Have you finally realized that it’s pointless now that the world has no use for heroes anymore?”

Brilliant, angry emerald stared back at him, Izuku never letting his attention drift away from the new leader of Musutafu despite the slow trickle of blood that flowed down the left side of his forehead.  “We’ll never stop until this broken, unbalanced world is fixed, Shigaraki.  You should know me well enough by now that I’d never give up, no matter the cost!”

“Watch your mouth, brat,” Dabi said as he smacked his hand against the back of Izuku’s head.  “Remember where you are and the beating you and your buddies got for trying to rise against us.  You wannabe heroes ain’t fixing shit,” Dabi said with a dry laugh.  Patting the top of Izuku’s head with mock affection, Dabi looked over to Shigaraki, nodding to let him know that he was passing responsibility for the captured hero over.

The thick metal restraint that nullified quirks kept Izuku’s arms uncomfortably set behind him as he knelt before Shigaraki, though he never wavered in his intense gaze, despite Dabi’s comments.  

Amused by the hero, Shigaraki stood and reached for the custom-made gloves that prevented accidental use of his Decay, slipping them on until the fabric hugged all but his pointer finger and thumb.  He then pulled up on the quirk restraint, urging Izuku to his feet before leading him up the staircase that led to the roof.

The day had moved forward since Shigaraki had been up there earlier to greet it.  He walked to the edge of the building, glancing over the slightly raised barrier of brick that surrounded the rooftop.  “You get a lot of perspective standing here, Izuku Midoriya.  When you were playing hero, did you ever just watch the world like this?”

Izuku cautiously walked closer to Shigaraki, watching for any sign that the villain intended to send him over the edge and stopped just behind him after finding none.  “I’ve been higher than this, but it’s still a breathtaking view no matter where you’re seeing it.  You see the world in motion, living, thriving.  And at times, when you can spot someone in danger or in need of saving, you can move to do so.”

“Interesting,” Shigaraki said in reply.  “Villains don’t usually get to experience this view.  We’re the ones that fall into the cracks of that world you focus on so much.  The light doesn’t reach there, and neither do the heroes.  But even so, we still manage to find our own motivations to drive us forward.”

The thin clouds masking the full brunt of the sun drifted away, the light causing both men to look away, far too bright for either to endure.  Despite Izuku’s capture and his injuries, there was a sense of safety and comfort there on the rooftop that housed his rival and mortal enemy, Shigaraki.  

“I wasn’t kidding when you said you looked like shit earlier,” Shigaraki said once they managed to both turn away from its strong midday rays.  “You’ve always been a cautious opponent, through all the times we’ve fought.  How the hell did you manage to get your ass kicked and caught by that walking ash tray of all people?”

Izuku looked away, trying to ignore how bright Shigaraki’s crimson eyes looked during that brief moment in the sunshine.  “We all have our bad days, Shigaraki.  But don’t take this as my final defeat.  I will end all of this, that’s a promise.”

“Promises don’t mean much to us either, hero.  You’d be better off making that a threat, though in your current position, that doesn’t look like it’ll work out for you either,” Shigaraki said as he caught Izuku by his upper arm and started to lead him back into the building.  “Though you’ve managed to surprise me before…”

Dabi met them at the end of the stairs to take Izuku to the basement, where they were holding captives from their raids.  Rough with the restrained hero at first, Shigaraki caught Dabi’s attention, his crimson eyes narrowed and relaying his disapproval of Izuku’s treatment.  Dabi only rolled his own as he was more careful with how he handled the captured hero.

“Fucking softie,” Dabi muttered below his breath after giving himself enough distance to avoid it reaching Shigaraki’s ears.

Shigaraki’s morning routine changed after that day.  Rather than spending the sunrise alone, it was now shared with Izuku, who would get dragged out from the basement and led to the roof by one of the other League members and left there until Shigaraki was ready to go inside.  Izuku didn’t speak much during the first few days, quietly taking the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and natural light before he was returned to the stale air and darkness of the room far below their feet.

One day, Izuku dared to break the silence, “Do you realize how similar we are, Shigaraki?”

“If you’re talking about the red sneakers, they were all that was available in my size the day Kurogiri went shoppi–”

“We’ve both had difficulties being accepted by society,” Izuku said, interrupting Shigaraki with little regret.  “I was born quirkless, treated as someone different, something lesser than the world as a whole.  You were seen as different because of your quirk, treated poorly out of fear of what you were capable of.  We had similar starting lines, yet somehow ended up as opposites.  Why do you think that is?”

A gust of wind caught them off guard, swaying them only briefly before regaining their balance.  Shigaraki gave Izuku’s words some thought before replying.  “We both needed someone to reach out and take our hand.  Maybe it was for validation, or comfort, but we had to find a source of inspiration to keep moving forward through the shit we were dealing with.”  The wind spoke up again, whistling through the cracks and crevices of the building, the two of them gave it time to die down before Shigaraki continued.  

“For you, it was that grinning clown All Might; for me, All For One was the one who extended his hand to lift me up and set me on my path.  Things may have been different if it had been someone else’s hand, but then I wouldn’t be who I am today.  Same for you, hero.  If you’d found support in someone that lacked morals or a sense of justice, you would have turned out to be someone completely different.”

“So you believe our influences are what made us who we are.  So if you’d never met All For One, would that mean you would have made an attempt at being a hero like you’d wanted when you were little?”

Shigaraki glanced over to Izuku, his emerald eyes watery, though he wasn’t sure if it was due to the conversation or the gusty breeze.  “Don’t get carried away there, hero.  ‘What ifs’ just lead to more questions about the past, and there’s no point dwelling there since you can’t change any of it.  I’m who I was meant to be, just like you.  We ended up tasked with taking up the fight our mentors started.  So yeah, I’ve noticed how similar we are.”

The wind died down, silence taking over where their conversation stopped.  The world below them moved on, unaware that a hero and a villain stood side-by-side as they took in the view from above.

“Also, the red sneakers are a total coincidence,” Shigaraki added, bringing a short laugh out of Izuku that he’d fought hard and failed to keep in.

The squeal of the roof door opening interrupted the moment, with Spinner peeking out through the crack.  “Sorry boss, but the Hosu leader is here and wants to speak with ya.”

“Ugh, that annoying bug…” Shigaraki groaned as his gloved hands braced against his temples.  “I’ll be right there.”  Spinner nodded before ducking back into the stairwell, the door shutting with a low thud behind him.

“Hosu…  So that would be Stain?” Izuku asked, his brow furrowed in thought.  He was aware of the villains’ mutual dislike for each other, so he was curious of what could have brought the Hero Killer there for a visit.

Grabbing Izuku’s elbow, not nearly as roughly as he’d done during their previous mornings, Shigaraki let out an aggravated sigh.  “You’re well-informed, hero.  For someone that cut his off, that jerk is pretty damn nosey.  Let’s go so I can get rid of him as soon as possible.”

The gravelly voice of Stain was heard before he was seen as Shigaraki and Izuku entered the main hall.  “Ahh, so it is true that you caught the leader of the hero resistance.

“And why would that interest you enough to leave your dump of a territory to show up here?” Shigaraki said harshly.  It was no secret that the two villains didn’t get along before they managed to break down hero society and take over, and the animosity they shared continued even now.

“That one has been a thorn in many of our sides since we rose to power.  The other leaders, as well as myself, are curious on how long you’ll take to dispose of the nuisance.  If he had been captured in Hosu, his blood would have painted the sidewalk before it had a chance to turn cold.”

Shigaraki’s temper rose, what little restraint he had was put toward not lashing out at the villain that now taunted him.  “Deku spent a lot of time in Hosu, from what I recall, and even so, you failed to catch him.  Guess your territory will continue to be as bland and worthless as before.”

“Don’t think that because you have him, that makes you stronger, Shigaraki,” Stain growled, his own patience being tested now.  “It’s what you do with him that will show all of us just how strong you actually are.  Every day that the hero Deku draws breath under your guard gives us more reason to question whether you’re worthy of ruling your own city.  Keep that in mind, Shigaraki.”  Stain smirked as he walked out of the room.

Looking over to Izuku, Shigaraki saw that his head was directed down to the floor, his brilliant green eyes avoiding those still left in the room after Stain’s thinly-veiled threat.  The villains in control of the surrounding territories were aware of his capture, curiously waiting to see what Shigaraki intended to do with the hero.

“Stain doesn’t seem to be the same as when I first encountered him,” Izuku said carefully, his voice small and measured.  “Back then, he wanted there to be genuine heroes, but now, not so much.”

“Dabi, take him back to the basement,” was all Shigaraki said in reply.  This was starting to get complicated.  He knew Stain and the other leaders were aching to expand their respective territories, and now he could see where they’d have an excuse to take Musutafu from him.

Once again visiting the rooftop, Shigaraki was met by darkness, vaguely illuminated in moonlight.  The lights of the city were distant and scattered, and just what he focused on as he gathered his thoughts.  Stain’s visit weighed heavily on him.  It made him aware of the ultimatum that needed to be addressed sooner than later, if Shigaraki’s intuition was accurate in how Stain wanted to take over Musutafu.

He was now torn between killing Izuku and proving to the other villain leaders that he was strong enough to eliminate any threats to his territory, or letting their days continue as they were, sharing the daybreak with scattered conversation before sending Izuku down to the basement once more.

Alive or dead.  Shigaraki had a choice to make.

Hardly a week had passed before Stain decided to make his move on Musutafu.  Using his paralysis quirk, he disabled those guarding Shigaraki’s compound and snuck inside, his followers pouring in behind him.  Entering alone, Stain found Shigaraki on the throne in the main hall, not looking at all surprised to see the villain.

“So, does Izuku Midoriya still live, or have you failed the territory you claimed so quickly?  A leader with no backbone doesn’t deserve their position,” Stain said as he slowly approached Shigaraki.

“He still draws breath, yes.  But that’s because he is mine.  I was the one to capture him, so I decide when and how he will die.  The opinions of you and the others will never sway what I want for myself.  If you see that as weakness, then you’re in for a rude awakening, Stain.”

Flipping out a dual set of curved knives and clutching them in his tight fists, Stain sneered, “That boy has always been a source of weakness for you, well before we started making plans to overwhelm the heroes.  If you can’t manage to do what must be done to kill him and end their attempts at resistance, then you’re not fit to rule here.”

“Game on,” was all Shigaraki replied, rising to his feet to meet his challenger.

Stain started the volley, swinging his weapons expertly with the intention of drawing blood from his opponent, but the years that passed between their last encounter had shown growth in Shigaraki’s fighting skills, easily evading the attacks and positioning himself outside the reach of Stain’s blades.

“Oh, not the same whiny child you were the last time we met, I see.  Good for you,” Stain said as he once again attempted to catch one of his blades against Shigaraki, but found himself without purchase once again.

“Well, we all have to grow up at some point, don’t we?” Shigaraki answered back as his hand barely touched the edge of Stain’s cape, the swift decay nearly caught on to the rest of the villain’s outfit had he not untied and dove away from the fabric before it could establish contact with the rest of him.

Drawing larger blades, Stain established his footing, his gaze full of frustration and anger towards Shigaraki, still unarmed but ready for anything his opponent planned to do.  He had no need for weapons when his own hands could destroy anything he touched.

Charging forward in his final attack, Stain intended to imbed his hidden blade deep into Shigaraki’s side before withdrawing it to take his blood and subdue him.  Once paralyzed, there would be no fear of Decay as Stain could kill Shigaraki at his leisure.

And yes, he cut into Shigaraki, and as he pulled his knife away and licked at the blood along the blade, he felt nothing.  Stunned, Stain swiped his long, grossly textured tongue along the length of metal once again, but still feeling none of the usual energy that came from subduing those whose blood he’d tasted.

“What is this?  Why isn’t my quirk working?” Stain said in a panic.  His plans to take over Musutafu depended heavily on his ability to paralyze and dispose of both Shigaraki and the resistance leader Izuku Midoriya.  And now he’d failed to manage even that much.

“Seems you’re at a disadvantage, Stain,” Shigaraki said as he slowly walked over to the confused villain.  “But like you suggested, if a leader’s weakness is exposed, we should feel free to move in and take over, right?”

Stain wasn’t even given the opportunity to respond before Shigaraki pressed his hand down against his forehead, slowly rendering the Hero Killer to dust.  Shigaraki pulled away from what he’d done, though not due to any sudden regret for his actions.  Looking at his hand, Shigaraki felt a hindrance in his ability to use his quirk.  After so many years, he should have crumbled Stain to dust immediately.

Somehow, Shigaraki felt that after the events of the evening, he’d find his answers on the rooftop, with his usual companion.

Dabi brought Izuku up to meet Shigaraki there, though the former hero looked the worse for wear as he stepped out of the stairwell.  Fresh bruises littered Izuku’s exposed arms, a few creeping up along his neck and cheek, spoiling the dusting of freckles that resided there.  “You have a rough night?” Shigaraki said casually as Izuku walked over to the building’s ledge nearby.

“Could say that.  Maybe not for me, but someone else,” Izuku replied, noticing the wound Stain inflicted on Shigaraki, his brow furrowed briefly with worry, though he said nothing.  Shigaraki suspected that the people following Stain had been tasked with either abducting or killing Izuku during the villain’s main attack.  Glad to see they didn’t succeed, Shigaraki returned his attention to the vast view of the city below them at night.

“You know as well as I do that I shouldn’t have been able to defeat Stain that easily.  His quirk was more than enough to beat me and make me submit.  But it didn’t work, and the more I think about it, the more I believe it involves you somehow,” Shigaraki said as he turned to look at Izuku once more.

The faint lights of the city didn’t do nearly enough justice to illuminate those emerald eyes, but Shigaraki still took pleasure in seeing them dart back and forth, their owner conflicted on whether he should confirm Shigaraki’s suspicions or not.  Daring to glance over to the villain, Izuku only found a curious and patient expression watching him with no intention of rushing his answer until he was ready to share it.

“It was no slip-up or accident that I was captured and brought here,” Izuku began, letting out a sigh that gave the impression that he’d been relieved of some burden.  “The resistance of former heroes gathered within their groups to decide on a solution to what happened after the villain attacks.”

“I should have known something didn’t seem right when Dabi managed to get to you after all this time,” Shigaraki relented as Izuku took a moment to gather his thoughts into words.

Nodding, Izuku continued, “As what happened was discussed and analyzed, one thing that we all noticed was how quirks were either taken advantage of during the attacks, or how new and inexperienced heroes were matched against villains that could easily overcome them even with their abilities.  Quirks ended up being what made the plan you villains developed successful.  And so, we decided to find a way to prevent that kind of manipulation from happening again.”

Shigaraki caught on to where his captive was leading his story.  “You found a way to neutralize quirks?  What, did you manage to tap into Overhaul’s quirk-erasing data or something?”

“No, though it was something along those lines,” Izuku confirmed, his stance relaxing a bit more as he leaned his forearms on the edge of the brick wall that bordered the roof.  “There had been research and developments in quirk-nullification well before everything came crashing down.  All the restraints that police and heroes use to subdue and transport villains have that ability to some extent.  After everything fell, we spent time focusing on how to do that on a global level.  People like Eri and Aizawa that had quirks that affect other abilities were crucial in that.  And unlike Overhaul’s methods, they willingly volunteered to help develop a way to permanently neutralize quirks.”

“Permanent?” Shigaraki said, genuinely surprised at what Izuku said.  “But how did you manage that?  How did you get it to affect the villains without it affecting the former heroes?”

Izuku laughed at Shigaraki’s questions, though he winced and held his side in pain shortly after.  “We introduced it to the water supply.  Every glass of water, shower, or other exposure to water within the cities and towns all had the quirk nullifying compound in it.  Of course it was thoroughly tested before we did that to avoid any possible reactions and found it safe.  It only targets the quirk factor and breaks the connection to the rest of the body, though the reaction can take some time to set in.”

“But if you let it loose like that…” Shigaraki began to say, realizing how large in scale this retaliatory move had to be from the heroes.

“Right.  There would have been no way for anyone to avoid being affected.  We knew that and decided it was the best option.  Quirks have ended up becoming weapons or motivations to fight.  The attempts to regulate them failed, and letting them be used freely is just as chaotic.”

Shigaraki looked down at his gloved hands, the texture of the fabric seemed different somehow.  Briefly, he considered testing whether Izuku’s claim was true, almost reaching to tug down the glove from his wrist before he stopped himself.  There wasn’t much nearby he could use to see whether his Decay was truly gone, aside from the building itself and Izuku.  And if he was being honest, he didn’t want to part with either on such a whim.

“We relayed the plan to the other countries that were affected by the attacks, but I can’t say how well it will work for them.  But I believe that in our small corner of the world, giving people the opportunity to start over with a clean slate, on equal footing, will help to make things better for everyone.”  Izuku looked at his own hands, littered with old scars and streaks of new blood.  

Noticing Shigaraki focus on his gloves, Izuku reached out and held the hand closest to him at the wrist, hooking a finger at the end of the fabric.  The villain froze, fear widening his eyes as he watched Izuku pull away the only barrier he had against accidentally setting off his quirk.  He flinched as Izuku led the naked hand toward his face, whispering a desperate “please don’t,” as he tried to pull his arm away from the hero he’d spent half of his life trying to defeat, now unwilling to destroy him.

“Shh, trust me,” was all Izuku said, his voice soft and comforting.  Giving in, Shigaraki let him place his bare hand against Izuku’s freckled cheek.  His anxiety peaked as Izuku nuzzled his face into Shigaraki’s palm.  His heart skipped a beat as he expected to see the young man he’d come to care for after sharing numerous sunrises together disintegrate before him.

When all he felt was warmth and true contact with another person for the first time in years, Shigaraki was overwhelmed.  Crimson eyes watered as he gazed into Izuku’s, who seemed to be just as comforted by Shigaraki’s touch.  His attention at where their skin met, Shigaraki didn’t realize his legs gave out from under him until Izuku quickly wrapped his arms around his waist and eased them both to the ground, kneeling before each other as the sun rose before them once more.

Encouraged and feeling selfish, Shigaraki dared to bring his other hand up,catch the tip of the glove between his teeth before pulling it off and letting it fall to the ground.  Sifting through forest green curls, a low whimper escaped him as all Shigaraki could focus on was how soft and fine Izuku’s hair felt between his fingers.  The sun’s rays reflected against the tears that flooded both of their eyes and ran down their faces, soft red and orange tones only added to the warmth running through them as they embraced each other at last.

“So it’s really gone… Decay?  All For One?” Shigaraki asked cautiously as his face nuzzled comfortably in the crook of Izuku’s neck, fearing this newfound joy and contentment was only temporary.  

He felt Izuku nod affirmatively as he held the back of Shigaraki’s head gently, himself now running his fingers through a sea of white hair.  “Mhm, and One For All as well.  I was always meant to be the last user.”

“So no more heroes?”

“No more heroes.  No more villains.  Just people,” Izuku said as he left a soft kiss against Shigaraki’s temple.  “Just you and me.”