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Fanfic / Karma in Retrograde

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Art by Mavze

Sixteen-year-old Touya Todoroki didn't understand what was happening when he woke up in the middle of a flaming warehouse. He was wearing the edgiest clothes he'd ever seen and the hero in front of him looked disturbingly like his eleven-year-old brother Shouto. But this guy was his age, not a boy. Touya doesn't get to gawk much longer before he suddenly blacks out, waking up again in handcuffs.

He then learns that he was a murderous member of the League of Villains named Dabi until a few hours ago and that he'd been hit with a de-aging Quirk. After the news sinks in, Touya is given a choice: rot in jail or learn to become a hero with Class 1-A until the Quirk wears off. Left with no better options, he picks the latter.

He always wanted to be in the hero course, but he never imagined it'd be like this.

Now in the same class as his youngest brother and trapped in a future he doesn't entirely understand, Touya lives each day as though he is a ticking time bomb. Only time will tell if this is his second chance to save his future, or if his destiny as a villain is set in stone.

Karma in Retrograde is a My Hero Academia fanfic co-authored by Ohmytheon and Mistystarshine, and last updated in December 2020. Focusing on Dabi, or rather his former identity as Touya Todoroki, it follows his road towards rediscovering who he is and what led him down the dark path his future self took. It also has a prequel series of one-shots, Embers to Ashes.

Karma in Retrograde contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Endeavor, as expected, was horribly abusive to all of his kids, either putting them through Training from Hell and isolating them from each other or simply ignoring them altogether. Rei Todoroki was too scared of Endeavor to protest and gave up on protecting her children or treating their wounds after a while. Then she suffered a mental breakdown and poured boiling water all over Shouto's left eye. Endeavor has since begun to make amends and tries to be a better father to Shouto and Fuyumi, but Natsuo isn't having any of it and Touya is exempt for becoming a villain.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Touya's hair is depicted as red as in the anime rather than the white shown in the manga flashback.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The story and its prequel, Embers to Ashes, expands on the dynamic between the Todoroki siblings and their father.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Touya refers to Natsuo as the slightly truncated "Natsu" in casual conversation.
  • Alliterative Name: Touya Todoroki.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Touya is annoyed to find that Shouto has become a Deadpan Snarker and The Gadfly who happily lords his Big Little Brother status over him. Natsuo is even worse about this and can't stop teasing Touya for how much shorter he is than him.
    Apparently, at some point over the last five years, his younger brother had also become a little shit.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Endeavor is this for Touya. While Shouto has acknowledged that Endeavor is trying to mend the bridge, Endeavor's sympathy does not extend to his eldest son and their next encounter is nothing but venomous. He refuses to even tell Fuyumi and Natsuo about Touya's return, only finding out after Shouto calls and gets a This Cannot Be! response from his sister.
  • Backhanded Apology: After a long time insulting Touya, Bakugou is finally asked by the rest of the class to apologize to the poor kid. Bakugou's response is a rant that essentially goes "I'm sorry that I have to apologize to this idiot that made all of our lives hell". This is the final insult that makes Touya reach his Rage Breaking Point.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Dabi and Shouto's battle is set in this due to their respective Playing with Fire powers.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: When Touya was a hero student, he was a Chick Magnet thanks to his unblemished skin and good looks. As Dabi, he lets his own Quirk burn him until he's horribly scarred and nearly unrecognizable from his past self.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Touya aspired to join the hero course when he was a teenager and prove to his father that he wasn't weak and worthless. He hoped to one day make it big and get his mom out of the mental hospital. As Dabi, he's an extremely powerful and dangerous villain who permanently scarred Izuku and participated in the murder of a pro hero.
  • Berserk Button: Monoma calling Touya a 'reject Todoroki' really gets to him.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Touya genuinely wants to become a hero and is trying his hardest to be good for as long as he can. At the same time, he has a vicious temper that rivals his father's. When he finally snaps, even Bakugou can't say a word for a few minutes.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Before he left, Touya did his best to shield his siblings, especially Shouto, from their father's abuse. He's utterly horrified when he learns he attacked Shouto, trying to dismiss everything as just a dream even when Aizawa bluntly says that it's reality.
    Touya: I don’t know why I would’ve tried to hurt him. I don’t… I’ve done everything I can to protect him.
  • Big Eater: The energy requirements of Touya's Quirk force him to eat exorbitant amounts of food to keep himself from collapsing or becoming weak. This had the side effect of making him short and sickly when he was younger, not helped by his naturally weak constitution.
  • Big Little Brother: As a result of being de-aged, both of Touya's younger brothers are now taller than him. He isn't happy about it.
  • Birds of a Feather: After some initial hesitation, Touya and Izuku get along pretty quickly as two Nice Guys who tend to suffer from Heroic Self-Deprecation and have self-destructive superpowers. Recovery Girl laments this and warns Izuku not to rub more of his reckless disregard for his own well-being on Touya.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Touya's and Bakugou's mutual feud. On one hand, Dabi did threaten to roast Bakugou as a way to get him to submit to the Villain League - an act shown to have adversely affected him in the aftermath. That said, Touya literally is different from his older self in memories, body, and behavior: he really isn't Dabi - much of his personal angst comes from being horrified at his older self's actions.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • Even though Touya is a confused, terrified child, Aizawa doesn't shy away from telling Touya his future identity and that he becomes a murderous villain.
    • Touya gets curb-stomped by Ochaco in hand-to-hand combat training. She tries to soften the blow by telling him he's just slow, but Bakugou barks at her to not sugarcoat the fact that he got his ass kicked. Touya agrees.
  • Cast from Calories: Touya's Quirk quickly burns through his energy reserves, forcing him to eat a ton to keep himself from starving. He mentions that this made him very small and sickly as a kid, which let his younger brother Natsuo grow taller than him even though Touya ate twice as many vegetables and more milk to make up the difference.
  • Chick Magnet: Once he gets an actually good-looking set of clothes, random girls start swooning over Touya the way they do with Shouto. The attention embarrasses him more than anything and he starts blushing when it happens. Kaminari lampshades it.
    Kaminari: I knew this was going to happen. Our chances with girls decrease with every Todoroki apparently.
    Touya: Don't worry, I'm not going to be stealing girls from you.
    Kaminari: You don't have to. They'll come flocking to you, leaving the rest of us poor souls behind.
  • Clothing Damage: Touya tends to buy cheap clothes because he didn't get much money from his father and his Quirk would usually burn them to ashes anyway. This also means that he has little sense of fashion, as he only sought out clothes that are cheap and comfortable since he'd destroy them soon enough. He's confused when all of 1-A is gawking at his Rummage Sale Reject outfit.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Dabi is struck with the de-aging Quirk from behind while he was occupied with fighting Shouto.
  • Cool Big Bro: When he was younger, Touya was this for his younger siblings, always doing his best to protect them from Endeavor and playing with Shouto and Natsuo as much as possible. The fact that Dabi tried to murder Shouto shakes Touya to his core, even as Shouto makes it clear that he still sees Touya as his gentle, loving older brother. Even as Dabi, he's reluctant to attack Shouto unless it's necessary and refrains from killing him if possible.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The world does not like Touya. In just the first handful of chapters, he gets confronted by what his future self has done, has a rough encounter with Endeavor, is thrown out of a window after an explosive training exercise with Bakugou, and is saddled a lot of confidence issues from years of abuse. The boy needs a hug more than anything.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Touya was subject to years of Training from Hell from his father when he was three years old which only ended after Shouto's Quirk manifested. After this, he was tossed aside and constantly derided as a worthless failure by Endeavor, giving him serious self-confidence issues. After that, something made Touya drop out of U.A. and go down the path towards becoming a serial killer.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Touya is this when he's agitated, displaying the same dry wit he had as Dabi. Shouto also enjoys making quips at Touya's expense.
    Endeavor: You disgusting piece of villain trash. You have no right to be here. You should be rotting in jail for your crimes.
    Touya: Funny, so should you. [smirks] Oh, I heard you’re the number one hero now. Congratulations.
  • Determinator: Izuku, as usual, manages to win the training exercise even after having several of his ribs broken by Kirishima.
  • Did Not Die That Way/Faking the Dead: Fuyumi, Shouto, and Natsuo were under the assumption that Touya had committed suicide, when in fact he was still alive as the villain Dabi.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Inverted. Touya hates being referred to by his future alias because it reminds him of all the terrible things he's done and can't remember. He breaks down after Bakugou calls him Dabi one too many times while they were both reeling from Monoma losing control of Touya's Quirk and nearly killing them all.
    Touya: [to Bakugou] My name isn’t Dabi! [digs his fingernails into his palms] I’m not him! I don’t want to be him! I’m so fucking sick and tired of you calling me that. I know I’m gonna go back to being that asshole, but I’m not him now. I’m not. I swear I’m not like that. I’m not him. I’m not a villain. I’m not-
  • Dramatic Irony: Touya has a few good moments of this when being questioned about Dabi, before being informed that he is Dabi.
    What the fuck kind of name was “Dabi”? It sounded like it was made up by someone who was trying to be edgy.
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted. Touya admits to thinking about the subject because of his inferiority complex, but he was too focused on his dream of becoming a hero and spiting Endeavor to ever put it into action. After his disappearance, his siblings assumed this was the case. After learning what he becomes, Touya wonders if it would have been better if he had offed himself.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come/Dreaming Of Things Gone By: A variation in that Touya is slowly getting memories of his time as Dabi in his dreams. While they're the future from his perspective, they already happened in the past from the perspective of everyone else.
  • Dumpster Dive: This was Touya's primary source of clothing while attending U.A. because of how little money he had. He's reluctant to admit it at first, but when some of 1-A comes with him, he fakes pride until Ochaco, Izuku, and Yaoyorozu all get in on the act. Aizawa apparently did the same when he was a student.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Dabi shows clear reluctance at the idea of killing Shouto in his narration in the first chapter.
    • The League of Villains are also very worried when Dabi goes missing, especially Toga and Shigaraki, postponing all of their other plans until they find him.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Inverted for Touya. He hates English and literature but made sure he was damn good at math so he could properly manage his own finances.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Touya taught himself and his siblings Morse code so they could discreetly communicate with each other underneath their father's nose. Touya realizes that his current situation isn't a dream when he hears Shouto tapping "real" from behind the one-way glass of his interrogation room.
  • Fallen Hero: Touya was an aspiring hero student with incredible potential before he fell to villainy and became Dabi. One of the story's biggest mysteries is what triggered his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Touya's lifelong dream was to join U.A.'s hero course, but his father wouldn't let him take the exam due to his flawed Quirk, consigning him to General Studies. Naturally, this made things worse, as Touya was unable to get the supervision and training he needed to control his Quirk, leading to the unspecified "Quirk-related incident" that made him drop out of U.A. and go down the path of becoming a villain.
  • Fiery Redhead: Not apparent at first due to how hard he's trying to not act like Dabi, but Touya possesses a fiery temper to rival his father's, using it to order his siblings back into their rooms as he goes to confront Endeavor. When he hits his Rage Breaking Point, even Bakugou is temporarily silenced by how angry Touya is.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Inverted and invoked. After learning about the nature of the de-aging Quirk, Touya expects Dabi to be fighting to get back out, but he feels nothing.
  • First-Name Basis: He insists that everyone refer to him as Touya, both to distance himself from his father and to distinguish himself from Shouto, who is used to being referred to by their surname.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Touya has trouble acclimating to the rapid changes that happened over the past five years. His youngest brother is now the same age has he is (mentally), his old dorm room is now Izuku's, All Might is retired and Endeavor is now the new number one hero. Even his own siblings feel like strangers to him because of how much they've changed. He's also surprised to learn that people can now dye their hair simply by mixing it into their shampoo when there was an entire process for it five years ago.
    Touya: I feel like I’ve missed so much - like so much has changed and yet some things are the same and I don’t— I don’t understand.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: The central conflict of the story is the fact that Touya won't be himself forever, as he will revert back to being Dabi at one point or another. He's filled with remorse for everything he learns he did and apologizes to Shouto in advance for being a horrible older brother and a complete bastard.
    Touya: [leaning back and staring at the ceiling] I’m sorry. I know it means jack shit since I don’t even know what all I’ve done as Dabi, but I know enough to know that I’m a complete bastard. [snorts] That’s probably an underestimate.
    Shouto: You don’t have to apol—
    Touya: No, I do. [pushes himself upright and faces Shouto] Because I don’t know if I will when I turn back. I tried to be a good big brother, but… I failed in the worst way and that’s something I can never forgive myself for. I was selfish. I can’t promise you that I’ll be better. All I can is do is work at it.
  • Foil: Touya and Bakugou have explosively powerful Quirks, Inferiority Superiority Complexes, and incredibly volatile tempers when pushed. Touya was considered a failure by his father and can't properly control his Quirk. He entered U.A. as a Nice Guy with the best of intentions but was forced into the general education course by his father. This ended up stifling his potential and led to the incidents that turned him down the path toward becoming a villain. Bakugou is a Genius Bruiser who was always praised for his talents by everyone around him. He earned the top spot in the U.A. Entrance Exam and is naturally gifted in both hand-to-hand combat and the use of his Quirk. Despite his abrasive demeanor, Bakugou stubbornly refused to become a villain and rejected it at every opportunity despite common perceptions of him.
  • Foreshadowing: Monoma and Touya encounter each other quite early in the fic. Monoma ends up nearly touching Touya, before being brushed off. This is brought to a head in Chapter 21 when Monoma copies Touya's Quirk to disastrous consequences.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Touya's self-loathing is amplified by the fact that Shouto, Natsuo, and Fuyumi each made something of their lives despite going through the same shitty childhood he had.
    How weak could he be? Oh, boo hoo, he’d wanted his dad to love him. That wasn’t an excuse for all the shit he’d pulled over the years. Natsuo and Fuyumi hadn’t broken like he had.
  • Fountain of Youth: The plot of the story is this happening to Dabi, sending him back to just before his Start of Darkness.
    • Also has elements of Raise Him Right This Time, as U.A.'s teachers and students are dismayed to find out that Touya was failed badly enough while attending U.A. that he became a villain, and resolve to do better this time. Even though they know that he's bound to return to being Dabi, they hope his experiences as Touya will make him a better person once he does.
  • The Future Is Shocking: Touya is very surprised and dismayed to find that he grows up to become a villain.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Touya wonders what the hell could have turned him into a gleeful murderer who is willing to attack his own brother. He's disgusted with Dabi and believes that any bad feelings 1-A has for him are fully justified. He hates being called by his future alias and constantly points out that he isn't Dabi right now, regardless of how things turned out in (from his perspective) the future.
  • The Gadfly: Touya is a master of annoying the hell out of people by pinpointing their flaws and insecurities. He weaponized this against Endeavor so he could take some of the pressure off Shouto when they were younger and happily prods Bakugou when he's up in his face.
    If there was one thing that he excelled at, it was annoying people. No, it was more than that. He could find a person’s weakest point and would pick at it until they were pissed off. It was probably why he and Bakugou kept butting heads. It was why he kept looking at everyone in Class A like they might turn into a threat. He knew how to pick until a person exploded. No wonder his father had hated him. There was very little worse than having a bratty teenager point out all your flaws.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Despite his over-the-top and energetic exterior, Present Mic is far from stupid and is actually one of the most cynical of the five heroes sent to overlook Touya's interrogation, not believing Touya's testimony in the slightest. Even after weeks of good behavior, Touya can tell that Present Mic doesn't trust him at all.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Touya winces when he remembers Recovery Girl's warning not to burn himself with his Quirk, lest he be permanently scarred. His future self Dabi is covered in them, which Touya figures are all self-inflicted with his Quirk.
  • Goth: Jirou, Tokoyami, and Shouji drag Touya over to a store they like after realizing that his taste in clothes was similar to theirs. He's uncomfortable with it at first because of the pictures he's seen of Dabi, but he rocks a black leather jacket and dark jeans well enough to instantly catch the eyes of random girls. Lampshaded by Ochaco and Shouto.
    Ochaco: Oh, you look so good! So edgy and cool.
    Touya: [snorting in embarrassment] Stop.
    Shouto: It’s better than I remembered. There’s actual style.
    Touya: [dryly] Glad to receive your approval.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Downplayed. Touya loves Shouto dearly but on some level, he's resentful of the fact that Shouto ended up being the perfect one while Touya was tossed away as the failed and useless reject. His guilt over becoming Dabi does not help matters.
  • Hates Being Touched: Touya is instinctively averse to physical contact because of years of physical and emotional abuse. He only made exceptions for his siblings, particularly Shouto, to make sure they got the affection they deserved.
  • Hates Their Parent: Touya possesses a burning animosity towards his father Endeavor for what the man did to his children. The feeling is mutual, as Endeavor despises Touya for becoming the villain Dabi. Natsuo has similar feelings towards Endeavor, but Shouto and Fuyumi are trying to mend the bridge as their father tries to be a better person.
  • Height Angst: Played for Laughs. Both Shouto and Natsuo love teasing Touya over the fact that they're taller than him. Natsuo in particular loves to push the fact that he towers over Touya now, breaking up an otherwise tender moment between them. Touya hates this and calls Natsuo an oversized demon in his head.
    Natsuo: [while hugging Touya] Holy shit, you are short.
    Touya: [kicks Natsuo in the shin and pulls away] And that's enough of that.
    Natsuo: [grinning] Chill, it’s just the natural order of things. The older brother is supposed to be taller than the younger one.
    Touya: [indignantly with a snort] I'm three years older than you.
    Natsuo: Whatever helps you sleep at night.
  • Heroic BSoD: Touya drops into this after hearing what he becomes and weakly tries to deny that he could ever become a villain or try to kill Shouto.
  • Heroic RRoD: Touya tends to burn himself if he overuses his fire. Fuyumi would always have to treat him for his burns after Endeavor was finished training him and he eventually started doing it to himself once he started training in secret as a U.A. general education student.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: After learning what he turns into, Touya begins sinking lower and lower into depression, constantly referring to himself as a failure and latching onto anything he can to convince himself that he's not a villain.
  • Hit Me, Dammit!: After getting one too many tongue-lashings from Bakugou, Touya just screams at him to blow him to pieces already because his future self is horribly scarred anyway.
    Touya: Forget it. I don’t even care anymore. Fucking explode me. Because guess what: I’m gonna end up scarred as shit anyways. It doesn’t matter! None of it matters!
  • Hope Is Scary: Touya is reluctant to latch onto any feelings of hope because he's just so used to getting it dashed, especially after learning that he ended up becoming a horrible villain for reasons he can't remember.
    He couldn’t afford to have any hope. He couldn’t handle the disappointment that would sink in when that hope was proven false. He’d been hopeful a handful of times before. It had always been a mistake.
  • Humble Hero: Zigzagged. On one hand, Touya is well-aware of his limits and isn't boastful about his abilities, constantly seeing himself as the inferior version of Shouto. On the other hand, he has a fragile ego and he can be set off if he's referred to as a "reject" or "worthless", as he was desperately trying to prove his father wrong up until he became a villain. He also considers the students in general studies useless to him, as he continually aimed to join the hero course. He also hates stepping down and backing off when challenged, preferring to meet his opponents head-on.
  • Hypocrite: Touya resents his old man for calling him worthless and tossing him, Fuyumi, and Natsuo aside, and putting Shouto through grueling training. Touya also threw his classmates aside because he felt that they were worthless to him when he was aiming for the hero course.
  • I Have No Son!: Endeavor's reaction to learning that Dabi was in fact Touya.
    Endeavor: Quit acting like you don’t know. You can trick them, but you won’t fool me again. I should have known you were rotten to your core.
    Touya: Like Father, Like Son, right?
    Endeavor: You are not my son.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Touya has the same vibrant blue eyes as his father, emphasizing how he's a dumb teenager and not an evil villain yet. Downplayed in that Dabi also has these eyes and the sight of them reminds Touya's mother of her abusive husband.
  • Internal Reveal: In the first chapter, Dabi is nailed with an age rewind quirk, returning him to his state at 16 years of age... Shouto's brother, Touya.
  • In the Dreaming Stage of Grief: After discovering that he becomes Dabi, Touya desperately tries to deny it, but Aizawa doesn't bother to give him that comfort.
    Touya: No, no way, no — that’s not me. I mean, look at me! I-I don’t… I don’t understand. That can’t be me because I’m right here. [looks at his reflection] This is a nightmare, right? I’m in a dream. This is a dream.
    Aizawa: I can assure you that this is reality, as confusing as it seems.
    Touya: That’s... [angrily points at the photo] that’s not me.
    Aizawa: It is you.
    Touya: [jumps out of his chair] Stop saying that!
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: One of Touya's motivations for attending U.A. is to prove to his father that he wasn't weak and that he was just as worthy of becoming a hero as his "perfect" younger brother. Prior to being "transported" to the present, the last words Touya remembers hearing from his father was to not let his weakness rub off on Shouto, which only made Touya angrier.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Touya's immediate response to learning that he becomes Dabi is to repeatedly deny it as a horrible nightmare in an attempt to maintain his sanity. It isn't until Shouto starts tapping "real" in Morse code from the other side of the one-way glass does Touya reluctantly accept it as truth.
    Touya: I-I don’t…. How? What happened to make me…? [shakes his head] No, I don’t believe it. This isn’t real.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Despite his own merits, Touya has always considered himself inferior to Shouto after being tossed aside by Endeavor. After learning that he becomes Dabi, he begins referring to himself as a failure who became the opposite of everything he dreamed of becoming. He bottles these emotions up inside because he hates appearing weak to others, especially Shouto. This negativity built up until he explodes in rage after Monoma called him a 'reject Todoroki'. He also can't stand to appear weak in front of others, feeling embarrassed when he begins to cry and never trying to let his distress or fear show.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Underneath his Nice Guy veneer, Touya is closer to this. He genuinely cares about people who bother to be nice to him, but he wouldn't be following others around or acting meekly around them if he had a choice. Even when he knows he should just walk away from a fight to avoid trouble, he's still inclined to stand his ground and assert himself. He also thinks nothing of his classmates in general studies, considering any relationship he had with them to be worthless since he was aiming for the hero course.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Touya doesn't remember being Dabi or anything about his years as a villain. The last thing he remembers is calling home to speak with Shouto while studying for one of Midnight's exams. This also gets Played for Drama as while he learns what he did and is thoroughly ashamed of his actions, he doesn't know what else to do with this information because he doesn't remember doing them in the first place.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Due to his antagonism, and quite hilariously, Bakugou ends up with pink hair for quite some time due to a prank. More seriously, however, Monoma suffers for his arrogance in thinking he could control Touya's volatile Quirk- nearly roasting several of Class 1-A's students and causing injury to himself.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The story assumes the reader has caught up with the manga and doesn't bother to hide details like All Might's retirement and Overhaul's defeat.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Dabi is revealed in the first chapter to be Touya Todoroki, Shouto's missing eldest brother. In school, they try to pass each other off as cousins, but it doesn't take long for Monoma to start seeing through this.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Unfortunately, Touya is more like Endeavor than he would ever admit: he possesses the same abysmal temper when agitated, has a similar hairstyle and facial features- despite being much leaner than the older man- and has powerful flames as his Quirk. It's explicitly spelled out as Touya is constantly using blue fire, his father’s most brutal and powerful attack in the anime. While Touya resents Endeavor and gets ignored by him for being imperfect, Touya completely ignored his general studies classmates because they felt useless to him when he was aiming for the hero course.
  • Logical Weakness: Like his younger brother and some others, because Touya's Quirk is long-ranged and powerful, he's less than effective in close-range and hand-to-hand combat. He also struggles to fight in team settings because of how wide-reaching his Quirk is. He's working on getting over this.
  • Luminescent Blush: Touya breaks into these when he's nervous or embarrassed, like when he's getting gawked at by random girls on the street. He also blushes when he's been caught looking weak in front of others, usually by being emotional for once.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Izuku, as usual, shrugs off several broken ribs during his training exercise to win his fight against Kirishima. Recovery Girl scolds him for being so reckless, as he could have easily perforated his lungs with his broken ribs and gotten in much worse shape.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The original name given for Touya in this fic, Ryouta, name can be written with "燎" (meaning "burn" or "bonfire") or 凉冫(meaning "cool" as in "cool and pleasant" but with the radical for "ice"). The second kanji, "他", can mean "another". Combined together, they can read "another fire" or "another ice". These refer to his parents' Quirks and the uncertainty about which one he would inherit from them when he was born.
    • Touya's name contains the kanji "燈矢", the first of which means "lamp" and the second of which means "arrow". The first character also contains the kanji for "fire" while the second refers to an object that's sent away and doesn't return, referencing his disappearance and fire Quirk. His surname, Todoroki, means "roaring", referring to his and his father's nasty tempers.
  • Mental Time Travel: A variation. From Touya's point of view, he abruptly skipped forward in time five years, but the reality is that his sixteen-year-old mind and appearance were basically transposed onto his older body.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Touya is horrified after learning of his crimes as Dabi. He doesn't understand why he went down that path and he feels that everyone is fully entitled to hate him for what he's done. He's especially shaken to learn that he tried to murder his youngest brother. He's also disgusted with himself for leaving Shouto, Fuyumi, and Natsuo to face Endeavor alone, saying that he should have been there for them as their big brother.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Downplayed. After becoming a villain, Touya has a chance to finally get into the hero course and learn what it takes to become one. At the same time, this arrangement is only temporary and he's bound to turn back into Dabi eventually. Even still, Touya hopes to at least get the chance to apologize for everything Dabi did and reconnect with his siblings while he still can.
  • My Hair Came Out Green: Touya and Mina decide to prank Bakugou by mixing pink hair dye into his shampoo. While they initially decide to use a harmless dye that would come out in a few weeks, someone had swapped that dye out with a more permanent dye that would last for months.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: Prior to his fight with Shouto at the support department warehouse, Dabi's clothes were outfitted with a thermoregulator system that would greatly extend the time he's able to utilize his Quirk without injuring himself.
  • Nice Guy: Touya is somewhat reserved and brooding, especially after learning what he becomes, but he's kind-hearted and soft-spoken unless he's agitated. He does his best to remain on good terms with 1-A, tries to reconnect with the rest of his siblings, and hates to impose on Ochaco, who he knows is a Working-Class Hero. He desperately tries to be good in an attempt to make up for his future self's crimes and makes it clear that he doesn't want to become Dabi despite Endeavor's and Bakugou's opinions of him.
  • Parents as People: Under all his anger and horrendous abuse, Endeavour finally confesses to Eraserhead that he was terrified by the possibility of Touya hurting himself or his family if he couldn't control his Quirk. The man was traumatized when his preteen son almost burned himself and his sister alive in his sleep, and a doctor suggested Touya ought to be institutionalized for life as he obviously was too much of a danger to society. Of course, Aizawa points out that Endeavour's methods to teach Touya control and restraint awfully backfired on everyone.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Touya frowns and scowls constantly because of his rough childhood, only smiling when he was playing with his siblings and trying to comfort Shouto. The smiles he does manage to make end up as wry smirks. Shouto notes that Touya always puts up an unimpressed, surly expression by default. He can't even remember the last time he's actually laughed out loud until he sees the results of his prank on Bakugou and hears Shouto's deadpan comment on the scene.
  • Playing with Fire: Touya's Quirk lets him produce searingly hot blue flames that are even more powerful than Shouto's or Endeavor's. This comes at the cost of control, as Touya suffers from Power Incontinence when he's riled up. He also lacks the resistance to heat that his father and brother possess, which lets his Quirk burn him.
  • Point of Divergence: After Dabi's disappearance, the League of Villains is preoccupied with trying to locate him, derailing their plans to attack Endeavor with the newest and most powerful Noumu, High-End. This trope also gets discussed, as All Might and Aizawa lament that Touya may have never become a villain if U.A. had been more receptive to his turbulent home life and problems with his Quirk.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Touya is fiery, resentful, red-haired, blue-eyed, and has a fire Quirk. Fuyumi is anxious, helpful, mostly white-haired, grey-eyed, and presumably has an ice Quirk.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Touya doesn't tell Aizawa about his Quirk's weaknesses and volatility until Monoma copied it and lost control, nearly killing everyone present. Aizawa then confronts Touya about this and makes him spill the beans. Aizawa and All Might also note that if U.A. was more receptive to Touya's issues, then maybe he would have never become Dabi in the first place.
  • Power Incontinence: Touya had to wear Quirk-inhibiting braces as a child for this reason, and begins wearing them again in the present after activating his Quirk in his sleep. When he's not wearing them, he has to consciously clamp down on his flames when he's agitated, lest he use them out of reflex.
  • Promoted to Parent: Touya and Fuyumi were forced to be the parental figures to their younger siblings after their mother became too frightened of Endeavor to bother to take care of them. After Touya left for U.A. and subsequently disappeared, Fuyumi was the only stable influence left in Shouto's and Natsuo's home life.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Touya hates what he becomes and tries to be good to make up for it. But after Bakugou pushes his buttons too hard, Touya snaps. Even he knows that none of this is helping, but his temper keeps boiling over.
    Bakugou: I'm sorry. I’m sorry I don’t feel like being friends with someone who kidnapped me and had a hand in forcing All Might into retirement - someone who murdered people and almost killed his own brother before he got hit with a Clean Slate Quirk.
    Shouto: Bakugou-
    Touya: What do you want? [spins in Bakugou's direction] What do you want from me? [holds his hands up with his palms out] What can I possibly do for you to get off my case? You want me to beg for forgiveness? Get on my knees and tell you all the wrongs I did and can’t fucking remember? You want me to leave? Drop out? Don’t worry; you’ll probably get your wish after all this shit. Maybe they’ll throw me in jail too. Might as well. There isn’t a point to me being here. Everyone is trying to make themselves feel better, but the truth is this is a worthless experiment that is only going to end with me locked up.
    Iida: That’s not-
    Touya: It is and don’t try denying it! I’m a charity case. You know what’s even worse? Monoma was right: I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t a goddamn Todoroki. [throws his hands in the air and drops them] If I was some nobody - and I am, trust me, just ask the number one hero - I would’ve been carted off to prison. But just like he was afraid of - like U.A. is afraid of - my existence is a mark against heroes. It’s an embarrassment, a shame, a smear. They’ve gotta fix it somehow. Oh, I know, let’s give him a ‘second chance’ until he turns back and we lock him up forever. That won’t fuck him up even further!
  • Red Is Heroic: Touya's bright reddish-pink hair and unblemished skin make it difficult to draw a connection between him and his future self's dark hair and heavily scarred appearance.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Shouto has these as per canon, giving him resistance to heat and cold in order to withstand his own Quirk. Touya has the wrong one for his Quirk, inheriting his mother's resistance to cold but not his father's resistance to heat. Because of this, Touya is constantly burning himself whenever he uses his fire.
  • Retcon: Because the story was written prior to the reveal of his canon name, Touya was given the name "Ryouta" for the first 22 chapters of the story. Afterwards, he is subsequently referred to as Touya.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Touya spends several chapters dressing like this, both because he doesn't want to look like Dabi and because they're the only clothes he has. While Kaminari, Kirishima, and Mina all like it or at least tolerate it, everyone else is stunned when they see it and think he's been pranked until they learn he got his clothes from Aizawa. The sight of it makes Izuku choke on his water, but he doesn't comment on it because his own "shirt shirts" (which Touya finds funny) aren't much better. On the other hand, Bakugou can't stop laughing at how stupid Touya looks.
    Touya: [as everyone stares at him] Did you think I was pranked?
    Tsuyu: [walks in] What’s going on?
    Shouto: Touya's bad fashion sense almost killed Midoriya.
    Touya: Now you're just being an ass.
    Shouto: Someone has to tell you the truth.
  • Sad Clown: Touya defaults to bad jokes and trying to beat around the bush when there's something weighing on his mind. In the old days, he'd always try to put a smile on his face to cheer up his younger siblings, even when things were at their worst.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After learning that Natsuo is on his way to see him at U.A., Touya immediately tries to climb out a window, only for Natsuo to climb through that same window to cut him off.
  • Shed the Family Name: The first time around, Touya attended U.A. under his mother's maiden name, Saeki, to avoid being associated with his father.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: Even after being taken in by U.A., heroes like Present Mic and Endeavor are wary of Touya and fully expect him to be a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing who is faking the extent of his Laser-Guided Amnesia to avoid punishment. Touya is in fact a Nice Guy (or at least, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold) who is horrified by all the things he did as Dabi and genuinely wants to become a hero for however long he can.
  • She Is All Grown Up: A platonic version. When Touya comes to the warehouse where Shouto and Dabi were fighting, he's stunned to see someone who looks exactly like eleven-year-old Shouto, only tall, muscular and sharp. This contributes to his own mounting confusion as to how he ended up there and Shouto's accusations that he's Dabi until Touya passes out. When Shouto and Touya finally manage to sit down and talk, one of the first things Touya brings up is that Shouto is now taller than him.
  • Ship Tease: Touya/Mina, given how easily they end up bonding.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Touya tries to avoid dark and edgy clothes to distance himself from Dabi. This is also subverted when Jirou and Tokoyami assure him that it's okay for him to wear dark clothes if he likes them. Clothes do not make the villain or hero.
    Tokoyami: The clothes don’t make the person. They don’t make the villain or the hero either.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Touya cusses up a storm when he's feeling down, agitated, or otherwise troubled, throwing "shit", "damn" and "fuck" in every other sentence. It nicely contrasts the overly formal mannerisms of his younger brother.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: An unnamed civilian who worked at the support warehouse Dabi attacked had the ability to rewind people to previous states much like Eri, only his quirk rewound them physically and mentally to the most recent turning point in their lives. He used this power on Dabi and reverted him to a time before his Face–Heel Turn, which both immediately ended Dabi and Shouto's battle and kicked off the story.
  • Smug Super: Dabi reveled in his power and used it to brush aside his memories of his family while considering himself above villains who were weaker than him. Touya hates it when he sees this memory and calls himself pathetic for taking pride in being a villain, saying that it's just like a Todoroki for him to think that way.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Touya is extremely uncomfortable in social situations after learning what he becomes, instantly assuming that Class 1-A is going to hate him for what he did to them as Dabi. He's always on edge and expecting to get yelled at and is stunned when he receives actual kindness without any strings attached. When he sees Fuyumi again for the first time in years, the best greeting he can come up with is a nonchalant "Hey, Fuyumi." that he immediately regrets because of the weight of his actions.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: Basically what happens to Monoma when he makes the mistake of copying Touya's Quirk and refusing to heed his warnings to deactivate it.
  • Stepford Smiler: When he was younger, Touya would always wear a smile around Shouto to ensure him that everything was going to be okay. It, of course, was a strained and sad lie.
    He would see how exhausted, sick, and terrible he felt after training and it would terrify him. He didn’t want Shouto to go through the same thing. All Ryouta could do was put a warm hand on Shouto’s head, put on a brave smile, and tell him it was going to be fine. It was always a lie.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Touya hears Natsuo's voice and immediately bolts to his room to climb out the window to avoid having to face his brother. He's promptly thwarted by Natsuo climbing up the wall to the same window to head him off.
  • Superior Successor: Subverted. Touya's flames are said to be potentially more powerful than Endeavor's, which made him Endeavor's "trial run" before Shouto discovered his Quirk. Endeavor discarded Touya because he didn't possess a resistance to heat that stabilizes his powers on top of his weak constitution.
  • Taking the Heat: Touya would intentionally piss his father off to deflect his attention and wrath from Shouto, bearing as much of the abuse as he could for the sake of his youngest brother.
  • Technicolor Fire: Touya's is bright blue, referencing just how hot it is.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The chapters are each named after a set of lyrics in a song. For instance, Chapter 6 is named "Show Me How You Justify", referencing the lyrics of "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" by Set It Off.
    • All of the Todorokis' names are associated with something hot or cold. The guys are associated with heat while the girls are associated with cold.
      • Touya's name contains the kanji for "lamp", which includes the character for "fire".
      • Shouto's name is made of the kanji for "burning" and "freezing", referring to his Quirk, Half-Cold, Half-Hot.
      • Natsuo's name contains the kanji for "summer".
      • Enji's name includes the kanji for "fire" and "boss".
      • Fuyumi's name contains the kanji for "winter".
      • Rei's name contains the kanji for "cold" and is homophonous to a Japanese word for "zero", as in "zero degrees" or "absolute zero".
  • There's No Kill like Overkill: When Touya breaks his arm trying to learn how to climb out of a window, Natsuo covers for him by saying that there was a hornet in the room and Touya fell while trying to get rid of it. Endeavor asks why Touya didn't use his Quirk to kill it. Touya lampshades the stupidity of this:
    Endeavor: Why didn’t you handle it with your Quirk?
    Touya: [boiling with rage and disbelief] I’ll try it next time, see if the house doesn’t burn down.
  • Thicker Than Water: Touya is initially terrified of meeting with his siblings, fearing that they'll hate him after learning what he did as Dabi. While they don't condone Dabi's actions, Fuyumi and Natsuo are both glad to have their brother back for however long they can.
    Touya: [more nonchalantly than intended] Hey, Fuyumi.
    Fuyumi: [hysterical] "Hey"? You vanish out of the blue for four years, apparently become a villain that attacks our little brother, and then get turned back to a teenager - and all you can say is "hey"?
    Touya: [ashamed] There really isn't much I can say besides I'm sorry. [drops his gaze to the ground] I don’t know why I left or why I became what I did, but I-
    Fuyumi: [wraps her arms around him and sobs into his shoulder] You’re back. You’re really back. I used to dream of it, but you just vanished and I…
    Touya: [voice cracking] I’m sorry for leaving you alone, but I'm here now.
  • This Cannot Be!: When Shouto calls Fuyumi to tell her that Touya has been found and he wants to see her, she immediately asks if Shouto hit his head or something because they had agreed that Touya had died years ago. This makes Shouto realize that Endeavor hadn't told Natsuo or Fuyumi anything about Touya's return.
  • Too Desperate to Be Picky: Due to his tight budget, Touya isn't especially picky about what clothes he wears or what he gets to eat. He's perfectly fine with looking like a Rummage Sale Reject because his clothes tend to burn up anyway and he doesn't have any food preferences because he needs to keep eating to keep up with his Quirk's energy requirements.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The U.A. teachers and pro heroes face a dilemma in the early chapters when they're trying to decide what to do about Touya. Legally, he's a wanted criminal and serial killer and should be arrested. However, he's also a sixteen-year-old child who is technically innocent of his future self's crimes, and it would be wrong to lock him up for however long it takes for the Quirk to wear off. They eventually go with Good.
  • Tough Love: Aizawa doesn't mince words and never speaks in anything but Brutal Honesty. But he's always fair, stands up to the current number one hero to protect his students, and provides Touya with anything he needs to ensure his safety and the safety of the rest of the students.
  • Tragic Dream: Touya once believed in becoming a hero who would overtake his father and finally bring his mother home. Somewhere along the line, he descends into villainy and becomes Dabi, a remorseless killer. For as hard as he's trying to learn to become a hero with 1-A, he knows that it's ultimately a futile gesture as it's only a matter of time until he reverts back to being Dabi.
  • Tragic Dropout: The story hasn't yet revealed the exact circumstances of Touya dropping out of U.A., but given he became a villain shortly after, it can be assumed they weren't pleasant.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Like his younger brother, Touya has some serious Daddy Issues and is a big wad of self-loathing after learning what he turns into. But once Tokoyami and Jirou outfit him with some proper clothes, random girls instantly start hitting on him.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Touya breaks down over the revelation that he becomes Dabi, curling up into a ball as he sits in the corner and weakly tries to deny it.
    Touya: I don’t believe it. That’s not me. This is… This isn’t real. [sinks into the corner] This is just a dream and I’m going to wake up.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Touya has these, emphasizing his fiery side and ability to hold up under pressure out of necessity.
  • Twin Desynch: Touya and Fuyumi suffer from this when five years have passed for her, but not for him.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Touya admits that he underestimated Izuku when they sparred with each other in hand-to-hand combat training, not expecting such a shy guy to be a Close-Range Combatant.
  • Un-person: After institutionalizing Rei, Endeavor attempted to remove all signs of her influence by getting rid of all of her things and any pictures of her. He did the same for Touya after his disappearance. But he couldn't get rid of everything like the scorch marks Touya left on the ceiling or the few pictures Fuyumi managed to save.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Touya's flames are even more powerful than Shouto's or Endeavor's, but he lacks their fine control over them, burning himself and suffering from Power Incontinence. He's also something of a Squishy Wizard who has trouble defending himself in hand-to-hand combat, easily getting put down by Ochaco and Izuku during their spars.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid:
    • Dabi/Touya. Pretty much the whole premise of the story is 1-A meeting and getting to know said sweet kid. Touya's mother used to always praise him for how gentle he was and asked him never to lose his kindness. He laments that he lost that and much more.
    • To a lesser extent, Shouto used to be a much more inquisitive, wide-eyed, and emotional boy when he was younger. Years of putting up with Endeavor slowly wore him down. Without Touya to support him, Shouto became The Stoic and socially withdrawn from his peers. Touya blames himself for this and apologizes for not being there for him.
  • Weak to Fire: Touya has this as a result of his mother's genetics, which is the root cause of many of his problems.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Loath as he is to admit it, he was hurt after being tossed aside by Endeavor in favor of Shouto and attended U.A. in hopes of proving him wrong and earning his respect again. He bitterly lampshades this to Aizawa and All Might during a talk.
    Touya: [referring to his burns] I would’ve lied about it. I would have lied about all of it. I just wanted to make him proud - to show I could be strong and good enough.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Touya's first thoughts when he wakes up in handcuffs is that he somehow got blackout drunk and did something stupid, swearing to never drink again if that really was the case.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Touya frequently called out his father for his abusive behavior, culminating in his discovery that Endeavor had institutionalized Rei and tried to Un-person her after she dumped boiling water on Shouto's face.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Even though Touya doesn't remember anything about being Dabi at the moment, everything he did as him still happened, and the Quirk will eventually wear off. He's doomed to go back to being Dabi no matter what.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Touya can't believe that All Might has become a dried-up husk of a man when he first sees him. All Might finds this both insulting and amusing, as well as confirming that Touya is in fact a teenager and not Dabi playing pretend.
    Touya: What do you mean that’s All Might?
  • You Remind Me of X: Rei Todoroki couldn't bear to even look at Touya and Shouto after a while, as they reminded her too much of their father. Touya fears that she'll suffer another breakdown if she sees him again, especially if she learns what he becomes.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: Touya's perspective is introduced as him waking up in a flaming warehouse and wondering what the hell is going on when the last thing he remembers is studying for an exam.