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And let me crawl inside your veins

Chapter Text

Being a small and weak male in high school was a one way ticket to being a loner with either very few friends, or none at all.

Mishima had to deal with the latter, and with the attention of Kamoshida, it was even worse.

When he wasn't being beaten over every little mistake, he was being ignored entirely, and he wasn't sure which was worse. His classmates were hesitant to even speak to him, as if the abuse he dealt with would rub off on them or something, and it made him angry, so, so angry, that they'd turn a blind eye to his suffering. To Shiho's suffering. To EVERYONE'S suffering. And for what? Some stupid respect? A trophy? It wasn't worth it, but what could he do?

Nothing. He never really could.

But Akira Kurusu could.

The transfer student was...intimidating, especially at first.

Tall, sharp features, messy black hair and glasses that always covered his eyes. You never knew what he was thinking unless he wanted you to know, so it seemed. He was intriguing, a mystery, and it was kind of surprising his peers didn't jump on him for it. You always hear about how girls want a mysterious guy but when they have one in reach, all they do is gossip about him when he can still hear them. Was it really shocking though, at a school where abuse and sexual harassment is blatantly ignored? He supposed not.

They never really spoke to each other, not at first. Once or twice maybe, be it simply passing each other in the halls and saying hello or softly exchanging a stilted greeting when coming in and bumping into each other. Even when that "punk" Sakamoto became his friend, he still seemed to hang around school more than he probably should after classes, alone, allowing them the chance to speak.

Once, they'd caught each others eyes, and the sweet, almost...calming smile he'd been greeted with had simultaneously set his nerves alight and soothed the constant thrum of anxiety on the edges of his mind.

It had only taken one smile for him to want more, but he'd pushed the pathetic yearning down so far he could nearly pretend it had never existed in the first place.

It never really went away, though.

~°~

"C'mon man, just tell us what we want to know! Why you gotta be so difficult about this huh?!" Sakamoto half muttered and half yelled. More of that and surely a teacher would rescue him right?

"I-I...please, just let me go..." He whispered, his body curled in on itself, arms pressed tightly against his torso. What good would it do to talk about Kamoshida anyway? No one cared, and they'd just get hurt if they meddled. Maybe Sakamoto's invasive attitude and mannerisms deserved some sort of consequence, but Mishima didn't wish to see Kurusu get hurt all because his loudmouth friend couldn't stay out of everyone's business.

"Hey, Ryuji, back off of him. You don't have to be so harsh." Kurusu cut in sharply, tone and gaze holding no room for argument. It was a side to the usually gentle teen that Mishima had never glimpsed, though he wasn't around him enough to see it anyway, he supposed. The thought ached in a weird way, but he dismissed it. He really was getting lonely and desperate...

"Hey, Mishima, you don't need to be so afraid. Whatever it is he's said to you, or done to you to keep you quiet, doesn't matter. He won't even know you've said anything, I promise. You can trust me." The teen urged, leaning forward into his personal space and smiling that award winning grin that melted his resistance like ice in the hot summer sun, both choosing to ignore the shocked and incredulous look Sakamoto wore.

"I...what's he done to me is...isn't important. But that girl, Shiho, Takamaki-san's friend, he's been keeping her back a lot. He touches her too, a lot. Her back, or her waist, and her thighs sometimes, if no ones watching. She always looks so uncomfortable...he won't give us water after rigorous training and one girl even got sick because of it. There's more but I...listen, please, please don't mention me if you confront him! I can't imagine what he'll do to me if he finds out I told you guys anything." He had pleaded, and Kurusu had been quick to sooth his spike of panic with kind words and an anchoring touch on his shoulder. It had been the nicest touch he'd received in such a long time, but his pleading hadn't even mattered in the end.

They'd been told they'd be expelled and his nasty crime of exposing Kurusu had come into the light, leaving him sick and strangely hollow, even when Kurusu had come right up to him after class and insisted he wasn't angry. No amount of reassurance would make him forgive himself.

The closer the meeting day came, the more he just wanted to curl up under a rock and die. His future was ruined wasn't it? And he'd ruined Kurusu's future too, hell, even Sakamoto's. He was pathetic, a failure. Unworthy of the odd, fond smile he received from the transfer student, no matter how good it made him feel.

But then, something strange happened.

A calling card by the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts", claiming to right the wrongs Kamoshida had committed and expose what a nasty piece of work he was. Putting his hope into such a silly thing was foolish, he knew that, but still, it made him feel better, and the happy laugh that left Kurusu's lips when he was given a smile that day instead of a bowed head served only to brighten his mood even more. If his smile could really make Kurusu that happy, well, maybe he wasn't so useless after all. Maybe these Phantom Thieves really would fix what was going to happen, and expose what had already happened.

It didn't escape Mishima's notice when, only a day after the calling card had appeared, the two (three now, with Takamaki-san joining them) friends arrived at school, practically jumping with nervous energy and a smug, victorious air about them. He had to wonder what exactly they'd won, or accomplished.

His answer would arrive in the form of a public confession in the gym only three short days later, all three filled with Kurusu insisting on spending time with him, even at the obvious hesitance of his friends. That certainly hadn't won them any points, but it was nice, how Kurusu cared about him. Wanted him around, even, LISTENED to him.

It was even more nice when Mishima put the pieces together.

Phantom Thieves popping up out of nowhere and knowing everything, Kurusu insisting he'd fix the expulsion, said expulsion conveniently being forgotten the day it was supposed to happen, Kurusu's excitement and smug smirks traded with his other friends...

He was a Phantom Thief, he HAD to be! And maybe his friends were in on it too, definitely!

The realization had him in a tizzy, a broad smile lighting up his face out of nowhere while packing up his things to go home. Kurusu's breathless sigh alerted him to the boys presence, and in his excitement, he didn't even notice the glassy look he was being given.

He'd have to do something for his...his...well, his hero, technically! Because that's what the Phantom Thieves WERE. That's what Kurusu was...and still, he wanted to hang out with Mishima, sad, pathetic, lonely little Mishima. He couldn't understand why, but the attention made something in him change...click into place, really. It amplified the feeling that first smile gave him, made his breath catch and his hands shake just a bit. It was so good, so wonderful, and he knew he'd do just about anything to feel that wanted again.

Chapter Text

It hadn't taken him very long to think of a way to repay just a bit of the generosity Kurusu had extended to him, truthfully. He'd thought about it on his way home, all throughout the constantly quiet dinner where his parents pointedly didn't speak to him or each other, even when he was half focused on his homework, his mind was whirling.

No one in his life had ever cared about him in such a way, as pathetic as it was.

His parents wanted a strong, athletic, smart boy to be proud of, to show off like a dog, as if to say "look at us, look what this thing WE raised did! Love us! Adore us!", as if his shining accomplishments would singlehandedly save their doomed marriage, and when they had instead gotten a feminine, shy boy who could barely lift a bowling ball...well, he wasn't shown much parental love in his life.

There'd been no friends, no he was much too quiet and small to ever approach anyone, and by the time his average looks could pull any amount of attention onto himself, he'd been so tired of being shunned that he hadn't reciprocated the shallow attention.

Was it too much to ask for a bit of love? He could still remember the pure pride his parents showed when he announced he'd gotten accepted by Kamoshida to train under him. They'd talked to him for once. They'd talked to each other! So if he came home with a few (a lot) of bruises, once, a sprained ankle, well, it was all worth it in the end, wasn't it?

(You hate them, when have they ever really wanted you for you? When have they ever seen you as more than a trophy?)

But they were his parents, and he loved them all the same. It was what a good son would do, and Kamoshida getting arrested wasn't HIS fault, so he couldn't very well be blamed for that, could he? Oh, but Kurusu really didn't understand just how MUCH he'd given Mishima, did he?

It was as he tugged on a shirt to sleep in that it hit him, just what he COULD do for his new found...friend. That's what Kurusu said they were, and if KURUSU said they were friends, no one else could really argue. He was the only one that Mishima cared to hear out anyway.

He was good with computers--another useless skill according to his parents--so maybe...maybe a website? Entirely based around the Phantom Thieves, of course! A fan site!

Excitement pulsed through his veins, and he found himself grinning, spinning on his heel towards his desk and computer. It would take, gosh, forever to do, but if he really worked at it, if he really did his very best, he might be done before school! Sleeping could wait, Kurusu needed his support now more than ever! And then...

And then perhaps.

Kurusu-kun might just smile at him like that first one, one more time.

But of course, he wouldn't want to get ahead of himself! A website was hardly a fair trade for just how kind Kurusu had been to him, even after the vile thing he'd done. He'd do more, he would...he'd be useful. He'd make Kurusu proud.

He'd make Kurusu like him.

It was all he asked for. It was all he...needed.

Maybe the boys friends would come around too? He didn't know why they didn't like him. What had he done wrong? Was it because of the rumor? He'd been forced, but he supposed not everyone was as sweet and forgiving as Kurusu. Well, maybe it wouldn't matter! So long as he kept a positive outlook on them, he was sure everything would be...just fine.

~°~

He'd done it.

He'd really done it.

He had finally managed to finish the website, and it even saw activity within 30 minutes of being up!

Oh, he just couldn't wait to see the look on Kurusu's face!

His grin faltered, just a bit.

He was getting ahead of himself. Nothing and no one said Kurusu HAD to like it, right? Maybe he wouldn't. Maybe it was a waste.

Gripping his schoolbag with tension lining his shoulders, he sluggishly pulled it over his arm, lips pressed tightly together. No, it wouldn't do to think like that. Kurusu was so gentle with him, after all, he'd like it just because Mishima had put time and effort into it.

It was the right thing to think, for once, and he let out a small, shaky breath. The phansite was his tribute to the Phantom Thieves (to Kurusu, you know you don't care about the others, who are you trying to fool?) so maybe it would even let the others ease up on their suspicions. It was simply a gesture of goodwill and support, who would dislike that?

"Yuuki, you're going to be late if you don't hurry." His mothers tired voice reached him from downstairs, and he jolted out of his thoughts, forcing his exhausted body to move. So much work and time, and yet, he couldn't help but be happy that he'd finished it, even if it cost him valuable time. He'd probably pass out in class but...well, any positive reaction from Kurusu would make him feel better anyway.

It would be worth it. It had to be.

Kurusu...had to like him.

~°~

Each class period seemed to drag on for eternity, even when he managed to sleep. Perhaps being all but invisible was actually a useful skill, who'd have thought?

It'd taken him forever to get to class, and his plans of approaching Kurusu beforehand were dashed when the boy ended up late anyway, and once first period ended, and then second, and then third, he was immediately surrounded by his two...best friends.

Not that there was anything wrong with that, of course, but he had to wonder (what would it be like to be able to stand so close to him?) what it might be like to have such close friends. Maybe he'd find out.

Mishima finally, finally, got his chance at the end of the day, exhaustion somewhat lifted by his chaotic and erratic napping in class, though he wouldn't complain about the lingering tendrils coaxing him back under. He had an important duty!

Kurusu wasn't hard to spot in the sea of short, brown-haired students, and even though the two local blonds were with him, he knew he'd not get another chance.

Quickening his pace, he desperately pushed through the crowd of classmates and other students eager to get home, whispers of the Phansite reaching him as he moved, a bit of pride even daring to blossom in his chest.

He managed, with quite a lot of difficulty, to reach the stairwell the three had curled themselves up in, effectively blocking the other students from going down, not that they seemed to care or notice. Delinquents indeed.

"Man, it's kinda weird that we got a website dedicated to us, right? And so quick too, think we got some weird fan or something? That'd be sick!" Sakamoto's voice reached him, effectively stomping on the tiny bit of pride he'd collected.

Did Kurusu think he was a creepy fan too?

"Yeah, I hate to agree with Ryuji but it's kinda creepy, huh? But also kinda cool, you know? We have FANS, now." That was Takamaki, of course, her small giggle twisting in his head, sounding mean, cruel almost.

Was he just a joke to them?

Was helping people just a, just a GAME to them?

"No...I don't think it's creepy. They might be a victim of Kamoshida, and they really support us. Don't make such wild assumptions, guys." Kurusu admonished gently, the bite lessened by his small smile.

Of course Kurusu wouldn't agree, he was just so (too) nice.

Well, then the site just wouldn't be for them, then, if they couldn't appreciate it the way their leader could.

Still.

The words...hurt.

He didn't want to hear more (weak Mishima, useless Mishima, you can't do anything right, can't make friends, can't stand up for yourself, you've gotta get a bunch of kids who don't even like you to do it) of the private words, they obviously weren't meant for him. But Kurusu still needed to know.

Carefully, he approached, immediately catching the attention of the taller boy with his movement. The teen lit up upon seeing him, quickly moving forward to reach his side, though Mishima hardly missed the eye roll Sakamoto gave the boys back. Didn't want him there, probably. That wouldn't be much of a problem in that case, no matter how bitter a thought it may be.

"Can I talk to you, privately? The roof, m-maybe?" He asked before the boy had even opened his mouth. It was rude, and out of the ordinary, but the moment of hesitation it caused passed without comment.

"Sure. I'll catch up with you guys later." Kurusu said to his friends, hand tugging on the belt of Mishima's pants to get him to follow. Despite the odd, cold feeling suddenly encompassing his body, despite the dread that slithered through his veins, the casual touch still sent a shock of joy through his system.

Mishima didn't bother looking back as he moved behind Kurusu. He didn't need to see the disgust on their faces. He had already decided.

They didn't matter, so long as Kurusu wasn't affected by their opinion of him.

~°~

Their footsteps echoed unnaturally in the quiet, uncomfortable air surrounding them. As they walked upwards, the voices from below seemed to fade more and more, and it did nothing to dispel the feeling in his chest. He didn't understand it, didn't like it. Where was that warmth that Kurusu's presence always gave him? Where had it fled? He longed for it something fierce.

"Mishima-kun...are you okay? You seem..."

"I'm f-fine." He cut him off, hand sliding into his pocket to retrieve his phone, already thumbing through his bookmarks to load the site up.

He'd had a plan. He'd meant to do it after class, when he was excited and his courage hadn't left him, but those friends of Kurusu's...he couldn't put all the blame on them, but...

"I...I know you're the one who made Kamoshida confess." Mishima said, simply, inelegantly. It went against his carefully constructed vision, but there was no use crying over spilt milk.

Kurusu looked...startled, but not overly shocked. There was no point looking for more, he'd found. You saw only what Kurusu wanted you to see.

"Ah, well, I had thought if anyone would figure it out first, it'd be you. Smart as always, even when you do look dead on your feet, huh?" The teen laughed, eyes warm, as if nothing in the world could be wrong. It...helped, a bit. It chased away some of that suffocating emptiness.

"That's n-not all though. I'm...I'm the one who made that site, the Phantom Thieves one. Ha, see? Admin privileges and all. Took me all night and everything, it's why I was sleeping in class so much." Mishima smiled weakly, holding his phone up for the boy to see. It was hardly as if Kurusu had noticed he'd been asleep, stupid of him to have pointed it out...he expected the other to laugh the entire thing off, no big deal and all.

He didn't expect to see the look of...of guilt, on the teens face.

"Oh Yuuki...that's why you're so subdued. You heard what they said." He breathed, as if it mattered, as if the words had upset him or something! Stupid, right?!

Arms encircled him, then, his face pressed against Kurusu's firm chest, and every bit of rational thought disappeared.

Kurusu was...hugging him?

What had he possibly done to DESERVE such an action? He'd been nothing but pathetic, showing his weakness so obviously, his eyes filled with unshed tears. Maybe he'd been afraid that Kurusu thought him disgusting for his devotion, maybe it'd hurt, but it didn't give him the right to receive something so gentle...a hug, like he deserved a reward.

Despite himself, his arms moved on their own accord, wrapping tightly (possessively) around the other. The dread, the chasm in his chest seemed to close in on itself, replaced with warmth, comfort, a purring contentedness that couldn't be shaken off.

It was...frightening, how much he wanted more. How greedy he became with just a taste. But he could live with a hug and a smile. It was more than he'd ever gotten before.

"Yuuki, I'm sorry. This site, no ones ever been so supportive of me. I...thank you. Just ignore them, okay? They don't get it. They're just being ungrateful, and stupid." Kurusu mumbled into his hair, not budging an inch from the gesture of affection. He didn't mention that his need for them to accept him had become a cold, icy sort of disdain he'd not known himself capable of, didn't mention that Kurusu's encouragement only fed it. There were some things some people just didn't need to know.

In fact, his words seemed...disapproving. Like he didn't enjoy how their words had affected Mishima. Like he was almost...

Mad at them.

Mishima ducked his head further into the teens chest, and a small, unnoticeable smile stretched across his mouth.

Chapter Text

Mishima was lost in his own mind a lot, after that day.

It's hard to concentrate on schoolwork when the sweetest boy you've ever met is ten feet away (he'd counted) after all, so it wasn't entirely his own fault. And yeah, maybe his parents, in all their silent, disapproving glory had taken the time to notice, but what did that matter? They just wanted their trophy back. (You'd have killed for that sort of attention from them a month ago. What ever happened to weak, needy little Yuuki?)

He forgot where he was, most often, so caught up in fantasies he'd never live or hazy recollections of the all encompassing warmth that had tangled in his chest after the hug, refusing to be removed or ignored. It made it impossible to be near Kurusu for too long, or else he'd feel as if he'd simply burst from containing himself. He couldn't just...just TOUCH him, of course not, that was too much, too far, surely his hero wouldn't take to it kindly...looking was enough. Watching. Always, always watching...

The others had noticed, but they weren't in Kurusu's favour much anymore, were they?

For now, they didn't matter, so long as Kurusu never heeded their no doubt vicious words about him. If he did...

(You're too weak to hurt them. You really think you can retaliate?)

But it wasn't just Kurusu's friends that spoke nastily of others. Mishima wasn't the most observant person, especially not with his newfound idolization, but of course he'd keep an ear out for mentions of his friend! And what he found was...upsetting.

"I hear he killed someone, but got out of going to jail cause he's a minor."

"He's so creepy, isn't he? All stuck away in the corner, and he only hangs out with the weirdos of the school. I mean, Sakamoto? Really?"

"Don't get too close to him, Nagoya-chan! And don't let him hear you talk about his friends like that! He might hurt you, you never know. I'd watch my back if I were you."

Just thinking about it made his hands clench around his pencil. Oh how he'd like to give them a taste of their own medicine! How dare they speak of someone as gentle and loving as Kurusu like that! How dare they think themselves above him, they were all nothing but trash, dirt under Kurusu's boot, they didn't deserve to speak if they were only going to slander people (Kurusu, not people, don't lie to yourself)!

He wanted, desperately, to shut them up, for good, if he had to.

It was a dangerous thought, and the violent undertone to it made him pause, for just a moment.

'What's happening to me?', he wondered, an unnoticeable frown marring his boyish features.

He'd never been so...passionate about someone, or something, before. Life passed by in a haze, sluggish, as if he wasn't truly living, and yet the moment Kurusu entered his life, everything had come into focus. Where once life seemed bleak, he now found contentment, happiness. He loved it, truthfully, loved how Kurusu could take his breath away with a smile or chase away any negative thoughts with nothing but a hand upon his skin. It was so, so lovely, the longer he was exposed to it, the more he wanted. Mishima would bite and bite away until nothing was left, he figured, and it undoubtedly said something about him when the thought of taking everything Kurusu had to offer for himself, leaving none for anyone else, did nothing but make him feel a tiny bit better. He didn't want to share. He wanted Kurusu to look at him the way Mishima did right back, wanted to be loved so fiercely that it hurt, wantedwantedwantwanting-

"Yuuki?"

Mishima's hand relaxed, dropping the snapped pencil onto his desk, scattering the broken bits along the surface. His hand hurt, his head hurt. A look at the clock told him twenty minutes had came and went.

"Yuuki, come downstairs and eat, dinners ready." His mothers voice called up to him once more, just as dull as ever. The two of them were the only thing Kurusu's presence hadn't managed to change, to make brighter.

'Kurusu can't erase years of emotional neglect then, I suppose.' He thought bitterly, sweeping the mess he'd made unintentionally into the bin beside his desk.

He could make it hurt less, though.

Quickly, he arose from his chair and stumbled down the stairs, seating himself silently at the place his plate had been put down. His father and mother gave him significant glances, and he knew to brace himself for a scolding. What had he possibly done this time? Not gotten up quick enough? Not eaten in the 2.5 seconds that he'd been sitting down? Maybe they were upset that he simply dared to breathe the same air. He felt an odd sort of...stilted anger, rise in his chest, but it was hardly new. They wouldn't take him seriously anyway, no matter the complaint.

"Yuuki, you've been daydreaming quite a lot lately, your homeroom teacher, Kawakami-sensei? She says you got hurt again because of this. Tripped over your own feet and fell, clumsy boy." His father said, permanent frown etched across his brow seeming more defined. He was displeased then.

"A-Ah that's...I don't know why. I'm sorry. I'll try to do better." He murmured, fingers clutching a fork just as hard as he had clutched the broken pencil, it was a miracle the metal hadn't bended.

"Better? We're concerned, that's all." His mother said, setting down her glass of wine to speak, which was certainly...new. As was the concern.

"Concerned...I-I'm fine. Just a bit lost in thought is all." Why wouldn't they just leave him alone? He was so happy, and now, when he had someone to care for, someone who seemingly cared right back, they wanted to show him that they, too, cared? Maybe they could tell. Maybe they knew. Maybe, they wanted to take away the tiny bit of joy he'd obtained, and crush it beneath their heel.

"Yuuki, don't you lie to me, I know you. You aren't one to get lost in your silly fantasies. What is truly going on?" His mother replied sharply, hands clasped under her chin in thought, stare just as invasive as ever. It was laughable, that she thought she could know anything about him just by looking.

"Know me? You never talk to me! You don't know a thing about me!" He snapped, body tensed, legs braced to jump up and flee. He knew his temper was flaring dangerously, but the sick, twisted ball of hate in his stomach demanded he let it out.

They didn't know him. They didn't want him. They were...liars. Monsters. They were going to take his joy away from him, weren't they? He wouldn't let them. He wouldn't let them!

"Calm down, boy! Don't you speak to your mother that way, she's only-!"

"You're both LYING TO ME! You've never given a damn about me, or what I like, or what I want! You just see me as an object to be lorded around! I'm not doing it anymore! Give up your s-stupid facade, I see right through it!" He shouted, hands slamming down onto the table, spilling his mothers glass of wine and making the silverware and plates rattle.

His father was visibly angry, rage showing on his red, straining face. Mishima had never spoken to them in such a way, never stood up for himself, not really. But he was shaking with adrenaline and pent up, repressed hatred, barely able to form the words he'd been dying to say for years.

"Yuuki! How dare you-!" His mother tried to cut in, but again, he stopped her, a snarl upon his lips.

"You've never shown me a bit of care, or love, or 'concern'! Not until now, that is, and I wonder why?! I'm happy now! Where you turned a blind eye to your own son being ABUSED, a stranger took the time to ask me how I was, to befriend me! Now that I actually have someone, you suddenly want to see if I'm alright! Fuck yo-!"

His words were cut off by a sharp, resounding slap that seemed to reverberate around the deathly quiet room.

His cheek stung, but no more than his eyes, as he turned betrayed eyes to the pale, snow-white face of his horrified mother, who's hand was still raised.

"I...Y-Yuuki, I didn't mean to. I'm so sorry, I just-!" She began, for she had never hit him before, not in all the times he'd upset her.

But he wasn't listening.

They were just like Kamoshida in the end then, weren't they? Bullies, who used physical violence when they didn't get their way. It was...funny, that he'd never seen it before. The connection made his heart ache, but his body and mind go as still and cold as ice, as the bits of love he'd always had for his parents seemed to simply...wither away.

Mishima's concentration slid away from his inner feelings, and he just...walked away without a word, face terrifyingly blank. He did not think as he walked up the stairs, as he went into his room, locked the door behind him, and curled up under the covers of his bed.

Somehow, he knew it was supposed to hurt more, to lose the only other possible source of love in his life. The disconnect from seeing them as 'caretakers, guardians, parents' to 'nothing' was jarring, but not as much as it should have been. It was like all the warmth, all the red hot, burning rage, every bit of fire in him had withered right along side everything else.

And then a soft, melodious croon left the speaker of his phone, notifying him that he had received a message. He'd have ignored it, if it didn't quick start his heart, hope gathering in the back of his mind before he could squash it with harsh, insecure words. A quick grab of it, rapidly typing in his password, showed him it was from Kurusu.

'Hey! Ann told me what happened in Social Studies, I really hope you're okay! Sorry I couldn't be there to sweep you off your feet before you hit the ground ;) lol anyway just thought I'd check on you. Hmu when you can, tell me if you're fine. I worry about you, y'know?'

And just like that, everything was fine. Or, not fine, but...better.

He had Kurusu, didn't he? He'd always have Kurusu, if he had any say in it.

Kurusu wouldn't lie to him like his parents, because unlike them, he really did care about Mishima. When he needed help most, Kurusu was there. When he needed comfort, Kurusu offered his arms. When he was broken and bloody, Kurusu offered him a hand and stood in front of him. Tall, proud. Protective.

He didn't really need his parents, not anymore.

The only thing that mattered to him, the only thing he needed now...

Was Akira.

And perhaps, he thought with a smile as he typed out a reply as fast as his fingers would go, he could return that protection.

Where Akira stood as a shield, Mishima would be a mirror. Anyone who spoke ill of Akira was scum anyway. They just needed to be outed, all their dirty little secrets they so helpfully stored away on the internet shown to the world, to their friends, their classmates and their family, and they'd be shunned, hated, just like they so happily did to the transfer student they didn't bother to get to know.

They would regret how they hurt Akira. Mishima would make sure of that.