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Thirty and Thriving

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Hospital waiting rooms seem to exist on another plane of existence to Tensei. The oppressive quiet where time passing feels simultaneously like an eon and a moment. Where you can practically taste barely repressed anxiety in the air.

He spots his target in a corner; previously upright hair has fallen into a depressed blond mess, hanging limply over Hizashi’s shoulders. Tensei sees the start of bags under his eyes as he stares at something in the distance. Now that just wouldn't do.

“I would have thought Nemuri would be here too. Did you scare her off?”

Hizashi lets out a hollow chuckle. “Paperwork and dinner. Convinced her we didn't both need to be here.” His eyes follow Tensei as he sits. “You know…?”

“What happened? Tenya said Aizawa took on a large group of villains that suddenly showed up at USJ, to buy time for reinforcements. But he didn't see anything beyond that.”Tensei’s eyes scan Hizashi for any clues. “Hizashi, what happened?”

Hizashi sighs through his teeth. Tensei swallows his nerves. He already checked with a nurse, whatever happened was bad enough Shouta wasn't allowed visitors and had been unconscious since before he arrived. Recovery Girl had already done all she could; he had been transferred for further treatment and supervision. Injuries and danger are not foreign concepts too pro heroes. But when it’s one of your best friends in the hospital, it always feels worse.

“According… according to student accounts - and All Might - villains showed up at USJ shortly after they arrived. One of them, Kurogiri they called him, had a warp quirk. Shouta engaged the bulk of them so the kids could get away. But Kurogiri separated the kids.” Hizashi nods to Tensei, “Your brother got away anyway. Alerted the school. At some point the villains got tired of Shouta. They had a … thing. Called it Noumu. Let it loose on Shouta.” Hizashi pauses to gather himself.

“According to Asui, she made it to the center with two other kids. Shouta was already pinned, but he prevented them from getting further injured. And then…” Tensei’s breath hitches.

“Then the Noumu smashed Shouta’s face into the floor and knocked him out.” Hizashi’s voice warbles, Tensei pulls him into a one armed hug. None of them cry easily anymore, but that doesn't stop them from feeling. From being human. They can only handle so much stress and worry before they crack. And Hizashi had always been the closest with Aizawa.

“All Might showed up not long after that, and defeated the Noumu. Us teachers arrived not long after, and the villains left.” Nemuri finishes and sits beside Hizashi, wrapping him in a hug. Tensei is amazed not for the first time at her ability to walk silently in heels. It was nothing short of a miracle to him; she once made them try heels and they are anything but quiet.

“Both of Aizawa’s arms were pulverized and his orbital floor is also broken. They’re worried he will lose his eyesight.”

Silence falls, each lost to their own thoughts. Tensei picks at lint on his pants. Tenya had been a mess when he came home. Coming off of an anxiety high was never pretty, especially for one so high strung. He had been so worried for his friends and teachers, but they made it out okay and mostly unscathed. He collapsed asleep on the couch shortly after telling his family, and Tensei waited long enough to move Tenya to his bed before leaving.

“I'm glad you could make it, Tensei.” She says. “It’s been too long.”

“Any time.” He replies quietly.

“Now, you all should have my little brother in your classes. How is he doing?” Hizashi and Nemuri embrace the subject change with small smiles.

“Are you sure he’s your brother and not a robot?”

Tensei laughs and they chat about lighter things. Aizawa will heal and they will move on. But for right now, in this place, he buoys himself with his friends’ humor and keeps them afloat.

It’s a testament to how exhausted his friends are that after Hizashi and Nemuri finally fall asleep, they stay that way until morning. Even when a kindhearted nurse stopped by with blankets and pillows for the three pros.

It isn’t until after they’ve eaten breakfast that Recovery Girl comes for them.

“He’s well enough to receive visitors, and is awake for the moment. Before you run in there,” She looks pointedly at Hizashi, who is about ready to tumble out of his chair, “he needs quiet and rest. Am I clear?” A round of nods and she points them to Aizawa’s room. Hizashi and Nemuri rush ahead, barely containing their relief.

Tensei, however, follows slowly. Sure, he got along with the other two just fine last night. In fact it had been almost simple to ease back into old habits of teasing despite years of little contact outside of work. But Aizawa was always harder for him to read. And there was a small part of him that is afraid it won’t be so easy to reconnect.

As he reaches the door he can already hear Hizashi talking Shouta’s ear off. He hesitates in the door, and Nemuri catches his eye.

“You’ll never guess who showed up, Shouta.” She teases.

Tensei slowly reaches the bed and gives a small wave when he thinks Aizawa should be able to see him. It’s painful to look at him like this; they were all so young still. It felt too soon for any of them to retire from injury.

Aizawa heaves a sigh. Tensei hides a cringe. “The troublesome one is here.”

And like that the tension is broken. Everything was going to be okay.

 


 

Not even a month later everything is far from okay.

It’s Tensei’s turn to be in the hospital bed. But this time, he's not going back to the field. One moment of inattention had cost him the only opportunity to call one of his sidekicks. One moment of inattention had cost him dearly. One moment of inattention had put such a heavy burden on his family.

Tensei wasn’t alone during his recovery. One parent or the other would occasionally come by, or one of his sidekicks. Even Hizashi and Nemuri managed to make it once each. But Tenya would come by after school every day and do his homework there, talk a little, then leave.

Out if all of them, Tenya worried him the most. Tensei thought he saw the beginnings of something dark worming in. A dangerous edge to his eyes when he thought Tensei wasn’t looking. When asked, Hizashi said Tenya seemed distant and Hizashi had caught his friends shooting glances at each other from across the room at least once. Tensei was concerned Tenya would do something reckless.

Today though, he had other things on his mind. Tenya would be leaving for his field experience and Tensei was finally going home. Which is why he is surprised when the first visitor for the day is not one of his parents, but Aizawa with a hospital wheelchair.

“I didn’t think hospitals were for rekindling friendships.” Tensei teases.

Aizawa gives him a bland smile, “Then we should have picked different jobs.” Tensei laughs.

It was true enough. Injuries were part and parcel with being heroes. Sometimes though, they were career ending. Aizawa had been lucky, Tensei had not.

“Lets go. Hizashi is waiting in the car.” At Tensei’s puzzled look, Aizawa continues. “He wanted to take you home and dragged me along.”

Tensei smiles. It’s one of the few true smiles since his accident.

“Hey, Aizawa? Thanks.” For coming, for caring, for remaining my friend.

“Hmph. Any time.”