Shouta regretted everything. He felt like the world was crashing down around him. He could only hear the white noise buzzing in his ears. It felt like every single thought he had abruptly packed their bags up and left. He thought if he hadn’t flown too close to the sun, he wouldn’t be burned. He wouldn’t be in this situation.
He was wrong. He’d kept his distance, but he never realized how high he flew. He’d been feeling the rays warm his back, keeping him distant but feeling safe and warm. He thought he’d be safe. He was wrong.
When the sun flickered and dimmed, Shouta never realized. He never realized that it wasn’t him who had kept a safe distance, but the sun itself that had been growing dimmer with each passing day. He hated. He hated that he never saw the signs. He hated that he flew higher and higher without realizing. He flew and flew, and he reached out a hand to touch that dimly glowing light.
The light that almost reached his palms twinkled and shattered and Shouta hadn’t realized. He hadn’t realized the signs of fatigue, the coughs, the dimming of that once radiant gleam in his student’s eyes. He should have realized when Izuku’s smile didn’t radiate that blinding joy in his eyes. Should have realized that Izuku had been struggling to keep the smile that each and every one of them knew and loved.
No one knew. Not All Might, nor the masses, nor his family, nor his friends. And Shouta. Shouta had seen the signs, but had passed them off as something else. The thought sent a piercing stab in his heart. Shouta had seen, and had hoped otherwise. He should have realized.
He should have known better by now. He should have known better. Everyone whom he loved deeply left sooner or later. He thought he had been safe from the sun, but little did he know that the sun had already entrapped him in its rays.
Shouta hadn’t realized the signs of flying too near to the sun, and he regretted not reaching out to grab the light firmly in his hands. He regretted that he hadn’t had the courage to stay with Izuku in his last days.
Shouta looked down when he felt something hit his hand. A droplet. Shakily, he reached up to touch his cheeks. He was crying and he hadn’t realized. The man closed his eyes, tears dripping down his cheeks. He didn’t fight the shudder that made its way through his body.
He grieved. He’d heard of the phrase ‘it was better to have loved and lost rather than not have loved at all’, but he’d never agreed. Not until now. Shouta regretted that he never had that light for himself. He regretted that he never reached out, never had the courage his student had shown when he had confessed with his brilliant eyes and sparkling smile.
He regretted not taking his words of rejection back when he saw the light in those green eyes dim slightly. He regretted the hope that had shattered beyond repair in Izuku’s watery eyes.
That had been the last time he saw Izuku cry. The only time he saw such glaring vulnerability on his student’s face. Shouta buried his face in his hands, safe in the confines of his room. He let out a hollow laugh. Izuku’s friends and family had openly wept when they heard he passed, but Shouta couldn’t let himself show any vulnerability? He hated himself. He hated that he couldn’t openly show how hurt he was. How much Izuku had made an impact on his life.
Shouta shuddered. The tears wouldn’t stop. He had felt detached. Blank. When he stumbled home, he had just been going through the motions. He had collected the mail, watered the plants, and started the kettle.
Then, his eyes landed on some familiar handwriting. Something in his mind fractured. Izuku had sent him a letter. He read through the first time without much in the emotions department. Then, he had detachedly read through for the second time.
By the time he read through the letter for the tenth time, Shouta had felt shattered beyond belief. The teacher never knew a person could experience such regret and devastation in such a short amount of time. He felt like he’d been shattered.
He struggled to pick up the pieces that used to be himself. Every word that had been written down burned itself into his mind. He couldn’t get the words out of his head. They wouldn’t leave, and he wouldn’t let them. He deserved it. He deserved to suffer, because Izuku had been suffering alone.
The thought caused a fresh wave of tears to leak through his eyelids. He couldn’t imagine the amount of suffering Izuku had gone through alone, had gone through while pushing his body to the limits, gone through whilst keeping a smile on his face like nothing was wrong.
What a stupid, idiotic child. The most problematic child he’d taught. His problem child. His best student. He never told anyone since teachers weren’t supposed to have favorites, but Izuku had been his. Shouta thought he’d kept himself from flying too close to the sun, but he’d only destroyed his sun himself.
Why? Shouta raged in the confines of his mind. Why didn’t he let them help him? Why didn’t he let Shouta help him? Why didn’t he let Shouta stay by his side? His mind shouted the answers at him. He knew. It was because he’d crushed his hopes once. It was because he had been too cowardly. He thought he knew better, but why? Izuku said in his letter he didn’t want anyone to worry. Shouta let out a sobbing laugh. That was just so like him. But it hurt. It hurt so much.
Why had things turned out this way? It just wasn’t fair. Izuku shouldn’t have left like this. He should have passed in his old age, surrounded by his loved ones. Instead, he’d passed in a quiet corner, completely and utterly alone. Shouta didn’t fight the unending tsunamis of regret crashing against him. It was slowly chipping away at him, but what did he care?
Izuku must have suffered so much. Why? He shouldn’t have cared about worrying him. Why? Stupid brat. He should have sought out comfort and stability like everyone else would have done. Why? Why didn’t he? Stupid, selfless Izuku.
A sob tore its way out of Shouta’s throat. Izuku would never be able to take down another Villain, would never be able to save anyone else. He would never be able to laugh with his friends, exchange affections with someone. He would never be able to have children, have a wife, or grow old. He would never be able to hear Shouta tell him that he loved him back.
He should have told him. He should have let the radiance in Izuku’s eyes continue. He should have been by Izuku’s side. If he could go back in time, he would do everything differently. But he didn’t have that Quirk. All he had was his useless Quirk that couldn’t save Izuku.
Izuku would never know how much he loved him, never know that his love had been reciprocated. He hadn’t been suffering from a one-sided love, but he’d died with a broken heart for no reason.
Shouta felt a stinging pain in his eyes, realizing he’d clawed them in his pain and desperation. As he glanced down at his hands, the tears and blood mixed together, forming a hazy image.
Shouta closed his hands shakily. They had no strength. He felt like he’d been drained of every ounce of his energy. He felt weak and limp, and he silently wondered if this was what Izuku had been feeling. He hoped not. He hoped that Izuku hadn’t been in too much pain when he finally left.
He had been too good for his cruel world, too pure, too innocent. Shouta’s heart shuddered at the many thoughts rampaging their way around his mind. His fingertips were tingly. His hands felt numb.
The world would never see Izuku again. They would only be able to experience his glory in photos or past videos, but they would never be able to replicate the brilliant, shining goodness that Izuku had all but radiated. From his hair, to his freckles down to his very feet, there hadn’t been a bad bone in his body.
Shouta would never see Izuku again.
No doubt, he would go to heaven, but Shouta knew he was going to hell. Rejecting Izuku had probably – no he knew it had played a part in how Izuku had managed to hide everything.
If Shouta had just accepted back then, would things be different now? Shouta pressed fingers to his sluggishly bleeding eyelids, reveling in the pain that he felt. He felt better when he felt the pain. The pain Izuku must have had so much worse of.
It hadn’t felt real until he watched them lower Izuku’s body down into the ground. A sense of dread had started creeping up on him whilst they erected his gravestone. His eyes caught sight of the words on the stone.
Here Lies Midoriya Izuku. Loved by many, blessed by the world. He was taken too early, but his glory will never be forgotten.
He didn’t have a right to stay. Not when he had been the one who had sent Izuku there himself. It was all his fault. Something in his mind had screamed loud and shrill at him while they piled the dirt onto Izuku’s coffin.
Izuku shouldn’t be there! Shouta had fought against it. He knew Izuku was gone, and wasn’t coming back. He tried to stop his tears. He held his breath in hopes that it would stop the sobs from ripping themselves out of his throat. He didn’t have a right to cry, but they wouldn’t stop. The tears just wouldn’t stop. It was almost like his eyes had a mind of their own. He’d probably cried enough to fill a river, and his throat was dry, but there were still tears spilling from his eyes.
Shouta wondered if he would be able to bring himself to visit Izuku every year, and he already knew in his heart that he would probably visit every day, until the day he died. Maybe, just maybe, he would one day pass while he was near Izuku. No matter how hard it would be, he would still end up standing in front of Izuku’s grave, feeling the regret and devastation.
Shouta’s eyes were blurry. There were black spots everywhere. Distantly, he recognized this as a sign that he was about to pass out, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to care. His brain screamed at him that he needed oxygen, but what did it know? It had told him that Izuku would be better without him. Would be better if he found someone his own age. It was wrong. It was probably wrong again now.
The black spots multiplied. He could hardly see now. He spotted a blurry vision of the light and reached up for it, like he should have reached for the sun. He should have told Izuku he loved him.
Izuku, wait for me. I love you.