Something heavy rests against my shoulder. It's round and hairy, and has a small, pointy tip. Eri, of course. Did she sneak inside our room during the night? Did she have another nightmare? I slowly open my eyes. The sun lights up the room. Oh. I'm at a hospital, not at home. The room is completely white and clean. I don't like it. I look around a bit more. Something is stuffed under my arm. A worn, old Present Mic plushie. I recognize it. I won it for Hitoshi more than ten years ago in the arcade. There's a needle in my hand, connected to a tube. And three chairs. Hizashi and Hitoshi are both asleep, leaning their heads against my bed. Hitoshi has a light purple stubble on his chin. How long was I out for? Couldn't have been for more than a week, right? I sit up, trying to move as little as possible. If I'm at a hospital, I'm either sick or injured. Or I just gave birth. I push Hitoshi, since he's the closest to me except for Eri.
"'Toshi. Wake up."
My voice is rough, like I haven't used it for a while. I must have been out for a while then. I push him again.
"Hey. Wake up."
He finally opens his eyes and sits up properly. It takes him a moment to process what's happening.
"Dad? You're awake!"
He throws his arms around my neck and hugs me.
"Hey, watch out, your sister is sleeping…"
But he doesn't want to let go. I don't mind, I can appreciate a hug right now. I stroke his back with my free arm and lean my head against his shoulder.
"How long was I out for?"
"About a week and a half. You were in surgery for the first fourteen hours."
"Fourteen hours? Really?"
He nods and lets go of me.
"You fell down three stories and got tons of rubble over you. You might as well be dead, you lost a lot of blood."
"The woman that I carried, did she… did she make it?"
"She was already dead when Kirishima came to you. But I guess you didn't notice, you were running on pure adrenaline."
"Did anyone else get hurt? How'd they get me out from beneath the rubble?"
"Well technically Kirishima got buried under the rubble too, but he wasn't harmed. Yaoyorozu and Uraraka helped get you out before the ambulance came. But otherwise, almost everyone was unharmed. Except for you."
"What time is it?"
"Uhh… almost nine in the morning."
"Could you wake up your… other dad? I'm getting hungry and he has to pay for breakfast."
"Also, I think the rest of the class want to meet you. And maybe sign your cast."
I look down on my legs. My left leg is wrapped in a thick layer of plaster. I shrug.
"Maybe in the afternoon. But right now I need breakfast, and to talk to my husband."
Hitoshi violently grabs Hizashi and shakes him.
"Wha- what's going on? Is the house on fire!?"
He's not wearing his glasses or hearing aids, so he can neither see nor hear. Oh well. Hitoshi hands him his stuff. Eri is still sleeping peacefully against my chest.
"Sho you're awake!"
"Does everyone have the same reactio-"
And another hug.
"Hey, Eri is still asleep. Don't wake her up-"
His hug is a lot tighter than Hitoshi's was. I can barely breathe and my ribs hurt.
"Could we talk after breakfast? I'm starving."
"Yeah yeah yeah sure sure, I'll get something from the cafeteria…"
He quickly stands up and takes his wallet, leaving the room. I see his wipe his cheeks before the door closes. I turn back to Hitoshi.
"You have a stubble."
"So do you."
"Well I always have a stubble. When did you start shaving?"
"Like two months ago? I'm really late, I know."
"No, it's a part of growing up. I was really early while Hizashi was really late. He can't even grow more than that tiny thing he calls mustache."
Hizashi is crying. Eri got distracted by games on Hitoshi's phone. Hitoshi fell asleep in his chair, I guess he hasn't gotten a lot of sleep for the past week. I'm trying to calm Hizashi down, but it's not working very well.
"You could have died, Sho! The doctors said they didn't even know if you were gonna wake up!"
"But I did, right? I'm fine."
"No you're not! You're covered in bandages!"
"Hizashi, don't you remember my fight with Nomu. That was worse."
I pull him against my chest; he crawled in my bed right after breakfast. I stroke his hair, but he doesn't seem to want to calm down. His breathing is heavy and shaky.
"I'm fine, okay? I'm alive, I'm awake."
He pushes his face against my shoulder and sobs. I know how he gets in situations like these. He acts strong until the bubble finally bursts. He's a good actor, but he has to stop.
"I took your ring?"
"You told me… if you die, I should take your ring. So I did."
He unbuttons the first button of his shirt and pulls out the chain. And there they are, both of our rings, next to each other.
"I knew something was missing."
"They gave it to Hitoshi right before you went into surgery. When I got here with Eri, he gave it to me. We didn't get to see you until you were completely stable, a week ago."
"I was unstable for half a week?"
He nods and buries his face in my shoulder again. My shirt is wet from his tears.
"You stopped breathing and your heart stopped like five times. Your stitches didn't heal properly."
"That doesn't matter right no-"
"Yes it does! This is the second time in a year you've been hurt this badly! Maybe... maybe we should retire from being heroes."
"Hizashi, my sunshine… we're heroes because we do risk our lives. None of my students were hurt. I'd rather die than let any of them die on my watch. I love my job and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm glad you bribed our teacher into letting me sit next to you, I'm glad you picked my hero name. And I'm glad that I beat you up in the sports festival."
I kiss his forehead.
"You made me the one I am today. You made me a hero."
"I don't want you to die, Sho. I couldn't live without you. And I couldn't raise 'Toshi and Eri alone. I can't even feed the cats."
"Hey, stop that. One day, one of us will die. It can be tomorrow or in forty years. But if I'm the one who dies first, you have to know how to take care of yourself. I know you can do that. For me."
He nods again.
"You can take care of yourself. You're a great dad, a great husband and a great hero. Don't try to tell yourself otherwise."
I put my hand under his chin and force him to look at me. I place a light kiss on his lips. His lips are a lot more chapped than usually.
Ashido brought colored pens. They've all surrounded my bed, waiting to get a chance to sign my cast. I specifically asked them to sign with their hero names. I currently have "Deku" written in bright green, "Ingenium" in dark blue and "Ground Zero" in orange. I'm happy that Bakugo changed to Ground Zero instead of King Explosion Murder. That's really not an acceptable name for a hero. A nurse checked on me earlier, changed my tubes and stuff. She'd be back later to take a proper look at my stitches. Having so many people in the room is a bit overwhelming, but I'll manage. I still have a heart rate monitor connected to me, so the nurses will be notified if they notice that my pulse gets too high because of the stress. But so far so good. Eri insisted I'd share her apple to keep my energy up. She's currently sitting in Yaoyorozu's lap, who is braiding her hair. It's a lot prettier than the braids I and Hizashi do. Hitoshi is holding a purple pen, ready to sign my cast. But he hesitates. He hasn't decided yet. He's not sure of the name he picked out, the name that's on his license. I grab his wrist and pull him towards me.
"Hey. Your name is great. Stop doubting it."
"What if it makes people scared, rather than feel safe?"
"You want to scare villains, right? No one will be afraid of you if they know you're a hero."
He nods and removes the cap from the pencil. He writes, with small, purple letters, "Brainwash", right below my knee. The same name as his quirk.