When Aizawa first met Shinsou, he seemed shocked to learn he wanted to help give him a second chance. Aizawa had seen his attempt at the entrance exam and, after reviewing his school records, determined that he had potential, it’s just that the odds were stacked against him.
To say that Shinsou is skittish would be an understatement. He was suspicious when Aizawa offered to train him, and downright terrified the first time they sparred, like he thought Aizawa was really going to hurt him. The kid is flinchy, cowering and blurting out apologies if Aizawa so much as breathed too hard (literally.) Shinsou's teachers informed him that he was like that with all of them too, but notably, not other students.
Despite this, he kept good grades and stuck to their training, but seemed to doubt himself no matter what he accomplished.
He was able to prove himself at the sports festival. Not enough to place first, but enough to earn a transfer into the hero course. His classmates in 1-A welcomed him, and Shinsou grew to be fond and incredibly protective of them. He seemed much more at ease in 1-A than his previous class.
He’s well behaved and responsible, and always stayed late to complete his homework as it “tended to not get done” if he brought it home. (In hindsight, Aizawa should have been more curious about that.) Most issues that arose were due to Shinsou’s distrust in adults and his protectiveness over his classmates, too quick to jump to their defense if they were scolded or disciplined, and anxious during practical exams. He’d hover over them often, and seemed terrified at the idea of any of them left alone with a teacher.
The worst case was during the practical exam after internships. Shinsou went all out against Midnight, not to pass, but to protect his teammate from what he perceived as real danger. He didn’t calm down after his team won, either. He had to pry himself away when their win was announced, and he was still wired in Recovery Girl’s office. His face was pale as he shook, pupils blown wide and hands hovering near his capture weapon. He hovered over his teammate while she patched them up, and refused to even let them in the same room as Midnight.
Aizawa was eventually able to convince him he’d keep an eye on his teammate while Shinsou changed out of his bloody costume (and puked in the bathroom, he thinks.)
He didn’t show up to school the next day. Aizawa was immediately concerned--Shinsou is very responsible and always called in if he really couldn’t make it. His classmates hadn’t heard anything, Shinsou wasn’t picking up his phone, and his parents were out of town and didn’t know what was going on with him either.
Aizawa grits his teeth. Shinsou’s parents. His damn, so-called parents. It’s no secret that Shinsou doesn’t like them. He’d cringed when Aizawa asked if he was excited to spend time with them over break, and based on Shinsou’s behavior Aizawa easily put together why. The kid swore up and down that his parents never beat him, though, and Aizawa never saw evidence suggesting otherwise besides the flinching. Nonetheless, Aizawa could tell they weren’t particularly supportive; no kid ends up as insecure and fearful as Shinsou while receiving the proper care and love they need.
Aizawa noticed early on in training him that Shinsou wasn’t putting on the weight and muscle he should have been, despite eating well at lunch and packing his tray with protein and nutrients. Now Aizawa knows it wasn’t due to money troubles or an eating disorder, but negligence. His parents were merely too lazy and cheap to provide him with the necessary diet, and didn’t give him a cent of allowance to let him buy it himself. They even took his money for themselves when he made it through hard work or from gifts.
Aizawa shifts in his seat, anger burning through his chest at the thought.
Aizawa had also noticed how shocked they acted when hearing about how well he was doing in school, despite never struggling with grades or getting along with his peers (aside from others’ distrust in his quirk, but that was never Shinsou’s fault.) They went out of their way to tell him how troublesome he used to be to get to do his work, despite his school records rarely noting any missed assignments. Shinsou was obviously agitated with this, but didn’t say anything. Aizawa felt awful he had to listen to them. He could barely stop them when they tried to tell him how difficult he was in other areas of his life that had nothing to do with his education.
It’s not fair how stacked against Shinsou everything has been. It’s not fair that the system is broken and biased. It’s not fair that he was malnourished and weak. It’s not fair that he was discouraged and unsupported in his goals by the very people who were supposed to inspire him. It’s not fair that he’s been treated like a villain by everyone he’s ever known.
And it’s not fair that he’s convinced every bit of it is his fault. That he’s just too weak, too needy, too sensitive, too stupid, too unbearable.
Someone could have prevented all of this. His parents could have prevented this. Aizawa could have prevented this. He should have.
He listens to Shinsou’s gentle breathing. After coming here every day for a week and a half, he’s learned how to tune out the constant beeping in the background. His gaze rests on the scarred flesh of Shinsou’s arm, the one the IV is connected to.
Aizawa had gone to check up on him in person when he didn’t show up the next day either. He got no response, but found the door unlocked. He was greeted by the sight of a cat food bag that had been cut open and left on it’s side, and a sink plugged and filled with water. He instantly had a bad feeling. Whether Shinsou had gone with his parents or not, someone was obviously planning on being away a while.
Exploring further, Aizawa came across a door with a towel stuffed under the crack at the bottom. The poster on the door told him it was most likely Shinsou’s room.
Aizawa will never forget the moment he cracked open the door and spotted his student lying unconscious on the bed, arms and legs completely marred with still bleeding cuts, a rag covering his mouth and nose, and surrounded by empty pill and Nyquil bottles. His room smelt suspiciously like chloroform, the sweet scent hitting him hard.
His heart nearly stopped.
He had no idea if Shinsou was still alive as he rushed forward to check on him. He was hit with immense but fleeting relief when he found he was still breathing. The next few hours are a blur in his mind; he barely remembers anything between beginning to move Shinsou outside and arriving at the hospital, where he waited for hours to hear back about him.
A lot has happened since that day. The summer camp, the Kamino incident and All Might’s retirement, the dorms, the arrest of Shinsou’s parents for neglect and emotional abuse (thank God Shinsou kept a digital journal of all his parents’ wrong doings, though Aizawa wishes a suicide note wasn’t the circumstances it came to light in.)
Shinsou had left a note for Aizawa specifically, apologizing for “wasting his time,” for ever having met him or entered U.A. at all, believing he was every bit as troublesome as his parents said he was. He left one for his friends (that thankfully never made it to them) apologizing for hurting them, but assuring they would make more and much better friends than he.
And he left a very rightfully hateful and scathing one for his family. The journal was never meant to convict them, merely an explanation to show them the all the pain they’d put him through (as if they didn’t already know.)
Aizawa doesn’t want Shinsou to be alone when he wakes up. He never wants Shinsou to feel so isolated ever again, even for a minute. He's spent all his free time in the hospital in his room. He didn’t want to leave him for the summer camp, either, but he had other students to care for as well. Hizashi and All Might promised to keep an eye on him while he’s away.
Aizawa leans back in his seat, folding his arms and sighing. It all pains him so much, but there’s nothing more he can do until Shinsou wakes up. The doctors think there’s a good chance of it, but it could anywhere from any second, to months from now.
“Heeey,” Hizashi announces as he pushes open the door. Aizawa doesn’t acknowledge his presence until he settles down in the chair next to him and hands him a takeout box. “I got you some lunch.”
He never has much of an appetite when he’s in this room, but he’s going to be here a while so he probably needs it. He'll settle in and start working on some grading--
Shinsou’s heart monitor picks up.
White tiles are the first thing he registers. Then, how tired he feels, and then--
Dammit! He’s not supposed to be ‘feeling’ anything at all. Of course. Of course he fucked this up too. Why would life let him have his way even just to kill himself?
The beeping beside his head is way too loud.
“Shinsou?” And so is that. He doesn’t recognize the voice right away, and for some reason that’s not as alarming as it feels like it should be. He’s too exhausted and numb to care.
He tries to shift, but his body doesn’t respond, or… it doesn’t have the energy, or… more like, it takes way more effort than he expects it to. He tries again, and his arm and fingers barely twitch. He scans the room as well as he can from his position. He finds… Aizawa...? and someone he doesn’t recognize staring beside him.
He considers shutting his eyes again and going back to sleep, putting all this off until later. All the scolding, yelling and tears. Maybe he could just pretend he’s still unconscious. Mom’s always been pretty good at denial, anyway.
That’s stupid. He’s still here, there’s no avoiding it.
He manages to move his head around enough to observe more of the room, making the two beside him sigh -- with relief? The tension visibly drains from them.
“Hey, kid,” Aizawa greets.
“Why am I still here?” Shinsou rasps.
He spots the equipment next to him, and follows the tube running down one of them up to his arm. He’s not sure what it’s for, but he hopes it’s important. He forces his other arm to move towards his wrist where it connects.
“Hey-- easy...” Aizawa warns. Shinsou’s fingers don’t cooperate in time to grab it before Aizawa catches his hand and wrenches it away from himself.
“Relax, you’re alright,” the stranger(?) adds. Why does that voice sound so familiar?
Aizawa eases his arm back to the bed, and places his free hand on Shinsou’s shoulder.
“It’s going to be okay. You’re safe.”
Aizawa is barely using any pressure but he still can’t move his arm. All the fight in him leaves at once. Shinsou scoffs, squeezing his eyes shut. He’s so tired of being told he’s safe when he’s not. He tried to kill himself. Can’t he see things aren’t okay?
The beeping gets quicker and it just makes him more anxious. When he cracks his eyes back open, he’s met with the sight of Aizawa leaning over him, a slight tension in his brow, but overall it’s one of the softer expressions Shinsou has seen him make.
“...Why are you here?” Shinsou questions. Aizawa’s face falls a little. Shinsou hopes it didn’t sound hostile; he was really just curious. Aizawa is one of the last people he’d expect to see here.
“Because one of my students is in the hospital,” he responds, a slight questioning tone to his voice, like it should be obvious. It makes Shinsou think maybe… they forced him to come…? He didn’t know teachers had to go see their students in the hospital. Unless…
“Are my parents here?”
Aizawa shakes his head. “No, they’re not.”
“Do they know what happened?”
Aizawa releases his wrist, laying his hand on the white sheets beside his.
“Did…” Shinsou pauses, wetting his lips. “Did anyone see what was on my computer?”
He hopes that’s vague enough if not. Maybe, maybe there’s a chance nobody knows it was on purpose. Maybe they’ll buy that he was just being a stupid kid and made a dumb mistake. His parents certainly would.
“I did,” Aizawa answers simply. Shit.
“Sorry,” Shinsou averts his gaze, “you must be disappointed.”
“No,” he responds quickly. “I wish you hadn’t resorted to this, but I’m not disappointed in you. Next time, you should tell--”
“I mean,” Shinsou interrupts, “I’m sorry it didn’t work.”
There’s a pause. Shinsou chances a glance at Aizawa and finds that he and the stranger are gaping at him. Shinsou practically flinches, looking away. Should he have not said that? Why do people get mad when he acknowledges how much they dislike him?
“Oh, kid…” the stranger breathes.
Shinsou does flinch at that.
“Don’t ever apologize for that,” Aizawa continues, just a little softer than before. “Don’t ever… apologize for being alive. Of course I’m not disappointed.”
Shinsou shakes his head. “It’s fine, it doesn’t hurt my feelings or anything. You don’t have to pretend.”
Aizawa leans back, thumping against his chair with a sigh.
“Kid,” he starts firmly, but pauses, seemingly at a loss for words.
“Easy... he's having a rough time,” the stranger says to Aizawa.
Usually the kind of tone Aizawa used would scare Shinsou shitless, but right now he doesn't care. He has nothing left to lose. He manages to look Aizawa in the eye, or tries to before he drags a hand over his face. The stranger pats his shoulder.
“...Hitoshi,” he continues softly, hand dropping into his lap, “you know I'm not the kind of person who says things out of politeness. I mean it, I'm glad you're still here.”
Shinsou sighs and looks away again, just barely managing not to roll his eyes. He thinks that's a little more than just “politeness.”
He doesn't understand why no one will just admit how unwanted he is. Even his parents swing wildly back and forth between hating him, trying to change him, wanting him dead, and assuring they love him, that he's perfect the way he is, and promising that they would do anything to make him happy.
Tears sting at Shinsou's eyes. Aizawa's glad he's still here? He's glad he's going to keep suffering? He's glad his parents are going to scream at him? He's glad people are going to keep pretending to like him while dreading his presence and ignoring him?
“That's cruel,” Shinsou says with a sniffle, voice wobbling.
“I-- I'm gonna go tell a nurse he's awake,” the blonde announces before getting up and leaving the room.
“I know you've been struggling for a long time, but things are going to get better now. I promise,” Aizawa assures, thumb stroking his shoulder.
“You don't know that...”
“I do know that. I'm going to do everything I can to help you.”
“It's not up to you!” Shinsou whines, squeezing his eyes shut and clenching his fists.
Odds are, his parents will take him far, far away from anyone who knows about this. Away from his friends, away from U.A., away from his dreams...
“I don't know what my parents are going to do to me when they--”
“Your parents are in prison.”
Shinsou turns wide eyed to him.
Aizawa's expression softens some. “They were arrested after your attempt for everything they've done to you.”
Shinsou sniffles. “For what? Being mean to me? For not giving me everything I wanted?”
He almost laughs at the idea. Aizawa doesn't. His head tilts, offering him the most sympathetic expression he's ever seen him make.
“For neglect and abusing their child emotionally.”
The quirk of his lips falls. He stares, stunned, half expecting Aizawa to burst out laughing at his own joke.
He doesn't. Discomfort rises in Shinsou's chest.
“They're in prison, Shinsou. You're safe now.”
“That… That's not funny, sensei…”
Aizawa sighs, eyes falling shut. It's not hard, but Shinsou tenses reflexively. Aizawa pulls his seat forward a little closer and leans against the back. His hand leaves his shoulder, but rests on the bed next to his.
“I'm not kidding. The journal you linked in your s-- …in your note to them, plus everything your teachers noticed, was enough to convict them.”
This isn't right. Sure, Shinsou dislikes his parents, but they weren't supposed to-- this-- this is on him.
“Hey, easy…” Aizawa leans forward, gently taking his hand in his, running his thumb over Shinsou's knuckles. He realizes he's hyperventilating. His heart monitor is going crazy beside him.
“I know this must be hard to hear, but everything is going to be alright. You're safe.”
“But it was my fault!” Shinsou blurts, shaking his head.
Aizawa looks sad. “No, it wasn't.”
“It was! I'm just--” Shinsou tries to sit up but his head spins and the world goes dark. He feels the bed underneath him again as fatigue hits him.
“Easy. You're still recovering, kid.”
“It was my fault,” Shinsou repeats as the world comes back into view. His hands are tingling. “I'm too difficult.”
“If they couldn't handle a ‘difficult’ kid they shouldn't have had one,” Aizawa retorts, some of his usual stern tone creeping into his voice. “Parents are supposed to support and care for their kids. They didn't do that.”
“I'm too sensitive and lazy. Of course they got sick of me.”
“That's not true. You're not especially sensitive, you brush off comments from your classmates, like Bakugou, and from others like that 1-B kid. And you're not lazy. You've worked very hard to get where you are now, and I'm very proud of you for that.”
Shinsou doesn't know what to say.
Aizawa's voice gets very quiet. “Who told you those things about yourself, Shinsou?”
Shinsou turns his head away from him.
The door opens. The stranger--Present Mic, Shinsou realizes with some embarrassment--steps back in.
“Alright, a nurse will check in on you soon,” he says as he returns to his seat.
Shinsou refuses to look their way. “What’s going to happen to me?”
“That’s up to you,” Aizawa replies, shifting back in his seat. “The police determined your extended family wouldn’t be a good fit for you either, so you can either go into foster care, or you can come with me.”
Shinsou blinks. “With you…?”
Great, so it’s either getting yelled at by a bunch of strangers, or making Aizawa miserable and getting yelled at by him, too.
Tears well in his eyes and he squeezes them shut. He can't take either of those. It's not fair. Why should he have to be hurt more? Why should anyone have to put up with him?
Shinsou grips the sheets as hard as he can. “I can't-- Both of those suck.”
“I'm not supposed to be here…”
He pulls on the sheet until it slips from his hands. When his arms hit the bed it's a mixture of letting them fall on their own and slamming them back down. The ache in his chest is so painful it makes him whine.
“You don't have to decide right now,” Aizawa assures. “It's a lot to think about. I wasn't really planning on telling you all this for awhile.”
“...You're going to be okay, Shinsou. Give it some time.”
Shinsou just sulks.
When a nurse checks on him, he tells him he has some damage to his brain and liver. They expect it to recover relatively easy, but want to keep an eye on his condition for awhile, and especially his mental health. His muscles are also weak from nearly two weeks of inactivity. They give him a stress ball to help retrain the muscles in his hands.
When a psychiatrist comes to talk with him about his suicide attempt, Shinsou cries and says it was a mistake, that he regrets it, that he never really wanted to die. He tells her it was just an impulse and that he's so, so glad he survived, that he's fine and full of hope now that his parents are behind bars.
His parents taught him nothing but how to lie and be fake. He's glad Aizawa and Mic left the room, they'd certainly call him out on his bullshit right away. He just doesn't want to go to a psychiatric hospital, mom told him how awful they were while threatening to send him there for crying.
Thankfully, the psychiatrist believes him and decides hospitalization isn't necessary. She tells the others that Shinsou should be watched a little closer, but otherwise she expects him to recover without much trouble. Shinsou feels bad for whoever takes him in believing this information.
Aizawa is alone when he steps back into the room and retakes his seat next to Shinsou's bed.
“He really wanted to stay, but Mic had to head back to work.”
“Are you staying?” Shinsou asks.
Aizawa quirks a brow at him. “Do you want me to?”
Shinsou's eyes fall to his hands in his lap while he tries to put together an answer. He doesn't want to bother Aizawa more than he already has, but…
“It won't hurt my feelings if you don't,” Aizawa adds.
Shinsou knows the right answer. He should just tell Aizawa that he doesn't need to stay, but he's scared. Frozen with indecision, he feels more tense with each passing second.
“Um… I don't want to be alone,” he finally answers, wringing the ball in his hands hard enough it makes them ache. Technically, he's not asking Aizawa to stay. Just stating facts.
“Alright, I'll stick around and keep you company then,” Aizawa says easily. He picks up a folder and starts pulling out some paperwork, intending to do it in his lap.
Tension drains out of Shinsou. “Okay. Sorry.”
“You don't need to apologize, it's no problem. it's what I've been doing, anyway.”
There's some discomfort in knowing Aizawa has been watching him sleep, but also a warm sense of security.
“How long can you stay?”
“Well, I need to go to school in the morning. I'll leave a little early to feed your cat on the way. All Might and Mic can keep you company until my shift ends. If you want them to, that is.”
--Kaede! He nearly forgot about her. He's glad to know someone's been taking care of her. It doesn't really surprise him that it was Aizawa, honestly. If he was less tense it might have made him smile.
“Is that really okay?”
“Yeah. Like I said, it's what we've been doing anyway,” he says, before pausing to lower his pen and look Shinsou in the eye.
“People care about you, Shinsou. We're here for you. After everything you've been through, you deserve a little extra attention and care, and we don't mind giving it to you.”
Shinsou looks away, unsure of how to respond.
Aizawa continues, voice regaining a nonchalant tone as he turns back to his paperwork, “We wouldn't be offering if it was a problem, so you don't need to apologize or worry. Just focus on healing.”
Aizawa fills out his work in silence. Shinsou ignores all the new texts and missed calls on his phone (politely returned to him by Aizawa with his doctor's permission) and plugs his headphones in, settling into the bed on his side with his back to Aizawa. As stressed as he is, he's had several, several years of practice ignoring the things going on around him. The exhaustion pulls him under before he even gets to the end of the first song.
Even exhausted and injured, his body refuses to let him sleep uninterrupted. He finds himself awake for no reason in the darkened hospital room, music still playing in his ears. He feels a familiar stab of anxiety in his stomach. He wants to check if Aizawa is still around, but his body is too heavy and he's too exhausted to roll over immediately.
It's a slow process--waiting for the motive and energy to shift each of his limbs a little more to the other side--that he almost gives up on multiple times, reasoning to himself that he's probably still there anyway. Aizawa did say he would stay. Shinsou's anxiety is worse at night, though, and anxiety doesn't listen to reason. Who would choose to sleep at a hospital for a brat like him? Plus, it's Aizawa. It could have been a “logical ruse” or some lesson in trust or “there won't always be someone there for you” or…
When he finally gets his head to roll to the other side, he sees Aizawa is no longer in the chair beside him. His heart jumps. He scrambles upright, catching himself when he goes too far and nearly crashes into his own knees. If Aizawa isn't here anyone can walk in and dowhatevertheywanttohim-- His vision has gone dark, but somehow bright and fuzzy at the same time. His music is too loud underneath his racing heartbeat. He swipes one hand at the cords, swaying and nearly falling as he does, and rips the earbuds out of his ears.
He's panting when his vision finally starts to come back. He looks around the room he had largely ignored the last time he was awake, looking for either Aizawa, a place to hide, escape, or something to defend himself with. It's pretty barren. His eyes finally catch the yellow lump slumped against the wall on the floor, a familiar face framed with tangled dark hair poking out of it. The relief is instant, like a switch being flipped.
He falls backwards into the bed, sighing as he trembles with excess adrenaline. He's surprised Aizawa stayed, he didn't even try to make Shinsou feel bad about it…
Well, there's always tomorrow. Maybe he's planning to get back at him then.
He doesn't have the strength to curl back up on his side or put his earbuds back in, so he just rolls his head to an angle where he can watch the door. His stomach is still upset. He doesn't want to lay around feeling sick all night or accidentally wake Aizawa up, though he knows the the former is pretty likely. He wonders if he could ask the nurses for something to knock him out.
Yet, he doesn't have to. Next thing he knows he's startled awake by someone walking through the door, someone he doesn't recognize. The lights are still out but warm morning sunlight is shining through the windows and thin curtains, much nicer than the hard white lights he had woken up to yesterday.
He would have assumed the man had just entered the wrong room if not for the lack of surprise or confusion on his face. He seems pretty certain he's supposed to be here.
The stranger's sunken blue eyes are on him. The man exhales, a soft smile pulling at his lips.
“Shinsou... It's so good to see you awake.”
Shinsou sincerely has no idea who this is.
He does know that he's afraid of him for that reason.
“Um…” Shinsou glances to the other side of the room, finding Aizawa awake and leaning back in the chair beside him. He doesn't look surprised either, he just watches Shinsou and raises an eyebrow at him.
“How are you feeling?” the stranger asks. Should he know who this is? He looks too tall to be Ectoplasm, or… any of his other teachers, for that matter.
“T-tired,” Shinsou answers hesitantly. His heart rate hasn't quite settled back down yet from being startled, and this whole thing really isn't helping his anxiety.
“Ah, I would imagine so! You've been asleep for some time.”
He's so tired. Too tired to care enough to really be frustrated, but he doesn't like this. He glances back to Aizawa, then to the man, and back again, hoping he'll piece together some kind of context, but they're both just watching him expectantly.
Until they both seem to realize something at the same time, both stiffening. The tall man lets out a laugh that devolves into a cough, while Aizawa's hand moves to touch the back of his neck, averting his gaze.
“So much has happened recently…” Aizawa laments, before sighing and dropping his hand back into his lap. “Shinsou, this is All Might.”
Wait, what? That’s not what All Might looked like before… is it? No, right? ...No. Something must have happened. He must have gotten into an accident or fallen ill or something.
“Oh,” is all Shinsou says. He doesn’t want to be rude or pry, and he’s too tired to really think of anything else, anyway.
“Sorry about that!” All Might says. “It’s difficult to keep in mind that although I’ve seen you almost every day, you haven’t seen me this whole time.”
Shinsou tries to huff out a small laugh, but it just comes out as a hum.
“I have your laptop if you’d like it,” All Might offers, tugging on the bag hanging off his shoulder with his free hand, the other holding a thermos of sorts. “Midoriya mentioned you have a lot of movies and TV shows that make you feel better on it.”
That'll be nice, especially if he's forced to sleep here for awhile. It's embarrassing to know Midoriya told him about that stuff, though. Who knows what else he might have told people.
Aizawa stands from his chair and stretches.
“Well, I should probably get going, then.” He drops his arms and looks at Shinsou.
"...This button here will call a nurse," he says, gesturing to the remote within his reach. He picks up one of the stray papers he'd brought and scribbles something on it, before handing it to Shinsou. "All Might and Present Mic will be here with you, but if you need anything you can call me.
“I'll be back this evening.”
He and All Might trade places. Shinsou watches as Aizawa crosses the room. Part of him wants to ask if he's sure this is safe, but nothing comes out of his mouth as Aizawa walks out the door and finally shuts it behind him.
Shinsou was always afraid of being alone with All Might. He doesn't seem as intimidating now, but it wasn't just his bulk he was afraid of. All Might could get away with anything he wanted to, and that's what scares him. Who would ever believe that All Might--number one pro hero, symbol of peace--intentionally hurt someone?
His eyelids feel heavy but he has no intention of going back to sleep.
“Um, there's a way to make this lift up, right?” Shinsou asks.
“Oh, yes! Here…”
All Might helps him raise his bed so he's closer to a sitting position. His phone slides down to the lower half, and Shinsou remembers he never properly turned off his music. The new message icon catches his attention as he closes the app. He debates whether or not he should read them right now, if it'll just make him more stressed, but… it gives him an excuse to stay quiet a little longer. Takes away the pressure to make conversation.
He opens the most recent contact (and the one with the most new messages,) Midoriya.
[10:12 AM] Hi Shinsou-kun! Are you sick?? Didn't see u at school today
[1:48 PM] Most of the class is going to the mall to go shopping for the summer camp if you want to meet us there! (You passed the exam, btw!!!)
[9:27 AM] Everything ok?
[9:21 AM] Aizawa-sensei told us ur in the hospital :( hope you feel better soon!
[7:55 PM] Hey Shinsou-kun. A lot has happened recently, but we haven't forgotten abt you! Sensei won't tell us what happened or where you're staying, but I'd definitely come visit u if i could!! Keep fighting!! Plus ultra!!! O9”
There's a handful of similar texts from some of his other classmates too. Shinsou supposes… if he has to be alive… it's nice that there are people thinking about him. He didn't think he'd truly be missed. The opposite, if anything. He knew some softer classmates--like Midoriya--would be sad for a little while after his death, but he figured they'd all move on pretty easily, and be better off for it.
“Shinsou, my boy,” All Might starts solemnly, staring at the floor. “I…”
He's pulled out of his thought by a nurse pushing the door open. She sets Shinsou up with a tray of food. He's given child chopsticks, the kind that are attached at the top and naturally sit open so all you have to do is put your fingers through the holes and squeeze, and… even that's a challenge for him. What he manages to get into his mouth is pretty bland, too. He didn't really have an appetite to begin with, so he picks at it, agonizing over if he'll get in trouble for not eating it. He's pretty sure he'll end up gagging if he tries to force much more down, though…
“Not very good?” All Might inquires.
Shinsou shakes his head. “Not really…”
“Hospital food can be awful." He nods. "Seems pretty demoralizing for injured and sick patients."
All Might lifts his thermos. “Would you like some of my breakfast instead? It's a strawberry-banana smoothie!”
Shinsou politely laughs and shakes his head. It sounds pretty good, his parents didn't buy fruit very often. Too expensive, apparently.
“I'm serious!” All Might says. He leans forward and sets the thermos on his tray. “Please, drink it if you'd like.”
Shinsou blinks at him. “Don't you need it?”
“I can go get something from the cafeteria if I get hungry, and I have plenty to eat at work. Don't worry about me, my boy.”
Shinsou turns his attention to the thermos. He pops it open, peering inside at the soft pink fluid. It doesn't smell unusual. Why is All Might giving him his breakfast? Is he just being polite? Should Shinsou say no? Is it spiked?
“...Are you sure this is okay?”
“Yes, yes! Though, I imagine using those chopsticks is a part of your recovery… Try to eat the rice, at least. It's good for you.”
He looks back down. Those kinds of drugs usually have a pretty strong taste, right? Should be fine… and, if not, what does it even matter? It's not like his life could fall apart much more, anyway.
He takes a sip. He's pleasantly surprised--he had been imagining more of a milkshake than a smoothie, so the natural flavors take him by surprise. It's good. He can't remember the last time he had real strawberries. He doesn't taste anything oddly bitter or salty, either, so that's probably a good sign too.
He washes down the rice with the smoothie, and makes an absolute mess of his tray trying to get the grains into his mouth. All Might chuckles as he struggles with it. Maybe he should be annoyed or embarrassed, maybe it's just his nerves, but Shinsou finds himself laughing too.
He's exhausted by the time he's… well, "done" isn't entirely accurate, there's still rice and smoothie left, but by the time his stomach starts arguing with him and he gives up on shoving any more down. His hands are shaking with fatigue; he doesn't think he'll be lifting them again any time soon. In fact, he feels like there's a pretty good chance he'll doze off again. Even his anxiety is having a hard time getting through his sleepiness.
He glances at All Might. He seems preoccupied with his work.
He spends his last conscious moments trying to think of a way to stay awake.