Shouto isn’t sure how it happened. It went by too fast.
One second, they have the hero killer tied up, pro heroes on the scene, ready to help clean up the aftermath. Then there’s a nomu. He remembers hearing a scream, and a blur as the hero killer rushed forward and killed the beast. Then there was Stain, preaching his ideology to the frozen pro heroes.
He vaguely remembers seeing Midoriya’s face. The young hero had been confused, scared even, crouched on the ground where the hero killer had rescued him. Then his face had contorted in horror.
And that’s when the blaring pain started.
It all became a blur after that. Shouto vaguely remembered seeing flames, and more screaming. His vision was going black.
Midoriya. Despite the boy’s injuries, Midoriya rushed over to him. Shouto gripped his arm. It burns, damn it all, as if his blood was on fire.
“Todoroki!” Another scream, this time Midoriya. Shouto stares up at him. This miracle child, who somehow managed to break through to him. Someone he’d considered a friend. Looking at him with tears and pain in his eyes.
He isn’t sure when he realizes this. Maybe it’s when the darkness takes over. Maybe it’s before that. He doesn’t know. But the pain is getting worst. It feels like it’s spreading, like a horrible, twisted virus.
He grabs his chest. He’s scared to look down. He feels something wet in his hands. He knows it’s blood.
Maybe he says something to Midoriya, but whatever he said, he doesn’t remember. He does remember that whatever he said didn’t make Midoriya feel any better.
The ringing in his ears is getting worst.
I.. can’t die
The thought hits him harder than a speeding bullet train. Panic suddenly overtakes him. He feels like the world is fading. Midoriya is suddenly gone. That last bit of comfort is gone. His body feels completely entrapped by a searing hot agony.
I can’t die..
I don’t want to die.
Shouto wakes to… nothing. And not just the kind of nothing you can see, you can feel. This nothing is… intangible, and cold. Well, not cold in a sense that he can feel the cold. Even that would be preferable over… whatever this is.
This nothing is worse than anything Shouto has ever felt before. It feels like a complete lack of presence.
But… at least the pain is gone.
Why was he in pain? Had something happened? He tried to think, but even his thoughts felt messy and disorganized, like he was wading through a fog.
Shot had been…. Fighting, fighting someone. And… Midoriya was there. Midoriya and Iida. And…
And the Hero Killer, Stain.
He remembers that much. He was stabbed. In the arm. So that must have been the pain he was feeling…
No, that doesn’t seem right. Shouto strains to understand what he’s missing. Whatever pain he was remembering, it came after they had already defeated Stain, after they’d tied him up. But what had happened after that? No matter how hard he strained, Shouto couldn’t remember.
But… where was he? Normally, Shouto was calm, collected. He had to be. But this situation was beyond calm. If he had been hurt, why was he not in a hospital? At least… he didn’t think this was a hospital.
Shouto attempted to move. It was a strange sensation. He knew he was there, his body. But it was like he was there without being there. It didn’t make any sense, but he couldn’t think of any other comparison.
Focus, I need to focus. I need to…
More silence. He hates the silence. Even ambient noise would help. This silence was unnatural. This complete, utter silence.
Right, keep your thoughts organized. Thoughts. He had lost his train of thought. What had he been trying to remember…
Shouto isn’t sure why he thinks of Midoriya. But thinking of him immediately fills the boy with panic. And that panic feels like it spreads through his body, and he feels something, though he isn’t sure how.
All at once, that sickening nothing is suddenly replaced with…. Something. Shouto isn’t sure what it is. It feels like an immovable weight is pressing down on him. It doesn’t hurt so to speak, but again, he can’t move.
Shouto tries to take a breath, to reorganize himself, but he realizes with mild fear that he… can’t.
Is he drowning? Those thoughts cause him to try to struggle even more, panic filling his chest.
Next thing he knows he sees a light.
It’s glowing, amber, and faint, but he actually sees it. And he’s no longer encompassed by a heavy nothing.
And he isn’t sure what prompts a sudden feeling, a feeling of desire to push despite still not really being able to feel his arms, or the rest of his body, for that matter. But regardless, he listens. And as soon as he does, it’s almost like his body seemed to phase out of the thick, jello-y sensation of before, like breaking through the surface of water. Then the world abruptly is swallowed by light.
Shouto freezes. Then he blinks. Twice. Everything feels like its hitting him at once. While before there was an empty nothing, now he’s blinded by an over encumbering something.
He shakes his head, wincing. It’s not pain, but that doesn’t make it any less overwhelming. Slowly, he squints his eyes open as they adjust to the light.
He’s in a hospital room. How did he get here.
Oh right. I was hurt. He thinks absently to himself. He certainly doesn’t feel hurt. He can’t even remember where his injuries were. Trying to look back on the whole fight with Stain is like trying to swim through molasses. His mind still felt like it was filled with fog.
Shouto’s thoughts are interrupted when he hears soft muttering. It’s barely noticeable at first, but was slowly becoming more noticeable.
Shouto knew that incessant muttering anywhere. Whipping around, Shouto saw Midoriya, in a hospital bed.
Immediately, Shoto felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. He winces, his eyes scanning over Midoriya’s injuries. If only he’d answered that notification faster…
But his thoughts are soon taken up by curiosity, and a bit of dread, when he sees what Midoriya is holding, the both of them staring at it intently.
It’s a necklace, but it’s not like any necklace Shouto’s ever seen. It’s golden, with small golden chains making up the neck, akin to some archaic treasure.
But that isn’t the most intriguing part. The pendent at the base of the necklace is a thick, decorated emblem of gold. It is carved in the shape of what resembled a closed eye.
And more importantly, it radiated something that made Shouto’s blood go cold.
“Midoriya, what is that?” Shouto found himself asking.
Midoriya didn’t respond.
Shouto narrowed his eyes, but not at his friend’s lack of response, rather at the strange…. amulet he’s holding.
“Midoriya,” he says simply.
It’s then that Shouto suddenly feels really wrong. Not in a “disturbing the injured boy” kind of way, but rather a more primal, psychological wrongness. He tenses.
Even still, Midoriya doesn’t seem to notice.
Things were starting to feel…. Bizarre. Out of place in a way Shouto couldn’t quite place. And he was beginning to get frustrated with his inability to recall much past receiving the notification from Midoriya.
“Shouto, I’m sorry,” Midoriya’s voice cuts through his thoughts, and he turns back to the green haired boy. Oddly enough, Midoriya isn’t staring at him. He’s still staring at the amulet.
“I wasn’t fast enough. If I had been faster, if that nomu hadn’t come…”
There had been a nomu?
When was that?
Shouto couldn’t recall a nomu.
“Midoriya what are you-”
“And now…” Midoriya’s eyes are beginning to go red, teary eyed, and it’s now that Shoto notices his eyes are puffy. He’s been crying.
He watched as Midoriya runs a hand through his hair, settling on his face. Tears start to fall, and he chokes back a sob.
“Please Todoroki. Please,” he whimpers.
“Please be okay..
He holds the amulet to his face, tears streaming down uncontrollably now. By now Shouto is at a complete lost. He’s standing right here. But Midoriya’s talking as if he isn’t even in the room.
“Midoriya, what’s going on-” He starts to say, extending a hand to Midoriya’s shoulder, his face expressionless, though his mind is whirling. However, instead of acting as a comforting source, Shouto’s hand goes right through Midoriya.
Shouto reels back, blinking several times. What. What was that? His thoughts do a double take and there’s a moment before he can properly contain himself.
He looks at his hand, confusion shooting through his body, when his breath catches in his throat.
His body is completely see through. Still there, but not really, completely there.
And for the first time, when mild panic begins to snake into Shouto’s thoughts, fuzzy with confusion, he realizes something else. Something that most normal people don’t spend over several minutes not doing without realizing.
He isn’t breathing, either.
He has no heartbeat.
Tenya is…. At a loss.
His whole body feels numb, and he’s faintly aware that his fist is beginning to dig into his own skin.
This was all his fault.
If I hadn’t been so foolish.
He closed his eyes, his jaw tightened into a grimace. He couldn’t even look at his bandaged arm. It hurt too much, not just in the physical way. It shrouded him in guilt. He had been the one who had charged into danger foolheartedly, and yet he got out of it with only this. While Todoroki…
Tenya shivers, though the room isn’t cold. He had been right there. If he’d only been more attuned to the situation. If their attention hadn’t been focused on Stain….
Even Midoriya had reacted faster than he had. While he had been frozen, Midoriya, injured and much farther away, had jumped into action. Tenya couldn’t actually remember what had been said. His ears had felt like they were ringing, filled with static. And it had all happened so fast…
“Todoroki! Midoriya! What are you doing?” Tenya yelled, his arm throbbing, panic shooting through his body. The alley erupted with flames, Todoroki wincing as knives shot through his arm.
“This is my fight, not yours!” He cried, “Don’t get involved!”
“Shut up!” Midoriya shouted back, “We’re not leaving you behind, Iida! Do you think a real hero would just let people in need die?”
Tenya’s fist clenched harder, and he thought maybe he’d drawn blood. But that didn’t matter.
Midoriya was right. A real hero wouldn’t have let anyone die.
Tenya bit his lip, tasting copper.
I really am no hero.
The wait was excruciating. It was a pain far more gruesome than when Izuku had broken his arm and legs during the entrance exam, more intense than any injuries he sustained fighting Stain. It was a primal pain, a feeling of needles piercing his heart, and every breath hurt.
It was easy to fix broken bones. Those would heal. But this… feeling. This was something deeper.
And Izuku hated it.
They had been so close. So close to finally being out of the woodwork. Then the nomu had come. And Stain had killed it. And everyone had been so focused on the radical villain… they hadn’t seen what Midoriya had seen.
In that moment, a panic, a fear, more intense than anything Izuku had experienced before had shot through him. He’d found himself springing into action, his brain catching up with seconds too late.
In that moment, Izuku had forgotten his injuries. He’d forgotten the people around him. Everything moved in a blur of screaming, fire, and the distant sound of blaring sirens. He’d found himself gripping the bloodied body of Todoroki, tears he hadn’t realized he was crying streaming down his face. At some point he had been ripped away from the boy, and time had become another blur to add to the rest of frantically moving images crossing his mind.
His heart was pounding, and each beat felt like hell. Everything had been so chaotic, and Izuku wasn’t sure how long it had been. He didn’t even really remember getting his arm patched up, because he was sick with worry.
Please Todoroki, you have to be okay.
His grip on the amulet in his hands tightened. He stared down at it.
It seemed to stare back.
You can’t…. You can’t..
More tears started to flow. His throat seemed to tighten, and he bit down on his tongue. He needed something to ground him, or else he felt he might float away.
This is all my fault. If I hadn’t called you, if I hadn’t…
Izuku’s eyes are cloudy. His mind can’t seem to focus on anything right now, other than the one, pounding thought in his head, begging Todoroki to be okay.
Something clicked, and Izuku looked up, blinking away tears in the direction of the sound.
A doctor had just entered the room. Midoriya hadn’t been able to form a cohesive thought since he got to the hospital, far too shell shocked to say much. Now, his mouth seemed to move before his brain even had a chance to properly contain his thoughts.
“I-Is Todoroki okay?”
The doctor looked up at him, and smiled at him in that way people do when they pity you. Izuku felt as if he’d just been dropped out a building.
“It’s good to see you’re doing well, Midoriya,” The doctor addressed him, glancing down at the clipboard he was holding. “As you probably know, you managed to get away with only a broken arm, which is fortunate considering your circumstances.”
He was avoiding the question.
“Sir, I know,” Izuku said, sounding a mix of irritated and panicked, “There was another boy with me, Shouto Todoroki, and..” Iida. In his panic and blind fear Izuku had almost completely forgotten about Iida. More guilt began to creep into his consciousness, but before he could properly find his voice again, the doctor sighed, raising a hand.
“Tenya Iida is fine as well. He is currently recuperating in another room. Suffered injury to his hand, but got off surprisingly unscathed for the encounter you all had,” The doctor says, though something flashes behind his eyes that Izuku can’t quite describe.
He then gives Izuku a cold look, adjusting his glasses, “Midoriya, if you will, what is your connection to Shouto Todoroki?”
Izuku blinks once, twice. He stares at the doctor for a moment, before replying, averting his gaze to instead stare at the necklace in his hands.
“U-um, well… He’s my classmate.” Izuku says quietly, images of the boy flashing in his mind, “And… and my friend.”
The doctor nods understandingly, then closes his eyes. Izuku chances to look up at the doctor again, and for whatever reason, the look he sees in the doctor’s eyes send chills down his spine.
“Midoriya, I’m afraid there’s no easy way to say this,” The doctor begins, “The injuries that young Todoroki experienced…. Were far to severe. The amount of blood he’d lost by the time he had arrived had already been copious.”
“He flat-lined thirty minutes ago. I’m sorry.”
Izuku didn’t hear what the doctor said after that. He was frozen. There was a pounding in his ears. He might as well have been stabbed a dozen times by Stain, because this feeling was far worse than any pain.
He felt himself convulse, his hands clutching the sheets, screaming. He thought he felt something tap his back, no doubt the doctor, who had sympathetically placed a hand on his back.
Something cold suddenly felt like it had enveloped his whole being as his body was racked with sobs.
If he hadn’t been so delirious, perhaps he would have felt that cold as it seemed to wrap around him. A voice that seemed to be barely more than a whisper joined him in his cries.
I’m sorry. “I’m sorry...!”