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The World Exhales

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Injuries are a natural part of every heroes life. It comes with the territory. Most are suffered gladly, obtained to save an innocent civilian from the same fate. A civilian might not have the strength to battle those wounds. Might not be used to the pain clawing at their insides. Would not have the necessary last will in place.
A hero’s life is unstable, can be snuffed out any second. It’s only logical.
And yet it still hurts. It hurts so much that he would like to dig into his chest, break apart his ribcage and tear out the offending organ. Claw out his eyes so he would not have to see that thin chest barely move. Those irritating bangs of cornflower falling from the steel table, limp like their owner. The blood pooling around a mouth that for once does not bear a smile. The doctors move around him in a flurry, brows furrowed in concentration as they cut into the symbol of peace. He wonders what it’d be like to have such a patient die under their hands. He finds he has little sympathy for those doctors. This is just a big case in their career, a famous patient whose life might bring them an autograph and donations should he be saved.
His eyes follow the sunburst scar at the man’s side, now red and raw. Streaked with blood. He knows the man on that table prepared for this. Expected this.
It makes him angry.
He turns around, and before he knows it he leaves the observation room. There are voices, nurses trying to get through to him, some talking about shock, others offering sympathy. He brushes them aside. His steps are steady as he trails through the hospital’s floor, hands in his pockets. He pauses when he sees a familiar mop of green hair. The boy’s stare meets his. For once, the kid has no words to offer. All his rambling has ceased, drowned by the tears still glistening on his cheeks.
His mother turns around, eyes narrowing as she recognises him. She says something, but it doesn’t register. Aizawa turns around, not acknowledging them. He walks down another corridor, half expecting the boy to follow. He doesn’t.
His phone buzzes in his pocket and he takes it out. Several unanswered calls from Hizashi, some from Nemuri. Even detective Tsukauchi. Aizawa’s lips curl into something akin to a sneer and he turns off the phone.
The only person he wants to speak to is dying in the hallways behind him. He walks out of the hospital’s front doors, past a rabid hoard of reporters that pay him no heed.
He crosses a blocked off street, passes the news vans parked in rows upon rows next to him. People are standing in the streets, staring at their phones while worrying their lips, waiting for news. He almost pities them. There’s only one outcome to this.
The great All Might could not change the future after all.
The smile finally breaks over his face. It’s an ugly thing, almost a grimace. Uglier than any of his genuine smiles. Toshinori had always deemed them beautiful. Just like the number one hero, to love such an unkempt, broken thing. But then he supposes he is no better. All Might has long been a broken husk. Carrying a body that would rather he give up. Aizawa does not realise where his feet are carrying him. He wonders if he should have allowed the man to see Eri more often than he did. If he should have given in to his wish to move in together. It is all too late now.
He walks past a car accident, past a robber and his victim fretting together about the symbol of peace’s state. The world seems to be holding its breath, waiting for its pillar to lose his last battle. For the first time, Aizawa can’t bring himself to care about the world. His feet lead him to a little park. A sheltered patch of green in the bumbling chaos that is Musutafu.
The grass is dried and yellow. The trees sheltering it are tall, but their branches are weak and willowy. He clenches his fists, nails digging into the palms of his hands.
He can taste copper on his tongue. It’s a taste he’s used to, from his own hero work, his own brushes with death, and from the soft brush of blood-stained lips against his.
Aizawa kicks a stone out of his way. It scoots over the grass only to hit a tree with a soft ‘thunk’. He walks towards the only park bench, an old wooden thing that’s marred with carved graffiti. He sinks down, closes his eyes. Takes a deep breath. Leans back his head.
There’s a soft wind ruffling his hair and tying it into knots.
He can hear the shouts. The cries. The tv screens blaring out the news. Shocked news anchors reading out what he knew was coming.
Aizawa smiles. One last, genuine smile. The last he has to give.
Finally, he lets the tears fall. And the world exhales.