"A notebook…" Shouto muttered staring at the beautiful embroidered cover, the edge of the pages golden, everything bound tightly in leather.
"You don't like it." Midoriya frowned.
"No, I do. I simply don't know what to do with it."
"You write things in it, obviously." Katsuki grumbled.
Shouto pursed his lips; technically Katsuki was right, but Shouto didn't think he should fill Midoriya's present up with meaningless things.
"You can use it for whatever you want Shouto-kun." Izuku said. Shouto glanced up at his friend and then back down at the book and smiled.
"Thank you, Izuku."
Shouto turned to the next gift. He didn't even know how his friends found out it was his birthday, but he was very touched by how sweet they were being, even though he didn't let on just how much he appreciated it.
"This one's from Bakugou." He was afraid he would get a shirt that said 'you suck' or worse…
But he just got a video game, "I thought we could all take turns playing."
"He means he's going to snarl at anyone who tries to get close to the controller." Kirishima smirked and was rewarded with a punch to the arm for his troubles.
Shouto shook his head and sighed, ignoring the arguing and thanking the people who would actually listen for what they did for him today. "I've never really celebrated my birthday before." he never even thought that a birthday was something to celebrate until all his friends started throwing birthday parties for each other.
"Well now that you're our friend we're celebrating your birthday every year until everyone's dead!" Kaminari cried.
"Yeah, and I'll bury your corpses!" Katsuki shouted and crossed his arms.
"How can you be so sure you'll live till then?" Kirishima asked.
"Probably because he'll be the death of you." Mina said when Bakugou just gave the red head a long, silent stare.
Shouto watched amusedly as his friends began to argue about things that were frankly, far into the future, and not worth arguing about now.
But he wasn't going to tell them that.
Finally, after a long, tiring day with everyone, night finally coated the skies dark and it was time to go to sleep. Now alone in his room, away from laughter and loud voices, Shouto almost felt bad that he was happy to be alone again.
He spotted all of his gifts piled into one of the corners of his room, and he felt his heart swell. Suddenly, he felt he hadn't been grateful enough, even though he had thanked them all several times.
At the very bottom of the pile he saw the corner of Izuku's beautiful notebook peaking out. Or, he supposed it was his notebook now, but it was Izuku's gift.
Shouto felt that he shouldn't just write anything in the book, but Izuku had said he could write anything. His main fear though, was that he wouldn't use it at all. Shouto had never exactly been the notebook type.
"Well, I might as well start using it, so if he asks if I've used it, I can at least respond with yes…" he muttered to himself.
Shouto finally made up his mind after a few more minutes of thinking it over to himself.
Grabbing the corner, he carefully tugged the notebook into the light successfully; thank god none of the other presents fell.
Shouto then stood up and went back to his desk, opening it to the first blank page. Now it was just a matter of what he would write. He supposed he could draw too, but he'd rather not. At least his handwriting looked nice, even if the words on the page were utterly stupid.
Should he use it as a journal? To document the things that actually happened to him. Should he use it as a school notebook, to keep notes? It seemed like a shame, to use something so beautiful for something an ordinary composition notebook could accomplish perfectly fine.
He could use it as a creative writing journal… a poem journal?
You could use it for whatever you need in the moment. A traitorous voice in the back of his mind said. No, that kind of chaos just wouldn't do. The notebook had to have a purpose, one purpose, and it would fulfill that purpose without fail, but it would never be used for any other thing.
Which was why choosing what kind of notebook he wanted it to be was so important. He supposed it could be a scrap book… a sort of photo album maybe?
Todoroki groaned; it wasn't supposed to be this hard!
You're making it hard.
"Shut up…" he muttered and kept staring at the very intimidating blank page. How did Izuku do it so easily? Fill the blank pages as if they weren't the scariest thing about notebooks, and one of the only things he expressly hated about them.
Shouto buried his face in his hands and just sat there for a long time, before glancing at the clock. He knew it was time to go to bed, but he wanted to write just one thing before he went. One thing… no, if he could even just figure out what he was going to use this thing for, he'd be happy.
Shouto sighed and turned back to his horrifying blank page, but when he turned around the page wasn't blank anymore.
Shouto nearly fell out of his seat, but didn't, thankfully. He snatched the notebook up and stared at it really hard, willing it to write something else. Maybe he had been so indecisive the universe chose what to use it for, for him. "But did you have to pick a battle plan?" Shouto asked frowning.
He didn't want to use it for that. He didn't even have a pen in his hand. He must've subconsciously written it, but he didn't remember anything about that. It wasn't fair either.
He didn't want to be that nutcase in class that had imaginary battles in his head and planned them out on paper. What kind of person even had the time to do that? Using it for something mundane was one thing, but he refused to let his gift turn into a nutcase. Shouto took a deep breath and looked back at the book, wondering if there was anything else.
There was. The map was a little more detailed now, and they were drawn well. Shouto glanced down at his hands, wondering if they were secret artists that had been holding out on him this entire time. "Shame on you." He told them.
Then Shouto just watched the notebook, hoping it would stop because he didn't want to use it for this, however if this was what the universe had planned then he supposed not even he could stop himself from becoming a nutcase.
He reached for the pen on his desk and picked it up, wondering if he could actually write in the notebook, or if the universe had deemed him unworthy.
Shouto drew over the map and instead, wrote things like, 'no war, let there be peace!' and things like that. He did it in plain print and loopy, curly print, and then tight little swirls of ink. He wrote these things big and he wrote them small.
The universe didn't seem to be happy with him doing this, because it went to a new page and kept drawing the battle map, but Shouto sabotaged that one too. 'Hello? Why do you want to draw war maps' was his new mantra.
Shouto didn't know exactly who was writing on the other side, because he knew thinking it was the universe was completely ridiculous. He knew it was likely just a quirk acting up or something.
And that realization made him feel a little bad for ruining this person's hard work, but they were ruining his notebook, dammit!
'Why are you drawing battle maps?' he asked again, curious about that particular part of this odd interaction.
He didn't know how but this notebook had become his 'ruining battle plans' notebook.
Stop ruining everything!
The person on the other side finally wrote back. But Shouto didn't think he was ruining much of anything. Or… maybe he was. Could this be the map of a general planning to attack Japan? He definitely wasn't going to stop if that was the case.
I'll stop ruining everything if you tell me what exactly you're going to do with what you're drawing.
It had occurred to him this could be one of the nutcases that drew imaginary battle maps so they could pretend they were a soldier in war or something.
I'm preparing for battle.
Oh god, he was one of them.
Don't you have anything else you'd rather be doing?
Why would I? This is war!
He wrote in English, Shouto had observed, though it seemed the person could also read Japanese considering he had understood Shouto's question.
Or maybe he didn't, the response he had given to his question had been rather broad. Oh well, it didn't matter, Shouto knew English, though it had been a while since he'd written the language, so it was good he was practicing.
On the other side of the equation, this guy was completely crazy. As far as he knew there wasn't really war going on right now. The world was a relatively peaceful place, especially considering all the villains of the world.
There was no reason for any countries to be going to war at the moment, they had enough to deal with, with just the villains out there in their own country.
There is no war
Silence on the other side. Shouto frowned and turned the pages of the notebook to see more drawing. Shouto sighed, he wondered why the person was still drawing on whatever paper he was using. Shouldn't he just get a new paper so Shouto couldn't interfere?
He began drawing and messing up the battle map again.
What is wrong with you! How are you even still here, I got a new paper!
So, he had but it hadn't worked. Shouto frowned, wondering just what sort of quirk was even at work here.
Would you just leave me alone! I don't want to deal with you!
I would… Shouto mused to himself for a moment before adding but not only is this fun, but I do find myself curious to test the boundaries of this new situation.
I hate you; you don't even know who you're dealing with!
To be fair, neither do you. Shouto thought that was a reasonable response but the other, apparently, didn't share his point of view.
You're ridiculous! You're dealing with a prince, a PRINCE, you lowly, bumbling, stupid idiot!
That wasn't very nice. And if you must know who YOU are dealing with, I'll tell you. I'm the Hand Crusher.
What? If the other was going to be funny with ridiculous titles, he figured he might as well do the same.
That doesn't even make sense!
Neither does being a prince.
Actually, that makes perfect sense, because I am!
Shouto wondered if most people would be annoyed talking to this guy right now, but he found that he was actually rather amused. It was interesting to see just how hysterical he would get in the end before he just stopped responding to his writing.
I actually don't think you are a prince. What's your name, we'll see if I've heard of you.
None of your business.
Sorry, I've never encountered a prince by that name. Shouto frowned as he tried to think of all the princes he'd heard of, and that name just wasn't coming to mind.
That's not my name you fool! I'm saying that my name is none of your business.
Well that made more sense.
Then I'm afraid I won't be able to confirm your story and will thus, keep on believing that you are someone in need of help for your delusions.
They're not delusions.
That's what delusional people say. Shouto really was starting to think this person was delusional and wasn't even sure how much of his statements were jokes anymore.
It's also what non-delusional people say!
Non-delusional people don't have to prove they're not delusional.
Silence on the other end. Shouto sighed and flipped the page to find more drawing.
This guy never really did give up, did he?
Shouto ruined this drawing too.
Look, are you lonely? If you're lonely, get a dog. But stop bothering me and my work!
You're being rather rude… Shouto frowned at the previous message. Maybe he was a little lonely. Maybe he had been a little lonely ever since his friends had gone to bed. But no, it wasn't an all-consuming loneliness. And his father had… certain feelings about pets, and he was fairly sure the school wouldn't allow something as high maintenance as a dog stay in the dorms. Plus, dogs needed attention, something Shouto wouldn't be able to give it.
I don't care. You're the one rudely ruining all of my work. Staging an attack has never been so hard. It's not even a complicated plan, considering we only have one ship, but I wanted draw it to make it clear for every idiot on board. But I can't do that now because you're ruining everything!
Shouto didn't even know where to begin writing. The other had written so fast, at speeds Shouto had previously deemed impossible.
Listen, I don't mean to ruin your work. At first, I thought I was going crazy, but I doubt that now. It's probably just your quirk or another quirk around you acting up. Maybe if you find the source you can cut of the connections, so you stop ruining my gift.
I'm not ruining anything. And there's no quirks or whatever you called it, "acting up" you're probably just crazy. Now just go to sleep like you're supposed to, little boy.
That last line made Shouto's fists clench, I am NOT a little boy, you don't even know if I'm a boy! I mean, I am, but I'm fifteen, hardly a little boy anymore!
Ha, only fifteen, what a joke!
Oh really, and how old are you?
None of your business!
Okay fine, it's none of my business. But are you done ruining my gift now? It was from a very good friend of mine, and I was just about to figure out what to do with it when you started to draw your imaginary battles.
They're not imaginary they're real! And they're important!
Shouto frowned as he stared at the messages. Maybe this guy, whoever he was, was an old general of one of the most powerful navy's in the world.
Where are you from? Shouto thought it was reasonable for the other to give some sort of information up about himself. You don't have to give me anything specific, just a country maybe? Shouto didn't exactly want to come off as creepy, though the guy on the other side knew he was only fifteen. Not like he was some creepy old man trying to get his address, just someone who wanted to get to know the person they were talking to.
You don't want to know.
Shouto stared at the paper as he awaited an answer but got none as he sat there until the early hours of morning. He even turned the pages but saw no more drawing.
Feeling slightly betrayed that the other person hadn't at least left him a goodbye or told him he wasn't going to talk to him anymore, Shouto stood up from the chair and dragged himself to bed.
He figured he would have to sleep for at least a little while until class started. Some sleep was better than no sleep, though he suspected he would feel even more tired when he had to wake up the next morning without getting a proper amount of sleep.
At the moment, he was too exhausted to care about that, lucky he hadn't fallen asleep sitting at his desk leaving himself to awake with a cramp the next morning.
Shouto didn't know who the person on the other side of his notebook was, but he desperately wanted to find out. Wanted to know things about him like his name, and how old he was, if he was even a 'he'. Shouto, admittedly, could be a little blunt, and he could be a little nosy at time when the situation called for it, but he felt like he always had good intentions at heart. It wasn't as if he would wish the other ill will based solely on where he lived. Unfortunately, the other person didn't seem to think so.
Shouto sighed and crawled into bed, settling down under the covers. Light was already streaming through his window, but he was determined to go to sleep regardless and pulled the covers over his head.
At this moment he was fairly docile, but when that guy contacted him again, whether on purpose, or intentionally, he was going to give him a piece of his mind. Tomorrow he was going to be exhausted from staying up, waiting for some form of an answer. Even a simple 'bye' would do because it's common curtesy! What could possibly be so important he couldn't even have time to say that?
Then a thought occurred to Shouto, one he had previously completely dismissed. What if the guy actually was a prince… what if he actually did lead an army?
But that was impossible, right? Shouto wished he could just lay there, and some sort of answer would just automatically come to him if he thought hard enough, but he knew that probably wasn't true, and that was never going to happen.
Especially not since he was currently so tired, his eyes had nailed themselves shut and refused to open, even as his brain spun a billion miles a minute.
In the end, almost against his will, Shouto's brain shut off and he blacked out, but only for a second, because then his alarm went off.