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something wrong with the world today (something wrong with my eyes)

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“What are you watching?” Kurogiri asks idly, glancing over at the tablet balanced carefully in four fingers of each of Shigaraki’s hands.

The boy scowls in response, hunches over the screen protectively. “Nothing.” He goes quiet, for long enough that Kurogiri thinks he’s finished, before muttering, “I’m doing research. On heroes.”

Interesting. Shigaraki hasn’t expressed much interest in heroes beyond a generalized disdain for them and a hyperfocused hatred on All Might, and the anger present whenever he talks about the Symbol of Peace is absent now. This is something different. “Oh?”

Shigaraki makes a distracted, irritable sound, but doesn’t close the video when Kurogiri leans over his shoulder to look.

It’s not a good video- clearly taken on a cellphone at night, the image grainy with darkness. There’s a villain, some over-muscled brute draped in stolen jewels with what looks to be a mild strength enhancement quirk, but the camera and Shigaraki are both focused on the smaller shape in black and grey, moving around the villain so quickly it’s nearly a blur. A hero, clearly.

The hero skids to a momentary halt, assessing the situation, and the camera finally gets a good view of him, caught in profile. Long, shaggy black hair, a nondescript black jumpsuit, a coil of bandages around his neck.

A pair of angular goggles.

Kurogiri blinks.

Which is odd, in itself, because he doesn’t need to blink. There’s a lot of things he doesn’t need to do (anymore?) (no no no-).

And yet.

He blinks, because for a moment there’s something so familiar, and he desperately needs to shut it out. Closing his eyes doesn’t help, though, and he still sees the blurry form of the hero in the resulting darkness, long dark hair and bandages piled around his shoulders.

He looks younger.

“Who is that?” he asks, voice neutral, carefully calm.

Shigaraki barely pays him any heed, as always, and his eyes are still focused on the screen and bright with intrigue when he says, “An underground hero, Eraserhead. You know, the kind that stays unranked on purpose?”

(he always did hate the spotlight)

“Hm,” Kurogiri hums. He has a headache, he thinks. That’s odd, too. He doesn’t get headaches. “I see. Why the sudden interest?”

“Eraserhead’s pretty cool. He gets how heroes should be,” Shigaraki says. “Instead of this ugly, stupid ranking system that only churns out- glory hounds and, and fame junkies. Real heroes shouldn’t care about that.”

Kurogiri tips his head curiously. “You’d call Eraserhead a real hero, then?”

Shigaraki looks up and looks almost defensive, eyes narrowing. “Maybe. Why do you care?”

“I think he is too,” (Obo-) Kurogiri says, and isn’t sure why he does, or why it takes so much energy to form the words.

Shigaraki just shrugs, like Kurogiri’s opinion doesn’t matter at all to him, but he looks almost pleased when he glances back down at the screen. The dismissal is clear, but Kurogiri hovers a moment longer before turning away. The image of the hero (shouta), younger and more frightened, won’t leave his mind.

“Shigaraki,” he says, pausing a few steps away. “That hero’s name isn’t public knowledge, is it?”

“Huh? No,” Shigaraki says. “Nobody knows anything about the guy. Why?”

“Hm,” Kurogiri says.

(aizawa shouta)

“No reason.”