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Shigaraki woke up to a white ceiling. Which was weird, because, as far as he could remember, his room didn’t have a white ceiling.


Confused, he looked left, where he found a series of hospital beds. Ah, he realized. I must be in Kuryugumi’s hospital wing. His whole body ached, as though he had received a good beating, so that must be why.


He heard snoring to his right, and turned to look, ignoring the protests his body was making.


He almost jumped at the sight. There, sleeping soundly, was his rival amongst the kumin, Mukou. Damn, that idiot copied him in everything he did! He dressed the same, talked the same, acted the same! He was so irritating!


And now he was even in the same damn hospital wing!


Shigaraki was about to shout or kick the idiot out of the bed or something, when he heard a voice that sent chills down his spine.


“Now, now, Shigaraki. Be a good boy and let your friend rest a bit more. He needs his sleep. In fact, you should also lie down – you’re still not properly healed!”


Slowly, Shigaraki turned his head around. It was like the scene out of a horror scene, where the protagonist knows some eldritch horror is behind them, doesn't want to look at it, yet is somehow compelled to look back.


Sure enough, behind him was the demon made flesh. Tsukasa.


It was all coming back to him. The reason he was here. He and Mukou had put aside their rivalry to defeat a common enemy – Tsukasa.


The brat was so annoying! It was always “tuck in your shirt before you go out”, and “play nice with your friends”, and “stop glaring like that. You look like a yakuza”, which was the bloody point because he was a yakuza.


Both he and Mukou agreed that the brat had to be taught a lesson once and for all, and so created a temporary alliance to get rid of the kid. Of course, as was obvious by the fact he and Mukou were in the hospital wing, they failed. The crazy bodyguard had ridiculous reflexes – they couldn’t even touch him! No matter what they did, Tsukasa evaded it without even really trying. It was so frustrating! Made even worse by the fact that this was a civilian brat, not even really part of the yakuza. Only reason he was even there was because the Sandaime had taken an interest in him (a small voice in the back of his head told him the Sandaime was wise to choose such a skilled bodyguard, but he chose to ignore it).


“Oi.” Shigaraki called. He wouldn't be intimidated by a high school civilian brat, damn it!


“Hmmm?” Was Tsukasa’s noncommittal answer as she browsed through a magazine laying around. 


Shigaraki hesitated, but then continued on. “Why didn’t you tell the Sandaime about our attacks?”


Because the brat hadn’t. Shigaraki was mildly impressed that Tsukasa hadn’t immediately gone to the Sandaime to report their violent behavior. He had expected the civilian brat to go running to tattle on them, therefore earning them a serious punishment. The brat hadn’t, though, resolving, he was guessing, to deal with the issue himself, and even going so far as to bringing them to the hospital wing and healing them after beating them up.


This kid makes no sense! Is he even human?  Shigaraki paused. It would actually make sense if the kid wasn’t human. If he wasn’t, that would explain his monstrous fighting skill.


“Because there was no need to,” Tsukasa replied simply, still leafing through the magazine.  


What the hell? What does that even mean? Was Tsukasa saying that they were such minimal threats to him that they didn’t even register? Or was he saying that the Sandaime was much too busy dealing with kuryuugumi politics to be paying attention to them? Or did he mean that, contrary to popular opinion, Tsukasa wasn’t the Sandaime’s favorite. Can’t this kid be clear for once in his life?!


While silently raging inside his head, Shigaraki noticed that Mukou had woken up during their pseudo-conversation. Mukou also seemed confused. Good, I’m not the only one then.


Tsukasa seemed to have noticed the wakening of his rival as well.


“Ah, you’re both awake then. Good, I have something to tell you," The bodyguard leaned forward. 


They were going to get scolded, Shigaraki was sure of it. Frankly, he should’ve seen it coming. No normal person would simply not address the attacks made to his person, after all. Shigaraki braced himself, oddly not that indignant at the thought of being scolded by a civilian gaki years his junior, and saw Mukou doing the same.


“It’s about Ryuuji.” Tsukasa started. 


“We underst- wait, what?” Shigaraki had expected to be berated for attacking Tsukasa, where did Sandaime-sama enter the picture? And how dare Tsukasa refer to Sandaime-sama so familiarly? Mukou had a similar look of confusion on his face.


“As you know, he’s currently attending junior high with me.” Yeah, they knew, but where the hell was this going? “Some time ago, there was an… incident. As such, our school thought that Ryuuji was responsible for it, and threatened to expel him. Somehow, a few friends and I managed to convince the school board to be a bit more lenient.” To this, the brat seemed to sigh whimsically. It was an oddly flattering expression on him. “They agreed to not expel him if he managed to stay out of trouble for the entirety of winter break. Of course, this includes all the kumin in the Kuryuugumi who work under him.” Tsukasa paused, looking at them to make sure they understood. “I want Ryuuji to be able to finish high school, and I know he wants to too. So I’m asking you, will you please try to behave this winter break, for Ryuuji?”


And damn, Shigaraki had never noticed what beautiful eyes Tsukasa had. They were so soulful, so big, it made you unable to deny the bearer of those eyes anything. He found himself nodding despite himself.


Quickly distracting himself from that line of thought, Shigaraki focused on what the young bodyguard had just said. So that’s why the brat has been extra annoying these days. Tsukasa wanted to make sure that Sandaime-sama wasn’t expelled. How… considerate. Was that really the role of a bodyguard? Looking out for Sandaime-sama’s emotional health as well? Then again, no one was really sure exactly what the two’s relationship was like. It seemed to be a mixture of professional bodyguard relationship, bitter animosity, and close friendship. It was rumored that Tsukasa was the only one who could make the Sandaime smile. Of course, no one dared to ask the Sandaime these questions. And Tsukasa just never gave an answer that could be understood by sane humans.


“Thank you for understanding. Please inform the rest of the kumin of the situation.”


Shigaraki nodded again, not bothered by the fact that he had received an order from a civilian gaki for some reason.


“Well then, now that that’s taken care of, you should rest.”


A surprisingly gentle hand pushed him back down to the bed. Stunned, and a bit confused as to what was happening, Shigaraki allowed himself to be pushed down. Tsukasa brought some ice packs to be applied to the bruises, and meticulously made sure every bruise was covered. Once he was done with him, he moved on to help Mukou, whom, Shigaraki noticed, also seemed at a loss as to what to do. After dealing with Mukou’s wounds, Tsukasa sat on a chair between them. The young bodyuguard looked at him again, and tenderly brushed Shigaraki's hair away from his eyes.


Shigaraki had never had a mother before. Well, he had, but she had been a raging alcoholic that abandoned him when he was seven. It was actually after trying to steal from Sandaime-sama during his days as a street urchin that he joined the kuumin. Sandaime was almost a father figure, someone to admire and who took care of him, despite the yakuza boss being years younger. A real mother though… he had never experienced one. Neither had Mukou, for that matter, being an orphan and a street urchin as well. He guessed that this was what it felt like to have a mother though. Someone caring for you, supporting you, gently brushing your hair away from your eyes. He supposed even her nagging for him to dress better and not look so much like a yakuza were things a mother would do.


He almost laughed. To think he’d end up considering a 14-year old boy to be his mother. A boy that had just kicked his ass and landed him in the hospital wing. He would have laughed, if he weren’t feeling so vulnerable at the moment. He was sure Mukou felt the same.


Tsukasa, as though sensing their vulnerability, softly smiled.


“Don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere.”


Shigaraki felt the tension leek out of his body. Strangely, he felt utterly safe, and it wasn’t only because he knew of Tsukasa’s inhuman abilities. Tsukasa started humming a lullaby. Slowly, he felt his eyelids become heavy and close. Mukou was already snoring away again next to him.


He had never slept so well in his life.