Asui wasn’t sure she’d ever stop getting nightmares at this point. Just when the last batch were starting to fade she'd gone on that internship mission.
The events that had followed had been terrifying but Asui knew that she was one of the lucky ones. Nighteye had been killed, Lemillion’s quirk had been taken, and several of the pros that had participated in the raid against Overhaul had received varying degrees of injuries, including her teacher.
The heroes had accomplished their goal, but at what cost?
It wasn’t until several weeks after the events of the raid that Asui properly met Eri for the first time.
It had been one of those nights where the lines between her nightmares and reality where blurring, leaving her shaking as she woke up from one of the worse repeating nightmares. Giving up on going back to sleep she headed down to the kitchen to fetch some tea. As she approached the kitchen she caught a glimpse of softly glowing light, someone else was up.
Asui’s first thought was Shinsou, he suffered from insomnia on an almost daily basis so it wasn’t unlikely for him to be passing time in the kitchen, munching on some of Satou’s latest creations or simply just studying late into the night.
Aizawa-sensei was another common face to see, the scruffy man being the epitome of a workaholic, even on his best days, though very few people realized this. Aizawa often patrolled from late at night to early morning, ending his patrol just as the sun began to rise. When he wasn’t patrolling Aizawa often spent nights grading papers or writing up lesson plans, the day was when he slept, catching naps whenever he could.
As Asui walked into the kitchen she was met with the sight of Aizawa-sensei, but he wasn’t the only person at the small kitchen table. Beside Aizawa was young girl with pure white hair and a small horn jutting out from one side of her head. Asui recognized the girl, this was Eri, the girl she and the rest who participated in the raid were aiming to save from the clutches of Overhaul and his men. This was the girl that had saved Midoriya, this was the girl that Lemillon sacrificed his quirk for.
Upon catching sight of Asui Eri immediately froze, the panicked look in her eyes not unlike that of a spooked deer.
Aizawa had sensed Asui’s presence almost immediately and simply gave her a nod in greeting. Most of his attention was focused on the papers in front of him, and the rest on the young girl beside him.
“Eri it’s okay, that’s Asui, she’s one of the students in 1A” Aizawa spoke gruffly as he always did, but Asui could see the gentleness in his eyes as he spoke to the young girl.
Though she didn’t relax all the way Eri’s tensed body loosened a little and the panicked look in her eyes faded to that of caution, but Asui could see she still wasn’t calm after her sudden appearance.
Asui gave what she hoped was a comforting smile to the young girl before rummaging the kitchen cabinets to fetch the kettle. Eri was clearly uncomfortable having her around, better to make her tea and head back up to her room as quickly as possible.
As she set the kettle on to boil Asui was surprised to hear the sound of a small voice, “H-hello.”
Asui turned to see Eri staring at her from her seat at the table, a troubled expression on her face, as if she was worried that she might have done something wrong. Asui hadn’t been expecting the girl to talk to her, but never mind that.
“Hello there. Your name’s Eri right?” Asui spoke to the girl the same way she spoke to the friends of her younger siblings when meeting them for the first time, with a steady voice, and (what she hoped was) a comforting smile.
“Mhmm” The girl didn’t seem to really want to have an entire conversation with Asui, content to watch as Asui prepared the tea.
For several minutes the only sounds came from the shuffling of Aizawa’s papers and Asui’s methodical movements as she quietly shuffled around the kitchen.
Surprisingly enough, it was Eri who eventually broke the silence.
“Are you a hero?”
The question, though innocent made Asui pause. She was training to be a hero yes, but during the Overhaul raid, a time when she had needed to be a hero, had she really been one?
“Asui’s a hero in training, just like Midori- Deku, she’s a hard worker and will make a great hero someday.”
Aizawa spoke without ever looking up from his papers, as if the answer came naturally to him, as if he hadn’t just praised Asui, something he rarely did, at least in front of the student he was talking about.
At the mention of Midoriya Eri perked up, “You know Deku?”
“He’s my classmate.”
“You two are both in 1A?”
Eri was quiet for a moment, seeming to be mulling something over before she spoke again. Her next question was quieter than the rest, “Do- do you have a hero name?”
Now that was a question Asui could answer without any trouble. “I’m The Rainy season Hero: Froppy.”
“Froppy.” Eri said the name softly, almost as if she was examining each syllable. “ I like that name. How did you you- you-”
“Come up with it?”
Eri gave a small nod, her cheeks a bit red as she stumbled over her words.
“I thought of it back when I was still very little, I was probably around your age actually. I’ve always wanted to be a hero, ever since I was little. I wanted to be the kind of person, the kind of her, that helps people.
“You wanted to help people?”
The piercing whistle of the tea kettle halted the two’s conversation, Eri’s hands flying to her ears at the sharp sound and Asui hurrying to tend to the kettle. Silence once again settled over the kitchen as Asui slowly poured a cup of tea and after a moment's hesitation poured two more.
She carefully brought all three cups over to the table, setting one in front of Aizawa and offering the other to Eri.
“My sister, she's probably around your age, likes this tea too, she says it helps calm her nerves. Would you like to try it?"
Eri slowly reached out to take the offered cup, quiet as she watched the steam rise from the porcelain cup and dissipate into the air.
The young girl careful raised the cup to her lips, taking the smallest of sips of the tea.
Asui patiently waited for Eri's ruling, the girl taking several more small sips before voicing her opinion.
"It's- it's good."
Asui felt a smile come over her face as Eri slowly drank the rest of the tea in the cup, a contented sigh leaving her when she finished.
"Thank you Froppy."
While it was a bit surprising to be called by her hero name, Asui could understand why Eri did do. She often called Midoriya and Mirio-senpai by they're hero names as well. It seemed to be a sort of calming mechanism for the girl. She associated heros with safety, and after the things she had been through, who was Asui to deny her that comfort?
"You're welcome Eri. Would you like some more?"
"No thank you." If nothing else, Eri was definitely polite.
The two sat in silence some more, the shuffling of Aizawa's papers the only sound as Asui nursed her tea and Eri simply sat on her chair, swinging her legs from time to time.
After a while Asui realized a new sound had joined the sound of shuffling papers, a soft snoring could be now be heard. Looking over Asui realized that Eri had drifted off to sleep, her head lulled back against the seat of the chair.
Noticing Eri's state Aizawa ceased working, a glimmer of surprise in his eyes.
"I was sure she'd be up all night again."
Asui couldn't help but wonder just how long it had been since the young girl had gotten a full night's rest.
"Is she often up all night?"
"She gets nightmares, bad ones. She's woken up screaming from them more than once while in my custody. Usually after she wakes up from one she refused to go back to sleep. Guess you helped calm her down."
"But i- I didn't do anything."
"You were here, and that was enough."
"Is she- is she going to be okay?"
"I don't know, Nedzu seems to think that we've yet to truly gauge the mental trauma she's suffered, but she is getting better."
Aizawa quietly gathered up the papers he had been grading and shoved them into a bag by his feet. Throwing the bag over his shoulder get carefully lifted Eri from her seat, the young girl stirring slightly but soon falling back asleep."
Carefully Aizawa made his way towards the room he shared with Eri, but stopped right before exiting the kitchen."
"And what about you Asui?"
"Are you going to be okay?"
Asui's mind immediately flashed back to the internship mission and the nightmare it had brought, her pulse quickening simply at the thought of it.
"I think- I think I will be."
"It wasn't your fault Asui, you did the best you could, all of us did."
"But it wasn't enough."
"You can't save everyone."
Asui didn't reply, simply letting the words hang in the air. Aizawa let out a small sigh before continuing once again to his room.
"Try and get some sleep Asui."
Asui sat at the kitchen table for a little while longer after Aizawa and Eri had left, simply mulling over the many thoughts bouncing around in her head. Eventually she let out a sigh and stood, placing the empty teacups in the sink, and turning of the kitchen light.
As she made her way back to her room Aizawa's words repeated themselves in her mind, "she's getting better".
Perhaps one day she herself would get better as well. She doubted she'd ever be able to completely chase the nightmares away, but maybe one day she'd find the courage to forgive herself.
Maybe one day she'd finally be able to accept that sometimes you can't save everyone.