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The Sacrifices We Make

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Drip…Drip…Drip…

“Shh…Put these on, okay?” Unfocused, half-lidded eyes watch as Hizashi slides his headphones over his head and adjusts the headband so that the pads rest comfortably over his ears.

The world is plunged into silence. Hizashi is still speaking, but Shouta lacks the wherewithal to follow the movement of his lips to attempt to decipher what it is that he’s saying. He thinks it must be important, considering his boyfriend is crying, tears and snot and something that looks suspiciously like blood marring his sweet face. He wants to ask when Hizashi had gotten himself injured, but can’t seem to force his mouth to cooperate…so instead, he curls his fingers around Hizashi’s sleeve, unable to lift his arm more than a few centimeters off the ground, and tugs gently.

Hizashi shakes his head. He twists his hand around so that their fingers are intertwined, and Shouta can’t help but wonder when his boyfriend got to be so warm. Hizashi is squeezing him tight enough that it should hurt…but Shouta barely feels it. He feels like a boat, floating away, his ultimate direction at the whim of the waves…the only thing keeping him tethered to the land a thin, fraying rope nailed down in the sand. He doesn’t want to float away. He blinks slowly, exerting real effort to force his eyes back open, and for the first time his sluggish brain processes that that isn’t Hizashi’s blood.

Well, shit.

Drip…Drip…Drip…

He blinks, and the world around him dissolves into a blur of blacks and browns and muddy greens. It takes him a minute to realize that they’ve moved…Hizashi is carrying him. Which, under normal circumstances, would’ve been all kinds of impressive, considering that the blond has all the muscle mass of a stick. He must be in really bad shape if Hizashi is carrying him. But try as he may, he cannot remember anything before Hizashi slid his headphones off of his head and placed them overtop Shouta’s. Wait a minute…a cold panic settles over him as he realizes—

BlinkEyes closedBlink…Eyes open…

Hizashi’s mouth is open, his face contorted in agony as blood, so dark it was almost black, poured from his ears. Shouta can feel his Quirk rumbling low in his chest, can feel the thwap of the wind as his voice carried deep into the black heart of the forest. What the hell did he think he was doing? He’d…He’d…

Blink…Eyes closed…Blink…Eyes open…

Drip…Drip…Drip…

Blink…Eyes closed……………..Blink…Eyes open…

There’s a bloodstain on Hizashi’s shirt which grows larger by the minute. Shouta watches it, finds that the solid red-black mark is easier to stomach than the grass and the leaves and the flowers that bounce in and out of his field of vision as Hizashi runs. He cannot hear Hizashi breathing—cannot hear anything through these blasted headphones, and it is dizzyingly disorienting—but he can feel the irregular thump-thump-thump-thump of his heart hammering away inside of his chest and knows, somewhere in the back of his mind, that if Hizashi doesn’t stop pushing his body so hard, he’s bound to collapse…

He opens his mouth, only to begin to hack and cough as blood fills his throat. He doesn’t have the energy to properly clear his airway and ends up inhaling, drowning as the blood begins to slide down into his lungs. Hizashi’s green eyes are wide and filled with terror and Shouta wants so badly to tell him that its okay…that he’s okay…because someone as bright and beautiful as Hizashi should never look so blue.

He decides that, if Hizashi’s face is the last thing he sees, he doesn’t want to remember him like this. He wants to remember the boy who was so desperate to make a good first impression, he tripped over his own name, twice, and then proceeded to laugh at himself for fifteen minutes straight…

Blink…Eyes closed……………..

Hizashi is shaking him, and Shouta knows that he should open his eyes but they’re just so heavy…Surely, it can’t hurt to rest them, just for a little while. He moves a bit closer to Hizashi’s warmth, just the slight adjustment in position so impossibly draining. He wants to sleep. He’ll feel better if he can just rest his eyes for a little while. Hizashi would keep him safe. Hizashi would…he would…

Hizashi’s chest is rumbling again, and somewhere, as that fraying rope tethering him to the shore finally snaps, he thinks it would be oddly romantic if Hizashi screamed the whole damned forest down.

Drip…Drip…Drip…

And then he’s not thinking anything, anymore.


“Ahh, I see you’re finally awake. You gave us quite the scare there, Aizawa.” He blinks, and the first thing he sees is his teacher stooped over the bed, smiling radiantly as if Shouta’s bewildered, and slightly irritated, expression is the greatest thing he’s seen all day.

He tries to speak, only to realize that there is something in the way. A long, thin plastic tube has been fed down his throat—a feeding tube, a small voice in the back of his head reasons; not that this new understanding makes the shock of a foreign intrusion in his mouth and throat any easier. He chokes a little, reaching for it with the arm that’s connected to the IV—as well as a litany of other wires, so many different colors, shapes, and sizes that it makes his head spin—but his teacher intercepts him at the last moment, shaking his head and going into a long diatribe about how the nurse would have to sedate him if he couldn’t behave…

His injuries were…extensive. It had taken three surgeries just to ensure that he wouldn’t drown in his own blood while he was sleeping and the pain, a low, thrumming ache that cuts through his entire body, lets him know that it is nothing short of a miracle that he’s even alive to listen to his teacher grouse about how he should have been more careful. He’s about midway through his lecture, somewhere around the point where he reminded Shouta that knives, while they might fit cleanly between one’s ribs, were not meant to be inserted into the human body when he first notices Hizashi.

Upon first glance, for all intents and purposes, Hizashi looks the same. His butt is glued to the seat at Shouta’s right, and somehow, he knows that he’s been fighting with nurses left and right to stay right there until Shouta woke up. His hair is down, the tangled blond locks fanned out across the bed in every which way…The fingers of his left hand are tangled with Shouta’s, and when he gives them a tentative wiggle, Hizashi grips him back so tight that it hurts. Their teacher is smiling, albeit a bit sadly, and for the first time Shouta notices a bit of blood-soaked cotton sticking out of Hizashi’s ear.

“This one over here…” he rolls his eyes to the heavens, “the doctor doesn’t even have him stabilized before he’s tearing out his IV and climbing off the gurney. He would’ve followed you into the operating room if he could’ve.” He walks over and taps Hizashi on the shoulder, waking him.

“I’m not leaving, so don’t even try it-!” He blurts, not even fully aware of his surroundings yet. Then he blinks, noticing for the first time that Shouta was awake and staring at him, his facial features contorted in confusion. “Shou, you’re awake! Oh, thank god! I thought…I thought--,”

Their teacher makes a series of hand gestures, Hizashi’s tired, swollen green eyes following them to the best of his ability. Then he nods, as if something important had been communicated between the two.

Hizashi’s smile is a little less bright as he turns to Shouta and remarks, “I guess sensei didn’t get the chance to tell you the whole story.” He rubs the back of his neck, his expression sheepish. “After you got hurt, you didn’t have the strength to keep your eyes open long enough to use your Quirk, so we had to rely on mine to make it out of the forest.”

Shouta nods. He…kind of remembers that. More so, he remembers floating, holding onto Hizashi as tight as he dared to keep from being swallowed by the cold, dark waters. He never heard Hizashi use his Quirk, but he somehow knew that he had…Hizashi is no longer meeting his eyes, instead focusing in on a thread in Shouta’s blanket that had begun to come loose. He picks at it as he continues.

“Now, Shou, you gotta promise that you won’t be mad at me, alright?” Hizashi murmurs. His voice is so quiet that Shouta has to strain to hear, and the words leave a gritty feeling in his chest.

He narrows his eyes at his boyfriend, as if to make clear that he makes no such promise.

“I’m…deaf.” He blurts out, and Shouta is almost positive that his heart must’ve stopped because everything suddenly feels cold and the room is starting to spin. “Apparently, prolonged close-range exposure to my Quirk can cause ruptured ear drums, which, depending on the severity, can lead to partial or total deafness. Who would’ve thought?” His attempt at sarcasm falls painfully flat.

Their teacher makes a few more hand motions, which Shouta is now able to recognize as sign language.

That’s when Shouta remembers the blood. Hizashi’s ears had bled and bled and they were still bleeding now, however many days after the fact, and the thought made him sick to his stomach because it was his fault. If he’d been more careful…If he’d seen the knife just a few seconds earlier…If he hadn’t of been so fucking weak…The heart monitor beside the bed picks up on his distress and so does Hizashi. Ignoring their teacher’s continued presence, the blond climbs into the bed alongside him, and then he’s laying on top of him and it kind of hurts…okay, it hurts a whole hell of a lot…but then he feels Hizashi shaking, and the shoulder of his paper-thin hospital gown begins to grow wet with tears, and Hizashi continues—

“None of this is your fault, okay? I love you so fucking much and I could never bear to hurt you, ever. I will always protect you, no matter the cost—I can learn to live without my ears. I can’t live without you.” He sniffles pathetically, and Shouta really wishes he could speak because Hizashi is just going to work himself into a tizzy and…

The teacher makes a few more hand signs, though Hizashi is too far gone to really interpret them. For Shouta’s benefit, he repeats, “I’ll leave you too alone, then. The nurse will probably be in shortly to check your vitals and change your bandages, but otherwise…”

Shouta nods—well, inclines his head as much as the feeding tube will allow—and their teacher takes his leave, shutting the door softly behind him.

“God, I was just so scared, Shou… Y-You were bleeding, and you couldn’t talk, and you kept closing your eyes and I couldn’t move fast enough, couldn’t scream loud enough…” he sobbed, “You have to understand, I couldn’t let you be hurt anymore. I had to…had to--,”

Shouta presses a finger to his lips, effectively silencing him. He then reaches up and combs his fingers through Hizashi’s tangled locks, gently massaging his scalp and encouraging the upcoming voice hero to breathe with him. Both knew that this was not the end of the road. Regardless of Hizashi assuring him otherwise, Shouta would likely continue to blame himself each time he was reminded of Hizashi’s hearing loss. And despite Hizashi’s brilliance—how many people did you know that could pick up sign language in a matter of days?—there would be some tough, major adjustments down the road that would require a major shift in both lifestyle and mindset to overcome. But right now, in this moment, they were together. And that is something that, even a week earlier, had not been guaranteed.

And they fully intended to make the most of it.