When Shouta next wakes up, it’s either very late or very early. The others must have left at least a few hours ago, because his bed is cold and his blankets have been re-tucked around him. He can see moonlight trailing in from the window and light from the hallway peeks in from underneath the door. The hustle and bustle of a busy hospital ward is muted enough that he was able to sleep, but now he can hear footsteps scurrying about and some faint complaints from other patients.
Someone has helpfully placed the remote for the TV and lights just a few inches away from his left hand. He uses it to flick the overhead light on, fairly certain that he doesn’t have a roommate that would be bothered by him doing so.
They must have eased up on the pain meds now that he’s awake, because the colorful assortment of “get-well” items at his bedside table are much less enthralling than they were earlier.
For the most part, there’s not anything out of the ordinary. Nemuri, practical as ever, provided a care package of jelly packs, applesauce, and other easy-to-eat items that the nurses won’t disapprove of. There’s also some construction paper that must be a card from Izuku. When he picks it up for closer inspection, he can see that the writing is a little shaky. It’s understandable given Izuku’s injuries, but he hopes he didn’t strain his hands or anything in an effort to write, “Feel Better!”
Next to the card, there’s a stack of books - paperbacks that look a little beat up and were likely bought secondhand. He’d guess those are from Inko, though he can’t really say why. It just feels like something she would get as a gift, hoping to keep him busy so he stays in bed and doesn’t aggravate his injuries. She’s also the only one who would be bold enough to give him bodice-ripper novels as anything other than a joke.
The balloons that are gaudy, bright pinks and golds and silvers, could only be from Hizashi. No question about that.
The oddest item that has his attention is the humble bouquet of flowers, nestled amongst the other gifts. It’s not large, or else he’d suspect it of being from Hizashi - yellow daffodils are his style, but he wouldn’t be able to restrain himself to one type of flower, let alone only a few of that one flower. There’s not many people that would give him a bouquet, knowing that he isn’t one for sentiment like that.
The small bundle of flowers is tied together with a dark gray bow that’s almost the same color as his capture weapon. Attached to the bow is a small black card.
Reaching for the card is difficult with his injuries but not impossible. He stretches until it feels like his arm will fall off, and he eventually is able to tug it close enough to read.
“ Mr. Aizawa,
You have my thanks for keeping my son safe. He admires you greatly, and I find myself reluctantly growing fond of the man he looks up to so ardently. Rest assured that the perpetrators of this attack will be handled appropriately.
Keep in mind that disappointing my family means disappointing me. Considering your own fondness for them, I assume you have no intention of doing so and expect that you will continue to protect them the way heroes feel obliged to. I support your self-appointed duty and would prefer you live long enough to be worth the trouble of keeping you alive.
Therefore, be sure to limit your visits to the hospital. Even with my resources, I can only hold off death for so long.
Hisashi Midoriya. ”
If he wasn’t so exhausted, Shouta thinks he might be pissed. The entitlement - the audacity of a message from a man who has never been there for his family, expecting Shouta to pick up his slack - is nearly outweighed by the less-than-subtle threat held in its contents.
Keep my family safe and happy, or your life is forfeit.
He’s had scarier threats with way uglier packaging. At least the daffodils will brighten the room up a bit.
And, perhaps foolishly, the threat makes Shouta feel better.
Hisashi’s motives are clearer now, and maybe some of Inko’s nonchalance about the situation is easier to understand. The man, though a criminal with connections that could make their lives very difficult, has made his priorities clear. He wants Izuku and Inko safe, and if that means making nice with a hero and keeping Eraserhead around, Hisashi’s willing to do so.
It’s so much easier on him when villains act like villains. Situations like this - where Hisashi may actually be trying his best to be a decent father, where he might have been talking to Izuku out of concern for his emotional safety at some random guy joining their family unit - make it harder for Shouta to remain stoic and unsympathetic.
He doesn’t want to sympathize with Hisashi. He wants to hate the bastard who hurt Inko and continues to hurt Izuku by half-assing their relationship. He wants to arrest him and eliminate the threat to the Midoriyas’ well-being.
He wants to be mad that Hisashi would threaten him, but it’s hard to be mad when he’s relieved that - even if he’s shit at it - the man loves the Midoriyas. A dangerous but well-meaning father doing his best to support his family (again, even if he’s shit at it) is a more soothing thought than thinking there was a boogeyman hiding under their bed, waiting to steal Izuku away from them.
It’ll be less of a pain to doze and rest with that knowledge. He places the card back down on the side table and winces when that movement pulls at - well, everything.
Shouta barely remembers what the doctor told him yesterday about his condition, but considering Hizashi was as distressed as he was - and Hizashi isn’t the type to get maudlin, he always seems to think that he (and everyone around him) is invincible - Shouta must be in pretty bad shape. The intense soreness, coupled with him being out for at least a week, points to him actually needing to stay in the hospital for a while.
What a drag.
Up until mid-morning, he naps on and off in between nurses coming in to check on him and make sure he’s still breathing. They draw blood and take his temperature, shovel pills down his throat, force him to eat cruddy hospital food, and are all around great at their jobs while being terrible for his temper and attempts to rest.
He’s grabbed the TV remote and, disgruntled, decided to give up on sleeping for the time being when visiting hours begin - and not five minutes later, he already has a visitor.
Hizashi wanders in with a box of doughnuts and pastries while greeting the nurses by name, passing sweets around and winking playfully at those he passes.
Shouta raises an eyebrow at him, which turns his already blinding smile into something incandescent. He slides into the uncomfortable chair left for guests like it was placed there specifically for him, and tosses a happy, “Morning, Shouta!” his way.
“How’re you feeling? Any pain? I can ask Mara if it’s time for your next dose.”
“Nah.” He pauses and waits expectantly, but Hizashi only digs into his box of goodies and pulls out a plain croissant to start gnawing on. “You’re here early.”
Buttery flakes of boring, plain pastry float down to rest on Hizashi’s disgustingly tight pants. There’s no explanation for his presence, and he doesn’t seem inclined to provide one.
Shouta sighs. Tries to keep his head up and wits about him, but he’s fading fast with the exhaustion that comes with a body desperately trying to heal. “Any idea when I can get out of here?”
Hizashi finishes his bland breakfast off with a satisfied hum. “Not yet. At least ‘til the end of the week, but maybe a little longer. Doc wants to keep an eye on you since the guy whose quirk put you back together is still new here.”
“Don’t complain,” he scolds playfully, swiping his hands down his front to dust off the croissant debris. “You’re lucky, you know. The guy with Mend - the quirk, I mean - he was supposed to start next month but happened to be touring the place when you got brought in.”
“Really?” he asks, head drooping a little and eyes feeling heavy. “Hm. Lucky.”
“Yeah. So you’ll stay here and do whatever the doctors tell you to, won’t you?”
Shouta grunts, neither agreeing nor disagreeing. His eyes are slipping shut quickly.
“Shouta. Oi.” This is accompanied by fingers snapping obnoxiously in his face, and he grumbles but obligingly opens his eyes to glare at Hizashi. “I mean it. You’re going to behave. Right?”
“Sure, whatever. Let me sleep.”
“Am I that boring?” he jokes. “I need you to listen up for just a minute. Okay?”
He reluctantly nods and forces his head up as much as he can.
“You had a building fall on you. You can’t play this off like it’s just a scratch. If that guy wasn’t here - if he hadn’t used his quirk - “ he visibly and audibly swallows. “You’ve had some close calls, but this. This was really close, Shou.”
Shouta doesn’t apologize, because he would never regret doing his damnedest to save children. He did exactly what any hero should do in his position. It’s not something he would change about himself.
It means that he doesn’t know what to say when Hizashi’s looking at him all desperate and sad and worried though. Which means he nods, which is the lamest response he could give.
Hizashi, blonde and infuriating and too soft-hearted for his own good, reaches out and carefully drags Shouta into a hug, tucking Shouta’s head under his chin and breathing out slowly. It’s like just having Shouta in his arms gives him permission to relax, because the tension drains from him almost immediately.
Shouta, in turn, tries not to melt into his warmth.
“You’re too stubborn to take care of yourself for your sake, so do it for mine?”
He wants to whimper at the tenderness and how terribly it makes his heart ache to hear how much Hizashi cares. Maybe he can blame the quirk’s side effects for the way he dopily nods into Hizashi’s shoulder and the butterflies starting a riot in his stomach.
It’s a little painful to realize that, had he been able to support Hizashi better the first time around, they could have been this close for decades. That Hizashi would feel comfortable enough with him to express his concern and care genuinely, as opposed to it hiding behind a facade of obnoxious, carefree boisterousness. It almost makes the stress of coming back in time entirely worth it, even it makes him feel selfish to admit it.
It’s equally scary to realize that as much as he is still working to make sure Shigaraki doesn’t rise to power again, his motivations are evolving the longer he’s in the past.
He wants Izuku to grow up safe, healthy, and happy.
He wants Inko to have a comfortable and happy life.
He wants to cultivate a better friendship with Nemuri.
He - God help him - wants Hizashi to stay close and keep hugging him like this forever, because he doesn’t think he’s ever been so comfortable in his life. There’s no way Hizashi had been this good of a hugger the first time around or Shouta would have never gotten anything done.
These will, of course, all be easier goals to meet with Shigaraki out of the picture. But instead of hoping for a better future once he deals with the rising villain and assuming he wouldn’t be one to benefit from it - his future had already been destroyed, he was already a man out of time, this wasn’t for him, it was for his students that were slaughtered and the people he lost and everyone else - he finds himself anxious to finish Shigaraki off and start enjoying the time he has with his family.
Shouta doesn’t remember having this drive the first time around. Maybe he did, and it was squashed under the constant stress of battling the League. Maybe he had it at one point, but it was weighed down with regrets and an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness that he couldn’t shake even when things weren’t terrible.
He’s not entirely sure what caused the change, but something about living with the Midoriyas has given him the ability to hope. Instead of putting his ambitions on the next generation to pull off, they’ve inadvertently empowered him to take a stand when possible rather than assuming it was already too late for someone like him to act.
“What do they have me on?” he mumbles into Hizashi’s neck. “I feel sappy.”
“I think vicodin? Or oxycodone?”
“Must be oxy. That always makes me emotional.”
“Aw, poor Shouta,” Hizashi coos. He reaches up to pat Shouta’s head, then pauses. “Wait, are you crying?”
“No,” he lies immediately. “Shut up.”
“Shut up. I’m asleep.”
“You’re disturbing my rest and therefore my recovery. I’ll call the scary nurse in to kick you out.”
Very dramatically, Hizashi pretends to swoon and cries out, “Nooooooooooooo, anything but that!”
Shouta goes to respond and is cut off by a jaw-cracking yawn. He rubs at his eyes and yawns almost immediately after again.
“If you’re tired, I can head out and let you nap,” Hizashi offers. “I probably should’ve known you wouldn’t be up for visitors until a bit later. It’s always a pain trying to sleep in places like this.”
“No, it’s - “ he bites on his tongue and swallows a third yawn. “It’s fine. They don’t let me sleep for long anyway. You may as well stay at least until the next time they pull a Dracula on me.”
Before he can answer, footsteps approach and someone says, “Actually, if you could let me speak with Eraserhead in private, I would be much obliged.”
Shouta groans. “What do you want? I’m injured. Leave me alone.”
Detective Tsukauchi gives him a placid, unassuming smile. “I really have to insist.”