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By Your Hands

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The worst part about being in a time loop is finding out that you're in one. Because obviously you don't know at first, you can't know what's about to happen until everything resets. The first loop is always the worst.


Takami wasn't ready to die. Some part of him wonders if that's why the loop started. Another part thinks it's someone's quirk, that he's being fucked with on purpose. Another part again thinks it's someone's quirk and he's just unlucky. That maybe the loop doesn't sync up with his death but he just doesn't know it because, well... he's dead for the rest of it. The details don't really matter, he supposes, in the short whiles he's alive again. It's not like they stop him from dying.


(But then, that doesn't stop him trying.)


It was Dabi, the first time, with his searing flames enveloping him. He didn't scream as his wings burned away, didn't make a sound at all. The few feathers that were already disconnected were used to push Dabi back, force him away, against a wall, as far as he could get him, but it couldn't last. Dabi burnt away each of the feathers in turn, while the fire blocking the door raged on. Takami knew that surviving this was growing more and more unlikely, and so he turned his attention to taking Dabi down with him.


Takami knew he wasn't strong, and more than that he knew that Dabi was. Still, he threw himself on him with all the force he could muster, throwing him into his own fire – if it burned him once, it could do it again. The heat started rising immediately and he could feel Dabi’s panic rising with it as he tried to wrestle Takami out of the flames. He let himself become a dead weight in Dabi’s arms, weighing him down. Dabi tried to shove him off but with one clever twist of his legs, Takami brought them both down into the fire.


It was searing pain, for a moment, and then.. Nothing. It was simply over.


And then he woke up. Back in the same morning, with the same thoughts. He almost didn’t notice it.


It was dropping his breakfast that made it click. He had hurt his wrist the previous day – nothing major, just enough to be an annoyance – and the twinge of pain from lifting the plate made it drop straight out of his hand. The plate hit the floor and with it a wave of deja-vu strong enough to send him reeling. Takami stumbled backwards until he hit the wall, holding his hand to his head as if that would stop the rush of thoughts shaking his balance.


When it became clear that his mind was not going to stop racing, he let himself sink to the floor until the memories caught up. A dream, he thought at first. A really fucked up dream that happened to have come a little bit true. But dreams aren’t that detailed. Or that logical. Or that real.


Okay, he compromised, a prophetic dream. It still wasn’t right, not even close to it, and he knew that, but it helped him make sense of it. Helped him to stand back up, and put on a new breakfast and pretend he didn’t know what was going to happen today.


The second time was exactly as the first. Takami played his part, said all the things he had said before, let the timeline play out as it wished. The only small difference was this time, he almost made it out of the room. If Dabi’s reflexes were a little less precise, he may even have succeeded. But the fire whipped out and Takami was trapped once again. He fought the same though he knew the outcome.


The third loop, he didn’t waste any time. Down to League of Villain headquarters, starting the fight early. He got the element of surprise, but he lost something important; Dabi being alone. Takami should have expected Toga to be hanging around, but he had charged in without a thought. Neither of them came down with him. He barely had Dabi pinned by the time he felt Toga’s blade against his neck.


The fourth, Takami tried to be sneakier. He went about his day almost like the first two, only switching near the end to force the fight into his favour. He conserved more feathers throughout the day, used them to knock Dabi back before he was even thinking of attacking. Takami ran straight out of the room instead of continuing the fight, knowing how that would end up. Down familiar corridors, until they stopped looking familiar and they all blended together, and he started to think he was right back where he started. He kept running until he hit a new room – one he hadn’t seen in any of his visits to the headquarters. Not a good sign. A sign he was more lost than he should have been. He turned around to get himself going the right way again, but he was just met with a cold hand around his neck and a rasping voice telling him ‘You made a mistake.’


No kidding, buddy.


He kept trying. Day after repeating day. He wasn’t sure how many times he lived the day through, losing count after breaking double digits. It was usually Dabi that got him. He usually died fairly certain he had killed him too. Depending on time of day, Toga was often available. She killed him far more than he ever killed her. Occasionally, he’d run into another member. There were only a couple of run-ins with Shigaraki, but they were his least favourite. If he ever made it out of this loop alive, disintegrating would not be a feeling he would soon forget.


He kept trying. Though it felt like he had exhausted every possibility, he kept going. Every day doing something slightly different, hoping and praying that this one would fix it. This one would let him out. One more try, one more twist on the day and he would be fine. Just one more. Just one more. One of the loops, he just stayed in his room the whole day. No one could kill him if he just stayed in bed. So he thought. The building began to burn around nine pm.


He kept trying. One loop, he gave up. He called the few people he cared about and gave them a last goodbye, more for his own peace than theirs. Fumikage Tokoyami was among those people. He told him he was going to be a great hero someday, that he was sad he wouldn’t be around to see it. That he was proud of him. Another loop he gave up a different way, and called Endeavour. Possibly his lowest moment. That was the only loop where he got other people killed. He didn’t try to call re-enforcements again.


He kept trying. At some point he began to wonder if he was just dead. If this time loop was really some sick purgatory, just meant to torture him and stop him from moving on. He had done enough to deserve it, he thought. This would be a fitting end for the Pro Hero Hawks.


He kept trying.