I have to beat Yamada, and then it's over. If I beat him, I win. I win the sports festival and I get to transfer to the hero course. The commentator announces the start of the match. I've watched Yamada in his other matches. He wins with his quirk, but he never goes into combat. He just screams "YEAH" and no one can take it. I think I saw multiple people's ears bleed. His quirk is powerful, but without it he's just skin and bones. I can see him activate his quirk, but I'm quicker. I activate mine, making my hair stand up. My eyes go red. It's like he's been muted, nothing comes out of his mouth. This is my shot. I run towards him and grab both of his wrists. I push my knee into his stomach, refusing to blink even once. I'm not sure if he's figured out how my quirk works yet, I can't take the risk. I push him to the ground and press my knee against his back, holding his arms behind him.
"You are nothing without your quirk. A hero needs more than one super move."
I blink, but it's not enough time for him to activate his quirk. But he noticed.
"Your quirk turns off when you blink, Aizawa."
He smiles, like he just figured something out. I don't care. The time it takes for me to blink is not long enough for him to activate his quirk.
"Do you give up yet? Accept the fact that a kid from the general course beat you in the finals?"
"A hero never gives up."
"You don't really have much of a choice."
I push my knee harder against his back. Wouldn't it be fun if I broke his glasses too? His back makes some kind of cracking noise. God, he really is fragile. The pain is visible on his face, he's struggling.
"Ngh- stop! I give up!"
I look up at the judge, who nods. I let go and stand up. I've won.
Someone grabs my shoulder. By reflex, I turn around and grab their wrist. It's just Yamada. He has a thick, white bandaid on his cheek and seems out of breath.
"H-hey Aizawa… I need…"
His cheeks are bright red.
"You need what?"
"I need… a bandaid… because I scraped my cheek falling for you."
He winks at me through his yellow tinted glasses. I let go of his wrist.
"I could easily have broken your back. And you already have a bandaid."
He doesn't seem too angry about his loss.
"Well, I need another one! See?"
He points to his red cheek.
"I didn't come here to make friends. And I'm straight."
I turn his back on him and keep walking down the hall to the changing rooms. The prize ceremony is in fifteen minutes and I don't want to look like a whole mess.
"Aw come on, we can at least be fr- mutuals! At least if we're gonna be in the same class! You're transferring, right?"
God he talks so much.
"What do you want your hero name to be?"
"I don't know. Do you ever shut up?"
He doesn't seem to want to leave me alone. I sigh and roll my eyes.
"I hope you know that you're not allowed in my changing room."
"Then why are you still following me?"
"Because I wanna be your friend!"
He leans his elbow on my shoulder. He's a bit taller than me, and his bright yellow hair stands straight up, like a cockatiel. He could easily be a bird. I look up at him. His eyes are green behind his glasses, and he has light freckles across his whole face. He's 15, but he doesn't have any facial hair yet.
"Can you not-"
I push his elbow away and try to pick up the pace, but he has longer legs than I do. I stop and block the way for him.
"Look, I do not want to be your boyfriend. I do not want to be your friend. I do not want to be your mutual. I came here to be a hero, not to make friends."
He sighs and smiles at me.
"How are you supposed to make it through school all alone?"
"Why are you so set on being my friend? You have friends."
I've seen him in the corridors. With that hair and that personality he's hard to miss.
"Because I care about more people than myself! I don't want anyone to be alone."
"I'm telling you that I want to be alone. I don't want friends, I don't need friends. All I need is a weapon and I'm good to go."
I turn back around and keep going. But he's still following me. I'm not going to get rid of him, am I?
"Hey, Shota, what's your hero name gonna be!?"
"I don't know, I don't care."
Our teacher is having us pick hero names and presenting them for the class. Yamada presented his hero name "Present Mic" first, before anyone else. It seems like he's been thinking of this a lot.
"Hey, I got it! How about Eraserhead!?"
He grabs my whiteboard and writes "ERASERHEAD" in big, bold letters with his pen. He hands it back to me and pulls my chair out.
"Go present it to the class, Sho!"
Right, "Sho". He's started calling me that. God, he's obnoxious. I just sigh and stand up, walking up to the front of the classroom. I hold up my whiteboard.
Yamada is beaming from his seat, right next to my empty one. I don't know how we managed to get our seats next to each other. Did he bribe our teacher? It doesn't matter. What matters is that he's writing a note and leaving it on my table. I go back to my seat and pick up the note.
"You look tired, have you been sleeping recently?"
That's not what I expected. I furrow my eyebrows and look at him. He's acting as if he can't see me. I take my pen and write on the back of the paper.
"Why do you care?"
I wake up in a cold sweat. I had a nightmare, and I can't stop thinking about it. I pick up my phone and text Hizashi.
"Are you awake?"
I pull at my hair. I've been losing hair lately. I grab my hairbrush instead and brush it quickly. There's already a big chunk of black, worn out hair on it, but I don't have the motivation to clean it. My phone pings.
"Yeah, what's up?"
"Can I come over? I know it's late but I don't feel good."
"Yeah, sure. I'll leave the door unlocked."
I carefully open the door to Hizashi's apartment. He lives with his single mom. She's very kind and loving, and she enjoys hugs a lot. I make my way to Hizashi's bedroom and open the door. He sleeps with a nightlight on.
He turns around in his bed and blinks a couple of times. He's not wearing his glasses, so he probably can't see me properly.
"Sho? Is that you?"
I dump my bag on the floor and crawl under the cover next to him. He wraps his arms around me.
"What's going on?"
"I had a nightmare and… I realized something."
"What'd you realize?"
My cheeks get hotter; I'm blushing.
"I think I like you, Hizashi. I've never liked anyone before. No girls, no boys, no one. And my nightmare was about… my parents finding out. They wouldn't accept me being with a boy, they…"
My eyes fill with tears. I haven't cried in years, it feels wrong.
"They'd kick me out, Hizashi."
He pushes me closer to him and I close my eyes. I don't want to cry in front of anyone, it makes me feel weak.
"Is this why you haven't been sleeping well?"
I just nod against his shoulder. I'm too tired to hold a proper conversation.
"Let's just go to sleep, okay? We can solve this in the morning."
I nod again. He pulls the cover over my body and moves the pillow so I can use it too.
"Good night, Sho."
He slowly pets my hair. It's calming, soothing. Comforting. I feel… loved.
"Good night, 'Zashi."