I wake up from someone humming. I slowly open my eyes and look around. I'm laying next to Eri in a hospital bed. Opposite our bed is another one, with Hitoshi sleeping peacefully in it. Oh, right. We rescued them.
"Oh, good, you're awake. I brought breakfast and new clothes."
Hizashi presses a kiss against my lips.
"Do you want coffee?"
He has a thick bandage on his cheek.
"Were you hurt yesterday?"
"Nothing too bad, just a couple of scratches. A very kind doctor insisted she'd patch me up before I came here."
"She was the one who took care of 'Toshi and Eri too. Eri was practically unharmed, thank god. 'Toshi however…"
I look over at my sleeping son.
"His arm was broken and had a big slash across his face, both of his wrists had rope burns and a wound in his head. But he'll be fine. We should let him sleep for as long as he needs to."
Hizashi nods and sits down in the chair next to the bed, handing me a cup of hot coffee.
Eri moves around, putting her head in my lap.
"I hope she's not having any nightmares, but I won't be surprised if they come back after this."
I sigh and look down at her. She's so tiny against the wide bed. It feels like she's gonna break if I touch her.
"Anyway, when did you come here? We must have been asleep by then."
"I came some time around 3. You were all asleep. I stayed until like 7, and then I went home to get breakfast and clothes."
"You haven't slept?"
"No, not yet."
"Love, you need to rest. At least a couple of hours."
"I will. Later."
"Please, try to get at least a couple of hours until the kids wake up. I love you but you need to take care of yourself. You also need to shower."
"I'll shower when we get back."
I take a sip from my coffee."
"About that. I think we should go home instead of the dorms. At least for a week or two. Going back to the dorms could be overwhelming for them, being around a lot of people who are very loud."
"Yeah, but you're his loud dad, not friend. There's a difference."
I put down my coffee cup on the table next to the bed to adjust Eri. I have her lean her head against my chest.
"Do you want a sandwich?"
"Hm? Yeah, sure."
Hizashi takes out a small box from his bag and hands me a sandwich.
"After breakfast you have to rest for at least a couple of hours. We can switch, I'll take the chair."
"You're so kind, love."
He leans over the bed to kiss my forehead.
"I know, aren't I?"
We got to go home in the afternoon. Eri and Hitoshi are still rather tired, but they're doing a lot better than yesterday. I'm helping Hitoshi shave since he can't do so with two injured wrists. His stubble has grown quite a lot in the three weeks he was away. I also applied some more cream to his right wrist to help treat his rope burns.
"Why are we not in the dorms?"
"There's too many people there right now. We were thinking it'd be overwhelming to go right back to school."
"I feel lonely."
I smile a little and kiss his forehead.
"You could meet one of your friends tomorrow, if you want to. I'll talk to Nezu about it."
"Yeah, sure, Denki."
I can only imagine how worried Kaminari must have been. I carefully wipe the rest of the shaving cream from his cheeks. I made sure to not touch the wound. It was patched together with thin strips of tape.
"I'll go to the dorms and drive him back here tomorrow, okay? But he can't stay overnight, he has to go to school, too."
"When will I go back to school?"
"When you feel like you have enough energy to do so. Until then, either me or Hizashi will stay home with you every day."
"You don't have to…"
"You said yourself that you feel lonely. And you can not cook when your wrists are like that."
I wipe his face with a damp cloth.
"'Toshi, we need to talk about what happened. I can see that you're hurting, more than just physically."
He doesn't answer.
"Hey. It's better that we talk about it now than waiting a week. Please, talk to me."
His entire body is shaking. When he looks up at me, he has tears in his eyes.
"T-they strung me up and…"
"Hey, take it from the beginning. You told me Midoriya had messaged you."
He takes a couple of deep breaths to calm down.
"I got a message from Midoriya saying I should bring Eri to the 2-A dorms. I came to the teachers' dorms to get her. On our way back someone jumped on us from behind and made us into marbles."
"Mr. Compress. He was there at the summer camp attack that got Bakugo kidnapped last summer. He must have made himself into a marble to slip past security. Okay, continue."
"I don't remember much of being inside the marble, other than that it was dark. When we came back, they tied me up in that room…"
He shudders by just the thought of it.
"They made sure that I always had an open wound. They'd splash me with salt water every hour. When one cut had healed, they made a new."
"So that's the splashes we heard in the phone call…"
"After a while they realized I didn't have any useful information, so they just left me hanging there to starve or bleed to death. They stopped checking on us too. Eri would sit by the glass door and talk to me, saying that "daddy and papa will come get us soon." The sadness and worry in her eyes… it broke my heart. I couldn't protect her."
He lets out a loud sob and leans his head against my shoulder. I put the cloth down and wrap my arms around him.
"It's okay, you can't always save everyone. That's what it's like being a hero."
"But she's my sister! I have to take care of my own family!"
"I think Eri feels like she has to take care of you right now, rather than the opposite."
"She doesn't have to…"
"I know, but let her. It's her own way of feeling like a hero. Let her take care of you. Let her feed you or brush your hair or brush your teeth or whatever. Let her paint your nails bright pink. Accept her little gifts. She feels the need to take care of you. You've taken care of her, now let her return the favor."