Chapter 1: White Heather
You were walking down the street, listening to music, focusing on the lyrics so you would forget how much of a bother your quirk was when you were in the middle of a crowd. The weather was fine and the day had been worth your efforts. But you were tired, a bit out of it even. And the music wasn’t really a helper. You started to slow down as you felt something weird. Something that wasn’t yours.
Instinctevely, you wanted to run. Fast. Though the panic was everywhere: before you, behind you, on your left, on your right. You took a deep breath. Sudden mass panic on the street in the middle of the day only meant some low villain was going rampage. The fact that you were surrounded only meant people were managing to run away from them. You took another deep breath. The trick was not to get overwhelmed by a panic that didn’t even belong to you. You were the most afraid person on that street right now. And the funny thing was you didn’t even know what you had to be afraid of yet. The irony. You took your headphones off. It wouldn’t ease the panic to hear them scream but perhaps you could manage to get some clues about the threat location. And walk away from it. Fast.
Panic. Panic. Panic.
No hope, no relief, no nothing. Damn, you didn’t know where you should be going. You surely didn’t want to confront a bad guy, not even a low one. Because of your quirk, you were catching the others’ fear: if that villain were to show up, it’d be nasty… You couldn’t stay frozen on the spot! Come on! You slapped yourself on the cheeks to gain some composure and decided to keep going straight ahead. Perhaps the odds would be in your favor. You were about to take a step forward but here he was. The villain. So he had been that close all the time. That could explain why the panic was so intense right on the spot. You blinked. You focused.
Anger. Hesitation. Fear.
The worst possible case scenario: unstable villains were most likely to hurt someone out of despair. He rushed in your direction and you quickly looked around. Fuck, there were still too much people there. He was hesitating, all right? Maybe you could talk him into reason. It was a dangerous option but at least it would buy them some time to flee. And luckily enough time for an actual hero to show up. They should have been warned by now, someone should be here soon. You gritted your teeth, you had to do something. Before an innocent got hurt. But with your stupid quirk…
“Hey you” you shouted with your hands raised in reddition “I know you’re afraid, you don’t have to do this” you looked at him, you were shaking “You haven’t damaged the city, you haven’t killed anyone…”
That was just bluff, no way you could know any of this after all. But…
Hesitation. Fear. Stress.
That seemed to work.
“You can still stop here, it’s not too late…”
You couldn’t say the same about yourself. Even if you were focusing your quirk on the villain, you were feeling nauseous, your whole body trembling. You weren’t exactly reassured but the closest persons in range weren’t even believing in you. Of course, you didn’t exactly look like a savior, shaking like crazy… And that villain was the real deal: he had a metamorphosis quirk and his hands and forearms had turned into sharp blades, reminding you somehow of an insect. You, on the other hand, you had no weapon. And not even an offensive quirk. Truth be told you wouldn’t bet on yourself either.
Hesitation. Fear. Hesitation.
You dodged right on time. Good you were used to at least anticipate your enemy’s moves by their sudden change of emotion. Shit, so much for buying time. He was quick, delivering one blow after the other, a second too late and you’d die. If only you had a plan B… You just had to focus, wait for the moment you felt his resolve. And dodge. Again. And again. And again. But you were tired, a bit out of it even. And the surrounding panic wasn’t really a helper. Neither was trying to keep your quirk focused.
Anger. Fear. Anger. Fe…
Too late. You closed your eyes in reflex, protected yourself with your arms as if it’d make a difference. You knew it was coming, you could almost feel the villain’s blade enter your skin. Almost. Though what you felt was completely different.
Concern. Urge to protect.
A hero? You dared to open your eyes to see the attack had been blocked by some strange grey scarf. And also the villain’s arms had returned to normal… for some reason? He wasn’t at cause, you surely were feeling his surprise. You glanced behind you. A man, obviously annoyed. Tall, long dark hair floating around, weird yellow goggles, he looked quite disheveled. Not to mention his outfit was something awfully plain, not exactly the hero type…
“What do you think you're doing?” he hissed between clenched teeth.
He wasn’t looking at you, his eyes focused on the villain, wrapping him up in that scarf-like weapon as if he was no big deal. Then two policemen came to dispose of him. That easily. Small fry, indeed. And you weren’t even able to stop him.
“Are you okay?”
You looked up. The hero’s hair had fallen back into place, he was no longer wearing his goggles but rubbing his eyes. He looked tired. Terribly tired. You nodded. But you weren’t feeling that well: people started to be relieved, and with relief came shock. You were cold and even more shaking than before. Just because of that stupid quirk… You were dizzy, your legs gave in but you never hit the ground.
“I’ve got you” the hero whispered as he caught you swiftly.
His grip was firm, you rested your head against his chest. He smelt good, like coffee, with a slight tinge of sweat. You heard him ask for an emergency blanket and a few seconds later you were wrapped up in silver paper, probably looking like a cheap christmas gift. You felt a little better though, less cold but still trembling. And nauseous as well, people’s anxiety was still within your range. If it weren’t for him you surely would have passed out. Of all the emotions, you never had been able to take in shock. The physical reactions were way too much to handle.
“You stay with me, okay? An ambulance is on its way.”
“I don’t want to go to the hospital” you muttered feably.
“Don’t be stupid, you’re in obvious shock.”
Yes, you were. Your heart was going crazy. You were cold and yet breaking out a sweat. So tensed your joints were hurting. But the hospital was out of the question: patients there were in constant pain. As if such environment would help you feel better!
“I want to go where people are happy, not to the hospital.”
“Where people are happy?”
Concern. Surprise. Doubt.
“My quirk…” you started.
You stopped as you heard sirens wailing in the distance and felt people’s relief increase. As shock went down. Tired, you sighed, closed your eyes.
“You did good” the hero said.
Chapter 2: Rose leaf
Rose leaf: you may hope
You sighed and passed your hands on your face. The neighbors were going at it again. Okay, you weren’t being fair: they weren't going at it that much . They were just in love. Usually you didn't mind feeling their love and desire towards each other, you were finding it rather cute. But not today. Today it was just making you feeling frustrated. Terribly frustrated.
This feeling was yours. This feeling had been yours since that day the hero, whose name you didn't even catch, saved you. You glanced at your book. Victims developing attraction for their savior was a complex problem issued by this hero-based society. To think that you had fallen into such pattern while being a psychologist yourself. The irony.
Yearning. Yearning. Yearning.
You flipped the pages, skipped the description, went straight for the counseling part. You knew the solution by heart. You knew what you would have to say and how you would have to act if a patient were to feel like that. In theory. Though in fact…
Yearning. Love. Desire.
You moaned and ruffled your hair in frustration. Good you were still on leave, taking some rest after the attack, you couldn't even begin to imagine working in such state. You closed the book, giving up and trying to find something else to keep your mind busy when the doorbell rang.
Apprehension. Shyness. Curiosity.
You didn't know who it was though the feelings signature felt familiar. You opened the door with no hesitation but surely the last person you were expecting to show up with him. That hero whose name you didn't even know.
“Oh…” you let out in surprise, blushing “Hi…” you sounded so weird.
“Hello” he looked away, scratching the back of his head in embarrassment “Sorry to come unannounced like this, I went to the hospital but they told me you had checked out already…”
Against medical advice. But you couldn't stand the pain you were feeling in there. You had left as fast as you could.
“Yeah…” you made way to let him through “Please come in.”
You offered to get him rid of his coat. He was wearing civilian clothes, his hair was kept in a loose bum. He looked less tired. You led him to the living room and offered some coffee. Which he accepted. You were terribly nervous. Your fingers were trembling when you made and poured the drinks. Your face felt so hot you were probably completely red. What a way to make a good impression for sure!
“Sorry to have kept you waiting” you apologized, putting both cups on the table, taking the seat in front of him “What can I help you with?”
“We didn’t get your testimony” he calmly said, gently taking the cup “It’s nothing much but it’s needed.”
Yes, it wasn’t much. Truth was he could have sent an officer, he could have saved himself the trouble to come to your place. Though you were glad he didn’t. You sipped on your drink and looked up at him. And then you regretted doing so. You were finding him more beautiful than you could have remembered. His hair, the shape of his eyes, the way he had to wrap his fingers around the handle, his lips travelling alongside the cup rim… You gritted your teeth, closed your eyes, took a deep breath. Now wasn’t the time to lust over a stranger towards whom you only felt attraction because he had saved your life.
Warmth. Glee. Curiosity.
At least your coffee was to his liking. And he hadn’t lost his interest in you. He pulled a recording device out of his pocket and you started telling him about the villain, his appearance, the direction he came from, his attitude, his feelings, what you did to stop him. It didn’t take you long, you didn’t have much to say about it after all. You had acted on a whim. You didn’t even know why you didn’t flee yourself. Nobody was in actual danger.
“You did good” he said, putting a rebellious lock of his long hair behind his ears “This villain attacked and stole money from a grocery store out of despair. He needed the money to pay for his daughter’s surgery. He was emotionally unstable, he could have attacked anyone at anytime. Your intervention surely prevented that.”
His voice was calm. You couldn’t stop staring at his hands. His hands that had caught you when you fell, his hands that had held you until the ambulance arrived, his hands that you wanted to touch again. You focused your eyes back on your coffee to avoid further embarrassment.
“That poor man really was desperate…” you muttered.
Suspicion. Concern. Doubt.
Oh yes, victims having compassion for their aggressors weren’t exactly galore, you shouldn’t have said that.
“Sorry” you added quickly “I shouldn’t feel for that villain.”
“You’re a psychic, right?” he asked as he leant back in his chair.
Resolve. Determination. Expectation.
That was probably the real reason why he came in person. To know about your quirk. Psychic abilities were interesting a lot of heroes who needed sidekicks. Though you had been careful, making sure not to anticipate his answers too much so he wouldn’t suspect a thing. But he was sharper than you thought. Well, he was a pro-hero after all.
“No” you shook your head “I can’t read minds, I can just feel what people feel. I’ve received special training so I can interpret their change of emotions but it’s mostly assumptions and guts. I feel people, that’s all.”
Within a range of a hundred yards and with no more than three emotions at once but you had kept that part a secret, the less the people knew the limits of one’s quirk the better.
“You…” he lowered his head and you felt embarrassment, shyness and shame “You’re feeling me right now?”
“Yes” you could feel your cheeks flush “I can’t help it, it’s a passive quirk. No matter how many years I’ve trained I can’t turn it off. I just manage to focus it on one person if needed but I can’t stop feeling…”
“You’re focusing your quirk on me?” his embarrassment and shame increased.
“Yes” you tightened your grip on the cup “I’m sorry, I always do that when I’m having a conversation with someone. I know you feel exposed, I’m sorry.”
Nice, now he probably wouldn’t want to see you ever again: when people learnt about your quirk they got uncomfortable and often avoided your presence. Friends and family coped with it and were no longer disturbed by your ability. But as for strangers… Considering his shame and embarrassment he probably wouldn’t want to have to deal with you again. If he ever had wanted to even deal with you again in the first place…
“It’s alright” he emptied his cup of coffee “I just wasn’t expecting that.”
The rebellious lock came before his eyes again and you resisted the urge to put it back behind his ear yourself. You just had to extend a hand and you’d touch him. It was that easy. Your heart was beating like crazy. Months, the psychologist you were knew such stupid crush lasted usually months. You just lowered your head some more.
“I’m truly sorry, sir…”
“Eraserhead” he calmly answered “Well, I’m not on duty so you can just call me Aizawa.”
Aizawa. You glanced at him and couldn’t help wondering if this scruff of his would tickle much during a kiss.
Chapter 3: Marigold
You were cursed. You had no other way to explain it all. Except you were cursed. Probably. You had started working a couple of months back and it was actually doing you some good, preventing you from thinking too much about that hero who was unlikely to show up in your life again. Though he did show up again. Some people would have seen it as a fated reunion. But you, you were just thinking you were cursed. For that crush of yours was still pretty strong despite all your efforts.
Surprise. Curiosity. Glee.
At least he was feeling like crossing paths with you again wasn’t a bummer of some sort.
“What are you doing here?” he asked you after you exchanged formal greetings.
Right, a police precinct was probably the last place where he expected to find you.
“I work here” you looked away as you blushed a little “A few days before the attack, I took an interview at this station and I’ve passed it. I’m assisting them in investigations and especially interviews, since my quirk is pretty useful…” you managed to finally look at him and flash a professional smile “Is there something I can help you with, Eraserhead?”
“Oh no, not really” he scratched the back of his head, he really was looking tired today “I was on patrol duty last night and I have still paperwork to do.”
It was a bit late in the evening to fill in paperwork from last night patrol but you wouldn’t ask any question. He was a hero, he probably had better things to do during the day. Though you weren’t exactly feeling like he was in the mood for writing reports…
Hesitation. Expectation. Doubt.
But more like he had something to ask you. Your heart skipped a beat. Come on, it could be anything: you were the one getting all worked up for nothing here.
Shyness. Embarrassment. Resolve.
“Did you get to go there?” his eyes met yours and you arched an interrogative brow “A place where people are happy?”
Heat rushed to your cheeks. Come on, he couldn’t possibly remember that ! He couldn’t possibly remember the awkward thing you said on that day! Oh god, that was so stupid and cheesy and so uncool! Jeez, now you wanted to bury yourself six feet under.
“I wondered if you got to go and feel people being happy” but his tone was serious, neutral “Your quirk must be tiring, especially in your line of work.”
“Ah…” you scratched your cheek nervously “I have said that because I was in shock and wanted the pain to stop, you know. There’s no such place where everyone is happy, everywhere you go it’s a myriad of different feelings…”
“So what about coffee then?”
That was so blunt and out of the blue you barely caught his shyness, resolve and awkwardness. Coffee? Sure, why not. Your shift was about to end anyway and the coffee machine wasn’t that far. You glanced at him. Damn, how could he get more and more beautiful each time you laid your eyes on him? Your gaze lingered. Hair, eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth… You bit on your lower lip, wanting to rest your face in the crook of his neck, inhaling his scent deeply. His scent… The very first thing you truly liked about him. Liked, uh? Shit, your crush really was giving you a hard time if you had come to use such vocabulary!
“Ahem, sure” you rubbed your forehead to get rid of those silly thoughts “I could use a cup of coffee. The vending machine is this…”
“I thought we could go somewhere else” he cut you though his tone remained neutral “I know a place…”
Expectation. Excitement. Eagerness.
Your eyes widened. He wanted… to treat you to a café? Considering his feelings, that should be a real nice place. But… why? You didn’t even know each other! He did come to your apartment but everything remained strictly professional. Except perhaps your heavy staring. Oh man, maybe he noticed! He couldn’t think you were that kind of girl , could he? But you weren’t feeling any sexual vibes coming from him. You never did, not even once. He was just being nice. As a colleague, towards another colleague. So you accepted his invitation. As simply as that. Because he just asked. As simply as that.
Glee. Excitement. Eagerness.
Feeling that, you were thinking you had made the right choice. Though you knew you were playing a dangerous game: you would only grow more fond of him. And he, well, he never showed anything, he never felt anything special towards you. And yet, yet you were following him in silence, down that street, to that place, focusing your quirk on him just in case something would manifest. But all you felt was his eagerness growing stronger as you were approaching. It made you a little sad. You knew it was one-sided from the start, you never felt him have similar feelings. How could it still hurt, knowing that?
“It’s here” he just said as he held the door open for you.
You took a deep breath, stepped in as you stopped focusing your quirk. No need to hurt yourself more. And then you felt it.
Tenderness. Fondness. Joy.
A cat café. Of all places in town he decided to take you to a cat café. A place where people were happy, uh? You had to admit the overall atmosphere was comforting, even if you were perceiving the stress and annoyance of some employees. You were about to say something but a waiter came to set you at a table and gave you a menu describing both the drinks and the cats living there. You noticed they were all for adoption. Aizawa ordered coffee and you did the same. By the second you had closed the menu a cat jumped in your lap.
You always had a good feeling with animals since your quirk allowed you to develop a strong sense of empathy. You scratched it behind the ears, it purred so loud you were melting. And apparently you weren't the only one melting.
“I thought coming here could help you relax” you looked up at him and saw him flash a grin that reminded you of Totoro’s “I'm glad I was right.”
“Animals are very therapeutic indeed” you answered, scratching the cat some more.
He wanted to say something else but stopped right away when the waiter served you your coffees. You gently grabbed the cup and sipped on it. Delicious. And the smell was somehow familiar. It reminded you of him. You smiled.
“Consider this an apology” you looked up at him as you admired his fingers slowly wrapping around the cup “For being intrusive.”
“Intrusive? But when?”
That wasn’t making any sense. You were the one with intrusive feelings, weren’t you? You weren’t understanding what he was trying to apologize for, you should be the one feeling sorry here! He leant in his chair. And sighed.
Embarrassment. Fear. Concern.
“I’m a pro-hero” he started, carefully avoiding your gaze “I’ve arrested a lot of villains, a lot of low villains. Thanks to All Might’s presence, the city had become pretty safe. But, still, you were my first…” you felt awkwardness “You were in such shock, like you had undergone a terrorist attack. And I couldn’t do anything…”
Guilt. Concern. Shame.
“I can’t help feeling responsible for you.”
Chapter 4: Yellow Carnation
Yellow carnation: rejection
“I can’t help feeling responsible for you.”
Your eyes widened. You weren’t expecting something like that. You hadn’t seen it coming, you hadn’t even felt it coming. The cat in your lap let escape a strangled mewl: you were hugging too tight.
“I was supposed to protect you. I could have erased your quirk and bring you somewhere safe, if I had known...”
You hurriedly held out a hand to grab his wrist tenderly, in a gesture that meant to be comforting. The contact sent a shiver down your spine. He was warm, his skin was soft, softer than you thought. You looked at him straight in the eyes, in his beautiful black eyes full of remorse. And you were no longer sure the pain you were feeling was his only.
“You did protect me” your voice was stern despite it all “You saved my life and I’ll forever be grateful.”
Relief. Fondness. Attachment.
It lasted just a few seconds. His hand shifted to take yours. The skin there was rougher, his fingers calloused for so much hero work. A jolt of electricity ran through your body, you blushed harder. But he just gave it a squeeze before letting go, putting your hand back on the table, giving it a few pats before wrapping his fingers around his cup. As if to say that kind of physical contact was off limits. You kept your eyes on the cat and focused your quirk on some random dude. To feel positive emotions. Not to cry. You were feeling rejected. It hurt. A lot. He wasn't to blame: you acted on a whim, getting too close, touching him even… What were you thinking, really? That a small touch would trigger some love for you he was oblivious of?
“Sorry” you whispered.
“Hmm? Oh, it's fine” he moved a few bangs away from his face, sipped on his coffee and boy he was so gorgeous it wasn't fair “Don't bother, I'm fine. I just wanted some advice… about how I feel about you.”
You tensed and it required you all of your strength not to do something terribly awkward. That choice of words for fuck sake! He was oblivious in the end, but of how you felt about him !
“Wha-what do you mean?” your voice quivered.
“You're a psychologist, right? How would you advise me to behave, if I were a patient of yours?”
Counseling, uh? That was so fucking frustrating! And too bad you had your quirk focused on someone else, you hadn't even been able to catch how he was feeling! Perhaps he lied, perhaps you did trigger something, probably not exactly the one feeling you were looking for, but still…Stupid, stupid, stupid! You shifted your quirk back on him in frustration.
Stress. Expectation. Tension.
No positive feeling. At least none that you could feel.
“You don't owe me anything” you said, watching your hands as you stroked the cat gently “I'll keep repeating it if needed. Also you shouldn't treat me any different, just act with me the way you do with anyone else.”
“Yeah, I know” you chuckled, glancing up at him “I make it sound so easy” you managed an awkward smile “But really, just act like you want to, not like you think I want you to.”
Words weren't enough. At least they weren't enough for you. You wanted to throw your arms around him, bring him close to you, rub his back and whisper it was all okay. All those things you couldn't do. You couldn't even take his hand, you weren't allowed to. Neither of you said anything for a while. You finished your drink, he finished his. You petted the cat, he played nervously with his fingers.
“Animals like you” Aizawa finally stated.
“Well, it's mostly due to my quirk” you answered, moving carefully your chair to get closer to him “Here” you took the cat in your hands, put it in his lap “Your turn.”
He blushed a little and you didn't need your quirk to tell he was pleased and a little surprised. You closed your eyes and sighed. You had told him to do as he pleased. In a perfect scenario, considering how close the two of you were, he'd lean in to kiss you. The kiss would be half-hurried half-shy. You'd be taken aback but kiss back after a short moment, running your fingers through that long black mane you were dying to touch. You'd taste coffee and him. You'd feel his own incomprehension and astonishment for his sudden action but also fondness or attachment. Yes, in a perfect scenario… You reopened your eyes. In this scenario, you could just watch him take care of the cat. Watching his hands stroke its fur as you wished they were touching you instead.
In this scenario you were just two human beings in a cat café, feeling awkward. Him because he had saved you, you because you had been saved by him. Awkward because you had history. Your eyes started to sting so you closed them again and rubbed them firmly not to cry.
“You’re tired” he said and it didn’t sound like a question “I’ll walk you home.”
“I'm fine” you answered by automatism “You don't have to.”
“I don't mind” he just mumbled.
At least he was telling the truth, even if he obviously wasn't telling all of it. You were still strangers, coworkers at best, you couldn't expect him to open up to you after just one cup of coffee. You couldn't expect him to open up to someone who was feeling him. Literally. You waved the waiter to ask for the check but Aizawa cut you by telling him to put it on his tab. You had understood he was a regular here by now and the last thing you wanted to do was feeling more embarrassment. Whether it was coming from him or yourself. So you just let him take care of everything. The bill, the walk home. No need to say none of you talked. And as for that feeling you no longer could bare on that night…
Embarrassment. Shyness. Embarrassment.
Well, you were feeling it everywhere . So much you caught yourself hoping your neighbors would be going at it again tonight. So you could at least feel the love and desire you were yearning for. But nothing of the sort happened. He just got you home and you exchanged formal goodbyes. When you saw him walk away from your door, you felt something piercing through your heart. Come on, he just couldn’t leave like that! But yes, of course he could. Of course he would. He was unlikely to take a perfect stranger in his arms if you were to think rationally. You dropped yourself on your bed, your coat still on.
No positive feelings. Part of those were yours. Part of those were your neighbors’. Apparently it had been quite a rough day for everyone. You sighed, grabbed the closest pillow, buried your face right into it and yelled in frustration. Closing your eyes, you were only seeing him. Him petting the cat. Him holding his cup of coffee. Him putting some of his locks away. And that grin… And it all felt like love, and your heart wanted it to be love. Though your rational brain of yours knew it wasn't. Not that soon.
And all those were yours.
Chapter 5: Yellow Tulip
Yellow tulip: There's sunshine in your eyes
Colleagues. You were colleagues. Nothing less, nothing more. Sometimes you had a coffee with him, sometimes small talk. But you never went back to the cat café. And you surely never discussed such important matters either. As if. You were the one with great expectations here.
That feelings signature, though… Even that you had come to like, you truly were desperate. But there was something about it, something quite like him. Touching. Soothing. Warm. You always knew when he was in range, how could you not know? The hardest thing was not to rush to him. That wouldn’t be professional of you. Quite childish even.
“Hey” so you just waved at him when he was in sight “How was your day?”
“Long” he sighed and his main feeling was fatigue “The kids were so loud today, unstoppable.”
You had also come to learn he was teaching at UA. You couldn't say you were much surprised, this kind of work truly suited him. And you were a hundred percents sure his students loved him. The only thought of him embodying the grumpy dad figure was enough to make you smile. Like right now. Gosh, how embarrassing! But he smiled back at you. Genuinely. Good, he didn't get it wrong. Good, he wasn't thinking you were weird or so. Good he probably just thought you had felt something.
“Wanna go to the café?” you offered “My treat.”
“Why not…” he flashed you his infamous grin “If you're the one paying …”
You shrugged at his teasing and off you went. The atmosphere there was pretty much the same as the previous time. Though something felt off. Weird. You felt off. Weird. But as soon as you sat down, three cats came to you, mewling. Nothing had quite changed. You glanced at Aizawa. You were just disappointed your relationship wasn’t getting where you wanted. But disappointment comes with the crush. You knew this for a fact.
“Someone’s popular” he giggled “I’m jealous.”
Hesitation. Doubt. Uneasiness.
Despite the joke. So he had something to tell you. Or perhaps to ask of you. This was why he accepted to come here, to that café he felt safe in. Your heart started to beat faster and faster. No, it couldn’t be anything of the sort. You took a deep breath, bracing yourself. But the question was never asked, the request was never made. You frowned. The feelings were remaining though… That thing was probably harder to say than he first thought. Your mind went in every directions at once. You were imagining the worst and the best.
“I’m sorry” he finally said, wrapping his fingers slowly around his steaming cup “I can’t…”
“It’s alright” you glanced at him, smiling, scratching one of the cats behind the ears “You can take your time.”
“I’m trying but…”
He hissed. He was embarrassed. Terribly embarrassed. You didn’t even need your quirk at this point, his cheeks were all flushed. Fear had gone, replaced by shame. You restrained yourself for giggling. True, such sight was goddamn cute. But laughing at him would just make him feel less at ease. Not exactly what you were trying to do here. After all, you wanted to know, what he was trying so hard to say. Who knew, you could be surprised.
“Feelings are complicated” you stated with a professional tone, gently taking the handle of the cup to sip on your drink “Especially when you feel like what you have to tell me would change how I see you.”
“How do you know?”
“I didn’t” you confessed as you petted the cat some more, enjoying the slight purring under your fingers “Until now. I doubted it, since you never actually refrain to tell me anything. I assume you’re afraid I’ll get mad at you. Or be disappointed in you.”
Shame. Embarrassment. Shame.
Bull’s eye. As if you could ever be disappointed in him. As if you could ever get mad at him. Oh yes, perhaps in the spur of the moment, when he’d tell you the news, yeah maybe then but… Really, that pretty face, those sweet and caring vibes you were feeling everytime he was with you, his feelings… always genuine… Whatever he did, he probably thought it was the best for you. You were ready to bet on it.
“It's alright if you don't tell me” you put the cup back in the table with a soft clank “I guess you believe it’s even better if I learn it from a third party, it'd save us both some embarrassment.”
You were right. Of course he'd believe something like that. Of course you would like it better if you had to learn it from a third party. Emotionally speaking there'd be less to handle. And he wouldn't have to think you were mad. Or disappointed.
“So, it's okay if you can't bring yourself to tell me” you smiled at him “That kind of things isn't easy for me to deal with either.”
“Because of your quirk?”
“No” you shook your head and took a deep breath, because you had to say it, like a big girl “Because I’ve mixed feelings about you as well.”
Really? How could he be surprised at this point? With all the signs you were sending, all the time, how could he still be? He wasn't that oblivious, he was in fact sharper than he looked. Then… why? How? You were surprised too and it had nothing to do with your quirk.
“Yeah…” you giggled nervously “Of course I have, you have saved my life. I thought you would have noticed by now…”
“I thought you were feeling like that because of me” he confessed, playing with the handle of his cup “Because of your quirk. And my own mixed feelings.”
What? That was impossible. Yeah, to be honest, you were sharing some feelings. Embarrassment. Shyness. Awkwardness. But in your case there was more. There was so much more. You wanted him. To touch him. To be touched by him. Something you never felt in him. Never . Or perhaps that was his fourth feeling, the one you couldn't feel. You slapped yourself mentally. Come on! You had to stop dreaming!
“You're not at fault” you smiled wider “And we feel more or less the same anyway.”
Fear. Shame. Stress.
It lasted only one second. Like that wave that takes over when you learn bad news but you keep at bay not to be overwhelmed. It lasted only one second. And then there was doubt. And only doubt. Fuck, telling him made actually things worse ? But what the heck did he do then? Or was it all so melodramatic because of your odd bond?
“Thanks for the coffee.”
You only realized what he had said when you saw him empty his cup. He was quick. He knew you were surrounded by cats, he knew you couldn't make a move to run after him. He knew you were trapped. Crap. And there was nothing you could say to make him stay. Not when he was feeling so much doubt and embarrassment. Except perhaps…
“Aizawa…” except perhaps his name “Aizawa, it's gonna be okay.”
“I'm sorry” he just said as he got up briskly “You can still refuse if it's too much.”
Pain. Anger. Contempt.
He was trying hard to keep his composure. Until he left you with this enigma. And loud purring cats in your lap.
Chapter 6: Iris
Iris: faith, hope
“An undercover mission?” you repeated your superior’s words to gain some composure “Are you sure?”
“Is this too early?” he asked you with genuine concern.
Early? Yeah, probably. You hadn't taken any detective exam. Sure, you had done pretty good with the cases and interviews you had worked on. But perhaps it was indeed too early. Though it was also such a big opportunity. Because you weren't a detective. Yet. If it went all good and smooth you'd climb the ladder so easily. If not, well, you were still a rookie after all. And you did train for such operations, now wasn't the time to chicken out.
“I'm surprised, that's all” you flashed him a professional smile “I've been working just for a couple of months and…”
“And your stats are incredibly good” he cut you.
At least he wasn’t just praising you. True you had pretty good results, especially when they were pairing you with your colleague Tsukauchi, the human lie detector. He was feeling the lies, you the state of mind the suspect was in. No need to say that, with a bit of rhetoric, the interviews were carried out almost perfectly. Though today wasn't about a bunch of interviews. It was bigger.
“So what's the case?” you asked with no shred of hesitation.
“A gang of drug dealers” your superior stated as he held out some thin file “They are said to have a memory-controlling quirk for the buyers can’t remember anything. Not a face, not a price, not even the substance itself. Just that they went to some hotel.”
You flipped a few pages, searching for photographs. The place looked decent. Not poor, not too rich either. The façade was nothing much, neither was the hotel name. A pretty plain overall. The perfect place to hide. If it was true they had a memory-controlling quirk, they were also skilled at choosing locations. Everything seemed staged as if to make people unable to remember details. But those were already clues: they wouldn't be outstanding people, that wouldn’t fit.
“I assume I won't go there alone” you said.
You flipped a few more pages, they really had a little intel, it wouldn't be that easy. Of course they wouldn't let you on your own. One, it was your first serious case. Two, you didn't have an offensive quirk. Three, a young woman staying in an hotel alone would only raise suspicion.
“We've paired you with a pro-hero” your boss just stated “Both for protection and offense…”
There was more to it. And he didn't want to talk about it. Did he think he had hurt your feeling by saying so? But it was true: you had little to no firepower, you weren't even allowed to carry a gun. And, well, last time you tried to play hero… It was a perfectly normal thing to pair you with someone actually powerful. You weren’t feeling undermined. With your quirk you couldn’t be a hero, you knew it and you had learnt not to mind.
“We just want your complete agreement” but his embarrassment kept growing “That pairing…” he suddenly stopped.
“With whom?” you asked with a trembling voice.
Embarrassment. Doubt. Concern.
You already knew. After all, weren’t you cursed? Or perhaps that also was a fated reunion !
“Eraserhead” he quickly raised his hands as if to nullify the name he just spoke “But we know you two have history, we know how embarrassing it could be, especially with a quirk like yours. If you don’t feel like you can handle it, we'll just call in someone else.”
Now you were definitely feeling your own embarrassment. You couldn’t blame him. In fact, you couldn’t blame anyone. That was no dirty trick or twist of fate. Everything made perfect sense: he was a hero the people in this precinct were used to work with, his erasure quirk could both stop villains and prevent your quirk from overflowing if you were in an unsafe zone, he knew you, you knew him… Though you were aware of what kind of intimacy came with an undercover mission. And still…
“He’s our best option” you answered with a low voice “I don’t mind pairing with him as long as he doesn’t either” you sounded so detached.
“Are you sure?”
“Of course” you straightened up “I can’t help feeling. There's always someone angry, someone embarrassed, someone sad, someone in pain. I'm used to feel too much, as far as I'm concerned feelings won't get in the way.”
“That's good” he sighed and you perceived his relief “We’ll be able to fill you in asap.”
Fill you in? Wait, and what about…? Oh. Yes, of course. That was the thing he had been trying to tell you about.
“He has agreed already” you just neutrally stated.
“Yes” and embarrassment again “We kept it silent, we didn't want you to feel obliged.”
Made sense. Though you were wondering if he didn't accept already because he felt obliged.
“Sorry about the mess.”
Awkwardness. Shame. Uneasiness.
The so-called mess was no more than a few unclean cups scattered here and there, a strange yellow sleeping bag folded in a corner of the room. And sheets. A lot of sheets everywhere. True, he was a teacher on top of being a pro-hero, you tended to forget that detail. He was probably grading exams or working on his next class. Or perhaps that was just paperwork. Anyway, none of your concern
“What can I get you? Coffee?”
You had agreed to come here, to his place, because it was closer than yours. You could have stayed at the precinct, of course you could have. But your boss had both filled you in - there wasn’t much to fill in in the first place - and you had both decided to go somewhere you could openly talk. None of you had mentioned it yet but you had to discuss the details of your undercover identities. Really, why did you accept again? A man and a woman, in some hotel, you could see your cover from here. Perhaps you did accept for such reasons in the end. If yes, even if you were unaware of doing so, that was low. No surprise you were feeling terrible.
“Here” Aizawa said, holding out a cup of steaming coffee “You can sit, you know.”
“Oh, yes” you could feel heat rush to your cheeks “Sorry.”
“It’s alright. I know it’s difficult for you, I’m not at ease myself and you must feel it. But we have to learn how not to act awkwardly around each other.”
And that was exactly the reason why you went somewhere private. That and also because you didn’t want your colleagues to hear you build up a supposedly happy romantic fake lovelife with Aizawa. Just thinking of it made your heart beat like crazy against your ribcage.
And you weren’t the only one feeling this way. You chose not to talk about it, after all you were the one saying feelings wouldn’t get in the way. You chose to focus on building a proper and convincing background for the two of you… or at least for the couple you were supposed to be. You were starting to regret your decision. You had built personae in school, you knew they had to fit the agents’ personalities to be plausible. And truth was you didn't know him: you only knew a biased version of him. Crush-induced.
Plural. Oh well…
Chapter 7: Forsythia
Hey guys :) I'm sorry but I won't be able to update this story next week (and maybe the week after) for I'm taking an important exam :c I'm not abandoning this story and will be back asap <3
Awkwardness. Embarrassment. Self-awareness.
You kept feeling those. Of course, they wouldn't disappear in one afternoon. Of course, building a proper fictional background for the two of you would only increase them. But thank goodness, two newlyweds could afford being awkward and not all over each other. Newlyweds, why the fuck did you agree with this stupid idea? Because it was the most plausible one. Well. You were at complete loss. You held out a hand to touch him but again he recoiled in reflex.
“You need to stop doing that” you stated “Being embarrassed is fine, people will find it cute eventually. But not allowing the smallest physical contact will only raise suspicion.”
Shame. Shyness. Irritation.
Perhaps that was too straightforward. But he was always awfully blunt, you were pretty sure sugarcoating it would have been worse. His reaction was perfectly normal, it takes time to learn how to get past those. To tell the truth, you were glad he was unable to feel you, to feel how bad you wanted him, to feel how wild were the scenes a few words like ‘married’ and ‘honeymoon’ triggered… You were glad, honestly. At least, right here, right now, he wasn’t thinking low of you.
“Sorry” he said, running his fingers through his hair “I really… have mixed feelings about you.”
Also his choices of words would be the end of you one day, you were ready to bet on it.
“Why did you accept the mission then?”
Well, it was too straightforward: he obviously hadn’t been expecting that question.
“I thought…” he hesitated and you felt him doubt, a lot, and for quite some time “I thought you'd rather have me than a perfect stranger… considering the nature of…”
“Don't assume stuff like that!” you cut him, unable to hear any more “That’s… That’s what I tried to warn you against, at the cat café. By accepting the mission, you acted how you thought I wanted you to act and not how you actually wanted to act yourself.”
“That was stupid of me” he sighed, ruffled his hair some more “I accepted right away but the second after I started having doubts… because I…” he shook his head “Well, I've obviously picked the wrong choice.”
“You can still back off. We can still call in another hero” you stopped, focused your quirk on him and it was as clear as day “You don't want to.”
“Because I want…” he stopped and all you could feel were variations upon fear.
“You want what?” you asked all the same.
Somehow you needed to know.
Expectation. Uncertainty. Adrenaline rush.
“I… want to help you with that mission.”
A lie. An obvious lie, ironically his feelings were pointing that truth out. You chose not to push him in that direction. He probably had reasons to lie to you so blatantly. And he wasn’t your patient. He was your colleague, you were supposed to work with him. Not psychoanalyse him. Even if you were dying to know what this beautiful head of his was thinking.
“Whatever” though your tone proved you weren't believing him at all “Better work on those fake identities then.”
You were positive you had made the right decision even though one could argue you were just fleeing from the problem. You were indeed fleeing for now. The mission was a delicate one, you would have to get intimate with him, both of you were already feeling awkward, no need to add more embarrassment to it. And so you did as said. You worked on those personae, patching up every detail together, names, nicknames, quirks, how you met him, how he proposed, when and where you got married. And of course, embarrassment was still pervading, making you feel terribly uneasy and at the same time dying for his touch. But hours passed and he was still recoiling when you were trying to touch him.
“Will that really work?” he asked “Those plain boring characters?”
“We won’t tell anyone all that, actually” you looked away to avoid his gaze “It’s just not to find ourselves with the back against the wall, it’s pretty hard to make up a proper story in those situations.”
“Better have something ready.”
You glanced at your phone screen. It was late. You should go home already. Though you didn’t want to. You just wanted to have a hold of his hand. At least just once before the whole thing started and clouded whatever could have been birthing there.
“Ah, I forgot” he said all of a sudden, getting up and pulling out a small box out of his pocket “Your wedding ring.”
Oh yes. How come you had actually forgotten about those? You took the box with trembling hands and opened it a little too briskly. And here they were. Round, shiny, golden. Simple. Plain. They lacked originality. Exactly what you needed. You picked the smaller one and put it around your finger, on your left hand just as tradition goes.
Flutter. Doubt. Uneasiness.
Whose? You couldn't say. The feeling around your finger was strange. Cold. And it oddly fitted perfectly.
“Yup” you said as you removed it and held out a hand to grab your purse “Mine’s all good.”
“You're not gonna wear it?”
“Not yet” good you were to busy putting the ring in your purse to even bother to look at him “We still have a little time before the higher-ups get all this paperwork done and gave us the thumbs-up. I'll wear it when we'll start the mission. For authenticity.”
“When you're not used to wearing a jewel, you often play or touch it without noticing. The same when you take it off after quite some time.”
“I see…” he glanced at the box next to you. I'll do the same. For authenticity. And for authenticity…” he scratched the back of his head “What should I call you? Ayumi? Honey? Darling?”
Eh? Why was he even worrying about something like that? He was right, those things matter too but… what the hell? The mission wouldn't start before a few days! Mixed feelings, he said. So much for your mixed feelings!
“I don't know” you played with your fingers nervously “What you usually call your girlfriend or…” shame “Come on, it doesn't mean shit! It's just that if it's something you'd actually say it'd be more…”
“Authentic, got that.”
He was blushing. You were blushing. You heard him mutter some apology, probably because of your quirk. You took a look at your phone screen just to avoid looking at him. Holy moly, it was late. Awfully late.
“Shit!” you cursed “I must go now if I want to catch the last train.”
“You can spend the night here…”
Really? Did he even know how much you wanted that, sleeping in his bed, wrapped in his arms, in his scent? Did he? Nah, he probably made such offer for completely different reasons.
“I'll be fine” you got up and grabbed your purse “You wouldn't have let me stayed if I weren't the person you saved, would you?”
“I can at least take you home.”
“I'll be fine” you walked to the door “My safety isn't your concern.”
“My safety isn't your concern.”
“Okay” he answered, annoyed “At least text me once you got home.”
“That I can do.”
You smiled at him and he patted you on the head. Patted you. On the head. Physical contact. Oh god…
Chapter 8: Peony
Peony: happy marriage
Hello! I managed to get an internet access but for today only this week (still busy)
But next week I'll go back to the usual updates on Thursdays
See you and enjoy <3
You rearranged your hair for the hundredth time. Come on, you were looking good. What were you nervous about? What a question! What were you not nervous about? The mission was starting today. You had about a thousand reasons to be nervous.
And your neighbors weren't exactly helping you feeling better with their domesticity. You mentally checked the contents of your suitcase. Of course you had forgotten nothing. But, you know, just in case…
Nervousness. Uneasiness. Expectation.
He was here, his feelings signature was so characteristic. You glanced at your watch. 5.p.m., right on time. And to think you had assumed he was the type to be late. Though you didn't hear the doorbell ring. As a few minutes went by.
Nervousness. Hesitation. Nervousness.
Ah. From how confused his feelings were he seemed to catch the true meaning of such operation only now. Or at least the true meaning of your cover. He was just taking a deep breath before plunging right in head first. Of course you'd give him time. Of course you wouldn’t embarrass him some more by opening the door even if he hadn't rung the bell yet.
Then you heard it. That ringing. He hadn't hesitated very long. Well, he was a hero after all. His line of work didn't allow him much to dwell on those things.
You had meant your tone to be cheerful but it actually sounded kind of weird. And it took you some time to realize you were actually rushing to the door. How pathetic! He didn't want you, his feelings were clear as day. And yet you flashed a bright smile as you opened the door.
“Hey” you just said.
“Hey” he answered and you noticed he was carefully avoiding your eyes “You're ready?”
“Yeah” you made way “Do you wanna come in?” Uneasiness “Or you can stay here, I won't be long.”
“I'll wait for you here then” he mumbled.
As quick as possible, you grabbed your suitcase, your keys, gave a look around to make sure you hadn't left any light on and locked the door behind you. You took a deep breath. Stress, you were perceiving a lot of stress. Anxiety even. You were slightly nauseous. It'd be better once you'd hit the hotel, once things would be set into motion. During the walk to the station, on the platform, even on the train, none of you talked. You let pass a few stops before getting a little closer to him, daring to lock your arm with his.
Surprise. Awkwardness. Compliance.
It hurt. To know he was only allowing this for the sake of the mission, for the sake of authenticy. Because you couldn't start acting as a couple just in front of the hotel. He bore with it all. He even smiled at you as you took off the train. And oh god he was so very beautiful when he smiled.
Flutter. Awkwardness. Attachment.
And his feelings were almost positive. Almost. Ah, if the mission didn’t make everything biased, then maybe… You slapped yourself mentally. Maybe nothing. You knew what his feelings were outside this operation. Why were you still hoping? You didn’t have trouble finding the hotel, not after looking at pictures and maps for days.
You glanced at each other before getting in. The interior was plain too, the colors, the plants, the pictures on the walls… really how could places be so impersonal? You walked directly to the reception. You took a discreet look around. From here you could see some bar, already opened, and a few armchairs scattered here and there. There was no one except for a woman with long dark hair having a drink. She was charming, very ladylike with her complex hairdo, her makeup, her fancy clothing and her cigarette holder. Exactly the kind of person you could expect in a hotel… in some movie.
“Good morning” the receptionist joyfully said “Do you have a reservation?”
“Yes…” Aizawa said as he pulled a wallet out of the inside pocket of his vest “Under the name of Asano. Asano Seiji…” he paused and you felt a bit of shame “Asano Seiji and Ayumi.”
“Let me see…” the receptionist looked through his book and the atmosphere tensed for a second, you felt… anger? “Ah, yes! Asano, here you are!” he looked up at Aizawa “A reservation for two weeks, paid in advance.”
You refrained from looking in the woman’s direction. Irritation? But why? Okay, okay, it could be anything, she was obviously lost in her own thoughts, that feeling had probably nothing to do with you. And yet you couldn’t help finding something odd about it. The fact that it manifested right when the receptionist said you’d be staying that long, for starters…
“Here’s your key” he held it out to Aizawa “It’s on the second floor, on your right. The elevator is this way.”
Both he and you bowed and went to take the elevator. As you waited for it you passed a nervous hand in your hair. The irritation increased, whatever that woman was thinking she was pretty pissed. You felt Aizawa’s hand stroke your back gently and you blushed at this unexpected yet tender move of his.
Those were his. You tried not to show anything until you reached your room. That place too was plain. Pictures of mountains (the mount Fuji even, really guys?) on the walls, fake green plants. Not exactly what someone would pick for their honeymoon… and yet. And yet there was such a huge double bed in the middle of the room. A double bed. Of course, whoever made the reservation couldn’t exactly pick anything else. Separate beds on a supposed honeymoon wouldn’t have done the trick. Your heart skipped a beat. You put the suitcases on the bed and started to unpack not to overthink the whole situation. Aizawa gave you a nod and went to look through every closet with careful attention.
“It’s clear” he said and he got out of the bathroom.
At least, in that very room, you wouldn’t have to pretend to be husband and wife. At least, in that very room, you could both be yourselves.
“You don’t have to worry” Aizawa started “You can have the bed, I’ve brought my sleeping bag. I can sleep… wherever” he scratched the back of his head in embarrassment.
“Don’t be an idiot” you put away the clothes you were holding “I trust you. And I feel you, remember? I know you’ve never…” you blushed hard “I know you’re not like that.”
“Are you okay?”
“I don’t know” you shook your head “The people in this hotel… they’re mostly tensed. And irritated.”
That feeling had increased since you had felt it coming from that woman. It seemed to have spread to the entire hotel. Or perhaps it was just yours . Overflowing. You weren’t exactly at ease yourself either.
“Is it suspicious?” his tone was neutral but you perceived concern.
“I don't know” you shrugged “Perhaps it's linked to this group we're investigating, perhaps they're just undergoing a lot of pressure. So far I can’t tell…”
“What's your range?” he asked and you arched an interrogative brow “Your quirk, what's your range?”
“About a hundred yards” you frowned “Perhaps a little more, it's hard to tell in a city. Why?”
“That's a lot” he sighed “But at least we've got the whole place covered.”
Yeah, at least…
Chapter 9: Christmas Rose
Christmas Rose: tranquilize my anxiety
“Yeah” you spread the map on the counter “The trip had been pretty tiring, we shouldn’t strain ourselves on the first day, it’d be such a shame.”
You were having a drink at the hotel’s bar, supposedly to organize your first day in town. You had planned to go to the bar hoping to find any clue that could help with your investigation. So far no good. There were indeed customers there, and you were wondering why people came to a hotel to drink. True, the place was calmer than an actual bar, perhaps that was the reason. You weren't feeling anything unusual.
Fatigue. Joy. Inebriation.
You put a hand to your forehead. You were dizzy. Even if you had picked a soft drink, the others hadn’t. And you were experiencing their more or less inebriated feelings. You weren’t perceiving the alcohol effects though… well, at this point it was just as if. Situations like that exactly reminded you why you never hanged out in bars: feelings were magnified by booze. You felt a hand on your back and suddenly tensed. Good lord, Aizawa. You still weren’t used to him touching you so casually, knowing that his act was indeed pretty good. But you relaxed as he massaged your shoulder gently.
“You’re tired” Concern “We can go to our room.”
“I’m fine” you lied.
Suspicion. Concern. Doubt.
And he wasn’t believing you.
“Let’s just finish our drinks” you added quickly “I’m not that tired.”
It felt like a waste of time. You were folding back the map correctly when you stopped midway, frozen, your fingers almost tearing the paper. The irritation. It was there. And the same feeling signature as before. No, wait, it wasn’t irritation…
It was way more aggressive than that. You discreetly glanced behind your shoulder. The charming lady. She was smiling but you were positive she wasn’t meaning any inch of it. She still had those strange hat and cigarette-holder, even if nobody wasn’t allowed to smoke in the hotel. Though you noticed her cigarette wasn’t lit. Probably just for the show.
“Oh” she feigned surprise “You’re that couple.”
She took the seat at the counter just on your right and it took you all your strength to focus your quirk on her.
Anger. Annoyance. Contempt.
And it took you all your strength to bear with those feelings. Her act as well was pretty goddamn good, you wouldn’t have suspected anything if it weren’t for your quirk.
“You remember us…” Aizawa stated, slightly pulling you closer to him, probably for protection.
“Of course” she waved a finger around for the bartender without even looking at him “We sure have couples here often, and sure they’re married… just not to each other” she paused as the bartender put a blue cocktail in front of her “And they never stay a couple of weeks.”
We? Remember when you said the culprits were probably plain persons too? Ready to consider yourself wrong? Though a hook on the very day you had arrived, it sounded terribly fishy, to extend the metaphor…
“The online appreciations and grades were really good” you managed to said despite how bad you were feeling because of her “And the prices were decent…”
Asano Seiji and Ayumi didn’t have much money, same for their families: that was why they had picked up such a cheap hotel for their honeymoon. They were also too naive to consider online appreciations could be forged.
“Could you remind me your names again?” the lady purred as she sipped on her drink.
“Kiri…” you made an intended pause “Asano, Asano Ayumi.”
“Asano Seiji” Aizawa said, glancing in your direction.
“Oh” the lady played with her glass “You're just married” she looked at you with a smile “How cute!”
Annoyance. Contempt. Jealousy.
What a lie. You gripped harder on your almost empty glass. That woman was so passive aggressive. And you didn't even know why. You were feeling bad, irritated: you were catching her anger. You couldn't stay any longer. You emptied your drink.
“Thank you” you answered and your tone was sharper than intended “I'm sorry, the trip really tired me, would you excuse us?”
“Please, have another drink first” she half-closed her eyes as she looked in your direction “On the house.”
“Maybe another time” you answered as you got up.
Why? Why was she forcing herself to be nice to you though all she could feel - all you could feel - was despise and contempt? There was something odd with that woman. But your mind was clouded by anger and you couldn't think straight. You bowed politely and could feel Aizawa do the same. You wanted to run away from her, fast. Though you managed to tell her goodbye and walk to the elevator. Slowly. You focused your quirk on Aizawa only when you stepped in. Just to be sure that woman wasn't doubting your act. But you only realized how angry you actually were when you were back in your room. When you slammed open the bathroom door.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, it's nothing…” you passed some cold water on your face “That lady was terribly angry somehow. I’ve caught her anger, that's all.”
“Yeah, caught…” you looked at your still trembling fingers “My quirk is pure empathy. I'm only able to tell what people feel because I feel it as my own. I've caught her anger, it became mine” you glanced at your reflection, damn you looked terrible “It'll pass. It was the same with shock… you know, from the other time.”
Concern. Hesitation. Concern.
You slammed a hand on the sink. Jeez, if you could at least calm down. You had no reason to be angry. And, yet… yet… yet! You took a deep breath. Then you felt nothing. Just an overall feeling of fatigue. You turned your head to face Aizawa. His hair was floating around, his eyes were red… you know, just like the other time. He was erasing your quirk. And for some reason it made the anger disappear.
“Is it working?” he asked with a neutral tone.
“Yeah… but stop. This is…”
“Exactly what I'm here for” he stated though he blinked all the same.
Your quirk was back. Obviously. And the anger was gone. How? Your quirk had left the woman, that irritation had become yours for sure. So… how?
“It worked” you said “I no longer feel angry.”
“Good” he sighed and you felt his relief “I wasn't sure it'd work…” he scratched the back of his head “But when you said you caught it, I thought, maybe quirk-induced feelings can be erased.”
“Now we know they can be.”
You put your hand on the sink to keep your balance. Shit, you were more tired than you had first thought. Well, you had used your quirk a lot… and all those feelings… But a hand on the sink wasn't enough and you fell right against Aizawa’s chest. Damn, the man was quick. You didn't even see him move.
“I've got you” he said and his words sounded all too familiar.
“Don't apologize, I erased strong feelings. That was bound to happen.”
Though he was acting rationally… You couldn't help smiling as he helped you lay down on the bed. You couldn't help apologizing either.
“That woman…” you started.
“Sssh…” he cut you “You can tell me that tomorrow. You need to sleep now.”
So you just closed your eyes.
Chapter 10: Purple Hyacinth
Purple hyacinth: I am sorry
You woke up in a startle. Right, Aizawa! You had to tell him about that woman! You blinked several times. The room was bright. The room was way too bright. On the floor, by the bed, notes and pictures from the police previous investigation were scattered here and there. And that definitely wasn't your handwriting. Notes? Pictures? What the…
You glanced behind your shoulder. Here he was, completely wrapped up in his yellow sleeping bag. Even though you had said you trusted him, he had chosen not to sleep in but on the bed. You shifted carefully, resting on your elbow. He looked at complete peace, facing in your direction, his back turned to the door. Your heart skipped a beat. Showing his back to the door wasn’t really hero-like, was he that concerned about you? You blushed. Yeah, sure, there was evidence he couldn’t sleep… everywhere. The notes, the pictures. He probably went to bed pretty late.
“You’re awake” he whispered, eyes still closed.
And such a slight move from you woke him up. Right, you were on a mission. And he was a hero. Of course he would sleep that lightly. Of course he would act like he needed to protect you. This was exactly what he was hired for.
“Y-Yeah” you looked away in embarrassment “Sorry about yesterday.”
He got out of his sleeping bag, slowly. And you couldn’t take your eyes off him. The way he moved, his hand putting his messy hair away, tugging at his clothing, this still tired look he had on his face… He was beautiful. Really beautiful. You resisted the urge to touch his face, to stroke his cheek with the back of your fingers. You resisted the urge to make contact. And it hurt. But he just stretched, yawned and rubbed his eyes some more.
“How much did you sleep?” you frowned.
Though he carefully avoided your eyes and you could perceive all the feelings that come with lying. You glanced at your phone on the bed table. A little past nine. It was still early, and newlyweds were allowed to linger in bed. You sat up, pushing the sheets away a little.
“You can sleep some more, we have time” you could feel your cheeks blush “You can have the bed… properly, I mean. I'm going to get up and…”
“Stay…” he bluntly said.
“O-Okay” you stammered.
So much for feelings not getting in the way! You both lied back down, watching the ceiling. Silence was so heavy you could almost hear the seconds pass by. You sighed and dared to look at him. His eyes were on you. Since how long? You blushed harder, averted your eyes. So much for feelings not getting in the way, so much for feelings not getting in the way!
“Are you feeling any better?” he asked, frowning.
“Yeah, thank you…”
“Tell me about that woman” he asked you with a neutral voice as if the whole situation was suited for such professional talk “Now you've detached yourself from the feelings she inspired you. Is she a suspect?”
“Definitely” though you kept your eyes focused back on the ceiling “She was - probably still is - putting on a friendly façade, though only aggressiveness was pervading. I felt… anger, annoyance and contempt. And those feelings only changed in intensity. Not in nature.”
“I see…” he rubbed his chin, frowning some more as he lost himself in conjectures “I've found something odd as well… Remember the copies of the blueprints we were given?”
“Yeah” you arched an interrogative brow “What about those?”
“Remember how the staff is bragging on their website about their splendid underground parking garage, despite being in the middle of a town?”
“Yeah…?” you frowned some more, couldn't he get straight to the point?
“They don't exist, the blueprints for the underground levels. I called a friend of mine, someone who works at the city hall, they never were given any plans for an underground parking lot.”
“There's a basement though…” you shifted in a more comfortable position so you could face him properly, that was more polite “The elevator goes there, stairs even…”
“There's a basement, obviously. Or else they wouldn't even mention it. But there must be more to it. So much more it'd look suspicious on blueprints.”
“A storage room?”
“I'm thinking something more like a secret route, you know, to hide all the comings and goings that come with re-ups.”
“Makes sense…” you sighed “And we didn't bring a car.”
“No, we didn't” his tone remained stern and professional “Don't worry, we'll find a way to go there without raising any suspicion.”
Silence fell back again. Heavy. Embarrassing. You didn't know what to say. You didn't even know what to do. You dared to glance at him again. His eyes were half-closed now. You were right: he was lacking sleep. Badly.
“Are you mad at me?” he whispered so low you barely caught it.
“What?” you said, surprised.
“Are you mad at me… because I didn't tell you… because I couldn't tell you… about the mission? I mean, when we were at the cat café…”
Your eyes widened. Okay, okay, but to apologize about that ? Come on, he couldn't be serious!
Stress. Fear. Expectation.
And there he was. Dead serious. Craving your forgiveness. Your forgiveness. And you were at complete loss. Because you didn’t know what he was expecting. Because you didn’t even know the reason why he was asking you such question. Was it because he liked you? (Oh, you wished!) Was it to clear any kind of misunderstanding for the sake of the mission? (Oh, you hoped not!) And you felt like all words were vain. Not enough. Flawed.
“Of course I'm not mad” and yet you managed to speak “In fact, it would have been worse if I had learnt it from you. Worse for the both of us.”
“Thank you” he said.
And you smiled. You were feeling weird. Confused. You wanted to yell and you weren’t sure if it was in frustration or in pain. As if he realized how bad you were feeling, he extended a hand to pat you on the head. Gently. Softly. Just like the previous time. Perhaps a little more tenderly. You relaxed. You were grateful too. For he induced the physical contact you had been yearning for. For he made you feel like you weren’t the only one at complete loss. You resisted the urge to hurl yourself in his arms. Because it would have been complicated, with him on the bed, with you in the bed. Because this thin sheet that were still between your two bodies felt like such a dangerous border to cross. And perhaps it felt the same for him. For he removed his hand and got up.
“Where are you going?” you whispered, your voice betraying a bit your disappointment at the loss of contact.
“Just to take a shower” he yawned again “We should stick to the schedule we came up with yesterday. It’d be suspicious if we didn’t and stayed in our room all day.”
“Especially since this woman overheard us.”
You rolled on your back and stared at the ceiling again. Losing yourself in your own thoughts and in this pure white ceiling. And when you heard the water starting to run, you caught yourself thinking about his (supposedly) beautiful naked body under the shower. You sighed. Yep, it would be a long, a very long mission.
Chapter 11: Begonia
“Aizawa” you shook him up gently “Aizawa, please wake up.”
You swallowed with difficulty. There was something unusual happening in the basement. The stress level on the whole hotel had risen up quickly, having you wake up in an ice cold sweat, trembling all over as you didn’t know why. And there really were a lot of people in the basement. Way too much this late at night. But god if you could at least stop shivering! If you could at least stop feeling this much fear!
“Aizawa!” you shook him harder.
“What?” he finally let out with an annoyed voice.
“There’s something going on.”
You closed your eyes and focused your quirk on the feelings in the basement. Good thing the second floor wasn’t too far away from the location. Yeah, you were positive. There were at least a dozen persons there. It was about time something happened. After four days waiting in vain. After four days playing the lovey-dovey couple in vain. After four days with Aizawa only allowing himself to get closer to you for the sake of the act. And not ever in private. You sighed. A dozen people. All frightened.
“Fourteen, no perhaps fifteen persons in the basement” you opened your eyes and glanced in his direction “I can’t tell for sure, they’re all feeling the same thing.”
Fear. Fear. Fear.
You heard the characteristic sound of sheets ruffled, of a zipper. He was getting up. The room was so dark you could barely see the shape of the different pieces of furniture. But you had to be discreet so you couldn’t really switch on the light. You heard Aizawa curse several times and it made you smile. And then the sound of a pencil scratching on paper.
“You must have caught them doing the re-up” he just stated and the second after the bed felt heavy again by your side “I’ve written down the day and hour just in case.”
“You don’t want to go and check?” you suggested.
“If they are this many it’s too dangerous to try anything and blow our cover” again the sound of sheets ruffled “It’s better to wait and go when you no longer feel anyone down there.”
It made sense. But for some reason, you were feeling bad. Probably because your quirk was still focused on those people who were feeling so much dread, with a pinch of stress and a tinge of emergency. That could explain your shaking. You forced yourself to take deep breaths. You were catching their bad feelings. Again. Damn, it really was happening all the time. Couldn’t you catch positive feelings for once? Love, joy, happiness? No? Really? You sighed again.
“Hey, you’re okay?” you suddenly felt a hand grabbed yours a bit firmly “Sorry” the hand travelled up to your forearm and squeezed you in a comforting gesture.
“I'm fine” you muttered with a trembling voice “They feel fear, that's all.”
“I can’t erase your quirk now” you felt him getting closer “Unless it's too much.”
“It’s not… not yet” but your voice quivered again “It’s bearable for now.”
You heard more confused sounds before you felt him throw an arm to pull you against him. In his arms. In his scent. You could feel the slight warmth of his breath against your temple and his long hair tickle your cheek. Damn, pretty close indeed. And he was in the bed this time. Not on the bed. In the bed. With you. Thank goodness, the room was too dark for him to catch how flushed your face was at this very moment. Your heart beat faster but strangely your body relaxed a little. The warmth was helping. A bit. Just enough not to crack at least. You could bear with the fear like that. You could bear with anything like that. Anything. You felt safe. Almost at peace if it weren’t for your quirk.
“Feeling any better?” Aizawa whispered.
“Yes” you sighed “It’s reassuring.”
He didn’t answer anything. You shifted a little, to be more at ease. You had hours to pass. Not that you minded, being in his arms like that but… You tensed a bit when his hand ended up in your hair, petting it. Softly. Gently. You tensed because such care surprised you. He hadn’t been getting close in private, not even once. So you tensed and he tensed too.
“Sorry” he whispered “Was that intrusive?”
“No, no” you quickly answered “It just surprised me.”
“You can come closer if you want to” he cleared his throat “If you need to.”
“Really?” you could have sworn you were blushing even harder now.
“Yeah, sure. If it can help you bear with the feelings. I know we’re asking you a lot for this mission.”
Oh, right. The mission. As professional as ever. As rational as ever. Even in a situation like this. Even when holding a woman this close. You sighed, dared to get a little closer. You wrapped your arms around him, gripped on his shirt. Partly because you were afraid, partly because, well, you were in his arms after all.
Fear. Emergency. Fear.
You wished you could feel what he was feeling. When he was holding you so close. When he was allowing you to hold him this close. It wouldn’t take you long to know. A few seconds. Just enough time to switch your quirk on him, to feel his feelings. And you would know. And you would be sure. That he didn’t have the slightest feeling for you. That he was just moved by the mission. You could do it. You wanted to do it. But after, once you knew, you would have to switch your quirk back on those persons in the basement. That would tire you. A lot. Too much when you had still several hours to stay up with your quirk focused. You sighed. Again.
“You okay?” he asked again.
So he wasn’t sleeping. You were almost positive he had fallen asleep. For the hand in your hair had stopped. For his breathing had become deep and regular.
“Yeah” you shifted your head again “It’s just heavy… the feelings…”
That wasn’t even a lie. You were afraid, so terribly afraid. So afraid you were this close to search aimlessly for his face. To search aimlessly for his lips. So afraid that hug was barely enough anymore. But you knew better. You knew the fear wasn’t even yours. So you closed your eyes and took deep breath after deep breath. Until the fear started to fade. To be less intense. No, to leave the building!
“They’re going” you said, pulling away from him “They’re leaving the building” you managed to sit on the bed, putting your still trembling hands on your chest “Soon there’ll be nobody, we can check the basement.”
“We can wait…”
“And miss the opportunity?” despite the dark you looked in his direction “No, I’ll be fine. We go and check, we gather clues and come back here again.”
“The mission is dangerous” you grabbed the sheets angrily “Come on, I don’t feel anyone in the basement anymore, we should go.”
Annoyance. Concern. Doubt.
Damn, now there was nobody you were feeling him back. And of course, if there was any positive feeling about you, it was long gone now. You fumbled around in the dark, searching for your clothes, your shoes and then for the door. He wasn’t seeing much either because he bumped into you as he tried to reach the door as well.
“Let’s go” he said and his voice was stern again.
Chapter 12: Blue violet
Blue violet: watchfulness
I'm moving to another town so if the chapters updates are more hectic than usual don't panic: I'm not abandoning this story, just packing and unpacking... I'm gonna try my best to keep it posted as usual tho
Aizawa opened and closed the door very carefully. He glanced left then right before pointing out the stairs. You took a deep breath. As deep as if you were about to take a plunge head first. In some way you were. A hotel at night is a whole different world. So silent. Almost peaceful. Almost. The doorway lights were slightly buzzing. You made sure to silence every footstep. You couldn’t be too careful. Lucky you… to have felt fear just before! Now you were working on an adrenaline rush and it kept you very focused. Too focused. The blowback… You shook your head. No! Not now! Now, you were focused.
Concern. Doubt. Hesitation.
But he wasn’t so sure about going downstairs. You weren’t either. It was all too perfect. As if staged to be the perfect trap. The perfect trap for you to step in. You looked at Aizawa and awkwardly smiled at him. To tell him you were okay. Despite it all. But when he smiled back, all you felt was more concern. Concern when you went down the stairs. Concern when you hit the basement. And the both of you froze before the dark red door separating you from the parking garage. As if just opening the door could trigger something dangerous.
“There’s nobody around, right?” he asked you with a voice that meant he already knew the answer.
“N-No” you stuttered “Underground I just feel… you.”
“Good, we can go in then.”
What was the point in telling you this? He was probably just trying to reassure himself. And perhaps you too a little bit. But you had caught so much fear and you were frightened to the core. So deep. You held out a shaking hand to reach for the doorknob. Such a shaking hand you had even issues to turn it probably to open the door. Such a simple gesture. That you were currently unable to do properly.
“Hey” you startled when he just put a hand on your shoulder “It’s okay. You’re safe.”
A hand that was gentle. A tone that was even more. And yet you had startled.
“You feel this much” he sighed “You should have told me, I could have erased it sooner.”
“Don’t” you whispered but your voice was loud enough to convey the emergency in you “I’ll be useless if you erase the feelings I’ve caught right now. I’m still standing only thanks to the adrenaline rush I’m experiencing right now” you took a deep breath “Believe me, it’s better this way.”
Concern. Hesitation. Resolve.
“But we can go to our room if it’s too much. No need to put you at risk like that.”
“And miss such opportunity?” you sounded almost angry “No, let’s go. It’s now or never.”
The mission. Come on, he couldn’t have forgotten about it. Not him, who had been indulging in so much proximity to fool everyone in this hotel. But the concern you were feeling, added to your fear… You just closed your eyes and slightly slapped yourself on the cheeks. No! Not now! You would have all the time in the world to dwell on what he might and might not feel later. Later. Now you just had to open the door. Which you did. It opened with a slight creak and it took several seconds for your eyes to adjust to dark.
Awareness. Resolve. Concentration.
And here they were, the emotions of a pro-hero in action. You stepped into the darkness and all you could see were vague shapes of cars. And the dim lights. A few more blinks and you were seeing a bit clearer. The room. You had to search for the weird room those dozen persons were in. You closed your eyes again and tried to remember where they stood compared to your room and the orientation of the bed. Damn, it was hard to focus in such condition!
“Don’t push yourself too hard.”
“Just tell me where you have felt them, I’ll do the math myself.”
“From the bed they were about two hundred yards away and a bit on the right.”
You heard him repeat your indications in a mumble as he rubbed his chin. You couldn’t be really sure but it seemed he was frowning. You were trying to think as well but… but in your head the numbers were getting mixed up with figments of where you were a few minutes before, with figments of Aizawa’s warmth, of his scent, of his…
“Here” a firm hand made you step off your train of thoughts “This way.”
Though he hadn’t let go of your hand. You followed him with a smile. You were so stupidly focused on his hand holding yours that you weren’t paying attention to when and where he was making you turn left. Or right. Which one was it again? You looked up and saw a small door, pale yellow this time. With the convenient sign ‘Authorized personnel only’. That could be it. If you had actually paid more attention, you could have been sure it was here.
“Sorry, I got confused and…” you started and it wasn’t really a lie.
“It’s okay” he glanced at you then at the door “Just a quick look and we’ll be fixed.”
He tried to open the door but, as one could assume in a situation like this, it was locked up. You were about to say anything but he was quicker. Using his strange grey scarf in a way you had never imagined. He slid it in the door’s groove and lock-picked it. Somehow. You didn’t have the time to be amazed though. You both swiftly got in and closed the door behind you.
Yeah, you shouldn’t lose focus either. But there was no immediate danger and it was hard to keep the adrenaline rush going. You fumbled into the dark, searching for the switch. This tiny room had no windows. It wasn’t adding to the risks if the lights were on. When they flickered, it hurt your eyes that had become used to darkness. You blinked several times. The room was quite simple. To tell the truth, it was awfully plain. White walls, white ceiling, white floor. No furniture. But a whole lot of boxes in the back.
You hesitated for a second but Aizawa didn’t. He quickly rushed to one box and opened it so easily you wondered how many times he had been involved in a situation like this. Your heart tightened. You still didn’t know him in the end. No matter how many times he had thrown his arms around you in those past few days.
“What is it?” you asked as you approached him with a beating heart.
You glanced in the box. White powder. Tightly wrapped up in transparent film. But still white powder. You were about to say something about the case but seeing Aizawa grab a big wrapping of the substance definitely stopped you. For a second only.
“What are you doing?”
“We can’t stay here, it’s dangerous. I’ll give it to Tsukauchi Naomasa, your colleague, the human lie detector. For analyses.”
“Okay, okay, okay” you passed a nervous hand in your hair “But if those villains actually realize someone took a package from them – and they will! – we’re gonna…”
You stopped. That feeling signature. That angry feeling signature. The fancy woman. And she was definitely coming in your direction.
Chapter 13: Orange Lily
Orange lily: hatred
I may not be available the rest of the week so have this early :3
You froze right on the spot. It was clear as day. The woman was walking in your direction . At a slow and steady pace but she surely was walking towards you. And the feelings coming from her were enough to make you understand why those people had been feeling this much fear.
Anger. Hatred. Greed.
She was dangerous. Utterly dangerous. The earth opened right under your feet. A huge tide of tremendous fear wiped you away. So dangerous… You swallowed your saliva with difficulty.
“She's coming” you finally managed to say after what felt like a lifetime.
Of course he wouldn't understand. Of course he wouldn't know. Of course he wouldn't feel. Like you were feeling right now. You took a deep breath and explained the whole situation. The woman. Approaching. The dangerous feelings. Intense. You could see his eyes widen and it added to your own fear.
You took a deep breath. As you could expect from a pro-hero. Quick. Determined. Without an ounce of hesitation. It reassured you. And then everything went fast. Aizawa swiftly closed the box he had just opened, put it under some others so the evidence of his stealing would be concealed for some time. He rearranged everything, as if nobody ever went in this room. It looked perfect but you didn’t really have the time to dwell on such things. You didn’t forget to switch off the light as you exited the room. You bit on your lower lip. Oh no, no, no, no! The lock had been fractured just before and none of you had a creation quirk or something and…
Greed. Hatred. Greed.
Damn, as if you had time to dwell on such things! You just made sure the door was properly closed, so nobody would suspect anything just by looking at it. You glanced at Aizawa and noticed the interrogative look on his face. You took a deep breath and tried to focus your quirk on the woman a little more. It was hard. You were tired, sleep-deprived, completely panicked. The last thing you wanted to do was feeling more of that woman.
There she was. You tried to do the math. Okay, she wasn’t that close yet. But you would have to be careful. You passed shaking hands on your face. Your legs was trembling, frozen, stuck to the ground. Okay, but if you actually wanted to escape, you had to start moving now .
“Is there something wrong?” Aizawa’s voice was almost a whisper.
“The woman is near” you put a trembling hand to your chest “We must hide but…” you bit on your lower lip “I’m frightened, I can’t move.”
He said nothing, looking at you from head to toe. You wanted to say something, you wanted to apologize. Though before you could say anything he swiftly lifted you up, carrying you in his arms. Bridal style. You would have liked it if you weren’t this panicked. You would have taken time to appreciate this slight pressure of his fingers, his scent, the shape of his body. But he was acting out of emergency. Because he couldn’t leave you here. And all you could do was being amazed at how quick and careful he could be at the same time, running around between the cars.
Wow, this one was so intense. No, not intense. Close! What? Close? No, it couldn’t be! Did you miscalculate? Probably. You forced yourself to take several deep breaths. You knew every second was counting but you couldn’t have Aizawa catch your fear. Someone had to function eventually. Especially if you couldn’t.
“We have to hide” you managed to whisper and you were surprised at how clear your sentence was.
He didn’t answer but stopped right on the spot. His head looked right and left, up and down, his eyes scanning for the perfect place to hide. There was none. It was just a parking garage. With no escape. Your heart beat faster. But he started to walk again, slower this time. Some corner was darker and he chose to hide there, between two huge cars. He never put you on the ground, he just squatted down and you swore he was holding you closer. You could feel his own heart beat. Terribly fast. Damn, if you managed to come out of this alive…
“Just tell me when she has walked past us.”
You nodded. None of you was saying anything. None of you was making the slightest move. Your panicked brain was starting to imagine the worst case scenario. That the woman’s quirk would allow her to find you. That you were just an impediment, making Aizawa unable to fight properly. That you…
Greed. Hatred. Greed.
You stopped breathing. Never had you felt it this close. You swore she had stopped and was looking for you. But you were wrong and the intense feelings starting to fade. Well, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise: with such strong feelings, she was bound to make mistakes. Mistakes as letting you escape. Or not even realizing you were here. Nothing in her feelings was saying she was thinking someone else could be here. But you chose not to talk all the same, just poking Aizawa slightly on the chest and nodding in his direction.
Shit. She should have hit the door by now. You didn’t mention the sudden change. Aizawa should keep being careful so she wouldn’t notice you. No need to had panic to panic.
Though he started to realize something was off. You had starting to tremble. But, thank goodness, the stairs were just here. He didn’t even put you down to open the door or climb up the stairs and you were feeling a little better now there was some distance between you and the woman’s feelings. You sighed in relief but the second after your eyes widened. You just had noticed a security camera on the ceiling. A security camera. Of course. How dumb of you not to have even consider there would be some!
“Aizawa” you tugged on his shirt “We have to…”
You stopped. Your gripped on the fabric harder. So hard your knuckles turned white. No, no, no, no. You couldn’t bear with that. You couldn’t bear with that when your quirk was still focused on her. No way! No way! No way! It felt so bad. Never something felt this bad!
You couldn’t. You just couldn’t. So you focused your quirk back on Aizawa. Fear. Resolve. Concern. Yes, those at least were bearable. Those at least were human. You swallowed your saliva.
“We have to go to the security room. The cameras…”
He didn’t ask you anything and walked fast to that direction. It didn’t take long. The security guard had fallen asleep, you got in the computer with extreme facility and just erased the files, not even bothering to create a loop or something now the woman knew someone broke in her secret storage room. You just have to leave no evidence it was you. You kept your quirk unfocused, just to sense danger coming. But all you could feel were people sleeping. And the murderous intent from below. You managed to walk back to your room on yourself. Aizawa fumbled with the keys, his hands were shaking and he almost slammed the door open then closed.
Now you were safe. The both of you.
Chapter 14: Red Carnation
Red Carnation: my heart aches for you
You felt it by the second the door closed on you. Relief. The anxiety leaving the both of you. You didn’t exactly need your quirk to perceive it. You were positive Aizawa was perceiving it as well. After such tension, it was only natural. Now you were safe… You had come out of it alive, you could barely believe it. You were still in the entrance, looking at each other from head to toes to make sure you were fine. You were still so close you just had to extend a hand to touch him. And the adrenaline leaving your body was making you feel kind of weird.
Relief. Confusion. Desire.
Your heart went crazy against your ribcage. Calm down, calm down. It was only normal after risking your life, of course he would feel something like that when you were that close. You knew better. And yet. And yet that one feeling you were perceiving in him was enough to set fire to your own desires you had held back for so long. For too long. You weren’t thinking straight, you couldn’t think straight. You roughly grabbed him by the collar and pulled him closer to you. Your lips crashed against each other, your teeth shocked and his tongue went directly for yours. Damn, this felt so good.
Desire. Confusion. Desire.
You knew you shouldn’t be doing that. You knew you shouldn’t be doing that with him in such situation. You knew it was just the adrenaline rush leaving your bodies, the stress of the mission, the proximity you were confronted with everyday and maybe a bit of attraction from when he had saved you. You knew it was nothing you were hoping for. No love, no fondness, no tenderness. Just utter desire. And yet. And yet, still kissing him, still holding onto his collar, you took unsteady steps backwards until you fell right on the bed, with him on top of you.
Desire. Desire. Desire.
You could feel nothing else. He was beautiful, even with this still sleep-deprived look on his face. It was early in the morning, the sun was rising and you didn’t need the light to see him. In this morning light, he really was beautiful. You bit on your lower lip. His hair raining down on you was tickling and so was his scruff indeed when he leaned down to kiss you again. You wandered your hands on his clothed chest. He was confused and insecure. He grabbed you once or twice a bit violently, to bring you closer, to feel more of you, to have you feel more of him. You moaned in the kiss, you even spread your legs and shamelessly bucked your hips into his. It wasn’t enough. You wanted those clothes off. You wanted him. You wanted him so bad it hurt.
Desire. Hesitation. Doubt.
But he was still insecure, no matter how much you were giving a positive response to all his touching. So you decided to go first, knowing he wouldn’t probably stroke your bare skin if you didn’t make a move yourself. Despite your own desire overwhelming you, you managed to slowly, gently put a hand under his shirt and started to travel up his back, taking time to feel his every muscle. You shivered. He might look disheveled but from what you were touching it was a whole different story under those clothes. You travelled your fingers up. And then…
Surprise. Shock. Realization.
And then nothing. He suddenly pushed you away, pulling back from you and your hand left his bare skin. What? You bashed your eyelids in surprise. What was happening? You didn’t like the look on his face and your breathing was turning erratic. No, no, no, no. He couldn’t do that! He couldn’t touch you like that and just…
“I’m sorry” he looked away in embarrassment “I can’t.”
Before you could completely grasp the meaning of his words, he got off you, off the bed and locked himself in the bathroom. Tears started to invade your eyes and you got up quickly. You were acting out of despair: you were tired, stressed, confused and frustrated. Too much happened too quick. You wanted to hurl yourself against that door, beg him not to leave you yearning like that. You were feeling abandoned. What was that? Why couldn’t he? You wanted him, he obviously wanted you. Why couldn’t he? Why couldn’t he? Why couldn’t he? But when your fists were about to bang on the door with rage, you felt it.
Confusion. Shame. Disgust.
Shame? Disgust? Because he almost slept with you? It hurt. It really hurt. You managed to go back into the bed weakly and wrapped yourself up completely in the bed sheets. You even put a pillow on your head, as if being hidden meant you were invisible to the whole world. And you cried. Oh you cried a lot. Shame and disgust. You couldn’t believe he was feeling shameful and disgusted just because he got close to you. So what did it mean? That you couldn’t have him, not out of love, not even out of desire? That was so unfair! Your thinking wasn’t making much sense and you started to be really tired from all that crying. You were on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion when the pillow got away from your hand. You turned around to see Aizawa. And tears invaded your eyes again.
“I…” you started.
“You’re blinded by frustration and fatigue” he calmly said as if he never wildly kissed you “You’ll understand tomorrow it was a bad idea.”
His voice was so calm you were about to explode. A bad idea? But you loved him, but you wanted him. Since you had laid your eyes on him, you hadn’t thought about anything else but him . And he was telling you this was a bad idea? What kind of sick joke was it?
“Am I that disgusting?”
That was incisive. You shouldn’t have said that. But your brain wasn’t in its best shape. And you were hurting too much. Being pushed away by the man you liked was too much for today. You should have never kissed him. You were stupid, oh so stupid. Of course he would be disgusted by you! You weren’t even pretty…
“What? No!” at least his indignation was genuine “Where did you get that stupid idea?”
“You…” you averted your eyes “You were feeling ashamed and disgusted, just right after you left me.”
“Really…” he sighed and handed you back your pillow “Don’t draw conclusions on suppositions, you should know that as an investigator” he grabbed his yellow sleeping bag that had been left by the bed “Go to sleep, you’ll see clearer tomorrow.”
You almost snatched the pillow away from his hand and rearranged the bed for the night. Because you had made a complete mess with the sheets. It reassured you a bit when you saw that, despite it all, he chose to sleep on the bed by your side. Perhaps he had told the truth then, perhaps he wasn’t disgusted by you. Perhaps he wasn’t ashamed because he had got so close to you. But he was turning his back on you and you felt like all the progress you had made those past days were completely destroyed.
He didn’t want you.
Now you were sure of that.
Chapter 15: Jonquil
Jonquil: desire for affection returned
Sorry I couldn't update last week :/
Btw I've also updated the tags (sorry)
You woke up and blinked several times. The room was bright. So bright you had to close your eyes again. You weren’t feeling so good. Terribly weird, to tell the truth. You moaned a bit and it all came back to you. Him. The kisses. The desire. Your two bodies entwined together. Your clumsy hands trying to go further. And how he pushed you away. You blushed and cursed yourself mentally. A fool, you had acted like a complete fool. You violently rolled on the other side, ready to apologize. Sleeping with a colleague during such kind of mission was a bad idea, nothing good could come out of it. You were ready to tell him that, you were ready to apologize for everything.
But Aizawa was nowhere to be found.
Your heart skipped a beat. You sat up on the bed, closed your eyes and spread your quirk to the entire hotel. He wasn’t here. You weren’t feeling him. Nowhere. You went a little further and expended it to the streets around the hotel. He wasn’t here either. You let go of your focus, panting. He was gone. He had left. You probably got him too confused, jumping on him like that, using his own confusion to satisfy your own desire for him.
You lied down again and wrapped yourself in the sheets. Your mind was going in every directions. Where did he go? Did it mean you’ll have to go on with the mission with someone else? No way, it’d be suspicious as hell. Did it mean the mission was over? So why were you left alone in that hotel room, on such dangerous ground?
Fatigue. Concern. Hurry.
You emerged from the sheets again. He hadn’t left you! He just had left the hotel for a little while. You sighed with relief and giggled nervously. You were stupid. Of course he wouldn’t leave you just like that. It would be too dangerous, you were in enemy territory. You rolled on your side again, unable to stay still. Your eyes caught his sleeping bag in a corner and you wondered how you managed not to see it before. Of course he wouldn’t go. You were so relieved you closed your eyes again, dragged back into some sweet comforting sleep after such panicked moment.
You heard the door open and close but you didn’t move, your mind was foggy, clouded. And even if you wanted to turn around and greet him, it felt like your will wasn’t enough to get your body to move. Or you were just so ashamed of yesterday’s behavior that you were finding yourself excuses not to face him. Yeah, that was probably something like that. But what was coming from him was utterly positive, a bit concerned. He was probably thinking you were still asleep for he passed a gentle hand in your hair and rearranged the sheets so they’d cover up better.
You smiled. Utterly positive indeed. You managed to glance behind your shoulder and look at him. So he wasn’t mad at you. So he was no longer ashamed and disgusted by your behavior. That was a good thing. Even if he was feeling shy and embarrassed being caught acting so cute around you.
“Sorry” he looked away and scratched the back of his head “I thought you were still sleeping.”
“I woke up a little while ago” you calmly said and you sat up on the bed again “You weren’t here.”
“I had an appointment with Tsuragamae Kenji, we couldn’t keep the drugs in here. He’s sending them in for analyses, we’ll know by the end of the day if it’s the same substance.”
“The chief of police?” your eyes widened “Why not Tsukauchi?”
“He wasn’t available” he sat down at the end of the bed “And it was an emergency. I mean… regarding of how you were feeling yesterday, the woman knows, right? This is why you erased the security files without creating a loop, isn’t it?”
“Sorry, I should have told you…”
“We didn’t have time, you acted well. Despite what you were feeling, you managed to think straight and take the right decisions. You protected us: she doesn’t know we are responsible for it.”
“How do you know?” you arched a brow.
“It’s been several hours by now. If she knew who robbed her, she wouldn’t have given them the chance of getting rid of the package. It’s worth a lot of money, it’s a terrible loss for her.”
You rubbed your arms. It made all perfect sense. Though you weren’t exactly reassured, not knowing what her quirk was, you were feeling like it wasn’t safe to talk this openly even in the bedroom. Perhaps she could read minds or some shit… But more importantly, you noticed he wasn’t even considering talking about the elephant in the room. Aka the sex you almost had. You sighed. You had to take the plunge if you didn’t want it getting between the two of you. And you didn’t. Not after you felt him stroke your hair this tenderly. Yeah, you were this hopeless.
“Aizawa…” you played with your fingers nervously “I want to apologize about yesterday…”
“It’s okay” he started “You were sleep-deprived, had felt a lot of negative feelings, got out of a deadly situation…” he took a deep breath and his embarrassment increased “And were feeling my own confusion and desire triggered by the situation, of course you would act like this. And it’s okay.”
Oh so he had thought this through. So he wasn’t mad at you. But he was still so rational, blaming the stress, the proximity induced by the mission, your own quirk. Why couldn’t he understand there was more behind yesterday’s attitude? Why couldn’t he understand you just wanted that kiss, you just wanted him on the top of you like that? How could he be so rational and yet not be able to see?
“And the shame and disgust?” you insisted as if to make him understand how much it mattered to you.
“That…” you noticed he was carefully avoiding your eyes “It was just how I felt about myself. I didn’t want to treat you like that.”
“Like what?” you insisted some more.
“Stress relief” for a second it seemed his voice quivered “You deserve better than that.”
Shyness. Confusion. Embarrassment.
How come he was acting so rational and yet telling you such sweet things? Damn, you wanted to talk about it to clear any kind of misunderstandings but it seemed to have made it only more complicated. You tried to find something to say, something to answer to that . But you couldn’t and when he patted you on the head, telling you not to beat yourself over it anymore it all felt like your brain froze. The man liked you… but not that much. Maybe as a friend. But not more. Well, it was your fault: you knew how this would end the very minute it started, didn’t you study such cases in class?
“I’m fine” you lied “Glad to know it didn’t make things awkward between us.”
Lies, lies, lies.
“Of course not, I knew such thing could happen when I accepted the mission.”
Come to think, you never actually learnt his true reasons for accepting the mission either. Your attempts to try to know him better were just a disaster in the end.
“So…” you ruffled your hair “What do you think we should do next?”
Your turn to act stubbornly rational now.
Chapter 16: Petunia
Petunia: Your presence soothes me
You drummed your fingers on the bar table before you nervously. You were alert, ready to focus on any feeling that would seem suspicious. Though you would have gladly appreciated if someone filled you in. How were you supposed to know what kind of emotions was feeling a person trying to buy drugs? You had to come to your own conclusions.
Anxiety. Fear. Eagerness.
Despair, emergency, if they were in need and experiencing withdrawal.
And you were alone, which wasn’t really helping with your own nervousness. Aizawa had this appointment with the chief of police, to talk about the analyses. And you had been left alone to find where the selling room was. At least he did tell you not to try anything before he had returned even if you had found the room. Well, so much for finding it so far… You didn’t even have spotted potential buyers. Perhaps it was still too early. But you were positive that kind of business could be run in broad daylight. They had to sell the product after all. And the previous investigation proved the sells were happening in this very hotel building.
Of course you wouldn’t even avoid her. You were in her hotel after all. Though you never actually understood why she hated you so much. You took a deep breath. You would have tried your best to ignore her and her always aggressive feelings if she didn’t put a hand on your table.
“You’re alone” she simply stated without a greeting “Where is that husband of yours?”
You didn’t like the way she said it, as if she was doubting the true nature of your bond with Aizawa. Crap, it didn’t smell good. Perhaps you never convinced her, hence her behavior. Crap, crap, crap. Think, think, think. You had to convince her one way or another. You hadn’t exactly forgotten how murderous intent felt. And you were ready to do pretty much anything not to feel it again. At least not to feel it directed towards you again.
“He had stuff to take care of” you slowly wrapped your hands around your almost emptied cup of coffee “Work stuff. He’s always so busy…”
Good thing you didn’t start with a lie. So whatever the quirk she had she couldn’t detect any sign of lie whatsoever.
“Even on your honeymoon?” she hissed “Men sure know how to be rude sometimes.”
You blinked several times, gripping harder on your cup. You had nothing to answer that so you just glanced at her. She really was beautiful and charming. She seemed pretty charismatic as well, a natural born leader. If you weren’t for your quirk, she probably would have seduced you in her own way, with all her nice and refined manners that were surely putting everyone at ease.
“I-It’s okay” you stammered “I know he’s working hard to make it work.”
Words you meant, you kept answering with words you meant. Since you didn’t know the nature of her quirk, it appeared as the best possible solution right now. You seemed completely defenseless next to her, her own feelings were so strong it was enough to throw you off balance. And the more you talked with her the harder it was to actually use your quirk. The overall feelings were confused, you couldn’t discern them clearly. You were abnormally tired, even if you had used your quirk a bit. You weren’t focused on anyone, so why couldn’t you tell what were the three more important feelings in the room?
“Are you enjoying your stay, at least?” she purred as if she was buying time.
It was harder and harder to talk as well. You started to suspect something. You stared at the coffee left in your cup. It blurred. It all blurred. Panic started to rise in your belly. You closed your eyes and put a hand to your forehead. Not that anything dangerous would happen, with all those witnesses around. Unless they were accomplices. Unless they…
“Ayumi” you heard Aizawa call in the distance and it took you several seconds to remember it was your code name “Sorry it took so long.”
“Hey, are you okay?” he added in a hurry.
“I just felt a bit dizzy” you whispered “I’m fine.”
It wasn’t even a lie. The cloudy sensation disappeared the moment he arrived. Now you were positive: it was her quirk. A second later and she could have succeeded in what she was trying to do. With your pure empathy, you were very receptive and therefore very vulnerable to any kind of mind-controlling quirk. Luckily for you, the woman just nodded in your direction before leaving.
Frustration. Anger. Frustration.
Damn. That was so close… And to think you didn’t even have your guard down! How powerful was she exactly? Well, powerful enough to be feared by her subordinates at least.
“You sure?” Aizawa asked, putting a comforting arm around your shoulders “Do you need fresh air?”
“No…” you said very low “But I could lay down for a minute.”
Fear. Anxiety. Concern.
Ah, of course. Not to mention he was so very careful when he took you back to the bedroom. He was about to help you lay down but you refused with a sign of your hand and just sat on the edge of the bed. You rubbed your face and eyes. Shit, you couldn’t get rid of that feeling. And you didn’t like it. You didn’t like it at all.
“What happened?” he insisted and you no longer needed your quirk to tell he was terribly anxious.
“The woman… she has a mind-controlling quirk. The more I talked to her, the less I was aware of my surroundings, of what I was saying or even of my own thoughts.”
“What did she do to you?”
“I don’t know. But I can’t stop feeling weird. Not myself. Like someone messed up with my mind. Which she probably…”
You couldn’t finish your sentence. He grabbed you violently by the shoulders. His eyes were red, his hair floating. He was trying to erase the lingering effects. You sadly smiled. It was useless. You had read the police files very closely. You remembered the persons interviewed had been all feeling weird. Lucid but not quite themselves. As if someone tempered with their thoughts. You were lucky none of your memories had been erased.
“Stop it” you calmly said as you put a hand on his chest “It’s no use.”
He obliged. His eyes and hair turned back to their beautiful usual black. Even if his face expression didn’t change much, yet you felt…
“If she played with your head…” he started.
“I remember everything” you cut him “I’m just thinking… If she is the memory-controller, her quirk must allow her to scan and erase memories. I guess she was trying to scan mine for actual proof of the robbery.”
“But your memories are compromising!” his hands on your shoulders gripped harder.
“She didn’t find anything” you reassured him “She was feeling so angry and frustrated she must have come back empty-handed.”
He sighed with obvious relief. So much relief he fell down on his knees, his head against your chest, his arms wrapped around your waist. He was holding you close. So close. And…
Relief. Fondness. Resolve.
“Good” he whispered “But from now on I won’t leave you alone. Not one second.”
Chapter 17: Acacia Blossom
Acacia blossom: concealed love
“Aizawa…” you said as you finally managed to snap out of it and put your hands on his back.
“I mean it. I won’t leave you a single second alone” his voice was so angry “Not until the mission is over…” he added more professionally.
Well, so much for trying to convince him otherwise. He wouldn’t even listen to what you’d have to say, to the pros of splitting up during some strategic moments of a mission, to you accepting the risks. That wasn’t much of a pro-hero holding you. More like a frightened man.
Anger. Sternness. Resolve.
A very frightened man.
“Aizawa…” you tried again, massaging his back firmly.
“I’ll protect you” he cut you “I’ll be here and I’ll protect you and you won’t have to worry about people messing up with your mind anymore.”
He really should stop saying stuff like that, he really should stop holding like that or you would, yes you would…
“It’s not your job” you let out by automatism, realizing you made a big mistake saying so.
“It is my job. I’m a pro-hero, what are heroes for if not protection? And this is exactly why I’m here for, why I was hired for” he paused a second “This is exactly why I accepted the mission, knowing my partner would be you.”
That was bad. Very bad. You wanted to cry. You wanted to yell you loved him. So much. How could you not? Sure, he saved your life, inducing that stupid crush. Sure, you didn’t know his past. But the rough emotions he was showing you, the things he was saying… But you were feeling him and his emotions were always so pure and beautiful. How were you supposed not to fall in love with him? How were you supposed to listen to reason? And yet…
“You only speak this way because you saved my life once” you answered coldly.
“I don’t care” he squeezed you tighter and you shivered “I’ll save your life again if needed. I’m a pro-hero.”
“Shut up!” you almost yelled.
But it was too late.
Fondness. Attachment. Tenderness.
But you had felt it. He was so close you didn’t need to have your quirk focused on him to be overwhelmed. How were you supposed to see reason? How were you supposed not to fall in love with him when you were feeling him falling in love with you? There was no pain, there was no doubt. You were literally feeling him growing fond of you. Crap. That wasn’t expected at all. You bit on your lower lip.
“I’m sorry” his voice sounded so distant, like in a dream “I’ll do so you won’t have to worry again, so you won’t have to be in such danger again.”
But you would be in such danger again! That was bound to happen during an undercover mission! What kind of fool would think he could keep you safe deep in enemy territory? What kind of hero would utter such nonsense?
The overwhelmed by his own feelings kind. Falling in love with you in a situation like this. You would have smirked at the irony if you didn’t know you were more likely to reveal your true selves undergoing such pressure. If you didn’t know you were more likely to reveal your true selves being so intimate all the time. You just smiled. Because you couldn’t do anything, because you couldn’t say anything. You were the one with an empathy quirk. And yet he was the one dealing with too much feelings. He was the one thinking danger would strike you by the second he’d look the other way.
“Aizawa…” you whispered, traveling your fingers through his long black locks “I’m not a damsel in distress waiting for the white knight to save me” you spoke very calmly “I don’t need a hero to protect me. I don’t want you to protect me.”
Yes, perfectly normal and understandable reactions. And oh boy, his arms bringing you closer, his hands clinging on you, the way he nuzzled your neck as if to prevent you from breaking free from his embrace… He wasn’t making things easier, not at all to say the least. But you had to tell him. Because if he kept being a hero, he would be guilt-trapped thinking he was responsible for your life and your well-being. Which he wasn’t. He would be guilt-trapped feeling wrong touching you, as if he were soiling the very being he had sworn to preserve. Which he weren’t. He didn’t have to be stuck acting like a hero. Not when he could be so much more. Not when he could indulge his own feelings. Not when he could indulge yours.
“What can I do if not protecting you?” he was at a loss, his voice quivered.
Well, actually you could think about a thing or not two but never would you dare to speak them openly. Heat rushed to your cheeks. Really, girl, now wasn’t exactly the time… Now was about bringing down that awkward tension that had been pervading since he saved you from that villain.
“Whatever you like.”
Surprise. Shame. Embarrassment.
Okay, okay, you didn’t mean that. Well, yes, you meant it but not like that . Not that full of innuendos. Because him too was thinking about a thing or two. And you were ready to bet they weren’t that different from yours. Really, silly, you could have said it otherwise. So much for a psychologist to kick the door open for him like that… Except you had been dying all that time to kick that door open. Except you fucking did mean that! You wanted to hide in a hole, very far away. So much for a psychologist to sound that desperate…
“Okay” his voice had become stern again and he pulled away to look at you in the eye “It means I can protect you if I want to then.”
You blinked several times. Sorry, what? Was he that stupid? His face was so unreadable as always and his feelings weren’t exactly helping you. A lot of confusion. And part of it was without a doubt yours.
“I’m joking” he added quickly, looking away.
“Really…” you sighed in relief “Don’t make a joke wearing such a serious face.”
“That’s my regular face.”
“Then wear a less serious regular face” you teased, poking him on the chest “Or at least a more readable one.”
He glanced at you and chuckled. You smiled back at him, feeling your heart melt in your chest. You didn’t need your quirk to see where this was going, you didn’t need your quirk to read the mood. It was clear as day, it was such a logical conclusion. The intense feelings, the almost confession, everything. Everything you did led to that very moment. His hand cupped your cheek and you shivered when his thumb stroked your skin gently. He was still hesitating. Of course, your words weren’t a magic formula that would free him from the hero’s guilt.
Hesitation. Doubt. Tenderness.
So you closed your eyes. As if to have him understand it was okay. As if to have him understand he could indeed do whatever he wanted. You felt his face draw closer to yours and you tensed in anticipation. Though he never dared to kiss you, though he just gave your cheek a peck.
Indeed your words weren’t a miracle spell. Indeed he would need more time.
But you were ready, oh so ready to wait.
Chapter 18: Monkshood
Monkshood: beware, a deadly foe is near
It was different. There was something different. You knew by the second you opened the hotel room. You frowned, unable to tell just by looking around. But something was different, you could feel it. Oh yeah, feel . That was the key since the beginning. Sometimes you were so used to feel other people’s feelings you were actually forgetting your quirk.
Hurry. Confusion. Irritation.
They were in a rush. And for some reason there were too many persons upstairs. A few days had passed since the delivery and never did you feel so many persons in the hotel. Though you were in the middle of a week and it wasn’t even an holiday. Odd. How many could they be? You clicked your tongue. No way you could count, their feelings were too confused, too different. They were selling. They were definitely selling the product. And they were in such a hurry.
“It’s a pretty lamp, isn’t it?”
Good you were too caught in your own thoughts to even startle when Aizawa put his hand on your back. Damn, you had been staring at the ceiling like a complete idiot! It was a reflex, to turn your head in the direction of where your quirk was focused but still… Good thing there was even a lamp there! And good thing Aizawa wasn’t slow-witted!
“Yeah” you finally glanced at the lamp, a sparkling glass chandelier “Very pretty.”
“Come” he took your hand and walked to the bar direction “Let’s have a drink, it’s still early.”
Fool! You should have gone directly to your room. But yeah, alas, he was right: it was early. 5pm. And since your dreadful encounters there, you had more or less avoided the bar which was, to say the least, a very poor strategy. You should indulge in it. At least for today. And, well, not changing location would help you locate the selling room better. You sat on a chair and ordered some juice. You wouldn’t drink any drop of alcohol. You had to keep your mind clear.
“Seiji…” you started, making the heavy liquid swirl around your glass, still feeling weird calling him by his code name “I think I have found where we could hold that surprise party we have been talking about.”
You couldn’t repress a smile. After all, you finally found it! After all, it was almost over, the pain, the dread, the anxiety of not finding anything. Just one call, the police, some heroes would intervene and it would be all over.
“Oh?” but Aizawa frowned, scrolling down his phone “For real?”
“Yeah…” you scratched your cheek nervously “There’s only one place where we could host those one hundred and four guests…”
You made sure to insist on the number. Come on, he wasn’t stupid! Of course he would understand you were meaning the room number! But he just scrolled down his phone some more, his face as unreadable as always. Damn, his act was really good. Was he putting this I-don’t-care façade in front of his students as well?
“Good…” he just said in a detached tone “Sorry, I really have to make this call. Can you wait a second?”
He was frowning again and this time you had perceived concern. There was more behind his question. He was basically asking you if you would be okay if he walked away for a few minutes. Because, yes, he had understood your code. And was about to trigger something pretty dangerous such as an intervention. If they had doubts, you would be the perfect target. But for only few minutes… You could hold back that woman’s quirk for few minutes. You had done it before. And now you knew exactly what to expect. You’d be okay for sure.
“Of course I can wait” you answered with a big bright smile.
Of course you would be okay. Of course nothing bad would happen to you. There were witnesses here.
You shook your head. Come on, they couldn’t buy everyone in the hotel… could they? You watched Aizawa leave the building and feel the panic rise in your belly. Okay, you had acted all confident and stuff but in fact you were almost shitting your pants. A natural-born hero you were, uh.
You startled. Damn, again. She was the reason why you were avoiding that bar and, seriously, did you really have to cross paths with her every time you were sitting here? Was she doubting your act that much? You didn’t have time to look for where she actually was. You didn’t have to, in fact. A slender white hand crowned with a shining big red jewel put a glass filled with some dark orange liquid on your table.
“Really” the lady sighed, feigning annoyance “You’re just like wind, my whole team couldn’t handle you” her tone was playful but also full of innuendos “Since the beginning, we wanted to offer you a drink, on the house, as a wedding gift” she spoke slowly, her eyelids half-closed “But you were always eluding us” she giggled “I’m starting to think you’re afraid of me!”
You answered with a nervous giggle and an awkward smile. So much for being convincing! Shoot! No way you’d drink that stuff anyway. That was probably alcohol to have you let your mental guard down. So she could mess with your memories again. As if you’d let her do so!
“I’m sorry” you managed to say gently “I didn’t mean to offend you or anything… I just don’t drink any alcohol, I didn’t want to appear rude…”
Ah! Deal with that now you manipulating bitch!
“I assumed so” her smile grew wider “This is why I had you made a soft drink” shoot, caught at your own game! “I would have offered your husband some as well but…” her tone had become almost a purr “As I can see, he’s nowhere to be found… again.”
There was no evidence of lying. At least not in her feelings. But she was probably so used to lie it didn’t mean anything. Crap, crap, crap! She was really a skilled manipulating bitch! On your first mission, you couldn’t exactly call yourself lucky!
“He’s very busy with work” you started, slowly wrapping your fingers around the glass “His boss has talked about a promotion, so you understand…”
You smiled and took a small sip off the straw, just not to appear rude. She hadn’t been lying: there was no alcohol in the drink. Just juices (orange, apricot, pineapple… something else you couldn’t tell) and syrup. The stuff was just a whole bunch of sugar but there was not a single drop of alcohol. You took a larger sip.
You blinked. Your head was spinning, fuzzy. Weird, you were paying attention though. You had your quirk focused on her, to know exactly when she’d use her own. And all you felt were growing self-confidence and satisfaction. And it wasn’t feeling the same. Now you just wanted to sleep. Pretty bad. Your eyelids were abnormally heavy, it required you all your strength to keep your eyes open. Half-open actually.
Condescendence. Contempt. Satisfaction.
You glanced at the drink. Fuck! How could you have been so reckless? You were the perfect target, why didn’t you just think she could have drugged you? She wasn’t exactly lacking stuff to do so. But your thoughts were confused and the whole world was turning to black.
Chapter 19: Gladiolus
Gladiolus: give me a break
You woke up lying down on something pretty hard. Your mind was fuzzy, cloudy. Exactly like after one of those parties where you tend to drink too much, to the point of oblivion. Except you hadn’t drunk a single drop. Except you hadn’t reached the point of oblivion. Not quite. You rubbed your eyes. It took you some time to put two and two together. Right, the woman! That fucking manipulating bitch! She had put something in your drink. Which you drank… How stupid of you! You sat up in a hurry. Which was a bad idea. It made your head spin and you wanted to throw up. Great.
“Rise and shine, sweetheart.”
Your nausea intensified. You started shivering and the knot in your stomach tightened. Fear. Tremendous fear. Yours and no one else’s. That voice. That feeling signature. Damn, of all scenarios you had to end up with the one where you were trapped with her . You moved your body gently. It was heavy but you didn’t seem hurt. You weren’t even restrained. God, she was that confident in her skills. That was bad. That was really bad.
You bit on your lower lip. Shit. You had told him you would be safe, he trusted you. Look at you, now. Not exactly safe. Your breathing started to get labored. Crap, crap, crap. Don’t give in to panic, you fool! But you were trapped. Trapped with the enemy!
“Great” the woman hissed as she leaned into her chair “Now she panics.”
You lied your eyes on her. She was still so beautiful in her strange cold beauty. Though her eyes were deadly. You dared to focus your quirk on her. You were already feeling terrible anyway, so if you could at least test the waters… She was pissed, annoyed, losing her patience. You stopped focusing. Okay, that was hopeless. You couldn’t try anything when she was feeling like that. That murderous intent you had felt before wasn’t exactly that far…
Boy, you didn’t like that. You tensed and tried to instinctively back up when you saw her get up. But your back and head hit the wall too quickly. There was no way you could escape. Not with her kneeling that close to you. Not with her petting your head with a tenderness betraying utter aggressiveness and the need to break you down. You took a deep breath.
“You need to calm down, sweetheart” she spoke in a very low and dangerous tone “I’m not done with your memories and I work faster when your mind is at ease. At ease, not panicked, do you hear me?” you nodded instinctively “Good girl” she cupped your cheek and a chill went down your spine “So think about something nice, something sweet, something relaxing. Can you do that for me?”
As if you could relax! As if you could relax in such situation! As if you could relax with her touching you in feigned caring! As if you could relax knowing that Aizawa was probably trying to find you, was probably worried sick about you! As if you could relax knowing that she would steal from you any information she could use against him! As if you could relax feeling some much conflicted feelings!
“I…” you stuttered “I c-can’t.”
“Sweetheart…” she dramatically sighed “I can’t drug you again, it’s too soon: it’ll mess with your brain chemistry, that’s not exactly good for retrieving memories, you know. Of course I could knock you out for a bit but I’m not really in for roughing my precious hostage, I’m pretty sure you understand.”
Annoyance. Anger. Murderous intent.
You closed your eyes not to cry. She wanted to hurt you, to knock you out, to beat the shit out of you, she was yearning for that. Good thing she knew a beaten hostage wasn’t good for negotiations, good thing she was smart. Good thing you weren’t the first one caught up in her mischiefs. Good thing she was a real villain with experience, good thing she made mistakes on others before. You bashed your eyelids, the nausea was so intense. You hated yourself right now. You hated your own thoughts. You wished you could disappear. You wished she could erase everything that has happened. You wished, you wished, you wished…
You wished it was all a nightmare, that you would wake up by his side, that he would tell you it was all okay. You wished that you were safe. Like you promised him.
“He won’t save you, you know that” she went on, utterly confident “He won’t come for you, you’re alone.”
Your fingers curled into fist. You clenched them so hard your knuckles were turning white. That was a lie, she was lying. Lying! You spread your quirk to the entire hotel. Of course he would be here, of course he would be here looking for you. You suddenly disappeared on him, he would never… Your eyes widened. But he did leave. But he did leave you here and abandoned you. You tried to reassure yourself, convince yourself he just went to fetch backup, he just went to plan a strategy with the police and other pro-heroes to come and rescue you. To come and arrest them.
But he was nowhere to be found. But he did leave. But he did leave you here alone, abandoned in the enemy’s nest.
“He’s not here, is he?” the woman softly rubbed her fingers to dry one of your tears “Your hero has gone, hasn’t he?”
“He’s not my hero” you managed to say between clenched teeth.
“Oh, sweetheart, I know!” she titled your head to look at you in the eye “Your memories of him are so vivid, I saw every one of them. Beautiful memories, so close to utter happiness” she moved her face closer to you again, her lips brushing against your ear “It’d be a shame to lose such beautiful memories, wouldn’t it?”
You tensed. Rage invaded you and you pushed her away in reflex. She was disgusting, you could no longer stand her so close to you, you could no longer stand her hand on your face, you could no longer stand the proximity. Not after such threat. You wanted to kill her. You wanted to hurt her so bad. As much as she was hurting you right now.
“Don’t you dare…” you started and you could feel your own murderous intent.
“Sweetie…” she purred “I don’t think you’re in position to negotiate. Either you let me scan that beautiful head of yours” you playfully poked your forehead “Or I’ll make sure you won’t even remember his name.”
Earth opened right beneath you. You were so close, oh so close, to throw a fist at her. To wipe that smirk off her charming face. But you didn’t. But you managed to refrain from doing so. You had the feeling that, by the time your fist would collide with her jaw, she would start erasing your memories. And you had so much you didn’t want to ever forget.
“I need a break” the woman said as she got up, rubbing her neck “Make sure to think about it, sweetheart. Only you can help yourself now.”
You waited, waited until she had left the room, until you had heard the door lock to let yourself go. To let yourself cry. To take your face in your hands in frustration and yell in distress. No, no, no. What were you supposed to do now? What were you supposed to do not to lose him forever?
Chapter 20: Gloxinia
Gloxinia: love at first sight
Your head was heavy. So heavy it was hard to keep your eyes open. But you had to. You were hearing such racket. You had to wake up. To get up. To run away. To run somewhere safe. You tried to rise on your arms but you fell right back on the floor with a loud thud. Come on! You had to go, you had to hide! Your heard voices yell names, shout orders in every direction.
You couldn’t hide now. You were so weak you couldn’t even feel fear. You were so weak you couldn’t even analyze the feelings coming from the others. You were so weak all you could truly feel were arms picking you up. And perceive a voice calling a name. Did it call your name? As if you could tell. You couldn’t even keep your eyes open.
And then nothing. And then oblivion.
You woke up in a startle. What was that? A nightmare? You had sat up in reflex and fear and a glance at your fists made you realize you were holding onto the white bed sheets as if your life was depending on it. White bed sheets? You took a deep breath. Okay, girl, don’t give in to panic. Analyze the situation. You loosened your grip. White bed sheets, white walls, smelled like pharmaceuticals, not to mention the characteristic beeping of a monitor.
You were in a hospital for sure. Which was a good thing. Hospitals were probably one of the safest places you could think of right now. You sighed with relief.
Worry. Concern. Exhaustion.
You turned your head in the feelings’ direction. Quickly. There was a man. Sleeping. In one of those hospital chairs that lied by your bed. Long black hair, all dressed in black, yellow goggles around his neck, a weird grey scarf in his lap. He was frowning, hadn’t shaved for the last couple of days and his arms were crossed on his chest. He looked really tired. And was utterly beautiful.
Your heart skipped a beat and you couldn’t help smiling fondly. Skipped a beat. Smiling fondly. Okay but as for putting a name on this pretty face… You rubbed your forehead, trying to look into your memory for a name or something. A memory. You were in a hospital bed, you had been pretty rough up, of course your head would be fuzzy and cloudy, of course it would take you some time to actually…
Wait. Wait a second. Your head…
Your eyes widened. You put both hands on your chest and forced yourself to breathe slowly. Wait a second. Wait a fucking second! You didn’t know. You didn’t know who he was. You couldn’t remember a thing. You tried and tried. Further and further. Nothing. The void. Not a single memory. Not of him. Not of anything. Your eyes were stinging, you bashed your eyelids as you started to cry. Breathe slowly, breathe deeply…
You couldn’t remember anything.
You didn’t even know who you were.
You wanted to yell but only confused sounds left your mouth. Your hands were gripping harder and harder on your hospital gown. Your knuckles were white and hurting and yet you kept gripping harder and harder and harder. The beeping went faster, louder. Your heart. Your heart was racing in your chest. You didn’t know who you were, you didn’t know who you were, you didn’t know…
“Hey” someone said and you felt a hand on your shoulder.
You startled, pushed the person away in reflex. The man. With such a worried look on his face. Crap. You averted your eyes, feeling guilty for some reason. You were shivering. Your hands went up to grab your shoulders. With trembling fingers.
“It’s okay” the man’s voice was soft despite it all “It’s okay, I’m here” he slowly and gently took your hands off your own body “It’s over, you’re safe. And I’m here.”
But you didn’t know who he was! How was it supposed to reassure you? It didn’t actually. The knot in your belly tightened, you felt like throwing up. Your breathing was labored, erratic and your head was spinning. You were no longer breathing right. You were just panicked. Lost.
“It’s okay” the man repeated as he gently took you in his arms and petted your hair “You’re alright. Nobody can hurt you anymore.”
Concern. Worry. Guilt.
At first, his embrace made you feel safe. You probably knew each other intimately for he went right for physical contact. And he knew how to handle you, how and where to touch you to ease your pain and panic. Petting your hair, rubbing your back. You nuzzled his neck, inhaled his scent deeply, threw your arms around him. You probably were very intimate. That could explain why such a simple thing as a hug could help you feel better. That could explain why you were yearning for a more intimate kind of physical contact. Like a kiss.
And then you felt guilty. Because you were obviously important to him. Because he was obviously important to you, if you were to trust your confused reactions. And you couldn’t remember a thing. You couldn’t remember any of the precious moments you must have been sharing. Guilt added to panic. And after feeling better you were now feeling worse.
“You can cry” he said with a tone he wanted stern “You can yell, you can let it all go.”
But his voice was quivering and he was struggling hard not to pay attention to the monitor beeping loud and erratically, mimicking the loud and erratic beats of your heart. Mimicking your pain, mimicking your panic. Mimicking your loss. So you clung onto him, cried and yelled and chocked on your own sobs. It felt like it lasted forever. It felt like it wasn’t making you feel any better. But at least his arms felt like a haven. Like heaven.
“Sir, thank you. But we’ll be taking her from here.”
A nurse. When did she come in? For how long had she been trying to get him away from you? No, no, no. She couldn’t do that. She couldn’t ask him to leave. If he went away from you you’d die! And he probably knew as much because he wasn’t loosening his grip either.
“Sir” the nurse repeated with a kind voice “She’s in shock, having a panic attack. We’ll ease her panic, we’ll help her relax. You can come back and see her as soon as she’s better. Promise.”
Though such words worked their magic. He whispered a soft okay and let go of you. And then… then hell unleashed. You couldn’t breathe and yet you were yelling at him. Despair. All you could feel was despair. And imminent death.
“Don’t go, don’t go, don’t go, don’t go!”
A second nurse came in, forced you to lay down onto the bed while the other was injecting something in your perfusion. No! Don’t do something like that! Don’t do something that can temper with my head again!
“Don’t go…” you said, weaker this time as you reached out a hand as if to catch him.
But he was already walking through that door. But he was already out of reach.
Pain. Guilt. Sadness.
And you could swear you had seen him cry.
“I’m sorry…” you said before it all turned to black again.
Chapter 21: White Lily
White lily: it's heavenly to be with you
You woke up. Again. Damn, all you could do was waking up. Or so it seemed. And your head was foggy again. Except this time you remembered. The panic attack. The nurses. The meds they gave you to force you to relax. You sighed. That was for the better. Your cheeks flushed. God, you truly had acted like a maniac… And also it was a good thing to know you had lost your memory from some shock. And weren’t losing your memory each time you were blacking out or something. That would have been truly problematic.
Relief. Fondness. Urge to protect.
You glanced into the feelings’ direction again. The man, the same man as before. He had put his arms onto the bed and was resting his head against his left one, sleeping. His right hand was holding yours, fingers entwined together and all. Your heart beat a little faster and you blushed again. You were pleased, warmth invading your belly and butterflies in your stomach. You were positive he was your boyfriend. Or his behavior was just inappropriate. But from what you were feeling…
You slowly shifted in a better position and gently held out your left hand to pet his hair. You were surprised at how soft it actually was, despite the overall disheveled look he was wearing. He seemed full of surprises.
“Hmm” he moaned, half-asleep “Feeling better?”
“Yes” you whispered, still playing with his long locks “Sorry I worried you.”
“Mmm ‘s okay” he said, letting go of your hand to rise and stretch a little “I assumed something like that would occur, after all that happened to you.”
All that happened to you. Right. More things lost to oblivion. You were dying to ask what was “all that happened to you” but you should think of a better way to tell him you weren’t remembering a thing. Not even him. And you couldn’t think of a soft way. Such dreadful news would feel like a bomb for someone so in love with you.
“I…” you started weakly.
“I’m sorry” he was quicker “It took me so long. I wanted the plan to be perfect” he cupped your cheek and his thumb rubbed against your skin gently “I wanted to retrieve you unhurt, unspoiled… whole.”
Whole. That you weren’t though. But he really should stop saying such sweet things (even if you weren’t understanding it all) or you wouldn’t have the guts to tell him your mind was but a big blank.
“Because if we had failed, she would have hurt you” he went on, faster “And I can’t live with such thought. Because…” Embarrassment. Hesitation. “Well, you already know that…”
“It doesn’t matter if I already know it or not” to your very surprise you spoke with a calm and very professional voice “Sometimes we just need to hear or say stuff we already know, because it matters.”
Well, where did such wisdom come from? For someone amnesiac you were quite resourceful!
“Please, don’t play the doctor Freud part with me” he giggled and oh lord never did he look so beautiful “I love you.”
Okay. Take it back. Take it fucking back! That’s the worst moment ever, you know. I don’t even know your name! It left you numb, as if his words were bombs. You were caught between utter happiness and genuine dread. You were happy to hear such words. You just wished he hadn’t said them right now . You felt like you were missing something truly important here. And it hurt, it hurt, it hurt.
“I love you” he repeated, this time adding a name to it, a name you assumed was yours.
“I…” you started, tears flooding your eyes.
But he was quicker. As always. Before you could even apologize or utter a word, he caught your lips with his. Just like that. Just as simply as that. It sent a pleasant thrill down your spine and for few minutes you forgot everything. You forgot you had turned amnesiac. You forgot you couldn’t even remember this man’s name. You could only feel love. His love for you. Your love for him. It was the only thing that actually mattered.
You shivered when he nibbled on your bottom lip. Asking for permission, how sweet. Permission you granted him without hesitation. His tongue went straight for yours and you closed your eyes. It felt good. So goddamn good. He was gentle, caring, affectionate. Your tongues took turns at each other and you ended up kissing him back passionately. Desperately. So desperately he grabbed your shoulders to roughly pull you into an embrace. So passionately you ruffled and messed his hair up completely. So intensely it left a trail of saliva between you two when you parted.
“I love you” he repeated between pants, resting his forehead against yours “So much.”
How could you say it now? How could you confess you weren’t remembering a thing? How could you deliberately hurt him after he kissed you like that? After you kissed him like that? You might not remember him but you knew for a fact you never wanted to see pain again in his gorgeous black eyes.
“I…” you pulled back a little to look at him “Listen, I…”
You couldn’t. It felt like a punch to your stomach. Your eyes widened, your vision blurred and you cried. You put both hands on your mouth to muffle any gross sound of pain. You cried. Still feeling like you were missing something really important.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” he called a name again, the same as before, yours indeed “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, what is…?”
Realization. Shock. Pain.
“Oh, yes of course” and then his voice sounded broken now “And to say I was finding it weird you never used my name and I didn’t think…” he let escape a nervous laughter “You don’t remember me, do you?”
The eyes he laid on you, oh those eyes. Eyes full of pain, oh lord why did this have to happen? You cried some more.
“I’m sorry” you quickly dried your tears “I don’t remember anything. I don’t know who I am!”
“What?” Shock. Pain. “I thought she would just erase… me” he took your hands in yours with extreme caution “But she erased your entire existence…” Disgust. Shame. Guilt. “And I’ve kissed you, I’m so…”
“In love” you cut him, cupping his cheek as you saw his eyes widen in surprise “I’ve let you. I’ve even kissed you back. You didn’t force anything onto me. Please you’re not…” you averted your eyes and blushed “You’re not disgusting, on the contrary” you blushed harder “My own feelings are confused, I feel so in love with you as well. After all, if we’re together, it must have left some traces deep inside and…”
“Together?” he smiled sadly and you felt pain, so much pain “But we’re not… together” he avoided your gaze and scratched the back of his head in embarrassment “That was… me, confessing to you. I suspected you felt the same towards me because you were always acting embarrassed and cute and all. I wanted to wait until the mission was over not to make things too awkward and all but…” he sighed “Never mind.”
Him confessing to you? A confession of love? Shit. That was the very important thing you were missing. Crap.
Whoever the she who erased your memory was, she must be gloating by now.
Chapter 22: Mistletoe
Mistletoe: to surmount difficulties
“I’m sorry” you took his hands gently “You have waited for so long, you had prepared yourself for this moment. And I just blew it” you took a deep breath not to cry “I’m sorry.”
What was that? What was that voice? What was that face? How could he act like it was nothing? Was he a natural at this or did it just come with the job? And how could he dare telling you it was fine when there was only one thing you could feel?
Pain. Pain. Pain.
“It’s on me, taking you for granted though I obviously was aware of what kind of villain took you” he glanced at you, he even smiled “It’s my fault, for not checking with you first. Really, it’s fine.”
Then you didn’t understand. It was as if your body moved on its own. You saw your hand rise up quickly. You heard the sound of a slap and felt the stinging that comes with it. You slapped him, you just slapped him. Because it hurt to hear such words coming from his mouth. It just hurt.
“Idiot!” you shouted “It’s not fine ! It’s sad! I’ve lost my memories, not my quirk! Don’t act like it’s all good when you’re in so much pain!” you dried your tears with the back of your hands “You can cry too.”
Why were you the only one crying? Why were you the only one crying when he was in so much more pain than you were? Why wasn’t he mourning the lost memories like you were? Why was he pretending to be strong?
“No, I can’t” he sighed “I’m a hero.”
But that wasn’t much of a hero who had confessed and kissed you. More like a man. Why couldn’t he understand he could just be a man around you? And why this conversation felt so much like a fucking déjà vu? Did you argue on such matters before?
“You don’t have to be.”
The words left your mouth, just like that. You would have refrained from letting them out if you knew what kind of storm it would trigger. You would have just shut your fucking mouth.
Rage. Despair. Dread.
“I have to be!” he was so angry you recoiled in reflex “I tried to act by your words, I tried to be less protective. The only moment I chose not to be a hero, to trust you, I lost you. You were kidnapped and I only found you days after, lying on the floor, confused, with that woman who obviously had her ways with you. And then I find out you lost your entire memory” he passed a nervous hand in his hair “What will you lose next time I stop being a hero around you? Your life?”
Fear. Pain. Dread.
His name. You wanted to call his name, just to call his name. But you still had no idea what it could be, but he still hadn’t told you. You just opened and closed your mouth erratically. What could you answer to that anyway? You were lacking so much to oppose concrete arguments. If only you could at least call his name…
“Aizawa” he whispered, as if he could read your mind (was it his quirk?) “That’s my name, Aizawa Shouta.”
“Shouta…” you repeated after him.
What a beautiful name. Of course it didn’t ring any bell, that was one of the good things with amnesia… You glanced at him only to see him blush. Jeez, he really was cute when he was embarrassed.
“Fuck…” he rubbed his forehead nervously “Don’t say my first name so casually, goddammit.”
Oh shit. True, you weren’t together. You were just some hero-colleagues of some sort that grew fond of each other during a mission. You probably never spoke his first name before. But he did speak yours when he confessed, didn’t he? Right, when he confessed . He probably expected the same from you. To call each other by your first names in a more intimate situation. Which you blew. Again.
“I’m sorry” you bowed deeply as an apology “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to disrespect you.”
“It’s fine” he said and this time he wasn’t lying “It’s nice, coming from you.”
You shouldn’t do it. You both knew you shouldn’t do it. Everything was too confused between your memory loss and the intense feelings you were experiencing. Nothing was stable, nothing was stern and the last logical thing would be doing that. And yet. Yet you kissed again. Because you didn’t know what else to do. Because you both needed it. Physical contact. Intimate physical contact.
And his mouth, his lips, his tongue, his hand on your face, his fingers in your hair…
His worry, his love, his tenderness, his anxiety to protect you…
You might not remember a thing but you were convinced you never felt so sure you were in love with him before.
“Shouta…” you whispered again when you parted.
“I told you not to say my first name so casually” he said in feigned annoyance, poking your nose.
But you loved him. And you called his first name because you couldn’t confess your love to him. Because he’d deny it using your amnesia, your quirk as a pretext. You knew it. And he probably understood. For he kissed you again. More deeply. More intimately. More tenderly. As if to prove himself you wouldn’t disappear on him. As if to prove himself you wouldn’t vanish by the time he’d look the other way. And that too felt like a déjà vu.
“It’s gonna be okay” he whispered in your ear as he held you closer “It’s just a matter of time, I’ll retrieve those lost memories for you, you’ll see.”
“Be careful” you answered with obvious concern in your voice “About making promises you can’t keep.”
He should know better, he who had been hurt by a promise you hadn’t been able to keep. What was it again, the promise to stay safe? Had you been so caught in your love for him or were you just plain stupid to make such promise in the first place? Who can remain completely safe on a mission? Jeez, what an idiot!
“I don’t make promises I can’t keep” he pulled back to look at you in the eye “Your memories can be retrieved, I know this for a fact.”
“How?” your heart started to beat with expectation.
“That woman’s previous victims” he calmly said, using a professional tone “They all have retrieved their own memories. It more or less occurred by the time you might have lost your own so I guess…”
“There’s a limit to how much memories she can erase at a time” you cut him.
“I don’t think they’re erased in the first place. I think they’re just kept hidden, unconscious if you prefer. I mean, if they reappear that easily…”
That made sense. That could explain why you had felt attracted to Aizawa by the second you had lied your eyes on him. If you truly were amnesiac you would have lost your feelings alongside your memories. Like in one of those shock-induced amnesias which are but a way for the mind to protect itself. If his theory was right… There were several ways to search for subconscious memories, like hypnosis etc. Wait, how did you even know that? Were you a psychiatrist or something? Well, he did call you doctor Freud as a joke, right?
“Okay” you smiled at him “Let’s just try then.”
Chapter 23: Moss
Moss: maternal love
You repressed a yawn. It was useless. All those hypnosis sessions were useless. You weren’t retrieving any of your lost memories. Not even a stupid detail. Not even something that could give you hope. Of course it was useless. Your amnesia was the result of someone’s quirk after all, not of some psychological shock. Aizawa had even tried his quirk on you, that erasure-thing. It had been as useless, you weren’t the caster. It only had made you stop feeling what everyone around you was feeling and that had been pretty relaxing per se. For the few seconds it lasted.
His long black hair floating and his red eyes were also fascinating. And it helped you understand why he always had those weirdly shaped yellow goggles hanging around his neck.
At last the therapist put an end to today’s session and you thanked him for his good work, bowing. You did tell them it was useless but they were insisting all the same. You were really responsive to hypnosis, there was no way… Except you could feel in your guts that you were going nowhere. Or maybe it was your own intuition as a used-to-be psychologist working with the police.
“Miss” the nurse gently said.
Damn you weren’t used to that name, even if it was yours. Even if you knew it was yours. It just didn’t feel like it.
“You have visitors.”
“Okay, thank you.”
You were positive it was him. Though if you had paid attention you would have noticed she used a plural. If you hadn’t been so lost in your own thoughts, trying to find another way to retrieve your memories, you would have had the time to brace yourself for the emotional shock. For it occurred right when you opened the door.
Relief. Happiness. Love.
A man and a woman. Who stood up by the second you stepped in. With tears in their eyes. The rational part of you informed you they were probably your mom and dad. But your heart. Your heart was so confused. You wanted to yell. Why did you have to meet with strangers? But of course your parents would want to see you!
“Honey, are you okay? You look kinda pale.”
“Baby, it’s us.”
But I don’t remember you! I don’t remember you! I don’t remember you! I don’t…
Don’t expect things from me like that! Don’t expect me to recognize you when I don’t even recognize my own reflection! Don’t expect me to…
Expectation. Eagerness. Hope.
“Stop feeling” you yelled, taking your head in your hands “Stop feeling that! I don’t know… I don’t know…”
Panic started to rise in your belly. Fuck, not now! Why was it always happening? It had been the same yesterday, when you had looked at yourself in the mirror. Why the lack of memory was triggering such panic attacks? They were gentle though, helping you get to the bed, helping you with that stupid perfusion you had to carry everywhere with you, trying to help you relax. Even if…
Disappointment. Pain. Disappointment.
Even if it just hurt. You wished they knew. You wished they knew how much it was hurting you. They were still talking, evoking vivid memories, details so you would remember. And still the expectation, still the hope, still the eagerness. And also still the disappointment lurking behind. Go away! Go away! Go away!
“Shouta…” you whispered, rubbing your arms “I want to see Shouta.”
“Who is that, honey? A nurse? A doctor?”
No, mom. Not a nurse. Not a doctor. Just the one person that doesn’t feel any kind of expectation around me.
“Shouta” you repeated “I want Shouta” Disappointment. Pain. “Please don’t feel that!” you yelled again “I’m sorry I don’t remember but please stop feeling that, it hurts!” but your words were hurting your parents, and your parents’ pain was hurting you “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”
You were making such a racket. When the door slammed open you cried out Aizawa’s first name again. But of course it wasn’t him. Just the doctor that had been taking care of you so far. Where was he? Where was Shouta?
Anger. Resolve. Hurry.
“What are you doing here?” the doctor shouted in your parents’ direction “I told you on the phone it’d be too much of a shock for her, I told you what happened when she saw herself in the mirror, goddammit! Nurse!”
“But she is our daughter!”
“And she’s my patient, and your presence here is just worsening her condition. I explained it to you clearly: she has been rescued from psychological torture and has lost her memory. You were warned the last thing she needs is any kind of shock and yet you came. Nurse!” he shouted again and his stress level rose up quickly “Can you get Eraserhead on the phone?”
“His phone is off, I’m trying to have UA… Yes? Is this UA high school?” she went further away and you could no longer hear her.
Shouta… where are you?
“Psychological torture?” Horror. Shock. “What happened to her?”
“That’s sensitive and classified, sir” his stress level rose up some more when he tested your pulse “Shit, we’re stressing her even more, I’ll have to…” he pulled a syringe out of his pocket.
A syringe. Oh no no no no no no no no! Not again! Again? What? You tried to breathe but you were just wheezing, gasping for air. Shouta!
“Don’t…” it was amazing how loud you could still yell though “Don’t drug me! I’ll do whatever you want! Don’t drug me…”
Horror. Shock. Panic.
Mom, dad, whoever you are… I’m so sorry.
“Eraserhead is on his way” the nurse said between pants.
“Good” the doctor’s stress level went down a bit “Hold her for me please, I’ll give her an anxiolytic or her heart won’t keep up with such anxiety.”
Everything went fast. You yelled some more but the nurse was a strong woman and you couldn’t move when the doctor emptied his syringe in your perfusion. Why? Why were you so powerless? And why were you so afraid?
“It’s not drug” the man sighed with relief, putting the monitor’s captor back on your finger “It’s medicine, to help you relax. Like yesterday, remember? You won’t sleep, just relax” his voice was so calm despite his own anxiety “Like yesterday. Everything went fine yesterday, didn’t it?”
You nodded. He stared at the monitor, at the fast beeping of your heart. You could almost hear him beg it to slow down. The tension disappeared when it reached a normal pace, which helped you relax even more. But not completely.
Shock. Numbness. Panic.
Your parents. So they came just to see their daughter in such a sorry state. Your eyelids were heavy. So that doctor did lie to you. He did drug you. Like yesterday. And like yesterday you would fall into a dreamless slumber. And your memories…
“Shouta…” you weakly called.
Did the nurse lie too when she said he was on his way? As if you could care now. Your head was too foggy to care. All you could catch now were words that made no sense.
“I wanted you not to come to spare you such sight as well.”
“But… what happened to my little girl?”
“Like I said, ma’am, it’s sensitive and classified. And, since she lost her memories, part of the investigation is merely assumptions so far. The culprit never told anyone what happened during those five days.”
Oh yeah she was…
Chapter 24: Myosotis
Myosotis: don't forget me, memories
The ceiling was white. The ceiling was white and the room was quiet. The whole floor was quiet from what you could tell (feel). You sighed. Really, you truly had behaved like a maniac… again. You were trying to see the positive side of such panic attacks. Like how much it proved you had strong trauma buried within you. And not erased. Therefore how much it corroborated Aizawa’s theory. Aizawa… Speaking of which, you had called for him, remember? You passed a hand on your face as if to nullify your own embarrassment. You had called for him so desperately you wished you could hide somewhere.
And in front of your parents (or at least in front of whom you assumed to be your parents) to say the least.
Oh right your parents. You had to apologize. Your attitude had been pretty rude. And hurtful. You straightened up, looked around. Perhaps they still were in the hospital, you didn’t actually catch their feelings’ signatures. Too bad. You noticed someone had put flowers on the bed table. You were positive they weren’t there before you collapsed. You would have noticed them for sure, after all…
A myosotis bouquet.
Who left that? Your parents? No, you would have noticed them sooner. Some nurse? But their meaning… Aizawa? But why myosotis then? You didn’t like it. You didn’t like those flowers. Especially not now.
“Oh you’re up already.”
That voice, that feeling’s signature. That face. That beautiful even if worried face. You couldn’t help smiling. So he did come. So the nurse did call him. He sat right on the bed. You blushed. Did someone tell him, about you crying out his first name? Oh god, you hoped not.
“Are you okay?” he asked with concern.
“Yeah, I had another panic attack. Sorry I had them call for you, it was really nothing, they could handle me. Sorry they had to bother you for something like that.”
“It’s not nothing” he tilted your chin to look into your eyes “Damn, he was right, you’re not even groggy.”
Apprehension. Concern. Fear.
“What?” you asked.
“I was with Doctor Akase, he just told me the anxiolytics weren’t enough anymore. He was right if you’re up already.”
“Well, it’s nothing. He just has to increase the dosage a bit.”
“He already is increasing it. And it’s less and less working. Do you know what this means?”
You put a hand to your chest. You didn’t like where this conversation was going either. And you were feeling slightly nauseous. Not knowing if it was coming from Aizawa or yourself. Perhaps a little bit of both.
“Acclimatization” you rubbed your forehead “But… how?”
You weren’t a drug addict. First, you had no sign of withdrawal of any kind. Second, well, remember how you reacted towards that doctor’s syringe? Acclimatization? That just made no sense.
Oh nice, you too! Great, it just wasn’t your day. After all, someone found pretty funny to put forget-me-nots by your bed! Ah!
“When we retrieved you” his voice was trembling “There was drug in your system. From the evidence we found in the room it seemed to have been anxiolytics. Pretty strong anxiolytics.”
Your eyes widened with fear. Who did that? Who the fuck did that to you? Anxiolytics? To keep you quiet? Or to prevent you from escaping those panic attacks in the future? That woman , as Aizawa kept calling her, did she think it all through? Such culprit was… Wait, wait, wait. Culprit. You had realized something about her before blacking out. A great thing, those drug-induced sleeps, they make you forget everything you were thinking of just before. Nice, really nice. Another thing lost to oblivion.
“Cool. What’s the next surprise?” your voice was so cold “You’re gonna tell me I’ve been raped by her every subordinates or what?”
“What? No! You haven’t been hurt physically. No evidence of wounds… in any kind” how could his remain so calm? “But you obviously went through psychological torture… or so we assume.”
“You were the only witness. The woman never said anything about what happened during those five days.”
That sentence felt familiar though.
“And when were you planning on telling me?”
“With all those panic attacks? How were we… how was I supposed to tell you something this heavy?”
Love. Urge to protect.
Please, don’t… not now
“You’re going through so much already, I didn’t know how you would take such dreadful news…”
Love. Love. Love.
“I’m taking it well, apparently.”
As if you knew already… somehow. And what were those feelings? Why wasn’t there any kind of anger or fear? Why his emotions were just pure, unconditional love? As if it was helping you deal with the situation!
“It doesn’t matter” he calmly said, running his fingers through your hair “What happened to you or how you’re taking it, it doesn’t matter to me. Because I love you.”
That was nice. That was actually pretty nice. Accepting you, whatever your wounds might be. It made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You even smiled. And yet…
“What are you gonna do then?” you were more and more incisive “Nurse me?”
“Well, I could do so…”
Ah that calm tone was annoying! That unreadable face was too! Did it get on your nerves before? You closed your eyes. Not because you were annoyed. But because you tried to keep the thought of him dressed in a nurse attire at bay. You bit on your lower lip. That stupid wild brain of yours, it was the worst! Good thing you were the one with an empathy quirk, good thing you were the one with an empathy quirk…
“Idiot!” you shouted, more embarrassed by your own thoughts than by his words.
“I’m serious” he went on, taking your hand this time, entwining your fingers together “Dr. Akase said you could use some time outside the hospital, with supervision of course. You know, with your quirk, a hospital isn’t the best environment so I offered to get you to… well, I would say to a familiar place but… anyway, I meant to take you to your place for a couple of days. And he’s okay. He wants a detailed report, of course, but I think…”
“My place?” damn, true you had something like that as well.
“Well, a flat is a controlled space and you could find back some habits, moving around in a place you have known before.”
Wait, wait, wait. First, he knew where you lived (or he just checked with your boss, option number two). Second, he was offering to share intimacy for two days. Whereas you couldn’t refrain from physical contact when you were seeing each other. Wild fantasies, take two. Motor, action. Damnit, your cheeks were so hot now, nice, very nice indeed. And you probably had only one bedroom, so one bed and… You wanted to yell. For real.
“Intimacy…” you started, trying to hide your embarrassment.
“We…” he blushed as well all of a sudden “It’s okay, I’ll take the couch or whatever” he was speaking so fast now, it was cute “I’ve my sleeping bag anyway, I can sleep anywhere, I…”
“It’s okay, I…” you giggled.
“I won’t do anything!” he firmly said despite his feelings telling he was yearning for the exact opposite.
And so were you. You pinched the bridge of your nose. There was nothing right about today for sure.
“It’s okay… I trust you.”
Chapter 25: Flax
Flax: domestic symbol
Yes, you were ready. Actually you had waited for the week to end just for this. Just to see the place you lived in. Talk about a paradox, a man whom you couldn’t remember offering you a tour of your own flat. You tensed in expectation. That stupid fucking expectation. Even yourself had some… towards your own self. It is quirk-induced, dummy. Seeing your place won’t change a thing. You were getting ready for some disappointment instead.
“That’s not funny!” you turned your head to shout at him.
To tell the truth you were terrified. What if your place was a mess? What if you couldn’t keep your home proper? What if there was something… let’s say something inappropriate in plain sight in your bedroom? What if…?
“It is” he giggled and god your heart melted “You’re so cute. Don’t worry, your place is safe” he added in a more serious tone “A safe, controlled space.”
And then he opened the door. And then… well, then nothing. Just a flat. A three-room flat. Living room, study, bedroom. Kitchen and bathroom. The toilets were separated. The decorations were sober and yet revealed subtly your sense of originality. It was tidy. Not control-freak tidy, regular tidy. Good. No surprise. Your bedroom was safe as well: the bed was made, your clothes properly folded up in your wardroom. And, thank Lord, nothing inappropriate in plain sight. Ah, and you had the luxury of a bathtub as well! But it was all as you expected it to be: triggering nothing.
“I’ll make you some tea.”
And the way Aizawa was acting was a little strange. As if…
“You’ve been here before” you stated as you leaned against the kitchen doorframe.
“Yes, once” he answered as he opened the cupboards, looking for a teapot “For entirely professional purposes.”
If only he knew it wasn’t actually helping when he was saying that!
“Only once?” you arched a surprised brow “You seemed somehow familiar with the place for a person who only went there once.”
“Well, that…” Embarrassment. Guilt. “Because I’m a hero I usually make sure to map places I’m in. Sorry, it’s a bad habit.”
“Ah…” you blushed “It means you know my place better than I, funny…”
“Sorry, does it feel weird?”
Oh you stupid hero, turn off that guilt of yours for a bit at least. Wait, guilt? Oh yeah, probably a reference to the savior’s guilt, something you must have learnt during your studies. Something you actually remembered. Vaguely.
“A bit” you confessed “But I’m amnesiac so you know me better than I do, the whole situation is pretty weird and awkward in itself.”
“I see…” his voice lingered a bit as he let escape a soft sound of approval: he had finally found some teapot “Should I have picked another place? Something less disappointing?”
“It’s fine” you smiled and took a seat at the table “I’ve to make my own life mine again, that’s all.”
Then he completely changed the subject. He talked about himself, his line of work, his job as a teacher, some funny stories about his students, the promising elements and the natural-born heroes he could already see blooming. His face was completely lit up, it was such a beautiful view. You were staring for sure. Perhaps too much. Well, he didn’t seem to mind. And you could say he had genuine pleasure in telling you all of this. You didn’t even need your quirk or any kind of proof. It was so obvious.
Yours. His. Both. Exactly on the same line. Nobody could understand how it felt to have your feelings in perfect symbiosis with someone else. You didn’t know if you had an experience of the sort before. But right now… right now, it felt so good. Despite your amnesia, despite your dread, despite your panic attacks, you were strangely feeling whole. That was so powerful. And perhaps it was the true power of your quirk, that symbiosis making you feel something close to utter…
Once the tea break was over, you decided to take a look into your own stuff. It was still early in the afternoon. And you wanted to know a bit more about yourself. About what you could and couldn’t remember. To draw a proper line. As you thought, it occurred you could remember all the stuff you had learnt in class: all the psychobabble scribbled here and there on notebooks didn’t sound much like babble . More like a complex and precise language to apprehend the human mind.
But the family album only showed pictures of strangers. And you couldn’t recall your favorite color. You glanced at Aizawa: you still had a long way to go.
“That’s enough” he calmly said as he took the album from your hands “Just try to relax, okay?”
You rubbed the back of your neck. Relax, sure. You frowned. There was actually something you wanted to do, something you wanted to do with him. If you could just submit the idea without blushing it would be better. You took a deep breath. Hide your shame, hide your embarrassment. It’s only natural to want something like this. Especially when you’re feeling like this. When he’s feeling like this.
“Shouta…” saying his given name had become so natural, almost (would you dare to say it?) domestic “Let’s take a bath together.”
Good, you had managed to say it without stuttering, without feeling like your entire face was on fire. His, on the other hand… A tomato would look pale compared to his, actually.
Embarrassment. Shame. Confusion.
“Is it too early?” you added quickly, averting your eyes to avoid further awkwardness “Perhaps it is, after all what happened…”
And with all that you didn’t know, with all that you didn’t remember, taking the things to the upper level was somehow risky. But you never spoke those words. But you never spoke that thought. And would do whatever you could to go past it. You were both better and stronger than that. You wanted to believe you were both better and stronger than that fear.
“Ahem, no, it’s fine” he pinched the bridge of his nose “Just unexpected.”
“It’s okay if you don’t want to” you played nervously with your hair “Or if you’re too uncomfortable with the idea.”
“Told you it’s fine” he grabbed your hand, a bit too firmly, ah insecurity… “It’s just… I’m a hero. As such I don’t always privilege self-protection, especially when there are civilians involved. And my body… it’s covered with scars. Not that I think you would be repulsed or anything. But what lies behind scars is…”
“Scars are an incarnation of the danger you’re facing everyday as a hero, a danger that means potential death” you squeezed his hand tenderly “And you’re afraid to have me see such danger on you because I already have panic attacks…”
“I knew you would do this” he chuckled “Anticipating my own words. Yes, you’re right. I wonder if you should see that.”
“No. You wonder if you should show me that” you smiled softly “You’re afraid the sweet comforting sight of you would turn into something triggering. And of course I can’t promise it won’t. So if you can’t bear with such potential burden, let’s just wait a bit.”
“Mmmm” he flashed you a grin wider than Totoro’s “Maybe if you stop the psychoanalysis we can take that bath then.”
Chapter 26: Stock
Stock: You'll always be beautiful to me
He hadn’t been lying though. His body was covered in scars. Especially his arms. The undressing part had been pretty awkward with the both of you not daring to take a look and yet the only thing you wanted to do was to embrace such sight. You had been quicker than him to get rid of your embarrassment to look at his (perfect) body. And since you couldn’t remember shit, it was pretty much the first man you were seeing naked. In a way.
Embarrassment. Awkwardness. Shame.
“They don’t mean danger. They’re not a blow you couldn’t avoid” you calmly said, travelling your fingers alongside a scar on his left forearm “They’re a reminder, of every civilian you protected. They’re proof you’re a hero, proof you saved lives.”
“Really” he clicked his tongue “What did I say about psychoanalysis?”
“That’s not the therapist talking” you confessed “Just me. That’s how I see them.”
And you hadn’t been lying. Well, to be completely true, you were able to utter such words only because there was no scar that betrayed a potential fatal wound. They were scars he had received from protecting himself or someone else. Nothing that had been life-threatening. This was the only reason why you could be so at ease looking at them.
Washing each other’s hair and back had been pretty awkward as well. Even if you liked taking care of his long undisciplined hair. Even if his callous hands on your back made you shiver. You both only felt less self-conscious when you stepped into the tub. As if the hot water was enough of a veil to cover your bodies. You were facing each other, your legs entwined together. There wasn’t much room, said-tub turned out to be pretty small. Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea after all. As if you could have a casual conversation in a situation like that. So you kept your eyes focused on your fingernails, playing with the ring on your left hand.
A wedding ring. You had no idea what that thing was doing around your finger. You never dared to ask, afraid of what the answer could be. And nobody ever mentioned it.
“You’re still wearing it” he gently took your hand and played with your fingers “It’s a fake. That mission was an undercover one, we pretended to be just married.”
“Pretending…” you looked at your entwined fingers dreamily “Is it how we fell for each other?”
“I…” oh dear those blushing cheeks “It got us closer for sure, sharing such intimacy even if it wasn’t real. But I think there was something budding between us before. I… Well, I can’t tell what you were thinking at that time, we were too embarrassed to have deep conversations but I know that I accepted the mission because I couldn’t stand the sight of you getting this close with a hero colleague…” he smiled “I made it sound noble, like I needed to protect you and such. Which I did. But to tell the truth I was mostly jealous.”
“Insecure” you corrected “I wouldn’t call that jealousy.”
“Whatever, doctor” he grinned at you.
“Hey” you playfully splashed water in his direction “Jokes aside, I must have been truly desperate to accept you as my partner even if I was feeling such vibes coming from you.”
“It really was complicated” he scratched his cheek “I saved you from a villain, this is how we met. And since then we had that… weird awkward attraction. You said back then it was a common thing between a hero and a victim. I guess it got us confused a bit, unable to see there was more behind that reaction.”
“No way” you laughed nervously “Allawah syndrome and fake relationship tropes. Could we be more cliché?”
“Allawah syndrome?” he arched an interrogative brow.
“It’s how we call that weird awkward attraction that may occur between a hero and a victim. A middle-eastern psychiatrist developed a theory where he compared it to transfer in therapy, you know, when a patient seem to fall for their therapist?”
“I heard about it…” he rubbed his chin “Is it similar?”
“Yes… and no” you pinched the bridge of your nose “A patient that makes significant progress in therapy is bound to feel something strong for their therapist, it’s like a step. After all, it’s a logical process: the patient suffers, they meet with someone that helps them move on, see themselves in a better light, get better. Not to mention a therapist knows your most intimate mechanisms, so…”
“How could you not fall in love?”
“Exactly. Whereas, Allawah syndrome… Well, the hero and the victim only share an adrenaline rush, no intimacy at all. So, I personally think, if there’s no attraction of some sort for starters, such crush doesn’t occur. This is why such reaction is usually one-sided and only lasts six months or so. But anyway, that's just my own theory.”
“We’re not at six months yet.”
“But we’re not having that Allawah syndrome anyhow.”
“How do you know?” he was truly surprised by the sternness of your tone.
“Well…” you looked away in embarrassment “In case you’re confused or something, know that I have genuinely felt love coming from you. And that crush only manifests through desire and yearning for attention. Not love. Since it’s not truly love, just some kind of attraction…”
“Oh…” Embarrassment. Confusion. “I see…”
“Sorry” you smiled at him “It must be pretty weird to have your feelings validated like this.”
“It’s okay” he rubbed his thumb against your hand tenderly “I expected you to do no less.”
You should have kept your mouth shut. Throwing all your knowledge at his face wasn’t really helping him with the situation, even an idiot could understand so. Damn, was it your habit to hide your own embarrassment behind rational thinking? Probably, since he expected that kind of reaction. Fuck, fuck, fuck! And now silence. Heavy silence. As if it was such a great thing to have him embarrassed and confused when you had something to ask him. Something utterly painful. Something he would probably refuse.
“Shouta…” you took a deep breath and stare at your naked body in the water “That woman… I want to see her.”
Surprise. Fear. Incomprehension.
“I want to see her.”
“But why?” his tone was colder than intended.
“Because I’m stuck. Because I’ve tried everything else. Because I want something to happen. Because I want to remember.”
“No” Fear. Dread. Panic. “No” he repeated.
“Why are you so afraid?” you asked, your own voice quivering with fear.
His? Yours? You weren’t feeling so good either.
“If you could remember, you’d be afraid as well.”
“I won’t be long” damn you sounded desperate, pathetic “Half an hour would do. You know what, even five minutes. Just a glimpse of her face.”
“No. That won’t happen. I won’t do such thing to you. Never.”
How could it be that bad? She was just a human being in the end. And he was a powerful hero with an erasure quirk. How could he be so afraid of someone whose quirk he could stop?
“Never, that’s final.”
He briskly got up and then out of the tub, wrapping himself in a towel. He slammed the door when he exited the room. And you were left alone in the still steaming bath.
And you couldn’t understand. Because you couldn’t remember.
Chapter 27: Fern
Fern: confidence and shelter
Leaving the room isn’t changing anything, stupid! Not with that quirk!
Panic. Panic. Panic.
You curled on yourself and for some reason the water didn’t seem hot enough anymore. His panic was so intense. You rubbed your shoulders. Come on, silly. Try to find in that empty head of yours how you used to deal with another person’s panic. But panic was making you numb. You couldn’t think. You were just staring at the water. In blank. You should go and talk to him. This was the moment where you were supposed to get up and dressed, put your arms around him and tell him it was all going to be fine. That she couldn’t hurt you more than you were hurting right now. Alongside some other very powerful arguments.
Yeah, that was actually what was expected of you.
Though things could be better if your body could actually move.
You were feeling terribly nauseous, gripping on your shoulders too tight. Oh oh. You were feeling more than nauseous, to be honest. Okay, silly. The toilets are in another room, you don’t have time to reach them. So you’re gonna breathe slow and deep okay. Slow and deep. This is not your panic, this is not your panic, this is not your panic, this is not…
Slow and deep. You put a hand on your mouth. Don’t be silly. It’s nothing compared to your panic attacks. You can go through this. But he can’t. So you’re gonna pull yourself back together and go help him, okay? Act like a girlfriend.
You spread your quirk further, to the next flat. Oh thank goodness, your neighbor was here. You focused your quirk on him. He was tired and bored but that actually was something more bearable than panic flowing from the man you loved. You slapped yourself on the cheeks and stepped out of the tub shaking. You quickly dried yourself and put on some bathrobe that was hanging there. It was green. For a second you wondered if green was your favorite color.
Good your fingers were shaking less when you turned the knob. Okay, now where was Aizawa? From what you had felt it must have been coming from… You turned your head. The living room, yes. He was here, sitting on the couch, his head in his hands. You could have believed he was only lost in his own thoughts if you hadn’t felt his feelings before. And also he hadn’t dressed up, he was just covered by the towel around his thighs. The situation could have been funny, if he wasn’t so afraid. If you weren’t so afraid.
“Shouta…” you softly called.
Anger. Panic. Despair.
“What?” ouch that was cold.
And so intense you perceived it even with your quirk focused on someone else.
“I’m sorry” you said, feeling guilty “I’m sorry I asked” you sat by his side and rubbed his shoulders “I didn’t know…”
“You’re right, you didn’t know. In fact you don’t know anything” he pushed you away “You don’t even know for a fact what your own feelings are, you’re just clinging onto me for mental stability.”
Okay, okay. He was angry and mad at you for having him feel so stressed and panicked again. Okay, okay. He didn’t mean to hurt you. Well, he did because he was mad but… That was the anger, the panic talking. You bashed your eyelids. Don’t cry. He doesn’t mean that. Not really. He’s just afraid. Just afraid.
“Don’t throw your insecurity at me” you tried to remain calm “I know what my feelings for you are, you’re the one afraid they might not be true. Shouta…” you glanced at him, eyes full of tears “Don’t you trust me… at all?”
His eyes widened with pain and realization. Damn, it hurt. And to say your quirk was still focused on someone else. His pain must be excruciating. How come he wasn’t crying? You were almost suffocating for Christ's sake!
“I don’t know…” he confessed “It’s just… those five days…”
“I know” you started “Or no, you’re right, I don’t know. In fact I can’t even begin to imagine what you must have felt during those five days. It must have been unbearable. But, you know, Shouta…” you took a deep breath “I’m under some quirk. Nothing is working, I can’t remember even a tiny glimpse. So if we don’t do something, if we don’t stop her quirk, that pain, that panic, that insecurity… it’ll be for life.”
“Shouta, she’s in jail! What can she do? Gloat? I can bear with it.”
“Listen” he passed a nervous hand in his hair “There’s going to be a mistrial. I know the trial is planned in months but… There’s going to be a mistrial. We don’t have direct proof to link her to any crimes. You were the sole witness. Now you’re amnesiac, it’s all…”
“Hearsay” your own voice sounded so far away “And what about the other victims?”
“They only have memories of her accomplices.”
“Shit” you bit on your lower lip “She’s giving them away to save her own skin” you played nervously with your fingers “There must be at least evidence of the kidnapping, no?”
“She was found in the room with you, that’s all. The door wasn’t even locked. The fingerprints on the meds around you were yours only. I’m sorry, we have nothing. And she’s kept in jail with such little proof, so mistrial can’t be avoided…”
“Then I really must go, Shouta. I need to retrieve those memories. If she gets away with this, I… I don’t know… I just couldn’t bear with it.”
He didn’t answer right away. He just looked at you with such eyes, oh those eyes. You let go of your quirk, losing the focus. You didn’t want to miss any of his feelings. They were all so confused. Love, hate, fear, hope, concern, tenderness, resolve. So confused you couldn’t tell what his three main emotions were. You were just feeling him, as a whole. Feeling everything he was experiencing, not just a part of it. Damn, that was so intense. Oh god. You loved him. So much. Even now. Especially now.
“Okay” he cupped your face with both his hands “But I’ll be the one to take you to her.”
He leaned in to kiss you. Hurriedly. Desperately. His kiss, his embrace meant so much. You knew just with that kiss that, if you didn’t come out of this safe and sound, he would never forgive you. And he would never forgive her. And that was pretty dangerous.
Fear. Resolve. Love.
Love. Despair. Love.
You ended up lying on the couch, with him on top of you. Making out. His long wet hair raining down on you. Damn, it could have been pretty hot if you weren’t feeling so bad.
“Don’t worry” he whispered “I won’t do anything.”
Anyone else would have taken him for a liar, for he was barely dressed and so were you and well, this position… But you were different. You couldn’t feel any desire. Not emotionally. Not even, well… physically. He was just holding onto you desperately. Afraid you might forget him by the second he stopped kissing you.
“I love you” he whispered in your ear “I love you, I love you, I love you…”
Chapter 28: Snapdragon
Snapdragon: deceit, beautiful lady
“Here, you should have this.”
You handed Aizawa some thick notebook. Well, only the first pages were actually covered with your writing but that would be still better than nothing.
“What is it?” he said, frowning, as he took it.
“A diary” you avoided his eyes “Just in case something happens. At least the last few days would be covered.”
“Hey” his tone was a little angry “Nothing will happen to you. Not in this facility. Precautions are taken so the prisoners can’t use their quirks. And technically, we’re allowed to use ours for self-defense so, with me, here, you’re safe.”
Safe. Yes. His quirk was incredible. So if she made a move, first you would be protected, second there were high chances you’d find back your memories. And yet you were so afraid. You couldn’t even tell why. Perhaps your subconscious sending signs. Don’t go. Or something.
“Hey” he passed a tender hand in your hair “Sorry about yesterday. I was just panicked. Of course I trust you. Of course I believe you’re strong enough to do this.”
You smiled at him. You refrained from telling him that you knew, that yesterday was only about him showing how much he loved you, that love doesn’t always express itself through kindness and kisses, that everything he felt was genuine and valid and legitimate. He would just tease you again if you went for some more psychobabble.
“It’s all forgotten, Shouta” you playfully scratched your forehead “What happened yesterday again? Damn, this amnesia, I can’t seem to remember a thing!”
“Idiot” he chuckled.
Then he leaned in to kiss you. It was nothing like yesterday’s. It was sweet, tender, affectionate, controlled. Good. It felt so good each time you kissed. You wished he could feel what you were feeling when he was kissing you, quirk and all. So he would never dare to deny your feelings again.
“You’re ready?” he whispered, rubbing his nose against yours.
“Honestly” you confessed “I’m freaking out.”
And if Dr. Akase was seeing you, taking one day off to go to the local prison instead of resting… That wasn’t exactly a safe controlled place you were about to jump in. You took a deep breath. The protocol went perfectly fine, you assumed it was easier since you were accompanied by a pro-hero. Protocols are reassuring. It actually helped you feel better. And good thing Aizawa told you to focus his quirk on him. You were still feeling some violence and aggressiveness. That wasn’t really surprising, coming from all those prisoners gathered in one place.
The room they lead you to was small. White walls. A table. And a woman handcuffed to said-table. With two guards behind her. The woman was really beautiful, even in the prisoner’s gown. Her long black hair was silk and shiny, her hairdo complicated. She must be really powerful, to be able to keep such appearance even in custody. You noticed her eyes were blindfolded, probably because they were the key to her quirk. You sat down in silence, Aizawa remained right behind you.
“It’s you, isn’t it?” she started and you tensed, shivering “The little lady. I waited for you. Did you like my flowers?”
“The myosotis?” you were more on the defensive than you wanted to show “No, sorry, I don’t like those flowers.”
“Oh such a shame, I thought you’d like them” she faked pouting “They’re quite popular. And also very appropriate, don’t you think? After all we shared together…”
Playfulness. Amusement. Cunning.
You tensed again. All your limbs were trembling. For some reason your guts were telling you to run far, very far away from her and yet you still hadn’t felt any kind of aggressiveness coming from her. So far she didn’t seem to mean harm. But your guts… and Aizawa’s reaction yesterday…
“Perhaps I would have liked them more…” you managed to calmly said “If you had left me something to remember.”
“Oh, sweetie” she purred “But those memories are too precious to be shared. I’m a little possessive, you see…”
Self-satisfaction. Confidence. Amusement.
You greeted your teeth. The knot in your stomach tightened. You wanted to flee, for real. But she’d like that. She’d like it if you just give up. You had to hang in there. You had to have her make a mistake so legally Aizawa could use his quirk.
“I don’t care” your tone was incisive and you could feel Aizawa tense as well “Give them back.”
“Sweetie, they’re gone.”
“Don’t bullshit me! The others remember.”
“What others?” Confidence. Satisfaction. “Honey, I know you’re undergoing a lot of pressure lately but you don’t have to throw it all at my face, that’s not nice…” she faked pouting again “And look at me” she waved her hands “Even if I wanted to share, I can’t do anything like this.”
“I don’t care” you were starting to lose your composure, not good “Give them back.”
“I can’t, hun” she folded a hand under her chin and smirked “Unless you ask Eraserhead to do his magic trick” she put a finger on her mouth “Oh I’m silly, that’s illegal.”
Your eyes widened with fear. How did she actually know? You heard Aizawa hiss behind you. How could she know? You came in unannounced and you had been pretty quiet. Aizawa hadn’t made the slightest sound. Was it just bluff? Or was she that good?
“Sweetie, I’m disappointed in you” her voice had become very low “I know everything . I know he takes a good care of you, he always has. I’m just sad I can’t know how good this time” her tone had something pretty dangerous in it, you were starting to feel nauseous “Eh, Eraser, did you fuck her this time? I bet she basically threw herself into your arms when she woke up.”
“Wha-What?” shit, you stuttered, not good.
“What?” she giggled “You didn’t? I’m disappointed, really” she sighed “If you had seen what I’ve seen, you would know this is the one thing she wants from you.”
“Shouta, what is she saying?”
“Oh cute!” she was almost hilarious now “She calls you by your given name, you’ve become pretty close, uh. You know, you should just fuck her. If you don’t know where to start, I can even tell you a thing or two she’d like, you’ll see.”
“Shut up!” you yelled, putting your hands on your ears “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”
“That’s provocation” you heard Aizawa calmly said “Don’t answer that.”
Pleasure. Pleasure. Pleasure.
That was sick. You were feeling sick. Of course she’d know something like that. She had five days to study your memories, how could you forget? How could you undermine the leverage she had on you?
“Provocation? No, no” she shook her head “I’m just telling the truth. Oh, I see. You want to have her earn it, of course! Like that time when you had her feel how bad you wanted her just to leave her yearning, abandoned” she rubbed her chin “I see, that’s a strategy too….”
“Shut your mouth” you got up angrily and slammed the table, your face was so close to hers “Shut your fucking mouth.”
“Miss, I must ask you to back off” a guard warned, his hand on his truncheon.
“Come on” Aizawa even said your name, squeezing your shoulder “She’s not worth it.”
“Sweetie, you’re lucky I love you so much” she purred “Or I could have filed a complaint…”
Chapter 29: White and Red Roses
White and red roses: unity
You dropped yourself on the bed, too numb to cry. What happened exactly? You travelled your hand on the pillow, your fingers feeling abnormally light. What happened exactly? Well, it was quite simple: you were so eager to retrieve your memories you had let that woman’s words hurt you. Badly.
Concern. Sadness. Pain.
Well, not you only. You had acted completely foolishly, thinking Aizawa’s feeling of fear was only potentialized by his love for you. You had acted like a complete fool, forgetting he was a pro-hero and not just a man with feelings for you. You should have listened more closely, you should have paid attention to his heart. You should have made his fear yours instead of pushing it away.
You felt a gentle hand in your hair. Aizawa was saying nothing. You shouldn't have done that, acting on a whim. What did it get you? Nothing. Just pain. And doubt.
“I'm sorry” you finally managed to say “You were right, I'm sorry.”
“It's okay” his tone was truly reassuring and so was the touch of his hand “You needed that, to see her, to put a face on who did that to you, to try. You needed that.”
His voice was soft, it made you feel warm and fuzzy inside. His words fell right, he was used to comfort students all the time after all. He probably already knew the perfect words, the perfect sentences to tell someone as desperate as you were right now. Even though it was the force of habit, never words felt truer, more sincere. So true and sincere you started to cry. In silence.
“Still…” you turned your face to glance at him “I'm sorry” all that pain you were feeling coming from him, it was… “I'm not alone in this. I might not remember but I still have family, friends…” unbearable “You.”
Surprise. Fondness. Love.
“Ssssh…” he tenderly shushed as he carefully laid down by your side and opened his arms “Come here.”
You obliged. To tell the truth you almost hurled yourself against him. In his arms. His comforting arms. And his scent. And his fingers in your hair. And the shape of his body. In moments like those, you were almost thinking it was the only thing you needed. But that’s until the next panic attack strikes.
“I’m here” he whispered “No matter what you decide. I’m on your side. Always” he kissed you on the top of the head and it felt like his lips trembled “And I’ll remember for the both of us if needed.”
Love. Resolve. Pain.
And then, well then… Then you grabbed him by the collar. Suddenly. Pulling him down so his lips could meet yours. You didn’t know what you were doing, you were hurting so much, now wasn’t probably the best of times. And yet, yet, yet… Yet he kissed back. And yet he even managed to calm you down. You were less in a hurry. Less desperate. Your grip loosened. You let him take the lead. You let yourself go completely.
Love. Urge to protect. Love.
You were overwhelmed. By his feelings. By your own feelings. They were so contradictory. You were overwhelmed. And you needed him. You needed him more. Closer. You needed him. You were lost at sea. Drowning in your emotions. And it hurt.
“I want you…” you softly said when you finally parted.
You even averted your eyes. You had the feeling you should let him make the first move. You couldn’t exactly say why but you were feeling like he’d push you away if you tried something. Nonsense, right? Look at him, the way he’s kissing you, the way he’s holding you. Consent is obviously not a problem. So why? You were dying to touch him. So why? Just a little touching…
“Don’t” he started.
Oh, of course. You must have perceived it somehow. Or you would have tried something.
“Please, don’t” he repeated.
“But I need you to… touch me” damn, your voice sounded so desperate.
“I know” his too “I know you’re hurting. I know all you have are your feelings for me. I know. But I…” he sighed and then spoke very fast “This would be a very sad first time. Well, I wouldn’t really mind if you still… if you could still remember your good sexual experiences. Because this will be…” Shyness. Embarrassment. Self-consciousness. “Sad. And perhaps not so good.”
What? What was he saying? Was it his reason? But…
“You know” and you couldn’t stop him from talking “I wanted to take you on a date tomorrow, because you didn’t have much time to rest and… I want to do normal things with you as well, not only treat you as if you were sick, because, you know, I love you” Shyness. Shyness. Shyness. “So I wanted to take you on a date, the whole day, take care of you and then, well, then if you still want me maybe we could…” Shame. Awkwardness. Love. “Sorry, I don’t know what I’m saying.”
Okay, okay, okay. But wait a second, wait a fucking second. So you could at least pull yourself back together. That was so unexpected. Shit, you were shivering now. Between his short adrenaline rush and his feelings and, more importantly, yours… God, your heart.
“That’s so cute” you managed to say in a whisper.
“Cute?” he pulled back to look at you in the eyes “Wasn’t I… awkward?”
Awkward, no? You’re the most beautiful man of earth.
But you were so overwhelmed your throat was dry. So you just shook your head. But you should say something. You should definitely say something. Something nice. Just a little something. To reassure him.
“I love you.”
And instead you dropped a bomb. His eyes widened. And you didn’t need your quirk to see the surprise, the pleasure, the warmth filling his chest, the fuzziness in his belly. And the relief. As if he had been waiting for those very words his entire life.
“Sorry” you went on, anticipating his anwer “I should have told you sooner, I wanted to say it with my memories back, so you would be sure it’s not despair or anything. But, well, I guess this is the only thing I’ll ever know about myself: I love you.”
And his smile, his eyes, his whole face lit up with happiness. Such a beautiful man… You extended a hand to cup his cheek. Damn, really, you hadn’t been lying. The most beautiful man on earth.
“I love you” you repeated.
“I heard the first time.”
“Mmm still” you put one of his locks behind his ear “I’m making up to you. For all that time I remained silent” Love “I love you.”
His. Yours. It was all mixed up again. Symbiosis. That felt good. You felt good. At peace. You didn’t think this feeling could increase and yet… Yet when he rested his head against your chest, when you felt him let go of everything, when you felt him relax completely in your arms, as if he no longer had fears, as if everything had returned to normal, you almost cried. Because it felt…
Peace. Happiness. Fulfillness.
Chapter 30: Daffodil
Daffodil: The sun is always shining when I'm with you
How long had you been staring at your clothes? Long, way too long. Honestly, it would actually help if any of those pieces of clothing felt yours. But truth was you couldn’t picture yourself in any of those outfits. Truth was you couldn’t even picture your own face properly so… You sighed for at least the hundredth time in the last ten minutes and picked another dress. Which looked awfully plain and casual.
Surprise. Recognition. Glee.
You turned around to look at Aizawa. And then back at the dress. Okay, so he had seen you in it before. Made sense, it looked casual enough. But, even if it moved something in him, you should wear something prettier. You were going on a date after all.
“Wear that” he said as he leaned against the doorframe “It looks great on you.”
“Really? That’s just…” you put it in front of you “Not so original.”
“Maybe” he looked at you from head to toe “But you look great.”
“Th-Thanks” you blushed.
You looked again. What moved him? Not the color, and not the shape for sure. That was definitely a dress you’d put to go to work. Not on a date. And definitely not on a first date. And yet…
“That much, uh…” you looked down, moved as well.
There was obviously something about that dress. Something you had forgotten. Something you couldn’t remember. Something he could.
“You were wearing that the day we met” he confessed.
The day you met? But, if you could recall what he told you, on the day you two met, he just saved your life. Casually. Like the pro-hero he was. And you were just another civilian he protected. How could he remember the clothes you were wearing? Was he looking at you already? How embarrassing!
“On the day...” you repeated “On the day we met?”
You glanced at the mirror, you noticed your face was completely flushed. How? You couldn't remember what happened back then. You could just remember what he told you. Not what you might have felt.
“Yeah” your eyes caught his in the reflection and you saw him smile “Our encounter was pretty intense, no way I could forget that.”
“O-Okay” but there had been a way you could “I'll wear that dress then.”
Flutter. Warmth. Joy.
Since he seemed to like it so much. Since it meant so much to his eyes. You didn't care if you didn't look stunning or cute or whatever. For you probably looked perfect in his eyes. So you put it on. Gently. Not even feeling embarrassed by his gaze. You tugged on the clothing a little and shook your head. Really, you looked like you were going to a job interview.
Well, whatever, to hell with everything…
“So…” you turned around to face him and scratch your cheek in embarrassment “What do you think?”
“You're gorgeous” he bluntly said, his face more unreadable than ever “Splendid.” If it weren't for the slight pink coloring his cheeks.
“Don't I look, I don't know, plain?”
“No” he came closer, so much closer “Of course not” so close he passed a gentle hand in your hair “You look like yourself.”
He was telling the truth. From what he was feeling, you could tell he wasn’t just seeing you. He was seeing the girl he fell in love with. Before you had turned amnesiac and all. He was seeing you whole. Past, present. And perhaps even future.
“So… we should go.”
Awkwardness. Expectation. Urge to please.
God fucking damnit. Why was your heart beating that fast? Okay, okay. You were going on a date. With the man you loved. With you memories completely obliviated. Emotionally speaking, it was your very first date. You bit on your lower lip. Okay, calm down. You’re an adult. An amnesiac adult. But still an adult. Though when you were walking down the street and he just casually took your hand you felt like your heart would explode.
And then he took you to town. Making you visit every place as if you never walked those streets on your own. But it was useless. It was useless because you couldn’t take your eyes off him. Because only him mattered to your eyes. He could be taking you anywhere. As if it’d make a difference…
As long as you kept feeling such good feelings, you wouldn’t care about anything else. And so the day went on. Walk around the town, restaurant, shopping (he even insisting on buying you something) and now cat café. From the overall atmosphere and the surprised look the bartender gave you, you used to be a regular here. And by the second you had sat down, a cat jumped in your lap. You scratched him behind the ears and he purred loudly. You couldn’t remember shit but you were positive: you had missed that.
“What?” you said as you glanced at Aizawa “Am I doing something funny?”
“No” he grinned wider “You just look so good… so cheerful.”
Oh yes. Those last days you probably weren’t exactly fun to be around. With all those panic attacks. With all those desperate attempts to cling onto something real. It must have been pretty hard for him as well, to see the woman he loved in such shape.
“You finally look like yourself again” he extended a hand to gently catch yours and stroked the skin with his thumb, you shivered “I’m glad…”
Oh the amount of love you were feeling right now, so much…
“Shouta” you said, stroking the cat some more to help you deal with all those feelings “Thank you.”
“For everything you did” you went on, your voice quivering a bit “For staying, despite…” god, come on, don’t cry! Not now!
“Of course” he just whispered “Always.”
Shit. You pinched the bridge of your nose. So you were gonna cry in the end. Shit, shit, shit. Stupid quirk, stupid heart! Stupid… everything!
“Yeah, yeah” you quickly dried your tears “I’m just… so happy. I mean, you have no idea… I woke up, knowing nothing, remembering nothing, and feeling someone feeling so much love for me, all the time, you have no idea…”
“Ssssh, it’s alright” his hand squeezed yours some more “And I guess I’ve an idea, you know, when I see your eyes…” Embarrassment. Awkwardness. Irritation. “Shit, I’m bad at this…”
“Nah” you giggled “You’re cute actually.”
He smiled again and god, that smile… You could die for that smile. And then… Love. Desire. Oh sure. Of course you would come to something like this. Yours had been rising from several minutes as well. That’s what’s called a logical conclusion, right? But, feeling this , coming from him , directed towards you still was so fucking weird.
“Do you…” crap and your throat was so dry “Do you wanna go home?”
Love. Desire. Eagerness.
Really, if you stayed just another second doing nothing you would…
“Yes” good lord, his voice trembling with expectation “Sure, let’s go home.”