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“He’s awake,” the nurse says, leading Toshinori to a door. “But he’s—” her lips quirk up in a half-smile. “He’s still a little loopy from the Tramadol right now. He probably won’t even remember you were here, but just talk to him for a minute; he’s been asking for you.”

Toshinori nods grimly, wishing he could share her amusement. The diagnosis relays in his head: kneecap and femur shattered; fractured hip and shin. No doubt it's one of Izuku's nastier injuries from the past few months, though at least this time it's due to a training accident rather than further complications with his quirk.

Toshinori remembers getting the call. Evidently, a cement column had come loose and crushed the poor boy’s leg during some search and rescue exercise. Toshinori hadn’t been there when it happened, but he’d ridden in the ambulance. The ten minutes it had taken to get to the emergency room had felt like an eternity.

Toshinori mutters his thanks to the nurse before entering the room, and to his relief, Izuku doesn’t appear to be in any immediate pain. They have him propped up on a small mountain of pillows, and when he sees Toshinori, a big dopey grin spreads on his face. That alone is enough to ease the man’s spirits a bit. It's a far cry from the numb mask of shock he wore on the ride to the hospital.

Pulling up a chair, Toshinori smiles back, keeping his voice low.

“Hello, my boy.”

Izuku just stares at him, eyes dilated, and Toshinori sighs, already gearing up for a very one-sided conversation. “Well,” he continues. “Recovery Girl will be back from Shibuya tomorrow, but I’m afraid you’ll be roughing it like everyone else till then.”

Crickets. Still, Izuku’s unwavering, slack-jawed stare manages get a chuckle out of Toshinori. “But I have to say—” he teases. “It looks like they already have you covered, my boy.”

There's another beat before Izuku blinks, smile widening, and promptly bursts into a fit of giggles. Toshinori’s eyebrows shoot up, and he lets out a startled laugh of his own.

“What is it?” he laughs, leaning closer. Howling, Izuku flops back into the pillows. His face is very quickly turning red while he desperately tries to wrap noodly arms around his stomach. It isn’t working very well. His ordeal stretches on for the next several moments, and Toshinori discovers that the laughter is contagious when he has to press a hand over his mouth to stifle an outburst of his own.

Finally, Izuku seems to tucker himself out, gulping deep breaths with a grin still plastered on his equally plastered face, and neither of them say anything while they catch their breath. Then it happens, and it happens slowly. Dewy with tears, Izuku's gaze mischievously slides back over to Toshinori. And his breath hitches.

"Ah— hey now," the man warns, playfully raising a hand. "Don't you dare—"

He doesn’t finish before Izuku explodes again. Though this time, the laughter is replaced with one long, drawn-out wheeze. Izuku is guffawing so hard it looks like he’s in pain, quaking with silent giggles while tears run down the sides of his face. Toshinori lets his head drop melodramatically into his palm— massages his temples while his shoulders shake with mirth. This is better than seeing Izuku in pain, at least.

“Kid,” Toshinori gasps through his laughter. “Kid, you’re gonna kill me.”

But soon enough Izuku wears himself out again, sagging back into the bed with a few hearty gulps of air while he calms down. Before something else can set him off, Toshinori stands and settles beside him on the edge of the mattress. Izuku thankfully falls silent, staring at his mentor with the same dopey grin as before. But this time, he also looks so blissfully confused, cheeks still flushed from laughing. Toshinori shakes his head, smiling.

“What am I going to do with you?” he murmurs, brushing the bangs out of Izuku’s eyes where they've stuck to his forehead. The kid almost melts, and his eyes close as he leans into the touch. Huffing a quiet laugh, Toshinori changes tactics, combing a hand through his hair. Maybe he can get him to fall asleep this way.

“Are you hurting anywhere?” he asks a minute later, when Izuku's eyes blink open again (so much for that). The answer is most assuredly no, but Toshinori can’t help but say something. The memory of the ambulance ride flashes in his mind; of his poor boy shaking so hard that a tech had to hold him down on the gurney so they could get an IV in. Toshinori held his hand all the way to the hospital. Back in the present, Izuku looks down, deliberating the question, before shaking his head.

“Good,” Toshinori hums, resuming the gentle combing. "That’s good." It looks like it’s working; Izuku’s eyelids droop as he sinks deeper into the pillows, and for a minute or two they just sit like that, wrapped in comfortable silence. It doesn’t last.

“All Might,” Izuku mumbles, eyes cracking open. Toshinori perks up.

“Hm? What is it, my boy?” Izuku is looking at him funny.

“I…” he whimpers, significantly unhappier than before. Toshinori’s brow furrows.

That's not right.

Izuku doesn’t speak up, and Toshinori feels a tug of unease in his gut as the silence stretches on. It only strengthens when, slowly, Izuku’s dazed expression begins to crumble; lips pressing into a quivering line while the glassyness of his eyes turns into tears. Toshinori’s unease ramps into alarm, and he pulls one leg onto the bed to face Izuku.

“Hey— hey,” he croons frantically, cupping Izuku’s face in his hands. “Look at me— what’s wrong? Do I need to call a nurse?” Izuku shakes his head, screwing his eyes up with a whimper, which forces two huge tears out. Toshinori’s heart clenches. “Oh, my boy, don’t cry…” he says, catching them before they can fall. In return, Izuku hacks weak sobs and devolves into a full meltdown.

Toshinori heaves a weary sigh and closes his eyes. He was afraid of this. In fact, he'd had his doubts ever since the doctor came to him an hour ago, asking for permission to put Izuku on Tramadol. For his sake, Toshinori had relented, having seen how dire the situation was, but in the end his suspicions were true. It's hitting Izuku hard.

But you don't have to go through it alone, my boy.

“Okay,” Toshinori whispers. “Okay, come here. Come here…” Izuku is mostly limp as he gently pulls him off the bed into his arms, holding his head steady against his shoulder. Izuku just trembles and lets out breathy, pitiful sobs that make Toshinori's heart sink. He doesn't let it show, though. He just rubs slow circles into the poor boy’s back, murmuring comfort.

“I know what you’re dealing with," he whispers. "Painkillers this strong… they mess with your head. One minute everything is hilarious, and the next minute, the world is ending.” Izuku whimpers something that vaguely sounds like agreement.

And you feel all numb and gross, Toshinori continues mentally, remembering his own less-than-pleasant stays. And your head won’t stop spinning, and you don’t know what’s happening, but everything feels like too much.

"I—" A small voice breaks through Toshinori’s thoughts. "I nn— I—" it squeaks.

“Shh… Breathe, my boy,” Toshinori hushes. “For now, just breathe. It’ll pass.” Izuku hiccups, falling quiet again, and for a very long two minutes, it’s just Toshinori holding him. Comforting him. "I'm here, my boy," he murmurs, patting Izuku's back. "I'm right here." Izuku just cries, and Toshinori doesn't blame him in the slightest. It is a little scary— waking up in a place you don't recognize, knowing you're hurt without any details. And adding drugs into the mix can make it even worse; Toshinori knows from experience.

For another minute or two after the meltdown, he thinks Izuku has fallen asleep. That is, until the boy squirms weakly in his arms. Toshinori lets him go with more than a little bit of hesitation, laying him down carefully on the pillows.

He winces at what he sees.

You poor thing...

“Here,” Toshinori says, passing Izuku a tissue box. He's at least lucid enough to blow his nose, but his face scrunches up when he can’t seem to do it very easily. Toshinori wipes his tears for him; a task easier said than done. When Izuku finally settles, Toshinori tries again.

“Now,” he coaxes. “What were you going to tell me?” Izuku blinks slowly, thinking long and hard about it.

“I’m…” he begins, sitting up as much as he can. His voice is thick and hoarse from crying. “I never came… t’see you.” Izuku blinks again and glowers; seemingly dissatisfied with his answer. Toshinori frowns too, but his is from confusion.

“See me?” he asks patiently. “You come see me all the time. You talked to me during lunch just a few days ago, remember?” Izuku’s face contorts, and he fervently shakes his head. Toshinori steadies him before he can fall over.

“No, that’s not— I didn’t—” Izuku continues, slinging an arm up in a vague gesture. “—come see you." Toshinori cocks his head, frown deepening as he gently goads him into laying back down.

“When didn’t you come see me?” he asks, laying a hand on Izuku’s arm. He’s cold.

“Here,” Izuku whimpers, eyes wide and pleading. Toshinori’s lips twitch up in a small, dumbfounded smile.

“My boy, you’re— what are you talking about? You weren’t even awake until a few minutes ago— not to mention you can’t walk. How could you have found me?” Izuku makes a guttural, irritated sound, sits up, and immediately flops back down on the pillows— too fast for Toshinori to catch him.

“But you’re here,” he whimpers pitifully as the tears well up again. Toshinori shakes his head, officially at a loss.

“Izuku…” he says sadly, dealing away with formality. “My boy… I just don’t understand…” He squeezes Izuku’s hand, wary of the IV taped to it. “I’m so sorry that I don’t understand.”

“Should’ve come…” Izuku weeps, oblivious to Toshinori’s comforts. “Should’ve been there… ‘m sorry…” he hiccups, sending a few tears rolling down the sides of his face into his hair. Toshinori’s heart constricts.

“Oh my boy…” he cooes, squeezing tighter as he smoothes Izuku’s hair back. The action does nothing to quell his distressed rambling, but Toshinori finally just relents and lets him ramble, giving his best shot at a sympathetic, understanding expression. It probably looks closer to pity.

Izuku is clearly not lucid; Toshinori begins to think the boy is so out of it that he's genuinely talking nonsense, but that doesn't mean he won't listen. It doesn't mean he won't try.

Gently, Toshinori turns Izuku's hand around and massages around the IV with his thumb. It's almost certain he can’t feel the itchy soreness right now, but Toshinori knows it's there, under the haze of the drugs. All the while, Izuku doesn’t stop going on about Toshinori being there for him (or at least that’s what it sounds like).

“Of course I am,” Toshinori whispers, leaning closer. “I'll always be here for you, my boy.” He clamps down on the "as long as I can" that almost slips out of his mouth; no need to add fuel to the emotional fire.

“That’s the problem,” Izuku whines, voice breaking. "You're always h— h-here… to make me feel better," he croaks. "And I'm not."

“Yes you are,” Toshinori says, patting his hand. A small, sad smile plays on his lips. “I feel better just by being around you.” He expects that to cheer Izuku up at least slightly, but instead the poor boy just looks crushed. More tears creep down his face, and Toshinori's smile falls with a small, sympathetic noise in the back of his throat.

"Izuku…" he whispers, wiping the tears away. "My boy, what’s it going to take to make you feel better? I promise, whatever you need me to do, I'll do it." Toshinori entertains the fact that maybe there is no way; that Izuku is so out of it that he can't be reasoned with. Maybe he's upset over nothing in particular, but that's almost worse. It means there's no direct solution.

Toshinori reaches for him again, but Izuku pushes his arms away. Instead, he sits up and jabs a finger into Toshinori's chest, startling him. "And who makes you feel better?" Izuku hisses drunkenly. "Who gives you hugs? Who holds y— your hand and tells you it's going to be okay when you get hurt?" Just like that, the anger burns out, and Izuku is weeping again.

Toshinori balks at him, sternum aching from the crooked finger still stabbing into it, and something clicks into place. He gasps. It's taken an embarrassingly long time, but finally he understands.

"The hospital…" Toshinori whispers. "Who comes to see me in the hospital… That's what you mean, isn't it?” He rests a cautious hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “That’s what all of this is about."

Izuku nods so fast he makes himself dizzy, swaying a bit before slumping against the pillows again. The tears haven’t stopped coming.

"You're always h-here when I wake up," Izuku croaks; so quietly that Toshinori has to strain to hear him. "And I should have been here too— there. All for One," he sniffles. "I had the whole day to come f-find you… should have ignored M-Mr. Aizawa— should've snuck out and found where you were, but… I should have c-come, but…" Izuku hiccups, curling in on himself in shame. "But I didn't…" he weeps. "I'm sorry. I'm s-so sorry…"

Covering his eyes, Izuku succumbs to a peal of far-louder sobs that don’t stop. Not even when Toshinori pulls him into his arms a second time, wrapping his small frame in a tight, trembling hold.

“Kamino?” he whispers, bony grip curling in Izuku's hair. “That’s what you’re worried about?” That was months ago now. Months. Heaving a pitiful sob, Izuku nods into Toshinori's shoulder.

"H-had to t- tell me to- to meet you…" he chokes. "That night. The beach. Had to wake up b—" he sobs. "By yours- self . Al- lone. Should have been there for you, should have— should have…" Izuku trails off, hiccuping. "Must have been sca—" sob. "awful t— lose it," he whispers. "Just s-slept all day. Didn't do—" he hiccups. "Anything."

There’s the faint smell of hospital shampoo and rubbing alcohol as Toshinori pulls Izuku closer, burying his face in the boy’s hair to hide his forming tears. Even if he knew what to say, Toshinori isn’t sure if he could get it out right now. Not without breaking down.

I don’t deserve you.

“Oh my boy…” he whispers, throat closing up. "Izuku, why? Why wouldn’t you come to me about this sooner?”

Because he’s probably never had anything this strong loosening his tongue, Toshinori thinks, feeling one or two tears drip into Izuku’s hair. The medicine they had given him wasn’t even supposed to be prescribed to minors, but they had been having such a hard time sedating him that they got special clearance for it.

Is that what it takes? Miserably, Toshinori pulls his boy closer, nuzzling into his hair. Is that what it comes to for you to open up to me? Where did I go so wrong?

“Izuku,” Toshinori finally whispers, pulling back a bit. “Please look at me.” He eases a hand under Izuku's chin, tilting it up. Sniffling, Izuku lets him, peering up at Toshinori with huge, sad eyes. The sight hurts his heart; he wants nothing more than to keep holding him.

But I have to set this right first.

“I want you to listen to me,” Toshinori begins, steadying his poor student with a firm hold on his shoulders. “I wasn’t alone that day. Not at all.” Izuku blinks at him, confused.

“I wasn’t,” Toshinori reiterates. “I was fine. From the moment I woke up, Gran and Tsukauchi were with me, and we were all talking, and even without them, there were so many others.” That part is completely true; between the press and the authorities, Toshinori hadn’t had a moment to himself.

Izuku is stuck in a thoughtful quiet, mulling Toshinori’s words over with still-misty eyes boring into the sheets. Toshinori lets him think for a moment before speaking up again.

“Not to mention I was only in the hospital for a few hours— and I definitely wasn’t half as banged up as you usually are.” Toshinori’s eyes soften. “Troublemaker,” he teases gently, giving Izuku’s hair a ruffle.

That part is a bit less true; Toshinori had been in the hospital the entire day, and he’d had to practically claw his way out from under a dozen or so doctors begging him to stay overnight, but Toshinori couldn’t. He’d had somewhere to be.

Surely I can stretch the truth a bit, though, he thinks, watching Izuku closely. The boy’s glossy eyes still haven’t left the bedclothes for all his pondering.

“But…” Izuku suddenly whimpers, breaking the spell. “But it… it’s not the same.”

And once again— just when Toshinori thinks he might have gotten through to him— the boy's tears return. Heavily, he sighs, rubbing resigned circles between Izuku’s shoulder blades as he begins weeping again.

It’s over. Even though he’s finally gotten to the bottom of Izuku’s turmoil, Toshinori knows right then and there that it doesn’t matter. The poor kid is just out of it enough that he can’t be reasoned with.

I’m so, so sorry, my boy, he thinks.

“Well…” Toshinori says, heart leaden with guilt. All he can do is look Izuku in the eyes with all the sincerity he can. “Thank you. Thank you so much for telling me.” His voice wavers with emotion as he pulls Izuku a bit closer. “I know it was hard.”

Izuku just looks at him with those big streaming eyes and nods; all the emotion in the world shining in their depths. Toshinori gives a weak smile in return. “And thank you for… for caring about me,” he whispers. If he spoke any louder, his voice would break.

“But Izuku—” Toshinori squeezes his shoulders as tight as he dares. “My boy. Listen to me. If you remember nothing else, I at least want you to hear this.” He pulls him even closer so that their foreheads are almost touching, willing his boy to listen. “There is nothing to forgive. You hear me? Nothing. You were right where you were supposed to be that day— at home. Safe. Resting. And I was doing the same thing.” Toshinori lays one hand on Izuku’s cheek, eyes warm. “Do you understand?” he murmurs. "It's okay. Everything is okay."

Izuku just stares at him; glassy-eyed as ever. When he finally tries to nod, Toshinori is just in time to steady him before his eyes flicker shut and his head lolls.

"Whoa there.” Toshinori can’t smother the chuckle that bubbles up in his throat when Izuku snaps awake, blinking. “Alright, my boy,” he chides gently. “Enough of all this. All you need to be doing now is resting.” Reaching behind Izuku, he pulls a few of the pillows off the bed and sets them aside.

“I don’t know about you,” he murmurs, ever-mindful of Izuku’s leg while he carefully lays him down. “But I can never sleep sitting up. You can imagine the coughing fits I get, heh.” Izuku stares at him with some kind of emotion as Toshinori tucks the bedclothes over his shoulders, but he can’t place it.

“Come on,” he coaxes, once he’s returned to the bedside chair. “Close your eyes.” Then softer: “I know you’re tired, Izuku.”

It takes a minute before Izuku finally surrenders, letting his eyes fall shut, and he seems to deflate under the covers. Toshinori heaves a sigh of relief; that's the end of it, he thinks.

Until Izuku’s IV-taped hand flops out from under the covers, and his eyes open, fixing Toshinori in a sleep-heavy gaze.

“Does it hurt?” he asks in a hush, face creasing in concern. Izuku blinks ever-so slowly at him, pupils still blown so wide Toshinori can almost see his head swimming. Finally, the boy shakes his head as best he can with half his face smushed in the pillow. He stretches his hand out further, crooked fingers splayed, and Toshinori understands.

“Oh,” he says quietly, taking Izuku’s hand in his. “Oh…”

Izuku sighs into the comforter, eyes slipping shut again. The sight brings a fond smile to Toshinori’s face, and he weaves his fingers through his boy’s much colder ones, squeezing.

“It’s okay,” he whispers, running a thumb over scarred knuckles. “I’ve got you… I’ve got you.”

Toshinori knows there will likely be groaning instead of giggling when Izuku next wakes up— after the meds have run their course— but he’ll still be here to help him through it. He always will. Every single time.

Toshinori feels the smallest squeeze around his own hand, and a pang runs through his heart.

Is it okay to… surely it is… he thinks, patchwork stomach flipping at the words stuck in the back of his throat. She did say he wouldn’t remember…

But even so, it’s not until Izuku’s grip has slackened in his; breathing even and slow with sleep, that Toshinori can speak.

“Izuku,” he whispers, looking at the rapidly blurring floor. “My boy… I don’t tell you this enough, but… well— I don’t think I’ve ever told you before.” Toshinori squeezes Izuku’s hand again. “I’m sorry for that,” he whimpers, closing his eyes. “So sorry.” He takes a deep breath.

“I… I love you, Izuku,” Toshinori says. “And sometimes it just… it just hits me— how lucky I am to know you.” His voice is wobbling something awful.

“And every time you come eat lunch with me, or fuss over me, or make me smile, I just think… I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve you.” Two huge tears manage to get loose, and Toshinori scrubs his face with one arm. He knows he’s talking to an empty room right now; Izuku fell asleep minutes ago, and under the fog of the medicine, it doesn’t look like anything could wake him. Let alone the gentle hand that settles on his cheek.

“You’re the light of my life,” Toshinori croaks. “And I don’t know why I— I’m s-so scared to say that to you.”

It’s a lie. It’s a complete lie, and Toshinori feels a sickle of guilt curl in his gut the instant he says it. He knows exactly why. It’s because of the rejection; the possibility— no matter how small— that he could be vastly wrong about Izuku’s feelings towards him. The fear of losing what closeness they already have by pushing too hard. Toshinori thinks of the long, lonely years before he met Izuku (God, it already feels like forever ago) and shudders at the thought of going back there again.

Toshinori had never quite realized the scope of his loneliness until Kamino. Before, it had been something almost ignorable; something he could push down and out of mind during the day when he was flying a hundred feet above the skyline, or more recently— teaching his class. It was something he could manage; only rearing its head late in the evening, when he’d amble into his dark apartment, drained.

Toshinori still likes to pretend his workaholic lifestyle was due to the actual work; to the act of saving people— and it was, for the most part. But he can’t deny that there was always a small, shameful part of himself that was always just trying to delay that long walk home. To wring out every last good deed; every last drop of time he could possibly spare until he was strung out and aching at night; too tired to do much else than collapse on the couch.

All Might didn’t live in that empty shell of an apartment; Yagi Toshinori did. Yagi Toshinori. That sick old man next door. The man who lived alone and never had any company.

And after Kamino, Yagi Toshinori was all that was left.

He'd told Izuku he’d been fine in the hospital that day, but the truth was, Toshinori had been spiraling. He had zoned through all those conversations, speaking on autopilot the way only a long career in the field could enable him to. He hadn't been fine. Not really. Not until hours later, when he'd left.

No— in reality, Toshinori had been unnerved by every disbelieving look the investigators, journalists, and government suits sent his way when they thought he wasn’t paying attention. Scratch that; he'd been afraid. Because now, there was nowhere to run from that. No escape from the shock and pity that was normally reserved for Yagi Toshinori. That sick old man was all that had survived, and that was frightening. He couldn't run. He couldn't fight. All Might was dead, and now it would just be Toshinori; the same broken body, 24 hours a day. 365 days a year. If all that wasn't enough, people knew who he was. He couldn't even hide anymore.

So, no. Toshinori hadn't been fine that day. He had been terrified.

But talking had still been better than being alone with his thoughts, so no matter how tired he got, Toshinori let the people come. At least until visiting hours ended, when even Gran and Tsukauchi started packing up. Then, he had panicked. Nana always said people made stupid decisions when they panicked.

In the end, it was only Toshinori's status that got him out of that hospital that night, as much as he hated to leverage that against the doctors who were only trying to help him. But he couldn’t do it. He just couldn’t lie awake in that empty room all night, so he left. And then he'd gone to the beach, typing frantically away on his phone while shame ate him alive.

There was still one more person to talk to.

Hugs were something Toshinori rarely thought about. He gave them sometimes in the course of his career; mostly to disaster victims, or to his own students after the Sports Festival, but they were mainly a formality. It was like another part of his job; something to be given, not received.

Seeing Izuku that night (alive, so blessedly alive) had already set Toshinori's emotions spiraling, but feeling those stocky little arms latch onto him so desperately had driven Toshinori to tears. That hug hadn’t been for All Might— it was for him. And he had regretted only having one arm to pull Izuku closer. Suddenly, Toshinori hadn't wanted to hide. He didn't need to; he was safe. With Izuku, he was safe. He was held.

He was wanted.

It was the first time Toshinori could remember almost saying it; wanting so badly to say it, but he couldn’t. Just like he couldn’t a few minutes ago; when Izuku might have heard him. But the truth had still been there, burning in Toshinori’s chest as bright and warm as a signal flare.

He loved him. He loved him so much it hurt.

And the thing is, Toshinori knows Izuku loves him too. He’s known this since the day he met the boy; and really, is it so surprising? There are scores of people who love him— everyone loves All Might. But there’s a line between loving someone and loving them— a fine line, but a line nonetheless. And Toshinori doesn’t want to cross it; not while there’s the slightest chance that he could be wrong. That Izuku loves All Might, and not Yagi Toshinori.

Listen to yourself, a snide voice in his head chimes in. That child looks at you like you hung the stars, no matter what you look like. No matter how many times he sees how fucked up you are. He still wants to hold your hand. You have no excuse, you coward.

An uglier voice; one that sounds more like Toshinori’s own, interjects. Then where the hell was everyone else for twenty years?! Why the fuck should anyone forget what it feels like to be hugged?! There’s a pressure building in the back of his throat that he knows is a sob. Where was my love when I needed it?

Besides Gran (who he all-but pushed away), Toshinori can't think of a companion that didn’t know him as All Might first. The last person who loved Yagi Toshinori before All Might been Nana.

And would you have done the same? A third voice almost weeps as Toshinori squeezes his dear boy’s hand. Would you have stayed with me if you didn’t know who I was? Would you have loved me too?

Despite his worst doubts, that tiny flame in Toshinori’s heart tells him yes.

“Why?” he whisper-croaks, vision blurring as he tugs Izuku’s hand closer to his heart. “Why can I never tell you how I feel when you can hear me?” He hacks a quiet sob. “Why is being close to people so hard?”

Izuku doesn’t answer; his sleep-softened expression still reads dead to the world. Dejectedly, Toshinori sighs, leaning back in his chair.

Someday, he thinks. Someday, but not yet… I’m not strong enough yet.

Of course you’re not, the ugly voice retorts. You’ll never be strong enough. You let yourself get too attached. Losing him now would be an amputation, and you know it— you idiot bleeding-heart.

Toshinori gulps, wiping away more tears. It’s true. All of it.

But…

He heaves a shuddering sigh, and looks at his boy. Izuku’s face is almost blissful now, small hand still cradled in Toshinori’s, and his eyelids have begun to twitch every now and then. He would think the drugs would be strong enough to keep him from dreaming, but apparently not. Warmth chases away the dread in Toshinori’s chest, and a soft smile grows on his face as he runs a hand through Izuku’s hair.

What are you dreaming about? He wonders. At the touch, Izuku’s expression relaxes, and Toshinori feels that familiar rush of affection. For now, it’s enough to drive the dark thoughts back into the furthest corners of his mind.

Sleep well, son.

Maybe someday soon, the day will come when Toshinori can open up in full; tell Izuku just how precious he is to him. How much he loves him. How he’s come to see him as his own.

But for now, while Izuku needs him, Toshinori is content to just be here.