The dorms were a lovely upgrade in Denki's life. His home life was rough to say the least. His parents were either always working or drinking. Denki, being an only child, was left with the responsibility of keeping the house clean. If his parents were ever upset, he'd get the brunt of their anger, whether it was mental or physical.
His parents weren't home when Aizawa and All Might had come by to get permission. He talked Aizawa into letting him go, regardless of his parents choice. Later that day he had taken a relief nap. Thinking back, he thinks Aizawa noticed his situation or his mood and took pity on him.
For the first few weeks, the dorms were fun. After having a brief meltdown over Kirishima's work study experience, life was pretty nice. He's gotten closer to Shinsou during their sparring with class 1-B, and he dared to call the insomniac a friend.
Denki chose to ignore the signs of his impending crash. He pushed it all to the back of his mind until he woke up one day and he couldn't bear the thought of leaving his room. He could hear the faint sounds of Bakugou shouting downstairs and it only made him want to curl up in his bed and hide from the world. It never bothered him before. Why now?
His alarm blared next to his pillow, making him jump. A quiet whimper escaped his throat at the noise. He went to turn it off, noticing his trembling hands. The small movement knocked the breath out of him and he let himself fall back onto his mattress, pulling the blanket up under his chin.
Exhaustion pulled at his mind, dragging him under the warm embrace of sleep before he could do anything. He'd just tell Aizawa he wasn't feeling good. It technically wasn't a lie.
Denki shot up in his bed when a harsh knock echoed around his room. He gripped the blanket tightly and stared at his door, ears ringing. His mind wandered back to when his mother would come pounding on his door in a drunken rage, finding any reason to be upset with him.
"Kaminari? Are you okay?" A voice asked.
It wasn't angry, nor was it slurred. If Denki let himself hope, he'd say it was concerned.
He glanced around his room. His dorm room. Oh. OH. He wasn't at home. A classmate was checking on him. Shinsou was checking on him.
The realization hit Denki harder than it should have. His eyes began to water and he couldn't stop the tears from falling down his face.
Shinsou knocked again. "Are you awake?"
Denki tried to calm himself before he gave an answer. "Yeah, I'm just not feeling well!" His voice was noticeably shaking.
"Can I come in?"
"It's unlocked," Denki said as he wiped his eyes. He kept forgetting he could lock his door in the dorms. One day that was going to cause him trouble, but he didn't want to think about that right now.
Shinsou quietly opened the door and stepped inside, closing the door softly behind him. He flicked on the room's light, illuminating Denki's tear-stricken face. Shinsou sat on the edge of the bed and watched him closely.
"Hey," he whispered into the still air.
Denki looked over the other boy's face. There were no signs of pity. "Hey," Denki responded. His voice shook as he tried to bite back more tears.
Shinsou wore a sympathetic smile. "What's going on?"
Denki broke. Shinsou's already seen him humiliate himself, why not also show him having a mental breakdown. A sob ripped itself out of Denki's throat, making him grip the blanket harder. He pulled his knees up to his chest and hid his face from the boy who he had just become friends with.
Denki felt Shinsou shift closer on the bed. "It's okay, just let it out," he whispered. His voice was comforting.
"I don't want to be here," Denki whimpered. His body shook with his sobs. "I shouldn't be here."
"And why's that?"
"Why?" Denki spit out a harsh laugh. "I can't control my quirk or my emotions. I'm getting upset over nothing. M-my problems are just… just spilt milk compared to others." He struggled to form words over the lump forming in his throat. "I-I don't deserve to be here… I'm taking up a spot th-that could go to someone else who deserves… deserves to be a h-hero."
Shinsou placed a warm hand on Denki's arm. "If Aizawa didn't think you could be a hero, then he'd have expelled you a long time ago."
Denki shrugged. "He made a mistake."
"Hey, can you look at me, Kaminari?" Shinsou asked. His voice was soft.
Denki hesitated. He lifted his head up, looking at Shinsou's sympathetic gaze. He couldn't stop himself from the new round of sobs that took over his trembling body. "I sh-s-shouldn't be h-here!" His voice was bordering on hysterical.
"Hey, hey, breathe," Shinsou tried. He rubbed Denki's arm softly with his thumb. "This runs deeper than just self-doubt, doesn't it?"
Denki sniffed, trying to compose himself. "It's just a matter of t-time until everyone gets sick of me. It's all too good to be true!" A shudder ran through the smaller boy's body and he suppressed another round of sobs. "They'll just leave me behind. Everyone does. Do you know how hard it is to be likable? I try so hard to make sure they like me, but they'll just l-leave me wh-when they realize just how… how useless I am!"
Debki dissolved into another round of sobs, laying back on his bed and turning away from Shinsou. He pulled the blanket over his head, waiting for the other boy to leave. "You're not useless, Kaminari. You're great with people and you don't get enough credit for how well you can make plans under pressure."
Denki nearly laughed. Of course he could make plans under pressure, he'd lived his whole life doing that. "It's only a matter of time," he muttered again. They'd really be better if he just wasn't there. Shinsou wouldn't have to deal with his emotional bullshit. They wouldn't have to drag his dead wright when he overuses his quirk.
Shinsou stood up and for a moment Denki thought he was going to leave. "Where's all this coming from?" He sat on the edge of the bed near Denki's pillow. His calloused finger brushed through Denki's hair, scratching his scalp lightly. "Why do you say you shouldn't be here?"
Denki melted under the boy's hand. Shinsou's already seen him this low, he might as well just dig himself deeper, there was no way he was coming back from this. "I was planning on killing myself last year." Saying that out loud hit differently. Panic gripped at Denki's chest. He had honestly planned on being dead by now. He choked on another sob.
Shinsou sucked in a gasp. "I'm glad you're still here." His voice was soft. "Can I hug you?"
Denki shakily lifted himself to a sitting position to face the insomniac. He grit his teeth, trying to hold back his tears, but his resolve vanished when Shinsou wrapped his arms around Denki's small frame. "I'm sorry," Denki whimpered. He repeated it like it was the only phrase he had ever known.
"Don't apologize, Kaminari," he whispered, holding back his own tears. "You've held this back for far too long, just let it out."
Denki cried into Shinsou's chest until he fell asleep once again. He felt the headache starting to creep at his mind, but that was a problem for later.
Later was apparently when he woke up in Shinsou's arms that afternoon. His head hurt slightly, but it was muted by the warmth of the other boy surrounding him.
"Ah, you're awake," Shinsou observed.
Shame burned through Denki's body as he recalled just what he told the other boy. He ducked his head further into Shinsou's chest.
Shinsou rubbed his scalp gently. "I've talked to Aizawa about excusing your absence. Tomorrow we're going to see the school's counselor and see if we can get you a therapist."
"Okay," Denki agreed. His voice was wrecked from his earlier crying.
He didn't quite understand what was going to happen now, but maybe things would start getting better.