Shouta is standing in front of the kid's door. His balled fist hovers just a few inches away, ready to knock.
He lowers his fist, uncurls his fingers and massages them in his hand.
Midoriya is in there, and should be left alone.
He sends a text, conveying his sorrow.
I'm here for you, he writes. You're doing so well. Stay strong.
He sends the message, and walks away.
"How is he doing? Are they keeping him another week?"
Shouta nods sharply, and his students begin to fidget nervously.
(All of their habits are different, yet so similar. Iida sways back and forth from his calves. Uraraka shifts her weight from foot to foot, keeping her upper body as still as possible. Tsuyu swishes her tongue around just outside of her mouth, and Midoriya…)
"We need to… we must have patience," he says. He knows exactly what Midoriya is going through, but his students may not.
The empty look shared on each face before him says otherwise.
"It's been a week already," Tsuyu says. "How much more patience are we expected to have?"
It's an honest and fair question, surely. They should be allowed to see him.
(He knows why they're not allowed. He was there, that first night, and many nights after that. He remembers the red skin, the exposed muscles and bones, the blood that soaked through bandage after bandage.)
"They're expecting him to make a full recovery," he says again. This is almost true. In a cosmetic sense, he will never be the same.
But if all goes well, he'll wake up and move again.
"Let us know when we can see them," his students say again. He nods, and they leave his office. He will see them again the next day, and they will have the same conversation.
This is a comfort for them all. He will allow it.
They tell him that the internal bleeding has finally stopped. That's been the biggest obstacle so far, and the costliest.
(He hears that Toshinori is paying the hospital bill, so the expensive specialist will be well compensated for her time.)
They also tell him that there's a problem with his arms.
"We were expecting some issues, given his medical history," a nurse explains, holding his student's chart in her gloved hands. "Unfortunately, things are worse than we were hoping. His bones aren't reforming properly in relation to his muscles, and if it continues like this, he may lose both arms entirely."
He remembers the haunted look in Midoriya's eyes, all those months ago, when he was first faced with the possibility of losing his arms.
"Is there any way to prevent it?"
The nurse gives him a shady glance, then, in a low voice: "I understand that we have a surgery that could correct the issue, but it's very risky, not to mention expensive."
Only one of those things matters right now, of course.
"Is he awake?"
The nurse pauses outside the door.
"What do you mean?"
"Is he off of the sedatives yet?"
"He was supposed to be, but they extended it because of his arm work."
Shouta knows that they're just doing their job, but he also knows they can't proceed without talking to the kid.
The nurse opens the door, and they walk in together. He hands a water bottle to Inko, who's just woken up at the sound of their entrance.
"Aizawa-san," she yawns. "How are you?"
"I'm alright. I need to talk with you, actually. And you, Takahashi-san," he turns to the nurse. "We need to take Izuku off of the sedatives. Not the painkillers, but the sleep medications."
"I understand you want to see him awake again, but he needs his rest if we are to-"
"He has a choice to make," Aizawa says. "I know he won't want to lose those arms."
The nurse tenses, then nods. "If we get permission from Inko-san, we can ask his primary pediatrician."
Red eyes lock on green, and Shouta feels the weight of the world on his shoulders. Inko hesitates, and then…
"Please do it," she says. "Please wake him up."
The nurse jots something down Izuku's chart and leaves the room.
Inko begins to cry, and Shouta sirs next to her and holds her hand.
(This is his kid too, now.)
They're preparing for the surgery, and for the first time in weeks, Izuku is talking with his friends face to face.
They're not allowed past the red tape on the floor that marks six feet from his cot, but it's close enough for them to chatter excitedly and fret over Izuku's state.
(Shouta realized when he brought his students in an hour ago that they had yet to see Midoriya covered in tubes, wires, casts and bandages. They hadn't seen the burn scars on his face and neck, or the tube feeding straight into his stomach.)
"You're going to do amazing, Izuku! Plus Ultra, right?!"
Izuku laughs, and it's the happiest sound Shouta's ever heard.
(There's still bags under the kid's eyes, but his smile is genuine, and bright.)
"Midoriya Izuku?" a doctor steps through the hero students, paying them no mind despite their volume. "I'm Dr. Ikeda, and I'll be working with you in the operating room today."
The students quiet, determined to hear every word.
"You understand that this surgery is risky, but if all goes well, your arms should be fully functional and in pristine condition. We're ready to bring you in now, so if you have anything you'd like to say to your friends here, now is the time."
Ikeda steps aside, and Izuku stares at the small crowd.
"Kacchan," he says timidly, "if it doesn't go well, I want you to have what's in my top right desk drawer."
Shouta is surprised he even recognized the possibility that it could go wrong. It's more likely than not, but he's still shocked to see Izuku admit that he might not win.
(He has to win.)
"Okay," Bakugou says quietly.
"And all of you," Izuku says, "I wrote things for you. I'll… I'll read them to you when I wake up."
(And that's what he was expecting before: a solid when, not an if .)
There's a cacophony of well-wishes, and Izuku's being wheeled down the hall towards the operating room.
"I'll see you on the other side, Sensei!" is the last thing he calls before the doors close behind him.
He's never had to do this before.
He wonders if his actions will set the protocol for this situation. He hopes that events like these never occurs again at UA.
The kids are gathered in the common room, eagerly awaiting good news. He knows, from awful experience, that the bad news is unfathomable. When it comes to Izuku…
He holds a notebook in his hands.
Hero Analysis for the Present: Class 1-A.
In it are Izuku's last recorded thoughts.
"I didn't finish my entry on you, Sensei," he'd said one day after he woke up. "If this doesn't work, I never will. My hands won't be good enough."
And it's a different reason, but he was right.
Shouta has skimmed through the pages. It's incredible stuff. Notes on each student's quirk, personality, strengths, weaknesses, and their specific relationship with Izuku.
Each entry has a very personal note. He read Shinsou's, then stopped. This wasn't for his eyes.
(He wonders what his note would have read, if Izuku had finished his entry.)
When he steps into the common room, he calls for Bakugou, and they go upstairs together. They stop outside of Izuku's door, and Shouta knows what that look in the kid's eyes means.
(He knows already.)
"So?" he says gruffly. "How'd the nerd do?"
"He left you something," Shouta says carefully. Bakugou's shoulders slump, and he glares at the wall.
"He should give it to me himself, next time," he says, and Shouta doesn't comment on it. Instead, he opens the door to Midoriya's room, and they walk in.
"Top right drawer," Bakugou recites under his breath. To Shouta's surprise, he pulls the drawer open with care, with only the slightest use of force.
He pulls out a small brown parcel with a note stuck to it.
(Shouta wants to know what it is, but he doesn't dare ask. This was one of the last things that Izuku said: that this gift is for Bakugou specifically.)
"I don't…" Bakugou stares at the note with shaking hands. "I don't want this…"
And now, Shouta has to ask. "What is it?"
"All Might's…. His power. Deku's power."
He stares down at the package, then rips the paper away to reveal a small vial filled with something dark.
"His blood," Bakugou confirms.
"Fuck," he mutters under his breath in english, and Shouta watches as he squares his shoulders back, uncaps the vial, and downs it in an instant.
(Shouta knows about that quirk. He's still angry that he wasn't told sooner, before his kid went and faced off with the world's oldest villain because of it. If he'd known, maybe he could have stopped it from happening.)
(...maybe he wouldn't have had to say farewell forever to a kid he'd only just started to know.)
"I'll kill him," Bakugou chokes. There's red on his lips, and burning in his eyes. "I'll kill that bastard, and I'll avenge him."
And Shouta decides right then and there that he can't let that happen. Not yet.
"Someday," he agrees.
"I'll do it tomorrow," Bakugou decides. "And the day after that. I'll kill him every fucking day for the rest of my life."
"Okay," Shouta says. He feels something warm enter the room, like a wave of energy rolling out of the walls. "Let's get started."