The Path Forward

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A/N: Doing a bit of retconning with the ending of the previous chapter

Their bones shook as the pair splashed into the sewer water below. The walls around them rumbling, stone falling from the walls and ceiling as though the entire tunnel was soon to collapse. All noise only drowned out by the rough coughing of Red Hood. Spilling from underneath the chin, blood dripped into the water below as the vigilante crawled towards the wall shaking off Aizawa's loose hand and the rubble that had almost buried him. Body trembling with each movement.

The pain had began to take hold, vision spinning as strength slowly drained from his limbs. Yet he couldn't pass out, he knew if he did... Placing his right hand against the concrete floor his arm slipped from underneath sending his already shattered helmet into the ground. His arm, wrist, even fingers were broken. Still he found enough of a hold to prop himself up. He crawled until he set his back against the wall. Trying to ignore the discomfort that came from the shaking walls.

The vigilante watched as across from him, Aizawa took a similar position, albeit his condition was far better than his. The two sat in silence, a lone unconcealed emerald eye looking into the hero's almost pitch black eyes. No words were exchanged, as they took in each other's appearance. Not that there wasn't much to see.

His armor was torn to shreds, helmet broken, his body covered in open wounds as he dripped with fresh blood. As for Aizawa, well there wasn't a story to tell. Other than a few scratches the man looked relatively fine. For 10 minutes neither spoke and only listened to the raging monster just a few feet above their heads. Finally the silence was broken.

"Take off the helmet."

Red Hood could only stare. This wasn't Aizawa asking but demanding him. The hero's voice carried a tone of desperation, of anger, sadness, and... hope. Kicking his legs to brace himself against the wall, Red Hood leaned forward, left hand aching to reach towards the back of his head. Pressing a button the vigilante had torn his helmet off. Hair wet with blood and sweat, Izuku looked to his mentor.

The man had no idea what to do with his hands. Fists and jaw clenching and unclenching. Hands and arms moving to his mouth, head, body, never settling into a single place. Aizawa's head drowned in thoughts, he had wished. Wished he had been wrong, wished in some way that this truth was false, but he out of everyone knew better than to wish for something that could never be.

"..." Izuku watched in silence, his own jaw clenched so tight the bones in his jaw started to hurt. Part of him screamed to close his eyes but he couldn't especially when Aizawa rose from his side of the tunnel rapidly grabbing him by the collar slamming his back into the wall.

"Why?! Why Izuku?!"

The hero had screamed. The amount of times he let his emotions get the better of him was growing each day but none of them can be close to this.

"WHY?! WHY DIDN'T YOU COME BACK?! WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS, TO ME, TO ERI?!" He wanted an answer, even if he had to pry it from his student's lips. Aizawa would not relent, holding Izuku's collar tightly the man started to shake the injured boy. The silence that persisted from Izuku only gave rise to an even greater anger. "Say something!" He yelled pleaded, wanting some answer, anything but silence. "Please! Izuku! Come back!"

The entire time Izuku did not look away. His body ached from the harsh movement. Mouth slowly opening he finally spoke. "Come back? I do that, then how long?" His question went without answer. His body surging with full cowl Izuku pushed back, his own hands grabbing tightly onto Aizawa's clothes as he pushed both himself and the hero into the other wall. "How long Aizawa?!"

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