[Chapter 5]: On his shoulder

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Minutes felt like hours. Days felt like months. Time moved exceedingly slow in that place, droning like the routines everyone had fallen into. Somedays nobody left their cells, other days they had captives out working. The meals were bland but always managed to satiate everybody. If you didn't put up a fight there was no need for unnecessary cruelty. Some of the guards could even be considered kind.

But you were different, you couldn't just sit still. Watching kids disappear and new ones be brought in on the daily drove you mad.

Aizawa watched as you struggled against an unstoppable force. Of course, he had his own reasons for remaining obedient. Each day he gathered more intel, particularly as you lied through your teeth about your triumphs outside the cell to the other kids.

He saw it though. Days when you would zone out, when you were quiet, days when you would tremble so softly that you had to be touching to feel it.

Just a few more days.

A few more days of relaying stronghold layouts and guard patterns through intricate, undetectable code. It was a delicate situation that required careful planning to avoid a hostage situation.

But as soon as Aizawa received confirmation that the heroes were ready to move, that was that. He could complete his mission and everyone would be free.

More specifically, he could free you.

- - -

"Look! Big sis if back!" One of the younger kids cried. The children pressed there faces up through the bars, watching as you were led back down the hallway.

Aizawa sat back quietly where he usually did. He was watching too, but he didn't see what everyone else say. He saw a girl who's being was nearly shattered to pieces. It wasn't even the blood dribbling down the side of your face that got to him, it was your eyes.

Defeat.

"Damn psychotic brat..." The guard growled, opening the cell door and promptly shoving you inside. You stumbled and collapsed to the ground. The kids gathered around and eagerly waited for you to stand.

But you didn't.

You just stayed there on your side, eerily silent. Everyone called out your name, but it all just sounded like ringing.

I'm sorry everyone... I'm trying so hard to pull it together... But I-

"Give her some space." Aizawa called out to the small crowd around you.

The kids were perplexed by his words. Why did you need space? You were strong, you could handle everything.

"Eh? But why?" One of them pondered.

"Don't talk back." Aizawa scoffed. "Listen to your senpai."

After a bit of rebuttal, most of the kids backed off. They were all still young, no older than 10-13. It was hard for them to understand. If you could take a deep breath, you would have. It was a relief to not instantly have to tell your story, to put on a brave face. You just lied there and processed everything.

An hour went by.

Two.

In that time you had fallen asleep briefly once or twice. You had forgotten how to breathe, relearned, and forgotten again. There were moments of insurmountable pain in your body and moments where you felt nothing except for the sensation of your skin crawling. Nobody really talked in that time. Without your typical banter, the air was extra stiff and morale was low. The primary gear that kept everything working had been all but removed from the system.

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