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THE HOSPITAL SMELLED LIKE SADNESS AND DISINFECTANT. The dim lights, paired with the echoing click-clack of the nurse's heeled shoes, gave the building a haunted feeling. She resisted the urge to scratch at her neck. The bandages itched against her tender skin, where even the slightest touch sent a tendril of pain slicing through her. She found it infuriatingly annoying.

It'd been five hours since Kendria had woken up from the paradise. The nurse fussed about heart rate and blood levels and things that she didn't understand at all. She drifted in and out of a light doze, only able to really stay awake when the woman in charge of her brought a bowl of rice and a glass of water. She wanted to leave the confines of the stiff sheets, but the nurse insisted that she needed to rest. The next three hours were spent watching re-runs of Phineas and Ferb and sorting through the items left on the small table beside her.

Apparently, her classmates had come to visit her while she was asleep. Classes were cancelled for the day, understandably, and the entirety of 1-A rushed to the hospital to make sure she was okay. The nurse assured her that everyone was safe and healthy, a "blessing" seeing as they'd just been attacked by Villains. Her uniform, folded neatly, and her bag sat on the little table, along with an assortment of get-well cards. There was also a container of chocolate-chip cookies, with an encouraging letter from Rikido Sato, the well-built boy with the sugary Quirk. She made a mental note to return his Tupperware container.

One should never give up Tupperware.

Warmth spread through her at the thought of her classmates, even the stone-cold Todoroki, taking the time out of their lives to check up on her. She was almost able to ignore the fact that she'd almost died.

Almost. That word seemed to pop up a lot in her roller-coaster of thought.

By the time the nurse told her she could be discharged from the hospital, Kendria had run through the events of the USJ at least five times. Every mistake, every moment of weakness, stuck out like a sore thumb in her memories. I could have done better. I could have been stronger. I could have tried harder. And the nurse had just explained that her caregiver needed to be identified when she remembered something very important.

"My uncle," she said, voice hoarse and cracked. "I need to know if he's okay."

The nurse's smile dropped, just a little. "Your uncle?" By the look in the woman's eyes, she already knew what Kendria meant.

She fiddled with the straps of her bag. "Shota Aizawa. Eraserhead. The man who nearly died. I need to know if he's okay."

"Shota Aizawa ..." The nurse bit her lip, as if contemplating how much to reveal. "He was submitted at the same time as you. He's been through surgery, and is still recovering ..." The sentence was left unfinished, but she understood. There's no guarantee that he'll survive.

"Take me to him."

Now the nurse lead her down an empty hallway. It was silent but for their footsteps, the woman's click-clacking amplifying the unnatural quiet. She pulled her gray blazer tighter around herself, as if that could protect her from the eeriness.

"Here," said the nurse, and she watched with rising apprehension as the door creaked open. "Visiting time is almost over. You have five minutes." She nodded and stepped into the room. A gasp escaped her, her eyes widening at the sight of her uncle.

Bandages wrapped around his head and neck, Aizawa looked more like a mummy than a living creature. His arms were hidden by casts, a show of just how much damage the man had taken during the attack. The horrifying image of his face smashed against concrete flashed before her eyes. I watched it happen. And I did nothing. She felt sick. I let it happen.

Aware of the nurse's presence just outside the door, she blinked away the tears and sat in the small chair near her uncle's bed. She could just barely see the rise and fall of his chest, the only proof that he was still alive and breathing. "Aizawa ..." Her fingers curled around the hem of her skirt, trying to stop the shaking in her hands. "I'm sorry." Her voice broke before she could even finish.

She clapped a hand over her mouth, muffled sobs jolting her. "I tried. I tried, and I, I couldn't control it!" Hot tears trailed down her cheeks. "I couldn't, I couldn't protect them or you! I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" She hid her face in her hands, palms pressed against her eyes as she gasped for breath and her father grabbed her by the wrists and pulled her to her feet, screaming at her to stop crying, only weaklings cry and he refused to let his daughter be weak! And a shield slammed into his gut and he doubled over. And she panicked, only one thought filling her little head.


She ran.

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