Izuku wasn't sure how, but neither him nor Shigaraki noticed the kid until she was right in front of them.
"What're you doing?" The girl asked, tilting his head curiously as she stared at Shigaraki's hand where it sat loosely wrapped around Izuku's throat. The two of them both jumped and whirled to face the kid with wide eyes, both equally startled by the tension of their little hostage situation being broken by a little kid. And then Shigaraki scowled, and Izuku's heart lurched into his throat as he remembered the villain's threat of injuring civilians, and he quickly hurried to distract the kid.
"O-oh, I, we're just- hanging out! Um, you should go find your parents now, before they get worried!" Izuku blurted, trying to pull away from Shigaraki slightly to look casual only for the villain's grip to tighten around his throat warningly.
"Are you fighting?" The child asked curiously, moving closer despite the way both of them tensed.
"Make her go away." Shigaraki hissed threateningly in his ear, and Izuku had to resist the urge to snap backI'm trying!
"Yeah, no, I mean- we just had a bit of an argument, but we'll figure it out!" Izuku babbled nervously, trying to simultaneously put himself between Shigaraki and the child, keep track of the villain and the kid to make sure neither would make any sudden moves, and figure out how to get the girl to go away as fast as possible without scaring her. But contrary to what he expected, the kid lit up at that answer, looking excited.
"I can fix it!" She announced cheerfully, then lurched forwards. Shigaraki startled at the sudden motion, jerking a hand towards the kid, but Izuku moved faster, throwing himself between the two just as the child's hand slapped down onto his arm and Shigaraki's leg-
There was a strange sort ofvwoom sound, a flash of bright blue light, and then before either of them could react, walls sprouted from the floor beneath them and snapped into a airtight cube, cutting off all sound. The child beamed at them from outside the cube as they both leapt to their feet, slamming against the walls and automatically searching for an exit as Shigaraki snarled and Izuku mentally chanted curses. It quickly became obvious that they were well and truly trapped, a crowd already beginning to form around them as strangers stopped to look at the giant floating cube in the middle of the mall, and then they heard a light tapping sound. They both whirled to look, panic starting to overtake them as they processed how helpless they were, only to see the kid looking pleased with herself as she pointed upwards.
When they looked followed her gaze, they saw one word printed in big blue letters on the ceiling above them.
"Oh, fuck." Izuku whispered, disbelief and horror and dread filling his body.
And then Shigaraki tackled him to the ground with a growl of pure fury, slamming them both to the floor.
Izuku yelped as he hit the ground, too caught up in a swirl of panic to notice that it didn't hurt at all. He automatically twisted, lashing out and slamming his elbow into Shigaraki's ribs, but the villain just shrugged off the blow and slammed a fist into his temple. Izuku's head snapped to the side, but he didn't feel any pain, so he jerked and tried to shove Shigaraki back. After a second of grappling, the villain pinned him down, face twisted into a snarl.
"Youidiot!" Shigaraki yelled, his voice loud with anger despite the stark fear in his eyes. "You couldn't even scare off one shitty brat?!"
"I didn't see you doing anything!" Izuku snapped back, his heart pounding with terror because holyfuck, he was trapped in aboxwith avillain, and his fear only grew when Shigaraki's expression twisted into a vicious grin.
"Well, I'm doing something now." Shigaraki snarled, and grabbed Izuku's face.
Izuku's breath froze in his lungs, his whole body locking up with pure fear as he braced for the pain. But it didn't come. The fifth finger touched down, and nothing happened. The two of them stared at each other for a second, both frozen in that one moment of shock as they realized what had happened, or rather, what hadn't. And the Shigaraki's expression slipped into fear, and Izuku dragged One for All to the surface as he slammed his fist into the villain's chest with the full weight of his Quirk behind it, barely giving Shigaraki time to flinch. But as soon as his fist hit the villain's sternum, his Quirk sputtered out, the energy dispersing harmlessly and leaving Shigaraki looking more startled and confused than hurt.
"We- we can't use our Quirks?" Izuku mumbled, more to himself than anything.
"That's impossible!" Shigaraki snapped, sounding more like he wanted it to be true rather than he actually believed it as he reached up to scratch his neck anxiously. "That's- that can't-" He grabbed Izuku's wrist, and they both startled as his sleeve crumbled into dust all the way up to his elbow, but the second the villain's fingers touched his skin all progress stopped.
"Oh," Izuku whispered, staring down at his decayed sleeve with wide eyes. "We can't hurt each other."
"Fuck!" Shigaraki snarled, launching to his feet and beginning to pace the length of the cube like a caged animal, dragging his fingers over the glass like he was hoping that at any second his Quirk might return and destroy their prison. Izuku immediately scrambled back, pressing himself against the opposite side of the cube as he trembled. He tried to take a deep breath and shake off the waves of adrenaline, along with the dust on his arm, and forced himself to think logically about what to do.
First, he scanned his surroundings. The cube was maybe seven feet by seven feet, the walls and floor all made of smooth glass without any cracks or seam lines. It was hovering about six inches off the ground, and there was nothing inside the cube but Izuku and Shigaraki and the clothes they were wearing. A small crowd had formed, civilians stopping to look and shake their heads disapprovingly, but most people just walked right past. Izuku didn't blame them, this situation could easily be written off as some sort of Quirk accident, but he still felt his stomach twist uncomfortably at the feeling of being ignored when he needed help. Given that no sound leaked in from the outside, he didn't think yelling for help would do anything, and based on the way Shigaraki kept tapping his fingers to the walls and growling in frustration he probably wouldn't be able to break out with pure force either.
The child who had put them there didn't look nearly so proud of herself now. In fact, she looked incredibly nervous, and her eyes were welling up with tears. Izuku took a deep breath, then let it out slowly. First things first, he had to convince the kid to let down her Quirk and set them free, and to do that he had to calm her down. He pulled out his phone, hoping he could use his notes app to type out some sort of message, but Shigaraki caught the motion and whirled around. Before he could react, his phone was snatched from his grip, making him flinch back instinctively before he realized the villain hadn't been reaching for him.
"Hey!" He yelped, scrambling to his feet to try and snatch the phone back. "What- give that back!"
"Why, so you can call yourheroesto come help you?" Shigaraki sneered, closing his hand around the phone and letting it crumble to dust as Izuku let out a wounded noise. "Yeah, I don't think so."
"Heroes are going to be here soon anyways!" Izuku cried out in frustration, gesturing to the small crowd of strangers who had gathered to watch, some of who had pulled out their phones to take pictures or videos. Shigaraki shot a sidelong glare at the civilians, lip twisting with distaste as he pulled his hood a little lower over his head. "Besides, do you have any other way to get us out of here?" Izuku added, glaring down at the pile of dust on the floor that had been his phone. But before Shigaraki could reply, something occurred to him, and his head snapped back up. "Why don't you call your villain buddy, that one with the warp Quirk? Maybe he can get us out?" Shigaraki's face went tense, and he looked away sharply.
"Not an option." The villain said shortly, turning to start pacing along the wall again.
"What? Why not?" Izuku asked, confused and annoyed. Had that other villain died or something?
"Because it isn't!" Shigaraki snarled, shooting him a glare cold enough that Izuku stopped short. Oh, maybe the warp guyhaddied. Being a villain was probably super dangerous, so it was entirely possible that the guy had just pissed off the wrong person or something. Izuku opened his mouth to say something like 'sorry for your loss', then closed it again as he realized how stupid it was. It was entirely likely thatShigarakihad been the one to kill that warp guy, and saying something like that would probably just piss the villain off more. Besides, the idea that someone who haunted his nightmares could just go and die while he wasn't looking felt sort of... Weird, to him. Izuku turned away with a huff, dragging his hand through his hair as he scanned the walls again.
Outside the cube, the child had been picked up by an adult that looked just like her, probably her dad. She was crying into the man's shoulder, and the dad looked sort of pained as he bounced her on his hip, like he couldn't decide whether to comfort her or scold her. He shot Izuku an apologetic look, and without thinking Izuku sent a reassuring smile back, despite the fact that he felt like he was going to throw up from anxiety. The dad must've seen some of the unease he felt on his face, because the man just looked even more guilty, then pulled out his phone and started to call someone. Izuku glanced back at Shigaraki, just so he could keep the villain in his view, but then he caught sight of a familiar brown bob weaving through the crowd.
Izuku lit up, waving to try and get Uraraka's attention, but she wasn't looking at him yet. Instead, she was scanning the crowd, her serious Hero Look in place as she tried to figure out what had caught their attention. Her eyes widened as she caught sight of the cube, then widened even further as she saw Izuku inside of it. She cried out something that made the crowd around her startle, hurrying forwards and pushing people aside as she slammed into the side of the cube. She scanned the whole thing with wide, worried eyes, feeling along the sides for any seam that she could exploit. Knowing she wouldn't find one, Izuku tapped the glass to get her attention, then mimed taking an exaggerated deep breath. Uraraka faltered, then copied him, taking a breath to calm herself down.
Once she wasn't quite so frantic, Izuku exhaled on the glass to fog it up, and slowly began to write 'call sensei' backwards so she could read it. He didn't want to write Aizawa-sensei's real name when a villain was right next to him, but he knew she'd know who he was talking about. But just as he was writing the last letter, a hand swiped across the message, wiping the fog away and startling both of them. When Izuku looked up, he cringed back as he saw Shigaraki looming over him, face was twisted into a scowl.
"I saidno heroes." Shigaraki snarled, leaning in like he could intimidate Izuku into just dying on the spot.
"Th-they're gonna get here anyways." Izuku grumbled, trying to keep his voice steady and not show how badly he was shaking. "It's just a matter of whether they get here in five minutes or fifteen."
"For you, maybe, for me it's a matter of who's there to arrest me!" Shigaraki snapped, whirling to return to pacing their little room like a caged lion once again, fingers clawing at his neck in a way that looked painful. Izuku let out a slow breath, then turned back to Uraraka again, who looked confused and concerned but not scared like he had expected. He realized abruptly that she probably couldn't see Shigaraki's face from that angle, with his hood up and his side facing her, and in fact she probably wouldn't recognize his face at all given that he'd been wearing a weird mask shaped like a hand during the USJ attack. That gave Izuku an idea, and he did his best to shoot Uraraka a reassuring smile and mime taking a phone call, waiting until she nodded and pulled out her phone before he turned to face Shigaraki again.
"Let's make a deal." Izuku said, clenching his hands into fists as he fought to keep his voice steady. Shigaraki stilled, then slowly turned to look at him, raising an eyebrow and tilting his head in ago ongesture. Which, honestly, was a far better response than Izuku had expected. "If you pretend to be a civilian once the heroes come and get us out, then I'll play along long enough for you to get away."
"Hah?" Shigaraki said incredulously, staring at Izuku like he was an idiot. "You really expect me to think that you'd just let me get away scot free?"
"Your goal is to get out of here without getting arrested. My goal is to make sure you don't kill anyone. I don't care whether you get arrested or not as long as no one gets hurt." Izuku explained, kind of proud that his voice didn't shake. "Depending on which heroes show up, you may be able to put up enough of a fight to get away, or you might not. I can't guess which, and I'm not going to take that chance, not when I know that whether or not you escape you'll be able to cause some serious damage. If letting you get away means that the civilians are safe, then that's a fair trade to me." Shigaraki stared at him for a second, then scoffed and turned away.
"You're such a damnhero," Shigaraki muttered with a sneer, though he had stopped clawing at his neck quite so frantically and looked more thoughtful. "And how the hell do you expect me to disguise myself?" Despite the sarcastic words, his tone was mostly calm and curious, and Izuku felt himself relax. Shigaraki was a villain, and quite possibly insane, but it seemed like he could still be reasoned with.
"You don't have to. You were wearing that- mask thing at USJ, right?" Izuku gestured to his face vaguely to show what he meant. "So they probably won't recognize you at a glance, especially with your hood up. Your voice is a different matter, but as long as you're not yelling about ending about ending hero society it'll probably be fine-" Izuku froze, cursing himself for relaxing and letting his mouth run wild, but Shigaraki only looked mildly annoyed as opposed to murderous. "S-so, um, try to act normal?" Izuku offered sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Normal." Shigaraki echoed flatly, and Izuku winced.
"Well, I mean- casual, you know? Like anyone would if they had their shopping interrupted by a Quirk accident." Izuku said, shrugging awkwardly.
"Casual," Shigaraki muttered under his breath like it was a curse, turning to face the glass wall and drag his fingers over it once again. And then something seemed to occur to him, and he paused, curling his fingers into a fist and slowly letting his gaze slide back to Izuku. "Are you sure you can handle the consequences of letting me go?" He asked quietly, just a hint of something sharp in his voice that sent a shiver up Izuku's spine.
"Is that a yes?" Izuku asked, his own hands clenching into fists automatically. His blatant attempt to dodge the question made Shigaraki's lip twitch up, and then the villain's face bloomed into a wide smile that was somehow even more creepy as he spread his hands and shrugged.
"Sure, why the hell not." Shigaraki said casually, and though Izuku wanted to be glad he couldn't help but feel a bit uneasy at how smug the villain looked.
"Okay, good." He said, trying to seem unbothered. Shigaraki smirked at him, then turned back around, and Izuku realized that he didn't really have any way of ensuring that the villain kept to their deal. Well, there wasn't anything he could do about it now, so he sighed and sat down in the corner, drawing his knees up to his chest.
Shigaraki kept examining the cube with a thoughtful sort of look, probably imagining all the ways he could kill someone with it, that creep. The villain tilted his head as he scanned that one word on the ceiling again, reconcile, and Izuku looked away quickly before Shigaraki could catch him staring. A soft tapping on the glass next to him caught his attention, and when he looked up he saw Uraraka sitting on the ground next to him, looking guilty. She held her phone up against the glass, and Izuku leaned in to see that she had typed out a quick note, basically saying that she was sorry for leaving him alone and that she had texted Aizawa and the rest of their class, and they would all be there in a few minutes. Izuku wanted to say that they probably shouldn't gather the whole class nearby, because Shigaraki would probably be really pissed once they got out, but he couldn't do that without revealing the villain's identity.
So instead he just shook his head, then paused and rifled through his pockets until he found a pen before writing 'not ur fault' on his palm. He pressed it against the glass so she could see, and she flashed a grateful little smile, though she still looked uneasy. As Izuku tried to think of what else he could say to comfort her, Uraraka shot a glance at Shigaraki before turning to Izuku with a questioning look. His heart lurched up into his throat, but he tried to keep his face neutral as he shrugged, doing his best to communicate 'no, I have no idea who that guy is, but he's definitely not a villain' with just his expression. Uraraka's eyes narrowed slightly, so he probably hadn't done a very good job. He turned away again quickly before she could ask anymore questions, keeping his head tilted so he could have both Shigaraki and Uraraka in his sight at the same time. The villain was still pacing, though he didn't look quite so much like he was about half a second away from killing one or both of them anymore, so that was good.
Barely two minutes later, the rest of the class began to gather, which made Shigaraki begin to tense up all over again. Eventually, the villain just sat in the corner opposite of Izuku, pulling his hood low over his head and crossing his arms. Izuku wanted to be grateful for Shigaraki's self control, but he could practically feel the villain glaring at him from under his hood, and it was very difficult to reassure his friends that he was fine when he felt like he was trapped in a pool with a shark. After the fifth time he nodded when they asked if he was fine and shrugged awkwardly when they asked who had gotten trapped with him, his friends started to relax enough to tease him for always getting into trouble. He just sort of smiled and accepted the good natured teasing, ignoring the creepy feeling of eyes burning into his back.
Not long after, Aizawa-sensei showed up. Some of Izuku's classmates had already gotten to work ushering civilians back and creating a perimeter, so Aizawa was able to cut right through the crowd and make a beeline for the cube, barely pausing to ruffle Uraraka's hair before stopping in front of Izuku. Izuku sat still as the teacher scanned him, waiting until Aizawa had confirmed that he wasn't visibly bleeding or dying or anything before the man raised his hands and began to sign, spelling out each letter careful.
It took Izuku a second to translate the question, but once he did he smiled, nodding and raising his own hands to sign back.
Aizawa looked relieved, but before he could say anything Shigaraki spoke up.
"What are you doing?" The villain demanded, an odd note of tension in his voice. Izuku jumped, whirling around to see that Shigaraki had sat up slightly, only part of a frown visible under his hood.
"Talking?" Izuku squeaked, then cleared his throat and brought his voice back down to normal. "Why?"
"With your hands?" Shigaraki said sarcastically, only to falter when Izuku stared at him blankly.
"I mean- yes? Have you never seen sign language before?" Izuku asked, part confused and part genuinely curious. Shigaraki just scowled and looked away, so Izuku pressed further. "I mean- I only know spell signing, so it's like- each hand gesture is a letter, you know? And then you have to spell out each word, like A, B, C..." He signed each letter as he listed them off, then faltered as he realized how weird it was to be explaining a whole language to a villain that had tried to kill him more than once. But Shigaraki looked a mix between annoyed and intrigued, like he wanted to know more but didn't want to admit that he didn't know about it in the first place.
Just then, Aizawa rapped on the glass with his knuckles, making Izuku jolt and whirl back around. The man raised an eyebrow at him, and Izuku didn't want to piss Shigaraki off by continuing to talk in a language the villain couldn't understand, so he just pulled out his marker again and scribbled down 'explaining sign lang.' on his bare forearm, hoping Aizawa would be able to fill in the blanks. Luckily, Aizawa seemed to understand, but then he kept staring at Izuku's arm for a long minute with a frown. Izuku started to squirm uncomfortably, wondering what the deal was, and then Aizawa pulled out a notepad and a pen and scribbled down a quick message. When he flipped the notepad around, it read 'what happened to your sleeve?'
Izuku's heart lurched up into his throat as he glanced down. The sleeve that Shigaraki had turned to dust was glaringly obvious when Izuku had a message written across his forearm, as was the ghosting of dust across it. He scrambled for an excuse, couldn't find one, then eventually settled for just shrugging awkwardly and tucking his hands behind his back. Aizawa's eyes narrowed as he tried to peek around Izuku at Shigaraki, but Izuku leaned back into his path, blocking his view. Aizawa looked even more suspicious at that, but Izuku just smiled sheepishly, so the man sighed and gestured over his shoulder to where the child who had imprisoned the two of them sat on her dad's lap, sniffling as Ashido and Kaminari tried to cheer her up. Izuku assumed that meant that Aizawa was going to go talk to them to try and figure this Quirk out, so he nodded, rolling his eyes when Aizawa made a 'stay there' gesture. The teacher didn't exactly smile, but his eyes softened with something like amusement, and he gave a short nod before turning and heading off.
"Where's he going?" Shigaraki asked, and Izuku turned to see that he was playing on a small, handheld console of some sort.
"Sensei's gonna talk to that kid, to see what it takes to get us out of this thing." Izuku replied, tapping his knuckles against the glass wall. Shigaraki's eyes followed Aizawa as he walked away, and for a second the villain looked like he was going to say something, but then he just huffed and turned back to his game. Izuku watched as Aizawa talked with the kid, and then the kid's dad, smiling and waving awkwardly when a few of his classmates who were near the discussion sent him curious glances.
It took ages for Aizawa to return, long enough that the dread and anxiety started to bleed into boredom. Still, he didn't want to let his guard down and start messing around like Shigaraki was (and he couldn't even if he wanted to, because Shigaraki had turned his phone todust, that jerk) in case something happened, so he was left to tap his feet and try not to be too annoying and risk Shigaraki attacking him again or whatever. Finally, Aizawa started to walk back over to them, and though Izuku perked up as the man approached he quickly deflated again when he saw Aizawa's expression. He watched nervously as the teacher approached, pulling out his phone and beginning to write a long note. He could feel Shigaraki watching the two of them, and he tried to crane his neck to see what Aizawa was typing, but no such luck. Finally, Aizawa sighed, then flipped the phone around to reveal what he'd written.
'The kid's Quirk is simple. Basically, if she sees two people in some kind of argument, she can touch them and activate her Quirk, which will generate this cube and lock the two people inside. Once it's formed, it can't be broken by any means that she knows of, and it can't be moved from wherever it was created. As long as they are inside the cube, they won't be able to physically hurt each other in any way. There is no risk of running out of oxygen. However, there is only one way to deactivate the kid's Quirk and get you out, that she knows of. Simply put, you two need to reconcile. Work out whatever you were fighting about, solve whatever argument you had, put aside whatever negative feelings you have for each other aside, etc. Once you do that, the barrier will come down, and we can all go home.'
Izuku stared at the note blankly for a long second, his eyes skimming over that last line over and over again as the blood drained from his face. Aizawa made it sound so easy, but then again, he didn't know who Izuku was really trapped with. But how the hell was Izuku supposed to reconcile with avillain? Was that even possible? To do that, one of them would have to switch sides, and while Izuku wouldneverbecome a villain, he also couldn't imagine Shigaraki as a hero. And even if Shigaraki could become a hero, it would take someone a whole lot smarter than Izuku to convince him to do it. Aizawa's knuckles rapped against the glass again, and Izuku startled, his panicked eyes snapping up to meet the man's worried, confused ones. Izuku gulped, then pulled out his pen and wrote on his clean palm.
'No other way?'
Aizawa's brows furrowed with concern as he slowly shook his head, and Izuku let out a noise that was half a sigh and half a sob. What the hell was he supposed to do here? He wasn't a psychiatrist, how the fuck was he supposed to turn a psychotic villain who wanted to kill All Might into a hero? That'd be a difficult job for anyone, never mind a sixteen year old with his own host of issues. Unless "reconcile" meant that they just had to forgive each other? Izuku didn't think he couldeverforgive Shigaraki for trying to kill his mentor and most of his friends, not when he spent so many nights staying up late texting or calling his friends to help them forget about their nightmares from USJ. And what the hell did Shigaraki even have to forgive Izuku for? Stopping him from killing All Might? Izuku would never apologize for that!
God, it- "reconcile" was just too vague! It couldn't been any number of things, from the fact that they both wanted each other out of the way (whether that be arrested or dead) to their fundamentally opposed views on hero society to the attempted murders... There was just so much to choose from, and if fixing all of that was what it took to get out then they'd probably be trapped in this damn cubeforever.
"What'd he say?" Shigaraki asked, and Izuku nearly passed out as he realized that he'd have to share this unfortunate news with the villain.
"It, um-" Izuku stammered, trying to think of a way to sugarcoat it. "B-basically, like it says up there, the only way to get out is to, um, r-reconcile..." Shigaraki paused, lowering his game so he could stare at Izuku incredulously.
"Reconcile." The villain echoed, his voice so flat and emotionless that Izuku flinched at the sound of it.
"W-well, I'm sure there's other options!" He blurted, scrambling for something to say that would calm the villain down. "That kid's young, you know? She must've only had her Quirk for a year or two, s-so there's no way she tried everything! I'm sure sensei can figure something out-" Izuku's jaw snapped shut as Shigaraki cut him off with a dark, disbelieving laugh, and he automatically cringed back as the villain slowly pulled himself to his feet.
"Reconcile?" Shigaraki repeated, a sneer twisting his lips as he stalked over to Izuku. "Withyou? Why the hell should I listen to what a shitty hero brat has to say, huh? You telling me I have to make nice with someone likeyoujust to get to go home?"
"N-no, I- I'm sure we can figure something out, m-maybe there's something that can break these walls that they haven't tried yet-" Izuku stammered out, pressing himself back against the wall as Shigaraki approached. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Aizawa's face pinch with concern, but then the villain slammed a hand onto the wall just next to his head, cornering him against the wall and looming over him.
"Well, why don't we show him something to get himmotivated?" Shigaraki snarled, a bloodthirsty grin stretched across his face. Izuku felt his breath freeze in his lungs as he stared up at the villain with wide, terrified eyes, all logical thoughts about how he knew Shigaraki couldn't hurt him right then fleeing in the face of pure instinct. His mind screamed at him that he wastrapped, that he had torunorfightor doanything possibleto keep the attention of the predator in front of him off of him. Thankfully, Shigaraki's gaze slid off of him quickly, moving up to meet Aizawa's eyes instead as the villain grinned viciously.
Izuku could barely breathe from fear, but he managed to turn his head just enough to watch Aizawa's expression shift as Shigaraki slid a hand up to cup the back of Izuku's neck, one finger raised, and the other reached up to push his hood off his face with a thumb. Aizawa's face rapidly shifted through shock and horror and fear and anger as he recognized Shigaraki's face, and the villain stuck his tongue out in an incredibly childish gesture as he pressed his fifth finger to Izuku's neck. It was both a taunt and a threat, a sort of 'I can do anything to him and you can't stop me', and it was incredibly effective. Aizawa's expression twisted into anger as he slammed his fist into the glass, glaring at Shigaraki with pure murderous fury as he flaring his Quirk almost subconsciously.
Somehow, seeing Aizawa-sensei so desperate to protect him made it a bit easier to move, and Izuku managed to shove Shigaraki away as he sucked in a ragged gasp. The villain stumbled back, and Izuku prepared for a fight, but Shigaraki just laughed and spun around, clasping his hands behind his head and grinning like he didn't have a care in the world. Meanwhile, Izuku struggled to regain control over his breathing as he watched his classmates start to freak out, gasping for air and clutching at his sternum like that could soothe his racing heartbeat. With shaking hands, he pulled out his pen and scrawled out a wobbly message across the back of his hand, holding it up so Aizawa could read it.
I don't think reconciling will work.
. . .
After that, the tone of the whole situation changed drastically.
The mall was shut down, and all the civilians were evacuated. Heroes and cops flooded the building, setting up a perimeter around the cube surprisingly quickly. Most of Izuku's class were ushered from the building, despite their obvious protests. Aizawa allowed some of them (like Ashido and Kirishima) to stay and use their Quirks to try and break the cube from the outside, but nothing they did even made it wobble, so they were ushered out as well. While the heroes and police officers argued about what to do (which wasn't helped by Shigaraki sitting and grinning smugly at them through the glass), Izuku sat back down and starting to catalogue everything he had on him with shaking hands, just to give himself something to do.
In his pockets, he had a pen, a small first aid kit, a small sewing kit, a protein bar, his wallet, a small notebook, and a large water bottle. For once, he was glad that his anxiety made him overpack for even a small trip like this, and that his cargo shorts had enough pockets to carry all of it. That would hopefully give him something to entertain himself with while the heroes tried to figure out what to do. When he glanced up, he saw Shigaraki amusing himself by miming some sort of ripping gesture at a group of irritated police officers, and he quickly looked away again. Instead he catalogued all the heroes around them as he put everything back in his pockets, pleased to realize that he recognized all of them even if they were mostly local heroes.
There was a bit of a parade as several heroes came through to try to forcefully break open the cube one by one, everyone from Miruko to Hawks to Fat Gum, though none of it worked. Aizawa told him that the other UA staff were doing their best to keep All Might away, because even if the number one hero could break open the cube it would likely just take the rest of the mall down as well. Besides, having All Might be there might agitate Shigaraki, which they were trying to avoid as much as possible. After a while, Shigaraki seemed to get bored of antagonizing the cops, and he flopped down on the floor with his feet up on the wall and pulled out his little handheld gaming console once again. Izuku ignored him and watched the heroes talk to each other, seeming to work out a schedule of some kind, and then all of them except Aizawa and two others left.
He tried not to feel too bummed out about the fact that he was literally one glass wall away from meeting and possible getting autographs from a dozen of his favorite heroes, but mostly he was just sort of glad that he had managed to keep himself from rambling about them like he usually would've. Gushing about heroes while trapped in a room with a villain was almost definitely a bad idea, though once the terror he had felt earlier started to slip into a low hum of anxiety, he found himself getting bored enough that he considered doing so anyways. Instead he watched as Aizawa came over and showed him a short note saying that the cops and heroes would be taking shifts to watch over them while Nezu worked with some other investigators to see if there was anything else they could do. He also wrote that he would be staying there until the got Izuku out, no matter what, and Izuku had to blink back tears as he flashed a grateful little smile and carefully signedthank you.
Aizawa's expression softened, and the hero nodded and sat down next to the cube, and after that... Well, after that there wasn't much to do except sit and wait. Izuku was sort of tired, but there was no way he was going to even try to sleep in the same room as a villain, so instead he fidgeted with his hands as he tried to think of something to occupy himself. Eventually, it started to bother him that one of his sleeves was longer than the other, so he pulled out the small sewing kit and shrugged off his hoodie. He spent the next few minutes trimming the jagged edge off the decayed sleeve with a pair of small thread scissors, then cut off the other sleeve at a matching length. It took him several tries to thread the sewing needle with his shaking hands, but once he did it was easy to hem the edges of the sleeves. He let his mind wander a bit as he slowly and methodically repeated the same stitch over and over again, thinking about how worried his friends must be, wondering if his mom had been notified yet, wondering if All Might would try to get to him anyways despite how bad of an idea it was... In fact, he was so lost in thought that he didn't notice when Shigaraki paused, turning to squint at him suspiciously.
"What are you doing?" The villain finally asked, making him jump. He managed to avoid stabbing himself with a needle, and he let out a slow breath to calm himself down as he glanced up. Shigaraki didn't look genuinely interested, more just bored and mildly curious. But still, Izuku figured it was best to keep calm and answer the villain's questions anyways, if only to keep the peace.
"Fixing my hoodie." He mumbled, curling in on himself a bit as he pressed himself back against the wall. He wasn't sure if the implied 'you know, the one thatyoumessed up' was going to get him killed, but luckily Shigaraki either didn't notice or didn't care, because he just sort of squinted.
"You brought sewing stuff to the mall?" He asked, and Izuku felt his face heat up with embarrassment as he shrugged awkwardly.
"I like to be prepared." He said quietly, annoyed at how judged he felt as the villain flashed a vicious, lopsided little smirk.
"And how exactly does having some thread help you be prepared for this?" Shigaraki said sarcastically, gesturing vaguely to indicate the situation around them. Izuku scowled, but didn't rise to the bait, silently focusing on his task instead. If it was between him and a villain, it was easy for him to be the bigger person, though it was also a bit nerve-wracking to do anything that had even a chance of pissing the guy off. Shigaraki waited for a beat, but when Izuku didn't reply he just clicked his tongue and turned back to his game, apparently deciding that it wasn't worth the effort. Which was oddly comforting, in a completely fucked up bizarre way. Like, it was nice to know that even though Shigaraki was completely insane, he was also lazy and more focused on his game than on antagonizing Izuku.
He noticed Aizawa frowning at the two of them through the glass, squinting at Shigaraki like that could help him hear what the villain was saying, and then Izuku caught his eye and tried his best to flash a reassuring smile. Aizawa didn't seem reassured, but he didn't look super antsy either. More just... on guard. Prepared, ironically enough. That was actually genuinely comforting, in a way that made some of the tension bleed from Izuku's shoulders. Having someone at his back, even a teacher like Aizawa-sensei that Izuku wasn't sure he trusted yet, was really helpful. Still, he found himself oddly impressed that Shigaraki could manage to look perfectly at ease even while trapped in a box with an enemy, surrounded by even more enemies. It was the kind of blasé attitude that Izuku sometimes found himself getting a bit jealous of, whenever he felt particularly upset by how anxious and awkward he was.
Izuku continued to sew up his sleeves for the next hour or so. At least, he guessed it was about an hour. He couldn't really tell time at the moment, given that his phone was sitting in a pile of dust on the floor. At one point, he began to hum to himself, mostly because the silence in their little cube was so thick and tense that it made his tinnitus start to act up. He didn't hum loudly, just enough to distract himself from the sound of Shigaraki's breathing and the quiet clicking of the villain tapping at his game. Shigaraki paused and shot him a glance, but didn't say anything, so Izuku continued humming some random tune as his mind wandered. After a while, he finished fixing the sleeves on his hoodie so they both sat just above his elbow, then shrugged it back on.
After that, he sort of hesitated for a second as he tried to think of something else to do, then grabbed the cut off sleeve and began slowly unpicking the seam to turn the tube into a flat piece of fabric. Once that was done, he threaded the needle with a bright white thread that would stand out against the soft grey fabric, then got back to work stitching out a simple design. He wasn't great at embroidery, his lines were wobbly and his stitches uneven, but he had taught himself once a couple years ago so he could embroider his mom's apron for her birthday, so at very least it was something to keep his hands busy. He kind of wished he could at least play some music, but instead he just settled for going back to humming. As he stitched out a generic design of daisies and vines, he didn't noticed when Shigaraki paused and turned to fully face him.
"You know that game?" Shigaraki asked, a hint of a sneer in his voice, and Izuku was proud to say that he only jumped a little bit that time. It took him a second to figure out what the villain was talking about, but then he realized that he had been humming the tune to an old video game under his breath. In fact, it was the same tune that was softly playing through the console Shigaraki was playing on, and Izuku had simply been humming along subconsciously.
"O-oh, yeah, I guess. I played it a lot when I was a kid." Izuku mumbled a bit warily, trying to figure out where Shigaraki was going with that. The villain squinted at him with a sort of considering look for a second, then scoffed and raised his chin.
"I bet you never got past the underwater level." Shigaraki sneered. Izuku hesitated, then glanced up, trying to remember what level that was. It had been several years since he played that game, but if he remembered correctly...
"The one with the golden bones boss?" Izuku asked, still confused and kind of nervous but figuring that video games were probably the safest conversation topic they had. Shigaraki nodded, and Izuku frowned thoughtfully. "I mean- I think I got stuck on that boss for a while, but it's pretty easy once you get the bullet upgrade from the archer at the previous level, right?"
Shigaraki stared blankly at him for a second, then turned back to his game without another word. Izuku waited, assuming that Shigaraki was going to clarify why he had said that, but the villain seemed to have decided that that conversation was over now. So Izuku reluctantly turned back to his embroidery, eyeing the villain warily. And then something occurred to him, and he paused all over again. Was that Shigaraki's way of figuring out how to beat that level without admitting he was stuck or actually asking for help? Based on the way the villain started to grin victoriously a few minutes later, he guessed that that was the case, but the very idea of it was so surreal that he pinched his arm to make sure he wasn't dreaming. He wasn't, of course, but it was still utterly bizarre. Not to mention the way the villain was starting to eye him thoughtfully...
Izuku sighed and turned back to his embroidery, hoping that Nezu would figure something out soon. He wasn't sure how long he could take sitting here in awkward silence with a villain that occasionally asked him weird questions. After a while, his hands started to shake too badly for him to continue, so he set everything aside and flopped down with a sigh. He began to massage his hands, trying to blink the tension from his eyes that came from squinting down at tiny stitches for hours, and then glanced over at Shigaraki. The villain was still ignoring him, so Izuku decided fuck it and shrugged his hoodie off, bundling it up in a ball under his head and turning to face the side of the cube so his back was to Shigaraki, unloading everything from his pockets so he could lay down comfortably.
Aizawa made eye contact through the glass and raised an eyebrow at him, and Izuku made a series of vague gestures, trying to communicate that he was going to take a nap since Shigaraki couldn't hurt him anyways. The hero let out a breath, though Izuku couldn't be sure if it was in a disappointed sigh or an amused huff, and then nodded as he sat down next to him. Aizawa made another vague gesture in return, something that he interpreted as 'go ahead and sleep, I'll be here'. Izuku smiled back, small and nervous and grateful, then closed his eyes and tried to relax. He took a few slow, deep breaths, and he tried his hardest not to think about the prickling feeling of eyes on the back of his head.
A few minutes later, Shigaraki set aside his game and slowly rose to his feet. Aizawa sat up immediately, eyes narrowing suspiciously, but the villain ignored him as he stalked forwards on nearly silent footsteps. He crouched down next to Izuku, then slowly reached forwards to grab the sewing kit and flipped it open, pulling out a small, shiny pair of sewing scissors. Immediately, several of the nearby cops and heroes jumped to their feet, including Aizawa. The man slammed a fist against the glass wall between them, flashing a furious, Quirk enhanced glare that clearly saiddon't you dare. But Shigaraki just grinned and flipped the scissors around in his grip, ignoring the silent shouts around him as he raised his hand high and slammed the scissors down blades first into Izuku's temple.
Only, the second the blades touched his temple, they stopped dead, the momentum dissipating harmlessly and feeling like nothing more than a tap. Aizawa sagged with relief, but Shigaraki just looked mildly annoyed for a second before he sighed and tossed the scissors aside, shrugging in a sort of 'what can you do?' gesture before turning away again. He seemed entirely unbothered by the glares of hatred and disgust from the heroes and police officers around him as he walked back over to the opposite side of the cube. He flopped down and picked up his game again, returning to ignoring everything around him and scratching idly at his neck as he lounged like he hadn't just tried to kill someone. Aizawa let out a slow breath and visibly calmed himself before glancing down, his expression going tight at what he saw.
Izuku was staring up at him through the glass with wide, terrified eyes, both hands clasped over his mouth as he tried to muffle his shaky, ragged breathing, having seen the whole thing through the reflection in the glass.