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95.52% BNHA: Undying

Chapter 64: Comfort


I shove my way through the crowd of students, scowling at the ones who insist on standing in my way. Which makes absolutely no sense since Bakugou is the one who pissed them off! Why are you bothering me, go bother him! He's still yelling, but that's unrelated to the other courses checking out our class. Honestly it would be pretty funny to see him explode some of the 'extras', as he called him. But I have something way more important to do!

As I head down the hall to my target, I can't help but think about how she'd been acting all day. It was strange. Usually Izumi would be all over everyone, desperately trying to be helpful and make sure they're all ok after the USJ. Even if the worst damage any of us got was Kaminari short-circuiting from his own quirk. Again.

But she came in with massive eye bags, even worse than our teacher's. And she was extremely out of it, she barely reacted when the Sports Festival was announced! Heck, even Toru was more excited than her, and she was just depressed that nobody would pay attention to her because she's invisible!

Even with all that though, I could wave it off as her having an off day. I know just how bad those can be. Not that I'll ever tell anyone~. No, the real thing that made me concerned is how she reacted when that jerk with purple hair said that all of us are too arrogant to be heroes, and that people will die if we let surviving a villain attack go to our heads.

I'm gonna be honest, in that moment, I wondered if he had brain damage. Like, why would not dying make us arrogant? Seriously, what the fuck!? Aizawa-sensei even said that the people we fought only counted as villains because they used their quirks! They barely even qualified as hired muscle with how weak they were!

But Izumi seemed to hunch in on herself when he said that, lowering her head so that her eyes were hidden. She seemed so small in that moment, and I could just tell that she needed help. Of course before I could go to her Bakugou shouted about how they have the right to be arrogant, especially with how two of the villains didn't survive the attack.

Which is especially stupid! We all know that All Might killed some kind of monster the villains brought in an effort to end the Symbol of Peace, and they killed one of their own people. But we had nothing to do with either of those situations! Why's he acting like All Might showed up specifically to help us? Well, he did, but Bakugou was making it seem like he only came because it was our class!

Anyways, after Bakugou said that, Izumi punched him in the face and stormed off! So now I'm trying to follow her and ask what's wrong. She might not tell me, but even the fact I showed up will help her feel better. It certainly did for me.

I just wish I wasn't tracking her by the trail of small wet spots on the ground. Not only is it super hard, but I know what those are.

She's crying.

It takes so long that I don't even realize that I nearly pass my destination, the only thing stopping me from moving on the faint sounds coming from it. I look around and see it's a restroom in one of the rarely used hallways. Probably because it leads to a dead end with a picture of our principal in an old military outfit.

When I come into the restroom I'm not surprised to hear Izumi sobbing, half-incoherent apologies addressed to somebody who's not here. But I pale when I hear something else. A familiar sound, one I wish I hadn't heard so, so often myself. I rush to the closed stall she's hiding in, pushing on it by instinct even though I know that it will be locked. But to my surprise it opens easily. She's not used to doing this in public, is my only thought before she enters my vision.

She's staring at me in surprise with tear stains trailing down her face, her mouth hanging open, frozen, with a small knife made out of some sort of green energy clutched in one hand. And dripping from that knife, is blood. Izumi's blood. I look at her with sad eyes as I stand there, not moving. If I move, I'll startle her, make her panic. I need to let her react first.

It's so weird, being on the other end.

*Drip. Drip.* It takes a while, both of us just staring at each other in silence except for the blood slowly dripping from the tip of the blade onto the floor. Meanwhile I take in her appearance, making sure my eyes don't flicker. It would set her off.

She's cutting her thigh, her skirt pulled down to her knees while she sits on the toilet. Both of them are a mess of scars, old cuts clearly overlapped by the newer ones, and her right leg is sporting the cuts I interrupted her making. But they're surprisingly clean, not covered in blood like they should be. Instead, the blood hangs in the air, free floating due to her quirk. The green energy coming off of it is easy enough to see, a clear signal that she's the one holding it, and I can't help but be disturbingly impressed.

Using her quirk to hurt herself, and using her quirk to keep things from getting messy. Smart.

I panicked after my first time, and back then I'd been thankful that my parents were meeting up with friends they hadn't seen in a long time. I had to scramble for a towel to clean up, then bandages to wrap the cuts, and then another towel to clean up from when I went to grab the other two things. Then I had to put everything through the quick wash and dry cycle all the while praying that my parents didn't come home.

Thankfully -or not, depending on your view- they didn't. It was months before I was caught, and even then the only reason is because of bad -or good- luck. A girl from another school had dragged her boyfriend under the bleachers to make out at a baseball game, and that's all it took.

To be fair, I think anyone would scream when they see a girl with blood dripping down her head when they were hoping to get lucky. After that though, obviously my parents found out… everything, really. They found out that I was hurting myself, they found out about the bullying, they found out about the discrimination.

The school got sued, I got transferred and put in therapy, and my parents put a ban on all sharp objects in our house. It was really funny whenever we had steak for dinner, only for them to remember they'd gotten rid of all the knives.

It took time, but I got better. 

I'm pulled from my memories when Izumi finally moves. She lets go of the knife and it disappears, causing her to wince when the rest of the blood splashes to the floor. The blood she's holding with her quirk shoots down the gap between her legs and into the toilet, hiding exactly how much she bled. But I could tell by the size of it that it was a lot.

She gulps as she struggles to pull her skirt up, becoming increasingly more panicked when it doesn't immediately cooperate. Her eyes dart from side-to-side, trying to look anywhere but at me, and it hurts how much I know what she's going through.

"Uh, um. Hi, Mina. How, uh, how unexpected, to meet you here." Her words are awkward, and I move slowly so as not to startle her. Her hands put more effort into their work, and there's a tearing sound as the skirt rips, having been caught between the toilet and the seat.

She looks like she's about to start crying again. But now I'm close enough. Slowly, carefully, I reach out, drawing her head to my chest as I hum reassuringly. "It's ok… It's ok…"

The tears come again as she sobs into my chest, hands clutching at the hem of my blazer. I use my foot to gently close the stall door, wishing that I could lock it without pulling away. 

I whisper to her as she cries, reassuring her that I'm here for her. That it's ok. But when I say it's not her fault, she pulls away like I slapped her, clutching at her head.

"It is my fault! I drove him away! I put him where they could get him! It's my fault he was there! It's my fault! My fault-My fault-My fault-" A crooked and jagged form of the energy knife appears in her hand again, and before I can stop her it plunges down into her left leg, causing an injury far different from the others.

"My fault, my fault, my fault," Izumi mutters over and over as she twists the knife, jerking it side to side and widening the wound. I grab her wrist to stop her, feeling sick when I look at the mess she's made of her leg. Even if she could have hid her cuts before, that's going to need to be looked at. It's like she carved out the flesh, leaving only a gaping hole where it used to be, bone barely visible through all the blood that flows down her leg.

I hold her wrist as I pull her head back to my chest, not letting her continue. "It's ok. It's ok." That's all I can say. If I tell her that she's wrong, that it's not her fault, I think she might switch targets from her to me. She'd regret it afterwards, but it would make her self-harm all the more brutal in the future, when no one could stop her.

Eventually her blame stops, instead she starts rambling to me about why it's her fault, clearly desperate for me to understand and let her suffer. The sick feeling in my chest gets stronger the more she talks, and for a brief moment I think about my old bullies. They were the same.

But that's just it, they were the same. But Izumi is different now. She hasn't bullied anyone since coming to UA, and she's clearly had some of those scars for months. She was the same, but not anymore. She's a better person than she was.

But that's not what she needs to hear right now. Telling her that would just make it worse. So I say something different instead. "Hurting yourself isn't going to make it right." I whisper softly.

"Then what is?" Her question is filled with desperation. For forgiveness. For punishment.

"You can't change the past, only the future." Slowly, I move my hand to her head, gently running my fingers through her long locks. "I'm not going to lie, what you did was horrible, and if I knew you back then I probably would have hated you." She opens her mouth but I talk over her, not wanting to hear whatever self-deprecation she has. "But I didn't know you back then, I only know you now. And the you I know now, isn't a bully."

"If you want to make up for what you did, then make sure it never happens again. Make sure you protect people like the one you hurt. It won't make the pain go away, but at least you can know that you're making a difference. That you are different. Hurting yourself just means that there's more suffering, not less."

She sniffles, but stays silent. We stay like that for a few moments, and I'm growing increasingly concerned with the amount of blood covering everything. Even with the knife blocking some of it. But then it suddenly vanishes. I'm taken by surprise and immediately move my hand from her wrist to cover the wound, working to stem the flow of blood. Her hand falls limply to her side while her body slumps back against the seat.

It's only then that I realize that Izumi's fallen unconscious, probably a combination from the blood loss and mental exhaustion of being found and explaining why. Quickly, I use my free hand to dial a number our entire class was made to put in our phones, grateful for Aizawa-sensei's insistence on calling them if we need them.

Boy, do I need them.

When the dial tone ends I hear a growling voice on the other end, causing me to breathe a sigh of relief. "Hound Dog here, who am I talking with?"

"It's Mina Ashido, no time to explain. I need you and Recovery Girl to come to the girl's restroom by Nezu's military painting. Bring bandages." I hang up, hoping that doing so will make them come faster. If I stayed on, he would have wasted time trying to question me, instead of just doing what I asked.

As I look down at Izumi I make a promise to myself, and to her. "I'll be here for you. No matter what."

Nartleb Nartleb


Aaaand Izumi needs more therapy. Again.

*Five chapters later*

Nezu should fly in a specialist...

For those wondering (or not) Mina used to cut the area around her horns, since those were primarily what people used to make fun of. Thankfully she never got up the nerve to actually cut them off.

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