II. Entropy VS Naptime
Inexplicably, upon arriving on scene, the first words out of Shouto’s mouth are “What the hell.” The sentence is punctuated by a yawn. The action is very fitting for one of the top ten heroes in a live combat scene.
The officer next to Shouto yawns in agreement. “Nobody can get close enough to take him out.” the officer says, their lower lip trembling as they fight back another yawn.
Shouto surveys the scene while formulating a new strategy in the back of his mind. “How long?”
Shouto surveys the scene while formulating a new strategy in the back of his mind. “How long?”
“Ten minutes, give or take.” The officer shrugs and scratches their chin. “We sent one officer at a time and determined he’s got about a fifty foot range, but the whole sleeping effect takes hold about twenty feet in. The closer you get the faster you fall asleep.” Shouto grunts, digesting this information. “We’re calling him Naptime, since he’s making everyone...you know.” If Midoriya were here, he would probably laugh at that.
“Guess I better be quick.” Shouto says, and ignores the officer’s tired cry as Shouto takes off. With ice at his heels, he crosses the door in under a second. Exhaustion pulls at him as he blasts through the entrance, but he’s on his feet. Sort of. His spine turns to jelly around the doorway and he clutches the railing for balance, but he walks in -- or, stumbles in.
Scanning the bank for signs of villains takes three times longer than usual. Each step takes decades, and by the time Shouto reaches the teller he’s barely lifting his feet off the ground. Each foot drags behind the other in a clumsy shuffle. Don’t give up now, he thinks. You’ve got a job to do.
A hand brushes his shoulder. Shouto turns slowly at the touch and glares wearily at the owner.
“Entropy.” The man with swirly sunglasses twists an over enthusiastic smile down at him. Shouto isn’t a fashion expert by any length but even he knows the neon yellow and purple are an atrocious combination. “How good of you to come. I’m almost finished here, you just sit right there and wait your turn.” With a gentle shove, he forces Shouto to his knees. Shouto’s body refuses to obey his commands otherwise. “There. Perfect.”
Shouto surprises him by launching himself forward with a wall of ice. He’s too slow to catch the villain, but he’s standing again. Barely. “Who --” Catching himself in a yawn, he powers through the rest of the question. “-- are you again?”
Naptime’s entire expression rapidly shifts from pure glee to pure hatred. “My name is Hypnos! I am the most obedient and strongest servant of the great god Morpheus, and you have angered the --”
“Naptime villain, right.” Shouto grabs Naptime’s arm and freezes his arm up to the villain’s elbow. Naptime shrieks, which is both irritating and helpful as it sends a sharp stab of awareness through Shouto’s muddy consciousness.
“For that I will put you in an eternal slumber!” Naptime raises his hand as if he plans on slapping the sleep into Shouto, which Shouto avoids by running directly at him and slamming him into the desk by the teller. Disorientated, Shouto stumbles to the side and grabs the other desk for support. His knees give out, and he slides to the floor in a disgraced heap.
In an instant, Naptime is on him. He puts his palm over Shouto’s forehead and a warm wave of exhaustion hits him. “Shhh,” Naptime whispers in a low voice. Shouto clenches his hand in a fist and bites his nails into his palm to shake himself out of the villain’s control. It has no effect. “Rest now. There is no need to fight. You’re feeling sleepy, and you’re getting sleepier...You won’t wake up, just rest...”
Shouto weakly slaps the villain’s thigh in response. Ice catches on the outside of his pants, but it doesn’t grow fast enough to contain the villain like he wished. Naptime laughs, shakes off the ice, and sends a million scattered drops of glittering snow in every direction. Shouto growls in frustration and sends another small wall of ice. Naptime dances out of the way, laughing all the while. “You’re still awake! Impressive!” Shouto’s arm slumps to his side. He can’t call on his quirk any longer, and Naptime warily edges closer. Shouto glares at him through half-lidded eyes and hopes the stubbornness in his face will act as a deterrent.
Paying no heed to Shouto’s malicious glare, Naptime hops over. He taps Shouto’s head and frowns. Shouto raises a hand to swat him away but it’s like moving his body through syrup. Naptime withdraws his hand and beams. “You’re a tough one, aren’t you? I haven’t come across someone with your willpower in ages.” Not so tough, Shouto thinks darkly, since I’m the one on the floor. “As I would expect from the number four hero. But have no fear, you will succumb like all the rest! Shh, it’s time for sleep…a long sleep for you, oh...”
His eyes blink slower and slower, and slower, and slower...creating heavier gaps between blinks. Still, Shouto summons the last burst of strength he has and blasts a jetstream of fire at the villain. Naptime shrieks and hops away. Shouto slumps over, energy spent. A terrible way to start off the week, he thinks. In a much darker moment of reflection, if he dies here that will leave a bad mark on the hero community if one of their Top 10 Heroes is bested by an amateur villain.
What is Shouto supposed to do about a villain who can render every person in his range immobile? Shouto’s thoughts are too sluggish to create an answer. His consciousness slides in and out of reach like an oily fish in a stream. Naptime heaves an enormous cloth sack over his shoulder filled with stolen...whatever he stole from inside the bank. Shouto takes a full beat of confusion before his brain fills in the blanks: money. From the bank. Villain. Robbery. Fight back.
“The great villain Morpheus makes another successful getaway!” Naptime declares, withdrawing his hand. The door behind Shouto opens with a trill from the bell. Naptime pays it no mind, high on the swell of confidence and near victory. “All of you heroes are weak! Society is nothing against the followers of Morpheus! You slept on the struggles of those in need of help in the underbelly, and now you will sleep! Forever!”
“You…” Shouto’s mouth feels like it’s stuffed with cotton. “...talk...too much.”
“What?” Naptime says, and then Number One Hero Deku flies through the other end of the room and kicks Naptime in the face.
Given the strength behind the kick, it’s no surprise Naptime goes flying into the wall. If Shouto were to judge, he guesses Midoriya might have overdone it a little. He’s not complaining, in any case.
Shouto blinks, and suddenly Midoriya is beside him holding Naptime by the collar and forcing the villain’s body to the floor with all of his strength. Midoriya makes it look easy, but Shouto catches the thin bead of sweat running down his forehead and the trembling in his legs as he fights to remain awake. He presses his knee to Naptime’s spine and twists his arm back. Naptime wails and slaps his free hand against the ground like a toddler having a fit.
“Hope you like sleeping on hard cement. Since you’ll be doing a lot of napping in jail.” Midoriya says, and turns to Shouto with a smile. In a bewildering, unrelated train of thought, Shouto thinks, How could anybody ever call someone like Midoriya plain looking like that, and enters a quick succession of full-body icy realization followed by hot embarrassment. Midoriya waves with his other hand and gestures at Naptime like, oh, would you look at that. “Hey, Shouto!” Shouto startles at the use of his name. Recently, Midoriya slipped into the habit of referring to himself and Iida by their first names. He never explained his reasoning as to why, and Shouto decided not to ask. “Sorry, I got stuck in traffic. You can thank me later.”
“I will,” Shouto says, dumbly, and passes out.
He comes to in a warm, soft bed. The room smells like motor oil and dry pages. Books. Sage. Iida’s room. He blinks and looks over at the snoring companion beside him in an ugly floral chair. Midoriya’s neck is bent at an extraordinary angle, but Midoriya doesn’t appear to mind. Shouto watches him sleep and sits up in bed, trying and failing to fill in the missing gaps in his memory.
Iida bursts in with a cry and fusses over Shouto. Midoriya sleeps through the noise, which is unsurprising. He could sleep through a typhoon, most likely. “You were released yesterday,” Iida explains, after he fetches Shouto a glass of orange juice despite his clear dismissal. “But we didn’t want to leave you alone. The villain’s quirk was very strong, but all of his victims were reported in stable condition. You were asleep for quite a while because of your proximity, but we believe you will make a full recovery.” At Shouto’s curious glance around the room, Iida nods. “Yes, this is my room. Midoriya-kun’s apartment, is, well, not really suited for more than two guests at a time --” A polite way of saying Midoriya’s tiny shitty apartment was the size of a dumpster and looked like one. “-- and I offered my space, but of course if you are uncomfortable you are free to leave now that you are, ah, awake.” Iida finishes with a twisted frown.
“I think I’ll stay a little longer,” Shouto says, glancing between Iida and Midoriya. “If you’ll have me.” Midoriya snorts in his sleep and Iida’s expression softens. Like his sudden realization about Midoriya, the sight sends a confusing mix of hot and cold throughout his body as he watches Iida’s gentleness. Handsome, he thinks, and stifles the thrill of warmth that runs through him from head to toe.
“Of course!” Iida exclaims, in that blustering way of his. Midoriya snores, uninterrupted, and content.