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Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without a word and never stops at all.
~ Emily Dickinson

Track 8; Yoko Ono by Mob Rich

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Aizawa left after some time had passed. His only comfort was an awkward pat on the back and one sentence. "I'll let you know if I hear anything else." You watched him walk away until his figure disappeared into the evening horizon. While he had taken it upon himself to pick up a parental role in your life after your mother died, the man had never been one for physical interactions unless it came to fighting.

You felt like you needed to cry yourself to sleep while Yoshio attempted to suffocate you with his affections, maybe even vent it to Hawks if he was finished with his patrol by the time you got back to the penthouse. There were still a few people wandering about on the street when you finally began to follow the instructions from your phone. You considered using your wings to fly home but didn't dare do it. With your emotions balancing precariously on the edge of being under control as well as the fact that you weren't used to flying again; it had begun to rain.

So you trudged along the street, hands stuffed into your pockets with your chin tucked into your chest to make yourself as small as possible. The downpour felt more like ice stabbing through the few layers of protection you had over your shoulders when the cold howl of wind buffeted your back. It wasn't long before the raindrops falling on your head stopped even though you could visibly see it continue to land on the asphalt in front of your feet.

You lifted your head only to lock eyes with Hawks, a look of concern on his face under the makeshift umbrella he had made over you with one of his wings. "Are you alright?" He asked as his gloved fingers wiped away the tears sliding down your cheeks.

Your own numb fingers came up briefly to touch your face. "I didn't realize I was crying." You quickly wiped the saltwater threatening to fall from your chin, having mistaken it for rain when you began your trek. "I will be, but what Aizawa told me..." you sighed softly.

"What did he say?" He inquired, his other wing forming a makeshift wall around you to give the two of you some more privacy. It also exhibited some more heat, a welcoming feeling compared to the crying sky.

You filled him in on the details Aizawa had shared with you about the investigation. As you finished up your explanation an eyebrow rose when the color drained from Hawks' face. "Why do you look like you've seen a ghost?"

He unwillingly breaks his gaze from yours when he feels the intensity under your stare, swallowing sharply. "I've dealt with that villain before." When you didn't say anything he waited until a stranger with an umbrella walked by before he spoke up again. "I actually met him in your bar." As soon as he looked back at you, he was not expecting a right hook to come flying at his face. He narrowly jerked his head back as the skin of your knuckles brushed against the tip of his nose.

You lost it.

The sound of muffled shouts and fists made bypassers look in your direction as they walked by, curious to what was happening behind the shield of vermillion wings. To keep the attention off of the two of you, Hawks was quick to grab your wrists in his hands to stop your assault. "Would you stop hitting me in a blind rage and let me explain myself?" He snapped at you, causing you to freeze in place.

He took the moment of hesitation from you to sweep you into his arms, holding you close to his chest as he flew back to the penthouse. Sobs wracked your body during the journey, only regaining your composure when he set you on your feet on the balcony. He ushered you inside to get out of the rain, turning towards you once the two of you were both inside.

"Would you get out of those clothes before you get sick?" He asked, slowly but surely herding you towards your room after you had your slippers on your feet. You wanted to defy his considerate request and demand an explanation from him but you didn't have enough will in your body to even attempt to put up a fight; the wet clothing you were wearing didn't help.

He leaned against the wall opposite of your bedroom door, patiently waiting for it to open again. In reality he had forced you to take some extra time to get control over your emotions. After what Aizawa had told you he understood that you weren't very stable. He was already toeing the line of losing the trust he had slowly drawn out of you so he took that opportunity to think over how to properly word his previous actions. He couldn't let too much slip at risk of the Association catching wind that he had spilled secrets about government assigned missions; but he couldn't help but want to just vomit out everything he knew to you.

Within a few moments the door to your room opened and he straightened up. You had changed into a large t-shirt and a pair of sweats though thankfully there wasn't anymore rainwater dripping from your hair. You wrapped your arms around your torso to ease your anxiety when Hawks tilted his head towards the living room. He waited for you to take the lead before following you at a safe distance. He stopped in his tracks to go through the process of removing his jacket, watching you sit on the couch in his peripheral vision.

"I was assigned a mission where I had to investigate criminals spurred on by Stain's arrest." He began, standing in front of the television. "A guy with a pretty nasty record suddenly appeared out of the woodworks again so I was instructed to track him down. I managed to get a hold of him and set up a place where we could meet."

Your hands ran across Yoshio's smooth grey fur when he settled himself into your lap, taking your eyes off of the pro hero attempting to tell you as much of the truth as he was able to. "So you chose Treasure Wing?"

You looked back up at him when he shook his head. "No. He suggested it. I wanted to change the location but that would've put me on the spot. Had I known what he was planning I would've done it anyways." He was mentally ripping his feathers out for the danger he had unintentionally put you in. "I figured that with the amount of pro heros that showed up on the daily that I wouldn't have to worry about you but I was wrong." He finished with a sigh, removing his gloves and throwing them on the coffee table before he ran his digits through his damp blond hair. "I got this weird feeling in my chest that I can't quite explain, but it told me something was off that night. I'm sorry I wasn't able to keep your place from burning down. After all that happened I'm mentally beating myself up for being the cause of this." He took a breath to continue but you spoke up before he could.

"I forgive you."

That caught him off guard, all the words he had planned out beforehand immediately vanished from his mind.

"I'm sorry for losing my shit on you earlier." You apologized, a smile threatening to lift the corner of your mouth when Yoshio yawned audibly. "I understand that you didn't intentionally put me in harm's way. I know that you would never do that, otherwise you wouldn't be a hero." You rose to your feet, holding Yoshio as you did so.

"Please don't beat yourself over it." You continued, giving him a gentle smile as you said so. "You've done enough kind things for me to consider all of them to be an apology worthy of acceptance." You sighed, holding your cat closer to your chest when he rubbed the top of his head against your chin. "I need some time to think all of this over though, so I'm going to go to my room. Goodnight, Hawks."

As soon as he couldn't see your face anymore, the tears began to fall again.

When you vanished down the hallway he let his body collapse into the closest armchair. He sat there with his elbows on his knees, hands clasped together and propping up his chin until he heard the sound of your door closing. A single feather detached from the base of his wings and slipped silently under the crack in your door, staying out of your line of sight as it came to a stop behind the headboard of your bed frame.

As the sound of your sobs echoed in his ears, he found himself with his head against the door to your room for the rest of the night.

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