Izuku's breath shook, and his hands trembled, as he huddled against the back wall of a janitor's closet, pressed against Hitoshi's side, his hands pressed over his own mouth.
Beside him, Hitoshi was in a similar position, his hands over his mouth, eyes blown wide, and trembling, despite being pressed close to Izuku's side. Izuku took one of his hands and reached over, to grip Hitoshi's wrist. He jumped, his entire body jerking like Izuku had shocked him, but not a sound escaped besides a sharp inhale.
Izuku jerked, beginning to release Hitoshi's wrist, when the hand Hitoshi had pressed over his mouth moved, twisting his wrist out of his grip, only to grab Izuku's hand in his own. Their fingers twined together strongly, and Izuku ignored the slow crawl of tears on his cheeks.
His camera continued to roll, as Izuku tried to breathe. The battery life on his camera was near infinite, an expensive gift from his father, the latest in tech from America, meant to help Izuku with the live streams and blog style videos Izuku took as he traveled.
It was never meant to be like this.
His voice was nearly lost in the dark, as he pulled the hand pressed to his lips back just enough to let his voice escape in a whispered, shaking, breaking voice "Stay with me?"
Hitoshi's inhale was loud in the dark, but he answered Izuku all the same, his voice just as soft "Always. You and me, Zuku. Till the end."
Izuku's hand tightened around Hitoshi's, and he lifted the hand towards his mouth, moving his other hand entirely to press a feather-light kiss to the knuckles.
He clenched his eyes shut for a moment in the dark, taking another breath, and then slowly shifted his weight.
"We can't hide here forever Toshi. We gotta run. We need to get out."
Hitoshi nodded in the dark, a movement Izuku only knew he made due to how close he was to the other. "I know." his voice was a whisper "We need to be quick- they won't let us leave. We need to find the way out."
Izuku sucked in a breath. "They keep locking us in. We need to break out, or be quicker than them."
Hitoshi slowly shifted into a crouch, and Izuku followed his position with the ease of someone familiar with Hitoshi's habits and body language- even felt instead of seen. "We're going to have to run, Zuku. You ready?"
Izuku huffed, neither of their voices rising past a whisper "We don't have a choice….Toshi?"
"I love you. Ju-I just wanted to tell you."
It's silent for a second, before Izuku feels Hitoshi's grip tighten down sharply and his voice, shaking just the slightest amount, reaches Izuku in the dark. "Love you too bright eyes. We're gonna get out of here, and see our family again, you hear me?"
Izuku laughed, a watery, tearful, quiet thing. "Yeah Toshi. I hear you. Let's get out of here."
Izuku took a breath, and reached for the closet door, nudging it just a bit, before grabbing his camera, and then using his elbow to shove the door open enough for the two of them to bust out of the closet, and run.
Izuku brings the camera up, using the night-vision of the camera to see, the only reason he hadn't dropped the camera in the initial disaster. With the lack of lights in the hotel, the unnatural way sunlight nor moonlight passed through the windows, the night vision was their only real ticket to seeing anything.
Izuku took the lead, his grip on Hitoshi's hand unfaltering. The sound of their breathing seemed loud in the dark, even with the both of them trying to be as quiet as possible.
The small breather in the closet, pressed together in the small space had only lasted a few minutes, both of the boys too nervous, too worried to stay in one place too long.
They'd already seen the results of that too many times. It was always bloody, always painful, and entirely not worth it.
Moving was key.
Staying in one place would kill you.
The owners of the hotel had made that clear. The bodies had only hammered it home.
Izuku dragged Hitoshi into the stairwell as he spotted the movement further down the hall, backtracking immediately, and rushing up the stairs, softly whispering a countdown of stairs for his partner, as they rushed away.
He didn't think there were any more people alive in the hotel. The guests had tried to stay together in the beginning, but as the week continued, they'd been forced apart, herded, hunted, and broken into smaller and smaller groups.
Hitoshi and Izuku had kept track of the bodies they found. By their count, they were the only two guests left within the walls of the Red Lily Hotel.
It was just supposed to be a tourist spot, a little stop on the way home. Spend the night for a few days to a week, see what they could catch on film, and then head home to Hitoshi's parents. A graduation present, just the two of them, traveling across Japan, stopping wherever they wanted, filming the trip, and then coming back home, a congratulations on graduating college a full two years earlier then they would have.
The Red Lily was supposedly a heavily haunted paranormal hot spot. A guided ghost tour that lets you spend the night for a few days to a week, and shows you the hotel, all the places that supposedly had ghosts, and the area around the hotel itself.
Izuku had wanted to visit. Only for a few days, rather than the full week tour, since it was supposed to be a cross country trip and not just for his channel or Izuku.
His HeroTube channel was basically dedicated to his adventures across Japan, visiting abandoned, supposedly haunted places, hunting the supernatural and paranormal. The Red Lily had been on his list for years. When he'd realized it was on the route they were taking back to Hitoshi's house, he had to ask Hitoshi if he'd mind making a stop.
His boyfriend of almost four years, and best friend of ten, had laughed, and agreed with a grin.
Only...this hotel had been more than either of them had bargained for. It had started with a shared dinner of the tour group, revealing that they were the only ones within the hotel, aside from the owners, and the 'guests from beyond'. They'd all grinned, joked, and enjoyed the dinner.
The meeting had let Izuku know how many people were in the hotel, but- the food had to have been drugged, because Izuku didn't remember anything after the dinner.
Only waking up in what they would find out was the top floor of the hotel, with the hotel management announcing over the P.A. system in the walls that they all needed to escape the hotel if they wanted to live.
And if it was just the hotel management they were escaping, maybe it would have been easier.
But the rumors of the hotel being haunted?
They were true. Whatever was in the hotel with them? It was able to interact with the world physically, in ways that defied every known law of physics, and forced them to reroute whenever they approached an exit.
Whatever it was, it didn't want them to escape. It was forcing them to turn back, leading the hotel management to them when they got too close, or flinging them away from doors, or fire escapes, if it didn't just lock the doors or windows, and prevent them from even opening.
The last few days had been nothing but terror filled survival, all of it caught on film.
But Izuku didn't care much about that.
He just wanted to get out alive, wanted to make it home with Hitoshi, to his boyfriend's parents, the men that had told him to call them "Dad" and "Pops", who had welcomed him into their home, and accepted him just as he was. The men who had teased that it was "about time" when Hitoshi shyly brought him into the kitchen he'd been visiting and eating in for years, and told the men that Izuku had said "yes" when he asked him out. The men who had offered him a home, when his mother had passed, had comforted him and Hitoshi through the loss of the woman who had been just as excited and welcoming as Hitoshi's parents, when Izuku brought Hitoshi home and told her he was Izuku's boyfriend.
They just needed to get out of the Lily, just needed to survive.
They just needed to get home.
Not like the others.
They just had to stay together, and they'd be okay.
Izuku had to believe that. '
He reached the top of the stairs, and whispered a sharp "Ground" that let Hitoshi know there weren't any more stairs, as he shoved into the exit door of the stairs, making sure to keep a grip on it, preventing the door from flying open and alerting the person downstairs they were here.
Hitoshi knew the drill by this point, flying out behind him and then rushing to the side, out of the way, as Izuku softly closed the door behind them, stopping the door from making too much noise as it closed behind them.
As soon as the door was closed, they were running again.
The sound of laughter echoed in the halls, and both of them flinched as one of the doors ahead of them flew open as if it had been kicked.
All the doors in the hotel opened inwards.
It shouldn't have been able to fling out and slam into the wall, but it did, according to Izuku's camera.
Through the lens of the night vision, Izuku watched, legs locking, as a shadow figure of a woman staggered out of the door. Her laughter wavered in and out of his hearing, as if she was right in front of him, and then in the room, and then down the hall, before coming back in front of him.
"Why don't you join us here, in the Lily?"
Izuku sucked in a sharp breath as the shadowed figure flickered like static on a television, before she was suddenly closer.
Izuku staggered for a moment as Hitoshi snapped into motion, yanking his hand and dragging Izuku with him, before his body caught up and started running, taking the lead with his camera.
"S-sorry, Toshi!" his voice cracked as they ran, and his boyfriend answered him in a rush.
"It's fine, just run. Let's go!"
Izuku took his word, running backwards towards the stairwell.
They weren't going to be allowed to go lower, they'd have to backtrack to the higher floor. Whatever was inside wouldn't let them go down the stairwell to the ground floor- it made them 'clear' a floor before they were allowed to go down. They had to exit one stair well and make it to the stairwell on the opposite side of the hall before they could go down another floor. Going to previously 'cleared' floors seemed to be allowed no matter what stairwell they were on, but to move _down_ past a floor they'd never been on, they had to clear a floor.
Any attempts to just continue downstairs without doing so would be met with a locked door, that wouldn't budge, and couldn't be forced open or broken down. The elevators were death traps, plummeting to the basement level any time they responded, if they responded, slamming shut on people while they were crossing the threshold. No matter they choice, they seemed to aim to kill whoever used them that were not the owners, from what Izuku and Hitoshi could see.
The windows were also out, as didn't break, anything that was thrown at them being flung back at the one to throw the object with force.
And if you forced the entity in the hotel to stop you from what it considered to be 'cheating' it would screech, until the owners of the hotel were brought to your location, pinning you in whatever location you were inside, not allowing an exit to anyone inside.
It wasn't worth it, and usually ended in death, as Hitoshi and Izuku had witnessed another hotel guest discover.
They'd been on the other side of the door in that stairwell, unable to open the door or help in any fashion, no matter what they tried.
They'd seen the blood spatter through the camera, over the window, ducking under the glass as the owner's had dragged the body back out of the stairwell, pure luck making them go the opposite direction, away from Hitoshi and Izuku.
Once they were out of sight, the door had opened on it's own, leaving them with a green- tinted view of the blood smear left behind from where the owner's had dragged the body with them.
Walking through that stairwell had been harrowing, as had the way the blood had just...disappeared, midway up the stairs.
So as they rushed into the stairwell, silent as they could manage, they didn't bother to go down, instead rushing upwards.
Izuku and Hitoshi both slowed as they reached the stair that had previously had an unknown inside, being silent and careful, expecting the owners or the entity to be the cause. It was with tight breathes that they both creeped down the hall.
Izuku nearly screamed, as he felt Hitoshi suddenly be yanked sideways, into a room that had opened silently, pulling him along with his boyfriend. He nearly dropped his camera in the process, and staggered sideways, as the momentum suddenly stopped.
Izuku moved without thinking, as he shoved Hitoshi behind his body, as soon as he was steady on his feet, only to pull up short as he recognized the woman and man he was seeing in the camera.
He didn't know them personally, but he and Hitoshi had seen them die.
They were a couple that had been visiting the hotel together, who had been at the dinner, and survived the first two nights, but died on the third. They'd been thrown down the stairwell Hitoshi and he had just climbed, their necks snapping at the foot from how they'd landed.
"W-we can't stop it f-for long. Climb ou-t the win- windo-w. R- r- run."
The couple's voices were broken and staticky, their images flickering, as they motioned to the room window, and the fire escape visible through the glass.
"T-tell people w-what hap- pened he-here."
Hitoshi and Izuku looked at each other for a single moment, but they didn't hesitate as they ran for the window and the starlight that didn't pass through the glass. As they reached the glass and heaved to pull the window open, it was obvious that something was fighting them. They only managed to pull and push the window open in starts and stops, a low screeching sound growing louder as they got closer and closer to getting the window open far enough to get out.
Both of them strained against the window, until they finally in was pushed open widely enough for the both of them to wiggle through one at a time.
Izuku made Hitoshi go through first with the camera, hands gripping the window and forcing it to stay open, as he felt it suddenly try to close over Hitoshi's body, grunting as he worked, the screeching of the entity deafening as Hitoshi's feet cleared the window and he tumbled onto the fire escape.
He was up immediately, the camera left fallen at an angle by his feet, as he whirled around and wrapped his fingers over the window, taking the weight of the unnatural force trying to force it shut.
Izuku didn't waste a moment, or look behind him, as he immediately threw himself through the window, wiggling through as quickly as possible. He too tumbled onto the fire escape, habit from the few days of hell in the hotel having him snag his camera, and whip around to face the window he'd just escaped. Hitoshi yanked his hands back, and the window they'd both crawled out of slammed shut as he stopped trying to hold it open.
The camera caught the image of the seven other guests that had been in the hotel with them, each image flickering and jumping like a glitching teleport, as they held the door to the room shut, which shook in it's frame.
They looked back over their shoulders, and though Izuku and Hitoshi couldn't hear them, outside the confines of the hotel, they could still read the "Run!" formed by their lips.
It felt wrong, to leave them there, but Hitoshi and Izuku both scrambled down the fire escape they'd been helped to, and ran towards the parking lot and their car, as they scrambled to pull their phones out of their pockets.
They hadn't worked in the hotel, signal cut so fully it hadn't even allowed them to receive texts or calls, much less make them, but outside of it, the devices were coming back to life- alerts for a multitude of missed calls and texts rushing in.
Izuku ignored them for a moment, telling Hitoshi to call his parents, while he called the police.
He might not have been able to save the other guests of the hotel, but he could at least try to get some kind of justice for them, could report their deaths, their murders. Could offer his camera footage, and hope it would be enough.
He twined his free hand with Hitoshi's, as his legs folded and let him collapse back against the car's hood.
Silent tears tracked down his face, as he looked at the hotel in the distance, sucking in a painful breath, as the emergency service operator's voice reached him "110, what's your emergency?"
"M-my name is Midoriya Izuku, and I just escaped The Red Lily Hotel with my boyfriend. There's been- there's been an incident. People are- people are dead."