Mei bit her lip; the blank page before her was a great display of her mind right now. When things broke, it was frustrating. It represented failure on her part to build something sturdy enough so that people could rely on it. But, that failure meant new possibilities, a chance to improve on old designs. Why repair when she could simply upgrade and make things better than ever?
And that was where she was stuck.
Izuku was a person.
And he was broken. But, she couldn't just scrap him and build a better Izuku. She tried that with her parents once. Results were mixed. Besides, she couldn't improve on Izuku. He was Izuku. If she replaced him, he'd stop being Izuku and he'd be Izuku two, which is a different thing from Izuku. Besides, people weren't her babies. They didn't come in editions, updating their software took years, and new hardware wasn't as effective as the natural hardware they were all born with.
Humans could grow, adapt, learn, and improve on their own. Her babies couldn't do that.
But, they could break in ways that couldn't be seen or fixed.
If Izuku had lost an arm, she could fix that. If he was sick, she could help him with that. If it was anything physical, she could help him.
Mei glanced over at her desktop. Her third monitor had been dedicated to Izuku's vitals for the past few days. It was an adaptation of Dr. Shield's technology that once measured All Might's quirk factor. She made it better. So much better. Now the size of a wristband, she was even able to add a bunch of functionality to it: vitals, web engine, communicator, emergency beacon.
Izuku called it the best watch that couldn't tell time in the entire world.
Which wasn't true.
Because it wasn't a watch.
If it told time then it'd be a watch.
Her smile lasted for a few moments before she frowned again. She had studied just enough human biology and psychology to understand what these readings meant for the human mind and Izuku, it was simple. All the good numbers were down, and all the bad numbers were up. This, combined with his lack of heroic activity, or really any activity in general, led her to the conclusion that Izuku was suffering from depression. And it was severe.
Her research on depression gave her no answers regarding a quick fix. Nothing that could just return Izuku to normal.
She couldn't undo what caused it.
Mei stared at her blank canvas once again and bit her lip. It didn't matter if she didn't know how to fix Izuku. She could… She could just be there for him. If only she could reach into his mind and fix it, either by dragging Izuku out of whatever darkness he was in, or giving him a mental flashlight. And by flashlights she meant high industrial flood lights that would banish all the thoughts that were making Izuku broken.
With a growl, she slammed her pen down and clapped the desk twice in frustration. She pulled at her hair, her fingers sinking deep into the tangled mess of her greasy pink locks. She scratched her head furiously, trying to get any kind of an idea to pop out of her head.
"Fuck it!" She screamed, and pushed away from her standing desk. "I'll figure it when I'm there!"
Even if she could only make it a little bit brighter for Izuku, she had to be able to do something, didn't she? That's what she did! She made the life of heroes easier with her babies! And if those babies wouldn't work, she'd take things into her own hands! She stomped through her workshop, gathering things that might be useful. Like a sleeping bag, a change of clothes that were clean(ish) and just a few random babies for her to make Izuku test!
He liked testing her stuff so long as they weren't dangerous.
And these wouldn't explode.
Before she knew it, she had a duffle bag packed with stuff, ready for at least a couple of days of camping in front of Izuku's house.
She grabbed the bag and paused. It was really heavy. But. More importantly.
She looked at her smudge-smeared face and the bags under her eyes.
And then at the clock.
Izuku was probably asleep.
"Right, shower and a power nap then it's Izuku fixing time!"
Even the villains were mourning.
Ochako pulled herself out of bed, her back sticking to her exposed mattress. Her sheets had come undone once again, not that she had bothered to fix them in the first place. Once again, she felt more tired now than she had going to sleep, if she could call what she had sleep.
All Might's death hit everyone hard.
With a deep frown, Ochako ran her hand through her long brown hair. She was well past due for a haircut, it was nearly as long as her mother's. Maybe even longer. It wasn't that she hated long hair, but, it just wasn't really her style, even if Nejire said it suited her a lot.
"Guh," she grunted, staring at her phone as it floated, only tethered in place by its charging cord. "I should have showered last night."
Or any time in the past few days. But, between being a hero and trying to cope, everything else had been so draining.
She snagged her phone and got out of bed, making her way towards the bath as fast as her wobbly legs could make her. A dozen text messages awaited her. Most of them were from her former classmates, a few more were from coworkers and other heroes she had met. Some from her mother.
But there was one missing.
She opened that text message again, and stared at the message from nearly a week ago.
Ochako: How are you holding up?
Except that was a lie. There had been a time where she would have called him out on that. But, to say that they had grown distant since highschool was an understatement. She had wanted to put both of their hero dreams first, and as such buried her feelings for Izuku as good as she could, and probably a bit too well.
Part of her had always hoped that he would mend the bridge and reach out to her. She still wanted to date him, she was still attracted to him. She wasn't sure if it was love, but it was the closest thing she knew to it outside of the love of her parents, but that was different.
"Maybe I should have tried sooner," she muttered and began to draw her bath; she'd wash up to make sure that she wasn't wallowing in her own filth, more than she already had. With the hot water coming forth, she let out a long groan before stripping and being ever so slightly completely disgusted in herself. "But, could we have survived this?"
She shook her head as she dumped a pail of lukewarm water over her head and shuddered. The days of filth that she had let herself accumulate rolled off of her as she thought about what she should do. She still needed to do her hero work. She'd been able to do that much. But, Izuku hadn't.
His ranking as the number three hero was in jeopardy, especially because Katsuki's way of mourning was to fight all the crime he could.
Mina had shared photos of people finding DynaMight passed out on a park bench in full hero costume like he was some kind of a drunk. That had actually put a smile on most of their faces. At least for a little bit.
But, Izuku hadn't been seen at all.
Looking at herself in the mirror, Ochako slapped her cheeks trying to get a bit of color in her face. She looked terrible.
But. She needed to go check on Izuku.
She stepped into her bathtub and let the warm water calm her down for a bit.
Maybe she could take some lunch over to Izuku's house?
"I wonder if he still likes the ramen with a side of pork?"
She grabbed her phone and sent him a text.
Response or no response, she was going to help him through this.
The world needed Deku.
But, who did Izuku need?
Maybe she bought too much ramen.
It was her desire for sales getting to her again. There was a two for three deal at her favorite ramen place, and then the owner recognized her and she got a double deal, so now she had six bowls of extra large ramen currently trying to float away from her as she walked towards Izuku's home.
The distance between them had never been greater, especially back at U.A. where she could go from her room to his in a couple of minutes compared to the half hour it took now. Hopefully, this would be able to help Izuku recover.
Not the ramen. Just. A friend being there for him.
Ochako paused when she saw someone else walking up to Izuku's home. A large duffle bag that had to weigh at least a hundred pounds didn't even affect the familiar, constantly energetic stride of Mei Hatsume.
What was Mei doing here?
What was she carrying to Izuku's home?
Why did she look clean?
She knew that Izuku still relied on Mei's gear a lot; it was hard to blame him, Mei's stuff was often just better than what could be gotten easily, and could even compete with I-Island in one way or another. But, Ochako couldn't quite bring herself to go to Mei.
And it was for such a stupid reason, too.
While she had been able to bury her feelings for Izuku, it was easier to pretend that Mei simply didn't exist than it was to try and deal with her jealousy.
"Izuku!" Mei shouted and pounded on Izuku's door with a heavy hand. It was nice to see that, despite being out of highschool for years, Mei still hadn't discovered tact. "Open up! I'm here to fix you! If you don't I'll—"
"Mei." Ochako hissed as she sprinted to stand beside Mei, she nearly shoulder checked the girl off the porch and into the overgrown shrub that sat nearby. "What do you think you're doing?"
"Huh? Oh! I'm here to fix Izuku! His brain is broken so I'm going to try and make things better." Mei blinked and stared at her for a half a second. "Oh, you brought food, that's a good idea, Round-face!"
Ochako felt her eye twitch.
"I should have thought of that, food makes things better for a lot of people. At least I think it does." Mei tapped on her chin and looked back towards the door. "Oh, he hasn't answered it yet. Should we break in? I know how to pick a lock." Mei looked at the doorknob and then shrugged. "Or I can just break it down and make him a new door! One that has facial recognition and—"
"Mei!" Ochako screamed, and flailed her arms. She let out a harsh glare and took a few heavy breaths. "You should leave."
"You'll only make things worse if you stay here. Putting up with you is not something that can help anyone. Just—"
"I'm not leaving." Mei said firmly, "Izuku is hurting, he's depressed, and I'm going to help him however I can. I'll camp here if I have to."
"But, what can—"
The door opened.
Izuku stood there shirtless. His pajama bottoms rode low on his hips, and his usually clean-shaven face was now marked by nearly a week's worth of peach fuzz that looked like it was coming in uncomfortably. The bags under his red eyes added years to his appearance. Mei might have been right.
Izuku was broken.
"What?" He answered with a tired glare that came not from anger or annoyance, but from pure tiredness. She could see the tear stains on his cheeks.
"I'm here to fix you!" Mei shouted proudly. "I have a bunch of babies we can test, I also brought a tablet and laptop if you want to design something new! Oh! And I brought some clothes, and a sleeping bag so I don't have to go home! Oh! And Round-face."
"Yeah, that one, brought ramen food! I don't think she'll stay long though." Mei finished, all but bouncing on her heels.
She really didn't have any tact whatsoever.
Ochako sighed and held up her ramen. "I just came over to see if you were hungry." she said simply, doing her best to smile. "And to see if you wanted to talk."
Izuku stared at them for what felt like a lifetime. He shrugged and stepped to the side. "Come on in."
Well, that was a start.
Hopefully Mei didn't mess things up.
AN: I wanted to start a new fic, one with Mei in it.