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Another Such Victory

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Another such victory and I come back to Epirus alone. - Orosius

 

There was much to be said for the clarity of hindsight. Much of it is poignant, most of it would be touching and heart wrenching— if one could give a shit about those things.

 

Watching up his childhood friend spit blood tinged flowers to the side and ignore them like it’s second nature, as if he can move beyond the frame of his hospital bed at the moment by limbs bound tight with roots— this is the moment that hindsight is supposed to become relevant.

 

(hindsight is a curse on his tongue)

 

(are they even friends anymore? The stupid, useless shit that had followed Katsuki around as a kid is still doggedly tracking his footsteps and katsuki isn’t sure he knows this green-haired doll who stares with green-glass eyes)

 

“You stupid fuck.”

 

Pale green eyes flit to his, verdant colour muted and there’s a softness to the determination Katsuki usually finds glaring back. It’s so soft, Katsuki really isn’t sure why but the softness finally seems like weakness.

 

(it bothers him)

 

There’s a errant petal perched on blood-stained lips, and Katsuki recognises it.

 

(How could he not? He knows a lot of flower meanings— trying to find the ones that matched the bouquets of blood-soaked, dead flowers in a box beneath his bed. Flowers and petals and leaves grown fragile with age, flowers that said loss and hatred and why have you lied to me— flowers that said ‘you left me here to die’)

 

(cyclamen - resignation and goodbye)

 

(he’d begged his father to remove the roots in his lungs, the flowers that grew underneath his skin and petals that clogged his airways every other moment— surely kaa-san wasn’t worth it, Katsuki needed him here— )

 

“Why won’t you take the fucking surgery?”

 

Katsuki tries to be angry, tries to muster up the explosive force that has taken up his life in regards to Deku, scrapes an empty well that dried up as soon as he saw those dried husks of blooms and the cracked stems of leaves. He wants the familiarity of anger and blind rage— everything seemed easier when the world narrowed to a pinpoint of focus— but he can’t seem to manage it.

 

“I always wondered why your dad refused the surgery too.”

 

Katsuki stops in his tracks, halfway across the room to where a single chair is adjacent to the bed, stops and stares.

 

Those glassy eyes are pinned into his, capturing his attention and holding it captive— not as one would keep a lover but in that same way that a hunter traps a bear. With sharp, vicious teeth that rip into flesh and set into his bones, daring him to try and tear away from the steel that keeps him bent under those eyes.

 

The dark-haired man in the bed hums, leans forward to trail his fingers across a sharply defined face, delves the valley of defined cheekbones and the curve of an arrogant smile, gone lax in shock.

 

Muted green eyes meet subdued red ones, a soft smile working across pale lips and the sallow-tinge of his skin shows up like alabaster behind dark freckles.

 

“I know why your dad didn’t want the surgery now. You’ve hated me since we were children, when I coughed up peonies the same day you rained fireworks from your hands. When you found out about my quirk, when I heaved and coughed up snapdragons for hours and Ochako tried to send me to the nurse because she thought I was ill.”

 

Izuku coughs a little, reaches into a crimson-stained mouth and pulls out the crumpled form of a marigold, lets it sit in the palm of his hand for a moment. The bloom is golden under the tinge of red that is already starting to dry on the petals, and Katsuki can only watch as Izuku begins to pluck off the petals, smears of red spreading from underneath the petals. Against the white of the hospital sheets, Katsuki thinks they look like teeth.

 

When Izuku smiles at him in that wide smile, the acrid red of rust-iron blood spreads across his teeth and for a moment an empty mouth gazes back at him.

 

It’s enough for Katsuki.

 

He lets the door shut with a soft click, the sound of finality and though he got his answer, he isn’t any more satisfied for it.

 

He leaves before the hospital can get him to pay for the mangled remains of the door handle to the room of a dying boy.

 

(he has won the war but the cost…)

 

(katsuki knows the cost of success now, how bitter victory tastes upon his tongue. Deku will never be a hero, better than Katsuki)

 

(Izuku will never be anything anymore)

 

(Another such victory and I come back alone)