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Don't leave me alone

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He had been fighting alone for what felt like hours now and in between the smoke, the debris flying around and his own chemical-smelling sweat, he wasn’t feeling so good.

 

He was not going to give up – that was the last thing on his mind. But after years of therapy and learning from good friends, he knew when he needed to call for help.

 

The grand problem was that nobody came to his aid.

 

Not when he yelled at the villain to die.

 

Not when he screamed in pain.

 

Not when he cried for help.

 

Not when he died.

 

 

Katsuki sat up on his bed and tried to gulp as much air as he could fit in his lungs. He was sweating bullets and his heart rate was through the roof.

 

This reoccurring nightmare was starting to not only to freak him the fuck out – this was the fifth night in a row – but also to piss him the hell off.

 

It was a nightmare, Katsuki. Just a nightmare. That’s all these are.

 

You don’t need to be so scared, goddammit.

 

Pull yourself together.

 

He threw his legs to the side of his bed and tried to calm his breathing down. When he thought his shaking legs would support him, he got up. He put his hands on his pockets so they would stop shaking as well. He went to the bathroom and took a hot shower.

 

There was no need for him to go outside today –it was his day off– but he decided that there was absolutely no way he would stay in his shithole of an apartment for the entire day after what had happened. He needed to expend some of the pent-up tension he acquired while sleeping.

 

Shit, isn’t sleep supposed to help ease the tension rather than give you more?

 

He called Eijirou and arranged a visit to the gym with him. Maybe talking it out would help. Except that as soon as he thought again about what had happened in his dream, he felt incredibly stupid.

 

His friends would never leave him alone. None of them. Not Eijirou. Not Pikachu. Not Angel Face. Not even Half-n-Half. Especially not fucking Deku; he had never left him alone even when Katsuki wanted to be left alone. It had been just a dream.

 

So, when he met up with Eijirou at the door of the hero gym and Hair-for-Brains asked how he had been doing, he said everything was fucking peachy and diverted the conversation into one of the latest villains Red Riot had managed to bag.

 

He was fucking peachy. It had been just a dream.

 

After some cardio and weight training –in which they caught up with the other’s life: how was Pikachu and Mina and Jirou, how was Deku and Angel Face and Glasses, etcetera–, they arranged a sparring session with no quirks that left them both with some delightful bruises. Then they hit the showers.

 

“Hey man, is something wrong?” Eijirou started once they were leaving the gym with their bags hanging from their shoulders. “I mean, I love our gym sessions, but you seemed a little... on edge?”

 

“Yeah, I just had a bad night. Needed to... relieve some stress, I guess,” Katsuki answered, because he had never been a good liar. Not to Eijirou, at least.

 

“Ah,” Eijirou nodded, understanding. “Well, if you ever need it again, I’m here. You know I love being your punching bag,” he smiled brightly, like he hadn’t just sounded like a resigned abuse victim.

 

“Thanks, Hair-for-Brains,” Katsuki chuckled and fist-bumped Eijirou goodbye. He was in his day off, but Eijirou had to cover an afternoon shift at his hero agency.

 

Since it was a Saturday, Katsuki figured his parents would be home. He’d been totally exhausted on his last day off and had had a wedding on the day off before that one, so he hadn’t visited his folks in a long time.

 

He fished his earbuds from the side pocket of his bag and put on some soft music. He was a hero after all, he couldn’t just blast heavy metal and forget about his whole surroundings. And what if he found soft music comforting? Fucking sue him.

 

He walked all the way to the train station and got on the first train that arrived. Since it was mid-morning it wasn’t cramped at all, even if there weren’t any available seats.

 

In the middle of his journey, he felt the smallest of pressures against his thigh. He looked down.

 

A small girl that couldn’t have been older than four had her pointer finger poking Katsuki in the thigh. She had pink hair that reminded him of Black Eyes and an assortment of freckles all over her face that reminded him of Deku. She was cute as all hell. He removed one of his earbuds.

 

“Yes?” He asked, careful of not sounding too abrasive or aggressive.

 

“Um,” the little girl started, her cheeks as pink as her hair. “Are you Ground Zero?”

 

“Yes,” he repeated. A smile overtook the girl's whole face.

 

“I knew it! My mom said that there was no way a pro hero would take the train, but I was sure it was you! You’re so cool!” She started to make excited little jumps as she spoke. “Your quirk is so awesome! I hope I can be a pro hero as cool as you one day!”

 

“Uh, thank you, uh... What’s your name?” Katsuki was a little lost at the attention. Even after years of being a pro, he still couldn’t handle so many eyes on him when he wasn’t driven by the adrenaline of the fight. And the little girl was drawing looks.

 

“Oh! Sorry! I'm Natsu!” She smiled and her freckles popped out at Katsuki. It was adorable.

 

“Well, then thank you Natsu. Do you have a quirk?” He asked, grabbing the lower half of the pole so he could crouch next to Natsu.

 

“Yeah! It’s not as cool as yours, though,” she said and extended one arm, hand palm-up. After a few moments, her hand started to glow and a small fireball grew out of it and she held it as if it were a regular ball. He was impressed.

 

“Hey! But that’s a really cool quirk too!” He exclaimed sincerely with a small smile, as the little girl blushed red. “Don’t they burn you?”

 

“Not as long as I keep my hand glowing like this,” she showed him with her other palm. “But I don’t last very long,” she pouted and her hand swallowed the fireball once again before both of her hands stopped glowing.

 

“Well, I bet if you keep practicing –always with care of not burning anything or anyone– you can get into U.A. and become a pro hero, if that’s what you want,” Katsuki explained. Natsu smiled her biggest smile yet.

 

“Do you really think so?” Natsu asked, her eyes glowing.

 

“I really think so,” he smiled back confidently.

 

“Natsu!” a woman who Katsuki assumed was Natsu’s mother rushed to get her daughter. “We have to get off at the next stop!” She grabbed Natsu’s hand, without any fear of being burned. Just like his parents had done with him when he was little. Then she turned to Katsuki. “I’m sorry, has she been bothering you?”

 

“Mommy! Mommy! It is Ground Zero! I told you!” Natsu started to yell at her mother and Katsuki felt even more stares thrown his way.

 

“No, she wasn’t bothering me, don’t worry,” he stood up from his crouching position. “We were just having a little chat about our quirks, from one pro hero to a future one,” he said and winked at Natsu, who practically glowed with joy.

 

“Well, thank you for entertaining her anyway. It was nice to meet you, Ground Zero,” the mother smiled and headed for the sliding doors with Natsu’s hand clasped in hers.

 

“Bye! Keep being awesome!” Natsu smiled at Katsuki from the doors. He smiled and waved goodbye before the doors opened and they exited the train. His stop was the next one, so he placed the hanging earbud in his ear once again and endured the stares until the train reached his stop.

 

Once he got off the train, he took the familiar route towards his parents’ house. Nothing about the neighborhood seemed to have changed since he was last around here. It felt crazy for Katsuki to think that he no longer saw this place as his neighborhood, as his home. Just a few years ago it was, but things had changed so much that he no longer felt that way.

 

When he reached the door to the house, he rang the doorbell –he had spontaneously decided to come here, so he hadn’t brought his keys– and heard yelling from inside. He smirked. Of fucking course. Katsuki felt he had definitely mellowed out with age and maturity. His mother seemed to be getting worse with time.

 

“Katsuki,” his father said after he got the front door open. His smile was incredibly full of affection. "We’ve missed you so much,” he said and pulled him into a hug. It made Katsuki feel like a child once again. He hugged his father back and smiled into his shirt.

 

“I missed you too,” he grumbled.

 

“Masaru, who is it?” Katsuki heard his mother yell from the kitchen and detached himself from his father.

 

“It’s me, old hag! Will you stop yelling for once?” he yelled as he made his way to the kitchen.

 

“Katsuki, you little asshole! How about a heads up before you decide to show your fucking face here?” His mother yelled as she was washing her hands. He stood on the doorway. “Or how about you call your fucking mother more than just once every two weeks? Especially when you get hurt at work!” She finished drying her hands with a dishtowel and started pointing at Katsuki with her finger. “Yes, we watch the fucking news and we’re not happy about your fucking escapades with villains thrice your size, you ungrateful shit!”

 

“Are you done now?” Katsuki asked.

 

“As a matter of fact, I’m not. Give your mother a fucking hug,” she opened her arms and Katsuki crossed the kitchen to hug her back.

 

After that, things kind of settled and they caught up on the few weeks he hadn’t been able to come visit. They talked about his parent’s work and his work and his friends and the rankings of pro heroes. He had lunch with them, his mother’s spicy-ass curry being the day’s menu. Of course, they asked about Deku and he told them Deku was working, that he was the only one with the day off.

 

He left his parents' house with a full stomach and a semblance of peace of mind. He hadn’t thought of the whole nightmare deal since his talk with Eijirou and he felt a lot better after all of his interactions of the day.

 

He decided to take the train back home since he had a long ride to his neighborhood and he wanted to buy some groceries to make a nice meal for dinner. It was his day off, he was well-rested enough that he could enjoy wasting time in the kitchen.

 

Soft music played in his ears and everything seemed to be okay. He felt more tendrils of calm reach within him as he watched over the train cart from his position against the far wall. He got off the train and walked out of the station to head to the grocery store where they usually shopped.

 

The thing is, he never made it to the grocery store.

 

He shoved the little girl with pink hair from the train – Natsu, he reminded himself – into the waiting arms of her terrified mother. Natsu was unconscious, but she would be fine. It was thanks to him recognizing her voice that Katsuki managed to distract the villain long enough to save the girl.

 

He yelled instructions to the civilians that were milling about in the area. Told them to hide, to run away.

 

It was his day off, but he was a hero. He was not going to let innocent people die if he could do something about it.

 

He had been fighting alone for what felt like hours now and in between the smoke, the debris flying around and his own chemical-smelling sweat, he wasn’t feeling so good.

 

He was not going to give up - that was the last thing on his mind. But after years of therapy and learning from good friends, he knew when he needed to call for help.

 

The grand problem was that he had called for help a long time ago.

 

Yet nobody was coming to his aid.

 

He didn’t have his hero costume with him, so all of the side effects of his quirk that his modified costume would normally control, were hitting him full force.

 

The skin of his gloveless palms was starting to crack. The amount of smoke was getting to his lungs and the villain was using the blocks of debris from his explosions to throw at him as a countermeasure. The sweat that would normally collect in his bracers was running wild and sparking less contained explosions than he would’ve liked.

 

A brick the size of Katsuki’s arm sailed through the air and almost hit him right in the face had he not dodged at the last possible second. The stone did nick him in the cheek, and so now he had a gash that ran all the way from his cheekbone to his ear.

 

“Dammit!” he yelled and countered with a few explosions of his own.

 

What the hell is this?

 

Why is nobody coming to help?

 

Was the dream I had today more than just a dream?

 

Am I gonna die today?

 

Katsuki fought.

 

He was not going to die. He just had to hold out until someone showed up. The police had been called. He had activated his hero alarm. Somebody had to come to his aid.

 

Right?

 

Katsuki fought. And fought. And fought.

 

Katsuki yelled at the villain to just die.

 

Katsuki fought. And fought.

 

Katsuki screamed in pain as the villain started to overtake him.

 

Katsuki fought.

 

Katsuki cried for help.

 

Katsuki couldn’t fight anymore.

 

And then he heard it. He heard him.

 

“Kacchan!”

 

“About fuckin’ time, Deku,” he exhaled with a grin. And everything went black.

 

 

...

 

 

Katsuki sat up on his bed and tried to gulp as much air as he could fit in his lungs. He was sweating bullets and his heart rate was through the roof.

 

Except he wasn’t in his bed. He was in a hospital bed.

 

His hands were bandaged and he had what felt like stitches somewhere on his head. He wasn’t able to fully open one of his eyes due to the gash on his cheek, where his skin has split apart and swelled. It felt as if the skin had been glued back into place.

 

He tested his arms and legs and they responded to every command his brain sent them, so he relaxed a little. He was fine. He could go back to work in a few weeks. His hero career had not been cut short. He was fine. He was not alone. He had come to help him.

 

Katsuki had not been left alone to die. It had been just a dream.

 

He willed his bandaged hands to stop shaking and took a few deep breaths to steady his oxygen intake. He was fine. It had been just a dream. When his heart rate monitor announced that he was not about to go under cardiac arrest, he looked around the room for the first time.

 

Deku was curled up on what looked to be the-most-uncomfortable-chair-to-sleep-in in the history of chairs ever made. His right hand was under his head and the left one was on top of his bent knee. The silver band on his ring finger glistened with the soft light from the setting – rising? – sun.

 

Katsuki looked at his own left hand. The bandages went in between his fingers, so he couldn’t make out his own silver band. The one that matched Deku’s. Had he lost it in the fight?

 

He frantically touched his neck, where he sometimes hung the ring from a simple chain necklace. It wasn’t there either. He looked at the hospital’s bedside table. It wasn’t there either. He watched Deku sleeping once again and then he noticed it.

 

He had Katsuki’s ring hanging from his own neck. It didn’t sparkle as much as Deku’s because it wasn’t in direct sunlight, but it was there. Katsuki relaxed against the pillows again and once he was sure his heart-rate monitor wasn’t going to betray him, he kicked Deku awake.

 

Deku scrambled not to fall from the chair and then focused his big green eyes on Katsuki. He immediately stood up and practically threw himself on top of Katsuki, with his bright eyes even brighter from tears.

 

“Kacchan, you’re okay!” Deku hugged him, being careful with his injuries, and whispered “Kacchan, Kacchan, Kacchan” in Katsuki’s ear for what felt like hours. Katsuki didn’t mind one bit. He hugged his husband back with all the strength he could muster.

 

“You didn’t leave me alone. You came to help me,” Katsuki whispered once Deku had stopped saying his name over and over again.

 

“Of course I did, Kacchan. I will always come when you need me. I’m so sorry for taking so long, I should have been there earlier, I shouldn’t have let you get so hurt. Katsuki, I’m so sorry, baby.” Deku looked like he was about to start crying again.

 

“Shut up, you stupid nerd. You came. I’m fine. I’ll recover. But you saved me. You didn’t leave me alone,” Katsuki repeated. “You didn’t leave me alone. I love you so much.”

 

“I love you, I love you Kacchan,” Deku whispered and burst into tears once again.

 

Katsuki didn’t mind. He’d had a lot of years to get used to it. And thanks to Deku, who came to save him, who didn’t leave him alone to die, he would have a lot more years with him.