Toshinori Yagi dies on a Sunday with a smile on his face.
He smiles, even as Toga’s knife slices through the fragile skin of his throat, even as he chokes on his own blood, even as the world comes to a stop around him.
“It’s okay, my boy,” he says just before it happens, when the steel is resting harmlessly against his neck. “It’s not your fault.”
And then everything is red and loud and too much.
He smiles and Izuku screams.
The weight of Katsuki’s arms around his waist is the only thing that keeps Izuku from breaking in the aftermath.
“I’ve got you, Deku. I’m going to pick you up, okay?”
He doesn’t know if he nods or not, doesn’t remember moving at all, but then Katsuki is scooping him up and carrying him away.
Away from All Might’s too-still form.
Away from the reporters shoving microphones in his face and asking questions that he doesn’t have the answers to.
Away from the flashing lights and smoke and sirens.
Away from everything.
He turns his face into Katsuki’s chest and clutches at his shirt with blood-stained fingers. When he tries to speak, all that comes out is a strangled whimper.
“I know, baby. We’re almost there, okay?” Katsuki pulls him closer, arms tightening protectively.
“Bakugou.” Aizawa’s voice is even, a steady contrast to the mayhem and chaos happening around them. “Is he physically injured?”
Izuku feels more than sees Katsuki shake his head.
“Nothing that requires a hospital. I’m not leaving him here,” Katsuki says firmly, crimson eyes narrowed.
Aizawa walks closer until he’s directly in front of them and raises an eyebrow. “I wasn’t suggesting it. I’m assuming you’ll be taking care of his injuries?”
Katsuki nods without hesitation.
“Good. If you find anything serious, take him to Recovery Girl. She’s still on campus.”
“I will. Thanks, sensei.”
Izuku shudders, everything feeling numb and responsive all at once. It is hot and cold and bright and dark and quiet and loud at the same time and he can’t breathe.
“Midoriya, can you look at me?”
He forces himself to meet the dark eyes of his teacher, still shivering violently as his lungs tighten in his chest.
“There you go. Focus on me, okay? You’re alright. Everything is going to be just fine. I need you to breathe along with me.” Aizawa grabs his hand and brings it to his own chest, pressing Izuku’s fingers over his heart. “Can you feel me breathing?”
Izuku focuses on the rise and fall of Aizawa’s chest beneath his palm and copies the motions. It’s uneven and slightly frantic, but he eventually gets the hang of it and feels himself relax.
“There you go, kid. You’re doing great,” Aizawa says, running his fingers through Izuku’s curls.
It doesn’t feel like it, but Izuku nods anyway. He leans into Aizawa’s touch and closes his eyes, too tired to keep them open anymore. His entire body aches and there’s blood dripping from a cut on his forehead, but he falls asleep within seconds.
Katsuki’s grip tightens around Izuku as he stares down at his unconscious form. “Thanks, sensei,” he says quietly, turning his attention to Aizawa.
The man nods. “Get him out of here. You have my number if you need anything.”
“And Bakugou? You’re both good kids. You shouldn’t have had to see this. I’m sorry that you did.”
Katsuki offers his teacher a bitter smile. “Yeah, well, nothing we can do about it now.”
Aizawa squeezes his shoulder, a flash of emotion crossing his face. “If your classmates try to bother you, tell them I’ll put them on house arrest for a year.”
“Will do.” He lifts Izuku slightly and turns towards the dorms, Izuku’s warm breath fanning against his neck.
They were walking home from lunch with All Might when it happened.
He remembers the sound of a bomb going off, the feel of All Might being ripped away from them, the glint of sunlight on steel, the resignation on All Might’s face, the horror on Izuku’s.
His explosions weren’t fast enough and neither was One-For-All.
“Take care of him,” All Might said, meeting his eyes.
Katsuki nodded and the retired hero turned to Izuku, mouth stretching into a familiar grin.
“It’s okay, my boy. It’s not your fault.”
Izuku whimpered and then Toga was moving, knife digging into pale skin.
Katsuki didn’t notice Kurogiri warping Toga away. He didn’t notice the crowd of people surrounding them. He didn’t notice Izuku crawling towards All Might’s body, scarred fingers pressing against his face hopelessly.
He didn’t notice anything except the crimson-stained smile on All Might’s face.
The dorms are silent when they arrive. Katsuki somehow manages to get the door open without dropping Izuku and steps into the common room.
Everyone is already there and all eyes turn to him when he enters.
He takes in the way everyone is together. Kirishima and Kaminari tangled up with Sero and Mina next to them. Aoyama tucked into the side of the couch with Sato and Mineta curled around him. Tokoyami’s arm wrapped around Tsuyu with Kouda and Shouji beside them. Everyone else is touching somehow—Hagakure on Ojiro’s lap, Todoroki’s arms wrapped protectively around Jirou and Yaoyorozu as they take up a spot on the floor.
Yaoyorozu opens her mouth, then closes it and bites her lip.
Uraraka, curled into Iida’s side, stares at Izuku with a frown. “Is he okay?”
“He will be. I’m going upstairs,” Katsuki says.
“Wait, Bakugou. What happened?” Kirishima asks quietly, eyes wide and lost.
Iida nods. “I think we would all like to know that.”
Various others mutter agreements and more questions and Katsuki wants to yell at them. He really does. But then he takes in the tearstains and desperate expressions and the news playing on the television in the background and he sighs.
“It was a trap. Someone must have seen us or something because on the way home, there was an explosion. Not like mine. Bigger, less controlled. It must have been a bomb or—I don’t know.” He rubs at his face, tired and sore. “All Might was there one second and then the next everything was smoke and fire and Toga was holding a knife to his throat. It all happened too fast to do anything. Not that we didn’t try.”
“So he’s really...”
Katsuki doesn’t know who says it, but he nods anyway. “Yeah. All Might is really dead.”
“Oh,” Uraraka says, then turns her face into Iida’s shirt.
“Do you have any more questions or can I take care of him?” Katsuki asks, too exhausted to inject any emotion in his voice.
Todoroki shakes his head, his arms tightening around Jirou and Yaoyorozu. “Go. We can figure everything else on our own.”
Katsuki tries to give him a grateful smile, but he’s sure it comes out as more of a grimace.
The weight of Izuku in his arms grounds him as he walks towards his dorm, keeps him focused on the task at hand.
He can’t let himself think about All Might.
Not until he keeps his promise and makes sure Izuku is okay.
Take care of him .
Katsuki clenches his jaw when his eyes start to burn and shifts Izuku just enough to open the door to his room.
“Deku, you need to wake up now,” he says as he sets Izuku down on the bed and taps his cheek lightly. “Come on, baby, I need you to look at me.”
Izuku groans, but opens his eyes and blinks at his surroundings. “Kacchan?”
“There you go. How are you feeling?” He sees the exact moment everything comes back to Izuku, watches the light leave his expression.
“Oh. I’m fine. Just cuts and bruises. Nothing like—" Izuku cuts himself off abruptly, skin pale.
Nothing like getting your throat slit , Katsuki finishes silently.
His hands shake as he grabs the first-aid kit from his bathroom. “Let’s get you cleaned up.”
Izuku nods, staring at the dried blood staining his fingers.
Katsuki is gentle as he drags a washcloth over Izuku’s skin, wiping away the traces of the day. He bandages the other’s cuts and scrapes, then lets Izuku help with his own.
“Thanks,” he says.
Izuku shakes his head and offers him a small smile. “I should be saying that to you. I kind of lost it back there. It was selfish of me.”
“Deku...” Katsuki starts, but trails off when Izuku looks at him with wet eyes.
“No, I mean it. He was just as important to you as he was to me. So, I’m sorry.”
He sighs and sits down next to Izuku, reaching over to tangle their fingers together lightly. “It’s not the same, babe. Yeah, All Might meant a lot to me. He always will. But he was your dad. That’s different. I don’t expect you to be okay. Especially not when you saw it happen.”
“I wish he was my dad, but he wasn’t.” Izuku’s voice is quiet and small and Katsuki hates it, hates everything that led them to this point.
“Blood doesn’t matter, Deku. You know that better than anyone. Hisashi isn’t your dad. He hasn’t been since he left. But All Might? He was. Everyone knew it.”
Izuku laughs a short, broken laugh and leans his head against Katsuki’s shoulder. “He was, wasn’t he? He used to bring me lunch when he first started training me. He even tied a bow around it.”
He brings his hand up, carding his fingertips through Izuku’s hair. “Sounds like him. Remember when he would bring us tea all the time?”
“He had like twenty different types,” Izuku says, grinning.
They fall into a silence that is comfortable and painful at the same time, both lost in memories of a blond man with blue eyes and shining smiles.
“He loved you, Deku.”
Izuku nods. “I know. I loved him too.”
He squeezes Izuku’s hand and leans back, closing his eyes.
Later, when Izuku is asleep on his chest, Katsuki stares at the bulletin board in his dorm.
There in the middle, surrounded by ticket stubs and polaroid pictures, is a large photograph from freshman year. All Might stands tall, arms wrapped tightly around Katsuki and Izuku as he pulls them to his side.
Katsuki thinks of arcade games and trading cards and bright-eyed grins, the memories leaving an ache in his lungs. His life has always revolved around All Might, just like Izuku’s.
It hurts and there’s an emptiness that he isn’t sure will ever be filled, but they’re going to be okay. He’ll make sure of it.
Izuku curls closer in his sleep and Katsuki is once again reminded of the fact that they would never have gotten to this point without All Might’s interference. He traces Izuku’s cheekbone and presses his lips to his forehead before turning his attention back to the photograph.
“Thank you,” he whispers to the silent room, his chest tight.
It’s not enough, nothing he could say would be enough, but it’s all he has.
The funeral is as awful as he expects it to be, so he keeps his fingers tightly intertwined with Izuku’s and his expression carefully blank.
Izuku shivers every time he catches the flash of a camera and Katsuki glares in the general direction before he catches himself.
“It’s almost over,” he whispers into Izuku’s ear, then brushes his lips across his temple.
Izuku leans against him without responding and they watch the coffin sink into the dirt.
He feels the itch behind his eyes and then Izuku is turning his face into his chest and sobbing and he gives up on trying to hold himself together. The tears burn, but so does everything else, and he lets himself break. The only thing keeping him standing is Izuku’s solid form in his arms, a stark reminder of his promise to All Might.
It’s the least he can do for the person that made him want to be a hero.
“All Might’s gone.”
It’s hours later and they’re standing in front of Toshinori Yagi’s grave, surrounded by stars and silence.
“Yeah, he is,” Katsuki says. “But you’re not. I’m not. We’re still here and we’ve got jobs to do.”
Izuku frowns, staring down at the scars that crisscross over his hands. “I can’t be him.”
“He wouldn’t want you to be, nerd. And you know that. So tell me, what would All Might want?”
Izuku nods, a fierce determination taking over his features. “He would want us to bring back hope. To let people know that even if All Might isn’t here anymore, we are.”
“Damn right we are,” Katsuki says, grinning. He leans forward, calloused fingers cradling the back of Izuku’s neck, until he’s close enough to press their lips together.
He can taste the salt from Izuku’s tears and his own, but he can also feel Izuku’s pulse, strong and steady underneath his thumb, and it makes it a little easier to breathe.