A curse, the sharp sting of burnt sugar, eyes opening to darkness.
Katsuki becomes aware of two things slowly: she’s sprawled out on her back, a body hovering somewhere above her, legs spread and settled on either side of her waist, practically curled against her, shivering and leeching desperately for warmth in a small tight space.
“Don’t activate your quirk-“ The hurried gasp stills one hand, even if it hadn’t been a thought that crossed her mind considering the absolute sickening overwhelming stench of her quirk practically overwhelming around them. “We’re trapped,” the voice continues as Katsuki’s sluggish mind identifies her as See Through. “The building fell down and- I got you out of the way but I think you hit your head, when we went down. You’ve been unconscious for – I don’t know.” A rough swallow. “Do you have any communication device on you? My costume doesn’t exactly come with one…”
Katsuki stares blankly up into the darkness, slowly becoming aware of the pressure on her leg and the pounding headache now that she searches for it.
Everything feels sluggish. Distant.
“You’re cold.” It comes out more slurred than she meant, eyes squeezing shut, and See Through makes a helpless sort of noise somewhere above her.
“I’m naked,” she giggles, just edging on the hysterics. “And we’re underground – I don’t know how far but the building, it took the entire ground with it. It must have been structural unsound or, something. Isn’t that what Ochaco-chan always complains about?” Katsuki’s brow furrows and she reaches up clumsily, finding an arm which she slides up to gently squeeze a muscular shoulder.
“I think,” Katsuki manages as a hand clamps down on hers, desperate for some sort of grounding in a situation neither of them were prepared for, and Katsuki thinks – distantly – that See Through has very calloused hands. “I think there’s an earbud from our first lesson in one of the back pouches. All Might – he never requested it back.”
“You think you can lift your back?” See Through asks with a breath of hope and Katsuki grunts, curling her shoulders down and trying her best not to think too hard about the fact that her leg was very much stuck as she curls her back up, the other pushing herself flat against her front, and the space must be far smaller than Katsuki had first realised because she barely gets inches up before See Through’s back hits resistance against the stone with a muffled noise of strain.
But it’s enough for a hand to grope blindly beneath her, digging into the first pouch, her breath warm against Katsuki’s collarbone. A pause, a crinkle of plastic.
“… Do you keep tampons on you?”
“’s good to have,” Katsuki huffs. “Nose and menstrual blood alike.”
See Through lets out a wheezy sort of disbelieving laugh, curling further to reach the second pouch when the first didn’t reveal anything and her fingers snag and she shifts carefully as she drags it out and Katsuki sinks back against the ground.
“There’s stations right?” See Through murmurs and she feels the way muscles work as the other twists and turns the tiny dial without vision to guide her.
They’re practically squished together and Katsuki thinks that it’s might as well that it’s dark – it’s not nearly as strange to accept the invisibility part of her quirk when all her senses are registering her as there. The smell of sweat, the rise and fall of her chest, the way she’s curling to keep as much as she can of Katsuki while trying to leech of her warmth.
“I don’t think they’re close enough,” See Through says after a long moment and Katsuki gives a small jerk, realizing she’d been dosing off, grimacing a bit as she shifts.
“Nothing to do but wait then,” she mumbles tiredly.
“Suppose so,” See Through says, tense somewhere above her, and Katsuki’s head is swimming and she’s tired which is probably not good but-
“You can rest against me,” Katsuki gets out, aware of the way muscles tenses up. “You’re icy cold and I’m warm. Shared body heat.”
A chest rising and expanding above her and then a careful shift.
“You sure?” See Through asks carefully, tone traced with a careful sort of hesitance. “You’re not exactly the… cuddly type.”
“’m not shitty enough to let you freeze,” Katsuki says tiredly. “And I think I have a concussion.”
“You’re not just saying that to have a pretty naked girl wrapped tight around you?” See Through jokes tensely as she carefully settles down against Katsuki, head turning and ear pressing down near her shoulder as the other draws her arms and legs as tight against her as she can.
The position leaves her acutely aware of the warm breath on her neck, the slight thrum of a heartbeat, but there’s a fogginess to her mind and she’s too tired to think.
“Not exactly interested in girls,” she grumbles.
“You like boys?” See Through asks, voice rising.
“Why the hell do you sound surprised?” Katsuki asks, tufts of short hair tickling her nose as she breathes in.
“I shouldn’t be,” See Through admits, shoulders slowly easing, and Katsuki strongly suspects she might be smiling even as a shiver runs through her body. “Don’t take this the wrong way but your aggression levels really go up around boys so it wasn’t really something I took into consideration.” A pause. “And,” See Through adds, “I think I’ve only seen you willingly hang out with Ashido.”
“You’re a hard guy to read, Bakugou,” See Through comments, shifting to get as much of her heat as possible. “But I don’t think you’re a particularly bad one.”
“… Do you think you could, like, hold me?” See Through asks some fifteen minutes later. “I’m really, really cold.”
Katsuki grunts, shifting carefully, pretending not feel the way sticky blood clings to her arms and hands as she draws the other tight against her.
Katsuki jerks awake with the first strip of light hitting her face, eyes opening sharply, squinting as she slowly becomes aware of the noise and- there’s definitively shouting but it’s muffled, as from far above.
On her chest, See Through doesn’t as much as stir and Katsuki tightens her grip on her, arms locked stiff in place as her muddy thoughts struggles to string together.
“We’re here-“ it leaves her mouth a rough rasp and Katsuki grimaces but does a second attempt, loosening one hand to reach out and scratch at the tiny stream of light but it’s barely more than a thumb in size and she can’t really make out anything through it from her angle. “Hey- HEY!”
The sound of her voice makes her wince, the noise amplified with the pounding headache, but she pushes through it shouting to a sudden hush, something heavy thudding to the ground and then-
Aizawa-sensei’s voice rings out loud and sharp and Katsuki swallows before echoing his name loudly in response and- suddenly she can hear footsteps and she does it again and again and-
“Bakugou-“ Aizawa’s voice is a balm to her jagged panic, close but still a bit muffled. “Is Hagakure with you as well?”
Katsuki’s mind struggles to grasp and – “Yes,” she gets out. “But she’s unconscious, I think the cold got to her and she’s lost a lot of blood and I don’t know how bad it is. I tried to keep her warm but-“
And, Katsuki recognises distantly, that she’s verging on a panic attack and she snaps her mouth shut, forcing herself to breathe with a quiver that runs through her entire body.
“We’re both here,” she squeezes out wanting outoutout.
“You just need to hold on for a little while longer, Bakugou,” Aizawa’s voice reaches her, gruff but strangely soothing. “We’re working to get you out as fast as we can - Cementoss and Power Loader are both here. Are either of you hurt anywhere?”
“Hagakure’s back and- I don’t know, I think the worst was the cold but it’s dark and I can’t see.” Katsuki shivers, old and tired panic clawing for attention. “My leg – it’s stuck and I think – I think I have a concussion.” It’s a dull sort of realisation that veers against the panic leaving her in a strange sort of dissonance, jerking sharply when she realises Aizawa has been calling for her and-
“’I definitely have a concussion,” she gets out and somewhere above her Aizawa breathes out.
Another voice and- Katsuki knows that voice but she’s tired, See Through cold and shivering even unconscious.
Shivering is good, Katsuki thinks distantly but the why eludes her.
“- kugou, I need you to listen to me,” Aizawa presses in that calm soothing voice, a slight strain in his voice, and Katsuki wonders how many times he’d been forced to repeat himself as she grunts out tiredly. “Are you listening to me?”
“Yeah,” Katsuki forces out. “’m listening.”
“We’re going to try and widen the hole and get a heat blanket down to you, alright? When that happens I need you to wrap the both of you up in it the best that you can and then press the button at the corner to start it up. Can you do that for me?”
Can you do that for me? What a particular way of phrasing things.
Katsuki thinks she responds but she’s not quite sure.
Can’t quite get herself to care either way.
Blanket good, blanket warm.
Clumsy fingers, a guiding voice somewhere around her, urging her push something and-
Katsuki jerks blearily to awareness as the weight of her chest is suddenly moving and a questioning sort of noise leaves her mouth, soothed by a palm that brushes gently over her sweaty forehead and she squints up – makes out dark messy hair pulled back into a ponytail and a pair of dark eyes watching her carefully.
“Hey – stay with me, Bakugou,” Aizawa says firmly. “We’re getting you out but we need to remove the rocks keeping your foot stuck first. Everything is going to be fine.”
Fine? Katsuki thinks distantly, recognising more than one Pro-Hero around her. But we’re dead?
“’s she going to be alright?” Katsuki slurs tiredly. “Tried to keep her warm.”
“I know you did,” Aizawa soothes and when she doesn’t jerk away from his touch he keeps petting her, brushing down spikes of pale blond, her eyes dilated and focuses half on him, half past his shoulder. “She’ll be fine. Recovery Girl is looking her over right now. You just focus on staying awake.”
Katsuki grunts, tired, exhausted and confused by the mess of her mind, grasping for the focus of a rough palm.
“Listen to Eraser, little listener,” Present Mic says as he drops down beside them, all leather and grease and handing something to Aizawa that Katsuki can’t quite make out and-
Oh, Katsuki thinks, looking at the moon. It’s night.
She wonders if the sun in the distance is setting or rising, a strange sort of ringing noise in her ears as she grimaces, pushing down with her shoulders to look at her foot only-
Present Mic moves and Katsuki’s attention is diverted by loud yellow hair and eyes that makes her stare, startled at the sight of them without glasses blocking them out and-
Katsuki doesn’t feel very much like herself at all, the feeling hitting her hard as she twists her head and a bag appears in her vision, a shiver running through her, cold sweat beading on her shoulders and forehead, stomach cramping as she throws up a second time and-
A sleeve is tugged down and Aizawa gently wipes her lips clean as Katsuki trembles and-
Katsuki is getting really tired of waking up in a jumble but she squints her eyes at the bright light, turning and looking down at the chair and the woman slumped over on her bed, categorizing the pale blonde hair and wan face, worry lines and dark smudges beneath her eyes.
It’s hard not to feel like an imposter when she keeps causing nothing but trouble for the parents who loved their son more than anything else – even after he’d died and ended up not quite right.
She slowly pushes herself up, realising that someone had changed her out of her training gear and into a soft t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants, both with the U.A. logo stylised on them.
Touches her hands to her ears and carefully removes the headphones.
Mitsuki’s chest keeps rising and falling, phone clutched in her hand and a call counting minutes on the screen. It was likely, Katsuki thinks a bit distantly, she’d fallen asleep talking to Masaru who was out of the country on job business.
She winces as she shifts her leg but she leans forward and carefully slips it out of the woman’s hand, pulling it up to her ear.
“Tou-san?” she asks quietly.
There’s a sudden thud, a scramble and a hasty excuse to someone before-
“Katsuki,” the breath of relief makes her squeeze her eyes shut, drawing her knees up as best as she can as she rests her forehead against them. “You’re awake. Mitsuki-“
“She’s asleep,” Katsuki says quietly. “How long…?”
“It took them almost twenty hours to get you out,” Masaru admits tensely through the phone and it’s rattling to hear the clear strain behind the admittance. “There were structural damage before your lesson and what should have collapsed a wall ended up concaving the very ground you were standing on. It was no-ones fault.”
Something eases slowly inside of her at the words and she swallows.
“She lost a lot of blood and that coupled with the cold slowed down her heartrate which is why she was hard to rouse. Recovery Girl sent her home some hours ago. She’s going to be missing the rest of the week as she rests up but other than that she’s fine. The other two you were competing against managed to get out of the way and weren’t hurt.”
“That’s… that’s good.” A quiver runs through her shoulders.
“That teacher of yours, he’s quite something,” Masaru says through the phone. “He stuck with you through the entire thing, Mitsuki said. Not even All Might did that! He had to leave when lessons started up but he was down for lunch and afternoon classes should be over soon. It’s likely he’ll stop by again.”
Katsuki appreciates the heads-up, she does.
“When can I go home?” she asks tensely.
“I think I’ll be the one to answer that,” an elderly voice comes from beside her and Katsuki opens her eyes, turning to look at the woman as the curtain was yanked aside and she gave her desk a little kick, gliding close on a chair with wheels, cane folded over her lap.
“Can you put me on speaker?” Masaru requests quietly and Katsuki slowly removes the phone, pressing the button in question.
“Masaru-san,” Recovery Girl says in acknowledgement, receiving a greeting back. “How are you feeling?” This she directs to Katsuki.
“My headache is gone,” she admits, fingers curling around the telephone, taking comfort in familiarity. “My foot still hurts a bit but that’s it.”
“You were lucky,” Recovery Girl tells her. “You’ll make full-recovery. I want to keep you for an hour more to make sure you’re not feeling any adverse effects from the concussion now that you’re awake. My quirk healed up the worst of it and removed the pressure on your brain but the body always needs a bit of time to stabilize. It is likely you’ll be feeling a bit dizzy to and from in the following two or three days. Anything worse than that and I want you to let me know immediately, is that understood?”
Katsuki nods a bit tensely.
“Katsuki, words.” Masaru’s light reminder makes her jaw clench.
“Yes, ma’am,” she says grudgingly. “Thank you.”
The Pro-Hero merely smiles. “Gummy bears?” she offers, proofing her hand, and Katsuki slowly reaches out to take a handful.
“Mitsuki fell asleep some two hours ago,” Masaru says through the phone. “Let her sleep, if you can.”
“I will,” Katsuki says quietly, pushing the phone back from speaker mode and pressing it up against her ear.
Katsuki stares down the bed, pressing the phone just a bit closer, knowing that-
“I love you,” Masaru says and her fist clenches white-knuckled around the silvery device. “I’m glad you’re alright. I’ll see you soon, son.”
The conversation ends with a soft click.
Katsuki is playing around with an old mobile game on Mitsuki’s old flip-phone when the door opens up and she raises her head, finding Aizawa-sensei stepping inside, hair dark and messy, a hand dragging absently thorough it as he greets Recovery Girl.
But his eyes are on her and Katsuki isn’t quite sure what to feel as the elderly Pro-Hero gives Aizawa’s knee a pat before trotting out, closing the door behind her.
Katsuki takes comfort in the sleeping form of Mitsuki as her teacher approaches, sinking down on the spinning chair left in the other Hero’s wake, a slight slouch, his eyes hard to read as she flips the phone close, trapping it between her palms.
Aizawa glances briefly to Mitsuki before focusing his eyes steadily on hers. “So you’re awake.”
Katsuki remembers a soft hand against her forehead and a calm soothing voice amidst fragmented confusion.
Isn’t sure what to feel.
“We’re tearing down the entirety of the city training ground and rebuilding it,” Aizawa tells her. “Nedzu is overseeing it himself. Something like this won’t happen again.” He sounds exhausted but it’s the only clear read she gets of him – there’s a hard sort of emotion to place in the depth of his eyes. “You did good,” he tells her. “All things considering.”
You did good, words that echo strange, her gaze lowering, a slight furrow to her brow.
There’s a gap between them – drawn in the aftermath of the Sports Festival and Katsuki isn’t sure what to feel about her moment of vulnerability caught by him and even soothed and she swallows, neck warm, words stuck strangely in her mouth as she stares down at the green covers.
“I hope,” Aizawa says after the silence has stretched for a long time between them. “That you know that you can come to me if there’s anything you’re worried about.”
Katsuki isn’t quite sure what to answer and ends up saying nothing at all.
“Before you leave,” Recovery Girl says, as Mitsuki has left after a reassuring kiss to her forehead to fetch the car and pull it up to the entrance, “I want a quick word with you.”
Katsuki tugs the last knot in place on her sneakers, straightening up and frowning at the slight crease in Recovery Girl’s brows.
“Eraserhead helped me change you out of your clothes.” Katsuki’s stomach twists, knowing with sudden clarity what exactly she was inching towards. “The scars on your body-“
“Are none of your fucking business,” Katsuki bites out, lips pulling back to reveal sharp white teeth.
Recovery Girl pauses and then sighs. “I thought you might say as much,” the elderly Pro-Hero says. “If I honestly thought it was the cause of abuse I would have contacted the police.” Katsuki goes tense under sharp eyes. “But I suspect that, in your situation, I might just end up doing you more harm than good. Whoever caused that, I don’t think it was your parents.”
“Mitsuki and Masaru are good people,” she snarls.
Recovery Girl huffs. “Calm yourself, boy.” She taps her cane against the ground and Katsuki gives her a flat look of dislike. “I just told you I didn’t suspect them. Those burns – they’re undeniable quirk made. There’s few out there who could manage such a hot and precise thing.”
Katsuki remains tense, jaw clenched tight. “So what are you going to do?” she demands.
“For now? Nothing.” Recovery Girl admits with the sort of reluctance that gnawed at her professionalism. “The contract you signed upon entrance to U.A. prevents me from telling your parents and unless in the suspicion of abuse I am not allowed to act but I want you to be aware that there are help here if you need it. U.A. will never turn those in need away. But." She pins him in place with a stern look. "If you find yourself hurt like that again I want you to come here. I won't ask questions but burns can be tricky and they carry a high-chance of infection."
Considering the risk of the Hero Course contracts had been drawn to allow children the final say in their eventual withdrawal and granted a sort of guardianship contract to the class teacher. Aizawa was the only one Recovery Girl was legally allowed and required to share all of her history with and in a situation where Mitsuki and Masaru couldn’t be reached then Aizawa had the final say.
He even had the right to overrule when if he suspected they were making a bad call but it was the kind of power that was seldom put in motion past praxis.
It was a fine-printed thing at the end of the contract, carefully worded. It was partly to prevent parents from pressing legal actions when students, unavoidably, got hurt somehow or the other against each other or against teachers but it was also to prevent outside influence in forming their future Heroes.
Katsuki stares at her for a moment longer before grasping her bag, ignoring the slight dizziness with a grimace as she steps out, closing the door firmly behind her.
Katsuki feels another headache coming on when she turns her phone on after dinner, blueberry pie half-forgotten on the TV-table as she scrolls through the new group-chat she’d been invited to by Raccoon Eyes.
It looked like some kind of class group-chat and the mess of nicknames stares back at her, messages short-hand and full of emoji’s.
She leaves the group after scanning through enough to note Invisibly Girl’s expressed relief at being home, followed by many reassurances and badgering about her own health and Katsuki was so not dealing with that.
Her phone buzzes near two seconds later.
RACCOON GIRL: YOU LIVE.
RACCOON GIRL: I saw you in the chat!
RACCOON GIRL: Or, rather, leave the chat.
An emoji with a sweat-drop followed the massage, sheepish looking, Katsuki decides after a moment of squinting at it.
RACCOON GIRL: Are you OK?
She writes a short message letting the other know she was fine and yes she was home.
Hesitates, but takes a picture of the blueberry pie and after a long moment of hovering her thumb over the send-button clicks it and backtracks out of the conversation and opens up the next.
PURPLE GUY: You’re just extra enough to drop an entire building on yourself, aren’t you?
Katsuki stares at the message before snorting.
BAKUGOU: I live for your care.
She doesn’t have time to back out before her phone buzzes rapidly in several short-hand messages.
RACCOON EYES: I’m glad to hear you’re alright <3
RACCOON EYES: I mean, they do say some people are too dumb to die.
PURPLE GUY: U’re too dumb to die so
RACCOON EYES: And only a dumbass manages to be back two days before-
PURPLE GUY: I guess it must be a real strain carrying around all that dum-
Katsuki twitches and shoves her phone down and under the couch pillow with a scowl, grabbing for her cooled blueberry pie.