Katsuki stared at the back of Uraraka’s head instead of listening to what Aizawa was saying. It had been months since they worked together as trainee heroes together, and they had barely traded a few words since. So he didn’t know why it was bothering him today.
He shook his head and turned his attention towards the lesson. In the corner of his eye, he saw her glance at him.
During lunch, he made his escape. Katsuki couldn’t eat with those happy-go-lucky people who called him their friend. Not today. Not when memories were more prominent than ever and they had never been the same around him.
So he went to his go to spot. A tree in the yard that had lots of sturdy branches to hold his weight. He had been eating there whenever he needed an escape. This time, however, someone was there before him. Uraraka sat on his favorite branch, looking as if she was ready to just fall over and break some bones
( Leaning over and opening his arms. Letting gravity take hold. The wind pushed up against his face, but he welcomed the embrace. Excruciating pain in his ribs, both arms, and a leg. Was this what it felt like for that idiot? He gritted his teeth and pulled himself to the nurse’s office, ignoring any offers for help or questions. )
“What are you doing here?” He asked through gritted teeth. Uraraka looked up at him in surprise. They were afraid and sad. Katsuki didn’t care how sad she was, though, all he wanted was for her to leave him alone.
( He kept asking himself how to approach her. They had never been more than rivals at best, and acquaintances at the least. He didn’t know how to try to console her. He didn’t even know how to express himself.)
“I wanted a place with my thoughts.” She said quietly. She knew she was being intrusive, then. That this was his place and she should have gone some place else. Katsuki didn’t feel much like telling her to leave now, though.
“Had enough of glasses, did you?” He commented instead, knowing the two had stuck closer than ever for all these months. It seemed so suffocating to him. Uraraka didn’t say anything. “You know there’s no point in jumping. It won’t solve anything.”
“You don’t know that.”
“It would be the same as... his death.” It had been months and he still couldn’t say his name. He had managed for the therapy sessions, but that was just so he could get out of them faster. He wasn’t actually ever told to stop, but he started skipping it enough that they let him go. “It would just make things worse.”
“His- his last words to me were- were-” Uraraka started to cry. Katsuki didn’t want to hear this. He looked down at the ground, judging the distance again. He considered jumping just to get out of hearing what she had to say, even if it meant breaking his bones again. “He told me that even if he was done, he wanted me to go on. He- he wanted all of us to go on. But I don’t... I don’t know how much longer I can go on without him.”
(He saw his fellow heroes on the ground, one holding the other. His throat tightened and he wasn’t sure what to say. He saw her face and he knew there was no way to help. She had cried so much, she looked like a red panda, and the tears hadn’t stopped streaming. She saw him and snatched his hand, holding tight so he wouldn’t be able to leave.)
Katsuki could feel all of his repressed grief come back. All of the anger and frustration towards himself. He didn’t like it. And what kind of fool was this dead boy anyways? To tell them to keep going without him as if he mattered.
“Are you kidding me? You knew him for what? A year? Yeah you were friends and sure he might have encouraged you, but there was life before him and there will be life after him. Don’t leave the people in your life behind.” Katsuki regretted what he said immediately. He was forcing his own emotions on someone who needed comfort, not harsh words.
“Thank you. I feel better now.” Uraraka said with a small smile, contradicting his expectation. She jumped down, tapping herself right before she crashed.
Katsuki sighed and ate his lunch.
Yesterday's talk with Uraraka still weighed on Katsuki's mind. So when he arrived early in the morning, long before most of the students, or even the teachers, would come, he went straight to the roof. His tree would only make him feel worse at the moment.
Too bad for him, miniature Aizawa was napping there. Or at least, he had been until Katsuki slammed the door. When he noticed the crazy haired boy, he was already awake and yawning.
“Could you be more rude? Classes haven't started yet.” Shinsou said. His bite was sharper than it had been before. Katsuki understood completely, both of them trapped animals who only know how to lash out when hurt. Unlike Uraraka, they couldn't let people in. Instead, they hid and pushed everyone else away.
( “I was supposed to watch his back.” It was the only thing he said when asked any questions. It was as if he was a broken record everyone expected to change.
Katsuki most of all. He wanted to know why the boy failed. What had distracted him. What made it so that when it came time, he just watched as it happened, instead of doing something.)
“Discount shock is worried about you.” Katsuki ignored the earlier comment. He didn't really care about being rude. He had started to, once. When he realized how bad it could affect his roommates. But then things changed and he reverted to old ways.
“As if. Everyone in this school thinks I'm just as bad as a villain. They stare at me and whisper out of fear. Just the other day someone freaked out when they saw me and activated their quirk. I don’t belong here. Not as a student and definitely not as a hero.” Shinsou muttered the last sentence, but despite all of the damage to his ears, Katsuki still managed to hear.
“You're right. You don’t belong here. But neither do I. And yet I'm still here. We’re going to be heroes no matter what anyone else thinks of us.” Katsuki said, for once trying to encourage him. He wasn't really the encouraging type, but at least he was trying.
“Easy for you to say.” Shinsou scoffed.
“What?” He asked, believing he must have misheard him. He tried to say something to cheer him the fuck up, not to get put down.
“You've been told your whole life that you can be anything. You've been praised and encouraged at every turn! That's a privilege few have! It makes things easier for you, to just not listen to the negativity, because you have a comfy cushion of praise to fall on.” The crazy haried teen lashed out, his tongue like a whip at the unsuspecting blond. But Katsuki wasn't easily hurt by words of someone he was largely indifferent to. If it weren;t for this entire situation, he would have left already or thrown the other kid through the door so he could be alone. He wouldn;t have stayed there and taken it all.
“I've been put on a pedestal with few willing to tell me no! I've been told bullying the weak is okay when it isn't. And I've had to learn all of what's wrong and right too late for it to matter. I would have worse grades if I didn't think they mattered to me being a hero. So yeah, I'm privileged and I can see that, but that doesn't mean it made me come out better than anyone else.” Katsuki admitted. He had never told anyone this. He didn't like to admit this shit, after all. But it was the truth and he didn't want to also admit to being a liar. Especially not when the truth was undeniable.
Together they sat there, watching as students and teachers began to trickle in. It turned into a steady stream as time passed and the campus began to fill.
Among the people, it would have made him feel claustrophobic. But above, he could see how small they were. He could see how far apart everyone was and there weren't as much people gathered together than it would have felt.
He could see his group of friends. They clustered together as they liked to do for some inexplicable reason. Despite himself, he focused on Kaminari as if he was a beacon.
Katsuki had heard Kaminari worry about him, an almost constant topic on the blond's mind. And from there, he would talk about anything to do with Shinsou. From the most trivial things about his home and family to how much he deserved to be a hero.
(“Why didn't you save him? Weren't you on the same team? Weren’t you meant to take care of each other?” HIs mom’s face was red and angry and wrecked with tears. He could see her shaking. He had never seen her like this before. They had arguments and yelled at each other like most parents and children did, but nothing like this. Nothing like all this fury and rage and grief all directed towards him.
And what part of what she said was wrong? None of that. He had had the responsibility to keep them all safe and he failed.
“Fuck, I heard about what you did to him in middle school, but I can't believe you would just let him die like that.”
“That’s enough.” His dad’s even, but curt tone hurt more than any words his mom spat at him. The way he took her shoulders and she curled up in him as they walked away from their son- their only child- hurt more than he had ever expected.)
“Look. School might be shit, but at least you have a place at home where you're loved. You have dinner ready for you and you're always safe.” Katsuki stated. Shinsou didn't answer. He shook his head and left the roof. He didn't want to be around someone who couldn't appreciate what they had.
Those two were just the start of people invading his hiding spots. And he always, no matter what got pulled into talking with them. And they all focused on one point in all of their lives that had disappeared months ago. He hated it.
Why did they all have to focus on that time? Why was Katsuki always the one to talk to them? Was it because of some sick shit like karma?
Katsuki just wanted it to stop. All of the feelings he repressed. All of these conversations bringing up a bad memory. A stain that was in his mind from before he could remember.
He finally resorted to hiding in the changing room. It was full of the stench of sweat, but he couldn't stand any of this any more. He didn't expect to see Icy Hot with ice in his hand.
The ice part wasn't that strange, considering his quirk. However, it was in the shape of a sharp icicle. So sharp Katsuki could see what was being attempted.
Todoroki sat on a bench, the icicle gripped in his hands and his head set back. His neck was completely bare, burns, bruises, and other scars were all over his body. Many of the scars were light and barely noticeable, but his bruises were a variety of colors making his skin look like stained glass. They were recent.
“Stop!” Katsuki shouted. He didn't even realize it escaped him until Todoroki dropped the icicle out of surprise and had turned towards him. All he could see as he stared at Todoroki was a mirror. A mirror of pain and longing for release.
For the first time, Katsuki could completely see himself in someone else. He didn't like it, but all the same it made him happy to know he wasn't alone. He wasn't alone with all the pain.
“I just want to stop the scars the grow even when I go home.” Especially. It was silent, but Katsuki knew there was no way the other teen could have gotten all of those injuries from school. The majority of those had to have come from his home life.
Katsuki remembered the way that shitty nerd would hold Todoroki when he was just slightly hurt. The way they talked in hushed whispers sometimes, away from the rest of their group. The careful touches, looks asking for permission, and the way he always put himself in front of Icy Hot no matter who they were talking to.
“He knew.” Katsuki said, the thought escaping him. Todoroki bowed his head as if he were ashamed. “And he didn't do anything?”
“He did everything. I... I was the one who stopped him. He had even gathered evidence. But I told him no. The consequences were just too great.” Todoroki said. His hands were trembling. If left to his own, he would undoubtedly try again, even succeed.
(He stared down at the ground, barely able to see it with the headache affecting his sight. It was a lot higher than the tree was, everything else a lot smaller. He took a step forward, onto the edge. What if all it did was just hurt him again? He had to succeed if he were to do this. For once, he would need to research.)
“Don’t do it please.” Katsuki said. He couldn't believe his words. Not when he had tried to do the same. When he couldn't find a reason to stay. Not really. He held no worth to the world, all of his past arrogance realized and thrown away.
“I suppose today just isn't my day.” Todoroki sighed and gathered his clothes. He walked past Katsuki and out the door, the icicle he dropped meeting on the floor.
Katsuki picked the ice up, admiring the sharpness of the edge that was quickly dulling. He took Todoroki's spot on the bench, staring at the icicle without seeing.
Katsuki discovering Todoroki as he did renewed something in him. The very next day he made sure mini Aizawa was busy and then went onto the roof. It was after classes, so no one would notice if he suddenly went missing. There were letters on his desk.
Everything was prepared.
Katsuki slipped off his shoes, as was polite to do when entering someone's home, remembering his manners. He stepped on to that edge and took a deep breath.
He looked ahead,
took a step back,
Katsuki fell forward, off the roof. Whatever lingering doubt that had convinced him he wasn't ready was gone. He embraced this moment. The last one he would ever have.
His death, at least, would actually be an improvement.
“I'm on my way, Izuku.”
Pain from his arm to his shoulder coarsed through him. He looked up and saw All Might holding his arm. Whatever leftover power he had, had been gathered up just to save Katsuki. It only made the boy wonder why he was saved as he was pulled up.
“What were you thinking, young Bakugou? Don't you know how important your life is?” All Might turned into his skinny, skeleton self. He looked so weak, had gotten even worse after the incident, Katsuki thought he might break.
“Don’t you hate me for not saving him?” Katsuki stared up at him as if he were staring at a god. He was waiting on his knees for the damnation he wanted. The damnation he deserved.
“It wasn't your fault. Deku would have said the same thing.” The towering god refused. Instead, he knelt down and wrapped his thin arms around Katsuki. The boy shuddered and began to cry. He tried to hold back, but he couldn’t help but sob and scream and beg for forgiveness all the while asking why that boy- that would’ve been- could’ve been- was- hero- why he died.
(“Deku! You fucking idiot, stop playing dead! You can't die like this!” Katsuki hit his chest. He went as hard as he could to do whatever he could to wake up a bloody corpse. Despite his yelling, he didn't imagine the body would gasp for air.
“E-eat .... thi- this.” Deku’s breathing was labored and heavy. He raised his hand, trembling, holding a strand of dark green hair. “Please.”
Katsuki didn't know why. But it was important to him. And as much as he wanted to deny it, there was no saving the other teen. Round face already thought he was dead and Katsuki had thought the same.
So he honored the last wish and ate the hair.
Midoriya Izuku, better known as Deku, the ninth holder for One for All, died with a smile on his face.
He never felt Katsuki's tears on his face.)