From his easy chair, the retired hero cranes his head from where he heard the sound of the voice of his eldest son. He totally didn’t fall asleep watching a marathon of Westerns. Nope. Just resting his eyes is all.
Christmas dinner is later today, so he wants to save his energy now for greeting his friends and being around his kids and fresh new grand babies.
Speaking of which. “There’s my grandson! I finally get to meet the little guy. Can...can I hold him?”
“Course pops. Just be gentle ok? Don’t want you dropping him like you did with Ashido.”
Decades later they still joke about something that never happened.
“Oh be nice to your sister Denki. And where’s your wife? Is she coming in still? I do really love hearing her stories.”
“Nah. She needed a little rest. Just a break. So it’s just me and the little guy. She wanted to come, but I told her that she’s pushing herself too hard.”
“She’s so manly! I love her dearly. Always on the move. I like her. You better be good to her!” He can’t help but laugh.
“Course pop. If not I think she’d kick my butt.”
“Hey you’re the one that never wanted to body build with your old man.”
His son, sporting near a reverse pallet swap of his namesakes hair, black with a streak of blond, rolls his eyes at his old man while handing him his child.
“How many times have I told you not to roll your eyes at me young man, if you do-“
“They’ll roll out of my head. Yeah yeah. Come on dad. I’m near thirty now.”
Having turned his attention to the precious babe in his arms, wiggling his meaty finger that the child grabs a hold of and doesn’t let go, he smiles warmly at it. As he continues to talk to his son, but looking at his grandchild.
“You’ll always be my little boy. Isn’t that right. Yes he will. Yes he will. Your dad will always be grandpas little man.” Letting out a deep chuckle the babe laughs in giddy surprise at the large man holding him.
“And what’s your name little man?”
“We decided to name him Katsuki.”
All joy and blood drains from Kirishima’s face, turning it white. He pales as soon as he hears the name.
That’s right. It’s a year today that he passed. In a week it’ll be the year anniversary of when he carried the former top hero to his final resting place, under a large statue of him in his youth, with his golden age costume
It takes a minute to swallow the lump in his throat, the child can sense his unease as he begins to squirm in his grandfather’s hands.
“Katsuki is. A very...manly, name.”
“Kirishima Katsuki.” His steady voice fails him as he says the child’s name aloud. Crocodile tears falling on the babe before he can return him to his concerned son
“Pop? You okay? I know you guys were close. I thought it would be a nice way to remember him. Especially with all he’s done for us.”
In all his years he’s never talked about his relationship with the hero to his kids. They know about as much as any regular person would know. The only time he’s ever snapped at them was when they pushed him too hard to talk about that part of his past.
Kirishima was never the brightest. But both his kids getting the “Ground Zero’s fucking badass student” scholarship, which was a full ride to any university. That’s no coincidence. And when said hero passed and the will was read. Everyone, including himself couldn’t believe the generosity to his family.
Part of him that had been there since he was teen thought he knew why though, at least hoped it was because he still loved him. Despite the years and separation.
The glance from his husband during the reading of the will made him sick to his stomach. He swore he never cheated on him. And he didn’t. Swore that he only saw Ground Zero the few times they worked together over the years. And they did.
When they got home that day, it was their biggest fight.
For years it was the same. Everything would be fine. Especially in those first years, but as they say, the honeymoon period goes away.
His husband new that he worked with Ground Zero in the past, went to school together, even dated.
And that’s why he would always bring it up after he came back from his hero work and would mention the explosive hero.
“Do you still love him?” He would ask. “What about me? Am I not good enough for you? What about the children? Would you tear them away from me? They are my kids too.”
He would build up from something so simple, him taking too long to get home from work or grabbing food. Anything. It would be. “Did you see him again? Your my husband, I’m yours...”
Always it would go like this if he felt even the slightest possibility of something happening. Even though it never did, even though he had plenty of chances too.
Kirishima knew that Bakugo didn’t love him, not in the way he did. So he took the abuse.
Of course it never got physical. He was a hero, the sturdy hero. Nothing his husband do could hurt him.
it wouldn’t take much and he would be full on guilt tripping him for something he had not done.
“You can’t leave us. You can’t leave me. I love you so much.” He would beg. “If you left me. I’d kill myself. That’s what I’d do. I couldn’t live without you. How could I live while you were with someone else?”
“You better not try and leave us. Leave me, while I have the children. I won’t let you take them. I’ll run away with them. I’ll...I’ll...I’ll kill them first and then myself. So you can have your hero, but you’ll lose your family. Is that what you want? Is he really worth losing all of us”
Kirishima never told his kids about how their father was. Or the things he threatened to do when they were young. They don’t need to know that, it’s better they think that they just had normal married life problems. Not that he felt trapped in his own home. Scared of what might happen if he was late from work. Or didn’t take their father out on date nights. Or any number of other things.
His husband wasn’t a bad man, Kirishima always told himself. He just didn’t want to lose him. Surely he never would have followed through on anything he said.
Until the night he came back home covered in bruises from a particularly tough fight, still early in their marriage, long enough that they had both of their children though.
His husband was convinced he cheated. Swore that those were hickies and love bites, and the hand prints were from Ground Zero.
If he wasn’t a hero. If he never attended UA. If he didn’t act of reflex as part of his daily routine. Their daughter might have been stabbed in her crib that night as his husband tried to strike at her as she slept.
Kirishima wanted to be mad at him. Part of him was, but the part of him that knew that his husband could be kind and loving. That made him forgive him.
Kirishima blamed himself for driving his husband to think such terrible things, to try and act on them. If only he was better and showed his man how much he cared about him. Then these fights wouldn’t happen anymore, and their children would be safe.
The worry was always there though.
And a part of him understood it. He almost got to the point where he was in a similar head space as his husband, right before he and Bakugo ended things.
If he had said something like his husband said to him, would they still be together? Maybe. But Bakugo deserved better. He didn’t need Red Riot holding him back. Look at how successful he was as soon as they broke up.
He became the hero that Kirishima always knew him to be. It’s for the better they stayed apart. Bakugo became the great hero. And he got the family life he wanted. Well. Mostly wanted. His kids are amazing. He couldn’t be more proud of them, both going to UA like he did, and carrying on the hero tradition.
His husband however.
Even now, both gray of hair, his husband still would bring up his past, coaxing out the feelings that he still had for Bakugo.
He feel so guilty for his thoughts of what could have been. He never acted on anything, but the want was there. So maybe his husband was right for always reminding him that he was his. And he had a duty to his family. That, that part of his life was gone.
Never did he cheat on his husband.
He wanted to though.
So many times.
He had so many opportunities. All the times they had to work together.
Afterward he would always try to say something to bring them back together, but the blond always turned his back on him before he could find the words.
After the final break up with his fellow hero, he wanted to get back together. They fought like any couple. But they always got back together. And would have the most amazing sex where they would reconfirm their love for each other.
But that one Christmas. After that. It was different.
Then one day, he met the man that would be his husband. He saved him from a villain attack. He was so grateful he asked him out. What was Red Riot to do? Turn him down? He was single then. And yeah, lonely.
Turned out he was a real nice guy. And one date became two. Which down the road became a house and a family and years together and his husband always wondering if he would leave and go back to Ground Zero.
Truth is. Despite it all. And what it would do to his life, his children.
He would have. All he had to hear was Katsuki calling him back.
He may wear a ring given to him by a different man. A good man, a man he ended up sharing his life with and raising children with and growing old with.
But he never gave him his heart. He gave that away back in UA. And he never got it back.
The love between him and his husband faded over the years. Like many marriages do. So when he asked near the beginning of the year to separate. To “try things out, and you never really loved me anyway” he let it happen.
He didn’t feel the same anymore. His kids are grown. Living their own lives. Having their own children, like the baby he just held in his arms.
And his other friends were still around, to talk about the good old days. Remember forgotten secrets, tell the glories of battles in the past. Play board games.
“Hm?” He must have been staring off a while. Lost in his own thoughts.
“I know we normally do this after dinner. But I got you this. Imma go and come back ok? Actually. I may just spend it with my wife. Um. Catch ya around dad.”
Looking at what was given to him. It’s a book. Flipping it to the back side it looks like it was just read. Turning it back to the front.
His heart beat stops.
“At Ground Zero: The Bakugo Katsuki Story”
He heard about this book. Apparently he made his way into it. People at signing events had been bringing this up for him to sign.
Each time it pained him to see the face and name of his lost love. But he signed his name and welcomed the next person in line. Never looking at it.
Now he has his own copy.
What’s so special at the back of the book? He assumes his son started thumbing through it as he was lost in thought.
Turning to the last page he reads.
“Alright fuckers. I told them to put this in the back. And they fucking better have, or I’ll haunt the shit out of them.
I didn’t want this to be in the front and make it all sappy and shit before you read about how great I am.
Still. It needs to be said.
That any story about me. Bakugo Katsuki. Ground Zero. Can’t be told completely, without mentioning Kirishima Eijirou, Red Riot.
Ei. I really hope you got better people working for you so you can sign off on this and make sure this shit is ok before the book goes into print.”
Oh. Is that what all those calls where about that I ignored? Oops.
“Well. Reading this you must have read the rest of the book and are like. WOW. He’s so cool and we miss him so much. You’re right of course.
But like I said in the chapter about him. I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am. Without Kirishima Eijirou. For better or worse.”
Theres a whole chapter about me? I’ll have to read it next.
“I’ll say it here again. Cause I couldn’t, and didn’t say it enough in life. I love you Ei. And I’m so sorry. I should’ve been better for you. I hope you are happy and have been ever since we parted ways. I know I haven’t.
Not a day went by when I didn’t replay the scene of our breakup and wish I didn’t anything and everything different.
I hope your kids are doing well. I’ve done what I could from afar to help give them every opportunity I could, as if I were their father too. I know that’s terrible of me. They have you. And I’m sure that fucker you married is probably a great guy too. But they’re your kids and due to me being an idiot. Not our kids. Though I wished they were.
So look. To everyone reading this. Don’t be like me. Be better. Tell the person you love most everyday. That you love them most. Fight for them. Anything worth having in life, is worth fighting for. If you have that person. Be with that person. If not for you, for them. And for me.
Cause despite all I’ve ever done all the people I’ve saved, villains put away, money I’ve made. None of that matters compared to not having the man I love. That I’ve always and only loved.
It had to be you.”
Kirishima reads. And rereads. And rereads yet again, until he can’t see through the tears.
This can’t be real. There’s no way this is actually part of this book.
It is though.
Fighting through his feelings, his stomach doing circles, and blowing his nose on his shirt as he reads. He goes through the chapter about himself.
He always wanted me back. His whole life. He wanted me back and he said nothing because he thought I was happy. He put his own happiness to the side, because that’s how much he cared about me. He loved my kids because they were mine, and he wished they were his too. So do I Suki. I wished that too. For so many years.
Learning the thoughts of the man he loved from a distance for so long. The man that he always wished he had even while married to another. The man that he helped carry to his final rest.
When the family, save for his husband, begin to arrive to his home for Christmas dinner.
They found him rocking back and forth clutching the book against his chest so hard that it’s hard back cover is drawing blood as he is pushing it against himself. All the while wailing the name of the man he lost. Crying and cursing at himself. At Bakugo. At life itself for cursing him with the knowledge that it all could’ve been different.