Izuku hears the back door slide open. One-Eye’s grey ears twitch at the sudden noise, but he doesn’t even to move from his spot on the bench, continuing to sunbathe unbothered as Demon stirs in Izuku’s lap.
Izuku stops tending to the flowerbeds and wheels over to meet their intruder.
"Welcome home," he greets with a bright smile as Katsuki walks up to his wheelchair. Demon raises his head and mews happily at the sight of Katsuki.
He doesn’t say anything, face blank as Demon calls out to him once more. He bends down in response and scratches at the skin behind Demon’s ear, before picking Demon up in his arm and unceremoniously deposits him on the floor. Demon looks so betrayed by that he high tails it out of there and hops on the bench to demand affection from One-Eye instead, who hisses at first at the disruption to his nap but finally makes room for Demon.
"Kacchan?" Izuku prods, cocking his head curiously. He’s home early. Usually he’s in the office way pass the proper hours just to make sure everything is up to standard. A hard-driven perfectionist to the very end even in his twilight years.
"Here." Katsuki suddenly throws a small black box onto Izuku's now empty lap. "Happy birthday, nerd."
Izuku blinks, mouths opening but thought against it. Carefully, he lifts the lid open and his eyes wet at the sight. "Your mask?" he breathes. “Oh.” If he was standing, he would have collapse to the ground in shock. He reaches into box and carefully touches it with reverence and what it means to have this handed to him on this particular day.
At the height of his career, Izuku was forced to retired first after losing his legs in a bloody battle and now it's finally Katsuki's turn.
“Effectively immediately, the Hero Ground Zero is no longer on the active duty roster,” Katsuki announces. “I’m fully retired.”
Izuku looks up and frowns in puzzlement. “Not that I’m unhappy with this news, but I thought we would wait until Aiko-chan turn twenty-four before you hand the reins over to her.”
“You waited long enough,” says Katsuki, firm and unmoving.
In truth Katsuki should have retired five years ago as they had planned, but he’d wanted to stay on longer to train his—their—successor properly, waited until she had grown enough and can take on the mantle of number one in his place, carrying the legacy of OFA into the next generation of new, rising heroes.
Almost twenty years ago from this day, he’d pushed his body to its limit to save a little girl’s life, fifteen years later that same little girl had grown up tall and strong, enough to be chosen as the next OFA’s wielder. Tone Aiko may be Katsuki’s successor, but she is also Izuku’s because he had chosen her first, had put his life on the line for her, so she’s both theirs in this way. Selected by them at different point in her life, but in the end her path crossed with both of them the same way that tied all OFA’s users together.
All Might had first handed it down to Izuku on the beach, then Izuku had given it to Katsuki in his hospital bed, and Katsuki had chosen a young, quirkless girl to inherit it under a collapse building. OFA's legacy will continue, but Katsuki's era with it finally have come to an end just like Izuku had before him. Just like All Might had before Izuku. Just like all the previous wielders had before them all.
This never ending shining symbol of peace, hope, victory, and now love lives on, even as Katsuki’s time with it has come to an end. It’s the last page of Katsuki’s chapter with OFA, but it doesn’t end there. No, their story, Katsuki and Izuku’s, has only just begun.
“Will Aiko-chan be alright on her own now though?” he muses. Aiko got Katsuki’s resolve and guts, but she’s a soft touch like Izuku. Cry too easily and heart too easily bruised. She’s the best of both of them. Like a daughter they never had, she and a hundred of other strays that Izuku had picked up. Katsuki often mocked him for it, but he never refuses any of them.
Katsuki snorts. “She fucking better be, because I didn’t invest all that time and effort into her training for her to self-destruct as soon as I leave, so stop worrying about the brat," he says, bending over Izuku's wheelchair. "We're free. Let's go see the world like we promised," he murmurs, voice low and warm. "It’s just you and me now."
Back when they were both new and young and so sure of their own immortality, Izuku had made a quiet wish to Katsuki one night, trading one dream for another: "When we're old and grey, and no longer have to worry about fighting the next crisis, let's go somewhere, okay? There are so many places I haven’t seen yet and I want to see it all with you."
Ten year later, Izuku almost died before he could even fulfill that promise with Katsuki, but he didn't. He survived despite all odds. It ended costing him both of his legs, his title as number one, and OFA, but Izuku is still here, breathing and semi-whole but at least he’s alive. The fact that he's now able to see another of his dream come to completion is all worth it. The cost was heavy, but it had given him this. This future with the man he loves with all his battered heart.
They're nearing their seventy now, Katsuki with a streak of grey hair, and Izuku feels the age in his bones; Izuku can no longer walk on his own two feet, haven’t been able for a long time now; Katsuki got a body littered with scars, and a hand that ached on rainy days; and, they both wear their trauma of every battle lost and every lives they couldn't save to bed every night. Izuku and Katsuki had spent more than half of their life fighting for others. Now they don't have to do that anymore, because they’ll have others to do it for them. All they have to do now is focus their own future and the life they have with each other.
Izuku's lips wobble at the thought of how far they had come and it's like a dam burst within him. Finally, Katsuki can step out of his suit and mask, and stand with Izuku outside the spotlight now.
He can't stop the tears from coming out. "Oh, K-kacchan," he blubbers, gripping Katsuki's arm tightly like it's the only thing holding him up. “I’m so, so happy.” He waited so long for this day to come, and now it’s here within his grasp.
"Sixty-seven years old and you still cry like a baby," Katsuki mocks mercilessly, reaching over to wipe away Izuku’s tears. "Do I have to change your diaper too now?"
"Sixty-seven years old and you still tease me like we're kids again," Izuku rebukes, but there's no bite to it. “Why can’t you just tell me you love me like a normal person?”
"Shut the fuck up," he scolds, leaning in for a tender kiss. "You'll now have me for the rest of your life to complain about."
"Yes, yes, I do," Izuku breathes against Katsuki's lips.
People in their line of work tend to die young and bright, so to retire at all is a privilege few even get. Never once Izuku thought he would live that long to have that, but here in this house with their two cats and Katsuki is standing right in front of him, still so breathtakingly handsome in his withered old bones.
It’s a miracle.
Today, Katsuki had given him a new hope, the best kind—a quiet future with just the two of them wandering the world together, knowing that they can rest easily now with the new generation filling the big shoe they had left behind.