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Unsaid Goodbyes/Endless Apologies

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Katsuki stares at the papers in front of him. The sheets are crumpled, with blotted ink and tears smearing the words. His eyes sting and he has to force himself not to explode the messy sheets of paper before it's his turn to read his essay. 


Thump….Thump...Thump Thump….Thump 


Kaminari’s reading his essay, something ridiculous about the one time he’d accidentally broken the nose of an actor at a haunted house. 


His heart hurts ….. it doesn’t stop hurting anymore. Katsuki sucks in a breath, willing the tears building in his eyes to vanish. “Damn it,” He whispers to himself while simultaneously cursing Aizawa-sensei for assigning this essay. 


The prompt was to write an essay about a moment you regret. It was such a simple prompt. Katsuki could’ve picked a million other moments, but he felt like it was time. Something deep inside his heart was urging him to write about this. 


To write about the pain, the guilt, the nightmares, the anxiety. About waking up with muffled screams and crackling palms. About all the things he had kept inside for so long. About the crushing fear that it would happen again


“Bakugou?” Shinsou’s tired voice whispers from behind him. Shinsou has been his closest friend since he’d gotten into UA. Though he’d never admit it...not that he would need to since the whole class already knew. 


Katsuki bit his cheek. “What?” 


A moment later there was a hand on his shoulder. Katsuki didn’t shrug it away. It was Shinsou’s way of comforting him. Katsuki never did well with words so the simple touch was enough. 


Out of the corner of his eye, Katsuki sees Kaminari taking a dramatic bow, signaling that he’s finished reading his essay. His body tenses unwillingly. He could always take a zero for this assignment. 


Shinsou squeezes his shoulder. 


“Bakugou. It’s your turn,” Aizawa announces, taking his spot in the back of the classroom once again. 


Katsuki slides from his chair, crumpled papers held tightly in his hand.


Standing in front of the class was easy. Katsuki has never had a problem with the spotlight. He’d dealt with attention and spotlights his entire childhood. But right now? With all of his classmates, most of whom he respects, staring at him with their undivided attention, waiting for him to spout some random bullshit as Kaminari had. 


He’s terrified. His hands are sweaty, his feet and hands shaking, he can barely hold the paper still enough to read the words, though his blurry vision isn't exactly helping.


Aizawa is standing in the back of the classroom. He’s holding a clipboard and pen, staring at Katsuki just like everyone else...waiting...waiting...waiting...and- 


“I’m writing about the boy I bullied in middle school,” Katsuki’s voice cracks and he spots his classmates shift uncomfortably, some of them even gasping. He’s already prepared for every reaction he could possibly get. “He had this...this curly, green hair, and green eyes.” Katsuki sucks in a shaky breath. “He always wore these stupid...stupid, red shoes.” 


Aizawa was staring at Katsuki differently now. Katsuki ducks his head and glances at the paper. A tear had slipped from his face, staining the paper once more. 


“I met him when we were two. We were good friends according to my mom. She has pictures of us during our playdates. We were still friends at four years old...I can vaguely remember it. I’d already gotten my quirk and was boasting about it to all of the other students. The teachers praised me. Everyone thought my quirk was so cool. Even he thought it was cool. He’d come up to me with stars in his eyes and ask me about my quirk. Every damn day. 


"Then...he was diagnosed as quirkless when he turned four.” A few more gasps echo in the otherwise pin-drop silent room. “And I hated- I hated that ,” Katsuki sniffs. “He was so much better than me in every way but he was quirkless. I remember when he told me he was quirkless and I thought, ‘how can you possibly be better than me if you're quirkless?’” Katsuki gulps. 


Shinsou is staring at him with red-tinted eyes and a fist pressed against his mouth, Katsuki can see the frown. Don’t hate me . Katsuki meets Shinsou’s eyes for a brief moment before looking back to his essay. 


“I started calling him names. Worthless, useless, pointless...Deku. The other kids in our grade joined in too. He didn’t have any friends. Yet for some reason, he wouldn't stop following me. ‘Kacchan, did you see All Might in the news last night?’.... ‘Kacchan, that new hero was super cool!’ I thought he was mocking me. He knew I despised him. Hated every ounce of his being. Yet he never left. I wish he would’ve left me behind then. I really do. I wish he’d realized how horrible I was then and just...left.” 


A sob finally tore from Katsuki. Mina was holding her hand against her chest, Sero was bowing his head, Kirishima was frowning at Katsuki with tears in his eyes. Katsuki swipes a few tears from his cheeks and looks back down at the paper. It was nearly unreadable beneath the tears that had splattered against the words. 


“He followed me through the next year. I mocked him, kicked him, pushed him, bullied him. He stayed. He would smile his stupid smile at me and would talk about his journal that he was working on. I didn’t deserve that smile. I probably won't ever deserve it.” Katsuki could’ve sworn he felt arms drape across his shoulders. For a moment, he remembers how Izuku would tackle Katsuki in hugs because he’d had a bad dream and Katsuki just shoved him away. Yelling at the annoying kid with green hair that wouldn’t leave him alone. 


“I’m sorry.” Katsuki sobs silently before sucking in a shuddering breath and glancing at the essay through his tears. 


“It got worse in middle school.” Katsuki skips a few paragraphs, knowing he wouldn’t be able to finish the paper if he took the time to read those as well. “Middle school was the first time I’d used my quirk on him. I remember the silence. He looked at me with such hopeless eyes. Tears filled his green eyes and he smiled. ‘It’s okay, I forgive you Kacchan!’ ...I wish he hated me. I wish the adults noticed. I wish someone...anyone did something. I wish I did something. I was old enough to know I was doing something wrong yet I- I didn’t stop.” 


Katsuki unwillingly remembers walking out of the school with a smug smile only to hear a scuffle on the roof. Katsuki shook his head. He must’ve been silent longer than he’d thought. 


“ don’t have to continue if you don’t want to.” Aizawa’s shaky voice fills the classroom. 


Katsuki shook his head. He has to do this. He needs to. It’s the only way he can do this. 


“It was the last year of middle school when it happened.” Katsuki watches the class tense. He can see the pain in Shinsou’s eyes, in Kirishima’s eyes, and he hates himself more than he had when he’d walked into class this morning. 


“He’d stopped hanging around me during our second year of middle school. I should’ve noticed but I was blinded by my hatred for the useless Deku that spent the last years of our lives mocking me. He wasn’t eating lunch. He scratched at his wrists constantly but never pulled his sleeves up. He’d stopped talking, let his grades slip to the point he would’ve failed that year….I didn’t know what that meant. No one had ever taught me what signs to look for.”


Katsuki doesn’t look up even as he hears a round of gasps, sniffles, and muffled sobs coming from his classmates. 


“He said he wanted to go to UA. Him, the quirkless Deku, wanted to go to UA. I ridiculed him in front of the entire class. He didn’t even look at me. That-” Katsuki has to pause so he wouldn’t choke on his words. “That afternoon, we were the only two kids left in the classroom. My friends had gone to walk home. But he was sitting in his seat and nervously glancing towards the stairs….I thought he wanted to leave. I really did, I thought he wanted to go home and...maybe he did.” 


Katsuki doesn’t need the paper anymore. He lowers them and scans the classroom. Katsuki tries to say the next line but freezes. He can’t look at them. Katsuki drops his gaze to the floor. “I told him to take a swan dive off the roof.” The class gasps, almost as one, and a few sobs ring out as well. “I thought that was it. I thought he would ignore it like he did with everything else. I went down the stairs to walk home. He was right behind me. If only I’d noticed that he didn’t come down with me. I was on the front steps of the school when I heard a noise from the roof. I looked up and I saw him. I watched as he soared through the air and landed. Right in front of me.”


Katsuki skips to the last paragraph. He needs to finish. He needs to get out of the classroom. 


“I wrote this to say sorry. I know it’s not enough and that it never will be but….Midoriya Izuku, I’m so sorry. You deserved every star in the sky. You deserved the world. Midoriya Izuku, I promise, I’ll never forget you, just like you asked.” 


There's a moment of silence before Katsuki bows his head and escapes. He doesn’t know where he’s going. Or how long it’s going to take. He runs until his head is spinning and his chest burns.


Sometime later, Katsuki finds himself in the janitor's closet. It’s cluttered with chemicals, mops, and brooms. He slides to the floor, knees to his chest. He’s run out of tears but that doesn’t stop him from hiding his face against his legs, remembering all the times Izuku smiled at him. 


Katsuki can see him perfectly. Green curls falling into his face, smiling so wide it probably hurt his face, his single dimple, his freckles, those vivid green eyes. The smile morphs into a frown, his vivid green eyes that used to shine like the morning sun turning dull lifeless. “I’m sorry, Izuku,” Katsuki whispers into the air. “I should’ve noticed.” 


No one comes after him. He stays in the janitor’s closet for what must’ve been at least a few hours. His phone buzzes repeatedly but he ignores it. He just wants to be alone. He doesn’t want to go back to class and see his classmates avoiding him because of what he’d done. 


The door handle twists and Katsuki forces himself to look up. Meeting his teacher’s dark eyes through the darkness of the closet. 


Aizawa pulls the door open and glances around the closet, quickly spotting Katsuki curled up in the corner next to the shelf of chemicals and cleaning agents. 


“Hey, kid,” Aizawa greets him and shuffles into the janitor's closet as well. He tugs the door shut and lowers himself to the floor. 


Katsuki gulps. He can’t press himself any further against the wall. His heart twists itself into a tangled knot that Katsuki isn’t sure he can undo on his own. Aizawa’s presence pulls an entirely new set of emotions forward. 


Fear. So much fear . His hands are shaking, his body trembling, his vision goes blurry but there are no tears. He can’t breathe. It’s such a familiar feeling. Katsuki hates it. He feels the walls shift around as they close in on him. 


Katsuki’s nails dig into his neck as he tries to calm himself down. Normally his nails ground him in reality but now it just sends him further away. Izuku's glassy eyes and spread-eagled figure fill his mind and he lets out a dry sob, desperate for some way to release his emotions. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry-” 


Katsuki flinches as a hand presses against the back of his head, just a few inches away from the fingers digging into his neck. The hand is gentle with its movements but Katsuki can still feel the calluses on Aizawa’s hand. 


“Bakugou.” Aizawa’s voice echoes in the small closet. “I need you to breathe. If you can, I want you to look up and put your hand on my chest.” 


Katsuki doesn’t want to, but he raises his head and Aizawa’s hand retreats. He doesn’t understand why Aizawa wants him to do this but the gently given order gives Katsuki’s mind something to focus on, it grounds him allowing him to breathe. 


“Good,” Aizawa says softly as Katsuki’s trembling hand presses against his upper chest. 


Slowly, Katsuki realizes that his body has begun to match his breathing with Aizawa’s. 


Pulling his hand away, Katsuki scoots back into the corner. “W-why?” His voice cracks but Aizawa doesn’t mention it. “Why the fuck are you...helping me?” Katsuki manages to ask. He wants to yell, scream, and rage. He wants to do anything to build up some semblance of a wall back around his heart. He can’t….he’s too vulnerable. 


Aizawa is silent. 


“Well?” Katsuki snaps, like a snake striking its prey. 


“Because Bakugou, you’re a kid.” 


Katsuki bites his tongue to keep himself from lashing out. 


“There is no reason you should be left to handle this on your own. The adults in your life are there for a reason. It’s okay to ask for help-”


Katsuki growls. It’s a low, pained sound that resembles the growl of a cornered dog. “I don’t deserve the help!” The words fall from Katsuki’s mouth without his permission and the sweat on his hands crackles as he tries to push himself further away from Aizawa despite the cold plaster wall stopping him.


Aizawa hums. “What do you mean by that?” 


“What does it sound like I meant? It means that Izuku didn’t get help so I don’t deserve it. And I don’t need help! I deserve-” 


Aizawa’s icy voice cuts through the heat of Katsuki’s anger and fear. “Deserve to be abandoned like he was?” 


Katsuki’s heart plummets… He wouldn’t have said those exact words but…


“Tell me something, Bakugou.” Aizawa’s voice is softer now as he holds a hand out towards Katsuki. “Why do you want to be a hero?” 


There was a time when Katsuki wouldn’t have hesitated to blurt out “to be the best” because for a while...that had been true. Now it's different. Now he doesn’t care about being the best...he just wants to be better. A better person. Someone that Izuku would be proud of. “I...want to be better.” Katsuki looks away from Aizawa, ignoring the hand extended towards him. 


“And just how are you supposed to grow into a better person if you’re following the same path he did?” 


There it is. Katsuki shatters into a million pieces. All of Katsuki’s will to fight vanishes like the wind. His fire extinguished by the realization that he’s rapidly running down the same path Izuku had. Katsuki’s body shakes with fear. He’d never been so vulnerable in his life.


 “I don’t know,” Katsuki admits while blindly reaching out for Aizawa. He feels a cold hand wrap around his and moments later he’s being tugged out of the corner. The aches in his body make themselves known as he’s pulled into Aizawa’s arms. 




Katsuki blinks furiously in an attempt to suppress the tears that were pooling in his eyes once again. Aizawa’s arms wrap around his shoulders, holding him in a secure hug he didn’t know he needed. Katsuki lets his headrest on Aizawa’s shoulder as he presses himself closer to Aizawa. He hasn’t had a hug in so long...not since Izuku last tried to hug him. 


Oh ,” Katsuki breathes. Aizawa doesn’t say anything as he re-adjusts Katsuki so the kid can more comfortably lean against him. Katsuki continues to break into a million pieces as Aizawa holds him.


Neither of them moves until Katsuki’s body jerks from his silent sobs... “Sensei…” Katsuki’s voice broke the silence. “What do I do?” 


Aizawa sighs and gently guides Katsuki away from him so he could look at him. “Bakugou. Have you ever thought about going to therapy?” 


Katsuki jerked back. “But I-” Images of Izuku’s smile flashed through his mind. “I...How do I...How do I start going?” 


Aizawa doesn’t answer. He stands from his spot on the dusty floor and holds his hand out. “Let’s go call your parents and set up an appointment with Hound Dog.” 


Not knowing what else he could do, Katsuki grabs Aizawa’s hand and lets himself be pulled from the ground


Katsuki feels Shinsou press a hand against his shoulder. He’d told Shinsou he could go home after school but Shinsou refused. He’d practically demanded on walking with Katsuki to his first appointment with Hound Dog. 


“You’re going to be fine, Bakugou.” 


Katsuki’s nose twitches. “Of course I’m going to be fine. It’s just a damn therapy appointment.” He snarls even though his hands are trembling in his pockets. 


“That’s the spirit,” Shinsou teases Katsuki as he squeezes his shoulder. 


“Shut up!” Katsuki snaps but his heart wasn’t in it. He goes to take a step forward but finds that this was one of the most terrifying things he’d ever tried to do in his life. “Shinsou?” 




Katsuki knows that his friend can’t go inside with him but maybe…


”Would you…” Katsuki clears his throat. “Wait? For me?” 


Shinsou snorts. “Was already planning to, dumbass.” 


Tossing a harmless miniature explosion in Shinsou’s direction, Katsuki snarls. “Don’t call me a dumbass, dumbass!” 


Shinsou smirks and plops onto the floor, pulling out his phone (protected by an amusing chibi cat-themed phone case) “Go on, Kats. I’ll be right here.” 


Katsuki’s heart warmed at the nickname. This was the first time anyone other than Izuku had given him a nickname. “Yeah...alright.” 

When Katsuki comes back out of the door his eyes and cheeks are red from his desperate attempts at scrubbing away his tears.


Shinsou glances at his friend, shoves his phone in his pocket, and pushes himself off the floor. “C’mon. Let’s go spar.” 


Katsuki nods jerkily, following Shinsou as he heads towards the training gym.


They’re halfway to the gym when Katsuki finds the courage to do what had Hound Dog suggested. “Hitoshi?” Katsuki tests the name, wary of any negative reaction. 




“Thank you…”


Hitoshi stumbles, glancing over his shoulder. “For what?” 


Katsuki scowls, crossing his arms. The scowl vanishes after a moment, as it was replaced with a worried frown. “For uhm...y’know being my friend.” 


Hitoshi smirks. “Of course, Kats. You deserve it. Now let's go spar. I bet I’ll be able to take you down within 30 seconds.” Hitoshi flips Katsuki off, immediately sprinting toward the gym. 


“Like hell!” Katsuki dashes after Hitoshi.