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Well, Katsuki thinks as he blasts another Nomu away. Aizawa you stingy bitch, I better get extra credit for this shit.

The monstrous creature he’d just sent flying snarls at him when it lands on all four, bubbling, scorched skin slowly stitching itself back together. Katsuki sneers back, lips curled to expose his teeth in a fierce, challenging grin. Heat gathers in his palms in preparation for their next contact, and he crouches low.

When it leaps at him, he meets the monster halfway in an explosive collision that sends smoke and rubble flying across the devastated street.

The pained cry the Nomu let out as it fell back failed to quell his annoyance.

This was supposed to be a normal day. 

An internship with a some hero he couldn’t remember the name of even if he tries.

And instead-  

Katsuki is ten minutes into their first patrol fighting for his life. Not quite literally -the Nomu didn’t look as big or menacing as the one at the USJ from their first year- but certain enough to be a nuisaince. And the hero he’d been interning with for his work studies was missing.

To add insult to injury, the goddamn nerd yelling at his back while he tousled with his own Nomu. Deku’s opponent was a thing with too many arms, a nonexistent neck and the flat, emotionless face of a fish.

God, he hoped the hero got fucking eaten.

...well, not really. He’s passed that part of his life for the most part but still, where was the fucker? Did he just leave them here to deal with the two Nomu instead of helping like an actual licensed Pro-Hero should? Katsuki lost him in the chaos of the attack, but he had to be around, right?

What kind of D listed Pro-Hero was this to leave it up to two interns ? With how All Might pushed him to take this internship, Katsuki thought the man would be good shit.

...fucking hell, this was a ploy to get them to work together.

The sudden realization nearly costs him his face; Katsuki had to throw himself to the ground and roll to avoid the large clawed hand from connecting with his face.

In response, Katsuki unleashes another explosion from both hands with a roar, strong enough to send the Nomu skipping across the street like a round rock across the water’s surface. It’s satisfying, but nowhere near enough to quell the sudden burst of anger running through his body.

That’s what this was, wasn’t it?

God, he wouldn’t put it past the old man. 

Their last term for their third year at Yuuei had just started and the man still didn’t get the message that at most, Katsuki could tolerate his successor. No matter how much Deku pushed, Kirishima cajoled and All Might sneakily attempted to pry, his relationship with his ex childhood friend had just too much baggage weighing it down to deal with.

Just as he thinks that, he hears someone shout over the general chaos and the Nomu’s roars. It’s a familiar voice that has his blood boiling.

“Kacchan-!” Deku yells, just barely loud enough for him to hear over their very loud, very angry opponents. The tone of his voice is questioning. In a flash of fury, Katsuki realizes the other boy was checking up on him. Him , of all people. “Are you alright?!”

Motherfuck .

“Focus on your own bastard, you dumb nerd!” He howls back, irate as he aimed an explosion that the Nomu only partially dodged. The abomination screeches, loud and stringent as it drew back, left arm turned a crispy black color. Katsuki’s nose wrinkled at the smell of burnt flesh.

He doesn’t hear Deku say anything else, but the loud thump of a large mass being tossed into the concrete and the sudden shaking of the ground under his feet gave him a little peace of mind. 

Good. 

The idiot was focusing on his job instead of looking after him like he was a toddler running through an antique shop. Katsuki was practically a grown adult, there was no reason for Deku to be up his ass. But the motherfucker did it anyways, right? 

It’s because he’s a true hero, All Might would say with a twinkle in his eyes.

Katsuki’s certain he’d said it once.

Urgh. It made him want to vomit. A true hero. Ha. More like a walking talking disaster that somehow made it to eighteen. Anyone with a brain could see that Deku had the self-preservation skills of an ant.

Katsuki doesn’t allow himself to contemplate that thought further. Not while in combat. The Nomu he was facing screeches, a warbled sharp cry that makes his ears sting. Katsuki feels his expression twist into a ugly grimace at the unpleasant sound.

“Oh shut the bloody fuck up!” He sends the Nomu stumbling back with an explosion to the face. As the nitroglycerin in his gloved hand goes off, stunning the creature, Katsuki then ducks under a massive flailing hand to blast at the creature’s knees. 

This time he lets out a concentrated explosion, putting far more power behind the blast than he would be comfortable or legally allowed to on an individual. Skin breaks and bones shatter. It falls over with a stringent shriek that left his eardrums rigging.

Breathe, he chastised himself as he blasts the creature again, this time at it’s head to try and keep it down longer. The smell of burning flesh is thick in his nose, stronger now. Think of the extra credit. The sweet, sweet extra credit.

Oh, he can almost taste it. 

The victory. Maybe even overtake Yayorozou's top spot which he'd been fiercely fighting and clawing for since the beginning of their first year. For someone with confidence issues the girl was vicious in defending her position as the top dog of Class 1-A grade-wise, but maybe now he had the final step to kick her off her goddamn high pedestal.

This will be even sweeter with the constipated face Aizawa will be making while handing it to-

It was then that Katsuki spots it. A dark shape, moving in between the ruined cars, sticking to the shadows. It’s a sheer coincidence that his eyes landed on it.

A third Nomu. 

This one is smaller than his current opponent or Deku’s -but for what it lacks in size it makes it up with its comically large mouth and sharp claws.  All covered in blood, Katsuki realizes with a flash of cold zipping down his spine as he stared at the crocodilian head and the red-stained conical teeth.

It’s silent as it slowly stalks over to Deku, who is too busy body slamming the second Nomu into the pavement to pay attention to the quickly approaching danger. Who from where he was standing, was caught between two of the abominations and was blissfully unaware of this deadly fact. The hulking mass that made up the third creature was tense, ready to leap. To lunge and trap Deku in a maw full of teeth.

Even if he warned the other, there was no way Deku could defend himself from the attack and hold off his own Nomu at once.

It’s almost terrifying, how Katsuki’s mind blanks out. There’s no doubt within him to what he needs to do.

Boom.

Katsuki flies. 

He tears through the air like a rocket, completely forgetting about everything else but getting there in time. There’s nothing else in his head but the desire to reach Deku on time; even the consequences of if he didn’t fail to cross his mind. All he knew was that he needed to be there.

And soon enough, he was.

His hands connect with a shoulder, hitting with enough force to make his arms buckle. The nerd makes an odd sputtered noise at the sudden contact like a deflating balloon. His arms went flying comically wide as the green haired boy was thrown off balance and far out of the way, the Nomu he'd been wrestling getting sent sprawling from the impact as well.

In that split, microscopic half of a second he has left before the Nomu reaches him, Katsuki catches a flash of wide green eyes turning towards him as he went down into the pavement, surprised and confused by the sudden assault from his own teammate.

In that fraction of a moment, Katsuki finds it disturbingly easy, pushing Deku out of the way.

“Kacchan-?!”

Fortunately, he’s too busy getting torn in half by a Nomu to really dwell on this particularly horrifying realization.

Massive, unsightly jaws clamp down over his torso; there's a brief, final moment of lucidity for Katsuki where he feels sharp conical teeth pierce his skin. 

Then the Nomu starts shaking him like a dog.

Back and forth, back and forth.

He feels cloth and skin give. Feels warm blood splatter against his body. The searing warmth of the creature’s jaws around him. The screaming, threatening to burst his eardrums.

It took a good moment for Katsuki to realize he was the one howling.

...but he’s not the only one. No, this call is more stringent, more wild -horrified. Desperate. 

Tearing and making the owner's voice break as if their world was ending.

“Kacchan!”

His arms and legs are unresponsive, turning him into a ragdoll in the Nomu’s massive jaws. His eyes are closed, and he swims in white-hot pain. Then suddenly as the Nomu swings it’s head around once more, a final, finishing shake, and then he's let go. 

Flung off to the side and discarded like a broken doll.

The momentum sends him flying. Weak, bleeding, he can do little to brace himself as his body hits something hard, bounces, then hits something else equally hard that somehow gives under his body.

Snap.

Sharp pain blooms across his limbs. 

Katsuki spent enough time around the nerd to recognize what the sound of a bone breaking sounded like.

He hits something hard but fragmented; his body rolls with the momentum, bouncing across the surface like a ball until he ends up crushed into the floor. Katsuki can't think past the white hot pain that leaves him mute. 

Instead, he lays where he’d come to a stop, pressed down by something unknown. A faint thought wander by that maybe he’s buried in rubble, but he was too out of it to register anything else about his surroundings.

Fuzzily, he thinks he hears something not unlike a lightning strike and a deep, echoing boom -then silence. Complete, blessed silence that soothed some of his headache. 

It’s almost too easy, relaxing amongst the rubble. Let the exhaustion drag him down into a deep, dark abyss. A part of him weakly scrambles to hold on, but it’s weak, weary and small.

Quickly enough, Katsuki drifts away.








 

 

When he returns to awareness, it’s to the sound of someone screaming a familiar name.

“Kacchan!”   He hears the strangled shout somewhere far off. “Kacchan!?”

This second call was shorter, more choked -but also closer.

He has half a mind to respond, but moving his body is impossible. Even his mouth feels like the bones had been replaced by concrete, crushing him into the rubble and pinning him in place. There’s dust sticking to his sweaty skin. It’s disgusting and repulsive, but he can’t find within himself the familiar urge to run to the nearest shower.

Instead, he feels nothing but exhaustion ...and a growing sense of numbness that should be alarming, but isn't.

“Kacchan!”

Shut up, you silly nerd , Katsuki thinks drowsily. Thoughts come to him in fragments, jagged and vague.  I’m trying to sleep over here. Stop screaming like the world is ending.

Movement. 

The weight is pulled off him. 

Katsuki is limp as he feels the rubble get lifted off his upper body one by one. His body isn’t responding, numb and so far away, swimming in a daze. So much so, what little part of him that was still coherent could do nothing but wait for assistance. Normally such thought would have him foaming at the mouth -he was Ground fucking Zero, he didn’t need any sort of help- but in this moment Katsuki found himself easily accepting this. 

...it was probably the blood loss.

Or the possible concussion.

Either way goes, he thinks a bit hysterically.

There’s a choked gasp above when he’s finally exposed. It grates at his ears, scratching at that barrier between his body and his mind.

“Oh god, Kacchan,” He hears a familiar voice whisper, shaken. Too shaken. Too different than the usual panic he remembers that voice being capable of making. “-oh my god please no Kacchan no, no no no...”

When Katsuki feels a pair of hands touch his battered, broken body, the pain suddenly flares back into awareness, shattering the wall between his mind and body.

Shit-  

It’s like a switch had gone off in his brain, and the pathetic lump of fat in his skull was finally registering the information his nervous system was desperately trying to get through.

Everything hurts, far much worse than anything Katsuki had ever endured. From his toes to the top of his scalp, there wasn't a part of his body that didn't feel like he'd gone through the wringer. His chest especially, a throbbing pain that stretched from the lower left side of his torso and crawled up to his right shoulder in a zigzagging motion.

Still, despite the unimaginable pain, Katsuki can only offer a weak exhale that dies off into a wet gurgle.

...wet?

He feels it now; something warm and liquid on his upper body, dripping down his sides and sticking with the debris. It’s in his mouth too, warm and metallic.

Oh.

Blood.

...that's...not good. Not fucking good at all.

“Someone help!” The scream that tore it’s way out of Deku’s mouth was disturbing, the other boy’s voice breaking at the end. The sheer desperation in his tone is enough to stimulate whatever is left of Katsuki’s drowsy mind into focus again. “Help!”

No matter how much Deku screams, Katsuki hears no response. No shout back, no cry, no one to help them.

They’re alone.

He’s alone.

….so this was how things would go down. 

To be honest, Katsuki hoped he would have a much longer run than this. Hell, they hadn’t even graduated yet. The ceremony was just around the corner, too. Something squirms within himself at the thought, a twisting, gut-wrenching sensation that has what little part of him that was still conscious tensing up. 

Despair is not an emotion Katsuki feels often, but right now it's crawling up his spine and choking him as effectively as the blood in his throat.

He was going to die. 

He was going to die and there was nothing he could do about it.

“You're gonna be fine, okay Kacchan?” The words are stammered next to him, so close now. 

He finally musters the strength to flutters his eyes open, catching sight of wide green amidst a sea of tears. Deku was hunched over him, hands hovering over his body. Eyes wet, wide and almost bulging as they move out and down his broken body. 

“Y-you'll be fine. You’re going to get better and then give me an earful about not being careful, right?”

Even a deaf man would have noticed the pathetic undertone behind his desperate, stammered words.

You have to be.

Katsuki watches numbly as the tears continue to trickle out like little rivers down freckled cheeks. It's clear that the other teen knows the futility of his own promises as well as Katsuki. There's just too much blood.

Goddamn it, Deku. He thinks, but the anger’s weak and nearly not there. You absolute disgrace of a human being.

Maybe it's exhaustion, maybe it's the slowly looming darkness sinking its teeth into him - ha, ha, see he was laughing - but Katsuki doesn’t find a single bone in himself that feels resentment towards his disaster of a classmate for the position he was in.

Honestly, it was his own fucking fault. 

Did he regret it?

...honestly, no.

It’s a terrifying, humbling realization. If he had the strength, he would blink instead of staring vapidly at Deku’s weeping face. He would reach out of his arms didn't feel like they were stuffed full of lead.

This desire only intensified as Deku bent down, his forehead nearly touching his. Katsuki feels the soft green curls brushing against his skin in a gentle caress that did nothing to quell the disappointment within himself as Deku let out another quiet, broken cry:

“....please don't leave me…”

Katsuki wants to smile wryly, but he only has to stare emptily as the other teenager breaks down in front of him. As Deku tries to gather him up, to hold him together as he’s fading away.

The feeling of his tears landing his skin only made it worse.

Sorry, Deku.

And with that, the last of his strength leaves him. He falls, alone, into the dark.

.



.



.

Hands. Moving. Bad. Hurts.

“Sir, step back!”

He chokes. There’s blood in his throat. There's blood everywhere. Wet, warm, salty. Metallic. It's thick on his tongue.

“-you’re hurt, let us-”

A snarl. Faintly, he hears the crackle of lightning. It brings back memories of green curls and freckles. They're important, the freckles, Katsuki thinks hazelly. They're very important. The reasoning however stays firmly out of his reach. 

His brain was misfiring on all cylinders, sputtering like a piece of broken technology not even the crazy bitch in the Support Course could fix.

“I don’t care -help him !”

He's moving. His eyes burn.

Red.

Blue.

Red.

Blue.

Black.

.

 

.

 

.

Consciousness came to him slowly.

White was the first thing his eyes related to his brain, followed by the rest of his senses returning to Katsuki with the speed of a dying snail.  He felt warm and soft, enveloped in what Katsuki’s thinks are blankets and yep, that had to be a bed under him.

What the fuck happened?

His mind struggles to recall why he was here and why he felt like a puddle of melted cheese, but distraction comes in the form of movement at his side. He tilts his head to the left, peering under half-lidded eyelids at the source of the motion.

He was greeted by the sight of a human-shaped form with a blob of bright, electric yellow color on top. Katsuki blinked, squeezing his eyes, trying to get the useless things to work correctly. 

When they’re open again, he sees Kaminari Denki sitting on a chair next to his bed (?), eyes practically bulging out of their sockets, mouth gaping open as he stares at Katsuki like he was seeing the dead rising from the grave. 

The charging cable of the phone sitting on his lap falls from his lips with a wet pop . It’s followed by the thinnest dribble of droll, which was the last thing Katsuki wanted to see.

Disgusting. 

Katsuki’s mouth felt dry and his tongue heavier than lead, but he managed to wheeze out his indignation:

“...wipe your fucking mouth, b-bastard.”

Kaminari shrieked.

Chapter Text

Kaminari remembered far too well the day everything went to hell.

Well.

In the three years that he’d been at Yuuei, days that went to hell were exponentially more numerous for his class than any other in Yuuei’s present and, apparently, past ones. Aizawa was right in the end; they were troublemakers. Or at the very least, the world was out to get them. With the League deliberately targeting them because Shigaraki was an asshole who couldn’t let things go, Kaminari at first hadn’t been surprised to hear that there was a Nomu attack where Midoriya and Bakugo had gone to for their last internship.

But then he’d registered how Aizawa had told them in the common room. The tone. The severity of it. The two missing students at his side.

Bakugo and Midoriya weren’t here. 

They weren’t here and even Denki realized that if they weren’t here then that meant-

“Something happened, didn’t it.” Kirishima’s voice was but a whisper that travelled through the room, with it bringing a swell of anxiety amongst the crowd of students.

Silence.

Then Aizawa sighed, head dropping. And with it, so did Denki’s stomach.

“Bakugo has been hospitalized.”

Those words broke the camel’s metaphorical back. They shouted. They cried. They wanted answers.

Aizawa gave it all to them and then some.

He’s in critical condition.

Heart failed two times.

He might not make it.

He might not make it.

That night, the residents of Class 3-A went to sleep with heavy hearts and reddened eyes. They separated in clusters, each and every one of them unable to bear to spend the night alone. Denki remembered it very well, having it spent tucked in between Kirishima and Ashido, Sero right at their side. 

It was the safest he’d ever slept but it was still a night he spent mostly awake, his overworked mind thinking that maybe, just maybe, there was no fixing this. 

Then morning came.

Bakugo made it through the night, Aizawa told them, making them deflate. He’s still in critical condition.

And so relief did not come to them that morning. That day was a wednesday however, so they could not waste their time grieving. Aizawa marched them right into the classroom to work. Strangely enough, physical training with All Might was cancelled and the small test that was schedule that was rescheduled. Denki could never be more grateful for that. He’s not sure they would have the ability to concentrate.

That still left them seeking answers -seeking to see their wounded classmate. But Aizwa didn’t let them. He would not allow them to visit Bakugo. Midoriya though -that was another story.

The green-haired young man had collapsed from exhaustion and shock at the battle ground after medical took Bakugo away from him, Aizawa told them. He was still at the hospital closest to the incident, refusing to move back to Yuuei due to fear of being away from Bakugo, who was in a too far of a delicate state to be transported.

When they all piled into the train and reached the hospital, Aizawa, All Might and a few other teachers following for extra protection, Bakugo had been in surgery. 

Midoriya it was then.

And what a terrible sight he’d been, laid out on a hospital bed, a defeated look on his face. So different from their cheery classmate. Now he looked faded and washed out, green eyes eyes and face blotchy with tears.

“H-he pushed me out of the way.” Midoriya had whispered, eyes vacant and empty just like how they’d been nearly three years ago, after the Summer Camp. Just thinking about it carved a deep pit of misery in Denki’s gut. “He saw the Nomu coming a-and he pushed me out of the way-”

He’d collapsed into quiet sobs after that, unable to believe what happened.

They’re told the tale in fragments at first. 

The media, unfortunately, takes care of the rest. The hospitals were full of televisions and regrettably Midoriya had one right in his room.

It’s around that time that Kaminari had pulled a dumbass.

Heroes were an important aspect of Quirk culture. As such being around when a villain fight broke out made people whip out their cameras faster than it was healthy.

So the media got a nice eyeful of the whole incident. Which allowed them to display for all the world to see Midoriya’s ragged, shrill call of his childhood friend’s name and the way the Nomu were dispatched. It was sensational, especially with all the headlines and sounds the news channels put on it.

After at night, he made his move. It didn’t take much digging on the internet before Kaminari had, like the idiot he was, found the full, uncensored version fight and watched it.

Regret came quickly. In the aftermath, Denki got pretty sick every time he catches as much of a glimpse of the censored footage on television. 

He’s not sure if anyone else went and looked for the uncensored versions, but he hopes not.

How can anyone survive that?

Bakugo, that’s whom.

The tough bastard.

His explosive friend survived his first day, then the next, and the next, stubbornly going against the doctors’ expectations. And while part of Denki felt grateful that he was still breathing, still alive, days turned into weeks and soon a month went by.

And Bakugo had yet to wake up.

No matter how much time went by, he never even twitched. Even after the horrible wound that spanned across the length of his torso was left but a thin, silver lightning-like scar, he never woke. Just kept on sleeping, looking far too pale and small in his big hospital bed every time Denki or his classmates visited.

They -or rather Momo, bless her heart- ended up creating a rotation system so one member of the class could be with Bakugo during visiting hours every day. 

Even Mineta took it absolutely seriously, the shortest boy in Class 1-A even setting up a study session during his hours to study for the finals at the end of the month. Denki picked part of the Mondays as his. He’d wanted Sunday instead, but Midoriya had pretty much monopolized the weekends unless either his mother Midoriya Inko, Aizawa, All Might or one of them dragged him out by the neck.

Denki was pretty certain that if he could, Midoriya would not leave Bakugo’s side. The taller boy was near religious with his visits, even allowing it to cut into his valuable training time meant for the upcoming finals in two weeks.

If Denki had to describe it, prying away Midoriya from Bakugo’s prone, pale form was like wrestling a dragon away from its horde of gold.

He’s gonna screw up the finals if he keeps at it.

And didn’t the thought of their last exams made it worse -if Bakugo didn’t wake up any time soon, he would miss the finals. And maybe even worse, graduation.

You better wake the fuck up, man.

.

.

.

Which brings him to the present.

For once, the universe decided to grant Denki’s wish -at the worst possible time, too.  

Because he was very much alone in the room and not expecting to look up and see a pair of sleepy, drug-hazed crimson eyes staring up at him. Then he hears it -Bakugo’s voice, for the first time in a long time. Rough and sleepy but unmistakably belonging to his grumpy bastard of a friend:

“...wipe your fucking mouth, b-bastard.”

Denki could be forgiven for screaming a little bit.

He vaults out of his seat, scrambling to call for Recovery Girl. His phone clatters somewhere on the floor but Denki barely pays attention to it, looking at Bakugo because the fucker’s eyes were-

...closed.

It took a moment for Denki to connects the dots and when he did, he nearly gaped again at the slumbering blond.

The bastard had passed back out.

Fuck.

Fuck!

A month and a half went by and he just goes back to fucking sleep?!

You don’t get to do that to me, asshole! He wants to scream at his friend’s prone body, maybe give him a bit of a rough shake to get him to wake the fuck back up again because it’s been long enough already!

However he’d seen the terrifying amount of stitching the doctors had to put on Bakugo’s pale body, so he knew better than to accidentally aggravate his wounds. The glimpse he’d caught of the patchwork of stitches across his friend’s chest and back had been nearly enough to send him to the bathroom. 

It certainly did haunt his nightmares for quite a while.

Swearing under his breath, he punches the call button right beside the bed. He’s nary picked up his phone from the floor -it was cracked, fuck- when a familiar short woman practically flies into the room.

“He woke up!” Denki exclaims immediately.

She takes one look at him, then at Bakugo. Sleeping , prone, pale Bakugo.

“I swear he woke up!” He screeched, gesturing at the prone form on the bed. “He was awake -he even told me to wipe my damn mouth!”

Recovery Girl stares at him and Denki’s plenty aware of how his statement looked like. Normal patients wouldn’t immediately tell those at their bedside to mind their manners. But this wasn’t an ordinary patient! She had to understand that!

Still.

He could see how stupid and improbable it sounded.

Of course that’s the first thing Bakugo would say after a month and a half spent in a coma.

The asshole.

“That sounds like him.” Recovery Girl mutters as she busies himself with Bakugo. “Breathe, will you Kaminari? I’ll rather not have to get you a bed, too.”

“I’m breathing fine!”

“Hmmm.”

God, how could a simple sound feel so goddamn guilt tripping?!

In the end he sits back down and lets her work.

Bakugo remains where he was, silent. Prone and limp, lost to the world once more. But as Denki sat back down in his seat and watched Recovery Girl hover over his friend’s body, he felt a bit of that hope that had slowly eroded away with the passing days return.

Bakugo woke up.

And that’s all that mattered.

...that’s when it hits him. He’d been the one to see Bakugo wake up. And Recovery Girl was busy taking care of the blonde and likely wouldn’t deliver the news herself to the literal army of people waiting hopelessly for the explosive teenager to finally return to the world of the living. 

That task fell solely on Denki’s shoulders. 

Just the thought made his stomach fill with nausea.

Oh god. 

Bakugo, you asshole!

.

.

.

“He woke up.”

Aizawa has the delight of seeing All Might spit out his tea.

The older Pro-Hero coughs and splutters, wheezing as he taps his chest with one hand and shakely sets down his cup on the table. Regardless of the mess he’d just made on the table and on his own clothes, the former Symbol of Peace turns very wide, very hopeful eyes towards him.

“Are you really -he woke up?” The man wheezes, almost looking like a puppy with those big blue eyes of his.

“Twenty minutes ago,” Aizawa replies smoothly, keeping his own voice calm and even despite how much his heart was trying to betray him. “-he’s out again.”

All Might looks dejected for a moment, then his smile returns. 

“But he woke up.”

Aizawa tries to fight off the growing warmth in his chest at the sight of that smile, but he can’t stop it. Nor can he hold back the mind-numbing relief from overwhelming him.

“He woke up.” He parrots back, a rare smile tugging at his lips. All Might responds in tow.

Now it was only a matter of time.

...get better faster, you problem child.

.

.

.

Warm.

Soft.

He breathes, slow and tedious.

.


.


.

Awareness again comes slowly.

It’s different from last time. He’s not fully awake; there’s a haze, a weight that pushes his eyelids down as he opens them. It takes a lot of willpower from Katsuki to keep them open long enough for his eyes to take in his surroundings.

His sight is blurry. 

There’s white. 

“Oh my god.”

Green.

Katsuki tries to focus, but it's not like last time. He feels even woozier and more disoriented and he can’t coordinate his eyes much less the thing looming over him.

The green moves over him, something warm resting against the left side of his face.

A hand.

“T’okay, Kacchan.” There’s a wet sound, like a sob but too hitched to fully be one. Like the person was torn between crying and laughing. 

Katsuki can only offer up a weak groan in response. He knows who it is. He knows. Goddamn it he knows . The name slips away from his grasp but he knows that voice he knows that face he knows that messy mop of annoying green hair- 

“S-sleep, you’re fine. It’s night, anyways. You need to rest.”

Fuck you nerd, don’t tell me what to do.

He sinks back under anyways.

.


.


.

The third time he wakes up, he’s greeted by something bright and red close to his face. This time he can focus. His body feels like lead but he can move. Somewhat. It’s enough.

He coughs. “Kirishima.”

The blob jumps. 

When those red eyes looked down at his own, Katsuki’s eyes finished adjusting and oh, his friend did not look alright at all. His hair is messy and hangs down. There’s a smudge of dirt on the side of his face.

But he’s also smiling.

Full on smiling. Big white, sharp teeth that take half of his face and eyes so bright they might as well be lighthouse. The sheer joy exhuming out of him was nearly nauseating. He nearly wants to go back to sleep.

But he can’t fall asleep on command as it turns out, and before he can blink there’s a pair of arms awkwardly wrapped around his head and shoulders and a bloody cold nose is pressed up against the side of his neck.

“Bakugo!”

Katsuki swallows, not even trying to fight the other boy off. Oh god, he’s crying. Kirishima’s crying. Full on sobs missed with choked, gurgled laughs and his arms were trembling around him. The taller teenager was slightly squishing him, half-on the bed in his attempt to engulf him in a hug of death.

He can’t remember the last time he’d seen Kirishima so distraught. It tugs at his wrinkled old heart and Katsuki allows it to guide him forward and wrap the only arm that wasn’t trapped under Kirishima’s bulk and pat at his back in an attempt to comfort the redhead.

It does shit and Kirishima starts crying even louder.

“Don’t do that man. Don’t do that again.” His friend wheezes into his neck that he’s fucking slobbering and fuck, Katsuki was going to need a bath. He pulls away from Katsuki, enough to allow him room and also allowing him to see his puffy red eyes, red nose and the lines of tears going down his face.  “Ever. Don’t make me go through that again!” He chastises him, and katsuki blinks.

He’s being fucking scolded.

“Does….does it look like I wanted that shit to happen?!” He growls out and oh, his voice sounded rough and breezy. 

Kirishima shakes his head furiously and tightens the hand he has on his shoulder.

“Don’t do it!”

Katsuki bares his teeth.

“Motherfuc-”

The redhead takes advantage and flops back down against him. Katsuki makes a noise like an aggravated snake and wiggles briefly under the bulker body, but his body is fucked and he can only lay there, quietly plotting is revenge.

“Shush.” Kirishima breathes out against his hair, and Katsuki falls silent at the tone. It’s no longer demanding or sad, just...exhausted. It tears right through the haze of anger and grabs at his heart. “...just let me have this, buddy. It’s been a while.”

Katsuki swallows. “...how long…?”

“A month and two weeks.” Katsuki gapes and Kirishima ducks his head low as he pulls away, like a chastized puppy. Its horrifyingly heartwarming in its familiarity. “Yeah, I know. You’ve been out a while.”

“How…” Katsuki’s voice dies in his throat as he takes a deep, shuddering breath.

Fuck.

Fucking fuck.

A month and a half. He’d been out a month and a half. Was that why he felt so tired? Why his body felt so stiff and heavy? Cold and warmth runs up his veins at the revelation.

 “...fuck, what the hell happened?!” He ended up hissing, throwing his head back against his pillow.

“You don’t remember?”

“I remember that-” he glances down at his body and oh, he’s not missing a limb or a big chunk of flesh, that’s good. It’s also quite strange, because he remembered it hurting like an utter bitch. “...and then...nothing.”

When he looks back, he finds Kirishima looking at him. Katsuki really, really doesn’t like the look on his face.

“...what.”

“Well,” Kirishima starts in that slow, careful way he does just exactly when he forgets to study for a test until three days before and he’s rolling over trying to get Katsuki to save his sorry ass. The way he fiddled with the helm of his shirt was not helping to quell Katsuki’s nerves. “-Midoriya, understandably , was kind of emotional after seeing you get chewed on like a dog toy-”

Katsuki’s really not liking where this was going. “And?” 

His friend grimaces.

“He kinda ...kinda punted all three Nomus into space?

For a moment, Katsuki was sure he didn’t hear that right. He stares blankly at his companion, the words failing to click in place inside his skull. Then it sinks it.

Fucking what.

“Excuse me?”

“He punched them. Into space. They’re currently frozen pieces floating around the globe.” Katsuki stares and Kirishima, the dick, keeps rambling on. “...people are now comparing him to All Might. You know, because of the USJ? The public’s now calling him the next Symbol of Peace.”

Nope.

No.

No no no.

He wants to go back to his coma.

“Fuck me.”

“Eh?” Kirishima hesitates, partly confused and partly amused. How quaint that he’s enjoying Katsuki’s suffering. “...you do remember that I’m with Ashido-”

Katsuki hisses. Loud and angry. He then rolls over and turns his back to the other man, minding the IV drip. Kirishima falls silent he hears a quiet laugh coming from the redhead. Irritated, he snaps.

“Wake me up when this shit makes sense.” Katsuki grumbles into his pillow.

“It kinda-”

“Shhhhhhh.”

There’s a chuckle.

“Okay, Bakugo.” Kirishima relents. “Sleep then. I’ll be here for a while.”

“You’re not a fucking nightlight.”

“I’ll go get Aoyama-”

“Don’t you fucking dare.”

Kirishima laughs. He’s too tired to even lift his hand and make a proper middle finger. Darkness comes soon after.

.

 

.

 

.

 

An hour later, Kirishima steps out as quietly as he can from the infirmary.

His best friend is sleeping deeper than a log. He was even snoring. Bakugo. Snoring . He’d never snored before. He’d just lay there looking like the dead. Eijirou nearly winced.

Not a nice thought.

Thanks, brain , Eijirou thinks dejectedly as he takes care to close the door behind him as quietly as he could. Bakugo wasn’t in a state to do anything too rough, but can’t put it past the little shit to try and chuck something at him if he was disturbed from his rest.

He’d done it plenty of times before.

Slightly uplifted by the memories of running away from Bakugo wielding the nearest throwable object, Eijirou turns to leave and go to Class 1-A’s dormitory. He’s about to walk away when he spots someone coming his way. Someone with messy green hair that could not be mistaken with their tall, broad shoulders and peppering of freckles across their face.

Midoriya.

“He woke up.” the green haired boy guesses.

Kirishima grins brightly. “Yeah, but he’s asleep now. He got enough time to rant at me, so he’s good!”

Midoriya nods slowly, eyes shifting to look at the closed door that held Bakugo within. “He’s got a long way to go according to Recovery Girl.” He murmurs, almost more to himself than Kirishima. His eyes turn back to Eijirou. “It’s going to take a while for Kacchan to get back on his feet.”

Eijirou winces. 

He knew the extent of the damage and while he didn’t want to face reality, Midoriya was right. It was going to take a while. More time than Bakugo had before the finals.

“Well, I’m not telling him that.” Eijirou says dejectedly. His faint grimace turns into a tiny grin. “He’ll try to prove me wrong and end up doing something stupid.” He warns.

Midoriya nods. There’s a somber, inexplicable look in his eyes. Not something that sets Eijirou on edge, but softer, heavier; the look of someone who had long accepted fate.

“Maybe.” The other Pro-Hero in training murmured. There’s steel in his eyes. “I won’t let him.”

Good.

"I won’t either.” Kirishima agrees, his smile amicable but he can’t help but bare his teeth just the slightest bit. “Asshole owes me a few grey hairs. Look at it!” He gestures his wild hair, even messier than normal. “He caused this! I owed a break!”

Midoriya chuckles weakly at Eijirou’s joke. 

It was true though. He wasn’t taking care of it properly anymore and the black roots were evident.

Bakugo helped him get better dye that didn’t dry his hair out and turn it into hay. But with him out of commission and on the brink of having his life support pulled, only to then end up in a coma, Eijirou could be forgiven for neglecting his physical appearance. He had other things to worry about than his hair. Getting ready for the finals when Bakugo wasn’t around truly was hell, too. It was just around the corner as well.

God, this last month and a half felt like a dream.

It passed far too quickly and yet oh so slowly at once. The clash made his head spin.

At least he’s awake.

.

 

.

 

.

Katsuki is barely awake and upright before Aizawa comes out of the gate swinging, skipping right through the formalities.

“What you did was stupid.” Aizawa says, unimpressed. “I don’t think you’re quite grasping the severity of what happened.”

Katsuki blinks.

Oh, hello to you too, fucker.

He’s just woken up thirty minutes ago. Recovery Girl just checked him over and he was still faintly feeling some of the drugs’ effects in his system. Seeing Aizawa practically materialize on the seat next to his bed when he wasn’t paying attention was terrifying to behold.

“I nearly died. I think I do.” He weakly attempts to defend.

“You should be dead.”

Katsuki’s reply dies in his throat.

Aizawa sighs and looks away. “By all means, you should have died.” The man begins, refusing to make eye contact with him. A first, given how direct his teacher always was. Aizawa did not avoid things. He was fucking Eraserhead. He’s seen enough shit to not be phased by anything.

And yet here he was now.

Not even daring to look at Katsuki.

It hit him more than anything else.

“Your heart gave out twice during evac. Even if you got medical attention, you should have died from the extent of your injuries. Both lungs were collapsing, nearly all of your ribs were broken, right shoulder dislocated. Your entire shoulder was shredded. You should have lost your arm. By all means, the fact that you had only minor spinal injury is a godsend.” Aizawa takes a breath.

Katsuki looks down at himself. His chest was bare, leaving him to trail a hand over the spider like silver stands running up his chest and over his right shoulder. The skin looked pulled tight, fused together with only the thinnest of silver scar tissue showing.

“Amelia Carrie.” Aizawa tells him as he continues to examine his injuries, taking them in fully for the first time. “Memorize that name.”

Katsuki looks up and quietly asks:

“Why?”

“She’s the one who saved you.”

Katsuki stays quiet.

Aizawa responds gruffly. “She’s an accredited doctor at the hospital you were transported to -the closest to the fight. She specializes in reconstruction surgery. She’s a licensed Quirked Doctor.”

Katsuki frowns. A Quirked anything meant that they were legally trained and allowed to use their Quirks to fulfill their jobs. It was different than Pro-Heroes, who were licenced  to use their Quirks in combat situations and trained for such situations.

So that meant…

“Her Quirk is mass manipulation. She was able to scrape up your guts together and stitch your hide back up. She’s one of the only people in Japan with such a Quirk and the fact she was at work the day you decided to get yourself killed is a goddamn miracle.” Aizawa pauses, sighing. “I’d say don’t ever fucking do it again, but that would be idealistic.” 

“So you’re not going to scold-”

“Be fucking ready.” Aizawa replies as flatly as he can deliver, but nausea curls in Katsuki’s gut at the bite of it.” If you’re going to push someone out of the way, make sure you get out as well.”

Katsuki wants to grimace. Despite the haze of pain that clouded his memory of the event, he remembers far too clearly the train of thought he had just before the Nomu decided to use him as its personal chew toy. And it's not something Katsuki wished he could remember.

Because it went against everything he thought he was.

“I didn’t have time to think.” Katsuki quietly admits to his teacher, resting his hands on his own lap. “My….my feet moved on their own.”

Aizawa says nothing, letting him stew in the silence and its more effective than any scolding the man could have given him.

He half preferred being back in a coma instead of thinking about what happened. What he did -something that at the height of his battle rage he would have never done. Or Katsuki thought he would have never done.

Of course of everyone to nearly throw his life away for, it was fucking Deku.

...somehow, that was explanation enough. 

That knowledge was terrifying.

“It’s always you two.” Aizawa’s voice cuts through his brewing thoughts, gently pulling him back to the present. “Now, about your studies.”

That’s not what he was expecting.

Just the thought of it makes Katsuki winces. “...I’m going to have to retake the fucking semester aren’t I. I’m fucked.”

“No.” Aizawa denies, making him falter. “We’re hardly that inefficient and despite your recklessness, you’re not completely useless.”

“...thanks?”

“You think you’re the only student near graduating that decided to land themselves in the infirmary for an extended period of time?” His teacher retorts, his tone heavier. Katsuki nearly wants to shrink back in his bed. “You’re near the top of the class. Second place. You would have gotten through anyways. For graduation the government takes our word for it. If we think you are ready to be a Pro-Hero, then you get to be a Pro-Hero.”

“Oh.”

“Hmm.” Aizawa agrees. “We can get you an exemption. There’s no way you can do the physical exam.” 

Katsuki jolts. He’d nearly forgotten. “Fuck that. I’m-”

“-confined to bed rest for the next week until Chiyo says otherwise.” Aizawa finishes for him, giving him a look at instantly shuts him up. “You try anything and I’ll have your head, brat.”

“...fine.” Katsuki says through gritted teeth. “I’m doing the written exams.”

“As if you’d do otherwise. You’re worse than Midoriya.”

Katsuki snorts and says nothing.

With little else to say, Aizawa stands up. He watches the man do so, tracking him as he walks over to the door as if to leave. He goes through the door, pushing it open with one hand.

“You can come out now.” The man calls out into the hallway. “I’m done with him, it's your turn.”

Katsuki blinks as Aizawa moves away, disappearing around the doorframe without as much as a goodbye, because that’s the kind of bastard his teacher was. 

Who was he talking to? For the briefest moments he half expects to see All Might standing at the doorway, but the person who steps inside the room instead has him freezing in place, something in his chest twisting uncomfortably.

It’s not All Might at all. But it is his successor.

Deku looked surprisingly out of place in his hero suit. The nickname leaves Katsuki’s lips without his consent:

“Deku.”

The smile he gives Katsuki was weak and tired.

“Kacchan.”

Chapter Text

“Deku.”

“Kacchan.”

Silence.

Too much silence.

Katsuki waits, letting himself stew in it even though he really, really wants to move on with this. There’s an unsettled, uncomfortable tickling feeling in his gut that he hats and part of him wanted to throw the nerd back out the door because he just knew the damn idiot was the cause. It’s always that fucking bastard.

He’s the reason Katsuki had spent the better part of the past month napping instead of working on his very important education.

Fuck, why did he just feel frustrated? Shouldn’t he be angry too? Especially at Deku? The lack of familiar, bubbling rage in his gut was...eerie. Not in a bad way either. Just, neutral.

Focus, Katsuki.

“Are you going to sit down and talk or are you just going to stand there and stare like a tree?” He complains, resting his hands on his lap and tilting his chin up imperiously at the idiot.

Deku startles, blinking rapidly. Almost as if he wasn’t expecting Katsuki to react. Fuck it that didn’t leave him thinking. How long had the nerd watched over him while he slept?

A sudden rush of color floods Deku’s face as he splutters:

“R-right!” Deku stutters, shaking his head. His eyes never left Katsuki’s face, oddly enough. It reminded Katsuki of when they were younger, and the dumb nerd would watch him like a hawk. “Sorry, Kacchan. This is kind of a shock for me.”

Katsuki quirked up an eyebrow.

“You and me both, nerd.” he comments, clenching and unclenching his fingers on the bedsheets. Then he adds, tone growing more flat.  “Sit your fucking ass down.”

Against all odds, his response earns him a chuckle out of Deku. A laugh, more like. It’s an oddity that leaves him staring at the green haired teenager walks over to his bedside and sits down on the chair. The way he does it is smooth and confident in a way that spoke of familiarity. 

Fuck, how often did Deku visit him while he was out?

He’s not sure he’s creeped out or irritated at the idea of Deku watching him sleep. Or any of the two. If anything he just feels miffed. Miffed .

Katsuki did not do miffed.

I left some brain cells behind in that battlefield.

Deku’s quiet cough drags him away from that impromptu existential crisis, staving it off for now. Katsuki turns his head to look at the younger teenager, watching as Deku fiddles with his hands on his lap, seemingly at a loss for words.

“What is it, nerd?” He grumbles.

“I’m sorry, huh, you look good.” Deku muttered, only to pause and backtrack, oddly enough. “Better than…”

He trails off, but Katsuki isn’t an idiot. He’s pretty sure what Deku was talking about.

What state must have he been in? Katsuki tries to remember, but the only thing his brain can bring forth from back then was the rather disturbing lack of thinking he’d had when he pushed Deku out of the way and the pain from after. Aizawa made it clear he’d been really messed up and the lightning-shaped scars on his shoulders, chest and back were a testimony of how fucking close he’d cut it.

He can feel Deku’s eyes on his chest, likely examining the scars as well. He’d managed to get Recovery Girl to let Kirishima get him one of his preferred black shirts because like fuck he was staying bare chested or in a fucking gown. It left his shoulders and part of his chest still visible, showing the scars.

They’re not that bad -certainly far less than Katsuki expected it to be. Aizawa told him he’d been fucked up majorly and Katsuki at least remembered the pain, enough to know that his teacher was right. The Quirked doctor might as well performed a miracle melding his skin back up and stuffing his organs back in place.

“Hmm. Could have been worse.” He reaches up and pokes at his own chest, not even needing to look up to know Deku was looking at it too. “That doc did a good job.” A fantastic fucking job.

“Amelia Carrie.” Deku pipes up from the chair because of course he fucking knows the doctor. He probably already found out what was her favorite drink and what her childhood pet’s name was because eh was that kind of meticulous bastard. “She’s a world-renowned doctor. You’re… you’re lucky she was there at the hospital.”

Katsuki lifts his gaze just in time to catch him chewing on his lower lip, looking faintly uneasy and pale. He doesn’t need to be a mind reader to know what the idiot in front of him was thinking.

“I  would have been fine. If I can live through Shigaraki’s bitch fit attempt at recruiting me, I can survive his fucking pets .” Katsuki interrupted flatly, nose scrunching up at the memory of Kamino. Fuck, the next time he saw that little shit he was going to punch him right in his stupid ass, dry as fuck face. “Bitch, I’m a cockroach.”

The sudden choked noise that left Deku’s lips was very satisfying to hear. Maybe because Katsuki was that much of a sadist, but everything he’s been put through and waking up only to get poked to near death by Recovery Girl, he wanted some entertainment. Even if it was from his childhood...whatever.

Screw me this is getting weird.

Deku regains composure soon enough. There’s a shiny glint in his eyes as he looks at Katsuki. It’s not as irritating as it should be.

“I missed that.” He chuckles weakly, green curls bouncing as he nods at Katsuki. His hair is messier than Katsuki remembered. Had he been taking care of it at all?  “I’m glad you’re finally awake, Kacchan. It hasn’t been the same without you around. Not just training -it’s been really different...” He trails off, unsure.

Katsuki, oddly enough, finds that he doesn’t really have an insult to that at all. Especially with the tiny, hesitant little smile on Deku’s freckled face. He feels like he couldn’t insult him because of that -oddly and embarrassingly enough, he couldn’t find a way to mock that.

It felt strange.

Katsuki felt strange.

This was different than his normal reaction to Deku’s usual sappy comments. Where was the disgust? The irritation? Katsuki felt irritated at the lack of irritation. Fuck that felt like a circlejerk of contradictions but that’s what he felt right now and oh, here he was. Right back to being miffed.

Goddamn it.

Speaking of.

“You fucker, do you think you’re going to leave me in the dust?” He growls, jabbing a finger into Deku’s forehead and earning himself a tiny yelp. “I can’t do the physical exam but I sure as fuck will kick your ass in the written sections!”

Deku smiles, eyes practically cross eyed as he stares up at Katsuki’s finger. Then that bright, dark green gaze shifts down to look at him and oh, well, this felt strange.

Anything he wanted to say next dies when their eyes meet.

Fuck him, Deku’s gaze seemed suddenly so intense and demanding attention, Katsuki’s brain struggles to find the right words or even what to say. His train of thought felt derailed but not in the way it had when the Nomu caught him. Rather it was another feeling, something more fluttery and light. As if instead of that train being blown off its tracks it floated away into the sky.

Even when the younger male moves, Katsuki doesn’t react, just watches as Deku reached up with his right hand.

Deku’s hand curls gently around his finger, the drag of rough scarred skin making Katsuki blinks. He watches, silent, as the other boy pulls the finger down, wrapping his own fingers -big and scarred like the rest of him, because he was a reckless idiot- and wraps both of his hands around his and rests it on his lap.

The gesture feels strangely intimate.

It is strangely intimate and Katuski’s not really sure what to feel about it.

“I’m happy you’re better, Kacchan.” The green haired teenager murmurs, tilting his head and making an odd squiggly feeling in Katsuki’s gut grow and grow. “I missed you a lot.”

“Of course you did.” Katsuki swallows, throat dry and fuck, this was something he’s going to need to think about later, because his brain felt a bit like mush right now. “You’d be fucking lost without me.”

Deku smiles and to Katsuki’s utter mortification, he felt nothing but satisfaction at the sight of it.

.

 

.

 

.

“You goddamn fucking brat.”

“....yes, it’s good to see you too.”

It earns him an exhausted chuckle from his mother.

Good.

He’s really getting the hang of the passive aggressive comebacks. His body was still too tender and entirely fucking weak in a way that drives him insane every time he thinks about it, but at least he can still run his mouth. Mitsuki couldn’t really complain -he was half of her fucking genes after all, and he took far more from her than his father.

Speaking of which…

“Oi, old man.” He taps gently at the shaking, heaving back draped over him.

Bakugo Masaru was practically stretched on the bed, arms wrapped around Katsuki’s middle and face smudge somewhere in his neck. It’s not as uncomfortable as it should be and his father was being careful enough to not press his weight down on him, which is good because half of the time Katsuki’s limbs felt like dead leaves and moving them, especially his legs, was a goddamn pain that according to Recovery Girl should take a few days to fade.

At least it was only a month.

Could have been worse. A few years and he might have been completely atrophied.

Ah, what a wonderful image, brain. Fucking thank you.

His father sniffs into his collar and yeah, Katsuki had enough of that.

“Old man, get off.”

“I’m good ...I'm good.” His father whimpers against him, probably covering his shirt with snot and fuck, why was this his life?  “My poor heart, Katsuki. Don’t do that again.”

Wasn’t that hilarious? For a moment Katsuki is reminded of Kirishima. But this was the old man, so the hilarity at how similar of a reaction they both had quickly faded away to a mixture of unease and something warm that had Katsuki tugging his father off his sorry carcass and glaring up at him halfheartedly.

“I didn’t exactly ask to get gnawed on.”

Masaru grimaces just as Mitsuki barks out a laugh.

“I fucking missed that shit from you, brat.” His mother exhales, reaching up and patting his head and fuck, Katsuki’s surprised how good it felt to have her fingers running through his hair. How odd. Today was just full of surprises, wasn’t it? “You better get well soon, you hear me?” She grumbles down at him, imperiously staring him down. It’s a glare that Katsuki copies because as the old man would say, they’re two beans in a pod. “Stop sniffing on him, Masaru. Our kid is fucking tough shit.”

“A cockroach.” Katsuki responds, remembering what he’d said to Deku prior and yeah, he might still be alive because of a powerful Quirked doctor but that didn’t mean the term didn’t apply to him. He was a tough motherfucker and proud of it.

Mitsuki huffs.

“A cockroach.” She repeats, snorting under her breath. He hand slides down to the side of his head and scratches behind his ear.   “Crazy little shit. Have you spoken to your homeroom teacher yet?”

Katsuki nods, eyes-half lidded at the comfort of his mother’s unusually soft touch. “Aizawa? Yeah. Guessing you did as well?” He mumbles. “He told me I can’t do shit for the physical, but I’m still up for the written half. So no extra semester.”

Fucking thankfully.

On the other side of the bed, Masaru squeezes his knee comfortingly. He reaches out with one hand and rests it on the old man’s arm, squeezing back. It earns him a fond smile from his teary-eyed father.

Mitsuki nods, satisfied. “Damn right we did. You’re still going to graduate, fucking great. Yuuei isn’t fucking cheap.”

“All hero graduates are on scholarships.” Katsuki not so helpfully points out in a dry tone.

Mitsuki tilts her head at him. “Does that fucking matter?”

“....it should?”

His mother just pinches his ear in response and Katsuki spends the next few minutes hissing at her in response while trying to wrestle his pillow away from his laughing father so he can smother her with it. All throughout this, he thinks he shouldn’t feel this comfortable and happy.

And yet he was.

.

 

.

 

.

“Nope.”

“Bakugo.”

“Fucking nope .” Katsuki hisses from his bed, glaring at the tiny elderly woman standing at the front of his infirmary bed. “I can do this without that thing. Keep it the fuck away from me.”

Recovery Girl scowls at him. The dreaded fucking cane -a goddamn cane- is held up with her one free hand, the other occupied holding on to her own cane. Because that was the hell Katsuki was in from now on. Fuck him.

“Bakugo, you need to use this if you’re going to get around. At least for the first two weeks. Or do you want me to give you a pair of crutches-”

Katsuki bares his teeth.

“No!”

This time it was the nurse’s turn to growl. 

“Young man-”

She pushes the dreaded object of horror and shame insistently towards him and it takes all of his energy for him not to use his Quirk reflexively. Katsuki flails to get her away as he swings his legs over the edge of the bed and starts to stand. 

“I can do this myself!”

Recovery Girl grumbles and starts walking towards him, cane held up as in offering. Katsuki recoils from it like its garlic and he’s a vampire, because that’s certainly what it felt to his pride. 

As he forces himself to stand he tries to get her away, but because fuck him the only thing he manages to do is lose balance and fall on his ass.

.

 

.

 

.

He’s picking his salad when Kirishima comes in, a small smile on his face upon spotting Katsuki. There’s a familiar not so little trio of teenagers trailing after him like ducklings, one of which screeches and jumps towards him, barely dodging knocking over his poor salad before she engulfs him in her death trap-like grip.

“Bakugo!” Ashido cried into his hair, sniffing in a way that Katsuki just knew meant she might be getting snot all over him. “I can’t believe you’re up. Oh my god you little shit, you gave me grey hairs!”

Katsuki stares at the thing dangling from his neck, then up at her bright pink hair. Then down at her face.

“Fucking liar.”

Ashido bites his hair in response. 

Fucking ow .

He growls and she dances away with a laugh before he can retaliate, running back to plop down on Kirishima’s lap since the redhead had claimed the only chair in the room and had Kaminari propped up on the armchair already. Kirishima wheezes under the added weight, but he makes no move to get away, already trappe with Kaminari eyeing the seat.

Sero’s the only one with the balls to sit at the foot of his bed -or rather, the only one Katsuki trusts not to make a fucking fuss because out of all of them he’s right under Katsuki in terms of working brain cells. The tallest of their group pats Katsuki’s leg comfortingly from where it is under the covers and gives him a bright, comforting smile which Katsuki returns with a nod. Of all his friends, Sero had always been the calmest out of them.

His attention quickly strays away from Sero when he spotted something off from the pile of sentient barnacles at his bedside. Kirishima and Ashido were amicably bickering but Kaminari? He was doing something else.

Namely, he was looking at the cane innocently propped up against the wall. His eyes shifted back to Katsuki, then the cane. And again. He could hear the cogs turning inside that empty head of his.

...fuck him.

“So….”

Katsuki tenses. He already knows what’s coming but he fucking hoped that Kaminari would have more-

“.....I hear you’re an old man now.”

Katsuki roars and throws a tomato at him. Kaminari dodges with a crackle only to get nailed in the face by the entire remainder of his salad. 

Recovery Girl ends up coming in and nearly kicking them all out until they start picking up the food. Its fucking worth it. 

.

 

.

 

.

His following visitors are entirely expected.

One after another his classmates come to visit. 

At some point his parents bring him his phone and he’s quickly flooded by the number of messages left unread in them. And once his classmates figured out he has it back, those messages double in number. Great.

Just the kind of fucking distraction he needed.

Especially with how well shit was going on his end. Katsuki takes the time in between visits and study time to try and walk around to stretch his sore, underused muscles. Recovery Girl left the fucking cane next to his bed to taunt him, but Katsuki never reaches for it.

He can do this shit on his own.

He doesn’t need an old man’s cane to do that.

Katsuki was sitting on his bed glaring at it when the door opens. From the hallway, a familiar tall young woman with long black hair pulled up in a ponytail steps inside, arms full of books.

“Good day, Bakugo!” Momo greets softly, setting the books down on the nightstand next to his bed, Katsuki picks one up immediately, looking over the history textbook curiously. “Here’s all your books -I even brought an outline of everything you missed.” She hands him a small booklet, which katsuki takes with a nod and a muttered thanks.

It takes him all of about three seconds to flip it open, drink in its contents, then squint up at Momo.

“Deku did this, didn’t he?”

Momo shrugs, chuckling. “That isn’t getting past you, is it?”

“There’s only one fucker in our class who writes in chicken scratches worse than Kaminari while still managing to get everything down.” Katsuki mutters as he looks back down, scanning the list. “I’d recognize that shit anywhere.”

It’s just about two pages, thankfully -though there he finds a series of notes in the following pages and a few copies of what unediably was someone’s own notes taped to the booklet.

Fucking nerd.

The thought shouldn’t be as fond as it was. He sets both book and booklet on the nightstand, turning his attention back to Momo -only to find her staring at the wall. Specifically, the cane resting against the wall.

He grows, low and irritated. Momo turns her head back to him, expression devoid of any worry at the visible aggression. By now all of his classmates knew he was more bark than bite and even though it was kind of irritating, they were well aware that if he had any real issue with them, he would take it out on the training field. 

Which was the very reason Ashido ran from him for two weeks during training after she spilled her smoothie down his shirt during an outing.

“You’re still on the fence?” Momo asks, light and calm like she’s talking about the weather and not Katsuki’s latest humiliation.

Katsuki blinks. “How the fuck do you even-”

“It’s obvious. People talk.”

Oh.

Now he fucking knew.

....fuck Kaminari.”

“No thank you.” Momo replies smoothly, without even missing a beat. “I don’t want to get on Shinsou’s bad side.

Katsuki grunts and looks away. Momo had come far from the worried, insecure young girl he met in his first year. Namely, he’s pretty sure she was spending far too much time with Uraraka and Ashido for it to be healthy. She was even picking up their ticks. At least it did wonders for her confidence.

Momo sighs. “Why aren’t you using it?”

Katsuki grimaces. “Have you looked at the damn thing?! I’m not a fucking old man. I can walk on my own.” He leans back, crossing his arms. “I don’t need it to get better.”

“So why aren’t you back at the dorms already?”

Katsuki glares. Momo just smiles, the bitch.

He opened his mouth to say something in response because like hell he was letting her win this argument, but suddenly Momo move, a spark in her eyes as she plops down next to Katsuki’s feet. She sits up, pausing for only a moment before reaching down and slipping her school shirt open. 

Immediately Katsuki looks away out of habit. 

It’s not the first time that Momo randomly decided to chuck clothes in front of a Class 1-A member. Hell, even Mineta stopped giving her shit about it after their first few semesters. Though he did wax poetics about Momo’s abs and breasts for the better part of their second year. That is, up until all the girls in their class pulled him aside, locked themselves in Uraraka’s bedroom with him and stayed there for a whole two hours.

Katsuki had no idea what they did to the bastard midget, but he was on the straight and narrow after that shit.

None of the boys had been able to figure out what to feel about it. Kaminari had been mildly terrified and stuck to Katsuki like glue for the first week after, scared that he would be next. It never came though.

The light of Momo’s creation Quirk in action eventually drags his gaze back to her belly -only for Katsuki’s brain to stutter to a halt at what he finds.

He stares at the offered gift, held up in one hand.

Then he looks up to Momo’s face. She was smiling, satisfied. Utterly unrepentant and unconcerned with how much of a blow to his ego her newest creation was.

Because in her hand sat a cane. It wasn’t the same four legged dark grey monstrosity of a dignity-killing cane that Recovery Girl tried to hand him. Instead, it was slender and one legged. It had a black and orange design like curling flames and looked faintly metallic. The pommel was big, spherical and looked like a miniature explosion was carved into the metal.

Katsuki swallows, staring down at the offering. Then he flicks his gaze up to stare blankly at Momo’s face. The young woman was looking down at him with an expectant expression. Like she was waiting for Katsuki to grab it.

Instead, she gets this:

“...you made me a pimp cane.”

Momo narrows her eyes.

“Bakugo, if you wanted to go back to your coma, you could have just asked.”

Katsuki wisely shuts his mouth and takes the pimp cane.

Chapter Text

The Pimp Cane works wonders.

Momo leaves him to it and Katsuki welcomes being alone more than anything. He wouldn’t be testing out the cane otherwise, because like hell he was letting anyone see him fumble around like a spastic drunk while he teaches himself to rely on her creation to move around. 

He mentally notes to make her some of her much beloved donburi dish when he feels better. Part of Katsuki stubbornly embraced the idea that if he had been forced to walk around with that grey metal contraption, he would have curled up on his hospital bed and passed away from sheer indignation. 

It might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a comforting thought.

Especially given his current dilemma.

 Katsuki walks across his room slowly, step by step, focusing on moving his legs in tandem with the Pimp Cane. His joint ache, but after a minute of respite in between exercises it starts getting easier. Back and forth he goes, focusing on trying to look less and less like what Katsuki could only guess would be a waddling, drunk goose.

It wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be. Hopefully Recovery Girl would let him go today -she did say he could leave as soon as he picked up the fucking four-legged nightmare. Part of Katsuki can’t wait to see her reaction to the Pimp Cane. 

She’s probably going to chuck him out a window.

Heh.

Not like that would make his wounds any worse. At least he would be out of this dungeon.

As he sits down for a quick break, Katsuki’s fingers find their way to his chest under his shoulderless shirt, landing on the edges of the scar tissue threading through his torso. It’s barely there at the touch -if anything, Katsuki feels it more because he knows it’s there, having spent most of his free time tracing the wound that should have killed him, yet did not.

Because he was a fucking cockroach and proud of it.

Still, it leaves him to wonder what could have been. That Quirk doctor sure was something; meeting her would be interesting, even if it only would be to say hey, thank I guess for not letting me kneel over.

Frowning, he drops his hand away from his chest and onto his lap, gaze sweeping with disinterest across his infirmary room. The ugly contraption against the wall is ignored, as is the small stack of folded clothes the old hag left on the counter.

Katsuki’s bored mind does falter when his eyes catch on a familiar stack of notes on the nightstand.

Right.

As he could forget that.

His fingers dig into the fabric of his pants, far too aware of the memory of Deku’s hand cradling his. It’s unsettling to think about, even more so combined with the fact that for some reason he didn’t feel like tearing his hair out at his own lack of reaction. Or rather, his lack of tearing other people’s throats out. Odd? Yes. Confusing? 

Even more so.

No anger. No rage. Just calm. Like he stubbed his fucking toe tripping over something. It’s fucking distressing.

I jumped into a fucking shredder for him and I don’t feel angry.  

Katuski pursed his lips and looked up at the roof, silently asking for answers the dull white infirmary ceiling could not offer. The bitch.

...I’ve gone insane. Left some brain cells in that Nomu’s belly.

Yeah. 

That worked.

It was the most logical explanation. It was a much better alternative to the more ridiculous conclusion: that he didn’t feel bad nearly throwing his life away for someone as shitty as Deku.

Katsuki blinks.

Oh god. That was it, wasn’t it? 

Deku must have rubbed off him.

Dear god no! There went his future career and long life expectancy. He’s done for. The ridiculous self sacrifice is contagious .

Katsuki feels his face twist into a grimace at the sheer horror of the thought. Banishing that terrible, terrible idea away, he forces himself up and grabs the Pimp Cane to do more exercise. 

Maybe a bit of pain would chase away some of it.

That’s how Kirishima and Kaminari find him ten minute later when they barge into his infirmary room, because of fucking course they do. Kaminari spots the Pimp Cane and perks up immediately, a fox-like smile that totally fucking belonged to Shinsou stretching his lips as he called out:

“Hey Bakugo! Glad to see you embraced your third leg!”

It’s only Kirishima’s saving grace -or rather, Quirk- that stops Katsuki’s fist from colliding with his face.

.

 

.

 

.

Recovery Girl is none too happy about the cane, but at this point Katsuki thinks he’s not the only one done with the situation. She takes one look at the Pimp Cane, hangs her head, sighs like a weary, homesick soldier returning from war, and then looks at him tiredly.

“Yes, you’re free to go to the dorm, Mr. Bakugo. Now get out of here, I’ve had enough of you glaring at me.”

Before she can change her mind, Katsuki takes that and runs. 

Metaphorically. Because his legs still can't work for shit.

.

 

.

 

.

After much fanfare -or rather, Kaminari bending over backwards to apologize under Kirishima, Ashido and Sero’s stern glare while at a safe distance, because while Kaminari Denki was dumb he was not that dumb- they finally lead Katsuki towards the dorms. 

Very slowly.

A snail’s pace.

Part of him -all right, all of him- is fucking irritated about the way they were trying to hide the fact they were walking at his pace, not theirs. He’s a better person than the brat he’d been in his first year, though, and can acknowledge it wasn’t purposeful on their part.

He was just that fucked.

Katsuki bites back the ball of fury and embarrassment and forces it down his throat instead of expelling upwards in a slurry of yells. Fine. He could acknowledge the fact he wasn’t in his best shape. This was just a temporary set back. This was nothing his training regimen could not fix in a few weeks.

It certainly beats being six feet under.

You better be fucking grateful, Deku. He thinks sourly as they pass the first year dorms, heading deeper into the student living sector. Cane in his left hand, notebooks in his right -at least, those he’s allowed to carry, because Kirishima and Kaminari are little shits that take all the books the class had stuffed in his hospital room and categorically refuse to give it back until they reach the dorms.

‘Bro, I like your enthusiasm but let’s hold off the heavy weights for now!’

If there was anything harder to do than keeping Deku from breaking a fucking limb, it was convincing Kirishima to not do something for his friends. Especially when they are recovering from an injury and as it turns out, even more so when they are recovering from getting ripped to pieces by a Nomu. Stubborn bastard. After the redhead’s bold declaration, Katsuki could only bare his teeth and lead the way to the dorms, skulking.

It’s surprisingly….unsurprising how little he’s reacting negatively to all of this save the whole cane issue and, well, the fact his departure from Yuuei wouldn’t be the blaze of glory Katsuki had eagerly been waiting for. It was disarming, like he didn’t mind throwing his own life away for-

File. That. Away.

Now.

I’ll deal with that later. 

Much later, preferably. With Deku in front of him even more preferably. Within punching range. Katsuki knew better than to think Deku was going to let him punch him flat out, though. Not anymore. They aren’t at Aldera and Deku is far from the tiny twig of a fanboy he remembers him being. They changed. Deku’s not the weakling from before and Katsuki wasn’t the bastard ego-centric shithead bully from their childhood.

... but a good yelling session and maybe a spar always worked wonders for Katsuki’s state of mind.

Now if only his body would get with the fucking program, that would be great .

Katsuki tightens his grip on the Pimp Cane, gritting his teeth as his knees make their complaints very well known. Like a fucking hawk, of course Kirishima spots it and immediately asks from his left:

“You okay there, Bakugo?”

“Fuckin’ peachy.”

“I don’t see any peach.”

“You’ll feel it when I shove it down your throat.”

Kirishima just laughs, the bitch. They fall back into an easy sort of silence, only broken by the sounds of passersby. There’s not a lot of students running around in the afternoon. Normally it would be chock full of teenagers trying to go out and breathe some clear air after spending the entire day within the confines of Yuuei’s classes, but with the approaching finals? 

A ghost town.

Everyone was either locked away in their dorms, or frantically trying to get a few extra hours in the training halls. There’s no time for fooling around with the finals looming; every minute was a minute that could contribute to their final grades if it was spent well.

Katsuki is one of the students that follows this ideal religiously. First and second year were spent mostly locked in his room or at the training center, only pausing long enough to eat and shower because unlike most of the guys in his class, maintaining normal bodily functions in times of stress is something he understands.

That is something that seemed to fail nearly everyone else, each year without fail. Katsuki remembers last year with the Marketing and General Department students holding most of Yuuei’s tables at the library hostage. They would hiss and glare at anyone who dared to disturb them. Explosions were a constant background noise when passing near the Support buildings. One third of the battle grounds were either always in use or being repaired because some dumb fuck, generally a overeager first year with a destructive Quirk.

… or he and Deku got a bit too into it and ended up getting a scolding from Aizawa and detention for excessive Quirk damage. Fucking party pooper. Where is the fun in no property damage? 

That was what sparring was about. Well. Besides kicking Deku into the dirt while All Might watched. 

Katsuki learned early on in life to enjoy the small things.

“-I think we went overboard with the books.” Kaminari’s mumble drags him away from the sweet, sweet memory of that one time he managed to elbow Deku in the gut in second year. The other blonde was adjusting his grip on his stack of school books, huffing delicately as the smooth covers made the books slide against each other and nearly slip out of his grasp. Weak shit. “You didn’t need that many to pass the time.”

“I needed all of them.” Katsuki grumbles, shrugging only to bite back a wince when his shoulders protest the movement with a slight burn. “Finals are coming, you idiot. Can’t afford to fucking slack.”

 Kirishima shakes his head, a low rumbling laugh leaving him. “Only you.”

He sniffs at that, indignant. “Oh, shut it.”

“Rude,” Kaminari complains at his other side, sighing. “Man, I can’t believe I missed you.”

“Surprises me too.”

“Right,” Kaminari replies, voice dripping with mirth and false pity. Katsuki side eyes him, contemplating the distance between the two of them and how much reach the Pimp Cane must have. “It’s Stockholm Syndrome, has to be. We’ve been under your control for too long.”

Alright. He’s saved from getting smacked. Even Katsuki had to stifle a chuckle at that.

“Speaking of,” Kirishima interjects as they walk around a corner, avoiding a small pack of students. A few of them side eye them -or Katsuki, more specifically- but a big toothy sneer has them quickly hurrying up.  “...how long until you can get going again?” There’s no real need to ask what get going means, not between the three of them. 

Katsuki exhales a harsh breath.

“A month.” He shrugs.

Kirishima’s not the only one who falters. Kaminari nearly trips over his own two feet at his side, spluttering. “That...that’s past the-”

“I fucking know.” Katsuki grumbles, banishing the swell of frustration before it can fully bloom. He’s under no illusion that his two idiots didn’t pick up on it. “Cleared it up with Aizawa. Got an exemption for the physical tests. I still gotta do the written portions, though.” 

“Well, shit.” Kirishima nods wisely. “That explains all the books. At least you got the written half to enjoy.”

His remark makes his lips tug upwards, the half grin forming before he can really stop it. Really, among his inner circle Kirishima is the only one who understood his, to quote Sero, manic need to dominate the class rankings. Out of their friends, he’s the only one who considered anything below 90 to be a failing grade.

Some, unfortunately, looked at their barely scraping by 60 and were happy with that. Try as he might, he hadn’t ever managed to beat that bad habit out of Mina and Kaminari after three years. Fuck him, but it wasn’t really his problem.

“Good! You can help us study for it!” Kaminari cheers, grinning like a goddamn golden retriever. “You have no idea how difficult this past month was for me!” 

“Can’t have been that bad.”

“Momo’s a good teacher but she’s not you!” Kaminari complains, bouncing with each step. It makes his shoulder-length hair bob with the motion. Katsuki hopes he gets a tuff of hair in the fucking eye.  “If it wasn’t for Mineta and Midoriya we would be in big trouble -especially me!”

“My condolences.” Katsuki retorts with a voice full of sarcasm, one even an oblivious fool like Kaminari can pick up -which from the look of disgruntled indignation he gives him, the other blonde did.

“C’mon dude, have some compassion!” The electric-user waves his free arm, holding up Katsuki’s books in the other. He only just manages not to clip someone walking past them. “Try being me for a change!”

“No thanks. That would be horrible.”

Kirishima stumbles and Kaminari makes a sound like a deflated balloon before falling silent, defeated. Katsuki fucking preens.

Good to know he still had it.

.

 

.

 

.

The moment he’s through the doors of his dorm, Katsuki realizes two things.

One, the entirety of his class was standing around in the common room.

Two, that Nomu was a stingy whore that should have done its job properly.

The moment Kirishima kicks down the front door and fucking stabs him right in the fucking back by yelling out guys, we’re back and we got Bakugo! Katsuki knows it's all over. He’s dead. So very much dead yet walking, unable to run and do little else than accept his fucking fate. He can hear the noise within the depths of the third year dorm falter, stop -then grow into a cacophony of thundering footsteps as every single living body who hears the redhead aim for the front hallway.

Mina’s the first person he sees at the head of the horde, yellow-black eyes wide and puffy, messy pink hair fluttering wildly around her head as she zooms across the hall with the demons of hell right at her heels.

“Bakubabe!”

Katsuki opens his mouth to make his utter indignation at that horror known; he’s only allowed one tiny, cut off sound of indignant outrage before Ashido collides with him like a fucking bullet and nearly sends him sprawling. If not for Kirishima moving behind him to catch them both like a linebacker, the floor would have been his grave.

There’s no escape. Mina’s strong, pink arms wrap around his middle as she latches onto him like a koala or something equally as brainless. He, the second ranked student in class, is utterly helpless in the grasp of this dangerous predator; Katsuki dies a little bit more inside when he feels her fucking hand ruffling his hair.

“Get off!”

“Maybe later tonight!”

Someone chokes. It takes a second for Katsuki to realize he’s the poor bastard making that horrible noise at her cheeky reply, and it’s a second too late because in that span of time he’s swarmed on all sides like something out of a horror movie. 

There’s no escape. There’s a hand in his hair, a digit poking him in the left cheek, someone bumping their shoulder against his.

“Bakugo!”

“Recovery Girl finally let you out, congrats!”

“I knew you were too much of a bastard to kneel over.”

Okay, fuck you Shinsou.

Bodies press all around him, shouts of congratulations getting lost amidst the chaos and loudness of at least fifteen people shouting over each other. Katsuki never wanted to grow wings and fly away more than he wanted to now, the ceiling above his head be damned. He’ll blast it out of the way if need be. Or just accept the concussion. Come to think of it, getting knocked out didn’t sound all that bad.

Especially with the way they were ruffling his fucking hair.

“All of you deserve to die!”

It’s only at that point that Kirishima behind him decides to interfere, the bastard. Probably not even out of mercy, but the safety of their classmates. The redhead leans over them and uses his arms as a shield, prying their classmates off Katsuki. Ashido stays stuck like a leech, because of course. He tries to wiggle off, but she tightens her arms around his waist and sticks her goddamn tongue against his shoulder as vengeance, making him shriek.

“You’re fucking disgusting!”

“Language, Bakugo!” Someone very familiar reprimands him somewhere among the sea of bodies; Katsuki only frees his left arm and gives Iida the middle finger in response.

All during this, he catches Ashido giggling like a retarded fox. Oh that was it, he was going to fucking kill this bitch.

“Hey, hey!” Kaminari shouts somewhere over to his left as he shooed people away. His laugh grates Katsuki’s ears. “Be careful of the goods, we worked hard to free him from Recovery Girl!”

“Bitch you didn’t do shit !”

His roar only earns him more laughs from the horde. Katsuki grits his teeth, pushing Ashido away just the slightest bit, he wiggles the Pimp Cane in between them and uses the item in combination with Kirishima’s solid to shove the pink devil away. Ashido finally folds but gives him a dramatic pout in response.

“Aww, you could at least hug back, you jerk.”

“I got standards.” Katsuki states flatly, righting himself. From the corner of his eyes, he spies Momo’s gaze spark as she looks at her creation in his hands. “Now all of you back the fuck off before I club you to death!” He tightens his grip on the Pimp Cane and raises it to show off that Katsuki would go through with the threat, aching limbs or not.

And oh, maybe it won’t be that bad with the way his classmates back off at a safe distance. Only Kirishima stays, but Kirishima is a smug ass with his stupid Quirk, so Katsuki lets it slide. 

Iida doesn’t.

“Bakugo!” The class president is a good head taller than most of the class, allowing Katsuki to see him from the back of the horde. It’s hard to miss the flailing limbs, too. He even spies Todoroki lurking farther back in the hallway, the bastard having enough manners to not try and suffocate him with hugs. “Don’t go around threatening violence on your classmates! You just got back from the infirmary, you need rest !”

“I need space!” Katsuki retorts back as he waves the Pimp Cane at Kaminari, who aborts his attempt at hugging him and dives out of the way with a laugh. If he could chase after the little shit Katsuki would almost be tempted to.

Instead, he clears a space forward and begrudgingly allows Kirishima to lead him out into the common room; the horde follows after him, yammering away.

The common room hasn’t changed since the last time he’d been here, though it has grown more chaotic. There’s stacks of school books and notebooks everywhere, packets of food peppering in between the dangerously high stacks. The dinner tables were covered in them.

...and on the farthest table a familiar person sits hunched over his notes, staring slightly wide-eyed at him and the horde nipping at his heels. He’s not the only one who stayed back -Jirou still had her nose stuck in a book two seats down- but he’s the one Katsuki latches onto, inexplicably.

Katsuki tilts his chin up at Deku imperiously, earning a hesitant smile from the nerd. It’s dimmer than it should be, part of him thinks, and it makes something irritable squirm in his belly, restless. He opens his mouth and-

“Here Bakugo, let me make you some food!” Sato’s booming voice grabs Katsuki’s attention.

What? He turns his gaze to look at the other third year just in time to see him spin on his heels to go to the kitchen. It’s as if a bomb has been set off -suddenly, half the class trails after, freeing Katsuki a tiny bit more. He can’t do anything but let them lead him to one of the table chairs.

“Let me help!”

“We should make stew, that way everyone can have some!”

“We need to defrost some pork, Todoroki can you be a buddy and…”

Momo perks up at the front of the charge, eyes bright and hopeful. “I can cut the vegetables-”

“I ate a hour ago, cool your fucking jets!” Katsuki interrupts before they can all rush into the kitchen and run over Sato in the process. Something similar happened the last time one of them got really injured -if it wasn’t Katsuki fending them off with a kitchen knife, the whole of the class would have burnt down the kitchen in a stupid attempt at getting a concussed and still tender Kirishima food.

Among the commotion, Katsuki spies with his little eye one particular tuff of green slinking out of the common room like a dog with its tail tucked between its legs. It makes him squint. Part of Katsuki is frankly disturbed by the idea of having some sick sixth sense when it came to Deku, but at this point?

Filing that away. 

In the cupboard it goes, along with the rest of that shit.

That didn’t mean ignoring the way Deku was slinking off from the common room, taking advantage that no one was paying attention to him to make a quick getaway. He knew the bastard since they were practically in diapers. Katsuki knew what his moping self deprecating look was like. He remembers Deku’s quiet, odd demeanor back in the infirmary, and he doesn’t like it.

When Deku got self deprecating, it was a fucking mess. He might be a hypocrite thinking such given what happened in their first year after All Might retired, but when Deku got mopey and blamed himself it was the kind of shit nearly everyone in the dorms picked up on, himself especially. It’s an annoyance he does not want to deal with on top of everything else.

I’m nipping this shit in the bud.

And there were things Katsuki had been left wondering ever since he woke up; might as well nip those now, too. Mind made up, he picks up the nearest thing he can reach and tosses it right at the green haired bastard.

A month and a half spent in a coma betrays him; the banana he grabs from the fruit bowl on the table lands right in front of a startled Deku instead of on his head like Katsuki intended. It irritates him, but Katsuki decides to roll with it. He’s starting to get used to this new body and frankly cannot wait to get back into shape, but this is what he had to work with for now.

He’s won with worse odds.

The room falls silent. Deku bends down and picks up the banana quizzically, no doubt wondering how his life led to nearly getting smacked with it. Then he slowly turns around. Green, befuddled eyes meet Katsuki’s own, their owner quickly figuring out the culprit from how everyone was looking at Katsuki. Though his own crossed arms and unimpressed look might have something to do with it.

“...huh...Kacchan…?”

Katsuki doesn’t wait for him to finish. 

He grabs the Primp Cane and stands up. 

Immediately both Sero and Kirishima are swarming him, hands extended as if to catch him like he’s some goddamn fragile doll. He waves them off with a growl, shifts his hips to lean against the table, and lifts his Pimp Cane to point right between Deku’s eyes.

The moron goes a bit cross eyed, staring at the tip. Dumbass. His eyes shift to his and Katsuki grins like a shark despite the weird feeling churning in his guts.

“You. Me. Now. Upstairs.”

“Kacchan-”

“Zip it.” His command makes Deku’s mouth snap shut. It’s not supposed to be as funny as it is, but Katsuki finds himself in a agreable if not tired mood. Tired and productive? Well, that was one way to describe what he was feeling. Just with some irritation sprinkled in.  “I lost enough time napping, I’m not having you dragging this shit out until we’re both on our deathbeds.”

Deku flinches suddenly and whoops, Katsuki can only feel the slightest, tiniest tinge of shame at his own poor word choice. Very poor word choice. Oh dear, how little he cared.

His old hag would be proud. His poor dad would probably start weeping.

He stomps -or at least slowly stomps, fuck him his snail’s pace speed needs some getting used to- past Deku, grabbing onto his left sleeve and tugging harshly to snap him out of whatever quiet trance the idiot had fallen upon.

“C’mon, you nerd! ‘Got two feet, don’t you?!”

“R-right!?”

His stammered reply sounds more like a question than anything else. Katsuki barely fights off the urge to sigh. Ever sensitive to his mood, he hears Kirishima call out jokingly behind him as he drags the nerd away:

"Hey, please don’t kill him!”

“I’ll think about it.” He grumbles in response. Behind him, Deku audibly gulps.

Good. 

Fear me, bitch.

.

 

.

 

.

They clamber up the stairs in silence. Katsuki pays no mind to the growing ache in his knees -scratch that, most of his legs. And his spine. Fuck, it hurt. It’s not a burning pain, but more of a steady pulse that comes and goes with each step he takes.

Not taking the elevator proved to be a very bad, not good idea. His limbs scream at him and he knows tomorrow they would have their vengeance.

Worse yet, he can practically hear Deku buzzing with worry behind him. It’s oozing off the other, grabbing at his clothes and making the hair at the back of his neck prickle. Feeling self conscious, Katsuki turns his head just enough to peer at the darker haired boy and glare balefully at his anxious look. He even has his mouth open like he’d been about to say something. 

Katsuki’s having none of it.

“If you try shit, I will beat you up with this cane.” He threatens with a rumble, teeth bared.

It works. Deku narrows his eyes, but he shuts up and keeps his mouth shut until they reach Katsuki’s floor. If Deku notices the slightier harsher edge of his breathing, he’s smart enough to not point it out. 

Tossing the door open to his room felt like coming home. Katsuki feels a pleased thrill go through him at the sight of his room -it was pretty much the same as he left it. The bed is made, his backpack is leaning against the wall, his laptop is on his desk. There’s nary a thing out of order, though with everything that happened Katsuki couldn’t prove that things were moved even if he wanted to.

There is, though, a suspicious lack of dirt or dust in the room. Katsuki directs a questioning look at Deku, who looks away in turn, shrugging.

“Kirishima and Ashido kept it clean while you were gone.” The nerd explains softly, eyeing him for a moment then quickly turning his gaze away to look at the room. “They did a good job, right?” Deku adds in a more distracted manner, shuffling on his feet. 

He’s wringing his hands, Katsuki notes. A familiar nervous tick. There’s no doubt in his mind that Deku’s not sure what to do next, and his stupid nrd mind is scrambling a mile a minute trying to come up with something.

“Right.” Katsuki repeats flatly, turning his attention to the bed.

His legs beg for relief and he cannot refuse them now; walking forward, he sets the Pimp Cane down to rest against his bed before letting his knees buckle.

He flops down on his bed with the dignity of a cat with three broken legs, internally groaning happily at the bounce. Fuck yes. He’s very much not sleepy but suddenly, he feels the urge to curl up under the covers of his damn bed and stay there until the day he dies. Fuck the infirmary beds, Yuuei is one of the best funded schools in the country but the Principal can’t get good beds for the one place that needed it the most? 

Urgh. Pathetic.

Alright. He’s out of the infirmary; that’s done, he’s free of Recovery Girl’s grasp, now he had to deal with the current issue. Rising up to sit on the bed, Katsuki levels a glare at Deku who was still standing in the middle of the room, staring at him with far too bright eyes and utters;

“Alright. Fucking spill.”

Deku blinks, green gaze snapping up to his face as if he’s only just registered what Katsuki said. There’s a flicker of unease in his eyes that tells Katsuki that the nerd has an inkling of awareness towards where this is going.

“Spill what?” If the look on his face was a clue, the way he was feigning ignorance practically screams it. His attempt at a relaxed tone makes Katsuki narrow his eyes.

“Spill.” Katsuki repeats monotonously, with the enthusiasm of a cat getting a bath.

“Kacchan.”

“Deku.”

They stare at each other, both unwilling to back down. 

It’s Deku who finally breaks the tie, looking away with a huff. It makes Katsuki frown, something fluttering low in his gut at the way the nerd’s lips tug upwards. The light coming from outside hits the side of the other boy’s face, making his freckles stand out more and Katsuki can’t help but look at his own mouth runs along:

“What’s with the fucking smile?”

“I’m sorry.” Deku chuckles, voice quiet and eyes gleaming. It’s an unexpected reaction. In the dim lighting of the room, it makes the green of his eyes stand out more. Damn broccoli. “It’s just -things have been a bit quiet without you. This is fun.” Another nervous chuckle.

Oddly enough, it doesn’t make him bristle.

Katsuki sniffs delicately. “Masochist.”

Deku chokes. 

“Kacchan!” He cries, scandalized. The red’s kind of a good look on his face. Makes him look like a freckled tomato. Or a christmas tree, given the green hair -fucking hell, what am I thinking about.

He’s going to have to visit Recovery Girl tomorrow, isn’t he?

“Don’t say that!”

“Heh.” Katsuki tries to appear as calm as he can, lifting a brow up at the other boy. “Why not?”

Deku sighs the Sigh that he makes when Katsuki takes shit too far and he’s deeply disappointed in his actions. Normally it would affect him -just a tiny fucking bit- but he’s feeling too smug right now.

“Kacchan,” Deku’s whine is not nearly as annoying as it used to be, but still makes him bristle. Especially given how exasperated the other boy sounds. “..you’re insufferable.”

“And you’re moping.” Katsuki retorts and the way Deku’s shoulders hunch defensively is enough of a tell to inform Katsuki he nailed it. Not like he needed confirmation anyways, it is Deku… “So stop that and spill what’s lurking in that empty head of yours. I don’t want the dark cloud you ‘got hanging over your head dousing me.”

“...do I really ha-”

“Yup.”

Another sigh. Katsuki waits, letting the silence stew. He reconsiders saying something to kickstart the conversation, but no, this was Deku’s turn. He’s the blabbermouth between the two of them, the nerd might as well put that mouth to use.

Lifting his legs up on the bed, Katsuki crosses them with just a little bit of trouble. The walk from the infirmary  did not agree with his body. The joints ache, not liking the position; he hides a wince and stretches them back out, all too aware of the weight of Deku’s gaze on him as he wiggles his toes and tries to alleviate the strain. 

Stubborn, he lifts his eyes up to look at Deku, making a face that he hopes is expecting because the silence’s getting too long and this is getting boring

The only reason he’s not pushing further is because of the somber expression Deku makes, dark brows set low and lips pinched like he wants to say something but he’s conflicted. There’s a third, more sullen sigh, a quiet sound in the even quieter room, only disturbed by the chatter from the common room downstairs. 

Deku moves forward, walks towards him and boldly sits down at his side, scarred, calloused  hands sliding against the dark bed sheets. Katsuki fights off the urge to say anything, torn between kicking him off his bed and wanting to hear him out.  It’s not the first time the other boy’s been here. Unlike their first year, Deku had been in his room a couple of times. 

Call him soft all you want, but Katsuki wasn’t going to Deku’s room to study with the nerd any more time he needed. Even after three years the bastard still religiously covered his bedroom in All Might memorabilia and alright, maybe Katsuki can understand some of it, but that was some

As in, not all. As in, the guy is Deku’s mentor and the dumb bastard should have quit the hero worship by now. Or a year ago. Or two. Oh well, can’t really fix what doesn’t want to be fixed.  

It’s not Katsuki’s mess to deal with.

This is.

“...what…” Deku’s soft, slightly resigned voice draws him back to the real world. Katsuki blinks, adjusting his eyesight to look at the other young man questioningly. “...what are you even trying to get at, Kacchan?”

There’s a lot Katsuki can reply with. A lot he thinks to answer but he’s not sure how he can put those thoughts into words, because he’s not sure what he’s feeling to start with. So, he goes with the easier option.

“I want you to stop looking like someone pissed in your cereals.”

Deku’s brows furrow. “I don’t look like that.”

“Fine.” Katsuki rolls his eyes. It’s easy to come up with a comeback. “You look like someone stole one of your rare All Might figurines and sold it for five yens and a stick drawing of Endeavor behind a dumpster.”

Deku opens his mouth. Closes it. There’s amusement in his eyes, a brief shimmer of light in those somber depths that makes Katsuki feel unusually proud. 

He tries not to examine that sensation too much.

“....that’s mean.” The other man ultimately mumbles.

“It’s true.” Katsuki huffs. He wiggles his toes, frowning as the ache that makes itself known, travelling up his feet to his legs and curling low in his belly. The walk to the dorms really hadn’t helped, had it? Fuck. “I’m not having you acting like a little bitch when the exams are so close.” Katsuki continues with a harder edge, diverting his gaze back to the other boy. “Don’t you dare slip down the rankings.”

Deku says nothing, quickly looking away. His shoulders drop, defensive posture giving away to something more shy and embarrassed that he notices right away. His ears are tinged just the slightest bit red.

Katsuki’s a smart boy. He stares at Deku in disbelief.

“..don’t fucking tell me.”

The green haired teen turns back to look at him. He’s grimacing, sheepish. If he was a dog, his ears would be down.

“...it’s just three down?”

“Three?!” Katsuki almost chokes, a spike of alarm rushing through him.

Deku wilts like a flower. “I couldn’t focus! Y-you were in the hospital ! In a coma !” He explains quickly, waving his hands in front of him defensively like that was going to save him. Ha. Katsuki feels like throwing the bastard right out of his room now.

“God damn it, Deku!” Katsuki feels his lips curl back into a snarl that he can’t fight off. “That’s no excuse! The fuck happened?!”

Deku’s hands drop down to his lap, fingers digging into the fabric of his pants. He looks like he’s gritting his teeth, frown deep and unhappy and maybe something more. For a moment, Katsuki swears he sees a spark of green light in his hair.

“You know!” He snaps back, the force of which silences any objection that forms on Katsuki’s lips. “I don’t need to explain this to you, Kacchan.” Deku continues in a quieter tone, more defensively. “...it’s really been tough. Seeing you like that -seeing what happened….” Deku pauses, hesitating. 

It makes an odd feeling in Katsuki’s chest that he can’t place squirm even more.

 “I can’t just bounce back.”

Well. Katsuki has no way to mock that. And he’s not sure he even wants to. There’s an odd feeling tugging at his chest, a strange sensation that feels desperate and...not that different from the feeling he got when he noticed the Nomu sneaking up on All Might’s successor.

 He stares at Deku, at a loss as to what to do.

My shit luck really affected him.

“You’re a sap.” He murmurs slowly, quickly regaining his confidence and uttering more loudly. “I was fine . That doc shoved my organs back in-” Deku winces at that part of Katsuki that isn’t an absolute tactless bastard pipes up with the suggestion that maybe that was a poor choice of words, which he promptly ignored with only the slightest twinge of guilt. “-and I’m up now. Case over.”

Deku lets out a tired sigh and looks away. There’s a somber look in his eyes that Katsuki has rarely witnessed in his life.

“You’re my friend.”

Katsuki pauses at that simple answer. Considers. Swallows slowly as he finds no well of irritation or anger within himself at that quiet declaration. If anything, Deku’s low, firm voice rolls over him like a warm campfire, soothing his frayed edges. 

It’s unsettling how not unsettling it felt. This wasn’t how he was expecting this conversation to go. He’d noticed the way Deku acted differently when he woke up, and it was hard not to notice the way he tried to sneak off while everyone’s attention was diverted...

“...right.” He ends up muttering, feeling a strange sense of being lost. “Well, just leave it behind, idiot. Heroes get hurt all the time.” He straightens his back, trying to appear calm. Deku knows him too much though, and Katsuki finds that he doesn’t like at all the way Deku’s eyes narrow. “This kind of shit happens-”

“Swirlwind died.”

Katsuki freezes.

Swirlwind.

He’s almost forgotten about the man. He was the Pro-Hero All Might recommended for their final internship. Their mentor wasn’t that well acquainted with the dark haired, blue eyed thirty year old they spent a good half a week working with, but apparently he served under Gran Torino for a few years and had a good head upon his shoulders.

Katsuki hadn’t thought much of the man, when he picked them up from the train station. Bright eyed, bushy tailed, the only thing of interest he’d found was the Pro-Hero’s wind-based Quirk, which he used to float around as if he was a mere leaf fluttering in the breeze. His headstrong, work-focused attitude got him a bit of respect from Katsuki, but his sheer optimism and can do attitude clearly soured the whole thing.

He frowns. Thinking back, the last memory he has of Swirlwind is when he was walking ahead of them during patrol, telling them about an absolutely incredible ice cream shop called Ozaki’s Parlor that he dropped by everyday, and how their pistachio ice cream was heaven in a cup. Katsuki mostly ignored his useless blabber. They’d just ended a quick lunch at the man’s favorite diner, and had been just...walking down the street when the first explosions started and the Nomu came out.

...strange how quickly things turned around. When he spoke of his beloved shop, Swirlwind had no idea those were his last what, three minutes left on this earth?

The thought sends a chill down his spine. Fuck .

“...how?” The words leave his mouth without his own input.

Deku’s eyes darken, flicking down Katsuki’s face -he can feel their weight on his chest, dragging across his right shoulder and down to his stomach and it’s not that hard to guess. Not hard to guess at all.

Especially since he can still remember the phantom memory of sharp teeth flaying him open. Katsuki only barely fights off the urge to hunch his shoulders.

“The Nomu.” His companion starts, not really looking at Katsuki. The look in his eyes -it makes him wonder if he’s thinking back to that day, too. “The one that got you. It snuck up on him and-” Deku falters, voice falling silent. Katsuki swallows, each word carving a deeper pit in his stomach.

Snuck up on him.

Just like it tried doing with Deku. Like it would have succeeded, if Katsuki hadn’t thrown caution to the wind and used his own body as a shield.

Unease swirls in his stomach. It makes Katsuki grit his teeth. “Fuck.” He breathes out, shaking his head. “...couldn’t you have told me this sooner?”

“No one really wanted to.” Deku utters, voice solemn. “I’m sorry.”

At least...at least this explained Deku’s behavior. The Nomu that nearly got him got Swirlwind. Fuck. No wonder Deku’s this off kilter -it had to remind him of that raid in their first year, with Nighteye.

Thinking back, Katsuki can’t recall any moment where the Pros his classmates interned with died. Injured, yes, and the students too -Kirishima has the worst track record after Deku- but a Pro dying while mentoring one of his classmates? Katsuki can only remember one other instance. And that instance just happened to have also occurred with Deku.

Shit fucking luck you got, nerd.

“Does it hurt?”

Katsuki blinks. “Eh?”

Deku’s looking at his chest. At the soft noise he makes. The other boy looks up to his face -then back down. And that’s when Katsuki realizes that it’s not his chest Deku’s looking at -but rather, his shoulder, where the sleeveless shirt doesn’t cover the twisting silver scars.

The scars Katsuki's left hand is currently tracing thoughtlessly.

He pulls his hand way quickly back to his lap, feeling heat rise up on his face at the fact Deku caught him doing that. 

“No,” He answers gruffly. “It doesn’t hurt.” Not that much.

“That’s good.” Deku grows quiet. “...how long until you do…?” He tilts his chin to his right; Katsuki follows the direction and finds his gaze landing on the Pimp Cane.

Right.

“A month at least.” He admits, pursing his lips together in distaste.

“Oh.” Deku makes a soft noise at his side. ”That’s a lot.”

Katsuki raises his gaze up at the ceiling, mentally wondering if whatever is up there could afford to send him down some patience. He doesn’t even want to guess what kind of face the nerd is making. 

“No need to fucking remind me.” Katsuki grumbles with a mixture of acceptance and tired anger swirling in his gut, feeling a familiar frustration swell up within himself at the reminder of how much time he had ahead before he was back to full strength. Fuck. “Aizawa’s gonna make me sit my fucking ass out for the practicals.”

From the corner of his eye he sees the other man at his side grimace, but nods. Deku hesitates for a moment, then speaks up:

“It’s logical-” Katsuki whips his head around and growls because like fuck was Deku going to start parroting their homeroom teacher, his All Might impressions were already horrifying enough. Thankfully, Deku quickly catches on to his ire and changes direction. “-but look at it this way, that means you can focus even more on the written aspect!” Deku finishes with a smile, looking at him expectantly.

If he’s looking for a positive response, what Katsuki does next is anything but.

“Ehhh?!” The furious growl that leaves his lips has Deku freezing in place, that stupid smile included. “What, do you think I can’t do both?!”

“No! I didn’t mean that!” Katsuki’s never seen a  smile flee out of someone’s face faster. Suddenly, Deku is all about backtracking. “You can do both!” He stammers, leaning away from him as Katsuki’s glare intensifies.

Oh this little shit, trying to appease him with such a blatant, weak response. Like Katsuki didn’t see right through it. For a moment, he considers picking up the Pimp Cane and smacking him upside the head with it. At least one good wack, maybe that would recalibrate his dumb nerd brain. 

If he wasn’t so tired -and recovering- Katsuki had half a mind of picking up the bastard, opening his balcony door and throwing him over the railing. 

It certainly is a tempting idea. 

Ultimately he tosses it aside. It wouldn’t do him no good in the end, cathartic or not.

“Damn fucking right.” Katsuki ends up huffing out, indignant. He jabs a finger towards Deku, watching the other man initially lean back thinking he would poke him in the eye. Instead, he shoves it into Deku’s shirt with enough force to make the joints there ache and his victim wince. “Don’t you fucking dare underestimate me! Just because I’m beat to shit right now doesn’t mean I can’t kick your goddamn ass!”

Instead of flinching back, Deku smiles. It’s not a hesitant or appeasing smile like he normally would make when on the receiving end of Katsuki’s fury, no. This smile was different, soft and happy and utterly devoid of any fear or apprehension. The contrast throws Katsuki completely off guard.

Even more so when Deku reaches out and grabs the hand poking him in the chest. His eyes gleam. A fond sigh echoes through the room, and it doesn’t come from Katsuki.

“God, I fucking missed that.” 

Well.

It makes him blink. Deku cursing was new. And Katsuki wasn’t sure if it was entirely a bad thing. Especially with how rough his voice got towards the end. 

Or how he just realized how in his space Deku is.

Katsuki hadn’t noticed, too caught up trying to pick apart the green bastard while simultaneously stewing in his own frustration, but they were practically sitting side to side on his bed. And Deku’s holding his goddamn hand, just like he did back at the infirmary.

Suddenly, he was very much aware of the height Deku had over him. Bastard started Yuuei barely reaching his eye level with his messy green hair and yet inexplicably, he was now taller than Katsuki, because hell that’s how the universe repaid him for years of bullying the nerd. Give the little shit a good inch and a half over him.

Fuck.

He’s not sure if it's a punishment anymore.

Don’t fucking go there, brain.

Nope. Not now. Fuck. Things were changing.

...or rather, they had changed. Katsuki just slept through it, and only part of him had figured what this whole new puzzle even was.

This is a mess. Part of him thinks and he has to agree. This is too complicated.

“What?”

Katsuki startles, finding Deku looking at him quizzically. “What?” He croaks.

Deku frowns, his grip on his hand tightening just a bit, the nerd’s rough, scarred skin sliding against his palm. “You said this is too-”

Katsuki blanches. I said that out loud?! Fuck!

“Shut up.” He snaps, feeling like rubbing the sides of his head to stave off a growing headache. He quickly pulls his hand out of Deku’s grip, ignoring how it makes the other boy’s frown deepen. “Urgh, this is stupid. We’re going around in circles. Fuck off, Deku.” For added effect, he shoves a foot into Deku’s useless face, pushing him away. 

It earns him a strangled shriek. “Kacchan!” Deku cries out with a yelp, only partially dodging his shoe. “What are you doing?!”

“I.” Katsuki sniffs imperiously, shoving his foot against Deku’s stupid freckled face again. This time the green haired teen dodges completely, scrambling off the bed. Gotcha.. “...am gonna take a fucking nap. You, in the meantime, are gonna screw off and do some nerd shit.” He tells him, making a shoo motion with his hand.

Hair tousled, eyes still wide in surprise, Deku looks at him quizzically. He looks more entertained than confused.

“Kacchan?”

“Fuck off.”

“It’s only five in the afternoon.” Deku’s amused tone does nothing to help his mood.

He bares his teeth at the nerd. “Don’t care. Shoo.”

Deku fails to respond, still looking at him with a half smile. Katsuki knows he’s pushing it a bit. Maybe a lot. This is not something they usually did. Maybe Deku-

“...want me to bring you something to eat?” Deku offers, straightening himself up.

Katsuki shrugs in what he hopes is a relaxed manner. “I’m fine.”

“You sure?”

The other’s pressure does not help matters at all. Katsuki lets out a warning hiss. It earns him a chuckle. It makes Deku shake his head. Bastard shouldn’t look so entertained -Katsuki’s gaze flicks over to the Pimp Cane. 

Tempting.

“Okay, Kacchan.” Deku finally relents, perhaps catching Katsuki’s internal debate and deciding a concussion wasn’t the way he wanted to finish his day. “I’m going, take care!”

Katsuki watches him go to the door, tracking the way his curly green hair bounces with each smooth step. Gone is the hesitation and nervousness of his child self. It makes his stomach squirms. Urgh. Fucking shrub.

Still..

“Deku.”

“...hm?” Deku looks back, expression criminally innocent for a little shit like him. He probably knew that Katsuki was going to call out after him. “Yes?”

“....get me some tea.”

It earns him a smile.

Katsuki tries very hard to forget that memory when he settles into a light nap, face pressed against a pillow that oddly enough, smelled of pine and thunder.

.

 

.

 

.

The next morning when he feels slightly less dead, he heads to the common room.

It’s not that packed, this early in the morning. Katsuki finds Kirishima, Kaminari, Sero and Mina huddled together in one of the common room tables, swarmed with books and oozing desperation. Ashido’s got a squirrelly little squint going that she only makes when her brain is threatening to explode; Sero has his face inches from his textbook, nose practically in the pages. Kaminari and Kirishima are trading notes and looking even more confused despite their best effort at making a collective attempt at understanding the material.

It’s delicious, welcoming chaos.

Katsuki doesn’t even wait to be acknowledged. He drops his books right next to them; all four of them jump at the sudden noise. Kaminari even manages to spill some of his coffee on himself and yelps as a result.

“What the fuck, dude?!”

“So,” Katsuki begins, slow and terrible like a dragon slowly rising from the depths of slumber among its bed of gold. “...I hope you maggots have been studying, because I got a few ideas on how to make sure you kept at it while I was out.”

All four of them whimper. Kaminari starts weeping.

Yeah, he’s back alright.

Chapter Text

Whipping his friends back into shape turned out to be a lot more challenging than he expected.

Only one came up mostly unscathed. Kirishima kept up his grades but that was because he is a good boy and because Katsuki spent a good portion of their first year smacking the ever loving shit him over his dense head enough with every available object within range to burn into his skull what proper studying techniques were.

The rest of his leeches?

“How the ever loving fuck did you all manage to fuck up this badly in a month?!”

All four of his minions have their heads ducked down from the other side of the table, deliberately avoiding his furious gaze. Shame practically oozes off them, especially Ashido and Kaminari.

Shame that is rightly deserved, given what he’s looking at.

Their latest assignments are spread out in front of him, glaring up at Katsuki with their lowly grades. Katsuki can practically sense the sheer disappointment Aizawa felt while grading those. Rightfully deserved -this is ridiculous !

After all of their hard work, they still somehow managed to slip down by two ranks in the class, landing them at the near bottom. While yes, Kaminari and Ashido fucking suck at most written subjects, Kastuki had hoped he’d managed to somehow instill a smidge of discipline onto them.

Clearly, this didn’t happen.

“I should toss all of you out a window.”

“Alright,” Ashido begins diplomatically with a calm voice but she's sweating and Katsuki can smell the fear from a mile away.  “-before you start hitting us, I must mention we brought you flowers.”

Kirishima, Kaminari and Sero all bob their heads along. Katsuki barely resists the urge to grab his Pimp Cane and smack all of them like it's a game of whack-a-mole. It’s oh so tempting.

He’s mature enough not to resort to physical assault. At least for now, he had the tiniest inkling of a feeling that this might change in the future. Mercy however doesn’t stop him from screaming at them:

“-fucking idiots you can’t manage anything without me can you-”

“Every. Day.” Kaminari stresses, because the useless fuck can only provide commentary.

“-time you could have spent being fucking productive and making sure you don’t become bottom feeding trash-”

Sero turns to Kaminari, ignoring Katsuki completely. “Well, more or less every day. Remember that wednesday?”

“-are you even fucking listening to me?!”

“Oh yeah, the store was closed.” Kaminari agrees, wincing lightly at Katsuki’s screech. “Wait, Kirishima still managed to make a bouquet out of dandelions. So that still counts!” He explains, turning back to Katsuki and smiling proudly like that fucking explained the measly 63.4% he got in his last assignment.

That, somehow, brings Katsuki’s raving to a screeching halt. Dandelions . Did he just say that? As in the terrible, fugly little yellow weeds he has to viciously fight off his lawn every summer while his mother barked out orders from the porch like the bourgeois bitch she is? That horrible plant? 

They brought that to his poor, comatose self?! No wonder he stayed asleep for so fucking long!

“Dandelions?!” He hisses, turning to Kaminari who quickly grows pale. “Why the fuck would you give me dandelions?!”

“Because they’re hardy, angry, yellow and generally a pain in the collective ass of humanity.” Denki sniffs. 

It makes Katsuki contemplate the pros and cons of strangling the bastard.

“Great.” Katsuki hisses instead, mind going back to his reunion with the old man and the hag. He’s starting to see a pattern here that he’s not sure he likes. “Dandelions. I’ll keep that in mind for when I write my will. You’re all off it.”

Kirishima squints at him. 

“That’s not funny, bro.”

“Dandelions.” Katsuki responds instead, stressing the word with an imperious stare.

“You should do that sooner than later.” A voice pipes up from the other side of the near empty common room. 

Katsuki turns his attention to the source, a certain tall purple bastard. Shinsou’s sitting on one of the sofas on the other side of the room, nursing a steaming cup of coffee close to his chest. Katsuki thinks this might be his third one of the day; not alarming, well, not anymore, given that when exams loomed Shinsou would be rarely if ever be seen without one. 

“What do you mean by that?” He asks. Shinsou’s lips quirk up, a ghost of a fox-like smile that bodes nothing good.

“They haggled over your corpse.”

Behind Katsuki, Ashido gasps like she’s been betrayed. “Shinsou!” 

Huh. Interesting. Katsuki turns to the purple bastard, quaking an eyebrow up. “Oh yeah?” He hums, ignoring the splutter from his four minions. “Tell me, who was getting what?”

Behind him, dumb, idiot, brat and dumber start sputtering. “I can’t believe-”

“Denki wanted your console-”

“HEY!”

Katsuki chuckles, turning to a beat red Kaminari. “My console, eh?” He starts, voice full of danger and mirth. Might as well make them squirm, they deserve it.

The other blond shakes his head violently, lifting his hands up like Katsuki is going to leap over the table to throttle him. The dramatic look of betrayal he gives Shinsou is everything.

“Fuck you,” Kaminari turns to Shinsou, whining. “....I said I missed playing on the console, not that I wanted it!”

“Why the fuck didn’t you use it then?” Katsuki points out. “It’s not like I was fucking using it.”

Sero snorts before he can stop himself. Ashido lets out a giggle that is a bit too hysterical, and the look of disappointment Kirishima gives him could make a grandmother cry. Joke’s on him though, Katsuki never met his grandparents.

“Ha, ha.” Kaminari’s laugh is flat and not very impressed by Katsuki’s lack of tact. “Dude, we didn't, it's not the same experience without you breathing down our necks,” he points out. “There’s no fun there!”

Maybe that Stocklom syndrome thing is real-

 “-besides, it’s not like we could even lounge around your room with Midoriya watching us like a hawk!”

What.

Katsuki frowns. “The fuck are you talking about?”

Kaminari rolls his eyes. “He'd get pissy if we moved your stuff around! Kept cleaning up your room while we were in it, too.”

Katsuki feels faint.

“Deku told me you guys cleaned my room.” He says, stomach lurching.

“Technically we did,” Ashido points out, a strange look in her eyes. There’s little to no amusement in her expression anymore, a change so radical that any thought of erupting in rage at this newfound information fled Katsuki’s mind.  “-but only for the first week or so. Then Midoriya took over and I swear he put a sensor in there, because every time we took a step in your room he showed up to make sure we didn’t disturb it.”

“What the fuck.” Katsuki frowns. The urge to gnaw his lower lip isn’t something he allows often, but this time he gives in. “Why would he lie to me?”

“I don't know.” Kirishima shakes his head as he answers, interjecting before Ashido could respond. He frowns, an almost considering look on his face as he tilts his head towards Katsuki. “Maybe you should ask him?”

All four of his friends stare at him, waiting. It makes his stomach twists into knots and his hands feel sweaty and warm, a contrasting sensation next to the cold, cold pit in his chest.

“Fuck,” Katsuki breathes out.  He's already reconsidering the whole waking up thing. “...maybe I should.”

He looks down at the papers spread out in front of him, eyes un-focusing from their contents. 

Why didn’t he tell me that?

It’s not that important, why would he hide it from me…?

Try as he might, he can’t find an answer to that question. It doesn’t infuriate him as much as it should -instead, it dregs up a strange, terrifying feeling that he’s not quite ready to unpack yet. Not here. Not now. Maybe not ever.

Clearly, he doesn’t have a choice to ignore it forever. But now…? 

Katsuki hears himself speak, but his voice sounds odd even to his own ears:

“Let’s get back on track.”

His friends pick up their pens again. They go back to studying, but the once playful air tinged with something awkward and restless.

.

 

.

 

.

Being stuck unable to train fucking sucks ass.

Katsuki watches with ever thinning patience as Kaminari trips over his own two feet like a moron in a attempt to dodge and Shinsou wraps him up in his capture tape like a fucking present -god, he did not what to dwell on that for the sake of his sanity.

At his side, Aizawa lets out a low noise of disappointment. This is the quickest Kaminari got caught for this type of exercise. Not even a full minute. Moron. Katsuki’s certain it was because he got too distracted ogling Shinsou like the idiot he is.

This could all be over really quickly with just a few words but no, they just have to be dancing around each other. The longer he watches Shinsou drag the blonde off their designated training ground, the more he feels annoyed.

“They should stop dancing and suck faces already.” He mutters to himself -remembering in fact whom he’s sitting next to.

Aizawa reaches out and gently bonks him upside the head.

“Don’t say that ever again in my vicinity.”

Oh.

Right.

Aizawa has custody of Shinsou.

Hats off to the poor man. He must be feeling what Katsuki is feeling but so much worse . Katsuki is only a friend to the walking talking bimbo of a blond that is Kaminari Denki; Aizawa is the pseudo father of said bimbo’s victim.

Maybe they are victims of each other at this point. Kaminari gets all doozy when Shinsou is mentioned and that purple bastard has a one track mind when they're in the same room. Their fucking training must have fucking suffered like hell.

Idiots.

He shifts his attention away from the two, scanning the nineteen students spread out across the ample gym, doing their best to take down their opponents. 

Green hair draws his eyes to his far left, where part of the gym had been partially encased in ice. Todoroki and Deku were really going at it, ice constantly rising up alongside roaring flames that were answered with crackling static. Well, they were going all out as much as they could given their small designated area. 

Katsuki figured out early during this lesson why Aizawa was making them fight within an enclosed space all at once. Vast open spaces free of structures to fight in were going to be hard to come by once they graduated and took up jobs as sidekicks and Pro-Heroes. Come to think of it, most of their combat training during their last year were in narrow city-themed, or inside buildings.

As he watches them fight, Deku’s front is turned towards him. Their eyes meet and the other boy beams at him with a confident smile, sparkling green glowing with the inner fires of One for All.

He really looks like a Pro-Hero All Might would be proud of, Katsuki thinks. Something in his chest squirms the longer they maintain eye contact, his attention falling to the shape of Deku’s face so he looks away, down-

… and just as he notices the ice, a distracted Deku promptly loses his footing on said thin patch of near invisible ice and falls over like a marionette with its threads cut. 

Welp. 

There goes the match. 

Katsuki watches him faceplant into the ground with a strangled yelp of surprise, hands flailing. Within a split second Todoroki is on top of him, snapping on the Quirk-cancelling cuffs on his wrists and effectively winning the fight.

He snorts as they stand up, Deku’s head bowed in embarrassed shame. Almost as if hearing him somehow across the gym, Todoroki turns his head towards him and...just rolls his eyes? At Katsuki ?

Eh?

The fuck is wrong with him? 

.

 

.

 

.

Two hours later, Katsuki is minding his own business taking in the fresh air on a campus bench, reading over Deku’s notes when he hears a low cough.

There’s only ever one person on the campus that could make such a low, raspy, almost-dead noise,  so he knows it’s All Might before he ever lifts his eyes off the chicken scratches of a handwriting. Yeah, Deku might have been more careful with these notes -it showed in the stiffer handwriting- but his lopsided, hasty style still shone through enough that Katsuki could identify it easy.

Just like he identifies the man in front of him.

For even as thin, aged and tired as he looked, Katsuki would always see him as Yagi Toshinori, the longest reigning Number One Hero of Japan. Retired or not, he’s still Katsuki’s hero.

“All Might.” He greets with a soft sound.

“Hello, Katsuki.” All Might smiles down at him, the wrinkles around his eyes becoming more pronounced as a result. The sight doesn’t bother Katsuki as much as it once had. “It’s good to see you are well. I’m relieved that you  finally left the infirmary.”

“Recovery Girl’s pretty happy about that.” Katsuki informs him, trying at least somewhat to not sound proud about it. “She practically kicked me out.”

His childhood hero huffs out a small laugh.

“Well, you did give all of us plenty of new grey hairs.” All Might jokes and Katsuki’s eyes stray up to the man’s faded blonde locks. His roots had begun gaining white and grey colors, making his hair look paler, almost ethereal.

It makes him look all the more fragile. 

Old Katsuki from years ago would have grinded his teeth at the sight of such weakness, but he’s come a long way from the stubborn, stupid kid he’d been then. All Might had grown weaker with age, yes. But it was a fact of life -that is what happens when you grow old, especially with a missing stomach and a half a lung. 

The fact All Might survived up until now is a testament to his strength.

If anything he’s healthier now, after having gone to South Korea for a transplant for his missing organs. That had been an operation in and out of itself, with two months spent nervously waiting for the organs to grow in the lab using All Might’s cells, and then the travel and surgery itself. Midoriya hadn’t been allowed to go with him given it was the middle of their second year’s last semester, and neither had Katsuki, but Midoriya Inko had gone with him.

And, quite surprisingly, Endeavor tagged along for security, as per the Commission’s request for added protection. Katsuki still to this day quietly wonders how the ever loving fuck that happened. Or how it went. To this day, Half and Half refuses to say anything about it, but he gets a weird fucking smirk every time it’s brought up.

So much for reconciliation.

Katsuki quickly shakes those thoughts away, focusing on the man in front of him. “What are you doing out here?” 

All Might makes a halfhearted shrugging motion. “I thought about taking a walk.” The elderly man answers amiably. Then, he asks; “You?”

“Had to get out of the dormitories.” Before I commit mass slaughter because of idiot classmates . He doesn’t say that last part -he wants All Might to be somewhat proud of him, damn it.

All Might nods solemnly. “Ah, some fresh air always helps.”

Katsuki agrees with a non committal sound.

“May I sit?”

“Ain't needing my permission, old man.”

All Might laughs at his crass response and sits down. Katsuki pointedly ignores the low groan of relief the elderly hero lets out as he rests on the bench. What he doesn’t ignore though, is the slim black cane All Might rests against the side of his bench, suspiciously right next to Katsuki.

Any time now-

“I see young Yaoyorozou got you a gift.”

Katsuki fights hard the grimace at the amusement in his mentor’s voice. 

“It’s that or staying in bed forever.”

“It can’t be that bad-”

“Trust me,” Katsuki shakes his head, looking at the man in the eye. “It would make even you scream.”

All Might winces, sufficiently chastised. Katsuki doesn’t even need to explain why -they’d had this conversation before. It’s a good thing that during his time as a Pro-Hero, All Might had people with the express job of dressing him up for events. 

God, this man is terrible at color coordination. 

Him and Deku are two peas in a pod.

Any time he chose his own clothes it ended in disaster. Even two, nearly three years later, Katsuki isn’t forgiving him for that dreadful yellow stripe suit he chose to wear for most of their first semester. Whoever made that should have been fired and the suit tossed into the depths of the Miriana Trench.

“How’s your recovery?” All Might’s voice draws him back to the present. Glancing at his mentor, he finds the man looking at a passing flock of sparrows.

“Going as well as expected.” Katsuki grumbles, thinking back at the fact he’s been barred from physical. Shit timing, if only he’d woken up sooner… “Not allowed to do any heavy exercise or participate in training. Fucking sucks.”

“Well, until then I guess I can keep you company!” All Might smiles, a wide thing that reminisces of his smiles as a hero. “I think the proper term is Cane Buddies?”

Katsuki stares, long and incredulous. For all his strengths, All Might is still utterly gauche sometimes it makes his head spin.

“...that sounds so wrong on so many levels, I don't even know how to start.” 

All Might looks far away into the distance like a sailor watching the sea. 

Slowly, he nods.

“...I must agree.”

“Good. Never say that again.”

“Hmm. Coffee?”

“Dear god, yes.”

.

 

.

 

.

They end up going for coffee in the student-run cafe.

Neither of them are stupid enough to suggest and even more so to actually go off campus for this little coffee break. Despite what the Hero Commission likes to say officially, Shigaraki and his goons are still well and active; even if they are scattered across Japan, trying desperately to claw back some of their significance from the old days.

They never quite got the momentum they were looking for after Kamino and their true leader’s capture. In-fighting and battling other factions left them with merger ressources. Good.  Still, they had just enough to fuck up what should have been Katsuki’s last and a bombshell of a semester. 

Just the thought of his situation made Katsuki feel sour.

He hopes Shigaraki is somewhere out there choking on a fucking dick .

Even with the knowledge that the League is greatly weakened though, Katsuki doesn’t dare go out the campus right now. Especially with All Might. Neither of them are in any shape to fight. All Might's days of fighting villains are long over, and despite his best efforts Katsuki’s legs felt like jelly on a good day. Risking off an campus attack for a principle was just asking to get sent back to the infirmary with a Recovery Girl, or not even make it there. 

If it did happen, Katsuki hopes for the latter.

A few students recognize them as they enter the cafe. Katsuki dutifully waits in line while All Might does the habitual waves, smiles and one picture with what looks like an utterly beaming first year high on sugary pastries and hero-worship. The man’s always soft with the students, going out of his way to help where he can.

He’s gotten a lot better at it, Katsuki thinks as he watches All Might talk to the kid, remembering how terribly his first semester with the Pro-Hero had been.

Eventually All Might returns to his side, smoothly subtracting himself from his adoring crowd to add himself to the line just in time for it to be their turn to order. Katsuki orders a matcha latte and a croissant; All Might gets himself some mild tea and a small slice of chiffon cake; he has to gently haggle the wide, teary-eyed second year on the other side of the counter ringing them up not to give him a discount.

After that mess is sorted out, they move to the outside section of the cafe. Katsuki scoped out a place to sit the moment they entered the cafe, so he led All Might to the back of the simple wooden patio to a two-person table under a young, slightly crooked oak tree. 

It’s his preferred hang out spot at the cafe, far enough away from the main section of the patio to have some privacy, but close enough that neither Kirishima or Ashido can complain about Katsuki retreating into a literal corner to escape social interaction. 

Once he sits down and holds his tea in a pair of pale, withered hands, All Might lets out a soft sigh of delight. “This is nice,” he murmurs, blowing gently on the steaming cup before diverting his eyes towards Katsuki. “How are your studies?”

A basic conversation starter, but given what just transpired a few minutes ago, Katsuki’s going to shut up and take it.

“Could be better,” he huffs as he takes a sip of his coffee.

“I heard you’re inadmissible for the physical.”

“You heard right.” Katsuki replies, brows scrunching up as he remembers one of the many conversations he’d had with his main Heroics teacher about the topic. “Aizawa will, and I quote, hang me up by my toes if I try. And then not let me graduate because, as I quote again , keeping me for another year for being ‘inconsiderate about my well-being’ is worth the suffering from dealing with me.”

All Might seems to contemplate that statement for a moment, eyes glinting with amusement. “Sounds like him.” He responds after a long pause.

Katsuki huffs in indignation.

“-as if I’m the one who needs to be reminded about being ‘considerate’ about my wellbeing.” He picks up his croissant and bites into it more harshly than the poor pastry deserves. “..fucking bullshit, that’s what it is.”

Most certainly knowing what, or rather, who Katsuki is talking about given most of said person’s inability to care about himself came from his less than stellar teaching, All Might offers him a sheepish grin.

"Katsuki,” The retired Pro-Hero defends himself with a awkward laugh. “It’s a work in progress.”

Katsuki raises one indignant eyebrow at him. “After nearly three years? No shit.” He says after a pause. “...we need to do better at cracking his skull now, before he actually cracks his fucking skull out there.” 

Can’t be always there to toss myself in between.

Katsuki very wisely -at least in his own opinion- grabs that little voice and furiously smoothers it before anything is said about that.

“I think he’s learned his lesson about recklessness.” All Might interrupts gently, and his soft but firm tone as Katsuki tightening his grip on his coffee mug. “... especially now.”

“...right.” The blond mumbles, anger fading as he recalls Deku’s sullen expression the day he returned from the infirmary.

Fuck.

“He slept in your room.”

Katsuki nearly drops his coffee. He scrambles after the cup with a yelp, barely grabbing it in time. Stunned, he looks up from his saved drink to see All Might looking at him with a resolute expression he’d never seen from the man before.

What ?” He squawks out, voice too dry. 

All Might's eyes glimmer. There's fondness in those bright blues as well as something else, too, that Katsuki can’t quite discern. Not while his brain is rebooting and finishing analyzing what he’s just been told.

“It’s true.”

“He slept,” Katsuki chokes on the words. There’s no need to specify who they were talking about -that is all too clear. “-in my room. What ?”

“I guessed he wouldn’t tell you.”

“I...what the fuck ?” Katsuki snarls, ignoring the odd glances from nearby tables at the commotion.

All Might tilts his head. There’s an innocent look on his face that Katsuki does not like. “Is it a problem?”

“Deku squatting in my room for a month and a half? Fuck yes if he doesn’t say shit!” Katsuki grits his teeth, fighting to give in to the urge to stand up, grab his cane and hunt down Deku until he is reduced to a fine paste. “I’m gonna fucking kill him.”

“Eat your croissant, Katsuki.” All Might interrupts his rant gently, unaffected by the rage oozing off Katsuki. “There’s no need for that.”

Katsuki picks up his croissant and all but viciously rips a chunk out of it. To his credit, All Might’s fond smile doesn’t as much as twitch at the slaughter. 

“The others told me he cleaned my fucking room.” He grits out after swallowing. “Never said anything about sleeping in there.”

“Well, hm, Katsuki, given your reaction-”

“-I get it!”

All Might purses his lip. “He doesn’t want to mess things up with you.”

Katsuki frowns. That’s an odd way to say it… but then again, when has his relationship with Deku ever been not complicated? Katsuki resigned himself to that years ago, to question that again is foolish.

And still… 

“Why me?”

“Sometimes I worry.” All Might murmurs, thoughtful. His eyes narrow slightly, a momentary dullness in them stopping Katsuki from saying anything. He looks almost sad for a moment, and it's not something he’d ever want to be responsible for. “Katsuki, it’s because it is you that he did that. This past month was not easy -especially for him. You were a inch away from death, my boy.”

“He blames himself.”

By the look on All Might’s face, he’d been expecting that.

“Just to begin with.” The elderly man answers, eyes pinning Katsuki’s in place. “You have to understand that this goes beyond just guilt.”

“He’s Deku.” Katsuki tries to defend. “Too emotional.”

It feels hollow even to his own ears.

“Katsuki,” All Might begins, soft and firm in a way he rarely ever spoke. If it wasn’t for those calm, bright blue eyes staring right into him like he knew what he’s thinking, like he sees all what made up Katsuki’s uneasy self, his voice alone would have kept him silent. “He cares about you deeply.”

Katsuki’s throat feels dry.

“More so than you realize.”

 

.

 

.

 

.

He cares about you deeply. More so than you realize. 

The declaration haunts him, even two days later. Try as he might to sink himself into his schoolwork, Katsuki can’t escape those words. Even now in the darkness of his bedroom, he stares up at the ceiling sightlessly, lost to his own thoughts and not, as he would like, to the land of sleep.

What did All Might meant when he said that? Combined with the fact Deku lied about the whole bedroom cleaning thing… and All Might's revelation that the nerd slept in Katsuki’s bed occasionally when he was still in the infirmary, it left holes in what Katsuki thought was their relationship that makes him feel uneasy.

He could ask Deku, he knows.

Pin the bastard to a wall or trap him in a room so his flighty little ass could talk. Part of him is tempted to. But on the other hand, Katsuki knows such a frontal attack would leave him scrambling for what to say; the maelstrom of strange, tight feelings in his chest would inevitably come tumbling out and this would just result into a bigger mess.

No.

If he’s going to face Deku, he’s going to do it with a plan.

Emotions weren’t his fucking thing. He’s man enough to admit it. That is Deku’s ballgame; the idiot is sensitive on a good day and an emotional wreck on a bad one. Simultaneously though, he also has the bad tendency of bottling shit up when it really mattered, and while Katsuki would be an utter hypocrite to criticize him for it, he’s also been dragged to Hound Dog’s office enough times to admit it's not the best coping mechanism.

Nor is throwing things, Katsuki thinks morosely as he watches his alarm clock’s illuminated dial change from 1:03 to 1:04. I’m going to kill that nerd, making me lose sleep over his ass.

Try as he might, sleep eludes him better than Tooru during stealth training. It’s not as bad as after Kamino, which Katsuki is grateful for, but it’s also not pleasant either. Deep down, part of him knows he’s not going to sleep any time soon.

Fuck it.

There’s only one thing he can do right now.

Anything other than laying down, that is.

Katsuki rolls off his bed, the safety and privacy of his dorm room allowing him to flop to the ground ungracefully without a scratch to his dignity. He picks himself up with a wobble, hissing as his limbs protest the sudden shift. Yeah, fuck them all, they better get used to moving again. They had a month and a half of sleep, it’s now time to pick up the backlog. Lazy bastards.

Wobbling to his desk chair, he sits down with a relieved sigh. It’s a frustrating game to pat around in the darkness until he hits the switch for his small desk lamp, suddenly flooding the room in its soft, warm light.

Katsuki only barely fights back a hiss at the sudden light, channeling the pain into grabbing his laptop and angrily opening the device. It takes more time than he’d like for the damn thing to boot up. He practically stabs the password in.

Accessing his desktop, Katsuki taps on the search button and loads up Youtube. 

Finding the right video is easier than he expects. One of the top rated videos that pops up when he writes Bakugo Katsuki Fight draws his attention immediately over the other ones, who seem like clips from news feeds.

Bakugo Nomu Attack [Uncensored Footage]

The name says it all. There’s no clearer than that.

Katsuki hits play.

The video opens up right in the thick of it, on street level view. Screaming reaches Katsuki’s ears, deafened by the sounds of fighting -he hears the faint, characteristic crackle of One for All and his own explosions.

Deku is easy to spot, fighting that huge, oversized Nomu and wrestling it with some effort. He’s grown since his first year, his control over One for All no way near All Might’s but good enough that getting into a physical, close combat fight with him is the last thing anyone should do. Fortunately for Deku this Nomu doesn’t have the brain cells to reach this conclusion, and it fights with all it has as Deku wraps his arms around its waist and all but throws it into the ground hard enough to cause a crater.

Not for the first time, Katsuki whispers a quiet holy shit to himself. 

It’s one thing to know how strong Deku is, it's another to see him use it in combat when he’s only holding back to prevent at least some property damage.

Suddenly, Katsuki frowns as a thought strikes him. Wait, if the video is this far into the fight-

“Oh shut the bloody fuck up!”

Ah,

There it is.

Upon hearing his own voice, Katsuki scans the footage and quickly enough, notices it

The shadow is slinking in between the upturned cars, keeping low to the ground. Katsuki’s eyes narrow.

There it is.

The footage is grainy, but there’s no mistaking the shape of the Nomu’s long snout as it slowly inches towards Deku. It seems like the cameraman noticed it, too -his breath catches, a low cursing sound of alarm rising out of him as the Nomu stops, crouches even lower, preparing to jump- and then it’s off, leaving across the street like a rabbit, jaws wide open and aimed towards a unsuspecting Deku’s back-

People start screaming. Katsuki watches as his past self suddenly rushes into view, using his entire weight to shove Deku out of the way. His friend is bigger than him, so Katsuki’s past self ends up landing right in the path of the incoming Nomu while Deku goes tumbling off to the side with a strangled, confused yelp of his name, utterly oblivious to what is about to happen.

Two things happen within the next second; Deku stumbles and turns around, and the Nomu’s gaping jaw connects with Katsuki’s body.

Even as far away as the camera is, the sickening crunch that echoes through the laptop’s speakers has Katsuki’s heart dropping at the bottom of his stomach.

He watches, numb and quiet, as the Nomu squeezes its jaws tight around his body and without hesitation, starts flailing its head around like a dog shaking a toy. There's nothing comical or funny however in the way Past Katsuki’s body dangles with the wild motions, helpless and limp from shock and pain.

There’s blood. So much damn blood. Katsuki never thought he’d see his dark uniform look more red than black, but it was happening, right there on video. No wonder Aizawa told him the outfit had been ruined-

“KACCHAN-!”

Katsuki tries very, very hard not to react at the loud, utterly heart wrenching scream.

Fuck, it sounded much worse than he remembers. 

It is much worse, now that he can hear it clearly. 

Sounding like it was about to tear Deku’s vocal cords apart from its sheer force, it leaves a very uncomfortable, fluttering feeling in his gut. He feels anxious, part of him wanting to reach out and make sure to this Deku that shit will be alright, but that was stupid because this is a video and it already happened and Deku’s a fucking floor away likely snooring his ass off.

The Nomu raises its head, Katsuki’s past self hanging limp from the jaws of death as it suddenly, violently lurches its body to the side and opens its maws, tossing him away like yesterday’s trash.

Fuck, its a perfect throw. Katsuki’s stomach drops at the way the camera tracks his body sailing through the air, hitting the ground, bouncing twice and then-

 Oh, there’s the wall. Katsuki’s back twinges with the faint memory of the impact. 

Fuck that had hurt.

He's glad he doesn't remember much past the initial attack. All of that must have hurt like a proper bitch. How did he even fucking survive that?

Aizawa was right, without that doctor...

Warmth on his chest startles him, pulling him away from the video. Oh. His hand, which had been on the keyboard previously, now hovered over his chest, tracing the path of scars down his front. Huh. He'd never even noticed that he'd been doing that.

Frowning, he watches the clip continue after his injury. The Nomu’s mouth is dripping blood, a raspy ghost of a scream leaving the disgusting beast as it draws itself on its back legs like a bear. Arms spread out in an arch on either side, as if what little had been left of the human within it rejoiced at its victory.

And Deku?

Katsuki’s seen him angry before. He’s seen him sad, seen him heartbroken, seen him in every possible scenario but in this… 

The camera returned to the fight and… Deku looks off kilter. Trembling. Weak. Like a deer about to kneel over from stress but something else, too. His eyes are wide and almost bulging, face too pale and body too rigid, like his mind can’t comprehend what just occurred.

 Sharp green lightning scorches the pavement around him like a small, condensed storm. Static bounces off his clothes, the sound loud and clear in the video. If Katsuki were standing next to him, he has no doubt he would smell ozone. 

He looks wild.

Feral.

Powerful.

Katsuki watches with an increasingly dry throat as Deku turns to face the two remaining Nomu, shoulders heaving, fists clenched tight. Katsuki’s always been aware of how much Deku grew in strength, more so since that night at the training ground in their first year. He'd kept a sharp eye on Deku's progress, both in school training or just his Quirk mastery. In a way, he’d always had, even when they were little kids. 

When it came to the bastard, he’d always felt competitive.

It rubbed him the wrong way, at first, when Deku started passing him. 

His pride at being the very best at anything he tries is ingrained in his very blood so the first time Deku beat him in a fight fair and square, he completely shut out the idiot for an entire week out of a mixture of shock, horror and betrayal. That time period had been one of the hardest for their healing friendship. Deku was frantic during that week trying to make things right but also… lost, in a way. Like he couldn’t believe he’d finally beat Katsuki in training. 

It took a lot of time, tea and a long talk with All Might for Katsuki to finally sort his own ass out and accept that yeah, Deku plus One for All meant that in all likelihood, the guy would be a real monster that had a fair shot of leaving Katsuki -alongside all of their classmates- in the dust.

As much as it bothered him back then, it doesn’t as much anymore. If anything, he takes it as a challenge now. If he could match All Might's Quirk, one that had grown stronger than when it was with the man, then Katsuki can be very fucking happy. 

… that belief doesn’t stop his mouth from dropping as Deku lunges forward with the furious, beastial roar Katsuki’s ever heard from anyone, the static of All for One’s excess energy reaching a crescendo. 

None of the Nomu don’t stand a chance. Katsuki’s not sure which Deku hits first, for his friend’s body blurs into motion faster than the camera or its owner can keep up. One second, Deku’s standing feet away from the Nomu. 

A moment later following a loud, echoing boom, he’s standing in front of them.

Or rather, where they used to be.

Fist extended upwards into the sky, shoulders heaving. Body shaking, flickering, One for All still lashing out like a wounded beast around him. The moment doesn't last long; Deku's fist drops and he stumbles a step towards the direction Katsuki is hurried. He’s shaking, heaving, eyes wide and face terrifyingly blank like his body had given up on trying to process what it was feeling.

One step turns into two, three, and then the green haired man disappears in a flicker of emerald lightning, zipping across the battlefield to where Katsuki’s bleeding, dying self laid, out of sight and buried into the bowels of a building.

The video stops there.

Katsuki stares at the black screen in the end blankly.

He swallows, all too aware of how quiet the room is, how alone Katsuki himself is. Despite knowing he is alone, that no one can hear him, witness his reaction, he feels raw and vulnerable in a way that feels new and different from before. Not like after Kamino. Close, but not in that same, distressing, desperate way.

Katsuki takes a quiet breath and reaches forward with his left hand, grabbing the mouse.

He clicks the video timeline a few times, frowning as he sets it to pause, tries a couple of times to set it after his defeat and the Nomu’s surprise ascendance into space until finally, he pauses on a frame of the video where Deku is standing in the middle of the devastated street, arms at his side, head turned towards where Katsuki’s body is undoubtedly buried under rubble, just moments after the attack. Even as pixelated as his face is, the crazed, wide-eyed look of disbelief and devastation is clear as day.

It makes the feeling in his stomach grow even worse.

Why does he care so much? A part of Katsuki mutters, uncomfortable and tasting of old memories from their middle school years. He shouldn’t look like that. Not that devastated -not for me .

Why?

Katsuki would like to know.

But, he’s also scared of the answer. They were childhood friends. They’ve known each other practically since they were in diapers.

They’d helped each other a lot.

They’d hurt each other, too… an act that had been, without a doubt in Katsuki’s mind, entirely one sided.

Nearly three years since they’d settled their differences, Katsuki still can’t avoid the ugly, squirming feeling in his stomach at the reminder of just how fucking toxic his attitude towards Deku had been during their childhood. Part of him wants to blame how everyone lifted him up and kissed his feet when his Quirk first manifested. The power of Explosion had been undeniable even then and his teachers, classmates, parents and well, anyone who saw it knew that his career as a Pro-Hero was all but assured. 

In Katsuki’s mind however, using how others fed into his ego as an excuse is just that -an excuse. It had been Katsuki who threw away Deku’s notes, shoved him in the hallways, and wished upon him the worst of things. He’d done that to Deku, entirely on his own, and no amount of apologizing would ever be enough to make up for making Deku’s life utterly hell for a few years.

It’s a surprise Deku can even stand seeing my face.

Frowning, Katsuki turns his attention back on the paused clip. He bites his lower lip.

‘He cares about you deeply.’

The words repeat in his head, full of finality and more. He swallows, staring at Deku’s face in the video, watching the storm of emotion in those familiar green eyes, and finds himself to be rendered mute by the level of intensity in them, of devastation, as if Katsuki’s death was the end of his world.

There’s no mistaking how much he cares.

Katsuki closes the tab.

.

 

.

 

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Sleep eludes him that night. 

The truth doesn't.