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Sun Kissed Lilies

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He wakes to specks of sunlight on his face, the scent of grass underneath him. The world feels awfully warm and comforting in this moment, all soft edges and muted sounds. The feeling of drifting surrounds him as he opens his eyes slowly, taking in the world in front of him at the beginning of sunset, painted in shades of soft oranges and yellows.

 

He doesn’t remember how he arrived at this spot, sitting against a tree with a drowsy tint to his every thought, but he doesn’t mind, not when the world feels so incredibly safe like this.

 

The birds sing, the winds blow. Against the last rays of the sun, everything looks a bit breathtaking, a bit ethereal. He almost feels out of place, with fatigue clinging to his skin and cold seeping into his bones.

 

The black of his uniform though, he realizes, stands out too greatly against the sun kissed lilies by his side.

 

 

Night never comes, he finds. The world remains etched in familiar hues, only moving to blur together to form new combinations - a swirl of red to the left today, a stroke of yellow to the right tomorrow.

 

This lack of change should bother him, but he hardly feels the days pass him by. The birds sing, the winds blow. And with the flutter of wings by his ears and a breeze tickling his ankles, he is content.

 

 

But sometimes, when the world slows to a murmur, he hears it.

 

The voice is seemingly far away and yet so close, like a fading whisper against the winds that blow against his cheek so often. It starts off muffled at first, so quiet that he has to close his eyes to focus. But even then, with the trembling in every syllable, he can hardly make out any words.

 

He’s almost disappointed when the voice stops abruptly, but he’s too excited to mind too much. After all it has been so long, he thinks, since he’s heard a voice other than his own.

 

 

Deku, the voice always starts with.

 

On rare occasions however, the voice will start with an Izuku, syllables rough as if they are unfamiliar and unused. He supposes it is a name of sorts, perhaps his own, but his mind is too drowsy to remember clearly.

 

But nevertheless, when he hears those first syllables carried by the wind, he sits with a lily cradled in his hand, a smile edging at his lips.

 

He doesn’t quite remember whose voice this is, but somehow, he knows it.

 

 

It becomes a routine of sorts. When the sun falls just enough that he can see the bare outline of stars, the voice appears again like a pattern.

 

Deku, it murmurs, and it doesn’t shake too much anymore, but it still carries such a solemn tone to it that he is sobered immediately.

 

The bird at his shoulder is unmoved however, chirping happily like it doesn’t hear the voice so close to them.

 

It’s then that he realizes something might be off.

 

 

He thinks a lady comes by with the voice often, because her tone is sweet and like a melody, saying Izuku over and over like she would something precious.

 

It’s easy to think of the voice with her as a boy now, voice lower than the lady’s but seemingly youthful. Lady and boy, he thinks, because he doesn’t know what else to call them.

 

He starts thinking of himself as Izuku then, because it is a name someone is saying with such love and care, and nowadays, even the boy with her says it often too.

 

He hopes he can hear their names soon, because lady and boy sound so cruelly detached compared to a warmly spoken Izuku.

 

 

“I got into Yuuei,” he hears. There is a bit of excitement and glee in the syllables that it makes Izuku smile.

 

“There were villain points and rescue points when we took the exam. Got points in both.” And he sounds almost proud as he says the word rescue, like it’s something fond. “There were people like you. A guy who could rival you in nerdiness and a girl with your enthusiasm. Ended up saving their asses from getting beaten.”

 

Izuku doesn’t really understand, but the boy sounds happy for once, and well, Izuku supposes that’s all that matters in the end.

 

“I’m glad,” Izuku whispers to the winds, hoping that his sentiments can carry over.

 

 

He begins to wonder, just how long has it been?

 

Because some days are better than others. The boy comes with a voice full of energy sometimes, like he has just won a battle. But other times, his voice shatters into something full of anguish that it burns Izuku with how he can’t help. He reaches out, oh how he tries to, arms stretched and hands reaching nothing.

 

“Let me help you,” he says, but the boy continues speaking like he hadn’t heard a thing.

 

 

The world, as pretty as it may seemingly be, looks horrendous some days.

 

 

“I’m so sorry,” the boy whispers, and despite his low voice, he sounds incredibly young, sounds almost like a weeping child. And it hurts more than Izuku had expected.

 

From then on he begins to imagine what face would go along with that voice, what kind of expression he would have when he sounds so horribly anguished. (But then he wonders about the boy himself. Because while he apologizes, he never asks for forgiveness.)

 

It becomes easier to become so curious that he is insatiable, and the first urges to leave, leave, leave appear on his skin.

 

 

One day, the world shifts. The sun sets just a bit more so that he can see the glitter of stars, can almost see the moon far, far away. The breeze turns into a cold that hardly bothers anything else, flowers never tilting and birds flying without a disturbance. He feels out of place once more, as if he is the only thing alive in a world of the dead -

 

Oh.

 

 

Night comes, eventually. The drowsiness that had been a constant before now morphs into sleep, with dreams flowing into his mind so often, he can’t tell if they are real or not.

 

Memories, the wind whispers, and it feels like the beginning notes of a goodbye.

 

 

Quirkless, a little boy taunts, but Izuku can only see his feet because his head is down. From shame, or fear, he doesn’t know.

 

Useless, someone else says beside him, and the laughter with it feels incredibly cruel.

 

 

“I’m so sorry, Izuku,” a woman with long green hair sobs beside him, and oh, he thinks. This woman is the lady, and the lady is his mother.

 

It becomes so easy afterwards to match the voices with people, and he shudders when he sees Bakugou Katsuki’s face, all harsh lines and bloody red eyes, with a uniform as black as his own.

 

 

What happened, he asks himself, to make Katsuki so worn and tired? But he knows already, he knows, he knows, he knows.

 

Izuku just hopes Katsuki hadn’t been there to see it.

 

 

Day turns into night and night turns to day. For the first time, the world truly seems to move on, taking Izuku with it.

 

 

He sees him, then. With his head in his arms against the pale hospital sheets, Katsuki sleeps.

 

He looks so incredibly small like this, looks as if he is but a mere boy without explosions at the tips of his fingers. Izuku doesn’t think guests are allowed at such a late time, but perhaps Katsuki became an exception.

 

He can’t help the fond smile tickling his lips when he moves a bit closer to truly see him, remembering the way his voice became a daily occurence to look forward to.

 

Izuku, All Might became our teacher -

 

There’s some assholes that keep following me, but I guess they aren’t so bad -

 

The gravity girl talks just like you -

 

When you wake up, I’ll introduce you -

 

If you want to see, you have to wake up -

 

“Kacchan,” he murmurs, fingers tracing over a sharpened jawline and pale fingers. He can’t touch, not when the feeling of drifting encompasses him, so he settles for tilting his head down until his lips can brush against an ear.

 

 

“I saw him in a dream,” Inko whispers, when it’s just the two of them left. “He was waving with a smile on his face.”

 

Katsuki feels his breath leave him, recalling that same dream so vividly.

 

“Me too,” Katsuki says, watching the way Inko turns to look at him. “I think he’s happy.”

 

And Inko shudders then, sobs wracking her body.

 

“Yes, I think so too.”

 

It’s a small comfort, but Katsuki scoots just a bit closer, so that Inko can use his shoulder to cry on.

 

 

I’ll protect her for you, he had said, and Izuku blinked, grinning toothily.

 

Thank you, he mouthed, and with a final wave, faded into scattering bits of lights like the stars in the night sky above them.

Chapter Text

Something had been off, he realized.

 

A one chance dive, he had said with a harsh laugh biting at his lips - and Izuku would fight back pathetically, tears pooling at his eyes with a flinch, and that would be it. But instead, Izuku went chillingly still, as if something inside of him had died a little then, not even moving.

 

“That was a little much,” Katsuki hears later, but he brushes it off as nothing more than idiocy.

 

He hadn’t even meant the words in a literal sense, had merely used them as a taunt of sorts in a fit of pride. Because Izuku is quirkless in the end, and the quirkless have no place in a world so enamored with heroes. So to hear the most useless of people he knows say they want to be a hero of all things, well, Katsuki supposes it’s no harm done.

 

Boys will be boys, the teacher always said, and besides, he knows Izuku won’t do it.

 

But still, the feeling of wrong encompasses him, and he brushes it off with a shrug.

 

“He’s weak,” Katsuki says in the end, the feeling of wrong, wrong, wrong still there.

 

 

Izuku is a constant in his life, until he isn’t.

 

The first rays of the sun pour in, and the birds sing a happy tune that makes him only sink further into the pillow. He would gladly sleep for another few hours, but his mother rushes in with such a horrible look on her face he freezes.

 

“Izuku,” she says, voice shrill.

 

And with just that one name alone, he already knows.

 

 

At first, he thinks this is all some sort of fucked up joke, because he had just seen Izuku yesterday, he was right there!

 

But then he sees Inko, and everything is too suddenly horrifically real, harsh truth pouring over him in waves that it makes the world spin and turn until he’s vomiting.

 

“Katsuki,” his mother pleads, but he doesn’t know what she’s begging for. Because all he can hear in his mind is Izuku and the terrible way Inko whispers coma.

 

 

A coma, he had read before in elementary school when he was reading possible injuries for heroes, can last for a few days. Especially in this world of healing quirks, they seemed like things that were so easily treated, comfortable even, to a young Katsuki, like a sleep that went for a little longer than usual.

 

But Inko is too miserable for it to be something so simple.

 

“They’re not certain if he will wake up,” Inko murmurs to his mother when they think he isn’t listening.

 

And he has to bite his lips until they nearly rip and bleed to stop himself from screaming. A coma can last for days with the right quirk and the perfect amount of luck. But he’s heard the hushed conversations at the darkest hours of the night, his father’s heavy sighs and weak attempts to comfort.

 

There had been so much blood, they heard, and by the time Izuku had been found, it had already been far too late even for the most talented of healers.

 

He wanted to die, his mind repeats over and over, and he chose the place and time where no one would find him.

 

 

Inko, Katsuki thinks, must not be human. Because while her soul is in shreds from grief and regret, she never shows it in front of him. Instead, she calls him Katsuki with familiarity like she had when he had been little, doesn’t scream at him with wrath and hatred like he knows he deserves.

 

She doesn’t try to punish him, doesn’t push any sort of blame onto him even when he knows it’s his fault and his alone. Her eyes are red and her cheeks are sunken, but all she asks is a single favor - to visit.

 

In the beginning, he doesn’t dare to. Because who would want to hear their tormentor’s voice? To have their presence be so, so close, when they can’t even move away from it?

 

But Inko insists.

 

“I don’t think he hates you,” she whispered, mourning clinging to her skin and eyes downcast. “You were a symbol of strength to him, and it might help if you visit.”

 

And he doesn’t know if he can, because one sight of Izuku wrapped in bandages and eyes shut closed might break him.

 

“I’m not trying to guilt you into it,” she sighs, “but please consider it.”

 

 

The birds sing, the winds blow. Every little thing looks awfully warm and giving when Katsuki finds himself in the hospital room, Izuku so pale against the sheets that he looks like a living ghost.

 

He wants to greet him with some sort of snark for a sense of normalcy, but all that comes out is a choking gasp when he comes closer. Because Izuku doesn’t even look alive like this, looks more like a husk only kept breathing by artificial means.

 

“It might help if you talk to him,” a nurse had said gently before he entered, but he doesn’t think he can, not when the world is horrible shades of whites and grays like this.

 

He breaks down more often than not these days, face hidden in sheets so that no one else but Izuku can hear.

 

 

Deku, he greets when he finds himself by the bed day after day. It isn’t so harsh anymore, doesn’t carry the meaning of useless on every syllable, but is said out of habit - more an endearment, recently.

 

But more and more, he calls him Izuku, and it reminds him of a time when they had been naive and foolish, but happy. Because he had smiled at Izuku, and Izuku had smiled back.

 

 

The Yuuei entrance exam comes closer, and the disconnect pours in slowly. What had seemed so important before feels horribly mundane now. He doesn’t think he has the right to attend Yuuei and become a hero, but then he remembers the way Izuku smiled at him, the way he followed him with admiration and adoration in every step.

 

“You’re going to be best hero,” Izuku grinned, a tooth in the front missing, cheeks pink, “you’re Kacchan after all!”

 

And he doesn’t want to disappoint him, not anymore. Izuku’s faith in him had never wavered, even when he had crushed him and pushed him to the ground, dirt scattered on his clothes like freckles.

 

He sees the date circled in red on his calendar, but his eyes move over to the paper on his desk - therapy sessions.

 

He’s going to become a better person, and Izuku is going to be the first person to see it.

 

 

There is a girl who squeaks and a boy whose glasses glint with his anxiety.

 

Katsuki wouldn’t even care, but her eyes look like Izuku’s when determination sets in and his movements are like Izuku’s when he finds something new and - everything reminds him of Izuku. It’s incredibly disorienting when he sees bits of him at every corner, in every little habit that these two in front of him seem to have, and his body moves before he can even think.

 

 

Izuku is still alive, the doctors say, but it already feels as if he has passed. Because Katsuki sees him everywhere he goes, as if his soul has already departed with a brush of fingertips to every part of life.

 

He’s alive, he tells himself, but he sees Izuku’s fingers which have never even twitched once in all these months and wonders who he is even fooling.

 

(Because there’s a difference he knows deep down, between being alive and merely breathing. Izuku smiling with a flush to his cheeks and a notebook in hand is alive. Izuku unmoving with a heart monitor at his side is not.)

 

 

“I got into Yuuei,” he says. He can’t help the slight glee in his voice as he says it, holding Izuku’s hand in his own with a light squeeze.

 

“There were villain points and rescue points when we took the exam. Got points in both.” And the word rescue rolls off his tongue with a fondness he can’t control, because it reminds him of Izuku - heroic Izuku who always stood in front of him even when he had nothing but his fists against the world with quirks.

 

“There were people like you. A guy who could rival you in nerdiness and a girl with your enthusiasm. Ended up saving their asses from getting beaten.” And he remembers them, thinks he always will with the way they have bits of Izuku in them.

 

“Thank you,” the girl had said, cheeks round and eyes gleaming. The boy next to her nods and looks at him like he would both a rival and a friend.

 

“You’re a true hero, I hope we both may pass and be in the same class.” He is all rigid lines and proper speech, and Katsuki wants to laugh at the irony of it all.

 

Izuku would have loved them.

 

 

Some days are better than others.

 

Sometimes he sees sunlight pour over Izuku’s bangs, longer now, and thinks it won’t be so long until he wakes up. Because this is the world of quirks and hope and peace and everything All Might fights for, and knows it can happen. Izuku is stubborn like that.

 

But other days he remembers the way Izuku crumbled under his gaze, the way his eyes never met his anymore and the way the notebook burned. He remembers it, the way the notebook felt in his hand, dreams and aspirations turned to ash. Izuku hadn’t even looked at him, so still as he was, already looking like a living corpse.

 

Izuku is the strongest person he knows, and he wonders how much he must have suffered.

 

 

Visitors aren’t allowed to stay for so long, but Katsuki becomes an exception.

 

Day turns to night, and it is the first time Katsuki sees Izuku like this - Hair black under moonlight and all soft edges. He looks as if he is in but a peaceful sleep like this, the scent of flowers permeating through the air.

 

It’s something new, and Katsuki feels like something will change.

 

 

Day turns into night and night turns to day. He sees Izuku in all different sorts of light, fingers tracing over his jaw and brushing over soft lips.

 

Sometimes, when the night becomes so dark that he can even see the stars, he intertwines their fingers, comfort and safety washing over him.

 

He falls asleep with his head buried in his arms, Izuku’s hand close by his cheek, and is content.

 

 

Katsuki wakes, and Izuku sleeps.

 

 

He doesn’t know what comes after. Maybe reincarnation, maybe eternal paradise, maybe nothing at all. He doesn’t know.

 

But Midnight tells them to choose their hero names, a name that will stick with them for their lives and this, he already knows.