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Victory's Taste

Chapter Text

It’s been four days since Bakugou Katsuki had been taken by the League of Villians.

The media has boomed within this short time span. Nearly all channels held hot debates and theory marathons speculating the current state of the missing U.A. student, not shying away from the subject of torture possibly being inflicted on the boy. And when that topic was thoroughly milked, they casually pushed aside anymore mention of the missing child and focused on dragging the names of Pro Heros and U.A. for allowing such events to unfold under their watch in the first place. And though U.A. and their staff admitted to their failures and went on to personally apologize to each of the parents of the students while balancing long meetings centering the future security of the high school, damages to their property, the continual search of the still missing student, and with the additional rise of crime from low-ranking villains taking advantage of the disarray, the media had the audacity to begin accusing any Hero - Pro or not - of being traitors based on shallow evidence such as villainous appearances or untasteful personalities.

The teachers within UA - weighed by the stress and the leering eyes of the public - had tried satisfying the masses enough with public statements reporting the disappointingly shallow updates for the search of Bakugou Katsuki and precautions they plan to implement into the school. However, a majority of these events ended just as they started, the longest having been seven minutes. Reporters and conspiracy theorists were prone to begin shouting out over each other for any juicy details. And in fear that there may be some casualties in the already tight room, the events were usually canceled.

The hype regarding the missing U.A. student has decreased significantly due to barely any updates being announced. The media had already given up interviewing the Bakugous. Police littered the exterior of the house and the boy’s mother threatened to kill any more reporters attempting to crawl through their windows.

Everyone seemingly had forgotten about Bakugou Katsuki.

“Dammit…” 

Midoryia Izuku, with sullen eyes, could only watch as Kirishima clawed at his pajama shorts in an effort to ease his anger. He didn’t have the energy to comfort his friend, not when the talk show before them offhandedly addressed the possibility of the death of Bakugou at the hands of the villains before lightheartedly transitioning to their sponsors. The TV zipped to black, steering Izuku to face Todoroki standing behind him and the couch he sat upon, remote in hand.

The composed boy waited for Kirishima’s attention. The hardening boy avoided any eye contact as he rubbed at his puffy, red eyes. Izuku nor Todoroki judged.

“My father told me that they believe they’ve found the League’s real hideout." He continued. "They have a clear plan and everything if it is the case.”

Izuku wanted to smile at the news, but they were fed so much false hope before that it had lost its initial taste. It’s not that he didn’t believe the Pro Hero’s ability to track down the League, it was just at this point, victory didn’t feel the same.

No, victory would’ve felt great if they managed to find Kacchan then. But with the paranoia and neighboring hero-villain battles taking place in nearly all directions surrounding them, they didn’t want to risk getting caught or jeopardizing the Pro’s battles with a hostage situation. Sure, they managed to find one of the League’s hideouts containing nomus - and in addition the missing Hero, Ragdoll - which allowed the Pros to detain and secure the creatures and building (not after a good scolding of course), but they didn’t find Kacchan. And neither did the heroes.

Who knew what the League was doing with Kacchan in their grasp.

Izuku gritted his teeth as guilt crept up his spine. If only he reached Kacchan sooner.

“There’s a rock paper scissors competition in the kitchen," Todoroki adds. "Uraraka initially wanted me to ask you two to join.”

Ever since the school had forbidden any student from leaving U.A. and with lessons being temporarily on hold until the school and its staff were in order, entertainment for the students seemed to dissipate drastically with the registrations. If it came down to staring competitions, then it meant that activities the students would originally indulge themselves in were becoming too repetitive and dull. The boredom had them joining together to plot some sort of time-passing activity to fill the void.

This time, the green-haired boy smiled. It was a tired smile, but a wholesome one neither the less.

“Sure, that would be fun. What about you, Kirishima?”

Kirishima’s crimson eyes were stuck to the floor as he gave a slow nod. “No thanks.” He begrudgingly got to his feet. “I’m just gonna go sleep.”

-----

“I win again!”

"Come on!"

"That's like your tenth win, Hagakure!"

"What did I say? I'm a pro at this game!"

"This doesn't seem all that fair, considering Hagakure's quirk..."

"What are you insinuating, Yaoyorozu?"

“You're one to talk, Toru!"

"Yeah, how do you expect us to take your word? You could be lying about your moves and we'd never know!”

"Hey! I'm a very honest person!"

The group that had formed around the two 1-A students on the island table all let out exasperated sighs at the additional drawl. Through all the matches beforehand, Hagakure always seemed to restart the matches due to complications arising. The judges, Iida and Shoji, with no proof of whether Hagakure truly played her truthful move or not during the matches, decided that starting from the top would appease both sides. This led to the invisible girl ultimately questioning if she should stay out of the next round to try and finish the competition at least once.  

Those that came the closest to reach the finals before Hagakure's turn would arise were typically Todoroki, Ashido, and Uraraka. However, during the middle of the fourth round, Todoroki went off to his room, so it would all fall down to Ashido and Uraraka fighting for a victor.

And without even saying it, the handful of class 1-A students in the room could all agree that this small competition wasn’t the same without the vigorous wrath of a determination student.

Izuku cringed when his stomach gave out a low growl. It would be best to put the staring competition on hold for now to prepare dinner. Since being stuck in their dorms with little to nothing to entertain themselves with, a majority of 1-A had taken to preparing dinner, lunch, and breakfast as a team. It wasn’t perfect, but it had somewhat strengthened their cooperation and teamwork skills. But actually deciding on what they would have for meals roughly took about twenty minutes or so to vote on, and it mattered whether they had the materials necessary to create it.

Kaminari and Sero volunteered to get Jiro and Koda who were cooped up with Sato in his room, and Mina was already making her way to Todoroki and Kirishima’s to a least try and drag her friend from bed. But before the three reached the stairs, Todoroki runs right into the kitchen in full sprint followed by a wide-eyed Kirishima with puffy, bagged eyes. Jiro, Koda, and Sato follow not too long after, though their expressions were hard to read.

"Miroryia!" Todoroki doesn't give the latter a moment to open his mouth as he screeches to a halt before him, phone in hand. "My father just called me. He said they found the hideout, but they were ambushed by nomus. Miroryia, All Might— it was on the news! All Might fought All For One, he won but, there were some casualties."

The room was silent. Izuku didn't know how the process this. All For One...the news? This was happening the whole time and they were playing a stupid staring contest?! Did— does everyone know about All Might's secret now?!

Wait.

"What about—"

"They found him, Miroryia." Todoroki solemnly answered. There was no relief or joy in his voice when he spoke. "They found Bakugou."

 

Chapter Text

This current sensation was… indescribable. Nomu’s mind frankly didn't know how to process this new surrounding.

A world of brilliance and warmth greeted his awakening, provoking a hiss of discomfort to escape to boy’s underused vocals as intense light speared his red weary eyes. The minor commotion of discomfort was not long-lived, for the boy immediately composed himself into a passive state and quietly took in his foreign location; despite the steady burning irritation lingering in his bagged eyes. Nomu was enveloped in a tent of white, pliant silk and soft padding which emitted waves of security and paranoia into the blond’s psyche; paranoia that clashed with vivid memories of familiarity trying despairingly to rationalize these conflicting thoughts and emotions pulsing in his strained mind.

As far as he was aware, Nomu had never experienced such simplistic relief like this. Was he suppose to? Nomu could only remember registering anger, pain, fear, bad, all the bad, only the bad.


Nomu did not miss the delicate baby blue gown he donned rather than the filth-stained coal shirt and baggy pants he bore for as long as his hazed mind allowed for him to remember. The boy was somewhat puzzled by the various plastic tubes pumping clear fluids and the occasional red liquid in and out through his veins.

Nomu didn’t understand why He saw this as a necessity for his improvements - but either way, he left them be.

Red eyes grazed the bland cream wallings in the mainly vacant room - a few chairs besides him, some strange appliances here and there, nothing that interested the blond - which rounded to an end on his left where the tasteless walls were substituted with enlarged wide clear glass, allowing light from the outside world to engulf the room; the same piercing light that sharply greeted his awakening in the first place. Large towering buildings of all designs lined unevenly together just a few meters away stretched far into the sky; their peaks completely abstracted from the blond’s wandering gaze.

Such a sight was alien to Nomu, and he wondered what prompted Him to transfer him to this location, or perhaps this was Shigaraki’s doing. The hand-covered man had been growing more antsy after each improvement, and he mostly rambled on about “unrooting from hiding” and “taking down All Might at last”. The names the powder blue-haired man used for his rants in repugnance no longer fazed the boy. Perhaps he had grown an immunity to those sturdy headaches, or the names that had held some relevance in the past simply lost all meaning. Either way, the unhinged rambles always seemed to stem back to him. Shigaraki was expecting big things from him; something grand. But that victory, he did not know. Nomu’s future actions all depended on Shigaraki and His commands.

But where were they now? Nomu was never left unattended. Those were His direct orders to Shigaraki and the others. Why change locations altogether so abruptly? Whatever the reasoning was, Nomu would just have to sit and wait for them to return. The blond couldn’t help but turn his head towards the broad window. There was an infirm sense of nostalgia when observing the indefinite silhouettes walking airily along the crowded sidewalk before blending in with the masses.

The creaking of wood from behind won over the boy’s attention from the lively world outside. There, in the door frame hidden on the right walling of the room, a dark-haired woman in a pure-white uniform - clipboard in hand - stood still staring at the conscious boy with a bit of a startled expression that melted into forced ease.

“Ah, you’re finally awake, Bakugou. Please, wait here and stay in bed. Don’t strain yourself. Dr. Ishi will be in shortly to check on you. ”

Shutting the door, the woman vanished as soon as she appeared. The clicking of high heels melts away with her, leaving Nomu in a dumbfounded state.

Bed? The woman ordered him to stay in bed. What is a bed; this soft padding he awoke in? But he was already on it. Was she blind, or was he not in it right? Don’t strain? Did she not want him to perform any physical tasks at the moment? Strange. Shigaraki would normally prefer the opposite. The red-eyed man would drone on upon improvements bestowed by Him; like an owner praising their dog’s tricks. The blond didn’t know who Dr. Ishi was. Perhaps one of those men who assisted His improvements or aided Him when His well-being faltered. Bakugou? What was Bakugou? Was she indicating that word towards him? Why call him Bakugou when he was-

Nomu clawed at his skull as a pounding headache coursed through his brain. The boy learned relatively quickly what triggered these massive migraines in the past and had sought out avoiding any triggers since then: thinking. Don’t think about anything, don’t question anything, just follow the voices. It’s the only thing that doesn’t enkindle any pain when his brain tries digging up loose pieces of meaningful memories that once gushed his functioning mind; memories he isn’t even sure exists nor is able to conceive.

Another click like before reeled the boy’s attention forward. He remained calm and compliant as a plump elder man in a white uniform, much like the woman prior, tottered into the room and muttered “sit up, please”; proceeding to inspect the boy’s distasteful body when the order was complied with. He shown a light into Nomu’s crusty eyes, dry-snot nose, wax-clogged ears, and smoldered throat which the old man fairly relieved with the uses of eye drops, nasal saline, and tissues which he was ordered to use independently to scrap out the snot somewhat successfully, cotton swabs, and a cup of water that had waited set at a nearby nightstand to the bed’s left.

The stout man went on to inspect the blond’s reddened-blistered hands, calloused feet, knife-scarred back, and torso, marred forehead, the discolored hand imprint wrapping his neck, and other remarkably healed scars and bruises he wasn’t likely aware of. The elder’s friendly smile seemed to sag a bit more with each mark counted, but the appealing smile was still there when the inspection concluded.

So he was like those men that assisted in his improvements, but different Unlike those other men, this one, Dr. Ishi, showed emotion and something like… Nomu just couldn’t think up the word. The old man also made him feel… more humane. The doctor was careful and considerate, which made no sense to Nomu. The doctor showed solemn in his wrinkled features; pity in those cobalt eyes when he looked upon the stained forehead and ruin hands, and that spiked something hot and sharp in Nomu that didn’t make sense, but felt right.

The boy instantaneously shut further train of thoughts when the man parted his chapped lips.

“Those villains,” he crocked, so calm and fragile. “Going as far as to torture a child for their own twisted agenda. What have people come to nowadays? At times, I wish quirks just never came to be. We would not have these many horrible disasters if it were so.”

Nomu blinked.

Dr. Ishi gave a hearty smile to the boy as he slowly lowered himself into a chair near the ‘bed’ with a tired grunt.

“You are strong Young Bakugou.” He hums. “You have a bright future as a Pro.” His smile sags the slightest. “I am sorry you had to go through such a traumatic experience at an age like yours. This would usually result in PTSD for most, but from what I have seen from the Sports Festival, you can definitely make it through the trauma just fine with support from family and friends. Though, perhaps you should hold back your excessive mannerisms.” A wheeze-like chuckle followed suit which turns into throaty coughs.

There’s an itch scratching at the back Nomu’s mind.

The plump elder takes a deep breath through his nose once his coughing fit subsides. He gives Nomu another warm smile.

“Your parents were called and are now on their way over. Hopefully, your mother does not cause another incident on the road, your father would not be able to handle an additional heart attack.”

Another burst of wheezed laughter and coughing fits before the old man fixes on Nomu quizzically.

“Young Bakugou, you seem awfully reserved.” With concern, Dr. Ishi moved his wrinkled palm to the boy’s discolored forehead, checking for a temperature. “Are you feeling well? You are much more vocal than this I presume. Are you in any pain? Are you disorientated?” He asks, pulling the hand away.

Nomu’s jaw drops, but no reply staggers out. He doesn’t understand how to answer that complex number of questions thrown at him like this. Scratch that. He didn’t understand anything the elder man told him, but his brain pinched itself at some of his words. Familiar words, yet undecodable.

The door is kicked in by a woman with a resemblance uncanny to him - or as far as he can recollect his own mien. From the red eyes dancing from one emotion to another with vigorosity to her semi-spiked ash-blonde hair. But the aforementioned aspect of this woman wasn’t the only thing churning the boy’s stomach. Her mannerisms. The way she hiked over to him with such strength and visible emotions tracing her trembling scowl and glassy eyes, alarming to any sane being, seemed so normal and soothing to the identically appearanced boy. A brunet man with some minor facial features under the nose, decking a pair of glasses, and looking absolutely nerve-wrecked follows the woman in a hasty pace from behind whilst fiddling with a handkerchief between his sweaty palms and fingers.

Something clicks in Nomu’s mind. These two people, the man and the woman - they’re relevant to each other and himself in some way. But his brain doesn’t seem to have anything else to present.

The pair’s strides pick up until they’re exactly hovering over Nomu. The brunet hangs back a few inches anxiously but stares at the red-eyed boy with a yearning to reach out and scoop him in his arms. But something propels the timid man to stand idly by, choosing instead to wipe away at his sweat-soaked face and tear-stained eyes with the very much damp handkerchief.

The man also seems to be waiting for the woman to make a move before him, and Nomu looks up curiously at the woman’s trembling face. She looks to be rallying all her willpower into keeping herself from erupting into a sobbing, gushing mess.

There’s a tickle in the back of his throat at the thought of her falling into a pathetic mess of tears. It sounds so funny - but at the moment, he really couldn’t wrap his head around why.


Dr. Ishi eventually broke the silence that was all too familiar to Nomu. He didn’t understand nor care for the words coming out of the old man’s mouth, but whatever he was saying yielded great reactions from the man and woman. Distress, pity, anger, and joy were major ones.

The plump doctor waddled away after that but promises to return in a bit for reasons Nomu ignored to pick up on. His focus was still on the unique pair of faces.

The red-eyed woman raised her hand in a strike-like position that provoked the bespectacled man into a frantic protest, speeding over to her side in a sweat whilst continuously begging for the mercy of the boy.

“N-not now Mitsuki, please! Look at him. Oh, Katsuki...”

“You think I’ll fuck him up like those fuckers?!” The woman spat back falterly at the man (he expected her voice to be much more firm) - lowering her raised hand to her side. “It’s his own damn fault he got taken anyway! Said he completely ignored instructions from a Pro! Fucking got himself in this damn situation.”
Nomu may have been dizzy from all this nostalgia, but he didn’t miss the single strands of tears creeping down the woman’s smooth cheeks.

The blonde looked back at Nomu, biting her lips. Her clenched hands twitched for a brief instant before uncurling and hesitantly reaching out towards the boy’s scalp. Nomu had to mentally suppress himself from flinching as her youthful hand plopped upon his heap of grimy spike-hair. But, unlike the times Shigaraki would rest his destructive palms on the blond’s head, this was… comforting and safe. His tensed posture lessoned, but still mustered enough attentiveness as warm fingertips tentatively brushed his sore, red-discolored scalp.

The woman sighed tiredly and seated herself at the very edge of the bed. The man took a seat on the nearest chair and took this time of peace to dig up a new handkerchief from his breast-pocket to wipe at his moisturized eyes. The blonde herself wiped away the salty moisture with the sleeve of her free hand.

Looking Nomu in the eyes, a sly smile finds its way on her tired features.

“You’re a lot of trouble, brat, you know that?” Her words are a mix of humor and sincerity. “Not just to our lives, Pros as well. God, everything always got to center around you.”

There is silence after that. The woman, as well as the man - more anxious than ever, look at him as if watching a bomb preparing to blast off their faces. This confuses Nomu. What are they waiting for? Are they waiting for a response from him? He hasn’t been ordered to speak as of yet, so he doesn’t know what they’re expecting.

The woman’s smug look turns sours. Her eyebrows furrowed and tears threatened to break as her face turns red. The gentle brushing of fingers halts momentarily.

“Giving me the fucking silent treatment? Why; cuz you know you fucked up? Are you finally growing past your arrogant faze, Katsuki? Everyone makes petty mistakes, it’s goddamn human nature! No ones fucking perfect brat; not even you. So get off your shitty high horse and face real life!”

“Mitsuki, please!” The has left his chair and has moved to place a hand on the latter’s shoulder in hopes of taming the woman’s fiery words. “Katsuki is very well aware of his actions, but there is no need to run him down like that.”


“And what? Continue to groom him ‘til he becomes a pampered babyman?! He’s never learned as a little shit, so might as well take it all in now!”

The woman’s hand drags off the blond’s mop of hair and a heavy sense of dread cultivates throughout the boy. Just like that, he suddenly felt all numb and alone even though the woman and the man were barely a few meters away from him arguing amongst themselves. What was happening - what was this? He was used to this feeling or lack thereof before. But now he hated it. It didn’t feel natural. It was like someone stole a part of him; a crucial part of him. It was disorientated. He felt so lost. He was missing something - no; he was missing everything - things he didn’t even know he was missing.

“Oi, Katsuki!”

That name. Red eyes looked up to the radiating faces; his mind trying to match them with any buried memories from the past he so desperately wished to be recovered.

Katsuki. Bakugou. Brat.

Those names.

Those names were so familiar. But which ones was he supposed to respond to.

Who was he?

Was he Nomu? Was he Bakugou? Was he Katsuki? Was he brat?

A hand gently caresses his discolored cheek - the thoughts disappear. The ash-blonde is frowning concernedly. The brunet has his handkerchief over his gaped mouth. Both their eyes are glassy and fixated on his own.

“Katsuki,” The woman’s voice is softened. Both her hands desperately grip onto Nomu’s shoulders. The motion is rough but familiar and comforting; it's grounding for Nomu - helps him think.

“Why aren’t you talking to me?” The boy leans into the woman’s chest, nose dug into her neck. She smells so nice, makes him think of flowers - but what are flowers? Her breathing is also nice, a rhythmic flow. Making his body move up and down harmonizingly.

“Katsuki,” She repeats, a quiver in her voice. Something wet drops on his head and rolls down his face, over his mouth. Salty.

The bed dips. The man is seated next to the woman. He still has the handkerchief over his mouth, but that too was now very damp; covered in tears. The man’s choking back tears, ducking over when his vocal cords produced a mournful whimper.

The steady breath of the woman is now uneven, uncontrollable. She takes short gulps of air that seem suffocating to muster.

“Answer me dammit!”

Anguish. She shouldn’t sound like that. This was wrong. She never got this emotional. She... Mo—

“Get the fucking doctor! Why the fuck is he not fucking talking?!” The bed undips as the man runs out of the room, stumbling over his footing, the woman still shouts “Is this some PTSD shit?! Did those villains fuck up his brain?!” between hiccups and gasps of air.

The blonde engulfs Nomu tightly against her chest. Her ash-blonde hair tickles his face and her uneven breathing jerks his body. The blue gown is drenched and his back is fondled by gentle hands.

Tentatively, one of his hands clutches her blouse. It’s soft like the bed’s sheets, and he rolls it around his fingers occupantly.

He remembers the tickling sensation in his throat from earlier. He was right. There wasn’t anything really funny about that mental image. Instead, Nomu felt a sea of unease continuously growing in the pit of his stomach as the woman continued wailing like a mourning banshee.

Chapter Text

The students of UA shifted anxiously in their seats within the school’s auditorium on this particular, hot summer day. The summer heat and technical difficulties the air conditioners faced on this distinct day only added to the incense of sweat and common teenage odors produced from the students forced to remain in the same pair of clothing for the past five days with no shower or sanitation of any sort.

Class 1-A and 1-B weren’t the only students of UA to be packed in the school’s auditorium. Shortly after the news of the attack was announced, students from all grades and classes were transported on their own accord by police and taken to UA in case the League of Villains tried going after them as well. A majority of the parents of these students were fortunately quite understanding and thankful for the security of their children, though some harsh words were thrown at them by some protective and outraged guardians. Compromise with those families were established with the agreement that police would be situated out front and on watch of their homes.

Both first-year classes couldn’t help but envy the fact that those rounded individuals had the luxury of bringing fresh pairs of clothes with them. They weren’t given a chance to bring their extra set of clothing or belongings with them from the camp. The best they could work with to deal with their stench was a quick scrub from head to toe in the public bathrooms using paper towels or stealing some unused gym uniforms from the storage closets in the school’s basement.

Even though there were no showers or any sort of entertainment besides cheap TVs that only played one channel and old board games donated by the teachers, the students were still thankful for the teacher Cementoss who sacrificed his energy into creating the dorms in the best of his abilities all on his own, and the Pro deserved all the rest for his wonderful solo construction. The empty kitchens and living rooms he opted to make for the students despite his exhaustion was furnished again through small donations of the teacher’s belongings, like a purple mini-fridge, an All Might themed toaster, cat-shed couches, and hand-knitted blankets used as bedding for the student’s in their bedless rooms; it was assured that all appliances would not be permanent and would be replaced. However, due to no teacher or Pro having any experience with plumbing, no works on the private bathrooms were even attempted much to the dismay of most of UA’s students; but it was agreed upon wordlessly that it was probably for the best - no one had the energy to deal with plausible flooding in the school.

The reasoning for all these restrictions and little progress in the school’s dorms had to do with the strict lockdown UA’s staff had placed once all their students were discharged and returned from the hospital. This lockdown was to be set until the League of Villains was arrested and the missing student Bakugou Katsuki was found and returned. No one except for the school staff or Pro Heroes were allowed in or out of UA in fear that a parent entering the school or a student leaving may reveal to be a villain incognito or a traitor. There were many complaints about this decision from parents and the media, but it was assured to the public that this was the safest course of action for the student’s wellbeing.

But if the press was to question each and every teenager the auditorium at this exact moment, all would say that this experience was worse than their short time in training camp. They wouldn’t hesitate to go as far as to call it torturous.

A mild droning noise activates within the auditorium followed by a slow-moving, yet efficiently cooling breeze that storms up an uproar of cheers and tears of joy as the students relish in the cool recycled summer air from the freshly repaired air conditioners. But the real burst of cheers come when the Department of Supports student Hatsume Mei is escorted into the auditorium by Power Loader with a stretched smile, toolbox in hand. Honestly, it shouldn’t take less than a second to put two and two together. Hatsume takes a random seat as the students of UA cheered her on like a Pro Hero having just saved all of Japan. Honestly, though her relationship with classmates was almost parasitic, at least both sides met their own personal benefits at some points.

But all the roars of applause ceased when a familiar mouse-like figure made its way onto the podium stage - with the assistance of a stool. The training heroes-to-be all seemed to be waiting in anticipation. Perhaps they were fervent to hear the news of the failed arrest of the League, the defeat of All for One, the future of All Might’s, the condition of the missing classmate Bakugou Katsuki, and the new state and security of U.A. High School from this day on. All the teens in the auditorium sat on the edge of their seats. Principal Nezu adjusted his microphone before looking out towards the mass of observers with his unruffled, candid smile - despite his sensitive nose twitching uncontrollably against the amassed human odor circulating in one single room.

“Good afternoon students! I hope you are all doing wonderfully on this beautiful summer day.”

A muffled wave of groans momentarily filled the room.

“As most of you are aware,” The Principal continues with the dampened mood. “The villain attack at the Training Camp under UA’s care has left a disconnect of trust with the public. Our sincerities apologies have been issued during the conference and we touched upon the new security measures UA High will be implementing for your safety. If you wish to continue your education in UA, that is.”

The room was filled with low mumbles between the teenage masses. Izuku turned glances at his intermingling classmates. Each shared personal concerns and opinions of the future of their school years with furrowed brows. Izuku grimaced when his moving eyes caught sight of Kirishima seated far off in the row before him. The redhead didn’t bother hiding his frustrated anticipation. No doubt he was awaiting the mention of the rescued Bakugou.

On their one channel TV, replays of All Might’s victorious fight against All for One played repeats of selected clips from said battle. There would be a small icon smack in the middle of the clips encouraging the audience to check out the full fight on the news channel’s website as shown. Amongst all the students in class 1-A, Todoroki somehow retained his personal phone. However, the difficulties of nineteen people watching from a shared phone screen became apparent. So they opted to simply put the recorded footage on blast and listen in like a radio. But it turned out that the footage had no sound to it.

Eventually, it was decided that they would listen in on the website's news broadcast and see what was going on in the outside world they were excluded from.

The clash between All Might and All for One took place in Karenohaken, Chiba - an area far from U.A. and Kamino, Yokohama; hence their obliviousness throughout the whole battle and the Pro Heroes’ difficulty in locating the League. The fight had left Karenohaken completely annihilated by the villain and hero’s destructive quirks. The area was completely flattened and many homes were reduced to crumbling rubble, leaving many of the residents homeless. A reporter on the broadcast was currently on the topic of Karenohaken’s cost and length for reparation with remaining and unscathed residents. Speculations were thrown and shared on the city’s businesses and economic growth that would be stunned by this catastrophe.

But the debate of Karenohaken’s economic issues was halted for the time being when the camera was switched back to the presenters who seemed to be repeating overall news and updates every thirty minutes. It was emphasized that the League of Villains were successful in escaping the scene at Karenohaken with the help from All for One prior to the fight. A majority of the villain’s civilian identities were distinguished and were announced as Wanted personnel. Police and Hero officials made them out to be Stain wannabes. Those whose civilian identifications were not revealed were simply dubbed as Pro Villains by the public and media.

But it was when the presenters brought up the rescue of kidnapped U.A. High School student Bakugou Katsuki that all of 1-A’s concentration went into the newscast.

The information given to them by the report was just as vague as the information Todoroki was shared by his father, number two Pro Hero Endeavor. Bakugou Katsuki was found in an unresponsive state in the semi-damaged warehouse in which the Pros and Police Force initially opted to raid, resulting in the discovery of All for One and the League. No other description than “miraculously healed physical scarings” were spared to the audience. They ended the report of the missing teenager with condolences to the student’s family and friends and prayers for a quick recovery in the unnamed hospital the boy was now being treated at. The camera switched from the presenters to a different reporter from before standing in front of a press conference taking place in Karenohaken’s moderately stable city hall.

All of Class 1-A was silent for the rest of the newscast.

“Dorms,” The Principal began after his pause, urging students to shush and look back up to the quirk-yielding hybrid.“We've constructed for you students as a way to keep you safe and away from villain attacks or targetings. It is also to give you all privacy from the public. As some of you may have experienced, the USJ incident and Sports Festival have garnered some of you unwanted attention. More information regarding our new security will be addressed in the emails that we will send to your parents tonight and any questions you may have can be answered when your homeroom teachers come and visit you at whatever date and time is in said email."

Principal Nezu looked out to the heroes-to-be with a smile.

“Now, I have some news that I think you will all be happy to hear.”

A large percentage of the sweaty teenagers looked doubtful of those words.

“With the current crisis concluded, for now, UA will now allow you students to leave and return to your homes and family to spend the rest of your summer with. Your belongings from the Training Camp have just arrived and will be delivered to your dorms. If you are sure you have all of your luggage, feel free to call your parents to bring you home with the use of your personal cellular device or with help from the school’s office. Be sure to sign yourself out with your homeroom teacher. If your parents aren’t able to pick you up, please tell your teacher, a police official will escort you home.”

The auditorium began to grow in volume from the giddy teenagers eager to return home and take a well-desired bath.

“Students,” Principal Nezu cheerful said as the auditorium’s volume continues to grow dangerously loud. “UA would like to thank you for your patience through these past chaotic six days. Please remain seated until your teacher calls you out of the room, and have a wonderful summer break; stay safe!”

Everyone was practically vibrating in their seats at this point, Izuku himself was just as animated. But the freckled boy couldn’t help his eyes from falling back onto Kirishima. His fellow classmate now donned a smile much like everyone else, but he seemed hesitantly fixed on Principal Nezu as he and the other teachers made their way off the auditorium’s platform. It was clear the Kirishima was waiting for something, like any second the hybrid would bounce right back on the podium, apologizing before his forgetfulness and finishing his speech as the rows of teenagers would proceed to die from false hope and the summer sun’s deadly waves.

Kirishima was waiting for anything concerning Bakugou; like everyone else in 1-A.

But it seemed like the topic of Bakugou’s overall state was plaguing the redhead more than anyone else. He felt powerless that his friend’s current condition was being withdrawn from him.

Izuku bit his lips before turning back to a squealing Uraraka crying tears of joy with a clumsy grin.

-----

When Izuku was returned home, a suffocating hug from his adrenaline-fueled mother greeted his arrival. His escort stood by the apartment’s entrance like an awkward child as the young teen was pampered by his teary-eyed mother, inspecting every inch of him. She commented nastily at the school’s carelessness for leaving her baby in such poor living conditions for four days straight! Midoriya Inko ushered her child into the bathroom for a well-deserving, warm bath.

The woman didn’t proceed without thanking the police officer for the safe escort. She offered the young officer to come inside for a cup of tea, but her offer was politely turned down - perhaps still abashed by her earlier display to consider staying any longer.

Izuku really wished the young police officer stayed. His mother would’ve at least been occupied with attending to company than insisting on forcefully bathing her fifteen-year-old son against his will.

There were plentiful screams of protests that went unheard that afternoon.

Green eyes scrolled through the app’s homepage flooded with nothing but articles of the fight. The freckled boy was finally able to watch some recorded footage of the battle itself, these with audio, though all you could really hear was the news team desperately cheering on All Might and the roaring of the helicopter’s motors. There was the occasional explosion from the fight below, but the audio barely picked up any of it. Static came with each powerful blow of All Might’s which was easily deflected by All for One.

Izuku kept on watching - eyes stinging with tears - until he eventually fell asleep.  

 

There was an irritating vibration that awoke the boy. Weary eyes painfully opened up to the bright screen of a phone. The boy tightened his eyes and let out a yawn before squinting back to the eye-frying screen with sleepy crankiness. But upon making out the name of the messaging individual, Izuku was wide awake and on full sprint. The green-haired teen ignored his mother’s concerned objection as he fumbled with his shoes and tore out the front door.

Running through the darkening streets of Musutafu in a fury, Izuku lets the text message lead him to Dagobah Municipal Beach Park. Eyes land on a familiar skeletal-like figure near the beach shore as feet meets upon friable sand that crunched with each step the boy took towards the figure in his frenzy.

“All Might!”

The number one hero had always looked sickly in his true form, but Izuku had never thought it could look frailer. Some of his golden locks in his wild mane seemed grimy with dust and concrete remnants still clutching on; the very tips appeared violently torn and split. Bandages wrapped the man’s bone-shattered arms, and with the large cast securing the forearm of the hero, it was easy to conclude that that part of the man's body garnered the most damage from the destructive fight.

As Izuku approached the slender man, sand piling up in his sneakers and digging into his sweaty socks, the boy could make out the bruises and cuts that littered the All Might’s sunken features - as well as the heavily wrapped bandage around his forehead. Tears once more picked at the edges of his dark emerald eyes.  

“Well, sure took you long enoun-NOUGHH!

All Might looked down to the mop of green that had knocked the air from his weak frame and was clutching desperately at the seams of his shirt, all the while grossly sobbing into it face-first. The ninth holder of One For All was babbling apologetically, but it was incoherent nonsense drowned out by the boy’s heavy sniffing and crocodile tears.

All Might returned the embrace with an exhausted sigh substituting as an act of comfort, it helped in easing the boy’s sobs of hysteria into small sniffles.

“All Might…” Izuku inhaled against the white fabric. “You...you…” “Young Midoriya, please. Focus on your breathing.” The deflated hero soothed to the best of his abilities in his current sore and weakened state. Midoriya’s grip on the man’s shirt tightened as he burrowed his face further into his side.

“The fight… you almost died All Might! You could barely stand!” Fresh tears rolled down the boy’s already wet-stained cheeks, enlarging the t-shirt’s soaked stain.

“...young Midoriya, I…” All Might spoke throughout the teen’s sobs - resting his bandaged hand atop his head. “Will be permanently retiring.” He paused to let those words process the training hero. Izuku's breathing hitched and was reduced to shuddered breathing. “Whatever embers of One For All remaining have finally gone out, meaning my body cannot fight and I cannot retain my muscle form anymore.”

The retiring hero’s hand moved down to the teen’s shoulder, prompting him to look up to the blond with red, watery eyes. “Though I’m still mad at your careless stunt in Kamino, you and your friends were able to help us and the police narrow down the search for the League, along with securing the Nomu and bringing Ragdoll to immediate medical care. You managed to be a hero without using your quirk, or hurting yourself.”

At this, Izuku's lips moved to form a proud smile; that of a child being praised by a parent. But a flash of recognition dispersed that joy instantly.

“A-All Might,” He stuttered unsurely with a gulp - his tears subsiding. “The news says you found Kacchan, but… is he okay? They said he had injuries, but how bad are they? Life-threatening?!”

All Might winced at the boy’s pained face of concern. Even though this very boy Izuku was lamenting over has purposefully plagued him throughout his early life, the freckled-boy continued to allow himself to be burdened for his tormentor’s wellbeing. Such compassion and selflessness that this young boy had could put any morally right Pro to shame.

The man straightens his stance, sorrow somewhat explicit in his rawboned face. “Young Midoriya... we found Young Bakugou shortly after the fight. He was… in a comatose-like state and bore, visibly healed scars. He was taken by the ambulance almost immediately. I am unaware of his current condition as of now.

“But you, Young Midoriya, know personally of Bakugou’s fiery determination. He may be battered now, but knowing him, I’m certain his recovery will be reached quickly.”

Those words appeased the teen doubts and falling tears, though Yagi only wished his own words could ease the forlornness flooding his train of thought.

From the state that Bakugou Katsuki was found - which eerily matched the finding of the now quirkless Pro Hero Ragdoll, Shiretoko Tomoko - All Might desperately prayed for that outcome to be false. He did not want an aspiring child to have their dreams taken from someone like the League, someone as cruel and cynical as All For One. He didn’t want to fail his students, not like this.

 

“All Might, please - you’re injured! We’ll keep looking, just, take care of yourself for now!”

Kamui Woods’ pressing worry fell on deaf ears as the fallen hero trek tirelessly with adrenaline fueling his twinging thigh muscles. He scaled another stack of debris that should have been easily passable to even a young child. All Might nearly toppled over himself with heavy pants; probably would’ve further damaged his already cracked legs if he missed his footing.

“I apologize for my stubbornness, Kamui Woods,” The hero wheezed upon reaching the inside of the leveled building. “But you can’t change my mind; I have to do this. I let my students down enough times, I’m not stopping until I find Young Bakugou.”

All Might continued on into the mouth of the narrowly standing ruins of All For One’s warehouse, two pairs of eyes watched on with pity and concern, one a pair of turquoise outright strived to land on anything other than the frail hero’s silhouette. Former hero Gran Torino eyed both groups, lingering longer on the Hellflame-yielding hero, before following after the limping blond.

“Sir-”

“You go on ahead, boy, I’ll keep an eye on him. Won’t be long before he eventually drops - I’ll carry him to the ambulance then.”

Gran Torino’s words were silently obliged as each Pro branched off, scouting through accumulated debris and upper stories of the warehouse - for the stairs have collapsed on themselves. Endeavor was the last of the three to departure - his glare still stabbing into All Might with fuming exasperation.

The retired hero quickly caught up to All Might’s feeble pace easily, even with the injuries he himself endured less than five minutes ago still jabbing at him.

The two made their way into the dusty warehouse wordlessly, excluding occasional coughing fits from the blond ending with or without blood dripping down his chin. There was nothing much that survived on the ground floor; a few crates, most empty, some held used canisters, others irregular objects such as a deflated All Might bouncy ball or boxes of disarranged grimy silverware. Strange.

A rusty steel swinging door caught the pair’s attention shortly after and they slowly made their way down the barren staircase. Large cracks, most definitely earned by the prior fight, decorated the concrete ceiling above with a silent threat of collapsing onto the retired Pros. Thankfully, the crumbly ceiling only released a few grained sentiments pricking the heads of the men below; perhaps as a warning.

With only a minor set of incidents on All Might’s part, they came face to another swinging door. The task of opening this door was harder than the first, for the bottom was completely rusted over. And as they pushed on it with all their might, a long, ear-piercing scrapping of metal-on-rock echoed off the staircase walls. The two didn’t even bother opening the door all the way, ultimately leaving it opened just enough for them to squeeze inside.

Instantaneously both were knocked back by a repulsive stench which threw All Might into a straining fit till his throat was dry and stinging. The stench itself was an unholy combination of metallic human blood and ungodly amounts of various lethal drugs and chemicals which began to attract tears in Sorahiko’s irritated eyes. Before them stretched ongoing rows of chemical vats containing the faint silhouettes of undergoing nomu mutations all motionless in their inactive vats. People. These were mutated people in each of these vats - many probably here against their will. Gran Torino honestly hoped that the motionless beings were indeed dead instead of in the typical, unresponsive nomu-like state. He could only imagine that suffrage the mutations and mental damage that was forced on by the hands of All For One.

Maybe that was a part of the smell; decomposing human - or whatever they were now.

The old Pro pushed down the bile threatening to spill from his clenched jaw, and covering his nose with his gloved hand as substitute of a handkerchief, began down the elongated nomu factory.

All Might didn’t follow his mentor, for his gaze still rested on the multiple rows of deformed civilians, forming a pained expression the man’s already tired features.

Sorahiko ’s patience was already thin as it was -  being beaten to a pulp by his dear friend’s murderer and now being stuck in a room of misery; so it didn’t take long for cranky elderly mode to kick in. “Toshinori,” He grumbled with his hand still cupped to his face. “It’s too late for them. They’re either dead or destined to a shallow life. Bakugou Katsuki is still here somewhere. You wanted to find him, right? We can still find him...hopefully…”

The retired hero ignored the horrified expression that warped Yagi’s already devastated expression. He wouldn’t ignore the possibility that All For One would take the route of transforming the boy into another brain-dead nomu goon if Bakugou failed to be recruited by the Villains, or maybe Shimura would have just begged the man to do so for his sadistic glee. The groomed boy always did seem fond of the nomus he’d bring with him on his destructive crusades.

“We won’t find him by just standing around, Toshinori,” Sorahiko bluntly addressed with agitation, already walking down the alley of vats. “And if we don’t find him now, he might turn up when DNA tests are done on all these nomus.” The expanded room returned to its eerie soundless state, save for the clank of Gran Torino’s dissipating footsteps and the unvarying bubbling of the vats.

All Might waivers where he stands, eyeing the vats dreadfully. Dead eyes and pained humanoid facial expressions stare back at him. Though he had already came across one of these creatures back at the U.S.J Incident, being surrounded by partially mutated nomu didn’t stop the goosebumps from forming on the back of his neck.

He steadily followed after Gran Torino, who was well far ahead of him, sullen eyes wandering to the vats. His eyes caught the still body of a man whose brain was fully exposed from his scalp and skin was taking on a soft shade of blue. The middle-aged man’s brown hair was falling out at an alarming rate and his eyes so bloodshot and compressed as they grew out from his sockets.

All Might turned his head to the ground, not having the stomach to witness any further victims of All For One’s. But the ground view was worse.

Dried blood and other bodily fluids were cemented into the concrete’s exterior and cracks. Along with that, torn skin, flesh, and clumps of human hair danced around his feet as he walked, transferring throughout the factory’s floors. Chemicals from the nomu's vaults were hazardously left in the middle of the aisle in garnered puddles. The vats themselves were illy repaired and had numerous leaks - fractured glass, broken wires, and dents in the rustic metal vat.

Unlike the nomus in the vats, their state of life was at best a fifty-fifty chance. But the fractionally deformed human corpses piled negligently atop another finally emptied the hero’s stomach contents.  

Loose jaws, dead eyes, and rotting decaying skin. They remained primarily humane, save from a light hue in their skin cover, baldness, or their decaying scalp exposing their brains.

All Might had reason to believe that whatever procedure All For One uses for the creation of his nomus, these once-living people couldn’t handle the immense pain and torture for said procedure. And All For One saw them as weak for that. Such a repulsive, evil man.

Yagi grimaced at the horrendous taste that now tainted his mouth, eyes still stuck on the assembled mass of bodies. That is until Sorahiko snapped him from his daze.

“Toshinori, get here now ! I found him!”

 

“-ll Might! All Might? 

Toshinori looked down to the snot-nosed teen. His lips tugged into a long frown. The retired hero embraced the boy into a one-handed embrace. Midoriya didn’t question it, simply digging his face deeper into the man’s chest.

“...I’m sorry, Young Midoriya…” Toshinori looked over to the ocean’s horizon sky. A distant look etched in his hollow eyes. 

He could still see his face.

“I’m so sorry…”

So... devoid of life

 

"...Y-young Bakugou...?"

 

Chapter Text

Traffic within Musutafu this afternoon was hectic. Being the final week of summer break, families were returning from vacation homes and holidays, causing holdups in all lanes. 

Within said packed lanes, decking their previously worn formal wears, Pro Hero Eraserhead and retired number one hero, All Might, were seated once again in the backseat of a UA licensed vehicle. Aizawa Shouta was currently on the phone with Bakugou Mitsuki, apologizing profusely for their tardiness. As if getting her son kidnapped wasn’t enough, their scheduled meeting concerning the boy’s future in U.A. was already thirty minutes late. Yagi Toshinori stared vacantly out the car’s window, listening to 1-A’s teacher stressing over things far beyond his control like background music while watching the cars around them travel two inches per minute. 

This torturous everyday occurrence drew out the guilt and turmoil brewing within the retired hero. 

 

“Toshinori, get here now ! I found him!”

The hero’s hesitation is short-lived as the man pushed his already overused body into a quickened walk. His first step and the blond’s already hissing through his teeth as pain fires through his lower frame. 

Ignoring the vats containing rotting mutated civilians, the broken glass and unknown split chemicals discarded on the floor, he puts up with the pain until he stops in front of a tattered hospital curtain covered in grim and other unknown fluids. 

Rows of cleared grizzled surgical tables greet the hero as he pulls back the filthy drapes, staining his hands with a charred black powder. Gran Torino’s back is to him, barely obscuring the body strapped atop the metal table.

All Might sped forward, nearly tripping over rusting medical oxygen tanks and containers of spilled syringes filled with expired anesthesia discarded on the floor. 

When the blond reached his teacher, wheezing and wiping away the blood slipping through his chapped lips as he concluded his adrenaline-fueled dash, a gasp of horror triggered a series of loud, wheezy coughs, each projecting unnatural amounts of blood. 

His old teacher spewed colorful curses as he moved to support the shaking hero from meeting the filth-ridden floor. With his trembling hand pressing against his mouth - doing absolutely nothing to stop the thick trickle of blood that now smoothly flowed through his fingers - Toshinori's shadowed eyes remained unwavering on the motionless form strapped tightly to the soiled table. 

"...Y-young Bakugou...?"

Hands consumed by large bulky shackles, preventing any air from cycling into the limbs were tied down onto the table’s railings with heavy restraints. Similar restraints were used on the teen’s legs and chest, allowing no movement whatsoever. 

And his face. Dried blood coated the boy’s forehead, some prior fresh droplets slid down into his bagged red eyes devoid of awareness. His mouth was slightly agape but completely dried, along with his lips that seemed slightly burned and blistered. 

All Might’s body moved without thinking. The fallen hero rushed to the boy, pulling feebly at the fastened restraints keeping the already limp figure down. Toshinori heard his old teacher yell something out before dashing away, but he couldn’t pull his eyes away from his unconscious student. The blond continued yanking on the leather with no result even with the very last of One For All’s ambers. 

He failed. 

Even with the terminal defeat his mentor’s killer and earning his last and most memorable victory in the eyes of the public, he failed everyone; especially Bakugou Katsuki. 

 

“All Might.”

The blond recoiled back to reality, nearly slamming face-first into the window. They were no longer on the tedious road; instead, they were parked at the front of a three-story house - the Bakugou residence. Toshinori turned back to see Aizawa waiting impartial outside the car holding the door ajar for him. He blinked tiredly. “...we’re here.”

-----

The students of UA were to return to the academy and move into the newly constructed Heights Alliance dormitory give or take two weeks. That, however, didn’t stop certain students from already finishing their packing - perhaps as a way to preoccupy themselves from all the mayhem this summer had to offer. 

Midoriya Izuku does a double-take on the thoroughly packaged All Might memorabilia before placing the box off to the corner of his nearly bare bedroom atop other thoroughly checked packages. The freckled teen plops himself onto his bed tensely, fiddling with his thumbs as he examines his room longingly. The idea of packing clothes and other everyday essentials now was blatantly a stupid one, save that for the last days, but it would at least distract the anxious teen for the time being. 

Instead of going against his mom’s advice, Izuku whips out his phone from his short’s pocket and scrolls through the continuously updated news sites ranging from reports on the expenses of all damage in need of repairs to the concerning rise of the averagely tame crime rate. 

Scrolling further down the endless site, the page is quickly deleted as articles on casualty rates start to spawn as labeled 'Popular Picks'. 

Slouching forward, Izuku lets his thumb hovering over the messaging app, but paused at the fact that no one has really reached out to message him since their departure from U.A. a few days back. If no one messaged him, then that must mean they’re busy or don’t feel ready to talk just yet. He didn’t want to sound desperate though. 

Despite his piling excuses, some newly acquired confidence jerks his thumbs onto the app and to the group chat with his closest friends. The chat hasn’t been active for three weeks; it feels barren.

He ponders with the remainder of his confidence whether to make the first move, even combating the idea of his friends seeing his messages as an annoyance. 

However, three dancing dots appear on the screen before the teen is able to conclude on a choice. 

Does one of these guys have some secret telepathic quirk or something?!

 

Uraraka: Hey

 

Uraraka: How u guys doing

 

The green-haired teen’s tensed posture relaxed as he allowed himself to collapse back first onto his bed. The satisfyingly soft fall-applied more release for his tightened muscles. Izuku allowed his fingers to freely speak their mind along the screened keyboard surface.

 

Midoriya: Good! Finished packing some stuff already. Though kind of bored. 

 

There was a thrash of anxiety that plagued the boy before quickly vanishing as three dots spontaneously danced into existence. The first four texts pop up rapidly after one another.

 

Uraraka: Lol same

 

Uraraka: Really boring

 

Uraraka: Not u though

 

Uraraka: Yeah

 

Uraraka: Kinda wish we could go back to UA now 

 

Uraraka: Living in dorms gonna be cool >:D

 

Frankly, he’s just grateful his mom reconsidered pulling him out from U.A. rather than putting her foot down on the matter. The concept of living indirectly in U.A. was also pretty cool. 

 

Midoriya: Yeah! 

 

There is a pause before the dancing dots reappear again, although they continuously disappear and reappear before finally a message is sent.

 

Uraraka: Hope Bakugou gets better soon

 

Uraraka: Class cant be same without him 

 

Izuku is caught off guard by this sudden change of discussion but is honestly thankful. It feels like their kidnapped classmate has been mostly forgotten by the public who were, understandably, more focused on the destruction and casualties greatly impacting lives. But, still, it helped ease Izuku that there were still those thinking about Kacchan. 

 

Midoriya: Kacchan never lets anything keep him down. He won’t want to miss a day of school.

 

Iida: Forgive my lack of response, I was visiting my brother. Knowing Bakugou’s sheer determination, I am certain he will make a full recovery. Hopefully, that is, he follows the advice of his doctors. When we return, I believe we should perhaps prepare a get well card for Bakugou if he too returns or not. It would be most appreciated if we all pitched in to show support for our classmate, whether he will accept the gift. 

 

Oh, and here’s Iida! Do friends really have a telepathic connection or do they just check their phones like pretty much everyone else and he's just overthinking all of this?

 

Uraraka: Hey Iida! 

 

Uraraka: Omg yeah :D

 

Uraraka: Like sign one huge card???

 

Uraraka: Bakugou will probably burn it though

 

Uraraka: Maybe if we put karamucho with it he wont? Saw him eat some once

 

Yeah, that would be nice to do. Hopefully, Kacchan wouldn’t see it as pitying. 

Before he can add to the totaling back and forth, there is a soft knock on his door. The door is creaked slightly opened, revealing Midoryia Inko with a phone to her ear. She holds a smile, but her eyes are furrowed in a concerned manner as she hums multiple confirmations to the speaker on the other line.

As she slowly concludes her call, Izuku pardons himself from the chat. The boy looks up to his mom as she ends her call - furrow uncurling and smile remaining.

“Izuku,” Her eagerly relieved voice matches her warm smile. “Mitsuki just called. She says Katsuki has been released from the hospital two days ago!” 

“What, r-really?” The boy squeaks in surprise as he stumbles over his words. How much perfect timing can happen in a single day? “That’s great! So Kacchan’s okay?”

Inko’s bright demeanor falters as her brow scrunches up in uncertainty. “Mitsuki… wasn’t really specific on Katsuki’s condition. But I’m guessing he’s well enough to return home and for us to be invited over for dinner tomorrow.”

“Oh… wait, dinner?”

“Yes. Mitsuki sounded really stressed, so I offered they come over for dinner here. But she was really insistent that we have dinner at theirs.”


“Oh, okay.” The teen looked down at his phone, contemplating whether to share this recently learned news. Maybe it’d be for the best he waits for Kacchan himself to announce his presence to their peers. 

“I have to go get some groceries for tomorrow. Do you want to come with me, Izuku?”

Looking up, the freckled teen throws one more look at the phone, messages still popping up on the lock screen. 

“Yeah, sure. Give me a second, mom.”

                                                                                                                         -----

The door to the Bakugou residence softly clicks behind the trio of men making their way down the house’s path. The men collect at the police cruiser parked along the sidewalk as the detective fiddles for the keys to the cruiser. 

“You’ll give us the copies once they’re immediately printed, right?” Aizawa asks, his voice much more drained than it typically is. He drags a hand through his messy hair, releasing an exhalation of pent up woes. “We need to review this information with Nezu and get directly back to the Bakugous before U.A. reopens.”

“Yes.” The detective speaks with a stern demeanor. He placed his suitcase into the passenger seat with care. “And any other additional information along the way. Most of the doctors we interviewed haven’t identified any living specimens with similar characteristics corresponding with Bakugou Katsuki’s, only dead ones. They’ve hypothesized he was at the end stage of the quirk implantations, hence the location he was found in by you, Toshinori." 

Tsukauchi shuts the door and makes his way to the driver's side. He hesitates after seating himself in. 

“And I will immediately contact you once we have contacted Midoriya Hisashi.”

The two U.A. teachers nod meekly and walk to their awaiting vehicle in heavy silence as the police cruiser steers off and out from the sidewalk. 

Chapter Text

“Katsuki, can you get up for me? Katsuki?”

The soothing motion of the familial slender hand stroking through disheveled hair prompts Nomu’s groggy mind into wakefulness. His eyes flutter - struggling to adjust to the sun-illuminated room - but manage to catch the figure of the woman, a near-perfect reflection of him, with twining abbreviated embers and disorderly spiked hair. Her hand moves from Nomu’s head to his rough digits tenderly intertwining with her own.

“Katsuki, baby, can you get up for me?”

Nomu doesn’t understand the need for a name change, the name Nomu was just fine. But still, when the man and woman used the name Katsuki, somewhere within Nomu’s being sparked a sense of warm nostalgia - not just the usage of the name, but the man and woman’s demeanor when he reacted according to the name. So for now, Katsuki was the name he would apply by. 

With a nod still heavily sleep-induced, Katsuki sloppily scrambles into a sitting position, he opts to rest his head on the woman’s shoulder. She entraps the boy in a tender embrace, her hair bristling his nose and cheeks. 

“Think you can get changed on your own today, Katsuki?”

Katsuki nods.

The woman plants a loud, wet kiss on his cheek. Even as she pulls away, the soft sensation still lingers.

“I put your clothes on your desk for you. Remember: tags go on the back.”

Clothes on the desk. Tags go on the back.

The woman departs and lightly shuts the door after her, leaving Katsuki to dwell on the bed alone. He rises slowly, body slack as he stands in the room. The boy stumbles to said desk, finding baggy pants, socks, boxers, and a… no, it is not purple… no, not black, it is a… a shirt. A shirt with a color. 

Katsuki examines each garment thoroughly, searching for the tags that marked the article’s back. With each successful find, Katsuki slips on a new piece, all except the socks. The boy did not like the feeling of his feet being constricted by any form of wear. 

Katsuki slips from the room and trudges down the stairs and through the hall, his gaze lingers on the wall’s decoratives. The rhythmic clanking of metal and soft chatter steers Katsuki’s attention to the kitchen doorway. 

The brunet man busied himself at the stove where pans hissed and crackled, filling the air with an alluringly rich fragrance. The woman was seated at the table, folders and loose paper etched with letters enclosed her as she flew through each sheet with busy eyes. She rapt a broken pen against the tabletop, performing an arrhythmic tune. 

“Oh, Katsuki,” The man turned from the stove. “Did you sleep well?”

Katsuki gave a curt nod as he seated himself at the over-flood table of papers. The woman looks up and flashed a brief smile before jumping back into the array of files. “How you feeling, baby?”

Again, Katsuki gives a terse head-bob which the blonde seems satisfied with. She stuffs the scattered loose paper into a paper envelope and fumbles with a large bag filled with alike folders. 

“I’ll try to be at the police station briefly, but who knows how long they’ll make me wait on my ass. Do we need anything? I can probably grab something quick from the store on my way back.”

The man pauses over the simmering pot of broccoli, caught up in a mental checklist. “...we needed milk, I remember mentioning that yesterday… oh! And some green tea for Inko. Maybe some dessert would be nice too - I don’t think I have time to make castella.”

“Gotcha.” The woman snatched the bag from the floor and fixed her buttoned blouse. She ran her fingers through Katsuki’s hair, parting the spiked strands as they dragged through his scalp.

She kisses his reddened forehead, giving Katsuki a quick “bye” before waving her husband goodbye and departing from the house with the slam of the front door. 

Sizzling grease and the poping of boiling water were the only indicators of activity within the house. Katsuki, still seated, stared down at the cleared table as the brunet man trotted back and forth between countertop and stove; always adding, stirring, or flipping varies objects around into bowls, pans, and pots. But even as he works, the man can’t seem to help but glance back at the boy every now and then, like any moment Katsuki would just disappear or something. Katsuki himself can’t help but watch the man’s work. The swift motions of the hand with spoons, knives, and whisks all seem natural to his limited experience.

Katsuki watches as the man puts a few finishing touches on the dish before placing it into the oven. The brunet removes the thick gloves from his hands as he surveys the countertops. 

“Kare-raisu,” The man speaks up, catching Katsuki’s attention. “Do you remember that? It was the first dish we let you make all by yourself.” The man smiles down at the cutting board in front of him. “You added so much shichimi, your mother almost passed out.” With a laugh, the brunet turned to face Katsuki. Pearl-sized tears peaked from the corner of the man’s eyes. “I remember how proud you were; you were our prodigy chief.” 

Katsuki stares. The man’s posture falters. 

He looks back to the kitchen’s countertops and back at the boy.

“...do you want to help me out, son?”

Katsuki stares, then blinks. And finally, he rises and walks over to the man. 

                                                                                                                         -----

Mitsuki pulls up to her driveway but doesn’t make an effort to scramble out of the car while juggling her bag and groceries. With the car parked, she leans on the steering wheel, releasing a long, heavy sigh through her nostrils. 

She was an hour late from when she promised to return home, but it’s not her fault that the damn police wanted her to bring the remaining files to the hospital and wait forty-five minutes to see that retarded doctor for two minutes. And it definitely isn’t her fault she had low batteries on her phone and didn’t call Masaru, probably leaving the idiot thinking she died in a car crash or something - the man was stressed enough, he didn’t need her bullshit of an excuse.

She looked over to her brick-ton of a bag sitting on the passenger seat. Another assortment of documents and shitty files needing signing.

Katsuki’s physical condition just kept getting worse and worse the more the doctors at the hospital kept studying each stack of her son’s collected medical data. Hell, the doctors kept finding new shit wrong with Katsuki, and yet didn’t even fucking know how to treat them - so each file would be an unlucky surprise with no known cure. 

Her baby was going to fucking die.

An ugly sob escaped Mitsuki. She tries suppressing it until her teeth began to throb from the pressure. 

Her baby was going to fucking die, and these doctors had no fucking cure for any of these piling medical conditions. He wasn’t going to become the best number one hero who ever fucking lived, he was going to be known as a fucking depressing casualty from the U.A. Training Camp Incident. 

The shitty doctors at the shitty fucking hospital had no way of helping her fucking baby live to be a fucking adult. 

Well, except for one treatment. 

And Mitsuki had no fucking idea how long they’d have to wait for Katsuki to get the fucking implantation. 

For now, the doctors just told her to keep doing what they were doing, and Katsuki would probably be fine. She wanted to strangle the doctor right there for wasting her fucking time with nothing but enough bad news to put a mother into a stroke. 

The blonde rubbed at her eyes until they burned. Inko and Izuku would be here soon, and Masaru was probably worried about her absence. 

She collected her bag and groceries and strolled on down to the door. Stepping in - thank fucking christ it wasn’t locked - Mitsuki dropped her purse and slides off her shoes at the genkan before strolling down through the corridor and into the kitchen to drop off the groceries. 

That is before she fucking drops all that shit from the sight right in front of her. 

Masaru is speaking frantically on the phone with streaming tears running down his face as Katsuki is just standing there, missing his fucking fingers and bleeding out all over onto the fucking floor. 

“Masaru.”

Her husband’s blabbering halts as his head twist towards her. “M-mitsuki!” He gulps his tears. “Katsuki, h-he - I should have paid attention! He just kept cutting and—”

“Masaru.” She beckons, walking over towards the sobbing man. She slips the phone from his hands, apologizes to the operator on the other end, and hangs up. She takes his hands in her. 

“Masaru,” The blonde repeats, face void of frenzy, unlike her husband. “Remember what the detective said?” 

Her fucking loving husband stares at her as if she lost her fucking mind, but memories click and he gives her a small nod. He rubs his tear-stained face with a dry, breathless laugh.

“I,” The man can’t help the sob that breaks through. “I just forgot. I’m sorry, I panicked. This… isn’t going to be easy getting used to.” 

Mitsuki’s tired eyes become pained. “...yeah. I almost did too, just for a second…”

The couple turns to look at their son. The boy’s hand is still drenched in a musky coat of blood, and the floor itself looked as if a murder had just taken place. The countertop resembled something straight from a horror movie. The cutting board and the quarter sliced cabbage sitting on the wooden board was drenched in a dark layer of the crimson fluid, making Mitsuki’s stomach churn thanks to the added cabbage and iron blended smell. And… oh fuck. Katsuki’s fingers were still on the fucking cutting board, nested on top of the vegetable like an exquisite dish. 

Katsuki stood exactly where he stood when she arrived. He was waiting patiently for them to say something, or do something with attentive eyes. 

And in the place of his recently dismember digits was a new, unscathed thumb and index finger with a fresh pale scar at the place of the incision. 

                                                                                                                         -----

“Katsuki, you know if you need any help, you can just ask

“What did I say - stay out of the kitchen old man!

“Katsuki! Show some fucking respect for your father, he’s the one letting you do this shit yourself you know!”

“Mitsuki!”

“Fuck off old hag!”

“The fuck you say you little punk?!”

“Please, just stop, both of you! We’ll leave, okay Katsuki?”

The blond simply shrugged, returning to face the stove. He was almost done with the curry. Now all he needed to do was add the last and most important ingredient. 

Hopping off his little stool, Katsuki dragged it right under the kitchen cabinet and hopped right back on. Little fingers barely graced the shichimi container before a much larger hand nabs the powder from his reach.

“I said leave !” The boy shrieks. His dad smiles sheepishly, placing the shichimi down before walking out. His mom’s awful snorting is heard from the living room. Katsuki’s glaring eyes lingered on the kitchen’s entrance momentarily before turning back to his work. 

Repositioning the stool again, he uncorks the shichimi’s cap and dumps a concerning load of the spice into the simmering curry. With one final stir blending the broth’s many elements into one, the boy beams down proudly at his creation.

“I’m done!” He bellows into the house, and not long after, his parents enter the kitchen assisting the young chief in carrying his creation to the dining table. Their taste buds were going to explode when they took a bite of his magnum opus. His mom’s sure did, though he was pretty pissed she spits it all out almost immediately afterward.

“Katsuki, what kind of fucking hellspawn did you craft in that kitchen? I can’t feel my fucking mouth. I’m never letting you in the kitchen again - you hear me you little shit?”

“You just don’t have good taste you old hag!” The boy quipped back at his mom crumbling away at the table. 

“I’ll watch him from now on, dear.” His dad vouches. At least his old man could appreciate his awesome cooking. Hell, he was so proud, he couldn’t contain the emotional tears from falling down his face - or the snot slipping from his nose… ew. 

“Like hell, you will!” Katsuki sticks a spoonful of curry into his mouth, exaggerating his chewing at his mother who stared at him as if he were the devil’s spawn. 

It was just them: Katsuki, and his mom and dad. He’d never admit it to them out loud, but he cherished those times. Things were simple, and Katsuki kind of missed that. 

And he missed them. 

Mom...

… and Dad. 

 

Crimson eyes dance to the inrush of light stretching into the room. The boy lifted his head from the plush pillow and turned his body towards the IV bag looming over the bed. The plastic bag was drained, prompting Katsuki to rip the now useless needle from his arm. The brief bloom of blood quickly disappeared as the punctured layer of skin efficiently repatched itself in an instant. 

Tossing the needle aside, the boy moved up to a sitting position. Looking out the window, the boy was greeted with a blinding glare from the sun barely dipping behind the distant mountains stretching far within the horizon. The sky was saturated into a darker hue, slowly bleeding into a somber blue as the moon began leaning towards the center of the heavens. 

Katsuki got to his feet, stretching his underused limbs with a satisfying, albeit concerning pop, before making it along to the bedroom door. He slipped out into the corridor of doors with soft steps against the wooden floorboards as he moved. 

Far into the hall and down the main flight of stairs resonating within the living room, Katsuki could hear the faint voices of the man and… no, of his parents. The woman, no... Mom’s voice was clearer than Dad’s, but it was strained and very messy. Katsuki couldn’t for the life of him make out anything cohesive through all her gasps and sobs. 

The boy contemplated on using Search for a moment - but only a moment! He knew he needed direct consent in order to use his quirks - an exception being Regeneration of course, as He said:

"Tomura was never happy to see one of his toys broken. That was truly a horrid sight to behold, and that's coming for me.~"

A pang of nausea hit the boy, but he carried on.

Descending down the stairs, Katsuki inches closer to the living room, though a sense of dread lingers within the boy with each step. And it's at the very doorway when Katsuki finds himself unable to move forward, making him stop and listen to the confusing conversation between the many different voices.

“We should’ve told you sooner, Inko, but we didn’t know how to fucking bring it up!” Mom lamented tearfully. 

“We figured it would be more appropriate this way." Dad sighed. "So when you receive a call from the police tomorrow… or even today, just be calm about it.”

“We’re so sorry, Inko… Izuku. We hope Hisashi’s okay.”

“... you too have nothing to apologize for." A new voice spoke. "Katsuki and these quirks, it’s neither your fault! It's those villains!”

There’s a sigh, and Katsuki’s ears keen in. 

“... and whether Hisashi’s role in all of this is completely voluntary or not, he doesn’t matter right now. Katsuki’s well-being is my main priority.”

Katsuki steps into the living room. All fall silent as four pairs of eyes land upon him. 

“K-kacchan!”



Chapter Text

Izuku had been inside the Bakugou household for a solid ten minutes now and he still hasn’t seen nor heard any explosive followed by a spew of screaming curses as of yet. He didn’t know whether to be thankful or terrified. 

The boy looked down at his plate with a tightened stomach. Any adrenaline and liveliness he’d displayed upon arrival with his mom had been solely fueled by the aspect of seeing Kacchan. However, when a rather disheveled looking Auntie Mitsuki greeted the two at the door and pardoned the blond’s absence of him taking a nap, the freckled teen’s body just shut down as he childishly picked at his curry. 

And it’s not that Izuku wasn’t happy to see Mr. and Mrs. Bakugou! A blissful sense of nostalgia hit the boy when greeted by Auntie’s thundering voice - though a tad softer than he’d remembered - and Uncle’s soft hum as he offered a cup of green tea to his mom. 

It’s just that, he really wanted to know how Kacchan was doing. 

But he didn’t want to sound rude by just demanding the status of the blond’s condition. 

“Izuku!” A slurred voice barked out at him. The boy nearly dropped his fork before turning to his Auntie with a hesitant smile.

“Com’ on! Tell us more about the Sports Festival, Izuku!” Mitsuki brought her somber-red wineglass to the air in an informal toast. “You were on fucking fire all the way!”  

Inko smiled timidly as Masaru snatched the wine bottle from the table and bolted into the kitchen in search of a clever hiding spot for the intoxicating beverage. Mitsuki paid no mind. 

“You went fucking flying over those idiots!” She cackled, face tinted with the faintest of flushes. “Oh, how’d you come up with a plan like that so fucking fast? You’re a fucking genius, Izuku - or suicidal - ha !” 

Inko chokes from the sip of her water-down wine. 

“Your quirk is really impressive, Izuku,” Masaru praised upon his return to this seat. “But it also seems extremely dangerous. Inko told us you needed surgery after your fight with that double-quirk user.”

“T-todoroki’s quirk is actually just a fusion of his parent’s quirks.” Izuku corrected, avoiding his mother’s suffocating gaze. “And I’ve gotten better at regulating the total output of my quirk since then! I promise there won’t be a need for any more surgeries for me.”
“Or broken bones?” His mother perks up a brow. 

“Of course! Definitely not!” 

“And you kept fucking winning without even using that overpowered quirk of yours!” Mitsuki giddily reminisced as she cradled her glass. “Oh, you should’ve fucking seen Katsuki’s face, Izuku, every time he—” 

Izuku looked over to the cut-off woman in confusion. She was staring down intently at her glass, her face unreadable. 

Masaru eyes his wife wearily.

“...Mitsuki?”

Her grip on her glass tightens. “Then he got chained up to that fucking podium,” 

“Mitsuki, ”

“With chains and a muzzle in front of all of Japan to see—” 

Masaru reaches for his wife. “Mitsuki—” 

“Just like what those damn villains did!” 

Crack!

Fucking goddammit! ” 

“Mitsuki!”

“Oh my… Izuku, you remember where the first aid kit is, right?” 

The young teen is left stunned momentarily, before nodding to his mom and dashing out of the dining room and to the first-floor bathroom. 

As the hero-in-training pushes aside folded towels in the bathroom cabinet, his mind can’t help but reel back to his Auntie. No. His mind wasn’t fixated of the shattering of the glass in her tightening hand, or how some pieces of said glass pierced through her hand, or how the chiffon table cloth became soaked in both the spray of crimson wine and splatters of human blood. 

No, it was her voice prior that had his mind reeling. The softness of her voice climbing up into an anguished climax, the guilt she conveyed through her words.  

Midoriya Izuku had known Bakugou Mitsuki to be a proud and loud woman for as long as he could remember; she was practically a sheer replica of his best friend Kacchan - her crudeness much more toned down in comparison to him albeit. But today, hearing her booming, cheery voice simmer to such a degree - her voice choked up to such a level, Izuku had never heard her sound so defeated or lost in all his life. 

It was unnerving; it just wasn’t right. 

                                                                                        -----

Just as Aizawa Shouta entered the station, he’s nearly trampled by a group of officers making a mad dash out the main entrance, their radios blaring distressed cries from fellow coworkers in need of assistance with whatever villain attack was currently happening who knows where. 

With a sigh, the hero prods into the police station. He ignores the stares of civilians and officers alike taken off guard by his shagged appearance. The man has to admit his hero duties have been a bit more exhausting as of late. If he had the chance, he’d be home hibernating in his sleeping bag for a week straight. However, he still had some business to attend to…

The front desk is cleared of any lines, so Shouta trudges on over and waits patiently for the secretary to finish up on her three phones. And yet, as she places one handset down, it rings again shortly after, creating a continuous hydra cycle. 

Eraserhead shifts uncomfortably. God, it looks like she’s about to cry. 

Thankfully, an older woman - presumably another secretary - approaches the desk and introduces herself as Furuihisho.

“You are Aizawa Shouta, Pro Hero Eraserhead, correct?” She asks, flipping through a file.

“Yeah, that’s me. I was scheduled to meet with Tsukauchi Naomasa today at sixteen thirty.”

“Yes, yes!” The woman nods, closing the folder. “He’s waiting for you in his office. Just go down the hall and turn left. His room should be the third door to your left. But I’m sure you’ll find it, his office door will be labeled.” 

Shouta thanks Furuihisho before leaving. From behind, he’s certain he hears the woman comforting the now weeping secretary cursed to phone duty hell.

The Pro easily finds Tsukauchi’s office door and knocks. What he’s certain is muffled voices through the wooden barrier stops as the door is open. Tsukauchi - a bit worse for wear if Shouta were to be honest - greets him and invites him. Seated in a guest chair in front of a disorderly desk is an older man holding a cup of steaming tea. The Pro is too offered a cup, which he politely declines, opting to take a seat beside the stout man. 

Tsukauchi clears his throat as he takes his seat behind the desk. He flies through one of the many folders piled on his desk. 

“Thank you for coming, Eraserhead. I take it All Might wasn’t available today?”

“UA refuses to discharge him just yet,” Shouta says, scratching at his chin. “They want him out of the public’s eye for a few more days. Plus, they want to make sure the man doesn’t die from tripping on a pebble.”

The old geezer beside him huffs a chuckle. “Doesn’t help he walked right on out a few times already.” 

Shouta blinks. “...And you are?...”

“Apologies, Eraserhead, I have yet to introduce. This is Dr. Ishi Eiji, Bakugou Katsuki’s doctor.”

Shouta, folding his arms, hums acknowledgment at the latter.

“Dr. Ishi, this is—” 

“Pro Hero Eraserhead, you’ve said his name plenty of times for me to catch on, Detective. I may be old, but my memory is still as sharp as it was fifty years ago.” 

The detective smiles sheepishly before turning back to Shouta. “Dr. Ishi and his team have been going over Bakugou Katsuki’s condition and comparing it to those of pre-existing nomus. Their results so far have been… mixed.”

“So there’s good and bad news?”

“Yes,” Tsukauchi sighs. He turns to the good doctor taking another sip of his tea. “Dr. Ishi, if you’d please?”

Smacking his lips, the stout elder puts down his cup and hauls up his briefcase to his lap. A haggard huff slips from the man’s chapped lips as the case crashes down on his lap and he digs within. Whipping out a file, the doctor fumbles with his glasses and scans the sheet. 

“Bakugou Mitsuki - God, bless that poor woman’s soul - came by today and dropped off a copy of Young Bakugou’s reports. And among the awful handwriting within the daily reports, we found something irksome which helped to explain the boy’s drastic difference with any other nomu we have gathered intel on to date.” 

Shouta straightened in his seat.

“Comparing the DNA and having the police explore more of the nomu factory in Karenohaken, we’ve come to the conclusion that the… procedure that Young Bakugou underwent was much different than the typical nomus of All for One’s.”

“... how different, exactly?”

“For one, they didn’t mutate any of the boy’s DNA to the degree of most nomus.” Dr. Ishi placed two images atop the desk. “They seemed to have inserted some sort of chemical into the cells which have increased his stamina and strength, but other than that,” He tapped on the image of a comatose Bakugou Katsuki taken during his stay in the hospital. “He is still very human.” 

Eraserhead eyed both photos carefully. “It doesn’t make sense for them to skip such an essential step.” The man says, hating the words coming from his mouth. “A normal human body shouldn’t be able to withstand multiple quirks, let alone DNA mutation. What was All for One planning exactly?”

“You are correct, Mr. Aizawa.” The doctor nods. “Most nomus have undergone the mutations before being given the multitude of quirks. Otherwise, the body would’ve given out under the stress.”

“That’s why we have reason to believe,” Tsukauchi begins. “That this was essentially a form of torture. Or maybe, a message to UA and the media. Or,” The detective sighs. “A sick victory for the League. A trophy, a weapon, to use and flaunt against All Might and our society; a show of mockery on behalf of the League.” 

Shouta sighs, sinking into his chair. His nails dig into his arms. 

Goddammit. He was tasked with protecting his students, and yet he failed. And now, one of his students was going through unimaginable pain. All because he wasn’t fast enough to reach them all. 

“Now, I’m afraid to tell you that that’s the only good news we have to share with you today, Mr. Aizawa,” The doctor pulls out a thick packet from his briefcase and pats it sorrowfully. “Now here’s the bad news.”

                                                                                                                                                     -----

“Thank you, Izuku. I’m sorry you have to deal with my sorry ass.” 

“N-no problem, Auntie. This is all a part of my hero training - I can’t just stand by with somebody hurt.”

“Oh,” Mitsuki coos, playfully ruffling the freckled boy’s poofy hair with her free hand. “You’re going to be the sweetest hero alive, Izuku.~”

Midoriya Inko smiles at her son. His face is red as he finishes bandaging Mitsuki’s wound. She is proud of how far Izuku has come with his hero studies, but a selfish part of her wishes he’d settle for a safer career path, maybe a doctor or a nurse. The greenette clenches her hand, just thinking that selfish thought is already brewing the guilt within her.  

“More tea, Inko?”

The woman looks over to the man holding up the kettle. She uncoils her clenched fists and picks up her empty cup.

“Thank you, Masaru.” She smiles. 

The two had just finished clearing the table and putting away dirty dishes into the washing machine and were now seated at the kitchen’s island, relishing in the warmth of green tea. Izuku and Mitsuki were still at the table occupied by medical equipment strewn about.

It was… almost like old times. 

“Masaru,” The woman turned to the brunet. “How is Katsuki doing? Mitsuki hadn’t said much over the phone, but when she mentioned he’d been brought him home from the hospital, I suspected he was recovering well, no?” 

Inko did not miss the pained expression in the man’s face. She instantly regretted asking. 

Masaru placed his cup down and cleared his throat. He glances hesitantly at the dining table. Mitsuki is helping Izuku pack the spare medical supplies back in their container. The blonde smiles as the teen recounts his time in U.A. thus far, smiling sheepishly with each praise Mitsuki dishes out.

The brunet turns back and sighs. “We were able to take Katsuki home as early as we did because… there wasn’t much of anything the hospital could even do for Katsuki as of now. They said his condition has to be monitored before proper action can be taken.”

Inko gasps softly. “...what… what kind of condition? Is he in a coma?”

Masaru crinkles his brow. “All we really got so far is that those villains… they tried to make Katsuki into one of those things. Remember the attack in Hosu city? Those disfigured villains? Apparently, they’re called nomus. They’re created by that same villain group responsible for all this chaos. The people turned into nomus… they undergo… inhumane experimentation making them basically into mindless weapons of war.”

A shiver runs through the greenette. She remembered those creatures clearly. How could she not? The news anchor soon after the Hosu Attack showed just a glimpse of those villains, and she had horrible paranoia for the rest of the day. It didn’t help that Izuku was almost kidnapped by one of those creatures. Inko couldn’t believe she was saying this, but she was thankful for that Hero Killer for having saved her son at that moment. 

“...a-are you saying… that Katsuki is…” 

One of those creatures? She found herself too scared to ask. 

“...yes… and no.”

“Huh?” 

“For some reason, he wasn’t… mutated like most of the nomus. He… he’s still human… thank God …” 

Inko places her hand atop Masaru’s trembling palm. 

“But because of that,” He says, voice quavering as his eyes water. “His body can hardly endure whatever those villains did to it.”

“Did to it?” Inko’s heart throbs painfully against her bosom. “What do you mean?” 

“Whatever the fuck they pumped into my son caused his whole digestive system to fucking fail, that’s for starters.”

Inko and Masaru jump in their seats. Mitsuki is standing over the two, hands clenched into fists at her side as her lips tremble. Izuku is standing by the table, medkit in hand, eyes wide.

Mitsuki sucks in a breath. “If his stomach is not fucking work, then it means he can’t eat. So the doctors want us to use experimental IV till they have the parts necessary for a transplant; and who knows how long that’ll take!” The woman’s voice grows more hysteric. “But don’t worry, my son has all the fucking time in the world! Sure, we can let him wither away a wee bit longer! He’s not in any fucking pain at all! He can totally function as a normal fucking human being! He’s got plenty of other horrible things happening to keep him distracted until then!” 

An ugly sob erupts from Mitsuki as she grabs at her hair. Masaru reaches out towards his wife. Inko hand is glued to her mouth, eyes glazed with tears. Izuku twin orbs are still wide, a ghostly expression taking hold. 

“I just want my fucking son back!”

                                                                                                                                    -----

“I’m sorry this had to happen to your student, Aizawa.”

Shouta's gaze is downcast, refusing to meet the detective’s piteous stare. “I shouldn’t be the one receiving condolences right now.” He replies drearily.

Tsukauchi nods as he shuffles along with another stack of folders on his desk. Dr. Ishi had taken his leave after going over a majority of Bakugou’s medical folder. He agreed and promised to bring copies for UA to assess before the hero school’s reopening in the coming week. 

The red-eyed Pro eyes over the three civilian files laid out on the desk. “...this it?” 

Tsukauchi nods in confirmation. “All three DNA samples found in Bakugou Katsuki.” He lifts up one of the files with a photo of a familiar round-eyed individual plastered inside. “Shiretoko Tomoko, Pro Hero Ragdoll. She was found in an unresponsive state and lacking her quirk three days before Bakugou Katsuki’s rescue. We’ve already gone through the examinations and interrogations involving Ragdoll’s case, so this won’t be heavily touched upon for now.”

Shouta watched as the detectives slide the greenette’s files back into its folder with rue. Poor Shiretoko, she was the most passion-driven of the Wild Pussycats - the whole hero team being her idea and all. He couldn’t imagine what she was going through. 

“Saisei Guy,” Tsukauchi continues on with the next file. Opening the first page shows a middle-aged man with a nauseating color palette of yellow and green for his greasy bunned up hair. “An American Asian declared missing four months ago after leaving his hometown of Ransom, Illinois for a business trip in Suzu. According to his family, he never checked into his hotel, nor did he turn up to any of his business meetings upon his plane’s deployment.

“His quirk is registered as Regeneration,” He carries on. “A common quirk among most nomus. But Saisei Guy’s DNA and clear signs of the quirk’s specific functionality was found in Bakugou Katsuki. His body still has yet to be identified.”

Shouta cringed at the photo of the bleak man. God, the guy almost looked just like him - if only he were stupid enough to sleep over at Nemuri’s, then maybe they’d be monozygotic twins. 

“And lastly…” Drawing the Pro’s attention once more, the detective opens up the final folder. The image immediately screaming “Problem Child of 1-A”. But, the man in the photo looks too physically masculine and mature to be All Might’s favorite fanboy. “Midoriya Hisashi, taking a work post abroad in America in the city of New York for twelve years now. With the Midoriya Hisashi living overseas, any means of contact had been difficult for our team to manage. We were opting to interrogate the remaining Midoriya Clan if leads were to continue coming up dry.”

Shouta’s pretty sure Midoriya Inko would suffer a heart attack if the police came knocking on her door over a villainous incident concerning another family member in such a short span of time. He’s surprised the woman hasn’t started growing in gray locks as of this year. If not now, then surely just before Midoriya Izuku’s graduation.

“However, we managed to get one coherent lead on Midoriya Hisashi’s whereabouts.”

The exhausted Pro keens in on the latter. 

“A plane ticket to Hosu was bought and used under Midoriya Hisashi’s name two years ago. On the same day of the plane’s departure, Midoriya Hisashi was confirmed to have used a reserved cab to Ayashi District.” 

“...that’s it?”

“As of now, yes.” The detective closes the thin file. “My team is continuing their search for Midoriya Hisashi as we speak. It’s possible he changed his name and went under the radar upon his return, illegally. Or, the most likely scenario, in my opinion: he was taken by the League, robbed of his quirk, killed, and was never found nor identified by authorities. 

“The main issue now would be to conclude how All for One got a hold of his quirk and why specifically target an ordinary man such as Midoriya Hisashi with such an ordinary quirk like Fire Breathing.”

“I’ve got some ideas,” Shouta says, eyes looking up to the office’s fluorescent lighting. “And neither look good for the man. Just how do you intend to break this to the family?”

“It’s all up to the Bakugou Clan whether they’d like such private information shared or not. And until we have more information on the status of Midoriya Hisashi, there really isn’t much to say as of yet.”

Aizawa Shouta closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. This UA meeting was going to be a drag.

                                                                                       -----

“Hisashi’s… Katsuki has Hisashi’s quirk?”

Both Bakugou’s remain silent, but their pained eyes say it all. Izuku feels like he’s having an out-of-body experience. Auntie’s words, Uncle’s teary gaze, his mom’s stunned silence - it all washes over him as he drifts around, just being

Kacchan… the League of Villains - Shigaraki and One for All - turned Kacchan into a nomu. 

“We should’ve told you sooner, Inko,” Auntie says, her words heavy with guilt as they spill out. “But we didn’t know how to fucking bring it up!”

“We figured it would be more appropriate this way." Masaru sighed, reaching for his wife’s limp hand. "So when you receive a call from the police tomorrow… or even today, just be calm about it.”

“We’re so sorry, Inko… Izuku. We hope Hisashi’s okay.”

They were apologizing. They had no reason to apologize. Their son was a nomu now. And Dad was responsible for it - voluntarily or not. 

“... you too have nothing to apologize for." His mom speaks his thoughts. There is that foreign firmness that’s been popping up here and then - like from all Might’s most recent visit. "Katsuki and these quirks, it’s neither your fault! It's those villains!”

The older Midoryia inhales sharply from her outburst. Izuku can tell his mom is struggling to control her tear ducts for once, stressing to maintain a strong face. “... and whether Hisashi’s role in all of this is completely voluntary or not, he doesn’t matter right now. Katsuki’s well-being is my main priority.”

Just then, before either Bakugou’s could fully process Inko’s firm words, a shuffling of feet enters the living room. Izuku’s head turns in response and the boy is jolted back into his body. The freckled teen’s jaw snaps open, the flood of emotions wrecking within his brain releases only but a gurgling wheeze. 

It’s Kacchan. But, he looks so wrong . Kacchan always radiated power, strength, and confidence whenever he marched quirk-blazing into a room. But this Kacchan…

A pang of nausea and terror through Izuku that tensed up his body, sending a piercing pain through his bones as the pressure refused to ease.

Kacchan was known for how terrifying his competitive nature and personality was. But this was a completely new level of hair-raising fear. And it wasn’t the constant crackling of his gifted quirk just mere inches from licking off your plump flesh nor the maniacal chortle assisting with his unflattering grin and burning embers staring you down as your ears bleed and body ached. 

This Kacchan stared blankly at Izuku with the eyes of a long-dead ravenous fire over ashy bags. No snarl was aimed at the One for All successor, just a simple curt line with the faintest of burn scars along his lip. 

“K-kacchan!” His mind somehow assembles the name together and tosses it out from his clogged throat. 

The other teen blinks and continues to stare silently. No further reaction.

This Kacchan… wasn’t Kacchan anymore… this was… 

Izuku tosses his head down and pukes on the floor.