There was a voice. A voice calling his name.
Deku was worried.
He was crying.
“Don’t.” He coughed. His throat felt raw.
Katsuki felt like throwing up again.
He tried to sit up, but arms were quickly around him, stopping him. He struggled. The tightness. He couldn’t be trapped again! He had to move!
“Kacchan! Kacchan, stop! You’re hurt!”
These were Deku’s arms.
“You scared us for a second there, young man. How are you feeling?”
He knew that voice.
He opened his eyes, blinking at the sudden brightness.
Deku was on top of him, strong arms holding him down.
Katsuki had never been so glad to see his soulmate’s face. To see his relieved smile.
“Kacchan, I’m so glad you woke up.” The shitty nerd leaned back and sat next to Katsuki’s side. “We were worried.” One warm, reassuring hand remained on Katsuki’s left arm.
The dumbass better not move it.
Then Katsuki froze, eyes wide as he noticed the figure behind Deku. “All—” he started coughing, his body jerking as he tried yet again to cough up nonexistent sludge. He cleared his throat carefully, then spoke again, “All Might?!”
The hero’s loud boisterous laugh rang across the park. “I am here!”
Katsuki tried to sit up again, but Deku’s hand shifted, pushing him back down. “All Might put them out, Kacchan. And he captured the villain. Everything’s ok now.”
“That’s good,” Katsuki glared at his soulmate. “But why won’t you fucking let me sit up and see it for myself?”
“My boy, that would be my fault. I’m worried that you’ve broken some bones. Can you tell me what hurts?”
Suddenly he was aware of the pain. Intense, throbbing pain. “Wrist. Finger. Throat.” He paused, then added, “Shoulder.” It wasn’t as bad, but the recoil had done something. Everything else felt…sore, but not bad. Not broken.
“Not your ribs?”
He shook his head. The hero smiled, “Wonderful! It’s probably safe for you to sit up, then, but go slow.”
Katsuki nodded. Deku’s hand was warm against his uninjured shoulder, supporting him as he sat up.
Now upright and feeling a bit better, Katsuki stared at the hero.
All Might was here.
It felt weird to be in his presence. Like it wasn’t real.
He couldn’t believe he was finally meeting All Might, but it was happening while he was fucking injured and weak. “Tch.”
“You did well, young boys! You worked together to defeat the villain under pressure and it was quite admirable, I must admit! I’m sure you’d both make wonderful heroes one day!”
All Might was praising him.
They’d…done well? But Katsuki had been practically helpless the whole time! But with Deku… with his soulmate, they’d managed to beat the villain.
And they hadn’t even gone to UA, yet! A grin slowly formed across his face.
Katsuki was fucking awesome. His explosion had beaten the villain.
And Deku was fucking awesome. “His eye was the obvious weak point.” Katsuki smirked, “Deku could figure that much out from just a few minutes watching him.”
“I should’ve figured it out faster. Sorry, Kacchan.”
“You did fine, my boy!” All Might was patting Deku’s shoulder, now.
“You did good, you shitty nerd. You don’t need to fucking apologize.” All Might himself was praising them and patting Deku’s shoulder. What the fuck? Did Katsuki wake up in some damn alternate dimension?
All Might frowned at his language, but Deku spoke up before the hero could say anything to Katsuki.
“Ummm… All Might sir?” Deku’s voice was quiet, timid. Like he was scared. Katsuki frowned. Why was he scared? This was fucking All Might! Maybe the nerd was fanboying or something? “Can I ask you a question?”
“Of course, my boy! I really must be going soon, though. A concerned citizen posted a video online to attract heroes, but that also means the media will be here soon. And I have to get this villain to the police. Not to mention that your friend should really go to a doctor and get his arm checked.”
“Right.” Deku’s hand tightened around Katsuki’s good shoulder. “But….ummm….You said I’d be a good hero. Is that… Is that still true even if I don’t have a quirk?”
All Might froze where he was doing squats, preparing for a jump.
Katsuki’s eyes widened.
Depending on the answer, this could go really well or really poorly. Fucking hero better answer the shitty question correctly.
“I’m sorry, my boy”--Fuck that pitying tone. Katsuki’d kill him, All Might or not--“but hero work is really quite dangerous. We’re always risking our lives, even with the advantage our quirks give us. Without one…. It would simply be too dangerous.” All Might sighed. “I’m sorry.”
“But…” Shit, Deku’s voice was doing the damn warble. The nerd was going to cry. Who did this fucking guy think he was, telling Deku that?! “But I’ve worked really hard. And I’m good at analysis! You said I did a good job! And I want to save people!”
“I’m sorry, my boy. You are good at analysis, so maybe you could do police work if you want to save people. They do good work, even if they have a bad reputation.”
What the fuck?! A fucking police officer?! “Listen here, you bastard--”
“Stand back now, I’m going to jump!”
“What do you fucking mean, ‘be a police officer!’ Just a minute ago you said he would make a good hero! How does that change just because you learned he doesn’t have a fucking quirk!” Katsuki surged to his feet, stomping toward the hero and ignoring the pain. Ignoring Deku who was kneeling on the ground in shock.
All Might glanced back at them. “I’m sorry, my boys, but I really don’t have the time. Send me a note on my webpage.”
All Might jumped.
“Shit.” Katsuki snarled, looking around them. A couple of people were standing at the edge of the park, phones out. They’d obviously been the ones recording the fight from afar. Fuck. He grabbed Deku’s hand with his good hand, then trudged toward the edge of the park. “Come on, we’re following him.”
“What?!” Deku stumbled after him. “Kacchan, I don’t—”
“Shut up, nerd. He’s going to the police station, so we can easily find him.” Katsuki rounded the corner, then immediately knelt down, turning his back to his soulmate and holding his arms wide. “Get on.”
“What?! But Kacchan, you’re hurt!” Deku wasn’t moving. Fuck, they needed to be fast about this! Didn’t the dumbass understand that?!
“Who the fuck cares. You’re a hero! You’re the most selfless person I know, you dumbass, and if that doesn’t make you a fucking hero, then no one is! You need a better answer than that, so we’re going to get one. We’ll wait for him at the station door and you can ask him again when he’s fucking done.”
“But your injuries!”
“You think I can’t handle a simple broken bone? Huh?!”
Deku shook his head frantically, and the next thing Kacchan felt were Deku’s hands on his shoulders. A bit further up on one side than the other, avoiding the tender muscles. Shitty nerd must’ve figured out where the recoil usually hurt him.
Legs wrapped around his torso and Katsuki stood up.
He winced at the feeling of the explosion, but ignored the pain. The police station wasn’t too far, but they wouldn’t get there fast enough if they walked.
He forced them up, into the air.
He just focused on one at a time, ignoring the pain. Ignoring the distance left until they were close to the station.
“I can’t just fly us all the way there. Illegal quirk usage and all those shitty rules.” Katsuki collapsed in relief in the alley a street down from the station. Deku jumped off immediately.
“Kacchan, are you…?”
“Just run to the damn station, Deku. I won’t forgive you if you fucking miss him.”
“Right! Of course!” Deku ran off.
Kacchan slowly pulled himself up. He glanced down at his wrist and winced. Shit--that was definitely broken. And it looked worse than it had before. The Old Hag was going to kill him.
Katsuki staggered out of the alley and slowly made his way to the station, ignoring the curious looks he received. Dumbasses. Why the fuck do they care what he looked like. It was none of their damn business.
When he reached the station, he saw Deku pestering All Might again, arms waving frantically.
Katsuki frowned. Was the fucking hero still not answering the damn question the right way?
His eyes narrowed as All Might dodged around Deku to go into an alley by the station. Deku was scrambling after him, and Katsuki ran to meet him.
All Might wasn’t there.
Katsuki frowned. No exits. But there was always up.
“Get the fuck on my back, Deku.”
The nerd moved immediately, and then Katsuki was airborn. They landed on the roof, and, sure enough, there was All Might.
The man turned around, eyes wide in surprise. “Young boys—” he broke off, coughing blood. A cloud of steam suddenly surrounded him.
“EH?!?!” Deku was screaming.
“What the fuck?” Katsuki stared at the thin man that was left when the cloud cleared. The man still coughing blood.
His eyebrow twitched.
“Are you ok?!” Deku was waving his arms frantically, muttering about ambulances and illusion quirks and imposters and who knows what else.
“Why are you fucking like this, you shitty excuse for a hero? How can you keep being a hero and saving people when you’re a fucking piece of tinsel!” Katsuki glared at the man. How dare he lecture Deku on the impossibility of being a quirkless hero when he looked like shit!
All Might looked between the two of them, his eyes suddenly widening as if there was something he just now understood.
Katsuki glared at the man. He hoped whatever the fuck All Might had realized had something to do with how he was a damn hypocrite.
When All Might started to speak, Katsuki didn’t know what he expected to hear, but it wasn’t about some fight five years ago. And it wasn’t about All Might having a timer on his quirk now.
His brain still couldn’t process the last part.
Deku was frozen beside him.
“You boys… you really are amazing.” Fucking duh. Katsuki knew that. “Heroes need to want to save people. They need to be determined to risk their own lives to do so, and all the best heroes do so instinctually.” He paused, rubbing at the back of his head. “You two…when I told you my weakness, your reaction was immediately concern. Young Midoriya, your concern wasn’t for the top hero, but for me as a person. That much was obvious. You immediately started thinking through whether or not you could help.”
Katsuki frowned, ticked off. Of course the idiot was concerned about the stupid man! “And you, young Bakugou, your concern was for the country, correct? And for my position as its top hero? You immediately asked about how I could keep saving people.”
“Tch.” It was a fucking valid concern. The world needed All Might. He’d have to be stupid not to see that.
What he didn’t understand was the last bit All Might had said. The bit about making Deku his successor. Deku, but not him. What the fuck did that even mean? They were soulmates! They did everything together! How could only one of them be the successor? Why was it Deku and not him?
He grit his teeth in frustration. Couldn’t All Might see that he couldn’t make one of them his successor and not the other?
“And you are both very driven and good at tactics, especially for your age.”
Fuck yeah they were! But then both of them should be All Might’s successor!
All Might shifted to look directly at Deku. “My boy, my quirk is unique. There has been much speculation about it. The truth is, it’s a stockpile enhancer quirk that can be passed down.”
What. The. Fuck. “Those don’t fucking exist.”
“A stockpile AND an enhancer?? How does that even work?” Of course his trusting dumbass of a soulmate just assumed the hero spoke the truth
“It is one of a kind, as far as I know, young Bakugou. I am the eighth holder.” He turned to Deku, “And, to answer your question, my boy, the quirk enhances the user’s original strengths and becomes stronger with each user.”
“If this is true, and I do mean if,” he glared at the man. “Why the hell are you telling us all of this shit?”
All Might sighed and reached toward his injury once more. “With this injury, I cannot keep going much longer. You are right, Young Bakugou. I cannot save people like I used to. I am currently looking for a successor for my quirk and…” he was watching Deku closely, “Young Midoriya, I think I just found one. Would you accept my power and use it to become a hero?”
“Ehhhh?!?!” All Might broke Deku.
Katsuki couldn’t believe this. But the hero really didn’t look like this was a lie.
But if All Might was telling the truth…
Deku… could get All Might’s quirk? If that’s what All Might meant by successor…. Katsuki’s quirk was fucking awesome. He didn’t need another one. But Deku… Deku had always wanted a quirk, but he’d also fought hard to be a hero without one…
Katsuki evaluated his soulmate, who looked like he was still in shock. Deku was staring at the #1 hero, eyes wide and uncomprehending. “B-But I—I was going to be the first quirkless hero.”
“And you could still try to do that, my boy. I think if anyone could, it would be you. But…” All Might scratched at his chin. “In my state, I am perhaps more aware than I used to be about the dangers of being a hero. Even with a quirk, I almost lost my life in that battle. Without one, I would have died. And while a hero should always run headfirst to save people, they must also be strong, or they won’t be able to save anyone.”
Katsuki watched as his soulmate’s muttering began. Going from the truth behind what All Might said, to inspiring people as a quirkless hero, to the fact that fewer were being born quirkless, that they could still stand up against bullies just as well with quirks, to the fact that he wanted to help others like him, but how he really wanted to help everyone—
All Might suddenly laughed. Katsuki blinked. That was a new reaction to the muttering. “You certainly like to theorize, my boy! You can think about it as much as you want, but in the end, it sounds like it comes down to this: Do you want to try to become a representative and beacon of hope for quirkless people, or do you want to save as many people as you can, even though you might not be able to help quirkless people in the same way as before? The decision is completely up to you.”
Katsuki frowned. They’d always thought that since Deku was Katsuki’s equal, but also quirkless, that must mean Deku must become a quirkless hero. But what if… what if he was Katsuki’s equal because of something else? What if it didn’t have to do with him being quirkless? What if Deku wasn’t meant to be the first quirkless hero… but to get fucking All Might’s quirk?!
No. They couldn’t think like that. Auntie always said they couldn’t tell where this bond would take them… That they should just be themselves and not worry about it.
Deku turned to him immediately, “Kacchan, Kacchan what should I do?” Fuck. He hated it when the shitty nerd was all lameass and indecisive. “Do whatever you want, Nerd. You’ll be my partner either way.” He paused, then added, “And we’ll also stand up for quirkless losers either way.” After all, Katsuki had been kicking ass without using his quirk for years now, and that seemed to knock since into dumbasses’ skulls. They could figure something out.
Deku burst into tears and suddenly Katsuki found his soulmate’s arms wrapped around him. “Deku, what the fuck?! Not this again!” He tried to wriggle free, but with his injured arm, it was impossible. He growled, “Let me go, you shitty nerd, and answer All Might.”
“If you need to think longer—”
“I’ll do it!” Deku finally released Katsuki, turning to face All Might. His eyes were determined once more. Katsuki grinned. “I accept, All Might! I want to save everyone! And I can save more people with a quirk!”