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You'll Be in My Heart

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“Tell me another story, another one!”

 

“What? Are you seriously not tired yet?”

 

“Not yet!”

 

“Ok... fine, there was once a man who hated stories, and bratty little girls too. So one day the little girl asked to read another story, and the man suddenly….”

 

“Turned into a wolf and gobbled her up!”

 

There was a pitch of a scream and a flurry of covers as a little girl hid under the oversized bed sheets. A flurry of giggles escaped while being relentlessly tickled above with playful growls.

 

“Stop it Katsi!” She wailed before crawling from under the covers and jumping to the floor to escape. Light brown hair cascaded into large green eyes as she took off barefoot, dragging a small red blanket around her shoulders as she ran.

 

“Hey! Get back here!”

 

She took to the corner almost tripping over her oversized nightshirt as she sprint into the living room, the blanket covering her head like a hood from the fairy tale stories. With one bound she leaped over the couch, ducking behind pillows safely away from his sight. When heavy footsteps grew near she leaped with a shout, “I got you now wolf!”

 

Katsuki felt her body collide into his as he allowed himself to fall to the floor with a loud ‘THUMP.’ The girl screamed in surprise when he grinned then grabbed her shoulders with a “you fell for my trap, now you can never escape your bedtime.”

 

“No!” She wailed, desperately trying to pull away from his grasp, “I won’t let you, you’re a big bad wolf!”

 

“I’m not a wolf!” Katsuki teased playfully with a smirk. The girl tugged again from his grasp and gazed at him with glassy green eyes.

 

“But...but what big eyes you have!?”

 

“It’s better to see you with!”

 

“Oh..well, but what big hands you have!”

 

“The better to hug you with!” He wrapped his arms around her and she squealed in laughter.

 

“But...but what big teeth you has!”

 

She giggled when he leaned into her, smirking with playful parental humor.

 

“All the better to-”

 

There was a knock at the door, startling the two from the playful, childish roleplay. Katsuki lost his grip as she slid from him and she raced to the door with an excited, “I’ll get it!”

 

“Hey! Wait, don’t just fuckin open the-!”

 

The little girl giggled and threw open the door, a large man in a dark suit and tinted glasses stood at the steps and she stared at him with awe. Her stature seemed to lose a bit of vigor as she grabbed her arm slowly as if contemplating her decision.


“Hello.” She replied shyly, the man gazed at her with a, “hello, Izabelle, is it? My, you are adorable.”

 

She looked back frantically, spotting Katsuki who was briskly walking toward the door with a frown, “and who might you be?”

 

“Stan.” The man replied, “child protective services, may I have a word?”

 

“No.”

 

“Excuse me, let me rephrase that, I would like a word with you, Mr. Katsuki is it? Or would you prefer Ground Zero?”

 

“Bakugou,” Katsuki replied tartly.

 

The man gave a silent smile at the reply, he took his glasses off and placed them in his pocket. The little girl hugged the door watching the exchange. Bakugou looked down then replied, “go to to my room Izzy, ok? I have to talk to cosplay Men in Black for a moment. How about you draw me something while you wait?”

 

“Ok.” She hesitated for a moment then raced toward the room in the back of the building.

 

“Are you always this funny to newcomers or is it just natural?”

 

“It’s a gift,” Bakugou replied sarcastically with a cross of his arms. “Can I help you?” He continued.

 

“Yes you can, it’s about…”

 

“I know what it’s about, your name and title suggest otherwise; what I want to know is... can I help you?”

 

The man smiled, “they told me you had an abrasive personality back at HQ, straight to the point. I see where the rumors come from. I would have never seen you house a child... but here we are.”

 

Stan continued, “from what I can understand you are neither her father nor her relative, yet you have claimed her as her…”

 

“Guardian.” Bakugou inserted with a frown then continued,  “and, your point? She has guardians, multiple guardians. The paperwork was accessed the yesterday if you don’t believe me.”

 

“It’s not in the matter of whether I believe you Mr. Katsuki,” Bakugou frowned at the use of his first name,  “it’s in regards to the child's health and growth. She needs to be with family, her real family.”

 

“Her REAL family is either dead or sleeping away in a hospital bed.” Bakugou snapped, there was a pop in his fist from the comment and the man at the door faltered for a moment from his sudden adverse reaction.

 

“Her secondary family Mr. Katsuki.”

 

“So this is a battle of bloodlines now? Let me ask you a question…. Stan, where were these family members while she waited at the hospital alone? Where are they now?”

 

“Classified.”

 

“Of course, you want to know what I think Cosplay?  I think you’re hiding something and I would be damned to let something happen to this kid.”

 

“She’s not your responsibility, and you can call me Mr. Bradle.”

 

“When I signed to be a guardian, she became my responsibility.”

 

There was a sigh and the man leaned back on one foot, stretching his back simultaneously.

 

“I don’t expect you to understand from your upbringing and past, but let this stand as a warning that we will not be letting this go. The child has minimum rights under your protection and should have an opportunity to live with a family in a….more habitable place.”

 

“I don’t see what’s wrong here Cosplay.”

 

Bakugou felt his eyes stray away from him as they scanned over the single couch, a tv and minimalist kitchen. Two bedrooms were down the hall with a single bathroom in between them.

 

“You’re a pro-hero Mr. Ground Zero, how long are you really planning on playing Nanny before you realize you have a job to do?”

 

The man took out pen and paper, flipping through it, “Single, lives alone, workaholic. We have your gratitude as a hero and keeping the streets safe but as a father figure…” He snapped the book shut, “you just have no time.”

 

The man shuffled his hand in his pocket before pulling out a single business card, he flicked it across his fingers before offering it to Katsuki. The pro hero stared at the parchment then let his eyes fall back to the man, refusing the take the card. Stan smiled from the reaction and dipped his head slightly toward Katsuki with an “I’ll let you think about it. About what’s best for her.”

 

The man straightened up and began to turn away, as he did his eyes slid back toward Katsuki one final time, “Regardless of your desires Mr. Bakugou, she cannot stay with you and your current circumstances as a single pro hero, let alone the number one hero. As a guardian, you should know that better than anyone else.”

 

“Have a good evening.”

 

Bakugou watched the man retreat from his steps back down the dark path, the moon casting an eerie glow against his outfit as he walked further away. Bakugou closed his fists with a pop and slammed the door shut. A little louder than he had wanted. He leaned his head forward against the cool door frame feeling a heavy mixture of feelings swarm in his head.

 

There was a soft patter of footsteps and the little girl appeared, gazing at him with those big green eyes.

 

“Who was that?”

 

Katsuki leaned back, giving the girl a quick glance, feeling impatience and anger bubble underneath his unresponsive stature. Crouching down to her level Bakugou couldn’t find the will to look her in the eyes.

 

“No one important.” He ruffled her hair before spotting the tears that trailed down her face, she held the little red blanket twisted in her hands.

 

“Why are you crying, Izzy?”

 

She wiped the tears across her long sleeves, “I thought…” She paused, more tears pooling, “I thought I was going to leave you... Everyone...everyone says mean things and...”

 

Smart kid.

 

Bakugou was quiet watching the girl suck in a deep breath then exhale with a pitiful bout of sniffling and coughs.

 

What a mess. You're Deku's kid alright. Shit. 

 

“Yeah, people can be really mean sometimes.” Bakugou watched her rub her eyes, gazing into his own.

 

“But I’ll always have your back kid-do you really think I would just let someone walk in here and take you away from me? The Katsi?! Who do you take me as?”

 

He watched her eyes light up, a giggle bursting through the coughs. Bakugou leaned forward with a smirk, “besides, who would play red riding hood with me if you were gone?”

 

Izabelle’s eyes seemed to shine from that statement and she squealed playfully as he bared his teeth, leaping forward as she took off again only managing to swipe her little red blanket. Katsuki let out a “you can run but you can’t hide!”

He chased her across the living room, into the kitchen, the bedroom then back into the kitchen where he tired her out. She was desperately trying to climb onto the kitchen counter where he snatched her and threw her over his shoulder. She began to fight against him for a moment but quickly slumped forward with a yawn.

Katsuki closed various cabinets and drawers, putting away various items that had strewn about from their chase. As he found himself back in the living room Izabelle’s weight shifted, growing heavy and limp, her breath even as she fell asleep across his shoulders. There was a faint sound from the TV as he snatched her blanket from the floor then folded it up and laid it on the couch.

 

“But why were the villains after the previous number one hero?”

 

“They targeted multiple hero and heroine families. The public is beginning to worry about the strategy involved, Dan, tell me, do you think the public has to worry about this new threat?”

 

“Stacy, there have always been threats. They are just getting more organized. I’m more worried about that little girl, both of her parents are unable to care for her now. With pro hero Uraviity dead and pro hero Deku in the hospital, who will care for her?”

 

“There have been rumors….”

 

Bakugou shut off the tv.

With every hero graduating there is an equal villain growing alongside them, waiting in their shadow.

 

Feeling his chest tighten Katsuki slumped down onto the couch. The little girl slid into his arms, snoring quietly as she held him loosely around the waist. Leaning back Katsuki threw his feet up on the cushions, leaning into the soft material. Digging his hand through Izabelle’s soft hair he looked up at the ceiling to count the little popcorn tiles in quiet thought. Bakugou willed away the dangerous force boiling in his chest. He wanted to vomit, he wanted to scream, to cry...to run away, to blow something up. Closing his eyes he instead let off a soft sigh feeling Izabelle under in his arms, her stray brown hair tickling his cheek.

 

She was almost four years old. Too young to lose a parent. Way too young to lose both.

 

Support hero Uravity’s photograph was pictured across all the news stations alongside countless other heroes and heroines. One by one their faces were piled across the media with the title of their hero name and a brief description. His half-opened eyes fell on the little girl who’s brunette hair cascaded across his chest. Uraraka was gone, and she wasn’t coming back either. Izabelle was too young to fully understand. She had asked a few times where her mother was; Bakugou explained she had protected many people, and she wasn’t going to come back. But little Izabelle still didn’t understand, continuing to ask if she would see her mother soon and what the word “dead” meant.

 

If he was honest with himself, he wasn’t cut out for the parenting gig. He couldn’t lie to her, pretend everything is going to be ok like half and half does for his shitty brats. Because in all reality, it wasn’t ok. Nothing was going to be ok, and things are going to be very different for the tyke. With Uravities family killed in a mass slaughter and Deku’s family unaware, it was left to Izabelle’s closet guardians to care for her until the chaos toned down to a more manageable roar. It has only been over a day since he found the brat, alone, terrified. The news of the terrorist attacks on the city flooding the streets. But he already knew; he would do almost anything for her. Even the greatest sacrifice... the very sacrifice her parents chose. The same sacrifice that ended him watching his friend fall to the streets. The sacrifice that cut away a little girl from the only life she knew.

Bakugou felt his fist tighten, anger slipping across his thoughts as he pictured Deku lying on the hospital bed, limp, lifeless. The medical support heroes had explained to him and his other close friends in the area that he suffered life-threatening brain damage. He may never wake up.

Bakugou shut his eyes, taking in a harsh breath to calm the rising nerves seeing Deku so vulnerable, so weak. Even as a child when they were young he had never seen him so….so...lifeless.

 

The damned idiot was in that position strictly because of his selfless attitude. Protecting someone. Sacrificing himself like he was worth nothing compared to the lives he stood in front of. He should be dead. But...Bakugou knew better. Even the reaper couldn’t drag Deku away from someone who desperately called out to him. It was apart of the job after all. Being a hero. Even on death row the boy would kick and scream to continue protecting people who had absolutely no right to ask for his help.

 

“Selfless moron” Bakugou mumbled quietly under his breath.

 

The only thing keeping him from staying sane was that the villain in charge of the operation was locked below behind bars, presently under heavy interrogation. The bruises that lined Bakugou’s arms reminded him of the struggle that knocked the villain out. The sweet strike of revenge after watching his rival, his friend get so easily struck down from the cruel mind games. It was simple, really. The organization had planned a large scale terrorist attack, striking multiple different families from across the country at once. Stealing children, mothers, brothers away from families and demanding outrageous acts against other heroes. Hero turned against hero in order to protect their own family. No one understood the extent of the chaos until it was too late. But by then, the detonations had begun and the city was under high alert, issuing emergency requests and aid from other heroes in nearby countries.

The city went up in flames, quite literally. Bakugou had never seen such an attack. No one has.

If he had his way, Katsuki would chase after the remainder of the organization, go rogue and bring the bodies one by one until Deku finally woke up from his slumber.

Those plans, unfortunately, were never going to be carried out. Why? Bakugou opened his eyes hearing the soft snores of the little girl snuggling into his loose nightshirt, mumbling quietly every few seconds. The sound brought a soft smile across his lips, his sole remaining comfort.

 

Growing up he rarely saw Izabelle. She was a pretty little girl who was shy and sweet, similar to her two popular and adored pro hero parents. When Deku or Uravity were busy with their careers they would reach out to their parents and occasionally Todoroki and Momo for babysitting. Typically, Bakugou was always working alongside Deku during their missions and when Deku took time off, Bakugou usually continued to keep the streets safe without him.

 

Katsuki never quite enjoyed being around kids and when Deku showed Izabelle off as a couple week old brat; Bakugou just wanted to cry alongside her when she was shoved into his arms.

The exchange was awkward, Deku beaming all proud while Bakugou stood there with a crying child in public. He had grudgingly agreed to be a side guardian, though he explicitly told Izuku that he’d prefer to be the last one to care for the tyke if things were to go south for them. Deku just said he was one of his best friends, his hero duo partner and that being a guardian in general for Izabelle was enough. He trusted him. Really, the punk trusted people too easy.

 

For celebrations and birthdays, Bakugou just showed up to one; her third birthday. He didn’t bring her anything, only showing up because it was conveniently after work and Deku was outright begging him. He had gone on to say he was Izabelle's favorite hero, showing pictures of the tyke hugging a ground zero plush with an orange and black blanket wrapped tightly around her.

 

“Sounds like someone familiar.” Deku had flushed at Katsuki's comment, throwing an arm behind his head in embarrassment.

 

“Yeah, Uravity wasn’t a fan, she tried to convince Belle that Froppy was the best, but she threw away the goggles. Uraraka wasn’t happy about that; She said she liked you because of how loud you are.”

 

Bakugou smirked, he wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or a snide remark, but choose not to comment.

Deku continued with a shrug, “I think it’s the explosions she likes.”

 

“Smart kid. Fine, I’ll show up for a little while and…” Katsuki was caught halfway through his sentence, strong arms wrapped around his chest, embracing him in a tight hug. Bakugo tensed under the grip, feeling heat travel to his face.

 

“Thank you Kacchan! She’s going to be so excited, she’ll love to see you.”

 

“Ok ok, enough with the affection.” Bakugou replied, feeling Izuku let go just as fast as he latched on. His face rosy, he backed up and rubbed his arm down, “r-right, sorry, got carried away again huh?”

 

Bakugou rolled his eyes watching him fluster, “you don't want Uravity getting jealous again do you?”

 

Deku laughed, “she’s not jealous, wait, was she? Is she mad because we’re duo heroes and not...”

 

“Deku!” Bakugou had begun to walk away and looked back with an annoyed expression, “come on you mumbling shit, I don’t have all day, I’m tired, let’s get this over with.”

 

“R..right.” He replied with a smile before quickly catching up to him.

Walking side by side he gazed at Bakugou with big green eyes, “you’re amazing.”

 

“What?”

 

“I said you’re amazing!”

 

Bakugou blinked then gazed down at the little girl who stared at him from the floor. She held the little Ground zero plush, green eyes gleaming up at Katsuki as if he were All Might himself back in his prime days. She hugged the ground zero plush tightly and took in a breath, her smile growing larger by the second.

 

“You’re so cool, you can run and fly and hit and kick--” She did all the moves while she talked then fell on her butt with a frown. Bakugou watched her rub her back with a quiet, “ow.”

 

“Don’t annoy Ground Zero ok Izabelle?” Uraraka’s direct voice came from the other room.

"Don't need my home blown to bits…" he heard her grumble more quietly.

 

“Yes, momma.” She replied then rolled her eyes with a quiet, “whatever.”

 

Bakugou smiled, he liked this kid. What an attitude. Crouching down to her level he ruffled her hair with his gloved hand, “parents are the worst huh?”

 

She looked up, eyes tinted with a smile and nodded, “yeah!”

 

“Hey, don’t say things like that,” Deku replied, he walked back in the room and plopped on the couch with a book, curling his legs under him- he began to read.

 

“Well, it’s not a lie, her’s are the worst.”

 

Deku didn’t look up and only stuck out his tongue in response. The little girl raced over to her father and jumped up and down to try to get on the couch.

 

“Read to me?” She suddenly asked.

 

Deku gave her a confused glance, “I read to you every night shortcake, Kacchan is here now, why don’t you talk to him? I thought that’s what you wanted?”

 

“Kaccha?” She tried to pronounce and looked over to Ground zero in question. Deku smirked at her trying the name and failing.

 

“Zero?” She asked. Deku laughed, Katsuki frowned.

 

“Ok, ok what about Kat then?”

 

“No, no way, she’s not going to call me Kat,” Katsuki replied with the fold of his arms across his chest.

 

“I agree with Bakugou, can you say Katsuki?” Ochako asked, appearing from the other room, an apron around her waist. With a soft smile, she leaned over the couch to look at her daughter.

 

“Katsi!” She tried to repeat. Bakugou groaned, “great more nicknames.”

 

“Could be worse.” Deku smiled toward the explosive hero before returning to his book.

 

“Like Zero?” Ochako supplied, Deku smirked.

 

“Screw you.”

 

“Language.” Uraraka snapped then nodded toward the little girl who looked at them all during the exchange.

 

“What? It’s not like the brat won’t pick up colorful words when she hits junior high.”

 

“We’ll figure that out when she gets there, don’t need to speed that up,” Uraraka huffed then returned to the kitchen.

 

“Katsi?”

 

“Oh great, it stuck,” Bakugou replied tartly, the little girl was looking at him.

 

She leaned back and forth on her toes, “read to me?”

 

“I don’t even have a book, your dad does.”

 

She looked at her father then back at Bakugou, Deku smirked, “she wants you to.”

 

“She’s going to be disappointed.”

 

“Come on Kacchan.”

 

“Hey, life is full of disappointments.”

 

Deku rolled his eyes, he folded his legs under him Indian style, giving up the fight.

Bakugou walked over and grabbed the kid from under the arms, he plopped on the couch beside the one for all user then placed her on his lap. Izabelle leaned back with a smile, her bright green eyes watching him as Bakugou leaned into Deku to see what he was reading.

 

“Kacchan, ever heard of personal space?”

 

“No.” He replied, his hair entwining into his, the little girl giggled when Deku's face flushed a dusted pink.

 

“In theory, it was known that the reactor was completely unstable but it didn't’ stop the boy from trying to protect his friend-”

 

“Kacchan, would you stop reading over my shoulder?”

 

“What, the kid wanted me to read to her. What the heck are you reading anyway? A romance novel? You’re into this kind of stuff, how did I not know that?” Deku shut his book with a sigh, his face continuing to dust a shade of dark pink.

 

"Hey Belle, you want to show Kacchan what you showed me today?"

 

Izabelle looked back and forth at the boys then shook her head enthusiastically with an “ok!”. She hopped off Katsuki’s lap and raced to her room.

 

Bakugou watched her go then looked at Deku with a teasing smirk, "if you wanted some alone time with me, you could have just asked."

 

"Cut it out Kacchan! You never miss a chance to poke fun at me, do you?" Deku replied then shook his head, " also, we spend loads of time together at HQ anyway, the lobby is practically ours for how often we spend inside."

 

"Well excuse me, who was the one begging who to come over today for some more quality time?"

 

Deku rolled his eyes and leaned back with a stretch, "you're always welcome here you know. It doesn’t have to be like that. Izabelle would love to see you more often outside of 'take your kids to work day.'"

 

"What, and watch you and round face suck face in your spare time while I see the brat, no thanks?"

 

"Kacchan, we wouldn't do that with you around."

 

There was something quiet and unspoken in his words that caused Bakugou to shift his gaze to his duo partner next to him. Deku’s own eyes were no longer trained on him, but instead looked out the window quietly. It was uncanny. No mumbling, no talking. Just... silence. Bakugou sat there for a moment just watching him stare and he began to wonder what the real issue was underneath the reaction. Was there something going on between him and round face? From all the media shots and the news articles, they were always made out to be the sweetheart couple of the century. People looked up to them as a relationship standard, the top tier support and front line heroes. Not that Katsuki cared to dig up any relationship drama, but when the nerd was emotionally ridden it showed in his fighting abilities. With the contract of duo heroes hanging over their heads, it was crucial that they keep a level head during missions. This meant sharing a little bit more than they usually would with their ordinary friends. Of course, letting loose a barrage of emotional baggage and secrets was already second nature to them since the beginning of UA. It wasn’t hard to tell when Deku was hiding something, he practically wore his emotions directly on his sleeves.

 

Bakugou huffed, “ok, so what’s going on, are you and round face...uh…” He paused, unsure of why he was asking, it really wasn’t his business. But seeing the mopey look on his face pissed him off, especially since he seemed content just a few moments ago.  

Deku glanced at Bakugou, "oh, Uraraka and I are doing alright."

"We can be busy with our jobs. She started a new support program and is traveling a lot. Then, of course, we travel a lot too…" he paused and offered a small smile, "Belle gets mad at us sometimes. But I'm glad we have our parents and good friends to help out."

 

"She's a kid she’ll understand when she grows up." Bakugou supplied with a shrug. Not quite satisfied with the answer.

"Maybe," Deku muttered then leaned his head into the palm of his hand.

 

Another quiet minute passed between the two heroes and Katsuki nudged Deku from his stupor, "you want to fight tonight? It'll make ya feel better ya miserable ass."

 

Bakugou smirked at his duo partner who offered him a glance, "what is this, fight club now? You do mean training right?"

 

"No, I want to beat the shit out of you."

 

"Really, with you, I can't tell the difference sometimes," Deku replied with a sigh and leaned his head back against the couch, closing his eyes.

 

"Ouch, and here I thought we were proper rivals, mopey killjoy."

 

"Well, I thought we were friends," Deku replied tartly, quietly. Bakugou hesitated, the voice sounded a bit harsh than he was used to, it was sharp- digging into him like a knife. What the hell was going on? What caused this reaction?

It was quiet between the two of them once again.

 

"Howitzer impact!" A yell broke the silence as the little girl had climbed up the back of the couch and flung herself forward toward the two unsuspecting boys.

Bakugou let his eyes slide to the girl, a small smile etched his lips seeing the mask and orange flames shooting out from either side, dark green gloves outstretched.

 

I really like this kid . Bakugou mused to himself as she crashed heavily against his shoulders. Bakugou leaned forward and twisted to fall to the floor-sending both him and the little girl flying off the couch. She let out a playful scream of surprise as she lay on top of him. Deku shifted on the couch, ready to offer assistance but soon realized Bakugou was only acting as he lay on the floor lifeless. Deku hesitated then relaxed, leaning back in the couch with a soft smile. He chose not to interfere with the rare playful interaction.

 

"You killed ground zero Belle. What have you done?" Deku teased. The girl stared then looked at her hands. She was quiet for a moment then looked back at Deku with large green eyes.

 

“So am I the number one hero now?”

 

Deku stared at her, on the verge of both laughing and silent surprise from her words.

 

“I don’t think you understand how that works.” Deku supplied, “you don’t get to be number one hero by killing a number one hero.” He paused, “and besides, Kacchan isn’t number one right now anyway.”

 

“You want to run that by me again Deku?”

 

“He’s alive!” Izabelle cried out and pushed against Katsuki’s shoulders in an attempt to subdue him again as he sat up eyeing Deku from the floor with a challenge.

 

“Hey, it is what it is, I don’t make the solo ratings.” He winked at the blonde boy on the floor, “besides its all a popularity contest anyway, you said so yourself, didn’t ya? It’s only been a couple of months since we switched spots again.”

 

Bakugou grumbled on the floor, the little girl still trying to relentlessly push him down with aggressive growls, he spared her an amused glance then rolled his eyes, “it's only because you have the dream family and a sweet charming attitude that wins over all the sensitive females. It’s not skill based these days.”

 

“There, there Kacchan, I only beat you a few times the past few months in training. So we can call it even. Besides, you have the single girls swooning over you and bad boys at your door begging to spend time training together.”

 

Bakugou flushed at his comment and swatted at the little girl who climbed up his shoulders with a mighty, tiny roar. Izabelle began to pull him back to the ground due to weight and gravity. Bakugou roughly shook her off him, giving Izabelle a glare as she was flung on the floor beside the explosive pro hero. She stared at Katsuki head-on, glaring in return.

 

“You want to try me too little punk?” Bakugou challenged her.

 

The little girl put up her fists with a mighty frown and yelled, “fight me then!”

She then smiled so large, Bakugou thought his heart was going to melt. He was stunned into silence watching her square her shoulders, looking directly up at him. The mask was falling halfway off her face, revealing the big green eyes brimming with a challenge.

The little green gloves shone with white and orange in the palms to represent an explosion and Bakugou felt a small smile creep up, his head tilting just a little watching her fearlessly take up the challenge against him.

 

“Izabelle! That is enough! What did I tell you about acting this way with other people?”

 

Izabelle looked over the couch to see Uraraka staring at her with large, brown, downcast eyes. Izabelle crossed her arms definitely, “Katsi isn’t just other people momma.”

 

“He’s my hero.”  

 

There was silence as she glared at her mother from the distance.

Bakugou felt something in him catch fire as he watched her look back his way with such a smile that he swore he could see a little Deku sitting in front of him, saying the same thing so many years ago. Katsuki let his shoulders down, releasing all tension and reached out, laying a hand on her head. He swiped his thumb over the dark brown hair across her eyes, back behind her ear. Ruffling her head gently he watched her giggle from the interaction. He was silent, uncertain on what to say, feeling happier than he has in many, many years.

 

“Come on Izabelle, I have dinner ready, you don’t want it to be cold again do you?”

 

Izabelle jumped to her feet with a “no!”, she scrambled up the couch and started to leap over the top of it. But looked back with a frown, “can Katsi stay Momma?”

 

Uraraka looked up, the two of them exchanged a glance and she smiled, “of course, but only if he wants to.”

 

Bakugou watched the little girl leap over the couch, landing on her feet with an excited huff before following her mom into the kitchen.

 

“Your kid is cynical as fuck,” Bakugou smirked after the little girl and Uraraka were out of hearing range. “Killing a hero to become number one, shit Deku, what are you teaching her?”

 

“Happens when her role model is foul-mouthed with an explosive temper on the battlefield.”

 

“Yeah, well, you sure as hell didn’t turn out that way, Mr. ‘you were the closest hero to me growing up bullshit’.”

 

Deku laughed, “you’re right. I guess she is just going through a phase. She’s competitive with most of the kids around her age. Apparently, she made the twins cry the other day so we’re taking a break from Todoroki’s babysitting services.”

 

Bakugou laughed at this, “half and halfs kids are softies? I’m going to rub that in his face the next chance I get. Who knew the softest kids in UA would create a spitfire little brat such as her. I guess two positives can make a negative eh?”

 

“Kacchan don’t say such things.” He muttered with a cross of his arms. The two of them were quiet for a moment as Katsuki shifted his weight to sitting back straight on the floor. Deku’s eyes were elsewhere in the room lost in thought again. Then a smile touched his lips and his eyes traveled back to Bakugou.

 

"You know...you're good with her, with kids."

 

"I hate kids." Bakugou mused with a huff then crossed his arms. An amused smile touched Deku’s lips as he saw Bakugou refused to meet his eyes.  

 

"Are you sure about that?"

 

"Bakugou, are you sure about that?"

 

Bakugou blinked, his vision hazy from the angry tears that dared to fall from the chaos surrounding him. Two little arms gripped his neck tight as people surrounded him with questions.

 

"We have more than enough room for her." There was a chorus of screaming from a toddler then a cry from the second one. Todoroki stood in front of him holding a little girl with bright red hair. She was crying, wailing in fear from the noises brought on from the hospital. A second boy with white hair stood beside him, holding his father's pant-leg.

 

"I can't stand your brats, I doubt she’ll fare any better."

 

"They're just scared Bakugou. Kids cry when they're scared."

 

"Well, yours are broken because all they do is scream. All damn day."

 

"Bakugou that's not even remotely true."

 

As if on cue the screaming started again from the little girl with bright red hair. Bakugou leaned away with a frown, patience thin.

 

"Uh huh, yeah, wait hold on-Bakugou I have a room available as well. You don't have to-"

 

"Shut up four eyes, you've been on the phone longer than you spent actually having a conversation." Iida, dressed formally stared at him then mumbled more quietly, "I'm going to have to call you back. Uh huh."

 

"When you run a business you tend to be busy," Iida replied swiping the phone off to present a calculated gaze against him.

"I have space and I'm home often since I started my new safety street program."

 

"Stay off the streets and stay in the sheets." Iida proclaimed.

 

"Sounds more and more ridiculous every time I hear that,"  Katsuki replied. Lifting his arm up a tad to readjust the little girl clinging onto him, her head dug into the crook of his neck.

 

"Street safety is not a laughing matter Bakugou. It is that very attitude why you are alone in the first place."

 

Bakugou faltered from the accusation, he straightened his back, pulling his arms in closer to hold the little girl clinging onto him. Bakugou wanted to blow the former class rep right on the spot, he wanted to see the smoke trail from his burned clothes. But instead, he chose to stay quiet, letting the words sink deep into his veins- feeling it twist deep in his chest. Gritting his teeth he bit back a retort on his own failed relationships. The boy was intelligent, honorable and diligent to what he dedicated his time to. Unfortunately, that dedicated time was spent on his hero business rather than any relationship he managed to hang onto for however months they lasted, or so last he heard from Mina and Kirishima.

 

Iida's phone suddenly began to vibrate and Bakugou stared at glasses in challenge. Daring him to answer to call. A few seconds rolled by and Iida didn’t lift his gaze away from him.

 

"You going to answer that?" Katsuki challenged after the phone continued to buzz.

 

Iida frowned for a moment longer then answered it, turning away from the group with a “yes, hello, this is Ingenium.”

 

"Thought so," Bakugou replied with a frown.

‘You may have the space but where is your time four eyes?’

 

Todoroki watched quietly, bouncing the crying girl in his arms to an acceptable whine, "Apologizes Bakugou, Iidas been pretty busy and stressed out with his startup, but I agree. He wouldn't be the best to watch Izabelle right now. "

 

"Glad you see it my way."

 

"But neither are you."

 

"What? What the hell are you talking about?”

 

“That. That right there. You don’t know how to act with a child around, let alone talk. You speak freely with little to no filter and zero worry about the backlash from your image. People have grown used to your attitude- but this isn’t another hero job Bakugou, this is a child.”

 

“Thank you for clearing that up for me,” Bakugou replied tartly, he felt the little girl tighten her grip around his shoulder, she continued to stay quiet.

 

“I’m serious Bakugou,” Todoroki replied.

 

“As am I.”

 

The two of them continued to stare at one another, the beeping of the hospital, the shouts from the employees, Iida's sharp comments on the phone just behind them all blurring together in one chaotic mess. Soon it won’t be only the twins screaming; Bakugou was moments away from losing his patience with not only Deku’s ridiculously protective friends but the whole hospital setting in general.

 

“You don’t even have anything for her.” Todoroki challenged.

 

“I have a second room, a bed, and a couch. Shitty hair and raccoon eyes keep sending me blankets for my birthday as a joke to soften me up. So I have plenty of spare bedding.”

 

“You don’t have any experience.”

 

“I had a cat for a while.”

 

“She’s a kid Bakugou.”

 

“I was kidding, shit icy hot, she’s human, how do you think I'm still alive? You just need to to know the basics.”

 

“You never took interest in her welfare before, why now Bakugou? What changed?”

 

Bakugou hesitated, “I…”

 

Todoroki waited as Bakugou fell silent, What changed?

 

What changed?

 

What...Changed…?

 

Bakugou stood alone, the rain soaking in his clothes, the cuts, and bruises along his arms fresh and forgotten. His eyes trained on the support heroes quickly flooding the streets around him. A pair of duo heroes leaned over a lifeless body covered in colors of brown, green, and red. There was a flash of lightning that lit up the street up- it was littered with bodies. Bakugou took a step away, feeling sticky sweat cake between his fingers.

 

What did he do? What did they do? Everything happened...so fast.

 

Everything was chaotic. People were screaming, crying, wailing. Sirens chorused between the falling raindrops as blood and tears mixed painfully into the streets. He could see the heroes that came to his aid, a few of them passed him by, chasing down others who hollered for help. Begging for help. Bakugou felt hot tears daring to surface as the rain danced across his face and across his worn and torn shoulder pads. His gauntlets lost in the waves of chaos, he let his eyes fall to what mattered. The boy. The hero. The real hero. Laying in the road, surrounded by countless support heroes; Bakugou watched medics rush forward, shouting, screaming for medical assistance.

 

“No,” Bakugou whispered, the rain catching his words.

 

He was too late.

 

“Get back, shock in three…” A man who leaned over the still body shouted orders for the others surrounding him who held up a tarp to keep the rain away.

 

He was always too damn late.

 

“No...”

 

“Two”

 

“Not you...”

 

“One”

 

“Why you..?”

 

“CLEAR!”

 

“Why….” Bakugou’s throat tightened, he could barely get breath back in his lungs as he watched lightning strike the skies, lighting up the heroes that swarmed around him.

 

“Again, I need someone to switch CPR, someone help, I need-”

 

“No!”

 

But no one heard him scream.

A roll of thunder took it away just as quick as it came. Hot tears flowed down Katsuki’s cheeks as he watched his rival, his duo partner... his best friend lay there unresponsive in the mud. Bakugou felt his chest tighten as he continued to helplessly watch more crew members surround the hero; people voiced to get him inside a vehicle, others ordered to keep him still. Chaos.

 

Then he heard crying. It was faint, so faint he almost missed it.

 

Bakugou felt something deep down inside him break. Shaking, he cast his eyes to an abandoned alleyway beside him. There in the dark sat a little girl with beautiful brown hair that barely touched her shoulders. She was so young, big green eyes staring, watching as smoke and rain filtered around the streets. She sat behind a dumpster against the alleyway; he could barely even see her, her crying almost completely lost in the rain.

 

Bakugou turned completely around and stared at the little girl hiding in the dirty alley, away from the chaos, the fires, the rain. His stomach twisted seeing the large green eyes catch his; fear flickered across them as she pulled herself farther away from his sight.

 

“Izabelle?” Bakugou called and she pulled her feet away into the darkness. Bakugou took a step away from the mess behind him, focusing on the little girl who was trying to desperately hide; alone, cold and frightened to death.

 

Bakugou knelled down to peer in between the crevice of the wall and dumpster. He saw the tears that stained her cheeks, the twisted brown hair that stuck across her face. The dirt that raced across her forehead and arms, the cuts across her legs. She pulled farther away when they caught eyes and Bakugou felt something knot deep inside. Something inside him broke seeing how terrified she was…. how terrified when she looked at him. But then something….something else, something warm etched around his heart seeing her cry so hard she shook with each little breath. The little orange hoodie she wore was muddied and torn, the hood lightly covering her forehead.

 

“Izabelle?” he asked again and she took in a shaky breath, shutting her eyes as if she couldn’t see him-he would just disappear.

 

“Izabelle, come stop your crying, come here.”

 

She squinted her eyes open, fresh tears falling and she shook her head to the side without a sound.

 

Bakugou reached forward with a desperate hand, shaking and soaked from the rain. He could barely feel the water that cascaded down his back and bounded off his uniform. Katsuki had tuned out the chaos that continued behind him as he kept his hand outstretched, willing the little girl to trust him. He wasn’t going to leave her.

 

“It’s me Izzy, remember Katsi?”

 

He watched her catch eyes with him and she crawled forward hesitantly with a quiet, “Katsi..?”

 

Bakugou leaned forward and reached as far back as he could as she crawled toward him. She tentatively reached out, barely touching his outstretched gloved hand with her scuffed bare ones. Her little hand shook as she touched him, a wave of anger and sadness washed against Bakugou as he gently grabbed her wrist, pulling her toward him. Perhaps it was instinct. Perhaps it was something else. But Katsuki had never been more relieved in his life to see those big green eyes and that messy brown hair. He leaned back into the rain, pulling the little girl with him into the open. Bakugou took no time to wrap an arm around her shoulder, the other lay gently across her head. Izabelle looked up, wide, scared eyes gazing into his. Bakugou slowly ruffled her hair, moving a strand of wet hair out from her eyes and back behind her ears.

 

The little girl reached up and leaned forward to touch his face, where his mask once was.

 

“Where’s your mask Katsi?”

 

Katsuki felt his chest tighten, his mask burned halfway to bits from his heated battle between the rogue villains and the chaotic organization spawned from them.

 

“It’s gone, Spitfire.” Bakugou supplied, the little girl shuffled under his hand and reached behind her, she had a small, dirty and frayed fanny bag across her hip. She pulled out the handmade duplicate mask of her own and held it out for him, shaking.

 

“You can’t be a brave...a brave hero…..without...without it…” Bakugou watched as she held it up, tears flowing freely from her big green eyes.

 

“You...you’re brave...and strong and without…” She caught her breath between a fit of tears.

 

Bakugou leaned forward, he took the mask and slowly wrapped it around her face. Eyes watering she looked up at him as he replied, “then I guess you need it more than me.”

 

He watched the combination of tears and rain flow across the material as they sat in the alleyway, alone.

 

“I….” She started, “I...I can’t...be a hero...because...because I’m scared Katsi.”

 

The tears were camouflaged from the rain as he leaned toward her with a forced smile, “want to know a secret spitfire?”

 

She looked up at him with a very slow nod.

 

“I’m scared too.”

 

Her big green eyes caught his and for a moment they just sat there gazing at one another. Then she reached out with one arm then another, her lips wobbling, arms shaking, leaning forward and suddenly she was wrapping her arms tightly around his neck. The gesture didn’t surprise him, and as if by instinct, Katuski wrapped his arms around her shoulders, pulling her in close, shielding her from the wind and the rain. Izabelle shook so violently that he felt his own body shake in answer. Leaning his head down he held her, the tears flowing freely from his face, into her tangled brown hair. A flash of lightning lit up the pair as they held one another, too afraid to let go.

 

“I thought you were gone too,” Bakugou whispered . ‘

“I’ll protect you. I promise... I will always protect you.”

 

“...Because I am here.”

 

“Katsi?”

 

Bakugou felt his eyes open, warm, fresh tears sliding across his cheeks as two big green eyes stared at him across his chest. His eyes darted across the room, realizing he was on his couch; he had dozed off, the little girl lay on his chest, nuzzled under his chin. She was so close he could smell her bubblegum mint toothpaste and feel every little breath she took. And each one she did he felt more and more relieved, resting his arm across her back he leaned his head back, the remainder of tears rolling to the sides, soaking into the couch.

 

“Are you crying Katsi?”

 

He was quiet for a second, debating if he should argue with the three-year-old or not.

 

“Because...I didn’t mean it... you are not a big bad wolf. I promise!”

 

Bakugou felt a smile touch his lips, the little girl gripped his shirt in earnest and he gazed toward her, seeing the glassy look of guilt written across her little face. Damn, she was adorable. How could he ever be mad at that face? He tried to keep himself from laughing as he brushed one his hands over her hair, “are you sure about that?”

 

She smiled, touching his cheek so gently he felt a piece of him break away with it.

 

“Yeah, I’m sure.” She laid her head back down on his chest, her other hand gripping his shirt tightly.

 

“Big bad wolves don’t give good hugs.”

 

Bakugou tightened his hold against her back, pulling her in, his chest tight from her words. She let her hands slide down across his shoulders, holding him in return. No words came as he felt fresh tears surface. Damn, he was tired of crying. This brat was going to ruin him. But really...was that even a bad thing?

 

Chapter Text

“So he’s just sleeping right?”

 

“Yeah Spitfire, just sleeping.”

 

Katsuki leaned against the chair as he watched Izabelle stretch in her seat. Tiny hands rested on the cold plastic bars of the hospital bed. Brown hair was combed back into a short, messy ponytail; patches of hair stuck out between the elastic, her hair frizzed out on the top. This was thanks to Katsuki, who knew close to nothing regarding feminine hair. But, hell, he tried. She was content and publicly presentable, so that’s all that mattered to him.

 

Her hand reached forward, grasping only the sheets when she couldn’t quite stretch far enough. The long sleeved orange hoodie pulled back to reveal the thin scratches across her palms. 

 

“Daddy..?”

 

Bakugou was alone in the hospital, the bulk of Deku’s friendly crew gone for their day jobs or running personal errands. The only other person to present themselves was the occasional nurse to draw blood or take vital signs. The door was shut and he was alone with the brat and her unconscious father who lay still in the bed. Wires and oxygen hooked up across Deku’s body with soft hums and the occasional ring of the rising or dropping heart rate. 

 

Bakugou’s eyes trained on Izabelle who watched her father breath under the copious amount of blankets. 

 

“Can you hear me, Daddy?”

 

She was desperately trying to touch his hand that lay just a few centimeters away from her reach. She huffed and pulled forward, her pale fingers outstretched. Bakugou stared for a moment longer until he saw the frustrated tears that dared to surface. Katsuki sighed then walked forward to lift the brat up in the air and gently lay her on the bed beside him. 

 

“Don’t tug at the wires,” Bakugou warned as she was let go and he took her empty seat beside the bed. She immediately reached for her father's hand, a single wire attached to his forefinger to record his oxygen levels. When she grasped his hand she looked up at Katsuki with surprise.

 

“His hands are cold Katsi.”

 

“Yeah, Spitfire.”

 

She squeezed Dekus fingers, her eyes trained on the little wire that moved when she touched him. She turned to Katsuki and reached out in earnest with one outstretched hand.

 

“What?” 

He gave her a puzzled expression as she held her hand toward him with mild determination.

 

“I want to borrow it.”

 

“Borrow what?”

 

“Your hand!” She replied with a frown as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

 

“Why?”

 

She gave a frustrated huff and threw her hand out in impatience, fingers outstretched, brows knit together. 

 

Bakugou huffed, “hell, don’t pop a blood vessel kid, here.” He reached out, letting the girl aggressively snag his hand closer and Katsuki mused, “I hope you’re planning on returning it.”

 

“It’s not for me,” she replied simply and he felt his hand get tugged farther, to where he had to scoot to the edge of his seat to keep from falling face forward into the hospital bed. He felt the cool touch of skin meet his warm fingertips and he almost recoiled back as it dawned on him what she was doing. His eyes glued to where his hand rested across his duo hero partner. Little Izabelle held his hand gently so it covered Izuku’s pale, open palm. She was right. His hand was cold. Very cold.  

 

“Your hands are warm Katsi,” Izabelle stated, as if his simple touch were to bring the heat back to her father's cold fingers.

 

For a moment he fell still, listening to the breathing of the machines around him. His eyes trained on the single touch, his heartbeat slowing in time with every shallow breath Deku released. Katsuki traced his finger over a scar across the middle of Izuku’s palm, where the boy had deflected a blade at the end of UA’s second-year duo training mission. 

 

“It’s not that bad, really,”  Izuku had mused as he watched the blood pile across his hand, seeping between his fingers. Bakugou stood close with a smirk, “it’s going to leave an ugly scar if you don’t head back now.”

 

Izuku looked at Katsuki with competitive earnest, “what, and let you have all the fun? No way… I have tons of scars, what’s one more?”

 

Izuku stripped his gaze away from him then leaned around the corner to spot an enemy infiltration. There was a sound of material being ripped apart and Izuku had looked back to find that Bakugou had torn away the cloth across his arm. 

 

“Get over here, you loser,” Bakugou snapped, then continued with an irritated huff, “I don’t want to hear you whining because of an infection tomorrow or slowing me the fuck down either. I’m not getting blamed for this shit if we lose because you were too proud.”

 

Izuku hesitated, “Kacchan, you don’t have to…”

 

“I didn’t ask.”

 

Bakugou marched forward and snatched a confused Izuku’s hand away from the wall, leaving a smeared red print in its place. With one quick swipe around his injured palm, Bakugo tied it off with a knot- ripping the extra material off with his teeth. He held Izuku’s hand to gaze at his handiwork, the wound sealed from the pressure applied. 

 

“My suit traps my sweat to use for my gauntlets, so I don’t see why it can’t do the same with blood.”

 

Izuku allowed his hand relax into Katsuki’s soft grip as he spoke, “-‘sides, this is my old suit and it’s all torn to bits anyway.”

 

“Kacchan…”

 

Bakugou looked up to see the tears in his eyes and he pulled his hands away with a confused frown, “what...why the fuck are you crying now?”

 

“I…” Izuku shook his head and closed his eyes with a breath, “I’m just happy.”

 

“You’re such a weirdo,” Bakugou snapped, “get your shit together, we have a mission to finish.”

 

Izuku coughed, a laugh choked in his throat. He dragged his clean sleeve across his eyes and nodded then brought his fists toward his chest with a renewed smile, “yeah!”

 

There was a light touch and Bakugou jumped; a little hand had found its way on top of his. Katsuki’s eyes traveled to Izabelle who sat with her head tilted as she watched the heart monitor flash green and yellow. Katsuki’s eyes fell toward the boy laying lifeless in the bed. Bakugou didn’t want to spend too much time looking at him. The longer he did, the harder it was to breathe... it felt as if every breath he took became heavier than the last, as if he was sinking slowly into the sea. It was a deep set heaviness that grasped at his chest, it gnawed deep into his soul as Katsuki stared at the dark forest green hair that grazed between his closed eyes. 

 

Bakugou gripped Deku’s hand as he watched Izabelle sit close, her eyes staring quietly ahead of her. She was brave for a three-year-old. Granted, she probably didn't fully understand the situation at hand. But the worried expression across her little face cut away at his heartstrings, the way she fucking looked at him. As if waiting for him to just wake up from an overextended nap so they can play, just like they always do. Bakugou frowned, the damn loser was sleeping his days away and his daughter was sitting right here... just waiting on him to wake up. To read to her. To play with her. It about broke him when she asked if she could play hero with her father today. She said that they played hero together every Saturday. He never missed it. She cried when Katsuki told her no. So, to appease her he told Izabelle that she could go see her father but he was very tired and would be sleeping for a long time. When she asked why, he didn’t have a good answer. Because how in the hell do you explain to a three-year-old what a coma is? It was hard enough trying to explain about her mother, and Bakugou is quite sure she still doesn’t comprehend that she’ll never see her again. 

But little Izabelle didn’t seem to mind all that much. To her, she treated the last couple days like a vacation. She smiles and laughs, asks to play games with him like a giddy little fangirl. He’s already signed ten of her notebooks and three of her drawings. She found the whole autograph thing absolutely hilarious and she always asks for one while repeating that he was "her favorite hero in the whole world."

She followed him around like a second shadow, watching him with those big green eyes. When he looks at her he can even count the freckles against each cheek. 

 

“Will he wake up soon?”

 

Bakugou felt his world melt back into existence hearing her voice, so quiet, he barely heard her. 

 

“I don’t know Spitfire.” 

 

The little girl looked up at Katsuki, “...do you think he would wake up if I kissed him?”

 

Katuski tried to hide a laugh, failing with a mild cough then replied, “it’s worth a shot.”

The little girl, all determined, crawled forward and placed her lips gently against his cheek, freckles melting against freckles. She sat back and then hung her head when nothing changed after a few moments of silence. Katsuki held his breath, curious if the interaction would change anything. But as the silence continued to stretch on, the little girl let off a loud audible sigh, clearly annoyed that it didn't have any effect.

 

“It didn’t work,” she stated, her tone held a mild irritated bite. 

 

Katsuki lifted his hand where it had held Deku’s and brushed it against the girls hair, “I see that.”

 

The little girl looked up at him with earnest, there was a look in her eye that he didn’t particularly like. It reminded too much of Deku when he was up to some of his plans against a villain and was about to ask one of his teammates a “favor”.

 

“You should try too Katsi!”

 

Yup, he knew it, she was up to trouble.

 

“I don’t think that will work…” Katuski replied back, a pink flush racing across his face. What exactly had Deku been showing this kid, of all things- a kiss? From him? Though, he felt the heat quickly dissipate as he remembered how young she was... little Izabelle would have no idea what that truly entails. 

 

“You don’t know until you try, that’s what Daddy always says.”

 

“Yeah, well, your daddy isn’t always right,” Katsuki replied back tartly, pulling back his hand with a frown. 

 

“Where did you get this wild idea from anyway, who told you kissing would wake someone up?”

 

Izabelle turned around with a smile, “It's a movie Daddy showed me, we always watch movies together! There was this princess sleepin’ and...and another person had to kiss her to wake her up!”

 

Bakugou rolled his eyes, “that was sleeping beauty, and that was a prince and a princess Izzy.”

 

“What’s the difference?”

 

“Ah..well.. First of all one is a boy and the other is a girl-” Katuski started and Izabelle folded her arms over her chest and interrupted, “if they love each other then they love each other- it can be two princes too! Love is love Katsi!”

 

Katsuki fell quiet, when did this little brat get such a fiery attitude all of a sudden? Did she truly pick up that attitude from watching him all this time? She stared at him, her fists held tight at her sides as if she was ready to pick a fight if she caught even the whiff of him disagreeing with her. 

 

He smiled, a genuine smile touched his lips as he watched her glare at him; he tried to keep from laughing to avoid pissing her off any further. But damn she was just too adorable staring at him with those large angry green eyes and round cheeks. There was a hint of pink across her freckles as she let off a breath of annoyance. 

 

“You know what…” his voice was quiet, eyes trained against her aggressive stare, “I don’t say this to anyone, ever, so don’t go telling this to anyone else, but... you’re right... Love is love.”

 

Izabelle lowered her shoulders, her eyebrows unknit and fists loosened as Katsuki continued to speak, “did you learn that from a movie too…?”

 

Izabelle blinked as if trying to recall a past memory then shook her head, “no, Daddy always told me that.”

 

Katsuki felt his heart skip as he watched the little girl relax. Leaning back into his chair he let his eyes gaze up to the ceiling in thought. Izuku taught her all that? Did he really view the world that way? It never occurred to him before, it was never a topic that was brought up between the two heroes. Most of the days they were busy on their shifts or spending personal time alone with friends, family or personal outings. Not once did they speak about various human rights, let alone any type of love life. After Izuku and Ochako were married, Katsuki felt little need to question anyone’s sexual orientation or interests. There was no point, he had nothing to gain from the topic, so it always stayed relatively in the dark. 

Not that he ever was pressed to talk to Izuku about such things. Katsuki was always so busy with work and side missions that he hardly had time to even consider a relationship. Hell, watching Izuku and Ochako struggle over the years with the overwhelming workload between them was enough to deter him from ever marrying. He couldn’t count the number of times he found Izuku passed out in the hero lounge from overworking himself both at home and at the agency. He couldn’t remember how many times he carried his exhausted ass home, knocking on the door to greet round face before dumping him off and promptly leaving. Ochako would always ask if he wanted to stay and he would always refuse, telling her to make sure Deku gets up on time for work the next day. Every night he wondered why he couldn’t sleep as good as the night before. He began to dream of bringing home his duo partner, to let him rest for just a day. To see the light shine in his eyes again at the start of a mission. But each night was the same, curled up, alone in his dark green sheets, curtains pulled back so tight until the darkness completely swallowed him.

 

SLAM

 

Bakugou jumped in his seat, uncertain how much had time passed as he daydreamed away. His head whipped to the door as it was flung open against the wall. A flash of dark green hair had rushed in with a wail that eerily bounced across the hospital walls.

 

"Oh... no... no...no, I didn't want to believe them! Not this, please no, not my baby..!"

 

Bakugou involuntarily leaned away as the frantic mother raced to the side of the hospital bed and leaned heavily into the rails to touch the sleeping boys cheek. She was on the verge of a scream as she grasped her sons face, her hands shaking so violently that Deku’s hair shook along with it. Tears poured across the older woman's cheeks and rolled down into the bed. Little Izabelle who still sat beside her father had froze in horror and leaned away from Inko who seemed to not even realize she was even there. Izabelle pulled away from her father and mumbled a quiet, “grandma….?” 

Inko didn’t respond, instead she opted to coo Izuku’s name again, begging him to open his eyes. Izabelle, realizing she was being ignored- looked around the room behind her and spotted Katsuki. Tears began to form at the edge of her eyes as she held out her hands as if asking to be picked up from the hospital bed and into his arms. Katsuki was already on his feet; in his peripheral vision he spotted a couple nurses soliciting at the door with worried expressions. 

Reaching down he picked up Izabelle who immediately threw her arms around his neck, burying her face in his shoulder. She clung onto him quietly as he listened to the sobs of the mother leaning into her child with desperate hands gliding through his tangled green hair. 

 

A frown pulled heavily against his face as he watched Inko’s tears glide down her cheeks, soaking the bed sheets. Did she not realize Izabelle was here? Why was she allowing herself to be so emotional, she was acting as though Deku was already dead. That pissed him off even more than sheltering a confused child from her own frantic grandmother. 

 

Katsuki cleared his throat, as if to discern his presence to the mother, to allow maybe a brief conversation in regards to Izabelle if anything. Though, with the state of mind she was in, he had little confidence in her ability to care for little Izabelle to her fullest extent. Bakugou tightened his hold against the little girl in his arms remembering the visitor he had last night. How many other visitors like that would he receive? But the better question...why does that bother him so much?

 

There was a pause in the mothers cries and coos as she turned her head to look in his direction, red eyes swollen from the tears that streaked across her cheeks.

 

“Oh...Katsuki...it’s you, I didn’t know you were here...I’m sorry...I’m sorry I didn’t see you.”

 

Katsuki was quiet as the mother’s voice rasped out, as if she struggled to talk at an appropriate tone without it cracking with emotion. He raised his arm, where Izabelle sat, as if to point out the obvious. Little Izabelle turned her head around to look at Inko with large green eyes. Though the woman didn’t comment on the child, she let her eyes instead fall onto the bed sheets where she held them. 

 

“He is all that I have left...I can’t lose him too…” Her voice was quiet as Katsuki stood there unable to decide what he should say or do with a comment such as that. 

 

Inko continued, her fists tightening against the sheets, “he said he would be alright. That he had friends to be there for him...but, tell me...Katsuki...where were they?”

 

When Katsuki didn’t immediately answer her question she turned accused eyes on him. Her voice cracked as it raised with menace, “where were they?!” 

 

Katsuki felt bile rise in his throat as the mother stared at him, jaw clenched. A wave of uncertainty washed over the explosion hero, unable to move, unable to speak; he stood there as the room channeled into just the two of them. He opened his mouth as if to combat her, to argue with her and tell her that the dumbass sacrificed himself willingly for his family. That he was a hero in the eyes of so many people and she should be proud of him. Not that he was proud of him. Proud of wasting his fucking life away in this bed. No. No... she shouldn’t be proud of him. He left too much behind while he sleeps away his worries and dreams. He left behind friends, family, he left him...and Izabelle. He left her too. Alone. 

Katsuki gripped the little girl tighter, his emotions gathering inside him like an uncontrollable storm. Where were his friends? Where were they..? They were fighting alongside him and regardless... he chose to fight alone.  

 

“I…” Katsuki started.

 

“Liars...all of them,” She spat, the tears had soaked into her shirt making it look as if she had been caught in a rainstorm.

 

“Grandma…?” The little girl asked again, she watched as the mother turned her head away from the inquiry, too lost in her misery to respond. Instead she cried, leaning back into the hospital bed, arms wrapped around the sleeping Izuku’s shoulders. Katsuki needed to leave, he wanted to get the hell out of there. Before he said or did something he would regret. 

 

“I have to go,” he spat then bent down to snatch the tykes bag from the floor and turned to leave the room. As he left he could still hear Inko’s miserable cries as she called out for her son to wake up. Katsuki shut his eyes, willing to shut his ears to the world just the same. He ignored the nurses and hospital workers that came up to him, asking about his well being. But the mothers loud cries didn’t stop until he found himself sealed away in the elevator. 

 

Bakugou backed up into the corner, he was alone with little Izabelle. His arms shook as he leaned his head up against the cool metal. He needed to get under control, he couldn’t lose track of his emotions now. He was going to completely lose it. Then he heard a little cough and his eyes flicked over to Izabelle who clunched at his shoulder. Izabelle was crying. Her face was hidden but he felt her shaky breaths as she hid the tears away from him.

The turmoil that dared to escape suddenly vanished. His eyes on her Katsuki realized how scary that must have been for the three year old. He had to be strong, not for himself, but for this little girl who desperately clung onto him. 

 

"Hey spitfire."

 

The little girl poked one eye out, curious green orbs gazed into his. A trail of a tear escaped from the edge and found its way against his neck. Bakugou reached around and removed a strand of wet hair from her cheek then tucked it behind her ear. 

 

“It will be alright.”

 

With that single sentence the little girl gave a soft smile then laid her head against his shoulder, hiding her face once again. He looked up at where he was in the elevator then realized he had yet to even push the button to get back to the first floor. He let out a snort of disapproval, his emotional state proving to distract him so much he didn’t even leave the eighth floor. With one push to return back to the ground floor he pulled out his phone in his back pocket. Swiping across the various hero names he landed on “Shitty Hair”. His thumb hesitated on the green phone that flashed across his screen then sighed, pushing the call button.

 

There were few moments of relapse as the phone rang until a cheery surprised voice was heard on the other side, “Whoa, hey, is this who I think it is, is everything ok? You’re not hurt or-”

 

“I’m fine, you spiked tomato.” 

 

“Oh...oh good, that’s great, I thought you were on work leave? What’s going on, do you need something?”

 

“Shit, do I have to need something to call you, dumbass?”

 

“Of course not! You just...never called before…”

 

“This isn’t about work and my life is not in danger so sit the fu-frick down and relax.”

 

He almost forgot he had Izabelle listening intently in his arms and he grumbled something inaudible.

 

“Oh, well, that’s great to hear Bakubro. You know I’m always here for you.”

 

Bakugou's eyes traced on the elevator number as it hit the third floor, he fell quiet for a moment and the line was silent.

 

“Bakugou..?”

 

“Ok, fine. I...do need something.”

 

“Of course, what is it?” His eyes traced to Izabelle who had lifted her head in curiosity to listen in on the conversation. 

 

“I need advice.”

 

“Wait...the powerful pro hero Bakugou is asking a mere commoner hero for help? This must be the wrong number.”

 

“You know what, nevermind.”

 

“Ah-wait, wait, I was just joking bro. Come on, I know that voice...what’s wrong?”

Bakugou shifted his weight as the doors of the elevator opened, revealing the main center of the hospital. Staffing, patients and family of the sick were bustling all around the room. He could feel the eyes of a few individuals on him as he carried Izabelle out whilst talking to Kirishima. The kids sparkly orange and black backpack hung loosely on his other shoulder.

 

“It’s Izabelle.” Bakugou stated simply, trying to dodge a few staff members who were in a hurry to get the next elevator up. 

 

“Izabelle? Dekus kid? Right...I did hear something between the grape vine about you caring for her, is that true?”

 

Bakugou sighed, “yes, sort of, I don’t know-and would you extras get outta my way or so help me-” he pulled the phone from his face, a frown plastered as he tried to pass a group of college students who seemed to be lost on a medical school trip. A few of the students apologized and Bakugou could hear Kirishima on the line and pushed it back against his hear in agitation. 

 

“I got you man. So all you need is a little kid help huh?”

 

“I don’t need help fake hair, I just have a couple questions...”

 

“Okay I’m all ears then! Don’t worry, your best bro has your back just like the old days! Oh, I got an idea, we should meet up today, I’ll even bring Adula, it will be great!”

 

“I don’t know...I…”

 

“Come on, I know you’re not working and I haven’t seen Izabelle in forever! Let’s make it a date, meet me at the downtown park by the mall in a couple hours?”

 

“Katsi? Watch out!”

 

Katsuki looked up just in time before running into large steadfast man who stood right outside the door. He took a few steps back, then realized with dread who he ran into.

 

“Excuse me-I oh... you are pro hero Bakugou, wow I am lucky to have ran into you! Please, I have a few questions, would you mind answering-”

 

“Screw off, I’m not answering anything, let me pass you pile of vultures.”  In his other ear he heard Kirishima ask where he was and Katsuki huffed, “none of your business, you said the downtown park in two hours?”

 

There was a quick, “yes”, in reply and Bakugou swiped the phone off without an answer then pocketed the device. Switching arms where he held Izabelle to give his other arm a break he glared at the news reporter who seemed unfazed by his abrasive attitude. Two others had spotted them and to Katuski’s despair he realized the whole damn building was surrounded by the media. 

 

“Don’t you people have anything better to fucking do?”

 

“Bakugou, please, question, how do you feel using that sort of language around a child?”

 

“Hah?!”

 

“Ground zero, please a question, how do you feel about pro hero Deku’s condition, do you think he will recover? The people are wanting answers!”

 

“Ground Zero! What is your relation to Deku? Why are you caring for his only child-”

 

Bakugou pushed between the pile of reporters that were at the start of the line, many more of them had spotted him from the commotion and began to race over. Damn, the media was the worst. Feeling the start of his claustrophobia rising he quickly found his way outside, pushing away two young reporters to do so. 

 

“Katsuki, pro hero Katsuki-will you still be a pro hero with Deku gone?”

 

Bakugou hesitated and turned around at the question, a young girl with large violet eyes looked at him. She held a tiny microphone and it shook in her grasp as he stared at her. 

 

“Deku isn’t fucking gone, what kind of stupid question is that ya parasite?”

 

“But-”

 

“Enough questions, either you all get out of my way or I’m going to make you.” 

 

“Ground Zero, please, what kind of example are you trying to set for Deku’s only child?”

 

Feeling his patience finally run thin Bakugou let his gaze rest on Izabelle who was staring at the mob with mild curiosity. She didn’t seem overly intimidated though, probably because her dad was usually swarmed with hundreds of people most days. 

 

“Do you have a good grip on me Izzy?”

 

The little girl looked at him then smiled, she nodded her head enthusiastically and tightened her hold against his clothes as her answer.

 

“Good, don’t you dare let go of me.”

 

“I won’t let go Katsi,” She giggled. 

 

Bakugou rolled his eyes at the excited reply then turned to the public that surrounded him, “I’d back up real quick if you aren’t fond of BBQ if you catch my drift.”

 

The reporters closest to him took a few hesitant steps away, backing into the others that stood behind them. Then in one quick motion Katsuki threw his right hand down into the ground and set off an explosion. The people closest to him all fell back, supplies scattered across the concrete as Bakugou took off away from the reporters, shouldering the little girl onto his back who held him tightly around his neck. 

 

They were a few feet up in the air and Katsuki set off a consecutive amount of bursts of speed to keep him in the air as he fled the public eye. Curious he stole a glance at the little girl who had shut her eyes but were now open staring in awe below her. It never occurred to Bakugou that she may find flying absolutely terrifying. Hesitant, Bakugou aimed toward a nearby building to land safely. But before he reached his destination he felt her shoulders lift up, her face away from his back as the wind took her hair into the wind. 

 

“Ya-hooooo!” She screamed, then in one quick motion she let go, lifting her hands in the air with a laugh, “I’m flying! I’m really flying!”

 

Bakugou felt his world melt as he watched her grin spread across her eyes as the wind tore at her clothes. Though his own smile faded away as a burst of wind crashed into the two of them. Little Izabella began to lose her leg grip and as she began to slip off. Bakugou flipped midair, and in one swift motion grabbed the girl in his arms and pulled her against his chest. He ducked his head, preparing for impact as he crashed into a sign in an abandoned parking lot then skidded onto the grass. 

 

The little girl, unscathed, jumped to her feet with an excited, “Again, again!”

 

Bakugou lifted himself in a sitting position and frowned, “what the hell did I say about holding on?”

 

The little girl frowned and pointed to her shoes, “but I held you with my feet!”

 

Bakugou huffed, not able to argue with that logic then stood, “use your hands next time kid, you’re going to give me a heart attack.”

 

The little girl raced up to him, her eyes sparkling against the sun that glared overhead. She reached out and snagged Bakugou’s hand with vigor.

 

“Ok.”

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes as she continued with a, “I won’t let go for real this time.”

 

She giggled, her little hand cool against his warm one. He took a look around, glad that he managed to get close to where he needed to be. Just a few blocks away was the mall and past that was the park he was supposed to meet shitty hair in. But Bakugou was hesitant going back into the public eye, especially with the media roaming around like a pack of mosquitoes. Looking down at his clothes then Izzy’s she gave him a quizzical look. 

 

With a sly smile Bakugou asked, “do you like to play dress up Izzy?”

 

The little girl tilted her head in question then replied, “like...like pretend to be a hero?”

 

“Yeah, uh something like that.”

 

Izabelle shook her head up and down enthusiastically and Bakugou smirked, “I have an idea, come on Spitfire.”

 

-

 

“It’s kinda Itchy…”

 

Izabelle tugged at the strands of stiff green hair then completely pulled it off, throwing the wig on the floor with a frown. Behind her the store owner sighed, a pile of wigs and hats strewn across the floor. The man wore a tight suit and a bow, hand resting across his chin he shook his head.

 

“Please I am not suited to this kind of work… this is for more delicate matters, not, oh how do I put it...” The man sighed then tapped the glass window where a sign read, NO PETS ALLOWED.

 

“Come on, you owe me, it’s just one kid, not a bloodhound, suck it up will ya?” Bakugou poked out from the dressing room, a hat covering his spiky blonde hair, he was shirtless, tugging on a pair of dark sweatpants. The store owner shook his head, “yes, yes I quite recall and I appreciate your valued business as a pro hero but...a child…”

 

There was a crash and then a loud “oopsie”, two pairs of eyes traced over to Izabelle who had toppled over into a rack of men’s formal suits. The man frantically rushed forward waving his hands dramatically with an over exaggerated, “shoo, shoo!” Izabelle scrambled to her feet and ran away with a laugh. He struggled to pick up his clothes and threw them over the rack with a sigh, “I understand you wanting a low profile with your current predicament but you could have chosen any store.”

 

Izabelle had began to climb the stairs then leaned over the edge with a burst of energy. Bakugou walked out of the dressing room wearing a new pair of black pants, a green hoodie and black cap. 

 

“I have my reasons,” Bakugou supplied, walking forward he watched Izabelle slide down the stairs, hands first with an excited scream.

 

“-and you always have been good with disguises, I figured this one little request wouldn’t be so hard for such talent as yourself,” Bakugou snided, a hand across his hip, knowing full well the intent of his remark. Though he would never admit it was learned from watching Deku on their various undercover missions. His eyes flickered to the side as Izabelle rolled across the carpet with wild giggles.

 

“I mean if one little girl is too much trouble for you…-”

 

“Who do you think you are talking to? Me? I have never failed a client, not once!”

 

Bakugou smirked and threw his arm across the man’s shoulders, “great, that’s exactly what I want to hear.”

 

“Katsi, Katsi look!” Bakugou looked up to see Izabelle had found a fake mustaches and had put one over her eyes to look like a giant brown uni brow. Katsuki blew out a breath of air in amusement as the store owner raced over with a, “young lady that is not appropriate! That is for men only, take it off, take it off I say!”

 

Bakugou wasn’t much help as he continued to laugh in the corner, driving Izabelles behavior even further as she stuck two more mustaches across her face then raced away from the angered store owner. By the time she was caught, Katsuki couldn’t help but smile seeing her ridiculous image. He peeled off the mustaches and sat her back down in the chair, a large mirror across from her. Once again they tried on various wigs but finally settled with just her usual orange hoodie, pants and a pair of sparkling sunglasses. She had a variety of blonde clip ons that gave her typical brown hair, blonde highlights. She gave a quizzical look in the mirror before she was picked up and placed back on the floor.

 

“Alright, fun is over, ready to go Spitfire?”

 

The little girl threw up a fist in the air with a loud, “yeah,” before taking off toward the entrance of the store. Katsuki had little warning as she dashed outside alone- he quickly chased after her with a, “hey-come back, wait for me!” Behind him the store owner cried seeing the disaster of clothes and wigs that surround him.

 

By the time he caught up with her on the sidewalk he snagged the back of her shirt with a sharp warning to stay near him. She twirled around then quickly grabbed the edge of his hoodie, quietly walking beside him. After stopping to grab handmade crepes and Izabelle dumping half of hers across her hoodie the two of them found themselves at the park wiping down the remainder of the mess with a damp paper towel as she sat on the wooden bench. 

 

There was a shadow that stretched across Katsuki who was bent down, facing Izabelle. A wide smile appeared across Izabelles face as she shouted out, “red, red!”

 

Katsuki’s eyes slide behind him to catch the red head standing just behind him with a large grin. 

 

“Whoa Izabelle! Is that you? You’re so big!”

 

The little girl, who was being tended to by Katsuki still, suddenly pulled away from his grasp and leaped forward in excitement. She dug her hands and shoes into Bakugou’s shoulders until she jumped into Kirishima’s arms. The pro hero had a little boy in his left arm and had to let go of the little girl holding his second hand to catch the flying Izabelle. He took a step back as to not fall and smiled as the girl hugged him tight around the neck. 

 

Katsuki huffed, throwing the wet rag across the table before turning around with a hand across his hip with agitation. 

 

“You look so different,” Kirishima remarked and Katsuki sighed, “we are trying to avoid the paparazzi before I end up setting someone accidentally on fire.”

 

He watched the younger boy in Kirishima’s arms wiggle uncomfortably with Izabelle so close against him. Katsuki grabbed the girl from the back of the shirt, relieving Kirishima and placed the child on the grass next to the other girl who stood beside Eijirou. The child held Kirishima’s pants tightly, staring at Izabelle with wide red eyes. Her long black hair with pink highlights contrasted with the pale skin and horns that stuck out on top of her head. 

 

“Izzy, you remember Adula, right? Come on Adula, say hello.”

 

The little girl looked up at Eijirou with frightened eyes and pulled herself closer to Kirishima when Izabelle stood up and leaned into her personal space.

 

Izabelle walked forward, large green eyes taking in the other little girl with high enthusiasm. 

 

“You’re my new friend!”

 

Adula held tighter onto Kirishima’s pant’s as Izabelle completely invaded her space and offered a hand. Adula shook her head back and forth, her dark hair flying side to side, closing her eyes as if willing the other little girl to just disappear. 

 

Kirishima laughed and shook his leg softly in response, “come on Adula, I know you can speak, say hello.”

Bakugou folded his arms watching the other girl swallow with a quiet, “hello…”  Izabelle, seeing that as an opportunity, grabbed the little girl by the wrist and promptly pulled her away from Kirishima.

 

“Ah, wait, no-dad!?”

 

But Kirishima was too busy laughing to worry about his shy daughters lack of extroversion as she called out to him. Instead she was pulled away into the grass by Izabelle toward the swing set that lay just a little ways away from the two pro heroes. 

 

“Hey, Spitfire, stay where we can see you, do you understand me?”

 

The little girl shouted a curt, “yes” before dragging her new forced friendship away. 

 

Bakugou sighed watching for a moment longer before sitting down on the bench behind him. Kirishima sat down on the opposite side with an unreadable look. 

 

“Your brat seems to have completely lack your loud and obnoxious personalities, what’s the odd chance of that.”

 

Kirishima laughed nervously, “oh, I don’t think she is too different really.”

 

Katsuki let his gaze settle on his old friend who sat bouncing his one year old against his lap. The little boy giggled as he moved, pink hair bouncing in time with his movement. His pale skin blended in well with the day light streaking across the park. 

 

 There was a stretch of silence as the two heroes watched Izabelle show Adula how a swing set works, the taller girl stared in awe as Izabelle started to swing higher and higher. 

 

“Have you...um…” Katsuki let his eyes travel back to Kirishima who was looking down at his little boy playing with the string of his pants. 

 

“Have you heard about the funeral and…”

 

Katsuki frowned with a curt, “yes,'' there was a pause and Kirishima continued, “I heard the community was chipping in for the costs along with friends and distant relatives.” 

 

“She didn’t seem to have much family,” Kirishima mumbled, “I heard she just had a great aunt and an uncle that lived overseas. Well, and her parents...” Katsuki bit his lip in thought remembering the terrible mass murders across various pro hero families. Ochako Uraraka’s family was a target and a successful one. Not only did one life pass away, but the mother of one’s whole family was taken from Izabelle in a single night. The only close family that remained alive was her grandmother Inko, Deku who remained in his coma, and a distance great aunt and uncle he’s never heard of from Ochako’s side of the family. Neither family members had yet to check in on the child.

 

Kirishima sighed, “just tragic...what happened.”

 

Shaking his head he looked up at Bakugou who was now casting his gaze into the sky.

 

“Oh, what am I doing, you already know all about this bro. This...this is probably way harder on you than me. I mean I know Ochako and Deku since high school and...and…”

 

Katsuki looked down to see Kirishima had began to cry, the little boy raised his hands in his lap, concerned. He mumbled a bunch of incoherent words, as if to cheer up his crying father.

 

“Kirishima.”

 

Eijirou looked up, startled to hear his first name slip from his friends lips, tears traced his cheeks as he tried to force an apologetic smile. 

 

“Are you talking to Mina?”

 

“Huh? What do you mean?” He wiped the tears away with one sleeve, the other one being dragged down by his little boy who tried to wipe away his father's tears across his other cheek. 

 

Bakugou huffed, “about this, you guys talk right?”

 

“Oh, yeah we...we were really upset when we both heard, she’s there for me, if that’s what you’re trying to ask.” He smiled and leaned forward, “look at you being worried about me, I’m touched.”

 

Katsuki flushed and turned away, “it’s not like that idiot, I just don’t want you fucking crying all the damn time-” he hesitated then turned away to look back at the two little girls at play, frustrated at being called out.

 

He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked back to see Kirishima had leaned forward to gently touch him, “I appreciate that a lot you know. I’ll be ok. But I’m more worried about you...are you..?”

 

“I’m fine shitty hair, death is apart of life. What’s that damn lion movie with the quote? The circle of life? Everyone will die eventually.”

 

Kirishima leaned back down into his seat, his little boy looked up in sync then snuggled closer into his father’s embrace, pink hair blending into his dark red shirt. 

 

“Yeah..but it feels too soon to see some of our friends just...gone forever.” He leaned his head into his open hand and continued, “we’ll make sure to be there, you should come with us.”

 

Bakugou didn’t reply and Kirishima sighed, “anyway, enough about that...you wanted to talk about Izabelle right? I was really worried about how she was doing after all that mess, but she looks like she’s doing great considering what happened.”

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes, “the brat doesn’t fucking understand what’s going on, she thinks its a damn vacation with me.”

 

Kirishima smiled, “aw that’s adorable. You were her favorite hero last I knew. She always got so excited when she saw you fighting with Deku.” Kirishima laughed, “hell my own kid started to like you even more because Izabelle was so loud about loving you so much. You would think you were her father from the way she talked so high and mighty about you.”

 

Katsuki felt a smile tug at his lips, “she has decent taste in hero’s at least.”

 

“I’d say. So, what brought all this anyway?”

 

“Hah?”

 

Kirishima put out his hand, “you know...caring for her. I know she has other guardians too. You never seemed to be the kind of guy who liked kids around for a long period of time.”

 

Katsuki was quiet, Kirishima continued, “nothing wrong with it though, you were always a nurturing type and a soft spot for praise.”

 

“Hah!? Are you suggesting I’m taking care of the brat because she likes me as a hero?”

 

Kirishima laughed, causing his little boy to giggle alongside him, “no, no of course not, I was just joking. But come on, you rarely did anything with Izabelle and now you want to be her caretaker...is there something I should know?”

 

Katsuki folded his arms and glared at the other boy, “something you should know? What the hell is that supposed to mean? I’m not hiding any damn secrets, Izabelle is not a secret love child if that is what you were thinking, round face and I were never fucking close.”

 

Kirishima’s eyes seemed to sparkle with joy as he leaned back with a laugh, “oh...oh my...no, I didn’t mean that! Perhaps Todoroki would suggest something like that, but no, I wasn’t meaning Uraraka, I meant more because of Deku.”

“Deku? What about him?”

 

“Come on, it was obvious.”

 

“What was fucking obvious?”

 

“You care about him.”

 

“No shit, he’s my fighting partner, if he isn’t in top shape then both our names take a hit from the hero ranking system.”

 

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”

 

Katsuki glared at Kirishima, “I have no idea what you’re getting at.”

 

Kirishima rolled his eyes and leaned his head into his palm, “yeah yeah, ok, play dumb then. But regardless it’s still weird to see you just take initiative like this out of the blue. I mean she could easily stay with the Todorokis, Iida, and isn’t Deku’s mom back from her trip? Surely she’ll be wanting to take over her care soon?”

 

Katsuki ripped his eyes away from Kirishima and snarled, “screw them, and screw her most of all.”

 

“Whoa, Whoa, wait where is this all coming from? Are you just being over protective or…?”

 

Bakugou shook his head then sighed, “I was at the hospital when I called you, Deku’s mom came in, she was more worried about her son than her own granddaughter. The damn woman was crying so loud Izabelle was scared half to death.”

 

Kirishima’s shoulders fell and pulled his lips back in a frown, “I see. Does she not want to care for Izabelle?”

 

“Hell if I know. She didn’t seem to even remember that she even exists.”

 

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Kirishima muttered and Katsuki let his eyes slide back to him.

 

“It’s fine, one less person to worry about botherin’ me. Though, Candy Cane and four eyes won’t leave me alone, look…” Katsuki pulled out his phone and showed Kirishima all the missed calls from Iida and unread messages from Shoto. 

 

“Are you...ignoring them?” Kirishima asked as Katsuki put his phone away.

 

“No, I already told them I was going to care for her, we’re all guardians to the brat.” 

“But they don’t trust you,” Kirishima answered with a sigh.

 

“I don’t know the hell why not. I’ve never once did anything to abuse her!”

 

“Maybe it’s because you really weren’t in her life until now?”

 

Katsuki frowned and turned away, there was silence between them as they watched Adula get on the second swing and try to mimic Izabelle with a wide smile. 

 

“I don’t know why, ok?”

 

Kirishima looked at the back of Katsuki’s head who hung a little lower than usual.

 

“I just...want to be there for her now.”

 

Kirishima smiled, “and I’m sure you do your very best, like you always do when you set your mind to something.”

 

Katsuki was quiet then muttered, “I just don’t know how to do this. Like...what do kids even eat? I gave her a crepe earlier and half the damn thing went all over her.”

 

Kirishima laughed, “is that why you were cleaning her up when I first got here?”

 

“Shut up. You’re the one with the kids, you know how they work.”

 

“You make it sound like a machine, kids are more than just something to fix. They’re little humans with feelings and emotions, I’m sure you understand that.”

 

Katsuki stared at him, “thanks for clearing that up for me.”

 

“Ah, don’t be sour Bakugou, look I’ll even give you some tips, ok? First you need to figure out what she really likes and use that to your advantage. Kind of like a reward system. So when she does something really good she understands that she’ll gets something out of it.”

 

“Are you raising kids or dogs, I’m confused,” Bakugou replied, leaning his head into his hand with a smirk.

 

Kirishima shushed him and continued, “make sure you have enough clothes and supplies for any emergencies, I’d recommend getting her records too soon so you know if she has any allergies.”

 

“Already done,” Katsuki replied and Kirishima nodded, “good, and just remember that you’re all that she has right now. So...you know...tone down the whole...well..” Kirishima threw his hand forward to the blonde. 

 

“You’re gesturing to all of me.”

 

“Yeah, that.”

 

Bakugou rolled his eyes and Kirishima smirked, “just...don’t be too hard on her. She’s only a kid and she’s going to make mistakes and mess up sometimes.”

 

“You don’t think I’ve made mistakes and messed up before?”

 

“Well... sometimes you come off a little perfect.”

 

“It’s just an image shitty hair. I’m human, I bleed like everyone else.”

 

Kirishima smiled, “see, and that’s how I know you’ll be just fine.”

 

Katsuki sighed and let his eyes roll back to the girls playing, listening to the playful screams as Izabelle jumped off at the top of her swing and landed like a frog against the matts. 

 

“Oh, by the way...did I tell you, Mina’s pregnant.”

 

“Again?”

 

Kirishima chuckled, "happens when you really love someone. You see... when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much-"

 

"Oi, Shitty Hair, spare me, if you're going to start that then I'm leaving."

 

Kirishima laughed, "sit down bro, it was only a joke. Besides, it was all planned, she said she wanted a large family when we were married,” he gave a soft smile, “she’s really happy right now, I live to see her smile.”

 

Katsuki stared at Kirishima who seemed to gaze right through him and leaned his head into his hand with a, “yeah, I’m sure that was so hard to agree to.”

Kirishima’s face flushed red at the comment, Bakugou looked to his side, watching Izabelle scream at Adula to have the courage to jump off the swing like she did a moment ago.

 

Katsuki felt a soft touch against his hand and he whipped his head back to see the sad look flash across his friends eyes.

 

"I'm sorry."

 

Bakugou reeled back and crossed his arms, stripping away from the touch.

 

"For what? You have nothing to apologize for shitty hair.”

 

Kirishima leaned back again, his little boy snoring soundly in his lap, he threw his hand across his sons hair as a way to comfort the lack of touch from his friend. Kirishima frowned then shook his head, “it’s hard for you right now. With what happened to Deku... and I’m working fewer hours to spend time with the kids…”

 

Bakugou huffed, "you think that really bothers me?"

 

Kirishima frowned, "yes, I really think it does."

 

Bakugou refused to look directly at his friend a mixture of feelings swimming deep inside his chest. Before he could reply, there was a scream and Katsuki whipped his head around seeing Adula on the ground-crying, Izabelle kneeled over her. Both boys got up from the table to head in their direction. Izabelle had tears in her eyes, she looked up when Katsuki got close by, Kirishima in tow with the now awake toddler in his arms. 

 

“She’s crying Katsi, she’s hurt,” Izabelle stated, tears at the edge of her eyes. 

 

Akio began to cry in Kirishima’s arms as he heard the girls cries. Katsuki frowned, “why are you crying if you aren’t hurt?!”

 

Izabelle fell on her butt and wailed, “because she fell because of me, because I’m her friend!” She was crying louder than Adula who had Kirishima kneeling down in front of her, checking her over with a few soft words. 

 

Kirishima laughed after inspecting his daughter, “no harm done, just a scrape you’ll live, come on Addie, toughen up! Where’s your fightin' face at?”

 

Adula forced a smile through her tears in his direction then stood up, brushing the dirt from her legs. Kirishima offered her his other hand and she took with with delight. The little boy in Kirishima’s arms soon quieted down seeing his sister unharmed. Izabelle was the only remaining child left crying. 

 

Kirishima now holding both of his kids offered a warm smile in his direction, “honestly Bakugou, kids can be a handful but you learn a lot from them.”

 

"Like eating your boogers?"

 

"Yeah like eating-what, Akio, ugh, no get your fingers out of your nose how many times-"

 

Katsuki tried not to laugh as his eyes turned to the girl who sat on the ground, her tears now gone as she watched Kirishima shake his arm to get Akio to stop picking his nose in public.

 

"Done crying?"

 

Izabelle looked up at Bakougou then quietly nodded. Katsuki smirked then reached down, offering her a hand to be picked up just like Eijirou did for his daughter moments ago. Izabelle reached forward and wrapped her arms around his neck, standing he felt her quietly nuzzle her head against his neck. 

 

Adula watched her with curious red eyes and when Izabelle looked out from where she was hiding her face behind Katsuki’s hair she mumbled a quiet, “sorry.”

 

Izabelle replied a quiet, “Friends..?”

 

Adula smiled then shook her head in a yes, “friends.”

 

Kirishima gave a toothy grin at the interaction, “see, easy peasy, I only wish all accidents ended up like that.”

 

Katsuki didn’t reply as he held the little girl and Kirishima continued, “though I do need to get back soon, I promised Mina I would be home at three today.”

 

He continued, "next time why don't you come over and visit? Kaminari is going to be in town later this week, Jirou and their little girl will be with him too. She's really big now, almost five years old.Time flies."

 

Katsuki raised a quiet eyebrow, Kirishima continued, "they've been traveling a lot lately with odd jobs. They released their first album too, I kind of figured they would one day. Their little girl is on the front cover, it's really cute."

 

Kirishima hesitated, "with what's happened lately, they're coming back to town to see what they can do to help out with the community and Mina and I offered our place to stay for the time being."

 

Eijirou bit his lip when Katsuki still refused to respond. 

 

"I'll...message you about it later, ok? Also, feel free to ask me anything, you know I have your back right..?"

 

Katsuki and Kirishima s eyes met and Bakugou gave a curt nod, "yeah, yeah, get going before Mina has a fit. I don't want to be the reason why you're late."

 

Kirishima smiled as if relieved to hear his voice again. 

 

"Of course! Ok guys say bye bye to Bakugou!"

 

Katsuki heard two little voices shout exuberant goodbyes as Kirishima took his leave. Izabelle still in his arms waved and replied with a loud "goodbye friend!", loud enough for the both of them as he turned to go in the opposite direction toward home.

 

“Katsi..?”

 

Katsuki’s eyes laid back on the little gremlin who clung onto his shoulders, the wind took back her hair as she stared at him with those large green eyes. God, he’ll never grow out of seeing those big green eyes looking at him as if he was the best thing since sliced bread. 

 

“What’s up Spitfire?”

 

“Um...I think... I want to stay with you forever!”

 

Katsuki gazed at her and ruffled her head with his spare hand, “forever is a long time Spitfire. Won’t you get tired of me eventually?”

 

“No,” She replied simply and he gazed at her, she continued with a yawn then mumbled quietly, “I always wanted you wiff me…”

 

Katsuki hesitated but didn’t reply, his eyes on the sidewalk as he took steps to his apartment. He doesn’t know exactly what it was about this brat. But damn, does she have him wrapped completely around her finger. Holding Izabelle in a tight embrace he felt the edge of guilt nipping at his heels. No better time to make up lost time than the present. He’ll show them. He’ll show everyone how great he can be taking care of Izabelle. No one else can do it better, no one was going to take this child away from him. 

He was going to be her number one caretaker. There was no backing out now. Just watch.