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Retrieval

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This was supposed to be an easy bust for a group of younger pros, most still sidekicks at larger agencies. But some jackass villain with a fire-based quirk had panicked when the heroes had come crashing through windows and doorways. Turns out the old warehouse used for god knows what was covered in enough flammable chemicals that the mostly concrete structure went up like a torch anyway. 

 

The fight had quickly become brutal, the fire’s spread increasing the desperation of both the villains and the inexperienced pro’s. Most of the fighting quickly spilled out into the streets and away from the now raging firestorm, proving that the villains weren’t completely braindead. Fire didn't care whose side you were on, it’d burn everything regardless of if you called yourself good or bad. Katsuki knew that from experience.

 

Despite the heroes’ relative inexperience, their training was good, and they quickly overwhelmed the group of villains. The fighting was overall winding down when the moron with too much empathy for his own good heard a call for help deep in the burning building. Katsuki turned his back for one goddamned second, cuffing the villains apprehended by the two of them. And that freckled idiot had bounded back to the warehouse with nary a word, green lightning flashing around his legs.

 

Deku was fucking fast when he wanted to be, but Katsuki knew he could catch the nerd. So when the beam over the doorway Deku had just entered through collapsed right in front of his face, spraying him with sparks, Katsuki let out a roar of anger. 

 

What the fuck . Was the universe against him or some shit? He was so close to grabbing that dumbass to shake some sense into him. What if it was a trap? And Deku had just run in there like he was impervious to fire. Idiot!

 

Katsuki hurridley paced the perimeter of the building, hoping to see some sign of the nerd. Gods, he was so mad at him. He couldn’t fucking help himself, could he? Always rushing in, you’d think someone so smart would actually use their brain more… 

Katsuki wasn't worried about that nerd. He wasn't . He just didn't want to have to clean up the nerd’s mess, as usual. He wasn’t fucking worried

 

Time stretched on agonizingly, as Katsuki waited for the nerd to reappear. He contemplated jumping through a window to go find the moron...Okay, maybe Katsuki was a little worried, but he was mostly angry with the idiot. He was gonna get himself seriously hurt one day, and where would that leave All Might's legacy? 

 

Not that that’d stopped Deku before.

 

When a body came crashing through one of the high windows, Katsuki knew Deku wasn’t going to make it out. He darted forward with an explosion propelling him, grabbing the villain out of the air. Throwing victims wasn't exactly best practice and Deku wouldn't do it unless it was the only option. His respirator was strapped to the villain's face, her glazed eyes staring uncomprehendingly as Katsuki screamed at her.

 

WHERE IS HE? WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO HIM?!” 

 

He shook the dazed villain angrily. Katsuki’s voice was already shot from fighting in the hazy smoke, and screaming certainly wasn’t helping. His voice cracked, low and pleading with the woman. “Where did you last see him?” 

 

The villain said nothing, her body going limp just as an EMT bundled her onto a stretcher and away from the irate hero.

 

Katsuki fisted his hands in his hair and pulled, grinding his teeth so hard he is pretty sure his jaw popped. It was easier to be angry, easier to be furious than to confront the worry. Deku had done shit like this from the start, even when he was fucking quirkless, and it pissed Katsuki the hell off.

 

Fuck.

FUCK .

“FUUUUCK!”

 

Other pro’s barred him from entering the burning building when he launched himself at the nearest entry way, flames be damned.

 

“FUCKING DEKU IS STILL IN THERE, YOU USELESS FUCKING EXTRA’S.” 

 

“Ground Zero, you need to calm down. You know the protocol for dangerous rescue missions. The fire needs to be under control before anyone attempts to retrieve Deku.” 

 

“I WILL FUCKING RETRIEVE THAT ASSHOLE BY MY DAMN SELF.” 

 

Katsuki didn't like the implication of the word retrieve. If it meant that shitty Deku was already down and out in that raging inferno, he would assume the only thing left to “retrieve” would be a fucking corpse . And he did not want to be the one that would have to explain to Auntie Inko that her son got himself killed within the first year of his pro-hero debut.

 

The fire was so loud, like all major fires tended to be, but it was a roar that became background noise to the shouting heroes, sirens of emergency vehicles and screaming of onlookers and the apprehended villains.

 

The other heroes started establishing a perimeter, battling the flames with water quirks, along with help from the fire brigade that had taken way too long to get there. Forbidden from entering the building to kick Deku’s ass himself, Katsuki looked around for someone he could talk some sense into. A familiar bob of brown hair stuck out to him.

 

“OI, ROUND FACE” he shouted towards the other hero, watching her jolt a little as she was pulled out of whatever daydream she was having.

 

“Bakugou,” she called out, jogging over. “What’s up?” She looked slightly out of breath and her costume was covered in black smudges. Her face was pinched with worry and Katsuki knew exactly why.

 

“What's up? The shitty nerd is trapped in there,” Katsuki exclaimed needlessly, his voice still raw and cracking. He gestured toward the raging inferno. “That’s what's up!”

 

At his statement the shorter girl bit her lip and looked worriedly towards the warehouse. “Oh, that.” Her eyes shone in the firelight, and not just from the reflection of the flames.

 

“Yeah, that . I'm going to get him. You coming or what?” Katsuki didn't wait for a response and started back towards the building, hunching his shoulders and stomping determinedly. He felt a light five-fingered touch on his back and suddenly Katsuki wasn't going anywhere. Uraraka’s fucking quirk. What the fuck? Was she restraining him? Floating uselessly, the gravity hero grabbed a hold of his ankle to prevent him from drifting off like a helium balloon. Katsuki fought back a furious snarl for the sake of his ruined vocal cords. Wasn't chubby cheeks supposed to be the nerd’s best friend or something?

 

“Y-You know we can't Bakugou,” the girl trembled, looking every bit as wrecked and guilty as Katsuki felt. “We can't...we can't risk it until the fire is under control.”

 

Katsuki’s skin felt hotter than the fire raging 100 metres away. “WE CAN'T RISK IT?!” Katsuki screamed at the tearful hero, vocal cords be damned. “FUCKING DEKU JUST RAN IN THERE TO SAVE A STUPID VILLAIN’S ASS, BUT WE CAN’T DO THE SAME FOR HIM?!”

 

Katsuki could see the cracks in her composure, but also a steely resolve behind her big brown eyes. We can’t, Katsuki. You know we can’t.Her voice was quiet and thick with emotion as she held back the weightless hero. “He wouldn't want anyone to risk it for him….” 

 

Katsuki knew it was the truth too. If Deku found out that they had followed him into that death trap, he would be furious. The nerve of that hypocrite. To expect his team- his fucking friends , ‘cause damnit, they were friends now- not to rush in after him when he let himself do the same over a criminal .

 

 Katsuki wanted to scream in frustration over his inner turmoil. Only fucking Deku could make his path forward seem uncertain. After all, running into that deathtrap after the damned idiot would make him just as bad as the nerd. And Katsuki was nothing if not above the nerd. But he still hasn't made it out, with a shitty grin and an apology on his lips for worrying his friends. If the idiot wasn’t already dead, Katsuki was going to kill the nerd himself.

 

Uraraka looked about two teardrops away from a full blown meltdown when a horrible groaning sound brought everyone's eyes towards the warehouse once again. Uraraka’s hand that wasn’t holding on to Katsuki trembled like a leaf in the wind when she brought it up to cover her mouth. 

 

No.

 

No, no, no no no, NO .

 

The building’s collapsing. 

 

The building’s collapsing , Katsuki thought, likely from a combination of fire damage and the water damage from the high power hoses firefighters used to douse the flames. 

 

The building’s collapsing and Deku is still inside. 

 

It felt like the air had been punched out of his lungs. Katsuki had never felt more helpless, even when it had been himself that had been in danger. Something about knowing Deku was in there, knowing he was in there and couldn’t get out, made him feel far more incapable. Useless.

 

“Uraraka, put me down.” Katsuki’s voice was quiet, far quieter than his usual volume. He wasn’t even sure Uraraka heard him.

 

The concrete behemoth fell in on itself, dust and embers flying into the air with a resounding boom. The wave of heated air hit him like a solid wall, sending him backwards slightly as he floated in Uraraka’s grip. Katsuki could feel his skin redden and burn from the proximity to the intense blaze. All that was left standing was the steel scaffolding that had warped with the extreme heat. It rose out of the rubble like the skeleton of a giant slain beast. 

 

The image it painted was surreal. Katsuki felt as if he was viewing it all through fog, or watching it in a post-apocalyptic hollywood movie. It felt like iron bands were squeezing the life out of him, he couldn't draw in a new breath. Everything felt too close, but too far away at the same time. Distantly, Katsuki registered that he may be going into psychological shock.

 

“No, oh gods, no….” Uraraka’s face looked ghostly, backlit from the flashing lights of the sirens and glow from the wreckage. She touched the tips of her fingers together and released Katsuki. He dropped to his knees, silent for the first time since he had tried to follow Izuku into the building. 

 

He felt numb.

 

Just like that, the shadow he’d had all of his life. Fucking gone .

 

Shapes moved quickly by him, but he was so past noticing their presence, registering them as unimportant, distant.

 

Definitely psychological shock, then. 

 

Katsuki dully felt Uraraka shaking his shoulder. Turning towards her, he saw her lips moving as she shouted at him. Her face was covered in soot, her eyes blown wide. All Katsuki could hear was a roar too loud to make out anything else. Then Uraraka was leaving, running towards the wreckage. Her quirk would be useful to look for the body, Katsuki supposed, maybe that's what she was shouting about. Katsuki wouldn't know. His quirk was useless in a situation like this. He was supposed to be a hero but he couldn't do anything to save the nerd. 

 

The roar continued.

 

Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. Katsuki watched blankly as Uraraka darted into the rubble, touching every bit of debris she could reach and floating them. Some other hero with a flight power then pushed the weightless slabs of concrete into the abandoned lot next to the ruins where Uraraka would drop them before floating more rubble. Rinse and repeat. 

 

Katsuki didn’t know how long it was before the other heroes were gesturing wildly as paramedic’s rushed over to where they were standing. They were probably yelling too, Katsuki didn't know. He still couldn't hear. His ears were ringing like they sometimes did after he used his quirk one too many times.

 

More paramedics rushed past him, this time carrying a long spine board. Katsuki supposed it would be too difficult to get a proper stretcher in the rubble. Katsuki wondered if they would pull him out in pieces, or if it just looked like he was sleeping. Katsuki hoped it was the latter. He knew Auntie would like to see him one last time, it would be better that way. For her. 

 

Shit, someone needed to tell her. Usually it would be up to the agency to alert the next of kin to a casualty of a hero. But Katsuki couldn’t do that to Auntie. He had to get up, to call her, to do something... The tips of Katsuki’s fingers twitched minisculely. He moved no further than that. Imagining telling Aunt Inko, her face when she realised her son wouldn't be coming home, that was when the tears started. Katsuki didn't think he had cried since that fight back in first year. Why was it always the damn nerd that could make him cry...? 

 

Fuck.

 

Katsuki needed to think, he needed to get his thoughts in order, but what the fuck, what the fuck . It wasn't supposed to go like this. Shit, he was supposed to be getting better, stronger. They were supposed to be the greatest. Together. They weren’t perfect, but they worked well together, just like All Might said they would. And now he wouldn’t have that chance. 

 

They were supposed to be partners, god dammit. Katsuki’s ambition to be the number one hero felt meaningless now. If the only person that could challenge him was no longer there, what was the fucking point?

 

Uraraka suddenly appeared in front of him, squatting to take up all of his vision. There were tears streaking her cheeks, running through the soot on her face. She reached out and touched his shoulder, shaking him again, but more gently this time. The roar had finally quieted down, but Katsuki still couldn't hear her over a high-pitched whining sound. He couldn't focus on the words she was saying, but her expression changed quickly. She reached out and placed a hand over Katsuki’s mouth. The annoying whining sound became muffled.

 

Oh.

 

He stopped.

 

“Katsuki, I need you to come with me.”

 

He shook his head wordlessly.

 

“Katsuki, I’m serious, you need to see this, please”

 

“I don't wanna see him… like that…”

 

“He wants to see you…”

 

At that, Katsuki’s eyes flicked to Uraraka in shock, and faint hope.

 

She looked near hysterical as she said, “He’s alive Katsuki, he’s fighting hard, first words he got out were to ask about you.” Her lips trembled. “Of course Deku is now causing trouble for the paramedics cause he refuses to go to hospital until he sees you.” She laughed weakly, breaking eye contact to rub her hands across her face.

 

“I won't lie, it's really bad, we have to go see him, I don't know if he will...”She took in a shaking breath and bit her bottom lip. 

 

Katsuki’s legs trembled as he got to his feet, dazedly following Uraraka towards a triage tent. She said it was bad, he wasn't sure he was ready to see how bad.

 

Inside the first aid tent was chaos. Paramedics and heroes were bustling around, applying basic first aid and assessing the seriousness of  injuries. Off to the sides there were heroes and civilians being treated for smoke inhalation. But what immediately drew Katsuki’s attention was the stretcher in the centre of the room. Several people were moving around it, shouting at each other, adjusting bandages and braces. Some seemed to be setting up a privacy screen. And in the centre of it all, there he was. 

 

Katsuki followed Uraraka over to the stretcher. He had seen Izuku with some serious injuries before, but nothing as bad as this .His usually bright green eyes were dull and glazed, barely open, while the rest of his face was hidden under layers of bandages and an oxygen mask. He was completely stripped from the waist up, laying on his back. His arms….they were blistering and red, and had open fractures as well. They look ruined...

 

At the entrance of the two pro’s, one of the EMT’s started listing off the diagnosis.

“Second and third degree burns over 70% of his body, minor scrapes and abrasions on the rest. Three open fractures on his left arm, just one on his right. He has five broken ribs and his left leg is broken. Thankfully there does not appear to be any spinal damage, but his back is burnt pretty bad. 

 

“He also has severe smoke inhalation and a concussion. We will need to review his condition when we get to the hospital, as there may be injuries and trauma we have missed. It's a miracle he is alive at all. We have dosed him with morphine and we are going to transport him shortly, but he was making a fuss about his Kacchan ...” The EMT stared accusingly at Katsuki, as if he had any control over the idiot in the first place. 

 

Katsuki avoided eye contact with the paramedic, instead continuing to stare at Izuku’s ruined body.

 

“H..hey nerd,” Katsuki whispered to the broken hero.

 

“K..ka..kacchan.” His voice was muffled by the oxygen mask and his bleary eyes couldn't seem to make him out. “Whe...where...you?” Izuku reached out with one of his fucked up arms. The ends of his fingertips were blackened, the worst of the burns so severe the skin was charred.

 

“They put you on the good shit, nerd. I dont think you would be able to move if you weren’t high as fuck,” Katsuki said with a tremble in his voice, trying and failing to lighten the mood. He gently took Izuku’s arm and laid it back down on the stretcher next to him. He brushed the hair off of his forehead, seemingly one of the safest places to touch.

 

“St...stay.”

 

A funny feeling settled in Katsuki’s stomach, something like a cross between euphoria and dread.

 

“I’ll stay if you want me to, nerd. Are you sure you don't want chubby cheeks to go with you? I’m told my bedside manner is lacking.”

 

“N..nn.no, Ka, don’t...go…” Izuku started to cry as he struggled to convey his meaning to Katsuki. Even though he must be in extreme pain, he still hadn’t shed a tear till faced with that possibility. Not at his injuries, not at the possibility of dying, but at the thought of the other hero leaving. Katsuki felt that weird feeling in his stomach travel upwards to sting in his chest. 

 

“Hey, hey, hey, I’m not going anywhere if you don't want me to. I've always wanted to ride in one of those shitty ambulances with the sirens going.” 

 

“Pr...pro...mise me….”

 

“Yeah, nerd, okay, I promise.”

 

Izuku quickly stopped crying after that, probably too dehydrated and out of it to really cry the way Katsuki knew he could. Katsuki stroked his hair again, trying to soothe.

 

Now that Izuku had what he wanted, the paramedics started getting ready to transport him. As they prepared to roll him to the waiting ambulance, Uraraka reached out and tapped the stretcher, floating it.

 

“It will be smoother this way,” she said to the paramedics, “you won't have to go over any bumps or anything.” She followed them to the ambulance and tapped her fingers again to release the floating stretcher as the EMTs held it down so it wouldn't drop suddenly.

 

“I’ll see you at the hospital, Bakugou. Don't worry about letting his mum know, I will drop in and tell her myself.”

 

Katsuki nodded quickly and turned, climbing into one of the seats in the back of the ambulance next to Izuku.

 

Izuku seemed to have slipped into fitful unconsciousness, eyes flickering under his eyelids. Muffled whimpers and sighs came from behind his oxygen mask.

 

The ambulance siren was indistinct from the inside of the van as it weaved through traffic. Staring at Izuku’s pale face, Katsuki found comfort in the sound of the heart monitor, confirming Izuku still had a pulse. He looked corpse-like, if not for his fluttering eyelids and the beep of the monitor, Katsuki might have thought he was already dead.

 

It was barely noticeable at first, and Katsuki couldn't see the monitor screen, but as they got closer and closer to their destination, the beeping of the machine got faster. And then faster again. The EMT in the back of the van with Katsuki started bustling around and adjusting things, saying a few quiet words to her colleagues in the front seats.

 

“Oi, what's happening?” Katsuki stood shakily as the ambulance seemed to speed up.

 

Izuku’s body began  to spasm against the straps holding him down to the stretcher. The monitor’s beeping continued to increase in frequency. Bleary green eyes opened, unfocused, and stared at the roof of the ambulance as horrifying coughs wrenched themselves from his chest. The oxygen mask quickly fogged up with condensation from his breath as he continued to hack and wheeze. 

 

The EMT rushed to his side, adjusting the stretcher to be slightly more upright so Izuku could sit up. He coughed again, vicious sounding, and scarily hoarse. This time a fine mist of blood splattered the inside of the mask, mixing with the condensation and rolling down the clear plastic like rain on a window. He had managed to wiggle one of his arms free from the restraints keeping him still and took off his mask, leaning to the side to spit some kind of bloody mass on to the floor of the ambulance. The paramedic quickly moved in, trying to get him to put his mask back on. He weakly pushed her away and locked eyes with Katsuki. 

 

“Kacchan, come here,” he says much more steadily than when he last spoke, but blood still trickled out the corners of his mouth. 

 

Katsuki was frozen. 

 

What the fuck was happening, what was happening to him? Izuku’s heart rate wasn’t slowing down either, getting louder and faster, until it was the only thing Katsuki could hear. 

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku said pleadingly, apparently the only thing Katsuki could make out over the beeping of the machine. He took a shaky step closer, being careful not to disturb too much. His cautious approach failed when Izuku grabbed the front of his shirt with the arm he had managed to get free. 

 

He wrenched Katsuki closer and slammed their mouths together, mostly a clashing of teeth as Katsuki’s brain struggled to catch up. What the fuck was happening. The nerd was kissing him. What the fuck, the nerd was kissing him !? And it didn't feel bad either, in fact… That weird tight sensation in his chest Katsuki had been feeling since he saw Izuku alive relaxed slightly. 

Oh.

 

Oh.

 

Katsuki’s hands moved from being clenched uselessly at his sides and reached up to steady the Izuku, forcing him to slow down as Katsuki deepened the kiss. Izuku tasted like blood and smoke, but Katsuki couldn't bring himself to feel disgusted. Izuku’s lips were so soft, but Katsuki could tell where he worried at them with his teeth when he was anxious. Izuku’s inexperience was completely obvious (so was Katsuki’s, but that's not the point) as he tried to orient himself into a more comfortable position. But the kiss was deep and emotional. Passionate from pent up anxiety and worry. Katsuki almost didn't notice when the heart rate monitor started to slow down, beeps becoming less and less frequent. Katsuki pulled back slightly and felt a waft of Izuku’s breath ghost across his lips. “Luh...you...acchan,” Izuku sighed and closed his eyes, fingers still weakly wrapped in Katsuki’s uniform. 

 

Katsuki didn’t get the chance to really grasp what was said, let alone to respond. He was still reeling from the kiss.

 

And then, much to Katsuki’s sudden horror, the monitor just...fucking flatlined . One last beep that seemed to stretch into eternity as Katsuki stared dumbly at the lifeless hero, the one he had just come to realise how much he fucking cared for, dead. Of course. Of course Katsuki was such a fucking idiot that it would take Izuku dying for him to realise. 

 

“Oi, what the hell did you just do , asshole? Deku, WHAT THE FUCK, DEKU!?”

 

“Get back, Ground Zzero.” The EMT pushed Katsuki out of the way and started chest compressions. She called for one of the others in the front passenger seat, and he joined her in the back working on the defibrillator paddles attached to the machine. 

 

Katsuki barely realised she had pushed him away. Another horrible thought invaded his mind as he stood dumbstruck. The fucker had just given him his fucking quirk. That was incomprehensible to Katsuki. Why? Why him ? He didn't need it, didn't want it, but Izuku had given it to him regardless. Izuku had chosen to preserve All Might's legacy over fighting to stay alive. That bastard thought he could just make sure the quirk was passed on and then die in peace? Hell no. Katsuki was not fucking having it.

 

“Oi, don’t you fucking dare Deku, don’t you fucking dare die on me you bastard.”

 

“Clear.” The press of the paddles to Izuku’s already burned, bruised and injured chest was quick but alarming. His body arched up against the restraints as the electricity flowed through him, trying to restart his heart. The female paramedic continued chest compressions as soon as the other removed the paddles to recharge them.

 

Katsuki moved over next to the head of the stretcher, dropping to his knees and leaning in close to Izuku’s lifeless face. Katsuki brushed the hair off of Izuku’s face, he always let it get too long and wild. He was crying again, every time it was Izuku that made him cry, something about him that made Katsuki feel more exposed and vulnerable than when he was with anyone else. 

 

His voice was hoarse and scratchy. “Hey, I think I loved you….Oi Deku, I think I still love you.” Katsuki didn't know what he was feeling anymore; he only knew that it was far too much. “You better come back...fucking come back for me you hear me, asshole?” His voice broke far more times than he cared to realise.

 

The paramedic moved Katsuki’s hands off of Izuku’s curls as her colleague powered up the paddles again. She gently, but firmly pushed Katsuki back to his seat. “Please stay back, Ground Zero, Hero Deku is in capable hands.”

 

Another jolt, more chest compressions. Katsuki could see the paddle shaped burns on Izuku’s already damaged chest, they were starting to weep clear fluid from the many small blisters peppering his chest like his freckles usually would. 

 

A gasp of air from Izuku made Katsuki want to collapse in relief. That feeling was short- lived when the freckled hero started making awful distressing cries for help.

 

“I..it burns, it burns, it hurts, make it stop! Please ,” Izuku groaned. He strained and thrashed against the bindings holding him down. “Make it stop, Kacchan, KACCHAN!” The way Izuku cried his name made Katsuki want to fight the entire world to make his pain stop. He got up from his seat and moved back over to Izuku. Katsuki looked down on the sobbing injured man's face and brushed tears from his freckled cheeks with his thumbs.

 

“Please Kacchan, let me sleep, let me go, it hurts here, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

 

The paramedics were busy, presumably injecting more fast acting pain killers to his IV tube from what Katsuki could see. Katsuki knelt down next to Izuku, leaning in and whispering to him as soothingly as he could. It wasn't that he cared if the paramedics heard what he was saying but he wanted to keep it between Izuku and himself. 

 

“Hey, hey, shhh, they’ll give you some stuff to make you feel better okay? We will get you all fixed up, okay?”

 

The sobs wracking the other hero’s body began to slow down as whatever the drug they had given him seemed to take effect. His beautiful green eyes were still cloudy, but the torrent of tears seemed to recede as he got more comfortable again. Izuku stroked his fingers across Katsuki’s cheek, smearing something wet there.

 

“Was... Kacchan... crying?” His words were slowly and carefully pronounced to counter whatever effect the drug must have had on his voice. He tilted his head more towards Katsuki as he asked.

 

“What a stupid question, nerd. You kissed me, confessed and then fucking died .”

 

Those big green eyes widened in something like fear. 

 

“Imsorryforkissingyouijustreallywantedtobefore…” his words slurred together, clearly not helped by the amount of painkillers he was on.

 

“No, shuttup,” Katsuki cut him off, “I have a bone to pick with you now, nerd.”

 

Izuku made a pathetic little “yeep” in fear. He looked like he would wrap his arms around his face if he could. Instead he just looked at the roof of the ambulance and avoided eye contact. “Ah…. sorry Kacchan...it is... okay if you don't… ah...don't return my feelings but….”

 

Katsuki pinched his cheek (gently, where it looked relatively safe and unbandaged) to make him stop talking.

 

“What did I just say?! Now shut up and listen for a minute cause I'm only saying this once.

You don't get to confess and dip, asshole.You love me? Well you better fucking act like it and live for me, shitty Deku, I ain’t interested in being a pity case.” Izuku’s eyes widened as Katsuki began his quiet rant.

 

“Listen to me. It took me way too long, -as well as almost losing you-, to realise my feelings, but, shit, I wanna fucking go somewhere with this, okay? I want a proper relationship, you asshole, so you better fucking live, god dammit. I wanna kiss every one of your stupid freckles, and hear you rant about quirk theory. I wanna cook you dinner that's probably way too spicy and then laugh at your stupidly cute red face when you have to chug a glass of milk. I wanna fight beside you, Deku…. Izuku. You stay, okay? You stay with me. You asked for me to stay with you, I did. Now return the goddamn favour.”

 

Izuku, predictably, begins to tear up again. Before he can say anything else, Katsuki leans forward and kisses him. 

 

Katsuki willed the quirk back to Izuku as he kissed and licked softly into the other hero’s mouth. This kiss was much more tender and sweet then the first one they had shared, with its clashing teeth and desperation. When they broke apart, Izuku was clearly gasping for breath, still needing his oxygen mask after inhaling a factory-sized amount of noxious smoke.

 

“Idiot, we can kiss when you are better if you can’t fucking breath.” Katsuki grabbed the discarded oxygen mask from around Izuku’s neck, and adjusted it back over his mouth and nose. There was still blood mottled on the inside of the clear plastic, forcibly reminding Katsuki of how bad a shape Izuku was in.

 

Remembering how their first kiss went, Katsuki decided he better clarify his statement. “Don’t take off your oxygen mask to kiss me, you fucking moron.” 

 

Izuku just smiled fondly at Katsuki and closed his eyes, drifting off to sleep. Katsuki kept stroking Izuku’s hair as they got closer and closer to their destination. 

 


 

When the ambulance got to the hospital, Izuku was immediately rushed off for emergency surgery. Katsuki was left pacing angrily in the waiting room, getting concerned looks from the other people sitting there. Katsuki was sure he looked a sight, still dressed in his hero costume and covered in minor injuries himself. He didn't need treatment, though, only minor scrapes and bruises. He could patch himself up once he knew how Izuku was. 

 

Some idiot looked like he might come up for an autograph, but one deadly glare in the kid's direction as he started towards Katsuki was more than enough to turn him back around to his seat. Now wasn’t the time.

 

Everything was getting on Katsuki’s nerves. The shuffling of paper, the pop of some kid’s gum, the low murmured chatter between the receptionists and patients. He felt like time was stretching on forever. 

 

It was an hour later when the hag turned up with Auntie Inko in tow. Inko looked a proper mess, her face was red and tear-stained. Katsuki’s old man followed in after the two of them, carrying a backpack that clearly belonged to Izuku (All Might-themed) and a smaller hand suitcase that Katsuki assumed belonged to Auntie.

 

Katsuki embraced his Aunt. He was not particularly fond of physical contact, but Auntie Inko was always the exception. The hag thrusted a small bag of clothes into his chest and yelled at him to “go get changed out of that disgusting uniform before it rots off your damn body.” 

 

After Katsuki was in fresh clothes, a brief and quiet discussion ensued about what happened on the mission. Katsuki explained what had happened, but he left out the fact that Izuku had died while on the way to the hospital. Izuku could explain that himself if he wanted to, Katsuki didn't want to exacerbate Inko’s stress. Then they all sat in relative silence, each consumed by their own thoughts. 

 

Katsuki didn't sit for long; he was soon up and pacing the room again, much to the annoyance of Mitsuki. 

 

The clock kept ticking and there was still no word from the doctors.

 

Another hour passed.

 

Katsuki finally sat down, but jiggled his knee restlessly. He responded to the many concerned comments in Class A’s group chat with a brief, “in surgery, alive,” before shutting off the notifications.

 

Three hours passed.

 

There was a small disturbance in the monotony when a specialist doctor with a healing quirk (called biomancy?) was rushed in through the halls with barely an explanation that she was there to see Izuku.

 

Five hours.

 

It was well into the early hours of the morning when a nurse finally came to collect them. He brought them to a private room, where the nerd slept peacefully, all bandaged up and covered in wires for god knows what. That comforting, steady rhythm of the heart rate monitor eased a small part of worry sitting in Katsuki's chest that he didn't realise was there until it was gone.

 

A doctor picked up the clipboard from the end of Izuku’s bed and began reading the prognosis. “We have mostly healed all of the burn wounds thanks to Sugawara sensei’s quirk. However, there is still some scarring. It may be healed with the application of certain quirks and with time, but as it was non-essential to saving his life, we left it. Hero Deku also received many fractures including several in his already weakened arms. As a result, he will need to see a specialist doctor with an osteo-related quirk as well as wear heavy braces and avoid using his arms to fight. We have set and healed all of the bones as well as we possibly could have, but he will need to be in splints for a while to ensure the bone sets properly.”

 

The doctor paused, pushing their hair back out of their eyes before continuing. “Now, for the worst damage, his lungs. Simply put, it's a miracle he is even alive.” Katsuki snuck a quick look at Inko, noting her horrified expression and deciding that, yes, telling Inko her only son had actually been dead for a few minutes would have been a very bad idea. “We are not entirely sure what the chemical was, but in combination with severe smoke inhalation, there was some other kind of irritant that caused acute trauma to the pulmonary and respiratory system. Due to this, he will be staying with us in the long term ward for at least a month where he will be treated with artificial respiration. Obviously we will be making use of healing quirks during this progress so we do not expect it to take much longer than a month or two.”

 

A month stuck in a hospital bed, the nerd was going to be so bored.

 

“He is likely to wake in the next few hours and we will wait till then to move him into a more permanent room. Feel free to get a coffee from the cafe or just wait in here with him. Just buzz for a nurse if you need any help.” They hung the clipboard back up and left the room at a brisk pace. Presumably off to do other important doctor things, Katsuki figured. 

 

A temporary sleeper stretcher was set up under the window of the hospital room. Inko took her suitcase and set it on the bed, before tucking Izuku’s bag under his own hospital bed where it would be out of the way.

 

Inko seemed to lose her last bit of composure as she looked down at her unconscious and wounded son. Mitsuki consoled her long time friend as Inko burst into tears. She turned and sobbed into the taller woman's chest while Mitsuki rubbed her back soothingly. Masaru also walked over and patted Inko on the shoulder, Katsuki’s parents murmuring comforting things to their friend and neighbour.

 

Assuming his parents were capable of dealing with another Midoriya’s meltdown, Katsuki flopped into one of the chairs next to Izuku's bed. Several hours running on adrenaline and anxiety was exhausting. Now that he knew concretely that Izuku was going to live, he felt like he could finally rest. Katsuki reached up and stroked the hair off of Izuku's forehead, exposing more freckles, lighter than the ones on his cheeks. Katsuki’s eyelids felt so ridiculously heavy, so when he started to lean forward to rest his head on the side of Izuku's bed, he was asleep before his head even reached the mattress. 

 

When he awoke, it was to quiet conversation between his parents and a much calmer Inko. Inko was sitting in the chair on the other side of Izuku’s hospital bed talking to his parents who were also seated in chairs on the opposite side to himself. Katsuki groaned and rubbed a crick out of his neck.

 

“The sleeping beast has finally awoken,” Mitsuki said with a sneer.

 

“Watch who you're calling beast, hag. Most of my looks come from you. Thankfully they suit me better.” Katsuki was still sleepy, but could fire barbs back and forth with his mother at a moment’s notice.

 

“You are lucky we are in a hospital, brat. Just because you are a hero now doesn't mean I won't beat your ass.”

 

“I’d like to see you try.”

 

Ever the mediator, Masaru put a hand on his wife's chest to prevent her from launching herself across Izuku’s unconscious body to throttle her only son.

 

“Okay, well, now that you are awake, I think it's time we left the Midoriya’s to get some proper rest and get some of our own. Katsuki, you can stay with us for today, I don't want you driving when you are so sleep deprived.” Masaru managed to remain composed even while Mitsuki looked like she was about to blow a fuse.

 

Katsuki looked out the window and noticed the sun was just barely above the horizon. Huh, he’d only been asleep for a couple of hours then. He looked down at the unconscious hero on the bed, in the new morning light the shadows under his eyes looked even more pronounced. Izuku was so still and pale looking, Katsuki felt a slight pit of dread drop in his stomach. Only the steady beeping of the heart monitor reassured him, but he knew how quickly things could change. Besides, Katsuki couldn’t leave before he got a chance to talk to Izuku about whatever the fuck happened last night. And he made a promise, and Bakugou Katsuki did not break promises.

 

Gathering himself with a deep breath, Katsuki asked “Actually, if it's alright with Auntie, I would like to stay…?” He knew it was incredibly unlikely that Inko would make him leave, but he still wanted to ask, just in case.

 

“You get out of their hair, brat….”

 

“Oh of course I don't mind, Katsuki!”

 

Mitsuki and Inko looked at each other in surprise after they spoke at the exact same time, opposing thoughts expressed in tandem.

 

Mitsuki sighed and ran a hand through her own spiky blonde hair. “I guess it's alright if Inko doesn't mind. But if I hear one word of you being a nuisance, I will put you in a hospital bed right next to Izuku.”

 

Inko spoke up quietly, dispersing the tension stretching between mother and son. “If you don't mind me asking, Katsuki, why do you want to stay?”

 

“He asked me to,” Katsuki said quickly.

 

And I have some questions that need answering.

 

“Oh,” Inko looked vaguely confused. “Well I am sure he will be very happy to hear that you stayed when he wakes up!”

 

Inko looked surprised, and Katsuki didn't blame her. Sure, him and Izuku were closer than they were in high school, but still not that close. And Katsuki wasn't usually the type of friend that would stay by an injured friend's bedside at the hospital, especially if the person wasn't even awake. Katsuki could tell her that he made a promise to stay by the nerds' side, but that moment felt too private, too close to what came after to share with anyone but Izuku himself.

 

“Oh, you don't have any clothes, dear,” Inko exclaimed, her mother hen nature taking over now that Katsuki had committed to staying by Izuku's side.

 

“We can drop the brat off some more spare clothes tonight,” Mitsuki said gruffly. “Gimme your filthy uniform too, brat, I'll wash it.”

 

A twinge of annoyance flashed through Katsuki like it always did when his mother demanded he do something. “No.”

 

“Just give it to me.”

 

“No, you'll wreck it or something.”

 

“Oh stop being so childish, Katsuki, I've washed your clothes since you started wearing them. I can handle your delicate hero suit.”

 

“Tch, fine, but if it smells like flowers I will destroy your washing machine.”

 

Katsuki and Mitsuki shot each other matching glares as Masaru spoke to Inko. “We will bring you a home-cooked meal tonight too if you would like, Inko. Hospital fare is pretty bland.”

 

“Oh that would be lovely!” Inko exclaimed, both her and Katsuki’s father pointedly ignoring the staring competition that Mitsuki and Katsuki seemed to be engaging in.

 

Mitsuki finally broke eye contact and clapped her hands together. “Alright it's settled, Katsuki is staying and we are going home to get some sleep.” She pointedly looked at her tired, long time friend. “You should sleep too, Inko.”

 

“Oh don't worry about little old me, I'll be fine.”

 

Mitsuki didn't look convinced. “Okay, see you later dear.” She leant in and gave the shorter woman a kiss on the temple. She turned to Katsuki, “bye brat.” Katsuki flipped her off only to get a matching vulgar gesture in return. Masaru ignored his wife and son’s display of affection and enveloped Inko in a hug. He patted Katsuki on the shoulder as he walked past. “Do try to get some more sleep, Katsuki, I'm sure they can drag you in a futon at the very least.”

 

“I’m fine, I've been awake for longer periods of time.”

 

“Right, well, we will see you tonight.”

 

Inko and Katsuki settle into a comfortable silence, Inko grabbing a book from her purse to read. Katsuki scrolled through his phone absentmindedly, not really looking for anything in particular. It is almost a full hour later when Inko offers to get them both coffee.

 

“I can do that Auntie.” He stood from his seat and patted his pockets to look for his wallet.

 

“Oh don't be silly, I wasn't the one out fighting villains all night, I can get a simple coffee.”

 

As she reminded him of last night, Kastuki realised he didn't have his wallet on him. It was still in his locker at the agency. He wouldn't have been able to pay for them anyway. Taking his moment of hesitation to pounce, Inko quickly swept out of the room, surprisingly swift for someone so diminutive. He wasn't surprised that she didn't need to ask for his coffee order. Inko always remembered the tiny preferences all her friends and family had. She was a very thoughtful and observant person, much like her son.

 

Katsuki sighed and sat back down next to Izuku. The back of his hands were no longer covered in awful burns, but there was definitely a shine of new skin there that wasn't present before. Katsuki realised if he looked closer, he could still see the faint freckles even on the back of his hands. Overcome by a desire to touch him, Katsuki started tracing small constellation patterns in the freckles on the back of Izuku’s hand. His hands were really scarred and calloused, much like Katsuki’s own. Katsuki compared the size of his hands to Izuku’s. Katsuki had bigger palms and longer fingers, Izuku's hand was squarish, but not particularly small either. Both of them had ridiculously crooked fingers. Katsuki gently took Izuku’s hand into his own and leaned his head back down on the hospital bed, maybe intending to take another nap before Inko got back with coffee.

 

Katsuki is not sure if he even managed to close his eyes when he was jolted back to full awareness by Izuku’s sudden trembling. His hand was twitching and spasming in Katsuki’s own. When he started to whimper and gasp, Katsuki reached over to buzz for a nurse, remembering that this was how it had begun in the ambulance. When Katsuki let go of his hand, Izuku blindly reached up in an uncoordinated attempt to pull the tube from his throat. 

 

Katsuki gives up on buzzing a nurse in favour of stopping Izuku from damaging himself further. He pinned Izuku's arms down at his sides, pressing all of his body weight down on the splints. On an ordinary day, Izuku could easily have thrown Katsuki off, but there must be some sort of quirk suppressant drug in Izuku’s system. Izuku’s quirk reacting involuntarily while the doctors were conducting surgery could be dangerous for everyone involved. Izuku's eyes snapped open blankly, green lightning flickering in them as he struggled hard against Katsuki’s grip.

 

“Izuku, Izuku, calm down, moron, calm down!” Katsuki didn't know if Izuku could hear him, but he hoped at the very least his shouting would alert a nearby nurse.

 

His plan seemed to have worked as nurses rushed in.

 

“Can you tell me what's happening?” Katsuki directed his sharp question at the first nurse to walk into the room.

 

“We will take it from here Bakugou-san, please stand back.” The nurse checked several things on one of the monitors next to Izuku’s bed. He then turned to his coworker and said, “call Ishikawa sensei, it’s time.” Could he make it sound any more ominous...

 

Two nurses took position on either side of Izuku’s bed, each holding down one arm each. Katsuki backed off reluctantly, knowing he would just be in the way. Still, Katsuki couldn't stand being kept in the dark.

 

“At least tell me what the fuck is happening! Is he going to be okay? He’s not gonna die on me again, is he?”

 

“No, it's likely that he is now conscious enough to feel the tube down his airway, it is a good sign.” The doctor from before, Ishikawa sensei, stated calmly as they walked through the door, pulling on a pair of gloves. “Midoriya-san, can you hear me,” the doctor asked briskly as they shined a small pen light into each of Izuku's eyes. “Blink twice for yes, okay.”

 

Izuku must have been able to blink, because the doctor continued, “good, I need you to take a big deep breath in for me. I am going to deflate the cuff holding the tube in place and then I need you to cough as I pull it out, alright?.” 

 

The doctor removed the medical tape holding the tube in place on Izuku’s face and adjusted the bed so he was in a semi-sitting position. “Alright, and, one, two, three, big cough for me now.” The doctor calmly and expertly pulled out the tube in one long steady motion as Izuku coughed like he was asked. As soon as the tube was removed, another nurse stepped in and wrapped a nasal cannula around his face.

 

“Excellent, we will be discussing more with you a bit later, Midoriya-san,” Ishikawa said. “But for now take some deep breaths and have a glass of water. Get yourself orientated and we will be back shortly.” With that, the doctor and nurses left the room, leaving Katsuki and Izuku in the room by themselves.

 

Katsuki ran a hand through his messy hair as he took back his seat next to Izuku’s head. “Gave me quite the scare there, nerd.”

 

“So..rry...Ka..cchan..”

 

“God, you sound pathetic,” Katsuki said softly. “Here, drink this.” Katsuki held up a cup of water to Izuku’s lips and tilted it slightly as Izuku drank deeply. “Is that a bit better, nerd?”

 

“Yeah,” Izuku replied, his voice still a little scratchy, “where is kaa-san?”

 

“Auntie left to get us coffee just before you decided to wake up and give me my 20th heart attack in about half as many hours, talk about bad timing.”

 

Izuku scrunched up his face as he thought, it was annoyingly cute. One love confession and Katsuki was already fucking smitten with his stupid face. Maybe denying that he had feelings before that confession would fade with time, but Katsuki wasn't able to look that deeply at his own thoughts just one day into a new relationship. Was this a relationship? They should probably figure that out... So what if he was in denial for a while, sue him for repressing feelings for the man he used to bully in middle school. Once you see your proclaimed (rival? friend?) partner, start to surpass you, it can do weird things to a man's libido.

 

Izuku seemed to come to some sort of conclusion, as the furrowed skin on his brow smoothed out. “You stayed the whole time, Kacchan!”

 

“Hah! What's that supposed to mean! Of course I fucking did, I promised to stay by your side, remember?!” Katsuki pinched one of Izuku’s freckled cheeks. Emboldened by the soft blush that dusted his face, Katsuki leaned forward and caressed the side of Izuku’s face before taking his mouth in a soft, but deep, kiss.

 

When Katsuki pulled back, it looked like the other man had burst a fuse. His face was so red it practically glowed. Overwhelmed, Izuku wrapped his arms around his head and began to mutter. “Oh my god…..gotta be dreaming….did I die….Kacchan would never….one-sided….I'm definitely dead….”

 

“Oi, do I gotta do it again to convince you it's real, shit nerd?” Katsuki gently pulled Izuku’s arms away from his face.

 

“Why would you love me back, Kacchan, you're so perfect and I'm just me…”

 

“Oh Izuku,” Katsuki began tiredly, he didn't even have the time to begin to unpack that. “If you think there's anything that is ‘ just’ about you, you must be delusional…”

 

Izuku, always ready with waterworks, started crying. Katsuki decided, fuck it. He was never one to do anything in half measures anyway. He scooched Izuku over and sat next to him on the hospital bed, carefully wrapping an arm around his shoulder. He kissed Izuku on his temple and whispered to him. “For someone so smart, you can be so stupid sometimes.... I told you I would stay you moron, I don't make promises I don't intend on keeping.” 

 

He kisses him again, soft and sweet and chaste this time. When they break apart Katsuki leans his forehead against Izuku’s. Steady red eyes stare into teary green ones. Izuku is breathless as he tries to get his words out all at once.“Kacchan, promise you'll stay with me forever.” 

 

“Izuku, I promise. You know I don’t break promises....”