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that little voice in my head - villain deku

Chapter Text

 

“No, no. This feels like it’s destiny…”

The words echoed in the dark, black room. Since when did destiny become something to fear?

Cold fingers wrapped around his neck. He didn’t know someone could be this cold. It felt like touching the dead.

“It’ll be fast. Soon as all five of my fingers touch your neck, your throat will be the first thing that disintegrates.”

The gravelly voice hummed in his ear, sending uncomfortable chills over his entire body. He didn’t bother to check to see, he knew who it was.

Tomura Shigaraki. 

So even in his dreams, he’s there to haunt him. Can’t he have a single moment of peace?

He remembers this day, those words Shigaraki had maniacally spoken at the mall. The feeling of being trapped, utterly helpless. He had tensed up to the point where he forgot what breathing was. And now again in his nightmares, he feels the tightening in his chest, his throat closing off, even though Shigaraki hadn’t made an effort to choke him out. The feeling was eerily similar to when the Sludge villain had engulfed him.

This wasn’t good. 

The day replayed in the dream. He and his friends splitting off to go their own way, the questionable conversation with Uraraka, the hoarse voice that made him erupt in hives. He had remembered now the sharp pain he could feel on the nape of his neck as Shigaraki pressed his thumb there. He had been so overcome with fear and anger that the pain had just swirled in with all the emotions he was feeling. 

What was that all about?

There was no evident mark there, and Shigaraki hadn’t used his quirk. So what was that sudden pain? It definitely wasn’t ordinary. It was similar to the shots he had taken as a child, so it couldn’t have been a simple crick in his neck...

But there was no time to dwell as the nightmare progressed further, not giving Midoriya the chance to scour over every detail.

This time, Shigaraki closed his fingers, tightening and tightening until Midoriya felt his head would explode. He forgot how to breathe under the pressure. No, no, he actually couldn’t breathe. Panic rose in him as he fought and kicked and bit at the hand strangling him, but none of his attacks landed. He managed to turn his head enough to catch a glimpse of his assailant but there was none there. 

The hand was disconnected from Shigaraki and...looked exactly like Deku’s own scarred hand, becoming the same color like the ones adorning the blue-haired killer’s body. Instinctively he looked down and saw that both of his hands were missing. He screamed as more hands shot out of the floor and began to attach to him. First his face then his hair, his legs, and arms. They pulled him under into the floor that was now a sea of sludge, the green substance filling his eyes, mouth, and nose. He felt his lungs, once full with air, now filling to the brim with the sludge. Suffocating, he was suffocating. 

 

He was drowning. 

 

 

 

 

Midoriya snapped awake, bolting up clutching the front of his shirt, breathing heavily as if he had finished running a marathon. His fingers gingerly brushed his throat to make sure it was still there. It was there and functioning he noted as he gasped for the air he so desperately needed. 

Drowning? Yeah, drowning in his own sweat it seemed like. He had sweated...everywhere.

Both the back and the front of his shirt were entirely soaked in his sweat. His face was still slick with perspiration and his tears, he noticed, as he wiped at his heated face with the bottom of his shirt. He was running a fever. 

That was odd.

His chest still heaving, Midoriya turned to look at his clock. 3:45 AM. 

Sighing, he let his head fall back onto his pillow, tears still streaming down his face. That was annoying , he thought as he rubbed the tears from his tired eyes. Well, he definitely couldn’t go back to sleep after that. 

So instead he got up to take a shower. Might as well since he was pretty sure taking a rinse in your own sweat wasn’t exactly sanitary. He tore off his shirt, throwing it in his laundry basket while slipping on his slides. He grabbed a new set of clothes and a towel and quietly made his way out of his room, making sure to close his door as softly as possible.

He prayed and hoped today wasn’t a day Aizawa Sensei decided to do some late-night hero work as he tiptoed past Aoyama and Tokoyami’s rooms to the elevator. When he arrived, he pressed the down arrow, resting his forehead on the cool metal of the plate surrounding the two buttons. He was really heating up.

Midoriya winced as the elevator dinged, the telltale sign that his transportation had arrived. It was so loud, he hoped he hadn’t woken anyone. Reluctantly taking his forehead off the cool surface, he staggered toward the door that was already impatiently closing. It bumped his shoulder as he shuffled in. After clicking the starred 1, he leaned back onto the alloy railing, watching as the door slowly shut. In the shiny surface of the metal, he could see his reflection almost perfectly and leaned in closer, his mouth falling open. 

His eyes were glowing red. 

As if on cue, that was when the convulsions began. 

Lurching forward, he coughed, blood splattering the floor. He grasped at the door, overwhelmed by the pain he was experiencing. Every part of him was burning, searing agony throughout his whole body. He couldn’t even scream. He sank to the floor, his hand sliding down through his blood until it dropped next to his seizing body. His vision went white as he tried to fight back against whatever it was that was holding him. He managed to let out a strangled cry before he felt the pain disappearing, gone as quickly as it arrived. 

The fire that had burned in his bones was gone but one specific feeling remained. As he slowly faded away, he couldn’t shake the pain at the nape of his neck, the same pain he had felt that day at the mall. 

The elevator dinged again to announce his arrival on the ground floor and his world went black.






The next morning, Bakugou awoke as always at exactly 6:15 AM. Not only did he sleep early, but he also rose early, the nerd that he was. Sliding out of bed, he quickly swapped his pajama pants for his sweats and slipped on his slides. He grabbed his toothbrush and made his way out the door, slamming it a little harder than necessary, making sure to watch the adjacent door shake in its frame. The nameplate donning the name KIRISHIMA rattled in its place holder. 

He was, in fact, Kirishima’s personal alarm clock. After he observed his Shitty Haired friend coming downstairs late almost every day, how he never had time for breakfast, Bakugou started making an effort to wake up that idiot early. Though, he would never admit to doing it intentionally, of course. 

He didn’t leave until he heard Kirishima groan, and the bang that followed indicating he had rolled off his bed. Bakugou snickered and walked to the elevator, using the knuckle of his index finger to press the down arrow. 

No one was awake at this ungodly hour and he knew he would have the bathrooms to himself. He loved being alone if he was being honest and he relaxed at the thought of having time for himself before he was bombarded with his classmates’ existence. The only other person who woke early like him was Todoroki and that Half and Half bastard knew to stay away from Bakugou when he was brushing his teeth. It wasn’t exactly a pretty sight.

The elevator dinged and he flinched, getting thrown out of his thoughts. Shoving his hands into his pockets he began to walk forward before he froze, one foot still in the hallway the other sitting on the metal slit of the elevator. He had stood there for so long that the elevator door began to close, hitting his knee before retreating.

On the floor, right where Bakugou was about to step lay a set of clothes, ruffled out of their neat folds. But what really caught him was the sight of the All Might towel, the exact same one his mom had gotten Deku and him when they were still children. That in itself wasn’t odd. 

No, what made his eyes widen and his heart beat faster was the pool of blood on the tiles of the elevator floor, soaking the towel, staining the red, white, and blue of the smiling All Might’s uniform.








Midoriya snapped awake, bolting up. He was hit with a wave of déjà vu. 

Hadn’t he been through this already? No, this time it was different.

He was different.

It felt as if he had woken from a coma, being brought into a world he had been so unfamiliar with for such a long time. When he looked around the cramped and smelly room, all he could feel was loathing. Loathing for the scratchy mattress beneath him, loathing for the peeling wallpaper, loathing for the chipped tiles and the mold infested carpet. He had never felt such hatred for anything more than this room.

That was until a certain someone walked through the door. He found something new to direct his disgust towards. 

Tomura Shigaraki.

“Good morning, Midoriya,” he drawled. 

Midoriya scowled, realizing how much he hated the sound of his name in Shigaraki’s mouth, how much he hated Shigaraki’s mouth, how much he hated Shigaraki. No, he hated everything really. This world that had denied him happiness for so long, what was there to love?

He turned away from the crusty man taking time to scan over himself. Dried blood splattered his bare chest, completely covering his right hand, and it hit him that he was still in his getup from when he woke up from the nightmare and when he was in the elevator.

The elevator.

Wait...what had happened?

He looked back to Shigaraki who, Midoriya noted with annoyance, was patiently waiting for Midoriya to ask the right questions. He hated questions.

“Where the hell am I? What the fuck happened?” He fumed. The words were unfamiliar in his voice but the taste of them in his mouth was nostalgic and tingly as if he had experienced the sensation of swearing in another life. 

Shigaraki chuckled, “Why don’t you follow me? We can explain everything.”

Midoriya scowled. How he hated vague speakers. How he hated not knowing. Shigaraki walked out the door, not checking to see if Midoriya was following. 

Reluctantly, he stood, lacing his fingers and cracking his knuckles. Might as well. He hated following orders but he hated not knowing information even more. He followed suit.

Shigaraki led him to a large storage room. The boxes and crates made a perfect circle around the center which was completely barren of anything except some people who would never be seen together under any other circumstances. A teenaged girl with her hair pulled into double buns scratching her knife over and over on the ground, a black and gray suited man seemingly talking to himself, a lizard mutant sitting on top of a crate, polishing his boots, and a magician practicing a card trick on a young man who was essentially 80% scars and staples. 

The League of Villains.

How he hated the League of Villains.

Shigaraki led Midoriya towards the group; the misfits all looked up expectantly. The girl’s eyes widened with glee as she sprang up.

“Izu-chan!” She cried, running to throw her arms around the boy. Midoriya winced in revulsion, the utter thought of a hug sent chills throughout his body. He hated hugs. The scarred man pulled on the back of the girl’s jacket, dragging her away from the vise-like grip she had on Midoriya. 

“Toga, calm yourself,” Dabi said, dead-pan, as if this was a common occurrence: Toga jumping unsuspecting boys she had a not so cutesy crush on. Spinner dropped down from his position on top of the crate, bringing Twice along with him as he walked towards the group. Mr. Compress gracefully flicked the deck of cards into his sleeve, before joining the rest to stand in front of Shigaraki and Midoriya. 

Shigaraki took the hood off of his head and leaned on a tall box adjacent to him, “Well, Midoriya, this is the League of Villains. League of Villains, this is Midoriya.”

Dabi gave a half-hearted wave, Mr. Compress tipped his hat, Spinner gave him a look of respect (hey, if Stain respected him, he would respect him), and Toga’s cheeks flushed pink, practically drooling at the sound of his name. Breaking the silence, Twice cried out, “I’ve seen this kid before! I have never seen this fellow in my entire life!

Midoriya felt himself bubbling with annoyance. Well, which is it? He wanted to scream at him. 

Shigaraki crossed his arms, “Yeah, you have Twice. This is that kid from UA. The one who we tried killing at UA’s training camp, the one who took down Muscular?” 

Twice replied, “Oh, yeah, I remember him clear as day! What day is today?” 

Dabi cocked his head, “So, are you gonna tell us your plan now, or do you expect us to be in the dark forever?” 

Shigaraki rolled his eyes, straightening himself, “Well, after Kurogiri’s loss I’ve been thinking we’ll need a replacement, considering that not only is Kurogiri gone but Magne is out as well. 'Personal time' she said. And well, All For One did give me a single prototype of the quirk corrupter we had discussed before he...Anways, I believe Midoriya is now fully corrupted since when I had Doctor warp him here, he was out cold. So, I guess now is the time for me to extend my offer.”

He turned to face Midoriya, “Join us. We can make you more powerful than you ever were, give you that revenge you so badly crave.”

At those words, Midoriya blanched. He hadn’t realized it, but after Shigaraki said it…he did want revenge. Revenge on every single person who had wronged him in some way. The fire of wrath swirled in his stomach. He hated the League, yes, but he hated heroes even more, he concluded.  Those loathsome creatures. Why had he ever cried over being like them? Why had he wasted his time and his life by pursuing a dream that was essentially a nightmare? 

Heroes were the worst of the worst. 

His mouth curled into a smile, the first since awakening, “I’m in.”

This earned a round of applause from the group, Twice screeching out, “Seems legit. Boss has really gone off the rails this time!” 

This time, Midoriya didn’t flinch or scowl. These were his people. They always were, he just never saw them before. 

And now standing here with them he felt a dull pull in his chest, whispering to him that this is wrong. This goes against everything we believe in. He could barely hear the words this second voice was whispering. Weird.

Toga ran forward, clasping her hands in his, “Oh, Izuku! I’m so so grateful you decided to join our family! I also love the new eye color, really fits you, looks like blood. Speaking of blood, whose blood do you go---” 

At this point, Midoriya had tuned her out. There was a new thought in his mind. He hated his name he realized. It made him feel weak, made him feel like the kid who wanted to be a hero. He hated heroes. 

At that moment he realized who he wanted to be, realized who he was now, who he was all this time. He was no longer Deku, the weak.

No.

He was Doku, the poison. The same poison that flooded his veins and corrupted him and his power. He was the evil that lurked in the shadows, the villain who hated everything. He was Kiraku. The hateful evil. Yeah, he liked the sound of that.

He grabbed Toga’s hands, stopping her mid sentence. “Don’t call me Izuku anymore.” 

Toga merely stared back, golden eyes like a snake.

“Call me Doku.”

Toga’s smile was big, her eyes almost closing from the sheer joy she was experiencing, her face a deep red, “Not weak Deku anymore?” She practically squealed.

Dabi rolled his eyes, “Isn’t that a little on the nose, Poison?”

Doku fixated his red eyes on the turquoise of the scarred man, “I wouldn’t talk if I were you, Cremation.” Dabi chuckled, but as he turned away he tried his best to hide the shiver that had run down his spine. Those eyes… 

Shigaraki walked forward as Toga let go of the green-haired boy’s hands. He bowed his head slightly towards the new and supposedly improved Doku. 

“Well, Doku. Why don’t we start with a much-needed wardrobe change, then?”

Chapter Text

 

Bakugou staggered, clutching the wall. 

In the back of his mind, he registered the sound of a door behind him opening and closing, and then the sleep-ridden voice of his friend asking him something. It felt like he was listening to him speak from underwater.

Kirishima walked towards him, rubbing his eyes, “Bakubro, do you think maybe just once you could treat the door with some respect?... Hey, what’s wrong?” Seeing Bakugou slumped over, clutching the door with white knuckles, made him quicken his pace, his voice tinged with worry.

Bakugou didn’t respond, and this time it wasn’t that he was purposefully ignoring Kirishima. He simply couldn’t talk, his mind trying to register what his eyes were seeing. And as Kirishima grew closer and grasped Bakugou’s shoulder he saw what had made Bakugou come undone.

He gasped, turning Bakugou to face him, fear in his crimson eyes as he tried to make eye contact with the bright red of Bakugou’s downturned ones, “Bakugou, are you okay? Where? Where are you hurt?” He scanned Bakugou’s body but he couldn’t find any evidence of any sort of wound. 

Bakugou simply shook his head and swallowed hard, trying to get the weird taste out of his mouth. “It’s not mine,” he murmured. 

This made Kirishima drop his hands from his shoulders in relief. But he was quickly overcome with fear again: then whose was it?

“We need to get Mr. Aizawa right now,” Kirishima said, running a hand through his not yet styled hair. Bakugou nodded, still not saying anything. Kirishima grabbed his arm, “Bakugou, look at me. Look at me.” He waited for Bakugou to drag his eyes away from the bloodstained towel before continuing. 

“I know what this looks like. But you need to calm down.” 

Bakugou’s eyes cleared. Calm down? What does he need to calm down from? He wasn’t sure what he was so distraught about, he told himself. But that was a lie. He knew. The image of a bloodied and battered Deku, his lifeless body hidden God knows where. That’s what made his breath hitch and his body freeze. 

“I am calm,” he grunted, snapping away from Kirishima’s grip. The latter relaxed. Bakugou was back. 

Kirishima nodded and the two ran down the staircase to get Aizawa as fast as they could. 



 


Classes were canceled for the day. Aizawa had called all the students out of their dorms to take attendance, praying and hoping, no, begging, for every problem child to be there. He made his way down the list. But he already knew who was absent. He didn’t see Midoriya in the crowd, and the bloodied, one-of-a-kind All Might towel gave it away. 

“Izuku Midoriya.” He called, willing his voice not to shake. 

Silence. 

The students knew already. They knew he was missing from the moment they gathered together in the common area. Everyone had broken into their normal pairs and groups but as Todoroki, Iida, and Uraraka came together, they noted the missing Midoriya. Uraraka had almost collapsed, Iida having to hold her up as they realized that the blood they had seen in the elevator was probably his. Todoroki’s hand had iced over quickly, worry for his friend rising in him, remembering the bloodied All Might towel in the evidence bag.

Tokoyami, Aoyama, and Mineta also noted that when they all exited their dorms, Midoriya didn’t leave his. Tokoyami had knocked, thinking Midoriya had just slept through the announcement, but there was silence on the other side of the door. The boys had assumed he was already downstairs but when they arrived they couldn’t see the green bush of hair anywhere among the crowd. 

The classmates looked around at each other nervously. Aizawa was about to move on to the next name, his voice strangled until he felt a hand rest on his shoulder. 

“Ah, Detective Tsukauchi.” Aizawa cleared his throat and turned to the man. The detective gave him a telling look and led Aizawa to the side. 

“Shota, I need you to keep this on the down-low. Canceling classes just gives the students more time to be focusing on what happened here and make up new questions they need answering. Please, give them as little as possible. I know it’ll be hard but it’ll make it easier on the investigation. We don’t know what happened here, but we do know Midoriya is gone, obviously. We’re sending the blood to be tested to see who it belongs to but… I think I already know it belongs to the kid. Who were the students who found it again?”

Aizawa nudged his head in the stirring class’s general direction, “Katsuki Bakugou and Eijirou Kirishima. Poor kids were going to use the elevator and it was there.” 

Tsukauchi nodded, lost in thought, gazing over the crowd of uneasy students, “Is it alright if I pull them aside quickly? I just want to see if we can piece together a timeline and find out what really happened here.” 

Aizawa shoved his hands in his pockets, “By all means.” He turned towards the blond and the redhead, “Bakugou, Kirishima, Detective Tsukauchi needs to see you two.” 

Kirishima waved goodbye to his group, squeezing Mina’s hand one last time before turning to walk with Bakugou, backs slouched, towards their superiors. Tsukauchi shook Aizawa’s hand one last time before sitting down with the pair of boys on a couch in the common room. 

Aizawa ran a hand down his face. This was exhausting. He couldn’t even begin to think about what he would tell his students. He turned towards them, eyes flicking between the groups. Sero, Mina, and Kaminari stood around the kitchen island, each equally as distracted as they were worried. Sero was staring at the rice on the plate in front of him, Mina had her elbows up on the counter, hands clasped in front of her, and Kaminari was playing with his fingers, picking away at them. All were troubled, wondering how their friends were managing after witnessing the horror in the elevator. Jirou walked over and placed a hand on Kaminari’s hands and he looked up at her, taking her in as if it would be his last time seeing her. 

Aizawa couldn’t watch them anymore, their anxiety hurting him, and as he diverted his attention to the other groups he found that he would find no consolation in any of the students. The next group was even worse. Uraraka was seated on the ground, back against the wall, knees up to her chest. Iida crouched by her, resting his hand on the top of her hand, seemingly whispering assurances to her. Todoroki stood over them, almost like a guardian, his eyes hard set as he looked down on them, sometimes chiming into whatever Iida was saying. 

This wouldn’t do. Aizawa walked to the middle of the room and clapped his hands, “Students. I need you all to go upstairs and change. I’m taking us out for some ramen.” They all murmured and shared glances with each other. Aizawa rolled his eyes, “No, there’s no deception. We all need a break.” The students relaxed and muttered their thanks as they made their way to the staircase. 

Once all the students were gone, he slouched again, looking towards the elevator where the evidence team was wrapping up. Tsukauchi walked over, holding his hat to his chest.

“Good idea. It’ll take their minds off of it for now," He praised. “I’ll let you know if any new leads show up and when the lab results are back. Meanwhile, I’ll get these hazmats out of here.”

Aizawa gave him a curt nod and a shake of the hand before they parted ways. He gave one last glance to the elevator before turning to meet the students already on their way down.



 

 

After a hearty meal courtesy of Mr. Aizawa, the students had changed and gathered together in the common area. Kaminari flicked on the TV and began scrolling through the channels, not stopping on a single one, much to his classmates’ disdain. Jirou pressed one of her earphone jacks in his ear and as he jumped Iida grabbed the remote out of his hand.

“We will handle this like CIVIL students. I refuse to watch like a madman!” Iida declared, chopping his arm in the air over and over. Kaminari rolled his eyes, “Whatever. At least change it from this channel, no one wants to hear the news.” 

Iida turned to the TV, about to flip the channel but froze as the red words shot across the screen “BREAKING NEWS”. 

“Iida, change it!” Mineta cried, trying to jump him for the remote, reaching his short arms around Iida’s wide shoulders as he clung to him like a spider. But Iida was frozen in place, and the classmates who were sitting in the kitchen made their way over as well, all crowding around the TV. The camera panned over a shot of rubble, people running around and screaming. It looked as if 3 buildings had collapsed.

“Breaking news!” the reporter cried. “We just have received word that the League of Villains has just attacked the grand opening of the new bank down in the--wait, what’s this?” The camera zoomed in taking in each member of the League. Dabi shooting flames into the crevices left by the debris like target practice, Toga skipping from stone to stone as if she was on a playset, Twice giving Mr. Compress a nonconsensual piggyback ride, and Spinner throwing his knives every which way. Class 1-A collectively scowled, angry at the laid-back energy of the group. 

“Zoom in there! There! Right by that pile of bricks!” The reporter yelled over the sound of the helicopter carrying her and her cameraman. 

The camera shakily zoomed in on the back of a figure in a black suit, adjusting his white satin gloves before he flew to a building that was still standing at lightning speed, punching it as hard as he could. He landed gracefully as the building fell to the ground around him, kicking up dust and pebbles. 

“Who is that? Who is that?” 

The students leaned in closer.

“I’ve never seen that person with the League before,” Sato commented, squinting his eyes to get a discernable feature. His classmates echoed his thoughts, trying to put a pin into where they had seen this mystery villain before. The cameras switched until they were looking at a ground view of the damage, much closer to the villain now. 

The class realized before the reporter even shouted it out for them.

“Isn’t that Izuku Midoriya from UA?!” 

A silence fell over the class as they watched their friend walk towards the camera, dusting his gloves off, straightening his suit and tie. His pupilless red eyes bore into the camera in front of him as One For All’s power surged through him, as red as blood. He smiled wickedly, spreading his arms wide.

“Good evening, Japan! I’m Doku. Nice to meet you! Welcome to a whole new me!”, he walked forward, getting so close to the camera, you could count the freckles sprinkled on his cheeks. 

He smiled even wider, his eyes closing, before his face dropped suddenly, stoic and angry. He cocked his head, giving the camera a vacant glare. Doku brought his index finger and thumb up to the camera and flicked the lens, the screen going black.

The room was so quiet that you could hear every individual students’ raggedy breaths. 

Then it erupted. Some cried, some yelled in anger, others in confusion. From his place behind the crowd, Bakugou didn’t move. He wasn’t overcome with the frenzy his classmates were feeling. 

No, he was empty. As empty as the blank red eyes of the new...Doku? 

He didn’t really feel anything. He just shoved his hands in his pockets and trudged away, feeling...nothing.

Kirishima, after frantically looking around, noticed Bakugou walking away, slouched, shoulders rigid with tension. He ran up behind him, his hand reaching out for his shoulder. Before he could make contact, Bakugou, without looking, slapped Kirishima’s hand down. “Don’t touch me,” he growled.

Kirishima was more hurt by the tone in his voice than the painful slap. “Bakugou...are you alright?” He asked, concern knitted in his voice.

Bakugou never turned to look at him, his eyes staring straight ahead, as he continued walking, “Why wouldn’t I be?”
He went to bed.

 

 

 


This time, when Bakugou woke up in the dead of the night to his usual nightmares, he didn’t feel sludge in his lungs or Dabi’s uncomfortable hot fingers on his neck. He saw those empty, red eyes and felt their stare stab icicles into his chest. 

He didn’t care, he told himself.

Stupid Deku. That little bastard, always fucking shit up. 

That normal feeling of irritation when he thought about Deku was gone, though, just as Deku himself seemed to be gone. The insults felt...wrong...as if he was insulting the dead.

When Bakugou looked at this new...Doku, he didn’t see Midoriya, see the selfless hero who wanted nothing but to save people, the starry-eyed boy who looked at him with nothing but admiration, the idiot who muttered to himself and knew everything about every pro and sidekick. No. 

He saw himself. He saw anger and hatred and fear. He never saw that in Deku. Not even when he beat him up, or told him to kill himself, or threatened him to not come to UA. No matter what he did, Deku never faltered, never wavered from his path. So what had changed? He remembered Deku, battered and bloodied, running at him as fast as he could screaming, “Kacchan!”. Oh, how he hated that nickname. But hearing Deku scream it as if his soul was being ripped out of his chest? It had moved something in him. After all that he had put him through, Deku still cared for him. Someone who had consistently been there. In a way, it was like a brother, someone to hate, someone to fight with. But he didn’t feel hate now. 

He felt guilty.

And he scowled at the thought of feeling any kind of shame, much less towards that weakling. 

He looked out the window, staring into the starry night sky.

A whole new you, huh?

 




Dabi clapped Doku on the back, “A whole new you, huh? I like the sound of that.”

Doku threw him some finger guns, “I think that was a debut done well, don’t you think?”

Shigaraki nodded from his place behind the desk, “That was good. Since you were such a nice little kid or whatever, it’s even more jarring to the heroes and teachers. Plus, it makes you even scarier and unpredictable. UA is definitely getting some heat for this.”

Doku smirked. 

He turned and gave a wave, “Alright, I’m gonna hit the hay.”

Toga hummed her goodbyes and Twice rambled off as Doku went into the room he had first woken up in that morning. He took off his suit jacket, hanging it on the loose hook behind the door. His clumsily knotted tie was discarded on a chair and his buttoned shirt, vest, and pants followed suit. 

He really needed some new clothes. He had to sleep in his boxers tonight, he realized, rolling his eyes. He fell onto the bed, tucking himself in, ready for sleep after the long and eventful day he had. 

He shut his eyes and fell facefirst into a dream.

He stood in front of a mirror, staring at his reflection. But yet, this reflection was different. It didn’t mirror his movements as he reached up to touch the glass. It rippled like water under his touch and he quickly drew his hand away. The reflection wore a hard look, anger in his green eyes, a stark contrast to his own pupilless red ones. 

The reflection spoke then, “Doku? Seriously?”

Doku smirked, “What, you don’t like it, Izuku? I think it suits this side of you really well.”

Midoriya growled, slamming his closed fist into his side of the mirror, “You shouldn’t even exist. You’re just my weaknesses, my anger, and my fears. I don’t dwell on those things so what makes you think your existence is valid, Doku?”

Doku laughed, a cruel and hollow sound, “I’m not sure, little Zuzu. I wouldn’t know, but that sounds a lot like wrath and anger to me! How unheroic! Telling someone that their existence is invalid?” Doku gasped dramatically, placing a hand on his chest, “I can’t believe you!”

Midoriya scoffed, “I am NOTHING like you.”

 

Doku reached his hand to stroke the mirror, his smile wide with mocking pity, “Oh sweet Izuku. Are you forgetting? I am you.”

Chapter Text

 

Everyone in Japan had seen that broadcast. 

UA Student turned Villain?!

Principal Nezu held a press conference the next day to somehow prove to the country that UA was still a respectable school. All the teachers, except All Might, were present.

All Might had other things on his mind.

The day of the attack, he had been sitting with Tsukauchi and Gran Torino at the police station, trying to put the pieces together and somehow, hopefully, track down Midoriya. He feared the worst, of course, but he scolded himself at the thought that Midoriya couldn’t fend for himself. No, Young Midoriya was the most capable student he had ever come across. He might’ve been biased but it did not matter. The boy had potential, and with One for All’s power in his grasp, after he was finally starting to take control of it, he would have never gone down without a fight. 

At least he believed so.

While sitting with the detective and his mentor in Tsukauchi’s office, All Might was restless. He felt so utterly helpless without his power and his strength. He was even more defenseless than a quirkless child. Before, he would have soared through the streets, searching every nook and cranny for his boy. But now, all he could do was sit and wait. 

He was pulled out of his thoughts when a young lady wearing a lab coat knocked on the door. All three men looked up expectantly, and the girl walked forward, holding out a folder to Tsukauchi. 

“The lab results for the blood we tested, sir.” She bowed and exited, closing the door behind her.

All Might stood up and moved to stand in front of the detective. Tsukauchi opened the folder, pulling out the white form. His face hardened as he looked up at the two and nodded his head. 

It was indeed Midoriya’s blood. 

All Might was hit with a wave of emotions all at the same time. He was expecting this, they all were expecting it. But it was the worst-case scenario, and they all had held out on the slim chance that it couldn’t have been his blood. The size of the pool of blood in the elevator...it was too large. All Might faltered. Seeing the words written on the page just made it all the more real

“Toshinori.” Gran Torino grabbed his forearm, steadying him. He couldn’t give any words of encouragement. There were none. There was a chance Midoriya was out there, alive. But even if he were, they doubted he would be taken care of, considering that he was probably mortally wounded. Tsukauchi threw the folder on the table in frustration, making his way over to his corkboard. He stood, arms crossed, his eyebrows furrowed so far down his face, his eyes were almost shut. 

“Fuck!” He yelled, his arms stiffening, hands balling into fists. 

All Might, at that moment, remembered something: Inko. How was she dealing with this?

He turned to the agitated detective, “Tsukauchi. Does Inko Midoriya know what has happened to her son?”

Tsukauchi looked up, “She does. I had Principal Nezu call her and let her know.”

All Might shook his head, “No, she would be storming this place right now. I don’t think Nezu has called her yet.” The three men looked at each other, the realization hitting them all like a train. When Tsukauchi had said “Keep this under wrap”, he didn’t mean “Hide it from his loved ones and parental guardians ”! 

The detective hit his fist on the table, “What the HELL? Is that little mouse SHITTING me right now?” 

All Might grabbed his coat, already halfway out the door, before Gran Torino called after him, “Where are you going, Toshinori?” 

All Might turned back, “Where else?” 



 



All Might arrived, breathing hard and sweaty at the Midoriya's household door. He took a moment to stand there and catch his breath before he knocked on the door, pressing his forehead on the cherry wood of the door.

He heard quiet shuffling and quickly pulled back, adjusting himself, wiping his face. Had he been crying? Whatever, it didn’t matter.

The door slowly opened and All Might’s face fell. 

Inko stood there, phone in hand, tears overflowing down her face. She didn’t speak, just stood there, sobbing. All Might ran forward, catching her in his arms before she sank to the floor, crying into his shirt. He had never heard such a sound from a human being before. It was animalistic...like her soul was being ripped from her body.

“Izuku!,” She howled, “My Izuku, my baby Izuku.” Both kneeling on the floor, All Might buried his head in her shoulder, letting his own tears fall.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” He breathed, barely above a whisper. 

 




After they had collected themselves, Inko had half-heartedly asked him if he wanted some tea. All Might politely declined, telling her that he would go and assist Tsukauchi with finding Midoriya. Whether he be dead or alive , he thought. 

Inko nodded, turning back into her apartment when she realized she had no clue what to do. All Might placed a hand on her shoulder, turning her back to him, “Get some rest, Inko. Please. I’ll be back later today. Go lay down.” Inko nodded again, silent, and spent of her tears, her sadness weighing on her chest, preventing her from speaking. 

All Might didn’t leave until he saw her disappear into her bedroom, closing the door behind her.

He sighed, closing the apartment door.

Little did he know, he would be back later with worse news than before.






He, Tsukauchi, and Gran Torino had watched the news with the rest of the squadron down at the police station. Without thinking, he ran out the door, making his way to Inko’s. All Might didn’t give himself a chance to even think or process what had happened. Questions arose and were quickly shot down. Now was not the time to be selfish, all that mattered was making sure Inko was okay. As okay as she could be, after finding out her son was now a part of the very organization that he had insisted to fight against. 

Somehow finding out he was alive and a villain was worse than him being dead.

He was well past the speed limit, the pedal almost on the floor of the car as he screeched to a stop in front of the apartment building. 





Inko had indeed fallen asleep, a dreamless, almost blissful sleep. She didn’t know how long she had napped for, but when she arose again, the sky outside her window was slightly darkening. She had slept through almost the whole day! She silently scolded herself, sitting up and sliding her slippers onto her feet. 

Inko made her way to the kitchen, trying to busy herself with something, anything to keep her mind off of...off of everything that was happening.

She turned on the TV and began on the dishes.

 

 



All Might banged on her door, before realizing it was already unlocked. Normally, he would never be so forward, especially with a lady, but he flew open the door. Inko was standing in front of the sink, washing the dishes. “Washing” being used loosely. 

Scattered around her was a halo of broken dishes, the white glass decorating the hardwood floor. Inko was still washing a dish, one she had been presumably washing for a while given the red and wrinkled fingers she was still working the dish with. In fact, there was now a noticeable divot in the middle of it. The same circle, over and over, as she stared blankly at the screen in front of her. Interviews with witnesses at the scene of the bank's destruction. The sponge going in the same pattern on the dish was the only sound in the room beside the low murmur from the TV. 

All Might quickly clicked off the TV and then made his way to Inko, being mindful of the shards surrounding his feet. She didn’t even look up from the dish, her blank and tired eyes staring at the white of the plate. All Might looked down at the glass and thought, Fuck it. Rolling up his sleeves, he stepped on them with his brown shoes and moved closer to Inko. He extracted the plate and the sponge from her death grip and carefully set them in the sink. He turned on the tap water and carefully washed the remaining soap off her hands. Taking two sheets of paper towel off a roll to the left of the sink, he dried her hands, before drying his own.

She looked up at him, her eyes cloudy yet shining with tears. He enveloped her in his arms, and they stood in the middle of the mess of glass and soap and tears. Just holding each other, trying to fit in the piece that was missing from both of them. 



 



Both All Might and Inko were going through their own stages of grief, though they both felt the same feeling of guilt in the tightness of their chests. 

They both wordlessly agreed that this monster wasn’t their Izuku and their Young Midoriya. 

Inko cried over the boy she lost as if he was dead, and she spat at whatever is left of him. She was never one to get worked up like this, as she wasn’t a very angry person, but what enveloped her was pure hatred. The only person left in her life worth living for, and he was gone. Now, she sat at the kitchen table, alone. Eating what little she can keep down, alone, cleaning, alone, crying, alone, watching those awful broadcasts, alone. She lost him so simply, too. The boy who she had seen as only a hero, someone who just wanted to do good, someone who just WAS good, gone. Just like that. She knew she had a role in that. She was his mother. She knew she should’ve never let him go to UA, much less let him out of the house especially after realizing he was a target to the League of Villains. She should’ve sent him to stay with his father. Somewhere far away from here. 

All Might had never seen her so full of hostility as when he had first brought up the subject of Doku/Midoriya. He didn’t know a person like her was capable of such hatred. 

All Might himself wasn’t necessarily filled with rage. He was mostly overwhelmed with shame, though he mirrored Inko’s thoughts. This is not Young Midoriya, but instead, it is what he could’ve become if he had never been given One for All. He hated himself for telling Midoriya he couldn’t be a hero. Even though it happened long ago, and they had both grown from it, it still haunted him. Some mentor you were, he thought as he blamed himself over and over. “If only I were stronger if only I could have saved him if only I were a better mentor."

He’s just a kid, easily manipulated. All Might began to apologize profusely to his mentor Nana Shimura in his head. He had not only let a One for All user become evil, but he had lost one of the most important people in his life to the very group that took away the other most important person in his life. He was overcome by emotions he has not felt since Nana’s death: sorrow and distress. The feeling of being utterly hopeless. His power was gone. He could do virtually nothing.

It all was so pressuring. He sometimes couldn’t handle it. He would leave school early, earning concerning questions from his coworkers. Aizawa knew how he was feeling, and always let him go, assuring that he would cover for him. 

All Might would leave the school and just walk around, not really having a destination in mind. He didn’t have anywhere to go really. That was until he found himself standing in front of the apartment building that Inko lived in. 





 

Inko had called her husband, letting him know what had happened. Unfortunately because of his busy schedule, he couldn’t make it back but he insisted that she tell him any new discoveries when they presented themselves. Once she had ended the call, she placed the phone facedown on the kitchen table, staring ahead. Suddenly the apartment was so big. So big and empty. And she was so small. She had never felt so utterly lonely in her whole life. Her son, essentially gone (she refused to believe that that thing was her son), her husband, hundreds of miles away...She scolded herself, a habit that she never gave up, as she thought, No. I’m not alone. I have All Might. 

He had shown up at her door, asking if he could come in for a chat. It's the middle of the day, shouldn’t you be at work? She had questioned. He had given her a weak smile, and that was her answer.

He insisted that she call him Yagi or Toshinori even, and she had accepted, of course, to be courteous, but old habits die hard. No matter how many times she tried, she would always accidentally call him All Might. They would share a quiet laugh over it. Him never really losing his title, her never really forgetting who he was. He had made a habit now of visiting her after the day of the news broadcast. Right after school, instead of heading home, he would go to her apartment, staying from an hour to late into the night. Sometimes, he would leave to go and assist at the police station, but would always end up circling back to her place. 


Secretly, she is his anchor and he is hers. They sit and they try to talk about anything but Midoriya. How was work today? Do you need me to pick up some groceries for you? But every conversation just dwindles into silence. And they sit, their tea getting cold, and try and find the right words to get the conversation going again, but they can’t. So they sit on the couch, and they watch some old reruns or a movie or anything but the news. And sometimes they fall asleep like that. And sometimes they forget, even for a second or an hour.

 

They forget the pain they’re in.

Chapter Text

 

The sound of muted chatter made its way past the door, making Aizawa stir in his sleep. Whenever he took naps during lunch, he slept like the dead, sinking into a deep, deep slumber that could only be interrupted by the cluster of hormones that stomped through the halls. Even though he had awoken, he kept his eyes shut, praying his kids wouldn’t bother him and simply just work on other class’s work until he could muster enough energy to sit upright. 

He expected the usual vibrance that the students brought when they walked through the door, bellies full from lunch, voices louder than necessary, disturbing his blissful peace. But when he heard the door open, there was almost complete silence, aside from the shuffling of shoes on the ground as each student made their way to their desks. Aizawa sat up, sleeping bag wrapped around him, giving him the impression of a caterpillar that had just peeked his head out of his cocoon. 

A new air had befallen the room, and they all shifted in their seats, almost uncomfortable in their own skin. The kids were indeed wordless, but their bodies gave away the thoughts that were screaming in their heads. 

Bakugou’s knees would not stop bouncing under his desk, 

Kaminari was hitting his fist on his thighs over and over, clenching and unclenching his fingers,

Kirishima had not even bothered to style his hair that day, mirroring his downcast face,

Iida kept straightening the pencil on his desk, not satisfied with any position he put it in, 

Todoroki sat stock still, almost willing no part of his body to move, 

Uraraka looked straight ahead without looking at anything at all as if she wasn’t really there.

Aizawa stopped immediately. The sight of his children’s faces alone was enough to pang his heart. He knew what they were feeling. This odd pressure in their chest, this weight they had never felt before. He felt he had failed as both a teacher and as a pro hero. 

“Let’s start, class,” he grunted, shimming out of his sleeping bag.

Every time he looked up during his lecture, he would be met with Uraraka’s red and blotchy eyes, Iida’s hard glare at the notes in front of him, Todoroki’s blank face, the one that he had held before the Sports Festival. He knew they were hurting. They were the closest to Midoriya, after all. So he tried to keep his eyes on the chalkboard as much as possible. He didn’t need this right now.

Then he was hit with a realization: they couldn’t keep functioning like this. Class couldn’t go on like this.

He paused mid-sentence, dropping his chalk.

The students thought he was having a stroke. “Mr. Aizawa?” Tsu asked, worried.

Aizawa turned around, planting his hands on his desk, “Students. This period will be canceled for the rest of this week.” Now he had everyone’s attention. They snapped their heads up, eyes wide in surprise.

Iida stood immediately, arm chopping the air, “Mr. Aizawa, do you really think that’s the best idea? Are you even allowed --?” 

Aizawa raised his hand, “It doesn’t matter. No class for this week, and maybe even the next.” He dropped his head, staring at his shoes, “I don’t think we feel much like heroes, anyways.” 

At this, Iida averted his gaze, quickly sitting down, hating that he agreed. All the students fell under the same silence, their eyes downcast, and darkened with memories of the broadcast. 

Aizawa looked up, “Well, what are you waiting for? Go!” His eyes glowed red, his hair standing on end. Everyone quickly packed their things and made their way to the exit. Before Uraraka made her way out the door, Aizawa placed a hand on her arm, “Uraraka, stay for a moment.”

She backtracked, notebook clasped to her chest, and turned toward her teacher. 

Even though she was facing him, her face was almost completely looking at the ground. 

“Look at me.” She did.

Aizawa’s heart jolted when he saw her whole face. The sweet permanent blush she always seemed to have was gone, leaving her skin pale and almost see-through. The bags under her eyes were so sunken into her skin that they looked almost bruised. The usual smile she had on was nowhere to be found, replaced by an indifferent line that neither curved upward or downward. 

“Ochako, are you oka--,” Aizawa started. Before he could get out his whole question, she was already crying, her face taken up by tears. He opted to not say anything as he hugged her, resting one hand on the back of her head as if he was holding one of the kittens he sees on his nightly patrols. She dropped her notebook, and it fell to lay on their feet as Uraraka cried and sobbed until her voice felt like failing her. She had never cried this much before, given that she wasn’t much of a crier. She grasped the back of Aizawa’s shirt and accidentally activated her quirk, sending him into the air. 

She quickly deactivated, sending the flailing Aizawa back to the safe ground. He stuck his arms out to steady himself, and they both let out a soft chuckle. That was the first time that I’ve seen her smile in a while, Aizawa thought. He ruffled her hair affectionately, gave her a few words of encouragement, and sent her to her dorm.

Later he would have to recount the situation to Present Mic. The minute he walked into the teacher’s lounge, Hizashi had let out a low whistle, “Wow, Shota, you’re looking rough , and I mean worse than usual.” Aizawa had rolled his eyes, plopping down into his chair.

“No, really, what’s wrong? What happened?” He had walked over, leaning onto Aizawa’s desk, waiting expectantly for a recap of his day. He ran a hand over his face as he explained. Mic had nodded, “Yeah, Ectoplasm told me that he thought she was sick. Even sent her to Recovery Girl. But she said there was nothing wrong with her. This makes more sense.” The usual smile dancing on the blond’s face was gone. When Mic smiled or frowned, he went all out, never half-assing it, showing his excitement or his distraught at 120%. Now, his whole face was turned into a frown, his tone serious and quiet, a stark contrast to his usual persona. 

Aizawa frowned too, “Yamada, smile. I can’t stand to see another person sad today.” Mic was taken aback, his eyebrows shooting upwards, until he relaxed into an almost sad smile, “Alright, Sho.” 





 

Uraraka had left the room after she had picked up her discarded notebook and made her way out of the building back to the dorms. She quickly wiped her tears, hoping her face would return to its normal color by the time she had finished her trek. Today wasn’t exactly a good day for her.

She had been faltering in training, distracted in class. Her teachers were noticing this shift, and Ectoplasm had even sent her to Recovery Girl after he saw her pale complexion, staring at the notes in front of her, frozen. Maybe she was sick, he had thought. But this was no ordinary sickness. There was no medication, no amount of bed rest that could cure it. Recovery Girl had given her a lollipop and sent her on her way, suggesting that maybe she should schedule a counseling appointment with Hound Dog.

Uraraka had nodded, pretending that she would think about it, and realized that it was already lunchtime. She walked to the cafeteria but froze when she arrived at the doors. She hung her head, No. I can’t sit here . She couldn’t sit and talk and pretend like nothing was happening. It hurt too much. She had instead decided to skip out on lunch (she didn't have much of an appetite anyway) and sat in the library, trying to tell herself she would study or review her homework. Uraraka did neither of these things. She simply stared at the papers in front of her, just as she had done in class, and didn’t bother picking up her pencil. 

By the time she had gathered the courage to start on her English homework, the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch. 

Now as she walked back to the dorms, she felt the happiness from the moment with her teacher running away from her. She chased after the heat longingly, not wanting to feel cold and hollow again. The loss of the warmth made her shiver and she slouched, coming to terms with the fact that maybe she would never feel that warmth again. The pink of her cheeks faded, her mouth settling into a frown. Her smile and her blush were gone. And maybe they would never come back.

She walked into the dorms, avoiding any interaction with her classmates. She felt the stares of her friends on her as she made her way to the staircase. She felt a pair of hands on her shoulders, followed by a bubbly voice, “Hey, Ochako! Where ya going?” 

Uraraka turned around, “Hey, Toru. I’m just going to sleep.” 

Jiro walked up behind the invisible girl, followed by Mina and Yaoyorozu, “At this time? It’s only 3.”

Yaoyorozu nodded, “Yeah, why don’t we make the most of the day? I can treat us all to a shopping trip if you guys want. Or make some tea?” 

Mina clapped her hands excitedly, “Oh, yes, Yamomo! That sounds like so much fun.” All the girls turned to Uraraka expectantly, eyes bright and wide and sparkling with euphoria. 

Uraraka’s own brown eyes couldn’t mirror it. She simply stared indifferently, unable to feel what they were. “Sorry, girls. I think I’m going to have to pass this time.” She was already turning to go upstairs. 

She felt Hagakure’s hands drop from her shoulders, again leaving her cold, craving the warmth her touch had brought to her. She held back tears as she climbed to her floor.

Every night since the attack, Uraraka had stayed up late, rewatching the broadcasts from any news source she could find, staring into those angry red eyes, trying to see the Deku she saw before. Maybe he’s still in there, she told herself, maybe my Deku is trapped in there somewhere . And she watched them and cried herself to sleep knowing he was too far gone. She was forgetting how those shining green eyes looked like, how that big and glowing smile looked like, and she hated herself for it. She couldn’t believe that he would do what he had done. He was never a villain, much less an angry or vengeful person. The broadcast she had watched with her classmates had been switched off after they had stopped their uproar.

What they never saw was the blood. The bodies. Several hundred injured in some way, six mortally wounded, and three pro heroes taken into emergency care. She found this out the hard way. She was pretty sure she was the only one that knew, given that she doubted anyone was as obsessed with this as she was. 

That night she had dryly sobbed until she had passed out.

She was appreciative of her friends trying to cheer her up, but it was futile. Nothing could fill the emptiness in her until she could hold her Deku in her arms, and be sure it was him. She could hold him and that hole would be filled, knowing that he had come back to her. 

Now, she lay on her bed, the tiredness she had felt earlier escaping her. Uraraka dwelled back into a habit she had picked up during this time. She had begun replaying all of their moments together, simple ones like her and Deku laughing with Iida at lunch, him letting her borrow a pencil. Every moment that she brushed off as insignificant was now taken and forced into clarity by her mind. These could be her last memories of him, and she was going to cherish it.

She closed her eyes and began the regular cycle of memories, finally relaxing for the first time that day until she finally fell into a restless sleep.






Todoroki had also chosen to retire to his room early. He already wasn’t getting enough sleep, so he wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing, but it felt better than socializing with his classmates, pretending like everything was alright. 

The night of the attack, Todoroki had laid awake in his bed, unable to sleep, "It’s your quirk, not his!” echoing in his mind, like a broken radio he couldn’t turn off. He was puzzled. Sleep was never hard for him, and he would usually fall asleep around five minutes after he closed his eyes. But the screams of his friend that had pulled him out of his black abyss of anger and vengeance wouldn’t let him rest. Midoriya was a hero, through and through. He didn’t care if he didn’t win the fight, he wanted to save Todoroki. And saved he did. 

When he watched the broadcasts, Todoroki saw himself in those eyes, remembered how he looked in the mirror and saw those hatred filled eyes staring back. But he had never seen them in Midoriya’s. Seeing that boy who had saved countless, who had trained and pushed himself to the max, be filled with such an evil. It was wrong. It was as if the sun had been stolen. His first friend, his first hero, and now he can’t even do anything to save him. 

He felt ultimately betrayed, led along as if the happy fun-loving Midoriya was an act. He felt abandoned, again. Someone he saw as a hero, turned out not to be one. 

Where had he seen this before?... 

He wasn’t particularly sad...just disappointed. Todoroki wasn’t really sure how he felt. Someone he cherished, someone who for the first time had been a light in his life… it was a new feeling that’s for sure. But just as quickly as it was here, it was gone. He didn’t feel a particular sense of loss: he was so used to not having a friend or not having a light, it didn’t bother him. That old, numb feeling washed over him again.

He assumed he was over it, but yet here he was, awake, thinking about nothing but Midoriya. He wasn’t sure why, he just had this weird aching feeling in his chest, like he was missing something. By the time he seemed to become aware of his surroundings again, it was morning, the sun peeking through his still open blinds. He blinked in surprise. Had he really stayed awake this whole time?... 

Iida would come to check on him sometimes, and at lunch, they would sit together in silence, staring at the empty seat across from them. Once, someone had tried sitting in it and both Iida and Todoroki had snapped. Iida practically growling at the person to find somewhere else to sit and Todoroki’s hand frosting over, little sparks of fire flowing off him. 

After the instance, the two shared a look and burst out laughing. It wasn’t funny, they weren’t supposed to laugh, but oh, how they needed it. The way a silly lunch seat stirred something in them both. It hurt, yes, but their laughter pushed it down. 

So maybe Todoroki wasn’t completely alone. 

Maybe he could get through this and maybe that weird feeling in his chest would go away soon.






Iida sat on the couch, hands resting on each of his knees, staring ahead, lost in thought. He didn’t know what to do if he was being honest. Staying here felt wrong, doing his homework was pointless, and going to his room didn’t make sense. So he was stuck in this awkward position until he could make up his mind. 

He had always been decisive, ready to be a leader whenever it came down to it. He was the class rep, after all. He was born to lead, born to make split-second decisions, but yet he was completely lost on what he should do now. 

He looked down, grinding his teeth in frustration. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. How could he have been so stupid? He had been totally and utterly played. 

After the broadcast, Iida had been overcome with anger over Midoriya’s betrayal and felt as if Midoriya never cared. He felt like Midoriya used him for his gain, just like Hatsume did at the Sports Festival. 

He remembered how Midoriya had saved him from Stain and showed him that he could be forgiven for his unheroic-like ways. The hypocrisy was killing him. 

He wholeheartedly believed that Midoriya had gone willingly over to the villains, not because he was inherently evil, but because of all the stress of All Might and Bakugou’s kidnapping, all of it had piled up and caused him to go over the edge.

But under all the anger and frustration was self-doubt and hatred. How could he not be there for Midoriya? He was the class rep, it was his duty to be there when his classmates were having a rough time, especially one he had held to such high esteem. How did he not see how distraught and emotionally detached Midoriya was becoming? 

At least, that was the only logical explanation he could come up with. He had stayed up, late into the night, scouring over websites and books, not really knowing what he was looking for. An answer? To what question? Or more like, which question? How could Midoriya suddenly shift into a villain? How were his eyes now red? What had caused the blood in the elevator? Was that even Midoriya? 

In fact, Iida spent more time researching about Midoriya than he did his school work. That was his problem: he became obsessed over problems very quickly. If he didn’t know the answer, he didn't stop until he could find it. It was just as it was when Stain had attacked his brother. He had thought, I have to get rid of Stain so that the balance of our world could be restored again. And he had become consumed with only thoughts of defeating the hero killer. Now he was consumed by Midoriya’s ordeal. 

Aizawa must have realized this, because he had stopped Iida in the hallway in between classes, pulling him to the side. “Don’t do anything rash, Iida. Be an example for your classmates. I know how badly you want to go and raise hell. But you can’t. Not now. Please.” The words bit at him, making him wince. Was he really that unpredictable? Could he really not pull himself together enough that even his teacher couldn’t trust him to stay under control? He had nodded, eyes shadowed by his glasses as he turned away and made his way to class. 

The night of the attack, Iida had pushed aside all his emotions, all his thoughts, saving them for when he would go to bed. He couldn’t afford to be selfish. Instead, he focused on his peers, looking around at their stricken faces. It hurt him, seeing their usually bright faces broken by what they had just seen, and his big brother instincts had kicked in. He had turned off the TV and stood in front of it. 

He opened his mouth but nothing came out. His voice, usually so affirmative and commanding, was gone, as he ran a hand through his hair. Iida was at a loss for words. That was a first. He always knew what to say, but no words could make up for what had happened, nothing could console them or him. And he knew it. The hand he had raised to chop the air was shaking.

His classmates had quieted and stared up at him in awe, seeing his face, eyebrows lowered, his eyes shining, his mouth quivering. Their rock was cracking. 

Yaoyorozu had stood and placed a hand on his arm, lowering it, their eyes following the motion. He watched her delicate and manicured fingers as they gently squeezed his forearm. He placed his other hand on top of hers. Words weren’t enough, sometimes.

He commanded himself not to cry. Don’t be weak, don’t break in front of them. A few tears made their way through his fractured iron will, spilling onto the ground, and his mouth fell into a grimace. 

Iida hated himself for being so weak, so selfish. It wasn’t something to cry over, especially in front of his class, of whom he had wanted to console. He should be grateful. Midoriya was alive. But it sure didn’t feel like it. 

That night and onward, Iida made it his mission to check up on his classmates every night before they go to sleep, claiming it was his “class rep duty”. It annoyed the hell out of some of his classmates (especially Bakugou) but it was Iida’s way of assuring that he is doing everything in his power to prevent something like this from happening again. He doesn’t want to lose another person to the villains, not again. 

Today, he watched Uraraka walk up the stairs, seeing almost a shroud of darkness following her as she trudged to her floor. He would make sure to do a round of check-ups tonight then.

That night, he knocked on Uraraka’s door.

“Hello, Uraraka. Just wanted to check on you before I went to sleep.”

Silence.

His voice lost its usual direct and formal tone, and instead sinking into a deeper and tired voice, “I saw that Mr. Aizawa had asked to speak with you. He spoke to me too.” He heard quiet shuffling. On the other side of the door, Uraraka was sitting up in bed, turning off her laptop. She quietly listened as Iida continued, “I see that Midoriya’s loss has greatly affected you...and I just wanted to let you know that...that…,” He brought his forehead to lean on the door, his hand balled into a fist above it as he closed his eyes.

“I feel it, too.”

Uraraka froze at those words.

“That emptiness? That cold feeling like he might as well be dead? I feel it, too. I apologize if I’m being too forward,” he frantically added, “but I saw that look on your face, and I thought...I thought maybe you were feeling it too...I thought--”

He was interrupted by the door opening, and he stumbled forward. Uraraka stood there, tears falling down her face, a constant stream. Iida bowed repeatedly, “Sorry! Sorry, I was crossing a line, I know, I apologize!” He moved to leave but Uraraka softly grazed the back of his hand, not having enough strength to grab it, “No. Stay...please.” She was quiet, her tone desperate. Iida turned back and looked at her, his guard dropping.

His blue eyes immediately glazed over as she nodded, her mouth cringing, “I feel it.”

He hugged her, enveloping her in his big arms. She embraced his warmth and closed her eyes against the fuzzy feeling she longed for. She never wanted to let go.

They both sat on the floor and talked about what they had each been doing. Iida slowly felt himself unraveling, letting all the emotions he had been suppressing sweep him away as he bent forward and cried along with Uraraka. He hadn’t just lost a friend, he had lost a brother. Someone he cared for just like his family. 

He began to go to Uraraka’s room more and more, staying with her until late in the night, sometimes talking, sometimes just being in each other’s company was enough. Sometimes, Todoroki would join them, and they would play a card game or do homework together. They can’t sleep as much anymore, anyway. 

Sometimes whenever Iida would finally convince Uraraka to go to sleep at a reasonable time, he would just run laps in the woods outside. He tried to tire himself to the point where once, he fell asleep in the middle of the road, to be found by Hound Dog later the next morning. 

During these nightly exercises, he had let his thoughts run wild, conjuring up different scenarios and reasonings as to what really happened to his Midoriya. Soon those thought processes would spill into thoughts of a possible rescue operation. When he found himself thinking about this, he would run some more laps, at double the speed, or do some pushups, once even slapping himself. No. Not again. 

My classmates need me! he drilled into his mind, remembering holding Uraraka in his arms as she clung to his shirt, covering the front in tears. They need him and he will stay here for their sake, for his sake. 

That weekend, he went to visit Tensei at the rehabilitation center. Iida had brought his brother some of the pastries Sato and Yamomo had made for their class and Tensei was nibbling at one happily. He glanced up, worry suddenly filling him as he saw Iida’s hardened glare, directed at nothing in particular. It dawned on him it was probably about the kid they were talking about on the news. Hadn’t they said he went to UA?

“Tenya.” Tensei snapped his fingers in front of his brother’s face. Iida recoiled, “What, Tensei?”

“Why are you here? What’s the matter?” He asked, taking another bite of the danish he was loving.

Tenya crossed his arms, “Do I need a reason, brother? I want to see how your recovery is going. I need to be here.” He said it as if it was another duty he needed to fulfill. But it wasn’t. It was the only thing keeping him grounded, keeping him from storming the League’s hideout wherever they were and snatching Midoriya out of their clutches. His protective instincts were screaming at him to do something. But he pushed it down. He clenched his fists under the table.

Tensei leaned over and placed a hand on Tenya’s hair, “Ten-ten, you need to stop trying to hold the weight of the world on your shoulders. You’re only 16. No one is asking you to take this much responsibility. Relax on yourself a little bit.” Tenya looked up at his older brother with awe. Tensei always knew what to say, it astounded him every time. It was like he could read your thoughts and develop a perfect phrase to ease your mind. 

Tenya gave him a lopsided smile, “Sure, Tensei.”

Chapter Text

 

Bakugou glanced up from his curry to steal a look at Kirishima. The latter had not even tried to eat, swirling the rice and the curry half-heartedly with his chopsticks. His other hand held up his cheek as if he would fall asleep at any moment. Bakugou didn’t like seeing his friend like this. He was never the type to be sad or defeated, had never been as moody as Bakugou was. 

Bakugou sneered, shoveling another bite into his mouth before pushing Kirishima’s plate forward. “Don’t play with your food!”

Kirishima jolted, brought out of his thoughts by Bakugou’s yells. “Sorry, sorry,” he muttered, taking a small bite. 

Bakugou frowned, more than he had been already. He was surprised that Deku’s betrayal was affecting Kirishima this much. He didn’t know the two were close. Even if they weren’t, he knew the redhead was sensitive, letting things affect him too much. Bakugou didn’t particularly hate him for that, but Kirishima’s way of always... feeling definitely was a disparity to his indifference. 

He wasn’t exactly good with feelings if he was being totally honest with himself. His solution to everything was screaming, cursing, or fighting. And it seemed to be working out well for him. But this was different. He was pretty sure a slew of swear words wouldn’t bring Kirishima’s mood up.

What would?

He looked up again, then quickly looked down as he mumbled, “Hey, it’s not manly to be so damn sulky all day long. Drama queen.” Bakugou had dropped his voice an octave at the word “manly” to match Kirishima’s tone of voice whenever he said the word.

Kirishima’s head snapped up. Had he heard that correctly? Did Bakugou just...crack a joke? The blond didn’t look up from his curry, but a faint smirk danced on his face.

Kirishima realized: Bakugou’s trying to cheer me up ... in his own weird way. Even though the words were not exactly cheerful, Bakugou was obviously making an attempt to make his friend smile. One that had succeeded. Kirishima cracked a toothy grin. It may not have been what he needed, but it was enough. “You’re right, Bakugou. Not manly at all. Definitely not heroic.” Kirishima sat straighter in his seat and began eating his curry finally. 

When Kirishima had stopped looking at him, Bakugou had softened his smirk into a small smile. Good. They all needed to be heroes right now, and if Red Riot, easily one of the most heroic of them all, could get out of his mood, then so could Bakugou...right?

Bakugou’s smile faded. That tightness in his chest still hadn’t gone away. He had even tried taking heartburn medication. It was really starting to piss him off. The little moment with Kirishima had dulled the pain down for a short period of time, but it was back again at full force. He hated it. And he hated the Deku/Doku combination even more because he knew it was their fault, that they were the one causing Bakugou this uneasiness. He gritted his teeth. Bakugou had always had certainty in his life. He knew exactly what he wanted to be, and knew exactly how to achieve that goal. But now...the one constant in his life was gone. He was always fighting with Deku, whether it be about who would be #1, his quirk, or just simply Deku’s nerdiness. But he never thought he would ever have to fight against him as a villain.  

He knew it would come down to it. He already knew the pro heroes were concocting a plan to get Deku back. He definitely didn’t want to be left out of that. He wanted to look that stupid villain in the eyes and beat him to a bloody pulp. Well, actually…

It scrambled his brain. Would he be fighting Deku? Or Doku? He was angry, yes, but who was he angry at? Where could he direct this boiling rage in him? Shigaraki and the League? Deku? Doku? All for One? Who

 

Who deserved to feel his wrath? 

 

It was even more mind-fucking to try and piece together a story without any explanation as to what caused the sudden change in Deku. His anger was unmatched, the tightness in his chest causing him to be even angrier. He was so close to flipping his curry bowl and breaking anything that was in arms reach. 

“BAKUGOU!” 

He snapped his head up. Kirishima was looking at him intently, eyes filled with worry. 

Bakugou tched, “What?” 

Kirishima threw up his hands, sending little bits of rice flying from his chopstick, “I’ve been calling your name for the past 2 minutes! Don’t tell me you’re going deaf!”

Bakugou looked away, out the window at the setting sun. He gathered his bowl and utensils, standing up abruptly. He really needed to punch something.

“Hey, where are you going?” Kirishima watched as Bakugou threw his used napkins away, set his bowl down into the sink, and made his way to the door. 

Bakugou ignored him, stuffing his hands into his pockets. “Bakugou!” Kirishima called after him.

He really needed to let out his pent up frustration and the last thing he wanted to do was potentially hurt Kirishima. Bakugou didn’t want Kirishima to see him like that. Now was not the time to lose more friends.

The sun’s last few rays shone through the trees, washing Bakugou in its warmth. He raised a hand to stop it from glaring in his eyes, annoyed. 

Stupid Deku. That motherfucker. That insignificant little SHIT. 

His arm went limp, falling to his side, giving up trying to fight the battle with the sun, letting the light bask over him. What could he do? Blast the sun into smithereens? 

No, he’ll save that anger for the training grounds.

Gym Gamma had not been used and probably would not be in use for some time given that they had the next week off of hero training. So no one would bother coming here, Bakugou thought. He pushed through the door, taking in the empty expanse of concrete. Off to the side, he saw the door to the storage room slightly ajar. Class 1B had been there recently, and he was grateful that they had been so careless when putting away their equipment as he walked past the usually locked door. 

He was in a hero's heaven. Dummies of every shape, size, and type. He could get ones that fought back or sacks that simply stood there. There were targets that he could hang on the walls to practice his new Howitzer impact. Different hurdles he could practice his agility with. He debated between the plethora of items, but his eyes were always drawn back to the dummies. They were almost begging to be pounded into the ground. 

He grabbed two at a time, hauling them into the fluorescent light. Once Bakugou had gotten almost every dummy in the room, he began placing them to his liking. The sleek, grey metal bots that fought back would be used later, after his warm-up with the scarecrow dummies, so they were pushed to the back wall. He scattered the scarecrow dummies and the simple targets with a torso and head in front of him. 

Finally done with setting up, Bakugou stood in the middle of the room, closing his eyes, breathing in. He breathed out, his eyes snapping open as he let off explosions, to the left, to the right, behind him. He stood in place, practicing his aim, some he didn’t even bother looking at. He closed his eyes again and just let the explosions ripple out of him, his eyebrows scrunching, his chest tightening with the all too familiar feeling. 

His fire grew stronger, hotter, the explosions louder and larger as he continued, not caring if the dummies were finished or not. He wasn’t. 

He felt himself move, his body running toward each dummy, grabbing it by its neck. He heard a yell, one that shook his core, not realizing he was the one screaming and growling. He shook the dummy, melting it from the sheer temperature of his hands. He pounded his fists into the melting mush, screaming at it. His hands eventually made contact with the concrete of the floor, the dummy nothing more than stray pieces of sludge on the ground. 

Bakugou looked up, his chest heaving, seeing red as he dashed to the next dummy, putting it through the same torture he did the last one. He found that his anger tripled after every dummy. Why? How? Every thought was matched with a punch and an explosion, his screams getting louder and louder.

 

Stupid fucking Deku.

 

Punch.

 

The League of Villains and their shitbag of a leader.

 

Explosion.

 

WHO WAS HE MAD AT?

 

WHAT WAS THE ANGER FOR? 

 

WHAT WAS THIS ALL FOR?

 

He realized he had been yelling these thoughts out loud, at the dummies, pleading with them as if they would give him the answers. 

 

“WHY??” He screamed, punching through the next dummy, cracking the concrete underneath it, his explosion ripping through the whole gym. 

 

He kept his fist there, breathing heavily, tears pricking his eyes. No. He wasn’t going to cry. Not over something STUPID LIKE THIS. But he gave himself a moment to rest, to... feel. The whole ordeal had lasted five minutes at most. He looked to his right and saw the molten remains of the dummies he had torn the life out of. As some of the adrenaline died down, Bakugou began to realize just how much pain he was in, both emotionally and physically. Aside from his aching chest, his arms panged, jolting him with waves of pain. He had used his quirk too much, more than he should have especially for what he deemed “training”. Along with his arms, his fists and knuckles hurt like hell. He slowly lifted his arm to examine the hand he had slammed into the ground and found bloodied and bruised knuckles. Unclenching his fist made him wince as he relaxed the tension in his fingers. No, this wasn’t good. 

He stood up abruptly, wanting to be angry again, wanting to be numb again. He couldn’t feel right now, please, not now. He just wanted to be angry. With more ferocity than before, he tore the next dummy to shreds with his bare hands, feeling that familiar hatred and numbness washing over him again. He relaxed into it, letting it envelop him as his vision went black and he let the monster consume him. He would do anything, anything to not feel the emotions hidden behind the anger. Not now. 

 

Not ever.

All he knew was anger, and it comforted him. It was the only thing he could rely on now. There was always something to be mad at. And especially now there were several things to be mad at. He let out a roar as he sent a rather large explosion to his right, keeping it running for a long while, using the last of his sweat. Again his arms jerked, begging him to stop. He ignored it.

He kept pushing, making the explosions bigger and louder parallel to his yells. Suddenly, it was gone. He blinked, his vision clearing. What? He pushed his hands forward again, forcing the explosions to come out, but nothing happened. He was overwhelmed with anger once again as he realized what had happened. He whipped around to the entrance of the gym. Mr. Aizawa stood there, hair flowing, eyes glowing red. He had erased Bakugou’s quirk. Next to Aizawa stood All Might, his mouth turned into a frown, his hands clasped in front of him in worry. He was speaking, that was for sure as Bakugou could see his mouth move, but he couldn’t hear anything that he was saying. His arms grew limp, and they fell into his lap as he sunk to the ground, unable to stand. His ears rang and he placed his hands over them as he felt the tears threatening to make a comeback. 

He felt a warm hand on his shoulder and turned his head to see All Might standing there, his mouth clearly moving, his lips forming “Bakugou”. Bakugou shook his head, the tears filling his eyes, despite his strongest efforts to hold them back. His will was shattered, spent on the raging commotion he had caused. Aizawa stopped his quirk, his hair neatly falling back into place as he crouched in front of Bakugou. He didn’t speak but using his hands he pointed to Bakugou, then himself, then his ears, mouthing the words “Can you hear me?”

Bakugou shook his head again, tears now flowing freely down his face. He felt himself let out a cry, but he couldn’t hear it and that hurt him even more as he doubled forward, his forehead pressing into the ground, his hands clutching the front of his shirt, pulling at it. That feeling in his chest was suffocating him. He knew he was crying loudly and he would hate himself later for it, but now. All the anger had been stripped away, leaving that lost, vulnerable little boy who had been too closed up for too long. 

All Might wrapped his arms around him, bringing him close to his chest, one hand on the side of Bakugou’s head, the other simply holding him, similar to when he had found out Bakugou blamed himself for his downfall. His poor boy. He had been through so much in such a short period of time. Everything that he had thought he knew was thrown out the window, along with his mental stability, and the illusion of control he thought he had in his life. 

“Why? Why? Why?” He chanted through his sobs, his voice hoarse and cracking. Why was he so angry? Why did Deku make him feel this way? Why did Deku become the very thing he hated so much? Why…

When he had seen that All Might towel in the elevator, his heart had stopped beating. His thoughts sped through at 100 mph, but one memory had stuck out from the mess in his brain: Deku was on the League’s kill list. He had forgotten how to breathe. He felt nauseous, stumbling. His mind went blank. 

He simply ceased to function.

There was no room for logical thoughts, granted that there were no thoughts. He had simply connected the dots and was left to stare at the puzzle he had pieced together in shock.

Now, knowing that Deku was alive...it made him angry. Angry that he had thought he was dead, angry that Deku had broken through his guard so easily, angry that Deku made him falter, angry that Deku was hurt in the first place. JUST ANGRY. ANGRY, ANGRY, ANGRY.

There was NO ROOM for nothing but ANGER. It piled up on top of the other emotions he would have naturally been feeling. The ones that he saw Uraraka and Iida and Todoroki go through.

And now, he had released all that anger, letting it seep out of him like sweat until he was empty. 

He had never cried like this, his screams bouncing off the walls of the empty gym. 

Aizawa placed a hand on his hair, rubbing it slowly as if petting a cat, looking down at the ground. Yet another kid he couldn’t save.

Not long after, Bakugou drifted into unconsciousness, exhausted. He slumped in All Might’s arms, his hands loosening their death grip on his shirt that he had mercilessly torn at. All Might had squeezed him one last time, eyes tightly shut, before Aizawa gathered him in his arms and began his trek to Recovery Girl’s office, hoping she would still be available at this time.

It worried Aizawa that Bakugou had not been able to hear them. He and All Might had both yelled at Bakugou several times. Had he really used his quirk that much? When he glanced down at Bakugou’s arms and hands he was sorely reminded of Midoriya’s own scarred hands and arms. He looked away quickly.

Seeing Bakugou like this was the last thing he needed. The one who had always been unbreakable, unmoving, unfazed, suddenly to be changed...the way he screamed...it wasn’t a sound he had ever heard a human make. Thinking about it sent shivers down Aizawa’s spine. He never wanted to hear that sound ever again.

Bakugou would never admit it, but Midoriya was such a large chunk of his life. Especially now, Aizawa had noticed the two boys getting closer, drawn together after their fight. He gritted his teeth, trying to stop the flow of thoughts, unable to put up with this anymore. He couldn’t stand to see another one of his kids broken and changed for what seemed to be the worst. They were too young for this. They were just kids. Flashes of memories swept through his mind. The bloodied bag, the collapsed building, that unshakeable feeling of tightness in his chest, that emptiness, knowing that his friend was gone...He became a hero and a teacher to ensure that would never happen again.

And look where that got him. 

He cursed at himself, and a couple of stray tears fell down his face. He promised himself he would never let that happen again. How could he let this happen?

Bakugou stirred in his arms, and he pulled him closer, tightening his grip, his face hardening. He wasn’t going to let his children go that easily anymore. No, the League would have to go through him to take any more of his kids. 

They would have more luck crossing hell and back.






When Bakugou awoke in the dimly lit nurse’s office, the first thing he noticed was his hearing was back. He heard the steady sound of the air conditioner running and the sheets ruffling as he began to gain feeling in his body again. His eyes blinked into focus and he was acutely aware of how sore he was as he surveyed the room. To his right sat Kirishima in a simple folding chair, fast asleep. His head dropped into his chest, arms crossed, softly snoring. Bakugou rolled his eyes but smiled softly. That idiot. Why was he so clingy?

He looked down at his arms and found that they were bandaged up, from all the way to the tips of his fingers. He tried lifting his left arm but it wouldn’t move, sheer exhaustion and overuse of his quirk immobilizing it. 

“Oh, good, you’re up,” A hushed voice murmured.

Bakugou froze, snapping his head in the direction of the voice. Mr. Aizawa lay on the ground, wrapped in his signature yellow sleeping bag. He sat up. Bakugou tried to speak, but when he did, a hoarse whisper came out in place of his voice.

Aizawa sat up, “Don’t talk. You lost your voice and I would like to enjoy this peace and quiet while I can.” If looks could kill, Aizawa would be dead. The glare Bakugou threw at him was fatal. Aizawa chuckled softly. He was glad Bakugou was back to being somewhat normal. At least he was no longer screaming his lungs out.

Bakugou glanced at the clock. 3 AM. 

He gave Aizawa an alarmed look and Mr. Aizawa laid back down, “Yeah, I know. So why don’t you go back to sleep? It’s not like we’re letting you out of here at this hour.”

Bakugou plopped his head on the pillow and grunted, annoyed. He turned to Kirishima once more and watched the steady rise and fall of his abdomen. He fell asleep, feeling a new warmth spread through his chest. A friend. He had a friend. Maybe he did have a constant in his life. Maybe there was room for trust.

He wasn’t alone…






Two days later, Mr. Aizawa finally let Bakugou out of the hospital, but not before he had promised never to go ruining their gyms ever again. Cementos was angry, to say the least. His perfect concrete floor was ruined by Bakugou’s unsupervised training and he threatened to suspend him if he tried anything like that again. The dummies were another matter.

Bakugou had tched at his teachers, muttering a quiet apology, hands deep in pockets and back slouched. To be frank, the teachers were simply feigning their anger. They had heard the recap at the teacher meeting they had the day before from Aizawa. The way Aizawa’s face contorted as he talked about Bakugou’s screams… they had never seen their friend like that. It must’ve been terrible. 

So they let him off with a warning, sending him back to his dorms. Bakugou’s arms were still bandaged but at least he gained the ability to move them again. Once the bandages were off though, he would go back to training. Aizawa had said not to use the gym, he didn’t say he couldn’t train. He growled at his fingers for aching the way they did. It made it impossible to eat (his meals were fed to him by Recovery Girl), impossible to grip things properly, and it caused his hands to shake constantly. He watched his trembling fingers, and he willed them to cease their shaking but it wouldn’t work. 

He stuffed them back into his pockets, not wanting to look at them. Whatever. I guess I’ll wait for them to heal properly . He wasn’t like stupid Deku, ruining his hands over and over to the point where it caused permanent damage. He was more careful, and his hands were the source of his quirk. If he lost that he wouldn’t know what he would do. 

He reached the dorms and reached up a trembling hand to grasp the door, but it was no use. His fingers continuously slipped off the handle, unable to grip the metal. He yelled in frustration, trying to bring his hand into a fist but he only managed to bend his fingers slightly. He slammed his palm against the door, bringing his forehead to rest on the wood. He closed his eyes and breathed shallowly. Calm down.  

On the other side of the door, he heard the sound of padded footsteps running, the sound getting closer and closer. He quickly straightened up, again putting his hands back in his pockets. The door flung open and Bakugou almost had to lift up a hand to protect himself from the brightness of Kirishima’s smile.

“Bakugou!” He cried, his smile so big that his eyes were almost shut. Behind him, Sero, Mina, and Kaminari shared the same smiles, so grateful that their friend was here, alive, and well. Unspokenly, they all ran forward and hugged Bakugou. “Group hug!” Mina squealed. 

Bakugou simply stood there, stock-still, grimacing. He could feel that warm feeling from the other day spread through his body. He shook, trying his best to use his arms to fend their attack off. “Get off me, you idiots!” He snarled, but they clung on insistently, their faces no longer smiling. Mina pulled back, tears glistening in her eyes. Bakugou looked down at her in surprise. She smiled sadly, “We’re just so glad you’re safe, Bakugou.”

The rest backed away as well, Sero’s face downturned, Kaminari’s fingers fiddling with each other, and Kirishima’s eyes not meeting his gaze. Bakugou didn’t know what to do. Had they really...they really worried about him? 

Sero rolled his eyes, “Look at him. Don’t think too hard, Bakubro, you might hurt yourself.” He smiled again, teasingly. Bakugou raised a failed attempt at a fist, yelling, “WHAT’D YOU SAY, TAPE DISPENSER?” Kaminari sniffed, wiping his eyes, grinning as well, “Come on, Bakugoooouuuuu, the last thing you need is to add brain damage to the list of things wrong with you.”  

Bakugou turned to him, “SAYS YOU, DUNCE FACE!” 

Kirishima and Mina laughed, and Bakugou couldn’t help but give a small smile that he quickly hid with more yells at them, his tone more playful and light than angry. He missed this. He never wanted this warm feeling to leave him. And he never wanted that tightness back in his chest ever again.





His friends led him inside where he was met by his entire class. They all waved and smiled at him, welcoming him back, before turning back to their conversations and work. He gave a wave back. Mina broke off quickly to meet the girls around the table as Kirishima led Bakugou to the couch where Sero, Kaminari, Mineta, and Ojiro had all taken up residency. 

“Hey, gals! What’s poppin’?” She exclaimed, throwing her arms around Yamomo and Hagakure. Jiro twirled her ear jacks, “Well, we were just talking about maybe a fun girl’s trip to the mall. But we’re trying to get Ochako here on board!” Uraraka smiled weakly, “Sorry, girls. I’m not sure if I can.”

Mina grumbled, pouting, “Come on, Chako! It’ll be fun. Just one day! It won’t hurt. And maybe the guys can join us if that makes you feel any better. You won’t regret it, I promise.”

Uraraka scratched her cheek, “I don’t know…” They all began begging her, “Please!”, “Come on!” “It’ll be fun!” She cut them all off, “Okay, okay! I’ll come!”

Yamomo clapped, glowing with happiness, “Yes! Then it’s a date. Tomorrow we’ll all head down to the mall, my treat!” 

They all cheered, and Hagakure turned to the boys to announce their plans. 






“Izukuuuuuu!” 

Doku grimaced at the name, turning to Toga, “I told you not to call me that, Toga.” She smiled maniacally, cheeks flushed, wrapping her arms around him, “Sorry, my Izuchan. It’s a habit!” 

Dabi came up behind her, pulling the back of her shirt to extract her off of Doku, “Toga, what did we say about clinging?” She pouted, murmuring, “Not to cling…” Dabi shooed her away, “Exactly, now stop crowding him.”

He sat in the chair adjacent to Doku, placing his feet up on the table, “So, Mr. Doku. What’s the plan today? What’s Shigaraki told you to do?” 

Doku folded his hands in front of his face, “Well, I have an idea of what we could do. But I’m gonna have to get it approved by Shigs first.”

“What do you need to get approved?” Shigaraki drawled, walking up behind Dabi.

 

Doku smiled up at him, “A fun little trip to the mall.”

Chapter Text

 

Bakugo wakes up to his room on fire. 

You know, as one does. 

His eyes snap open, staring at the ceiling. The flames swirl above him, heat pulsating, the room getting hazy.

His blankets, his sheets, everything is on fire and when he sits up to get off his bed, he realizes his carpet was on fire too. How annoying.

He rests his back on the wall, still sitting on his bed, flames licking at him, almost grabbing him. He shoos them away annoyingly. Pesky things, always wanting to take him away. Not now. 

Instead, he lets them wash over him, basking in their warmth, welcoming them like old friends. When stray tendrils try to grab at him he glares, making them flinch back from his gaze. They obey his every move, dancing and twirling gently at a steady pace around him. It was nice. The heat and the ice-hot feeling of them tapping at his skin. He closed his eyes, trying to fall back asleep. 

Out of nowhere, he felt the red and orange fingers encircle his forearms, pinning them down, so fast he had no time to react. No, no, no. He couldn’t let them get out of control, not again. His eyes snapped open, the look in his eyes wild as he struggled to pull his arms away. The flames didn’t listen this time. They were moving erratically, growing brighter and larger, a wicked smile shadowed on their surface. 

He let out a yell but no sound came out, the fire stuffing down his throat, burning it, and enclosing its hands around his neck. No, no, no, no, no, no. Its many arms snaked up his legs, pulling him into the mattress, now entirely made of flames. Please, no.

He sank, unable to move, speak, or fight back. His muscles flexed, using every bit of his willpower and strength to free himself but it was no use. His face grew red, nerves bulging, eyes rolling back into his head, unable to breathe. 

 

 

 

“BAKUGOU! BAKUGOU, PLEASE!” 

He jolted up so fast that he collided heads with Kirishima. He let out a cry, head falling back onto his pillow as he rubbed his forehead, his eyes adjusting. To his right, on the bed, kneeled Kirishima, who to be fair was dangerously close, essentially asking to get hurt. His hair was falling in front of his eyes, which were open wide with terror. He had his arms gripping Bakugou’s forearms, sharp fingernails gently digging into his flesh. To Kirishima’s left stood Mr. Aizawa, face stricken, his hand on Bakugou’s shoulder.

It dawned on Bakugou: they had been trying to wake him up. He took a second to let his vision and mind clear. His cheeks were sticky from the residue of tears that had fallen in his sleep. This was a recurring nightmare for him, giving him the best of both worlds, combining the trauma of both the sludge villain and his kidnapping. He was used to it at this point, but this one had been somehow worse...He had never been pulled into the mattress before and the red of the flames looked eerily similar to Doku’s eyes…

Whatever, not the time to think about that. 

He yanked his arms out of Kirishima’s grip, jolting his shoulder out from under Aizawa’s grasp. It was suffocating, the feeling of their hands. “Don’t touch me!” He croaked, his voice not ready for speaking just yet. He sat up, causing Kirishima to back away, sitting on his legs. Bakugou had fallen asleep shirtless, given that the enclosed bandages were making him uncomfortably hotter than usual. The entire front of his chest and throat had been clawed at by his bandaged fingernails, the tips of his talons peeking through the tops of the bandages from his insistent scratching. 

Bakugou ran a hand over the marks, the skin raw from him tearing it apart. He growled, forgetting that Kirishima and Aizawa were there, the latter in which had still not spoken a word. Nightmares were something that was a given whenever Bakugou fell asleep, but he never had anyone there when he woke up from them. 

Needless to say, he didn’t like it.

He glared at Aizawa first, “What the hell are you doing here anyway?”

The sensei cleared his throat, his hand falling to his side, “Kirishima heard some yells and bangs from here. He tried opening and knocking on the door but you wouldn’t answer. He woke me up and I unlocked the door and lo and behold...here you are.”

Bakugou gripped his blankets, fists shaking, “Who THE FUCK SAID IT WAS YOUR BUSINESS?” Kirishima looked away, his eyes already tearing up. Aizawa glanced at the red-haired boy before setting his hardened gaze on Bakugou, “You need to understand, Bakugou...With everything that’s been going on, Kirishima automatically feared the worst. Don’t be angry with him over that.”

Kirishima grimaced at his words, grateful that Mr. Aizawa understood him, but dreading that his thoughts were out in the open. It was true. He had thought something terrible was happening to Bakugou. What else could he think? Awakened in the middle of the night to unfamiliar pained cries from the adjacent room? Bakugou’s room of all places? After he had seen Bakugou’s beaten form in Aizawa’s arms the other day? Passed out, bloodied arms dangling, unable to hear them? It was all too much. 

So, yeah he had assumed the worst. He pounded on the door, jiggling the doorknob, calling the blond’s name. But it was no use. The yells masked his pleas. He sprinted downstairs, purposefully avoiding the elevator (no one used them anymore), and began knocking insistently on Aizawa’s dorm room. His sensei had opened the door, his 6’0” form shadowed, hair flying backward, his eyes glowing red. 

“What?” He had seethed, growling. Kirishima frantically explained what was happening, heart beating fast and hands shaking as he gestured wildly. Aizawa had relaxed and grabbed the keys for the dorm rooms, following Kirishima up the stairs.

He had heard the noises right away and threw open the door, both of them rushing forward. Bakugou was writhing on his bed, blanket wrapped around his legs like snakes, back arching off the bed. His fingers clawed at his throat, tears streaming down his cheeks as he cried out in pain. Kirishima had not expected this. Bakugou was suffering from night terrors. BAKUGOU of all people. 

He had rushed forward without a second thought and grabbed Bakugou’s arms, struggling to keep them away from his skin. 

Now, he looked away, his lip trembling, hoping that Bakugou wouldn’t see the tears glistening at the corner of his eyes. 

Bakugou grunted, “Well if Shitty Hair had a single brain cell he would know that I’m fine. As if I would let myself get taken away or killed. Pfft. Ridiculous.”

That struck something in Kirishima’s heart. He visibly flinched, closing in on himself. The combination of Bakugou insulting him and saying the words “taken away or killed” hurt. He didn’t want Bakugou to see just how much his words were affecting him but he couldn’t help it. Bakugou meant so much to him and Kirishima didn’t like to see him like that, so torn apart and pained. He thought of all the instances where Bakugou could have woken up all by himself, with no one there for him.

Bakugou softened his gaze a little when he saw Kirishima’s face. Maybe I overdid it… he thought.

Aizawa bonked his hand on the top of Bakugou’s head, “Hey. Have a little bit of empathy. He’s the only friend you got, you know.” Bakugou snapped his head away, “Oh, get out already! You’re disturbing my sleep cycle!”

Mr. Aizawa rolled his eyes and walked out the door. Kirishima began to follow, not once looking in Bakugou’s direction before the latter grabbed the front of his shirt roughly.

“You won’t mention this ever again. To me, to anyone. No one. NO ONE hears about this. You take this to your grave. In fact, don’t even THINK about it, if you know what’s good for you.” He growled under his breath, his searing red eyes never leaving the other’s downturned ones. 

Kirishima nodded his head absentmindedly, turning his way out of Bakugou’s grip. But again Bakugou grabbed his shirt, “That’s not an answer.” Kirishima looked up at him before wrapping his arms around Bakugou, holding him close. 

Bakugou sat there, stunned, still holding the front of Kirishima’s shirt. “I’m sorry, Bakugou,” Kirishima whispered. Bakugou didn’t know what to say or do. The feelings surrounding him were overwhelming: that warm feeling was spreading throughout him again but yet he felt like he was being suffocated with a pillow. He was getting claustrophobic, not liking the grip, though gentle, Kirishima had on him. He was finding it a little difficult to breathe. He did secretly want this, wanting that warm feeling to fill the emptiness within him, but his skin was itching at him to get rid of this foreign touch. 

He pushed Kirishima off, “What do you think you’re doing?” Kirishima smiled slightly, “I need you to know that I’m here for you.” In reality, Kirishima was finally realizing the importance of his friendship with Bakugou. Losing Midoriya...it was a huge blow. He had seen the way Iida, Todoroki, and Uraraka were handling it, and he realized...that could’ve been him. It could’ve been him, or Sero, or Kaminari, or Mina. It could’ve been them crying after Bakugou. It could’ve been Bakugou taken away, just like last time...It could’ve been Bakugou’s blood in the elevator. It could’ve been Bakugou taking away their peace of mind. 

Bakugou gone...he couldn’t imagine a world without Bakugou. And frankly, he didn’t want to. 

Everyone in Class 1A was realizing an important life lesson, one they shouldn’t have to learn at this age: anyone can be gone in an instant. So it was best to cherish their friends and family and these moments while they still could. There were no more fights, even silly ones, amongst themselves. No more arguments about who gets the last pudding cup, whose turn it was to make dinner, who left the toilet seat up. They were all eerily peaceful with each other, not wanting those moments to be their last with each other. Before, when they talked about their futures as pro heroes, they had never factored in that they could possibly be dead before that could happen. It was a jarring discovery for them: loss. 

Everyone started hanging out as one big batch, not really breaking off into their groups anymore, wanting to be together.  They no longer conversed with the other classes at lunch, always sitting in the general vicinity of one another. If someone was taking a particularly long time at the restroom, or if someone didn’t show up to lunch, all of them had a sinking feeling in the pits of their stomachs. What if another one was missing? What if another one will die? 

They hated themselves for thinking that, but what else could they do?

Once, Tokoyami had skipped lunch to ask Cementos some questions about his homework, to which Shoji had almost broken down. He had dropped his tray, each arm shaking as he scanned the lunchroom for him. But neither Dark Shadow nor Tokoyami could be seen. He had closed his eyes, trying to steady his breathing. There were many logical explanations, be logical , he had thought to himself. Iida had walked by and somehow knew exactly what was wrong. He picked up Shoji’s tray and handed it to him with a warm smile on his face, “Tokoyami is being tutored by Cementos Sensei. Do not fret.” 

Shoji had relaxed, angry that he had automatically assumed the worst. 

Tokoyami had walked in some time later, Dark Shadow bouncing around him happily and Shoji had never felt more grateful in his life. 

Another instance was when Jirou had been late waking up in the morning. Everyone was downstairs bustling around, eating and getting ready for class, yelling at each other from across the room. Kaminari sat on the couch, waiting for Jirou to come downstairs. The two had always eaten together and walked to campus. But she was late. Later than she usually was. He glanced up at the clock. Only two more minutes until they needed to leave. They all elected to walk as one big group to campus instead of leaving at different times, not wanting to leave anyone by themselves. 

“Alright, everyone. It’s time to go. Grab your backpacks.” Yaoyaorozu called. Kaminari’s knees had not stopped bouncing, his fingers picking away at each other, panic rising in his throat. He was inconsolable. Everyone was already slinging their packs around their shoulders, making their way to the front entrance. His friends made their way over, wondering why he hadn’t moved yet. Mina ruffled his hair, “Hey, Denkers! Why arentchya moving yet?” Kaminari looked up at her and her smile fell. 

Kaminari’s pupils were blown out, his mouth in a grimace, his face flushed and feverish. Sero placed a hand on his shoulder, worry tinted in his voice, “Yo, man, what’s the matter?” He couldn’t speak as he grabbed the fingers of his hand and pulled on them. Kirishima knelt by him and placed a reassuring hand on his knee, gently yet forcibly making it stop bouncing, “Hey, hey. Breathe.” 

Kaminari nodded, shaking his hands fervently, trying to steady his breathing. Mina brought her face level with his, “Okay, now tell us what’s wrong.” Kaminari looked down at his feet before managing to choke out, “...Jirou...she...she’s not here…she...” Bakugou stood up from where he had sat on the adjacent love seat. Oh shit...He thought...he thought that she... He tched.

“Are you serious, Dunce Face? Did you not hear what she said? She’s got a doctor’s appointment this morning.” He snarled, stuffing his hands in his pockets. Kaminari had visibly relaxed. He brought his face into his hands and shuddered a little. Oh my God, thank God, oh my fuck, oh my... The utter thought of losing her...He didn’t know what he would do with himself. 

Mina grabbed him into a hug, “Oh, you poor thing. I’m so sorry, I thought you knew.” Kaminari shook his head. He hadn’t known. All he had imagined was her dead in an elevator, blood covering the entire floor. It was seared into his brain. 

It had been like this for all of them. Little things triggered them. Little things gave them anxiety they had never felt before.

So maybe that’s why Kirishima grabbed Bakugou, hugged him tight because what if that was the last interaction they would ever have? What if tomorrow one of them were dead? What if…

Too many of those what if’s were swirling around in his mind.

He wanted Bakugou to understand: You’re not alone. 

“I need you to know that I’m here for you.”

Bakugou sneered, “Well, I know that, you shithead.” 

Kirishima froze.

Bakugou let go of his shirt, “Now GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY ROOM.” 

Kirishima stood off the bed, but not before Bakugou grabbed him one last time. He held his wrist, not meeting his eyes, “...Thanks, Kirishima.”

The latter smiled big, “Yeah, Bakugou. No problem.”




 

“TOGA! WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY CARDS?” Compress yelled, frantically emptying his never-ending pockets. 

Toga giggled, skipping past him, “Why would you think it was me?” She threw up a handful of said cards, twirling as they fell around her like confetti. 

Dabi walked behind her, snatching one of the cards out of the air, burning it to a crisp with his flames. Mr. Compress cried out, snatching at the ashes, “Dabi! What the fuck?!” 

Spinner rolled his eyes, going back to his “conversation” with Twice, who was doing a dance battle with himself. 

Shigaraki walked in, Doku trailing behind him, adjusting his gloves. They were all disguised, excited for their impromptu trip to the mall. Doku wore a black beanie and mask, sunglasses resting on the top of his head. His red eyes would be too noticeable, as they glowed too brightly. Dabi and Shigaraki wore hoods and masks as well, as they were pretty sure Dabi’s staples and Shigaraki’s “crusty ass lips” (as Twice put it) would be too noticeable. Because of this reason, Spinner, much to his chagrin, had to sit out this time. His lizard-like appearance was odd as it was, but now that he was a wanted criminal it was even worse. Toga took pity on him and promised to get him something cute when he had grumbled about it. 

Mr. Compress, meanwhile, simply didn’t want to go. “Childish ventures”, he had called it. Doku had snorted, “Yeah, okay. And playing with your cards is real mature.” 

Speaking of Doku…

The night before, he had fallen asleep and was greeted by a rather distraught Midoriya. Doku had walked up to the mirror, nonchalantly, knocking on the glass rhythmically. “Knock, knock! Anyone there?” He had called in a sing-song voice. 

Midoriya had emerged from the other side, making his way out of the shadows, his eyes covered by his limp hair. Doku smiled, his voice deepening comically, “‘I am here!’” He laughed at his own joke as Deku flinched. 

“So, dearest Izuku. How goes it?” Doku asked, leaning against the frame of the mirror. 

Midoriya had brought a palm up, slamming it, causing the glass to ripple, “What have you been hiding from me, Doku?” His eyes were still downcast, his tone shaky yet stern. 

Doku frowned mockingly, “Whatever could you mean? I’m afraid I don’t understand!” 

Midoriya looked up, his green eyes boring into the glowing red of Doku’s, “YOU’VE BEEN KEEPING SOMETHING FROM ME!” He roared.

“I can feel it. You did something but you won’t tell me. It was bad, I can FEEL IT .” Midoriya growled, making a fist. 

Doku laughed, backing away from the mirror and spreading his arms wide, “Oh, Zuzu! THAT’S what you’re talking about? Well, indeed I have been hiding something from you! How observant of you. Well, what can I say? I expected this! I know everything there is to know about you! And you know everything about me! We are one in the same.”

Midoriya glowed green with One for All’s power coursing through him, his eyebrows furrowing in anger, “WHAT DID YOU DO, DOKU?!” He screamed. 

Doku smiled wickedly, his own body glowing with the red of his corrupted One for All, “Aw, but you’re ruining the surprise! I wanted to pop it on you when you least expected.” He pouted, “Well, I guess if you really want to see!” His smile dropped quickly, his eyes losing its mischievous gleam, as he pushed his arm forward, his hand extended, sending the memories of his debut into Midoriya’s mind.

Midoriya gasped, his breath sucked out of him as the memories flashed through his head at lightning speed. Smashing buildings, throwing pedestrians to the side, punching the cameraman, everything that Doku had hidden from his eyes. 

Doku had the power to choose what Midoriya could see and remember. He had intentionally blocked Midoriya from seeing what had happened, hoping to surprise him later and break him. But his counterpart was smarter than that. He had felt the empty space where that memory should have been.

Midoriya staggered forward, leaning against the glass, and slid down onto his knees, tears falling down his face. “No...no, no! NO!” He cried, clutching the front of his shirt with his other hand, the other punching the glass of the mirror, sending ripples throughout. Doku smiled. He loved seeing Midoriya break and cry and scream in front of him. Fear, pain, and hatred. He loved it. 

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” Midoriya screamed, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” He chanted the words, slamming his fists over and over on the glass. He snapped his head up, his eyes filled with terror and tears, “DOKU! HOW COULD YOU??” 

Doku tsked, the smile never leaving his face, “Ah, ah, silly Deku ! How could WE, you mean! It’s ‘your’ body after all, as you’ve been telling me.” Midoriya hung his head, sobbing as One for All ran through him, crackling and glowing. 

Doku rolled his eyes, “What a drama queen! Anyway, we’re visiting the mall today! Should be fun! I think you’re gonna ruin our fun, so I’ll be blocking you out again.”

He began to stroll away from the mirror with Midoriya’s tortured yells calling after him, “NO! DOKU, PLEASE, DON’T!” 

He turned around, walking backward, “I’m not changing my mind, young Izuku!”

Now, with his vision not yet closed, he could hear Midoriya’s stifled sobs echoing in his mind. Whenever he blocked his vision from Midoriya, he couldn’t hear him as much, and he was seriously considering blocking him out from now. But Doku was enjoying his cries, loving this free entertainment. Every moment of Doku’s existence was torture for Midoriya. It was lovely.

He pulled up his hood as he followed Dabi, Toga, and Shigaraki out the door, whispering a quick thought through his brain playfully, “Now the real fun starts.”

He blocked Midoriya’s vision.

 

 

 

“Today’s the day!” Hagakure sang, bouncing on the balls of her feet.

All the girls had gathered together in Yaoyorozu’s room, lounging on her larger than life bed, getting ready together. 

Jirou brushed Uraraka’s hair, giggling with her over a little joke they had shared. Uraraka was smiling now. It was not as big and bright as it normally was, but the girls had made a secret pact to keep her happy for at least today. 

Tsu walked out of Yamomo's private bathroom, dawning dark green overalls over a white t-shirt. Mina clapped, "Give us a spin, Tsu!" 

Tsuyu waddled in a circle, giving a little curtsy at the end. The overalls were paired with high topped white canvas sneakers and her hair was pulled into two fishtail braids that were sectioned off into low pigtails. 

She smiled brightly. “I love it, Momo!”

Yaoyorozu handcrafted personalized outfits for all the girls with her quirk. They had spent last night planning and drawing out their designs. 

Mina had gotten a neon-green sweater dress paired with knee-high black socks and black platform sneakers. She had her hair pulled in two tiny pigtails on top of her head and Yaoyorozu was adding some clips that matched her outfit. 

“Hold still, Mina!” 

“Sorry, sorry! You’re really good at this, Yamomo!” 

Yaoyorozu chuckled, “Well, I’m an only child so I had no sisters to practice hair on! I used my dolls and learned how to style from them.”

Yaoyorozu had indeed done all the girls’ hair, except for Uraraka who was patiently waiting for her turn. She had even styled her own hair which was out of her usual ponytail, cascading down her back, with two braids running along the sides, connected at the back with a simple butterfly clip. She wore an off-the-shoulder beige ruffled top with high-waisted blue jeans, paired with beige slip ons. 

Hagakure skipped over, admiring Tsu’s outfit. The invisible girl was wearing an overall white skirt, matched with a canary tee plastered with the word “honey”. She walked on her tiptoes, ballerina style, in her pastel yellow flats which had ribbons that snaked up her leg, crisscrossing over each other.

Jirou fluffed Uraraka’s hair one last time, “Okay, Momo, Ochaco's all ready for you.”

Uraraka stood off the bed and made her way to Yaoyorozu and Mina. She wore a black long-sleeved turtleneck with high-waisted jean shorts and a thick black belt, matched with short heeled black boots. She donned a gold necklace paired with small gold hoops, taken from Yaoyorozu's collection. 

Jirou had a similar color palette in her outfit, opting for the darker tones. She wore a black and grey flannel over a cropped black tank top, paired with black ripped jeans and military-style boots. 

She began to run the brush through her own purple hair, looking at the pile of hair clips Yaoyorozu had made. The girls had agreed to all wear hair clips that matched their outfit so they would all match. Tsu had little froggy clips on both sides of her hair, Hagakure had two light yellow ones on one side of her hair, Mina had neon green ones, and Uraraka had gotten two little pink Saturn clips. Jirou found two dark purple music notes and fixed them into her hair, pulling her bangs away from her face.

Uraraka meanwhile had positioned herself on the ground in front of Yaoyorozu. 

“Is there something specific you’re looking for or do you just want me to freestyle?” Yaoyorozu asked, running her fingers through the brunette’s hair.

Uraraka pondered for a moment before saying, “I’m not sure. I would like to keep my hair down, but after that, it’s all yours.”

Yaoyorozu nodded, “Okay! I think I know what to do!” She ran a thin comb through Uraraka’s hair, sectioning it off so that the top portion was separate from the bottom. With a pink hair tie, she began to pull the sectioned portion into a small ponytail. Yaoyorozu placed the pink clips in as well and tapped Uraraka’s shoulders. 

“All done!” 

Mina held up a mirror to Uraraka’s face, “You look so cute, 'Chaco!” 

Uraraka admired her half up and half down hair, her cheeks growing pink as she smiled big, “I love it!”

The rest of the girls glanced at each other, smiling brightly: they got her to smile! Now all they had to do was make sure it never went away.

Jirou’s phone dinged and she opened the text from Kaminari.

“Denki said all the guys are waiting for us downstairs.” She giggled, “They’re pretty annoyed.”

Tsu glanced at the clock, finger on her chin, “Well, we have been up here for quite some time.”

Mina bounced upwards, grabbing Hagakure’s hand, “Let’s go then!”





Aizawa had been very apprehensive of letting his kids go to the mall. Not only because of what had happened last time they were there, but because the last thing he wanted to do was leave his children unsupervised at this time. Both Iida and Yaoyorozu had banded together as the class representatives to convince their sensei that this was a good idea and both had pleaded for the trip.

“Mr. Aizawa, I know you are probably extremely worried for our wellbeings, but we beg of you to give us this chance to relieve our stress. We will promise to stay in large groups together and not stray away. Our phones will all be on and we have you and the police on speed dial. We just want a break from all of this...a distraction from everything.” Iida concluded his speech, his chopping arm falling limp at the last sentence. He looked away quickly. 

Yaoyorozu rested a comforting hand on his forearm before turning to Aizawa, “We know this is a very difficult decision for you but--”

“Yes.”

The pair looked up in surprise. Their sensei had been silent the whole time, staring with a hardened gaze, they were not sure it had been to speak.

“Yes, you can go. But I want a checkup text every 30 minutes, a list of the groups and who is in them, and you have to be back in 3 hours. No exceptions.” Aizawa crossed his arms, his eyes darkening, “And if anything happens. And I mean anything, you will call me immediately. Immediately.” His eyes flashed red, his hair rippling. 

Yaoyorozu and Iida nodded, still in shock that he had agreed so quickly. They had gone back and reported what he had said to their classmates and they all had erupted in excited chatter, already forming groups.

Iida had drafted a list sent to Aizawa before they had gone to bed that night:

 

[ bold signifies the captain]

 

Group 1: 

  • Iida
  • Todoroki
  • Uraraka 
  • Asui
  • Tokoyami
  • Shoji

Group 2:

  • Yaoyorozu
  • Hagakure
  • Koda
  • Sato
  • Aoyama
  • Ojiro
  • Mineta

Group 3:

  • Jirou
  • Bakugou
  • Kirishima
  • Kaminari
  • Sero
  • Mina

Each captain is responsible for contacting you regarding the well-being of each member of their group. Thank you again for this opportunity, Sensei. It means the world to us.

 

Now, these groups stood in the middle of the bustling mall, chatting amongst themselves as they made plans on which shops they wanted to stop at. Iida handed out maps of the mall to each team captain, “Captains, you are required to send in a text every 30 minutes to Mr. Aizawa to ensure your safety and his peace of mind. Everyone else, you may join up with other groups, just make sure you are letting your captain know. No one goes anywhere alone. If you need to use the restroom, you must go in pairs. We will all meet back here in front of the fountain at 3 o’clock sharp. Let’s be on our best behavior and show that we can be trusted with this. Aizawa-sensei might let us do something like this again. You may all go now!”

The students began sectioning off, some staying with their assigned group while others decided to meet their friends in others. Yaoyorozu, Hagakure, and Uraraka remained with Iida, Todoroki, and Tsu as the rest of their respective groups made their way to Koda, Ojiro, Mineta, Aoyama, and Sato. 

Jirou turned to her group, “So, let’s pair up with Yamomo and Iida’s squad?”

Mina and Kaminari saluted, “Aye, aye, captain!”, Kaminari chuckled. 

Jirou rolled her eyes, giving his shoulder a playful tap with her earphone jack, “Shut up. Let’s go.” Yaoyorozu was already waving her over. 

The combined groups began walking through the mall, sometimes stopping at different shops to admire what was through the display, other times going in. The girls had found a jewelry shop that sold thin metal rings engraved with their initials and they each got one, wearing them on their middle fingers. Mina had them all extend their hands for a picture and she squealed, “I love them, girls!” Uraraka laughed, smiling brightly, “I do, too!”

The rest gave warm smiles, happy to see her in such a good mood. The boys had rolled their eyes at the girls’ loud shrieks of what they assumed was joy over the matching rings. The guys of Jirou’s group had walked into the other store but Iida and Todoroki had stayed behind, a couple of feet behind the cluster of girls, with Todoroki holding some of the girls’ shopping bags and Iida sending in the 30 minutes check-in to Aizawa. For some reason, they were both really apprehensive about leaving the group. They had both unknowingly had the same idea of making sure Uraraka was safe and happy and okay. 

They had no intention of leaving her side and when they saw her smiling and laughing, they had both grinned softly. Good. She was the best of them, and she deserved nothing but happiness. They never wanted to see her broken and defeated as she had been for the past week.

Sero, Kaminari, Kirishima, and Bakugou walked out of the adjacent shop, holding a couple of brown bags between them. “They’re STILL not done?” Sero exclaimed, exasperated. 

Todoroki shook his head, “No.”

Bakugou tched, “They’re so worked up over an accessory.” Kaminari smiled sadly, “But it’s nice to see them in a good mood, isn’t it?” 

The rest mumbled their agreement. It was. There was no longer the thick, tense air that had followed them everywhere. Here, they could breathe easier, could smile without feeling the weight of the world pushing them to frown. 

Kaminari’s smile faded. It had been hard. It still was. To accept what had happened. He missed Midoriya. They all did. And smiling and laughing had felt so wrong to them. How could they be so cheerful? Did they even deserve happiness? But that uneasiness had left them for this brief trip and he was so grateful. 

He glanced at Jirou, who was hiding her giggle with her hand, the other showing off her ring to Hagakure, chatting animatedly. Yeah, it was nice. A warm feeling spread throughout him and his small smile returned. 

Sero punched him on the arm. Kaminari flinched, grabbing where Sero had slugged him, “Ow! What was that for?!” Sero stared at him, and deadpan stated, “Don’t get all sappy on us now. The last thing we need is for you to melt just by looking at Jirou.” 

Kaminari glared daggers at him, then at Kirishima who had chuckled, cheeks flushing bright red, “Hey! Stop! I-I don’t--I do NOT--I NEVER said that I-” Sero clapped him on the back, “Didn’t have to say it, man.”

Bakugou scoffed quietly, smirking and Todoroki glanced at him, a faint smile on his face. Bakugou looked away quickly, growling. But the damage had been done. Someone had seen him smile. The urge to get rid of the witness was so strong...But no, there were too many witnesses to the disposal of the first witness…

Kirishima threw his arm around Bakugou’s shoulder, “Hey, I was thinking I’m getting a little hungry. How about you guys?” 

Iida nodded, adjusting his glasses, “I have found myself feeling a little peckish. Let us ask the girls.” He called to them and they all skipped over, still talking about their rings and where they wanted to go next. “We were just discussing that we were getting rather hungry. We could go and visit the food court for a treat before we head back in an hour or so. I just finished sending in the 30 minute check-in to Mr. Aizawa a couple of minutes ago. So we’re fine for the time being.”

The girls nodded. The students hadn’t eaten since breakfast at 9 and it was now 2. The thought of a plate of yakitori was mouthwatering. “Yes, I think right after we can eat we should start heading back to the meeting place.” Yaoyorozu said, glancing at the large clock positioned above one of the stores.” Everyone else had nodded, gathering their shopping bags and making their way to the food court. They all turned, walking in the direction of the bright red light directing them to the food court. 

The girls surged forward, leaving the guys to have to run to catch up. They trailed behind, conversing as they basically speed-walked to keep up. Behind Uraraka, on either side, Iida and Todoroki fell into step, flanking her like bodyguards. Uraraka herself was practically floating, hair and hoops flying backward as she skipped along with her friends, laughing and smiling big.

The group of students was met with a large surge of another crowd, some stragglers even walking straight through them, shoving Uraraka aside. She staggered, before the person who had knocked into her grasped her right shoulder. Iida was also quick to steady her, holding her left shoulder, glaring at the hooded figure.

The rest of the girls and guys stopped, turning towards the commotion. Uraraka in turn was frozen, unable to move under the tight clasp of the person’s gloved hand. Todoroki surged forward, “Hey, what the hell, man?” 

The person turned their head, agonizingly slow bringing their masked face into the fluorescent light of the mall. Uraraka could see now it was a man, wearing a beanie, hoodie, mask, and sunglasses...inside the air-conditioned mall. He slowly looked down, peering out over the glasses.

She couldn’t breathe.

Staring back at her was the glowing red eyes of the infamous and dreaded Doku.

Chapter Text

 

Twice had done a lot of complaining after Shigaraki had ordered him to stay with Spinner and Compress. His two sides bickered more with each other than Shigaraki so Toga, Dabi, Doku, and Shigaraki just calmly walked away as he fought with himself. “I want to go! Ew, people! I love shopping! Ugh, gimme a break!

Toga had patted him on the head as she walked away, making a mental note to get him a little something as she skipped to keep up with Doku. “Izuku! I have a present for you before we go!” Doku turned to her. He had already been given several things by the members of the League; it was almost like a dowry. Compress had given him a coat of his, Dabi had given him a face mask and Shigaraki had given him a spare hoodie to wear. Now, Toga was offering something to the almighty one. She dug into her pocket and held out her gift proudly. It was a dark as night black knife, the edge gleaming in the dim light of the bunker. 

She pointed at something near the hilt, “Look! I even got it engraved!” Doku could indeed see it was engraved with “D ♡ T”. The knife was breathtaking and he took it gently out of Toga’s hands and admired it. He ran the tip over his index finger, drawing blood almost immediately with basically no pressure applied. He smiled wide, “Toga, I love it.” Her whole face flushed pink and she clapped, “I knew you would love it!” She enveloped him, giving a kiss on his cheek.

His eyes glowed a little redder and he felt something within him shift at the sight of the glorious weapon in his hands.

Oh, this will be fun indeed. 

 



The four had boarded a train, crowding at the back, Shigaraki and Toga sitting down while Dabi and Doku stood in front of them, holding onto the poles. Toga played with the ends of her hair, not used to it being out of her usual buns, and looked up lovingly at Doku, “So, Izuku. What are you planning to buy while we’re there?” 

Shigaraki scoffed, “Yeah, and with what money?” 

Doku rolled his eyes from behind his sunglasses, “I’m not looking to buy ...thought we would just steal…” 

Dabi gave a short chuckle, “One of us, one of us.” He jokingly chanted. 

Toga swung her legs under the seat, “Okayyy, then what are you planning on stealing ?” 

Doku smirked under his mask, his eyes gleaming, “Whatever I want.”

Shigaraki scratched his neck, also smirking, “Now that’s a plan I can get behind. Time for you to unlock a new skill.”

Toga giggled, her whole face red, “Agh, yes! I can’t wait to teach our Doku how to be a real bad boy .” To which Dabi kicked her shin. She kicked back, pouting. Hence started a war. Doku stuck his own leg between the two, receiving a couple of blows himself, “Can you guys kill each other later? It’s annoying.”

Shigaraki cracked his knuckles, yawning, “Now you see what I have to put up with every day.”

Now arriving at Station 7, Kiyashi Ward. ” 

The four had made their way off the train, and into the streets without drawing too much attention. They began to make their way to the south entrance of the mall, weaving in and out of crowds, avoiding human contact like the plague. Shigaraki had his hands stuffed deep into his pockets, hunched over so much that he was almost curling into himself, meanwhile, Toga skipped on ahead, swinging her arms back and forth.

“Toga, behave yourself. We’re trying to NOT draw attention to ourselves!” Shigaraki hissed at her. Toga stopped mid-bounce and did a pirouette to face him, “Oh, and you think cowering into the shape of a baseball won’t be noticeable? Please, Shigs, we’re here to have fun! Let’s have fun!” She grabbed Doku’s hand and smiled big under her mask, her eyes squinting, “Come on, Zuzu! Let’s go into this shop!” 

Doku felt a little pang in his brain, like the beginning of a headache. Huh, weird. Whatever.

He allowed Toga to lead him into the closest shop, which happened to be an all pink ”Kawaii” shop filled with cutesy little charms and trinkets. Dabi rolled his eyes so hard they almost rolled back into his head, “You have got to be kidding me. What is the point of stealing from here?” Toga stomped on his foot, shooting him a death glare, “Shut up already, Dabs. Maybe while we’re here we can get you something for your burns. Or something to brighten up your hair, and while we’re at it, your personality! It’s a literal on fire garbage can. Which is ironic given that you have a fire quirk--”

Dabi grabbed the top of Toga’s head, accidentally knocking her hood off her head, “Himiko, if you speak another word, I’m going to turn you into an on fire garbage can. Which is ironic considering you’re trash.” She quickly pulled her hood back up, sticking her tongue out at him. 

Shigaraki walked in between them, pushing them away with his shoulders, “Can you two children calm the fuck down?” Dabi grimaced, throwing a hand up in disbelief,  “I’m literally older than you, you fuckwad.” Doku covered Toga’s ears, frowning, “Don’t swear in front of the baby.”

Shigaraki turned around, looking around dramatically, “What baby?” Toga huffed, puffing out her cheeks, “Me, I’m baby.” Dabi gagged, “Ugh, you two lovebirds make me sick.” Doku chuckled, wearing a mischievous smile behind his mask, “Please, Dabi. I think you’re just jealous. ” Dabi made a move to attack, stalking closer mockingly before Shigaraki stepped backward in between them.

Dabi pointed his two fingers at his eyes and then at Doku, “Count your days, Doku...count your days.” Doku and Toga let out a laugh, and Dabi snickered a little, dropping his hands back into his pockets. Shigaraki rolled his eyes, though secretly smiled under his mask. These idiots were the biggest morons he ever had the pleasure of meeting, but they were a lot of fun too.

Toga finally convinced Dabi to step foot into the pastel pink store, already admiring everything on the shelves. Shigaraki stayed behind to keep watch in case any trouble arose. 

Toga squealed happily as she pointed at a large display sitting near the front desk. As she made a big deal of gawking over some Neko sanitizer holders, Doku watched as with her left hand, Toga quickly pocketed two or three of the chapsticks adjacent to them. Her hands were out of the line of sight of the clerk, who was laughing at her excitement over the cats. Doku smirked. So that’s how she was playing it.

He surveyed the shop. There was only one clerk and no security guards in sight outside of the store. The clerk was positioned smack dab in the middle of the left wall, with a wide view of the whole shop. She could see everyone without having to turn her head too much. He also noted the red panic button positioned under the cash register as he looked at some bookmarks hanging on the wall next to the desk. She would most likely call for help immediately if she saw them do anything remotely suspicious. 

Looking out from under his sunglasses, he made eye contact with Dabi. He flicked his eyes to the clerk and then back to the display he was looking at. Dabi’s eyes crunched, a tell-tale sign of his usual smirk. He nodded ever so slightly and then called over for the clerk. “Hi, yes, madam, could you help me with this really quick?”

The clerk made her way over, turning her back to Doku, who began taking things by the handful, not really caring what they were. He would have it all. He loved being bad. A thought came into his head and his eyes gleamed sinisterly. 

He turned on his vision just as he shoved some ruby-encrusted headphones into his jacket pocket. He sent a thought through to Midoriya, Stealing with the bros! I’m having so much fun, how about you, ‘Zuku?

Doku chuckled at the loud cry Midoriya let out. The long dark trench coat he had borrowed from Compress literally had never-ending pockets and he was gleefully using the weightless storage units to their fullest. He didn’t want to steal just gag-worthy Kawaii merch though. He really needed some more clothes. He shut his vision off again quickly and spun around to pretend to look at another display as the clerk finished answering whatever ridiculous question Dabi had. 

Toga pranced over to Doku, laying a hand on his arm, “Hi, munchkin! Are you all done?” Doku smiled, “Yes, I think I am.” He gestured with his head at Dabi, then to the door. It’s time to leave. The three calmly, yet a little speedily, made their way to the exit of the store. The clerk called after them, “Wait!”

They all froze, turning very slowly to face her. She held a little metal canister in her hand, holding it out for them to see, “Did one of you drop this?” She shook it a little and listened to the liquid slosh within it. 

Toga made a little noise before giggling maniacally, “Oh, silly me! That’s mine! Thanks so much!” She snatched it out of the clerk’s hand, who jolted a little in surprise. Toga kept the sickly sweet smile on her face as she sped past the two boys, making her way to where Shigaraki sat on the bench. Doku and Dabi jogged to catch up with her. She didn’t face them, but her shoulders hunched and she staggered a little. Doku grasped her arm steadying her, “Woah, woah. Breathe in and out, Toga, it’s alright. It’s not like she caught us.”

Toga’s face was devoid of any emotion, her skin so pale it was almost see-through. Her cheeks were no longer rosy or blushing. “...She touched my blood. That was my precious Ochaco's blood.” Doku frowned, “Well, do tell. How do you have our sweet Ochaco's blood?”

Toga turned to him, eyes blank, “You don’t remember?” Doku looked to the side before looking back at her, “Remember...what?” 

Shigaraki shook his head, “He wasn't there when you sucked it up. Remember at the training camp? With the fake Uraraka? That was her.” 

Dabi yawned, stretching his arms above his head, his sleeves falling down slowly, revealing some of his scars. A little girl who walked past pulled on her mom’s shirt and pointed, wide-eyed. The mother was too immersed in her phone to pay attention as Dabi pulled down his black face mask to reveal his stapled face and eyes. He gave the girl a deranged smile, and she squealed, crying for her mother. 

Shigaraki kicked Dabi in the thigh, hissing, “You CUNT! Are you serious right now? PULL IT BACK UP!” Dabi didn’t look at Shigaraki but pulled his mask up, rolling his sleeves over his hands. Shigaraki stood up, “Let’s go. You guys OBVIOUSLY can’t control yourselves.” Doku groaned, “Thanks, Dabi! Ruining it for all of us.” 

Dabi remained silent, looking away in pretend shame, eyes a little unfocused. Toga was also giving the same far-off look, muttering to herself quietly. Shigaraki looked between the two of the psychos then to Doku, “Well...I guess that leaves only two players left. I’ll stay here with them, you go get what you need. And while you’re out and about, try and get me something to eat. These idiots drain my brain cells, energy, and nutrients.” 

Doku nodded, pulling the jacket tighter around himself, “No problem. I’ll be back, keep your phone up.” Shigaraki waved, then barked at the two in front of him to take a seat. 

Doku scoffed a little. Who knew the League was such a mess? He had always seen them on the outside: formidable and evil, something to be feared. A group so cunning no one had caught them yet. But what Doku now saw was a group of unsupervised teenagers who could barely keep their fists away from each other. With Kurogiri gone, he could see just how unhinged they had become. Shigaraki was their leader, yes, but Kurogiri had been the glue that had kept them and their fractured mental health together. Shigaraki was barely older than him, Doku realized. He was old enough to be his brother.

Seeing the League from the inside made him realize just how similar they were to the despised heroes. They all were striving to make society a better place. And yeah, maybe two or three of them had...ulterior motives...but they all banded together despite that. It reminded him of his--no, Izuku’s old friends (he had to keep reminding himself to disassociate from his heroic counterpart). They all had their own future planned, but yet worked together and became a little family.

He had found that in the villains. They were his home. He realized he loved chaos. He loved it! And they brought nothing but chaos. He ran his finger along the blade in his pocket, grinning softly. And maybe there was something else he was loving…

Doku kept walking forward, reading the signs as he strolled along, looking for a store that could give him something acceptable to wear besides his boxers and a three-piece suit. He spotted a store just up ahead with a couple of mannequins on display and decided that he would start there. 

But just as he was about to enter, something caught his eye.

Was that...spiky red hair?

He froze.

Wait... 

He pushed himself up against the window of the display, trying to get a good look around the crowd of people to make sure he saw what he thought he just saw. 

His eyes widened.

No...he was right. Three stores down, some of the boys of 1A stood, chatting, and was that?...Yes, it was. To their right, gleefully laughing and smiling brightly were all the girls of 1A.

There was Sero, Kaminari, Kirishima, Todoroki, Iida...Kacchan...Hagakure, Yaoyorozu, Mina, Tsu, Jiro...and Uraraka…

Doku did a double-take.

No...there’s no way. 

My, my, how destiny works in funny ways.

He felt his face flush red, his insides grow tingly, and a broad smile spread across his face. Now, THIS...this will be fun.

He turned on his vision, directing his eyes at the boys first, then at the girls. “You see this, Zuzu? This is what I’ve been WAITING FOR.”

Doku heard Midoriya’s faint cries within his brain, quieter than usual, but nonetheless fueling his want for a disturbance. He was high on the feeling, so excited to wreak some havoc on the poor unsuspecting high schoolers, that Midoriya's presence was nothing more than a light breeze on a summer's day.

He watched and waited as the two groups chatted animatedly with each other before starting to walk in his direction, the girls running forward ahead of the boys. Without thinking, he impulsively threw himself in their path, walking nonchalantly forward when he was lined up with them. He began to saunter with the flow of the crowd and let himself be swept in between them, bumping shoulders with Tsu, accidentally stepping on Mina’s foot, before crashing into Uraraka. 

She stumbled and he caught her, clutching her shoulder tightly. Iida was already there, holding her on the other side, worry and anger in his eyes. He looked at Doku, not really seeing him. Todoroki had also seemingly appeared out of nowhere, “What the hell, man?”

Doku did not look at them. He held his gaze on Uraraka’s paling face and he slowly lowered his head so he could peer at her with his glowing red eyes. She let out a strangled sound, eyes glazing over as if she had been put under Shinso’s mind-controlling quirk. 

Iida and Todoroki, from the angle they were standing at, had still not noticed. That was about to change.

Doku turned first to Iida, who was already pulling at Uraraka to get her away from Doku’s vise-like grip. Iida froze, his eyes widening as his soft blue met Doku’s blank red. Before he gave Iida time to think, he turned to Todoroki, who had a similar response to Uraraka, seizing up, unable to speak and move. 

The others began making their way closer to the four. “Hey, what’s the hold up?” Sero questioned, making his way up behind Todoroki, clasping his shoulder. 

Within a split second Deku had pulled out the knife Toga had given him and pressed the tip on Uraraka’s side. Time slowed. The rest of the group had frozen, making a circle around the four trapped in this all too real moment. 

He tightened his grip on Uraraka’s shaking shoulder, “Now, let’s not make a scene, yeah, sweet thing?” He turned to Iida who had still not recovered from the shock he was in. He let go immediately but did not step back, making sure to not leave too much space between him and that...thing. Todoroki was still stuck in his trance, Sero's grip shaky but tight on his shoulder. Doku chuckled, “Look at you all! So surprised to see me, are we?

He looked past Sero, examining the stricken faces of Kaminari and Kirishima before dragging his eyes slowly to 

Bakugou. 

Kacchan.

The red eyes of both met.

Even now, Bakugou was easy to read. 

His whole body had stiffened, mid-stride, one foot still suspended on its toes. His complexion had blanched to the point where he could have been pronounced dead on the spot from his appearance alone. 

His mouth had stopped before he had even begun to speak, obviously to make fun of someone or something, suspended in a small ‘o’. 

As for his eyes...his eyes were always the easiest to interpret. 

They were wide. Wide and gleaming. Filled with so many emotions it kind of hurt Doku’s brain to look into them for too long. Fury, fear, anger, sadness, horror. All of it filled Doku with pure joy. He flicked his gaze through the people surrounding him, the girls behind him clutching each other, shaking, the boys, completely paralyzed from head to toe. 

He laughed, settling his gaze back on Bakugou again, “I know what this reminds me of! Dolls! You’re all little dolls, stuck in place, unable to move until your master commands you to. Can’t speak, can’t move, can’t think! I mean, the look on Uraraka’s face! Pale as a porcelain doll! And that hazy look in her eyes? God, how did I not realize this before?!” He dug the knife a little deeper, piercing through Uraraka’s sweater. Iida and Todoroki flinched, their fight instincts triggered immediately but Doku tsked, “Don’t even think about it.”

He let go of Uraraka’s shoulder, lowering his mask and then bringing his hand up to cup her chin, “No, this little doll’s all mine. Under my control for the time being. And you all are going to follow me and listen to exactly what I say. Got it, dolls ? We’re all going to play 'house' for a little while.” She shuddered under his cold grasp, her bottom lip wavering. Doku flicked his thumb across it, pulling it down gently. 

Doku looked back at Bakugou, smiling wickedly, “Let’s all play nice, and maybe no one will die today!”

Chapter Text

 

Todoroki's gaze hardened, his whole body stiffening, screaming at him to move and do something. He could move faster than Midoriya...right? 

No, he really couldn’t.

Midoriya’s specialty was movement, agility. Especially now that he had developed more power in his legs...he was quite fast.

Iida was having a similar thought process. His engines could accelerate at an alarmingly fast rate. He could probably apprehend Midoriya while also saving Uraraka. Though, he couldn’t stop staring at the knife, the tip of it almost piercing Uraraka’s skin. Even if he could be fast, the last thing he wanted to do was risk more lives. If he did get Midoriya away from Uraraka, what would he do? Midoriya was probably far more powerful than he had ever been. He had seen the broadcast; it was evident his friend had turned into both a metaphorical and literal monster. 

So he stood still, arms twitching, legs shaking. God, he wanted to do something, do anything at all. He looked at Todoroki, anger painted on his face, his gaze icy and filled with fury. He wasn’t really associating this person with Midoriya. He was simply seeing his friend in danger. My friend is in danger and I have to do something about it. He hadn’t let his mind think about who this really was, didn’t allow himself to feel anything towards the red-eyed boy besides anger. A villain who he needed to take down.

Todoroki’s fists were clenched at his sides, his stance ready for a fight, Sero still holding his shoulder. He was ready. He did not need to think about anything else other than someone is in danger, and I have to save them

Iida flicked his eyes behind Doku and saw the girls, some holding each other, shaking like leaves. He glared at Yaoyorozu until she looked at him and he mouthed the word ‘Run.’ Her eyebrows furrowed, shaking her head, ‘I’m staying here.’ She pointed her head at Doku and Uraraka, gaze hardening. I’m not leaving her. 

She gestured to her right, at Tsu who was standing behind Mina, frantically texting on her phone. A wave of relief swept through Iida. Let the heroes arrive soon, he prayed.

Iida turned his gaze back to Doku who was playing with Uraraka’s bottom lip and he let out a growl, a low and angry sound. Doku glanced at him quickly, smirking, before looking up straight at Bakugou, “Maybe no one will die today.” 

They all flinched.

“Everyone follow me to the side here, and come closer to me, please,” Doku commanded mockingly, gesturing to the empty space between two shops. They did, shuffling forward, closing the large gap so they were a little closer together, out of the crowd’s way, but Bakugou remained stock still in his place. 

Doku smiled big, “Oh, Kacchan! What do you think you’re doing? Come here, my doll!” 

Bakugou did not move.

Doku’s smile dropped, his entire face shifting, “All right, if that’s how it’s going to be.”

Before any of them could even blink, Doku had flipped the knife to his other hand, turned his body to face the girls, and stabbed Jirou in the arm. She cried out, falling down, with Yaoyorozu helplessly trying to hold her up. The rest had yelped as well, all of them erupting in angry and fearful exclaims.

“SHUT UP!” Doku roared. They did immediately.

“Yaoyorozu, if you try to make anything to help you or her, you’re next," He seethed, his voice echoing in all of their heads. You're next.

Yaoyorozu froze, holding Jirou in her arms, before nodding her head fervently. 

“Here’s how it’s going to work from now on. You defy me, you try to make a move, you try anything funny and I’ll hurt you where it hurts most. I’ll start with the girls. And I’ll cut and stab at every one of them until you boys behave since you're the ones who can't seem to follow orders. Got it, Bakugou?”

Bakugou was shaking now, his eyes wide and unfocused, no longer looking at Doku who had placed the knife on Uraraka’s stomach spinning it slowly so it turned her sweater. He had...he had been the one…Jirou...

His mind couldn’t make a coherent thought but the name Bakugou coming out of Midoriya’s mouth made him snap out of it. He had said...Bakugou

Bakugou looked up, rage as well as tears in his eyes.

Doku’s empty eyes gazed back, unamused.

A couple walked by, shooting the group a questioning look and Doku smiled sweetly, waving, “Sorry! Just practicing for a school play!” They hurried along and Doku’s face dropped again, focusing. 

Jirou was slumped on the floor, on her knees, clutching her right arm as it gushed out blood over and down her fingertips. 

Doku sniffed in disgust, “Ok, maybe you should do something about that, Yaoyorozu. Stop the bleeding. We don't want to make a mess, do we, dollface? Take off her jacket and wrap it around her arm.” 

Yaoyorozu obeyed, gently removing the flannel from Jirou's shoulders, the blood sticking to it as she wrapped the arms of it around the wound. Jirou flinched a little, holding in her cries as tears fell down her face. 

Jirou looked up and made eye contact with Kaminari. She was too far from him, and too close to Doku. She was too far, she was too far. Kaminari wanted to run to her and take her as far away as possible from here. When Doku had stabbed her, Kaminari had almost collapsed. He had let out a strangled cry and had stood there, unable to move, Kirishima gripping his arm in surprise. He wouldn’t move, overcome with fear, not wanting to do anything to piss Doku off. Oh, how he wanted to rip Doku to shreds. Her fearful and tear-filled eyes focused on him and his own despaired eyes looked back, and they simply stayed that way as their world crumbled around them. 

Doku’s smile was gone and he no longer gleamed with the same mischievous energy he had before. He was getting to be much, much scarier. He gazed down at Uraraka, who had tears falling down her face, her mouth in a grimace and he tilted his head, “What’s this? Who said you could cry, doll?” She simply stared back, shaking now with anger. Doku frowned at her, then looked up to the group, “You’re all going to follow me to the food court. And we’re all going to sit down and have a nice little chat. And you’re all going to behave. Or...well, you know what will happen.”

He began to walk forward, his hand pressed against the small of Uraraka’s back as he pushed past Mina and Hagakure, who were holding onto each other for dear life. The rest stood there in shock, not really registering what was happening. Doku turned around, grabbing Uraraka’s hair along with him, “I said MOVE IT.” He dragged his knife across her throat, ever so slightly, drawing blood along with it. The little beads of red stood out starkly against the pale expanse of her skin.

Iida's breath hitched, Todoroki's heart beating so fast and loud it was like a thunderstorm in his ears. No, no, no, no, this CANNOT BE HAPPENING.

“I don’t like to break my dolls, but if I have to, I will.” Doku sneered. 

Everyone immediately began moving, walking forward. Bakugou again stood still, physically unable to move, and Kirishima gripped his arm, roughly, pulling him forward along with him. "Move, Bakugou. Please, please I know. Trust me, I know, but please move." Bakugou let himself be dragged for a bit but then willed his feet to move too, in a trance, trudging slowly like a zombie.

Kaminari had rushed forward, his thoughts only about Jirou. He knelt down and with Yaoyorozu's help, they got her to stand. He pulled her into a gentle hug, his head in her shoulder, holding her and feeling her staggering heartbeat against his chest. She’s here, she’s alive, he assured himself. Jirou stood on her tiptoes, clasping the back of his shirt tightly with her free hand, and sobbed a little into his shoulder. 

He wanted to stay like that forever, just feeling the heat of her body and her hand, hearts beating together. But Yaoyorozu tugged on his sleeve, whispering, “Kaminari, we must catch up.” He pulled back, fingers lingering in Jirou’s hair. A few stray tears had escaped his eyes and he wiped them away quickly. 

The trio walked forward, Yaoyorozu hiding Jirou’s arm and the bloodied flannel with her body so that no one would be suspicious, Kaminari clasping Jirou's free hand as they rushed to keep up.

All the students walked in a robotic formation, almost like following the leader. Doku and Uraraka in the front, followed by Hagakure, Mina, and Tsu, then Iida, Todoroki, and Sero, Kirishima, and Bakugou, then Yaoyorozu, Kaminari, and Jirou. They looked odd, to say the least. Their pale and sweaty faces and the nervous ticks and movements paired with the erratic looks in their eyes. They looked like zombies in a funeral procession. Their walks were stiff, backs rigged and arms unmoving. Like dolls.

Okay, so maybe the analogy was there. 

Bakugou stared at nothing in particular, eyes glazed and unfocused. Kirishima still held his arm, guiding him like a blind cat, his thoughts racing. This...this was not something he could comprehend. Everyone else had been experiencing the same shell shock in their brains, not able to keep a coherent thought for too long.

What the actual fuck was happening right now?

Mina even pinched herself.

No, this was real. Realer than they could imagine.

They arrived at the food court and Doku led them to a large table and gestured for them to sit, pulling Uraraka roughly into the seat next to him. She whimpered and he smiled, tracing the knife up her leg, sending her into shivers. Iida sat in the seat next to Doku and Todoroki sat next to Uraraka. Everyone else followed suit, one by one, until everyone was seated. 

Diagonally across from Doku, Bakugou sat, eyes focused on a stain on the white of the table, his whole body still. His insides were on fire. His thoughts ran over each other, a new one popping up before the old ones finished. He was overcome with pure rage, like lava, swimming through his body. Slosh, slosh, threatening to tip over at any time. He couldn’t even look at Doku, for fear that he would launch himself at him and cause Doku to do something brash again.

He was feeling a large pressure of guilt on his chest at the thought of Jirou. If only his dumbass had not frozen up. He stole a glance at her. She was holding her arm, applying pressure, with one earphone jack wrapped around it, keeping the jacket in place. Her other hand held Kaminari’s under the table on top of her shaking leg. Kaminari was pale, his body visibly shuddering with every breath. 

Bakugou bowed his head slightly, clasping his hands together under the table, Forgive me. 

Kirishima grasped his forearm, seeing what he was doing. He gave him a look, Don’t blame yourself. Bakugou looked back, his mouth frowning but his eyes soft and sad. 

Doku made eye contact with every single one at the table, before finally settling back on Bakugou. Midoriya’s voice was now completely gone in his head, but Doku had a feeling he could still see what was happening and made sure to focus on Bakugou. To milk every pained look, every single reaction to the things Doku said and did. Saying “Bakugou” instead of “Kacchan” was his favorite. The way Bakugou’s face had dropped? Had broken? It was wonderful.

“Alright, everyone. I’m sure you have a lot of questions. So, why don’t I answer them? I would love to give you all some peace of mind.” He smiled, his cheeks flushed and his eyes gleaming brightly. Those at the table looked around at each other nervously, but Todoroki did not hesitate, “What the fuck are you?” 

Doku let out a loud chuckle, throwing his head back, “Wow, Todoroki! Always knew you were the unfiltered one, but that’s a tad harsh, isn’t it? Please refer to me by my correct pronoun which is ‘Who’. I am Doku, but you know that already! So, why are ya asking?”

Todoroki glared, “No, you’re Midoriya. What happened to you?”

Doku frowned, “I am not Midoriya. I am Doku. How hard is it for you to understand?” 

Iida fired back, “This is not the Midoriya we know! This--this is a monster!” 

Doku turned to face him, tilting his head, “Because...I am not Midoriya. I am Doku...Oh! I can see how that would be confusing. Let me explain. I am technically Midoriya. I inhabit his body, and I was a part of him. The Doku you see now? This is Midoriya’s secret little dark side that he thought he could control. Spoiler alert: he can’t control me! I know it’s hard to believe your sweet little Izuku could have such a ‘terrible’ side to him but...here I am! Doku!”

Both Iida and Todoroki looked away, heads churning. Uraraka spoke up, her voice quiet and shaky, “Why are you doing this to us, Deku?” 

Doku hardened, his face dropping, “Now this name-calling is getting real old, real quick. I suggest you start respecting me before I slice up someone else, doll.” His lips curled upward on the word doll, his voice wicked and vile. He loved the word now.

Uraraka rolled her eyes, “Fine. Doku. Why?” 

Doku relaxed, “Much better. Why, you ask? For fun! I love this! I love seeing your tears, and your fear, and your blood, and your broken hearts. I love seeing you fall apart as you realize that I AM MIDORIYA. I am him! This part of him existed! And still exists! I simply just made it my identity, and crafted a separate persona from it! Doku. All my thoughts and feelings and actions: they’re all his! I am just carrying out his will. You idiots don’t realize it: all heroes are like this. All your so-called pros who claim they are nothing but good? They aren’t! We all have a dark side we’re hiding. We’re all monsters!” Todoroki looked down at his fists, reminded of Endeavor...Doku was right...

“I mean, how many do you think we alone have killed? Stain, those villains at USJ, Hosu, Kamino, the list goes on and on! We’re children! It’s unbelievable the amount of shit we’ve gone through. Isn’t it all a little corrupt to you? Whatever, we can save this philosophical discussion for later.” 

“Want to know what my actual thoughts are? Well, I should say, what Midoriya has thought?” He turned his eyes straight to Bakugou, “He hated you. He wanted you dead, you know that?” Bakugou stared back, his face grimacing. “He wrote up all the different ways to kill you back in middle school. In that notebook you threw out the window? Before you told him to kill himself? He was seriously considering it. Just as he wrote up the ways to kill you, he wrote up the ways to kill himself! Then! Afterward, All Might stood in front of him and told him to his face ‘You can’t be a hero’! I mean, just how fucked up is that? Like yeah, it might’ve been true at the time, but he didn’t have to say it! All Might of all people! Your #1! Numero uno! His idol! Appalling! At that point, our little Zuzu was long gone.”

“The only thing that saved him was saving you, you realize that right, Bakugou? And you still treat him like shit. And for what? Your combined inferiority and god complexes mixing up your single-celled brain?--” 

He was cut off as Bakugou stood quickly, grabbing the front of Doku’s hoodie. He was breathing hard, his eyes brimmed red, “Shut. Up.” He seethed under his breath. 

Doku smiled, eyes wide, “Are you sure about that?” He lifted his knife and without looking, aimed it straight at the top of Uraraka’s head, slamming his arm down. Bakugou’s eyes widened in fear, “NO!” Everything slowed down.

Iida grabbed Doku from behind, caging in his arms, Bakugou leaped up onto the table, diving for Uraraka, and Todoroki pushed Uraraka roughly to the side, holding the top of her head with his hand. The knife crashed down and pierced through his hand. Todoroki smirked and sent ice up the knife to Doku’s arm, freezing it in place. He carefully extracted his already bleeding hand off the knife and helped Uraraka out from under the ice. The rest had all stood in shock at the scene before them. 

Doku was stuck. 

He blinked once, sighing, “Alright, are you done?” He shook a little and burst the ice into smithereens. He rubbed his wrist and turned to face Iida. Doku grabbed Iida’s face, pushing his hand forward and crushing his glasses without any effort. His arm was charged up with One for All and it sent Iida flying backward, crashing into Sero before hitting a wall. 

Screams started rising from all around them, people running around frantically as they realized what was happening. Kaminari stood in front of Jirou, holding her in his arms as civilians crashed past them, panic rising in his throat. Yaoyorozu stood on top of the table, crafting a gun from her shoulder, and aimed it at Doku. Doku turned to her and suddenly disappeared, running so fast she couldn’t see where he had gone. He appeared behind her and smirked, “Why, hello there, doll.” He wrapped his arm around her neck, pulling her back with his elbow as she clawed at him. Todoroki jumped at Doku, eyes wide, “Yaoyorozu!” But before he could reach them, Yamomo crafted a knife from her palm and stabbed it into Doku’s forearm. 

Doku cried out, disappearing again, reappearing several feet away, his hood off his head, exposing his bright green hair. Some pedestrians recognized him then, and began screaming even louder, crowding out the doors until the students were the only ones left in the cafeteria. 

Mina, Tsu, and Hagakure had broken off from the group to help the civilians escape: Tsu helping people who fell with her tongue, Mina leading them to the nearest exit, and Hagakure reuniting people who had been separated. They were all panicking, but they plastered on big smiles, kept the shakiness out of their voice as they called out to the pack. They needed to be heroes. So they didn’t flinch when they heard cries from their classmates or the sounds of crashes and bangs. They didn’t look back to check to see what was happening, didn’t let the worry overtake them. They stared straight ahead and did their job.

In the food court, Doku was in a standoff with the rest of the students. Jirou, Iida, and Sero were out of commission, and Yaoyorozu and Uraraka were making work in moving them out of harm's way. Uraraka had made them all float and moved them behind the counter of an onigiri shop and Yaoyorozu was now tending to them. Iida had been knocked unconscious, his eyes red and scratched from where Doku had dug his fingers into him, the glass most likely puncturing him as well. Meanwhile, Sero had dislocated his shoulder from the impact of Iida hitting him and he was already standing to join the fight when he collapsed crying out: he had also twisted his ankle. Uraraka pushed him down gently, “Stay here, please, Sero.” Kaminari looked up from where he had been trying to unwrap the jacket from Jirou’s arm, “What about me? I can’t really do anything with my electricity…” 

Yaoyorozu handed him the gun she had used, “If you get a clear shot...hit him.” Kaminari looked down at the weapon in his shaking and bloodied hands. He glanced up at Jirou who had closed her eyes, trying to control her breathing. She opened them and looked at him, pain and worry painted across her face.

Kaminari stood, his eyes hardening, cocking the gun, “So this is what we’ve become. Exactly what he said we were. Monsters.” 

The group all averted their eyes.

Uraraka extended her hand to Kaminari, “Let’s go. They need our help.”

They walked out of the onigiri shop, scanning the cafeteria. Todoroki and Bakugou stood on top of the table, both in the same fighting stance, glaring at Doku. Doku meanwhile was breathing heavily, holding his arm. He let out a breathy laugh, “Wow, guys. Looks like you’ll be tough to beat!”

He disappeared suddenly before appearing in front of the table, arms raised for a smash. Before he could make contact with anything, Kirishima stood in front of him, hardening his whole body. Doku hit him at full force, sending him through the table, cutting it in half. Todoroki and Bakugou jumped off the table, moving in opposite directions.

“Kirishima!” Bakugou cried, searching for where Kirishima had been blasted through the debris and dust. Doku straightened, diving for Todoroki next. Todoroki built an ice wall after ice wall, trying to puncture through him, stop his rampage, but it was no use. Doku phased through every single wall, breaking them into little shards so fast Todoroki barely had time to make a new one. Doku was gaining on him. 

Todoroki switched tactics. If ice wouldn’t work, fine. Time for some heat.

Out of nowhere, surprising Doku as he blasted through Todoroki’s last ice wall, Todoroki hit him with a huge wave of fire, the heat of it rippling the air. Bakugou used this opportunity to attack from behind. Just as Todoroki’s flames had died out, Bakugou was there with a ginormous explosion, screaming out, “Howitzer Impact!” 

Doku was burning, his chest heaving, but yet he still smiled, “Oh! I see you’ve mastered your special move, Kacchan!” 

Bakugou roared, sending off another round of explosions. 

The smoke and dust in the room were making it impossible to see anything. Doku coughed, brushing himself off as he walked through the smoke. “Woo, looks like you haven’t changed a bit! I take back what I said.”

Bakugou was acting as he did at Gym Gamma, except this was the real thing. He was firing off explosions at temperatures he was sure he could not physically handle, screaming, the tears coming out of his eyes evaporating at the humidity of the air around him. 

Doku was cornered, Todoroki and Bakugou in front of him, pressing him up against the wall. The silence in the food court was deafening, the sounds of Todoroki and Bakugou’s footsteps the only noise. 

The silence was suddenly pierced by the sound of a vibration and a ringtone. Ding dinga ding ring ding. 

Everyone froze.

Doku felt the vibration in his coat pocket and laughed, “Oh! That’s me!” He took the phone out of his pocket, ignoring the dumbfounded expressions on Bakugou and Todoroki’s face, as he received the call. “Helloooo?” He sang.  

“Oh, Shigaraki!...Why, yes, I am in fact the one causing that ruckus...What do you mean, ‘the pros are here ’?...Oh, you quite literally meant that. Well, I guess I’m going to have to wrap this up then...Yeah, well--AHHH!” A bang rattled through the room, and he cried out as he felt a sharp white-hot pain shoot through his bicep.

Kaminari had shot him in the arm. 

He stood next to Uraraka, by one of the halves of the table, chest heaving, the barrel of the gun smoking. 

Doku looked up, a wild look in his eyes. He disappeared, appearing in front of Kaminari but Uraraka was there, kicking out his legs from under him. She raised a knife above him, slamming it down, but he dodged, rolling to the side, and the knife dug through the tiled floor. 

He stood up, his mouth dripping with saliva like a wild animal. He growled like one too, as he launched himself at Kaminari again. Uraraka was there, a determined look in her eyes as she used her arm to flip Doku back down to the ground again. It was a move she had learned from her internship with Gunhead, and she felt a sense of pride as she heard Doku’s body slamming into the ground. She planted her foot on his stomach and pushed down, causing him to let out a groan of pain.

He grabbed her ankle then, throwing her to the side, knocking into Kaminari who caught her as they both tumbled to the ground. Doku did a kick-up, using his arms to launch himself back onto his feet. Just as Doku made a move to attack again, he felt his arms being bound to his chest and looked down to see Sero’s tape wrapped around his arms and torso. Sero leaned against the onigiri counter, panting as he sent out another strand of tape. Doku thrashed, going feral, and cut out of the bindings with the lightning speed of One for All. 

But again, before he had a chance to attack, instead it was Kirishima who was there slashing his hardened arms across Doku’s back, cutting up the jacket and the hoodie he was wearing, leaving bloodied cuts. 

Doku swung a fist and missed, and dodged the next attack from the redhead. 

He landed on a table well away from all of them and bowed, “This has been lovely, thank you for having me!”

He disappeared in a blink of an eye.

The students stared at where he had just been, stupefied. It was so silent that you could hear a pin drop. 

...That had happened.

It was no longer a question.

It was over, yes...but...

Uraraka keeled forward and let out a loud and long sob, so loud that it sent chills up everyone’s spine.

But the damage had been done.

Chapter Text

 

Aizawa had been in a meeting with the rest of the teachers when he got the text.

 

TSUYU ASUI

119 EMERGENCY SOS BACKUP NOW

 

Aizawa had not moved faster in his life, “THEY’RE IN DANGER!”

Present Mic knew exactly what he meant and had stood up with him, following him through the door. Principal Nezu called after him, “Wait, Shota!” Aizawa froze and turned, not wanting to betray orders. His eyes were wide and wild, his chest heaving. Nezu turned to the rest of the staff, “Go with him. And if there are any other heroes you see along the way, ask for their help as well.” 

Midnight stood, walking over and placing a hand on Aizawa’s shoulder, “Let’s go.”

The staff all bounded out of the building, Aizawa running at maximum speed ahead of everyone else. He used his scarf to grab onto anything within reach, using them like Tarzan as he swung from telephone pole to tree, not slowing down at all. His coworkers had not bothered trying to get him to slow down. There was no point. Once Nezu had given him the okay, he was gone.

He gritted his teeth, his eyes flashing red, Oh my God, please, please, please let them be okay. Please. Just let them be alive and well, and here. PLEASE. 

He was so overcome with worry he thought he would suffocate. Not again. Please, PLEASE, not again. 

He looked up and saw the tall building up ahead.

They had arrived.

He landed on the ground, running again, screeching to a halt after seeing the masses of people storming out.

...No…please…

He grabbed the nearest person roughly, “WHAT HAPPENED?” He yelled.

The person shook their head, “That villain on TV from last week! He’s here! He’s fighting some kids--”

Aizawa didn’t stick around to listen to the rest.

He flew over the crowd, scanning for any signs of his students. He looked and looked until he saw...Bright pink hair! 

He landed right in front of Mina who yelped in surprise, grabbing onto Tsu. Aizawa let out a breath of relief, enveloping the two girls in a quick hug. Thank God, he thought. 

“Girls, where is everyone? What happened?” Aizawa asked, placing his hands on each of their shoulders. Mina sobbed, “They’re in there, in the food court! They’re fighting him, oh my GOD, Mr. Aizawa. Oh my God.” Tsu also had fat tears streaming down her face, her mouth wobbling, unable to speak. Aizawa patted her head, “Good job sending me a message, Asui.” She nodded, her eyes scrunching.

Aizawa rubbed Mina’s shoulder, “It’s okay, I’m going in.”

He did not hesitate a second more.

He grabbed onto a bar above him and swung straight through the entrance, landing on all fours, scanning the empty mall. Distantly, he heard the sound of crashes and bangs and followed that sound, heart beating so loud in his ears he could barely distinguish between the two. PLEASE, please! 

The noises and now, the yells were getting louder and louder as he ran across the expanse of the mall. As he got closer, he noticed that the mall was getting messier: overturned carts, forgotten shopping bags, broken glass from the displays. He even saw a whole table that had been crashed through a wall. 

Suddenly all was silent. He froze. No...no, no, no.

He ran faster, his muscles screaming at him as he sprinted to the food court, where he had heard the sounds coming from. He neared the entrance before hearing a blood-curdling scream. His eyes widened, flashing red, his hair flying backward. That sounded like…

He burst through the doors, running forward before stopping, his arms falling limp as he surveyed the damage around him. He was bitterly reminded of Tasomiya Ward. Oboro. The debris, the mess. Please don’t be like last time. PLEASE.

His eyes fell on each of the students in front of him. 

Bakugo, Todoroki, Uraraka, Kaminari, Kirishima...but where were the rest?

Uraraka had stood, staggering as she walked forward, “Mr. Aizawa!” She cried, tears spilling down her cheeks. Aizawa ran to her, catching her before she collapsed. She sobbed loudly, clutching his scarf in her hands. 

Aizawa looked down at her and saw the damage that had been done. 

Todoroki, Kaminari, and Kirishima trudged over, eyes shadowed and their movements slower than usual. Aizawa’s gaze moved up to them and his face fell. Todoroki was clutching his bleeding hand, Kaminari was covered in scratches, and Kirishima was decorated in bruises and dust. 

No…

Bakugou had remained where he was, facing away from them all, looking down, fists clenching and unclenching. 

Aizawa stood quickly, bringing Uraraka with him. He pushed her gently so that she stood a little farther away from him. He scanned her quickly...his eyes fell on the long, but shallow cut across her throat. Her sweater was ripped and her hair was a mess. Somewhere along the way she had lost a hoop, and her hands trembled. No…

“Where is everyone else?” Aizawa hissed through his teeth, overcome with anger. 

They pointed to an onigiri shop across the court. Aizawa immediately began running to it, knowing already what he would find. Yaoyorozu kneeled over Iida’s lifeless form, spreading some kind of ointment on his face. The front and side of her shirt were covered in blood. Jirou sat against the counter wall, eyes closed, breathing shallowly as she clutched her now bandaged arm. Sero sat across from her, a makeshift splint on his ankle and a scarf around his right shoulder, holding his arm up in a sling. 

Aizawa gasped. Yaoyorozu looked up quickly, terrified. When she saw Aizawa her eyes filled with relief, “Mr. Aizawa, thank God…” She sniffed, tears filling in her eyes. 

Aizawa could not believe it. 

WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?

He stepped over Jirou’s legs, casting her a worried glance, before kneeling with Yaoyorozu to check Iida’s pulse. His own heartbeat so loud he wasn’t sure if he was feeling his own or Iida’s. It was there, thank God. He dropped his head in his hands, shakily sighing.

Just then, the rest of the pro heroes stormed in, yelling bloody murder, all filing into formation. All Might was the first to run in, not caring about whatever formation mumbo jumbo the heroes had created. He was followed closely by Present Mic and Detective Tsukauchi. He looked around at the mess that had befallen the cafeteria and he froze. 

Blood scattered the floor, tables broken, and chairs were strewn everywhere. 

The listless eyes of the kids who stood in front of them, each with their own set of wounds.

The damage had indeed been done. 





All Might had been at Inko’s house when he had found out about the attack at the mall. He had dropped his tea, the brown staining the carpet under the table. He apologized profusely, bending down to pick the cup up as he listened to Tsukauchi’s grave voice explain to him the situation. Inko went to grab some paper towels and stood above him, a questioning look on her face. All Might debated with himself. Would now...really be the best time?

All Might closed his eyes, opening them again, “...Young Midoriya has made an appearance.”

Inko staggered, dropping the paper towel roll, “What?” She breathed. 

“At the Kiyashi Ward Shopping Mall...where the students of 1A are currently at.” All Might said, voice shaking and cracking.

Inko held her hand up to her mouth, “No…”

“I must go. I’m so sorry, but I need to go and you need to stay here. I’ll call for you after I sort this mess out.” He grabbed his coat and practically ran out the door, seeing the black car Tsukauchi had promised would be waiting for him. The driver swiftly drove him to the mall. During the trip, All Might’s thoughts were racing. Several casualties, no sign of this Doku person anywhere. 

Young Midoriya…

He had arrived on the scene, just as Tsukauchi was about to burst into the food court and he ran forward ahead of them, not caring about any of the formation shit the police had come up with. He burst through the doors, his eyes automatically surveying the whole place. They were right. No sign of Midoriya.

His eyes fell on Bakugou and Todoroki who were standing a couple of feet apart by the remnants of an overturned table and All Might crashed through the debris to get to them. He wanted to shake them and ask for every single piece of information they had, but he pushed aside his hero instincts for a moment and decided to really look at them

Bakugou’s arms were discolored, covered in burns of varying degrees. A fine layer of dust coated his clothes and body, same as Todoroki. As for the fire and ice boy, his hand was still bleeding, seeping out over his clasped fingers and slowly dripping onto the floor. His hair was askew, his mouth pressed in a hard frown.

All Might grabbed them both in a hug, “Oh, Young Todoroki and Bakugou. I am so grateful you two are safe.” Bakugou did not react, not speaking, not tching, not moving away. He simply stood there, arms limp at his sides, letting the hug envelop him whether he liked it or not. Todoroki froze a little then relaxed into the embrace, not used to hugs not from Fuyumi.

All Might backed away as he heard Aizawa crying out behind him, "I need a medic over here!" All Might whipped around, seeing Aizawa carrying Iida's limp and hulky form in his arms. All Might's mouth opened in despair, running forward to support Aizawa, pushing himself to go into his old All Might state for a moment to carry Iida in his arms.

"What happened?!" All Might strained, using every bit of whatever strength he could muster. Aizawa was breathing heavily, his arms a little sore from carrying Iida, "Apparently, Doku smashed his glasses into his face, and he flew back and hit that wall over there. I--I think he broke his back." His hair was standing on end, his eyes glowing red from agitation.

Present Mic moved up behind Aizawa, resting a reassuring hand on his shoulder, "Hey, Shota, breathe. We got them, they're all here." 

Todoroki cast a worried glance at Iida. He didn't look too good. His eyes were almost swollen shut, the remnants of his glasses frame still hanging from his ears. Yaoyorozu's ointment shimmered on the scratches on his face and his mouth was open in a silent 'o'. As Todoroki began to walk toward Iida and All Might, a medic stepped in front of him, holding him back, "You're going to have to come with me, young man. We need to stop that bleeding." 

Todoroki had nodded absentmindedly, eyes still trained on Iida, and let himself be led away to the nearest makeshift first aid station. 

When no one else was looking, Bakugou watched Iida be carried away by All Might to a stretcher. His eyes were filled with worry and he felt his heart pang with guilt. He turned again and saw Jirou being guided onto a stretcher as well, Kaminari holding her free hand as he whispered reassurances to her, a small but sad smile on his face. Bakugou turned again, not wanting to feel his heart hurt any longer. He let himself be led away by a medic silently.

Aizawa ran a hand down his face, closing his eyes and relaxed against Present Mic’s touch. “...Hizashi, I’m fine, really. I’m just more worried about them.” He cast a look around at the students. Present Mic frowned, turning Aizawa towards him, “I know you’re not. You never call me Hizashi, weirdo.” Aizawa gave a half-hearted scoff, “Yeah...well…”

Present Mic drew him into a quick one-armed hug, “Hey, it’ll all be good. We have them all. They’re all here and alive.”

Aizawa sighed, closing his eyes, gritting through his teeth, “But...if I hadn’t let them come in the first place I--”

Present Mic hit him upside the head, eyes filled with fury, “Shut the fuck up, Sho.”

Aizawa rubbed his head in surprise, cowering away from the sudden wrath Present Mic had directed at him.

“Neither you nor the kids could have predicted this. They just wanted to have some fun. If you’re going to blame anyone, you’re going to blame that son of a bitch Doku, you got that? He’s the one that wrecked this outing, hurt these kids. Not you. So I don’t want to hear anything from you about blame.” Present Mic stated, tone dripping with seriousness, hard and grave.

Aizawa let the tension in his body escape as he dropped his head into his hands again, “Alright! Alright, Yamada.”



 

Everyone who had been in the food court that day had been sent to the hospital, regardless of the severity of their injuries.

Kirishima, Kaminari, Sero, Bakugou, Jirou, Iida, Todoroki, Uraraka, and Yaoyorozu.

Nine students.

Not to mention the others who had been present for the initial hostage situation: Mina, Tsu, and Hagakure. Mina had begged to stay overnight at the hospital along with the others, sleeping on one of the couches in the waiting room, while Tsu and Hagakure went back to their dorms.

Ojiro, Tokoyami, Shoji, Sato, Aoyama, Koda, and Mineta were not given permission to stay and instead had been sent home to their dorms, disappointed. The heroes had determined them to be “healthy enough, both physically and mentally” since they were not involved in any of the action. Aizawa was annoyed with this approach, to say the least. 

As for the injured, Iida had been taken into surgery: they had to extract pieces of metal and glass from his glasses from his eyes. Some had sunken in and could have caused permanent damage to his vision. Not to mention his possibly broken back. Sero’s shoulder had been relocated and he was not to participate in any training for at least three weeks. Recovery Girl had been able to fix his ankle with a single kiss. She had also been able to fix Todoroki’s hand and Jirou’s arm to a certain extent, but in the end, they still needed a few stitches.  Bakugou’s arms had been burned and he had lost the feeling in them. He needed to remain in bandages for at least two weeks. Uraraka, Kaminari, Kirishima, and Yaoyorozu had minimum damage but they had also insisted on staying with the others at the hospital. Kirishima had slept on the floor by Mina, Kaminari had slept on a chair in Jirou’s room, and Yaoyorozu had shared a pull-out couch with Uraraka. 

None of them could sleep. Uraraka grasped Yaoyorozu’s hand in the dark, seeking comfort wordlessly. Yaoyorozu squeezed back gently, letting her know she too was awake. “What troubles you, Ochaco?” She whispered, not wanting to wake the others in the waiting room. Uraraka bit her lip, holding in her tears as she quietly responded, barely above a murmur, “Iida...I’m worried about him.”

Yaoyorozu sighed, “Me too. He had received the worst physical backlash...the worst of his wrath.” Uraraka flinched, curling her knees up to her chest, her fingers gently tracing where Doku had cut her. Yaoyorozu rubbed her hand, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to...remind you.” Kirishima spoke then, scaring the shit out of the pair, “Guys...that was so fucked.”

Uraraka and Yaoyorozu sat up, eyes adjusting to the darkened room. Mina and Kirishims were both awake, they realized. Mina whimpered in agreement.

She slid down the couch, falling into place next to Kirishima, and leaned her head on his shoulder. He wrapped his arm around her, placing his head on top of hers. She was shaking slightly and Kirishima frowned, tightening his grip on her reassuringly. 

Uraraka leaned back into the couch, “...I don’t even know what to think.”

“I’m worried about Bakugou,” Kirishima blurted out.

Everyone went silent.

Kirishima took this as an invitation to continue, “Did...did you guys remember what he said to Bakugou?... About what...what Bakugou has said and done to Midoriya…?”

Uraraka averted her eyes, “Yes.” 

Kirishima's fists tightened, “I know Bakugou isn’t like that anymore. There’s no way he doesn’t regret what he had done...I don’t think I have ever seen him like this...ever.”

Again, silence. 

Yaoyorozu scratched her arm nervously, “I do not think it’s our place to criticize Bakugou for something he had done as a child. I also don’t think it’s our place to judge. I am sure he had his reasons. But...I’m not sure if it is something I can simply forget.”

Uraraka nodded in agreement, “It’s not our job to forgive him. It’s Deku’s. And I think he already has. Forgiven him, I mean. They have a past we have no business knowing or being a part of.  Him and Bakugou had been getting closer before...before everything. If Deku can forgive, then I’m with him. You’ve seen the way Deku looks at Bakugou. There is nothing but admiration and respect there. I trust him...”

Kirishima relaxed, sighing out in relief. He had been afraid to bring it up. But of course, Yaoyorozu, the sensible one, and Uraraka, the kind one, would understand. 

“Thanks, guys. I think more than anything Bakugou needs us now. He...he probably blames himself for all this...I’m really worried for him.” Kirishima became choked up, clearing his throat multiple times. Mina grabbed his hand, “No, Kiri, of course. Bakugou...he’s been through so much. And for this to spring up, right after his kidnapping?... We're gonna support him any way we can. I’m not trying to think about the past right now. All that matters is that we can move forward and get through this.”

Yaoyorozu slumped, “If there even is an end to this…”

Uraraka sniffed, hugging herself, “I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared. I felt as if those would be my last moments on this Earth.”

“When Jirou was stabbed, I think my heart had stopped beating for a second,” Yaoyorozu said quietly. 

“I have never seen Kaminari so shaken up…” Kirishima agreed.

“I have never wanted to run and hide more in my life. Helping the civilians took all of my willpower.” Mina admitted, curling into herself, as if she could hide, then. 

That night had turned into one of confessions. Each student took a turn blurting out something. The others listened, with no judgment or strings attached. The conversation had lasted all through the night, and there had not been a single dry eye in the room.

It was healing. Relieving. To get all these thoughts and emotions into the open.

Bakugou didn’t have this luxury.

He had not bothered with sleep that night. First, he was not in the mood to see what new nightmares his brain could concoct. Second, he was too sore to remain asleep. And lastly...well, he was feeling too many things at once.

After the doctors had bandaged him up and Recovery Girl gave him a kiss, he had laid in his bed, staring at the ceiling. Suddenly, he had sprung up, staggering to the bathroom, and threw up into the toilet. 

In the time from when he was treated to his last checkup before going to sleep, he had vomited a total of four times. He had not even bothered going back to his bed. He kneeled on the floor in front of the toilet, arms dangling off the seat, his eyes closed, and just simply waited for it all to be over. 

He cried. 

The cooldown period between gags had been reserved for dry, heaving sobs before he again released all of his stomach’s contents. He hoped that maybe his thoughts, his memories, the shame, and guilt would be choked up as well. But alas. 

He had fallen asleep there, head resting on his arm, a restless and fortunately, dreamless sleep.

His nurse had found him like that and had forced him into the shower. Bakugou had stood under the showerhead, warm water falling around him, his blank eyes staring straight ahead. He poured shampoo on his hair, not even bothering to rub it in with his still bandaged fingers. He looked down at his feet, closing his eyes as he let the water do its job of getting rid of the soap.

He stepped out, changing into the pressed white linens, and slipped on the slippers left for him. The nurse arrived again, changing his bandages for a fresh set and she had tucked him in, telling him to get some rest. 

As if.

His heart hurt. He looked at the monitor next to his bed and saw his heartbeat was normal, as it should be. It sure didn’t feel like it. A weight, heavier than any he had lifted in the gyms, pushed down on his chest. Shame. Doku’s words had cut him from the inside. Wounded him.

A dawning realization had fallen upon Bakugou. It crushed him, crushed his resolve, crushed his anger, crushed through all his barriers until what was left was the poor vulnerable boy who had said all the wrong things to the wrong person. The boy who could only see his mistakes, his shortcomings, his grievous errors. The boy who hated himself more than anything else in the world.

This....this was all his fault.

Bakugou had not spoken a single word since he had told Doku to “Shut up” in the cafeteria. Nothing. Not even when All Might grabbed him in a hug or when Kirishima was pleading with him to say something, say anything. Not when the nurses spoke to him about his physical wellbeing, not when Tsukauchi tried questioning him. He was mute.

He had not spoken, but he listened. Not something he did often, that was for sure.

His main nurse, Nurse Hikari, had taken his silence and rolled with it, and spoke to him as she bandaged his arms. 

“I’m sure you want to know how your friends are doing right? So, your friends are good. Jirou and Todoroki are both okay, Recovery Girl fixed them up pretty good. They did need some stitches but they’re in stable condition. Let me see if I can remember the names but Kirishima, Kaminari, Yaoyorozu, and Uraraka all had very minor injuries and were treated quickly. Sero is fine too. His shoulder was dislocated and his ankle had been sprained but with enough bed rest he’ll have no permanent damage.” 

Bakugou visibly relaxed, the tension in his arm relaxing, and he closed his eyes. She glanced at him and remained silent. She had purposefully left out the worst of it, Iida, and she started wrapping a little faster, hoping to avoid the inevitable question. 

Bakugou’s eyes snapped open and he turned to her, glaring. She knew exactly what that meant. She looked away, focusing all her attention on wrapping the bandages. “And Iida...he’s in surgery right now. Unfortunately, it has been rather difficult to get out some of the pieces of glass and metal from his eyes. Apparently, his spine had fractured from the impact as well. I’ll spare you the details, but the doctors are expecting a successful operation, so you needn’t worry.” Bakugou looked away as well, his eyes softening with sadness.

Something else he had realized: he hated himself more than anything that he had claimed to hate. 

Now, he lay in bed, his stomach empty, his mouth dry, unable to find any comfort. Silently he wished Kirishima was here. He wished anyone was here. Bakugou considered calling the nurse back, just to have someone there in his insomnia. Maybe she could give him something to sleep? But he held back, his fingers inches away from the “Ask for Help” button. No, this was something he had to deal with on his own. 

He scooted under the blankets, letting it fall over his head, similar to what he would do as a child when he would play hide and seek with Deku---nope. No. 

He quickly popped his head out, getting rid of the blankets entirely, discarding them onto the floor. He turned, curling his legs up into his chest, sleeping on his side. He looked out the open window, the curtains billowing softly at the gentle breeze that filled the room. 

It reminded him of All Might’s cape, like the replica he had seen sitting on a mannequin at the mall once. When he and Deku were younger, their moms would drag them along on their joint shopping trips, and the long red cape had grabbed the two boys’ attention. They had squealed, dancing around it. The sign had clearly stated DO NOT TOUCH but they couldn’t resist, letting their little fingers dance across the silk. 

Both had turned to their moms and begged and begged, even falling to their knees, clutching their mothers’ skirts. Inko and Mitsuki had laughed, patting their boys on the head. Inko ran her hand through Izuku’s hair and chuckled, “Izuku, the cape is 300,000 yen! Quite expensive for something that won’t even fit you! Look, it’s made for a grown-up!” 

Mitsuki had ruffled Katsuki’s hair, smiling, “Katsuki, you heard what Auntie Inko said. Maybe when you boys are big and strong like All Might, when you two are heroes, you can get yourself a cape like that too!” Bakugou had stood up, raising his fist in the air, “I’m going to become a hero right now!” 

He stuck his arm out, Superman-style, and began running around the mothers, making sound effects, “Whoosh, whoosh!” 

Izuku had laughed and joined in too, “Bam, bam!” 

Bakugou looked away from the window, tears in his eyes. What had happened? What had taken all that happiness away? It was him. It was he who had changed. It was his fault. 

He pressed the red button to his right without hesitation. 

Nurse Hikari quietly stepped into his room, “You called, Bakugou?”

He looked at her, then looked away. “Ah, you can’t sleep. Okay, then.” She made her way to his IV drip and put in a couple of drops of a milky substance from a little canister under his bed. “That oughta help. If you still can’t sleep after fifteen minutes, call for me again, okay?”

Bakugou nodded slightly, turning his back to face her. Hikari did not even bother tucking him back in, taking the blankets, and leaving the room silently. 

After about ten minutes of staring and silence, Bakugou felt his eyelids grow heavy, sinking slowly, despite his best efforts to stay awake. He felt a brief sensation of panic that was quickly dulled down by whatever sleep aid Hikari had given him. He was having second thoughts. Maybe he didn’t want to sleep anymore. Maybe he would rather stay awake and endure the torture of his thoughts than having to endure whatever nightmare his brain inevitably had in store for him. 

His eyes did not obey, and they closed, sinking him into a deep and nightmare-filled sleep.





The parents of the students had not been granted access the night before to see their kids. Now, after the students had been questioned by the police, they were allowed to visit their children’s rooms. Led by Aizawa, one by one each set of families were directed to the rooms, starting with the easiest of the bunch: Todoroki. He really had not needed to stay overnight, but after picking at his palm too much, he had needed to get his stitches readjusted, double wrapped in bandages. He traced his hand with his fingers, feeling where the knife had punctured him.

It had been an odd sensation, and he had not really felt any of it from the adrenaline at the moment. But now he felt a dull ache, a pulse hotly beating in his hand. 

Fuyumi burst through the door first, “Shoto!”

Todoroki looked up, surprised, “Fuyumi? Natsuo?” His older brother and sister were then followed by Endeavor’s hulking form. “SHOTOOOOOO!” Endeavor yelled in a fearful tone.

Natsuo shot his father a glare, “Pipe down, Dad. We’re in a hospital, in case you haven’t noticed.” Fuyumi ignored the other men and instead drew Todoroki into a gentle hug, squeezing ever so slightly. 

“Oh, thank God, Shoto. I was so worried about you.” She stepped back, holding him at arm’s length, tears in her eyes. Todoroki did not smile or frown, indifferently looking back at her as he nodded, “Well, I am okay.”

Natsuo walked over, clapping his brother on the back, “So, Shosho, how’s it feeling?” Todoroki looked down at his wrapped hand, “Weird.”

Endeavor came up behind Fuyumi who jumped a little in surprise. Endeavor ignored her, grabbing Todoroki by the shoulders, “Shoto, did you answer all of the police’s questions truthfully and thoroughly?”

Todoroki did not look up at him, rolling his eyes, “Yeah, Dad. What else would I have done?”

Endeavor let go, stepping back, a pondering look on his face, “Well, now don’t tell anyone this, it’s classified information, but it’s because I was placed on the task force to save your finger-breaking friend. Irrelevant if you ask me. He wants to be a villain, he can be one for all I care. All that matters is we bring him into custody--” Todoroki’s head snapped up, his eyes filled with rage, “You take that back right now.”

Endeavor was startled. “What?”

“Take it back. You are going to do everything in your power to save Midoriya. Make sure the police know this will be a recovery mission. Not some manhunt for a villain.” He glowered at his father, little sparks of flames dancing off his cheek and eyebrows. 

Endeavor noted this, utterly confused, “But, Shoto, he injured you and your friends…”

Fuyumi placed a hand on Endeavor’s arm, “That’s not the point, Father.”

Todoroki shook his head, “No. That isn’t what he was doing. He---he’s been, I don’t know, corrupted or something. He’s being controlled. There’s no way he could have done such a 180 in a short period of time. Please. Me and my friends we’ve discussed theories before. Maybe you can present them to the rest of the tas--”

“Now, don’t be ridiculous, Shoto. I’m not going to show my coworkers childish babbles and 'theories'...” Endeavor said demeaningly. Todoroki’s face fell. Anger was no longer etched along the lines of his face, his features softened, his mouth in a frown. He looked so much younger, so much sadder, so vulnerable. Endeavor cleared his throat “...but you and your friends can.”

Todoroki looked up at his dad for the first time with...was that glee? Pride? Happiness? Gratefulness? Endeavor couldn’t place the emotion. He had never seen it in Todoroki, and he realized adding in that little bit at the end had been a matter of whether or not his son would ever speak to him again. 

“Really, Dad?” His eyes were gleaming. 

“Yes, I can arrange something, I suppose. Just make sure you prepare yourself well, and---What?” Todoroki was rolling his eyes, falling back onto the bed, “Can you not? For two seconds, dad?” 

Endeavor stood there, confused, “Can I not...what?”

“Just...not.”

“But I’m afraid I do not understand, what exactly am I doing that I should not be?”

The family went back and forth at each other, not relenting on the confused Endeavor. The banter had been a nice break from their usual resentment. It was pleasant.

In the waiting room, Aizawa had already grabbed the next set of parents: the Jirous.

Aizawa had left rather quickly once he had seen the parents running to Jirou who was already sobbing. 

He had come back to grab the Bakugou's, gesturing at them to follow him. Mitsuki had sprung up, clutching her purse and Masaru’s hand, worry painted on both their faces. They had ran ahead, almost faster than Aizawa who was trying his best to keep them from knocking into any of the doctors and nurses walking around. Mitsuki had thrown open the door without checking the nameplate on the side, “Katsuki!” She cried. The bed was elevated so he was sitting up, a tray in front of him with a plethora of untouched food. 

Bakugou looked up at her and she almost collapsed. That empty look. That look as if he was hollow, that there was nothing but bones inside of him. Even his hair looked rather deflated. She had only seen this look on her son’s face once. And it was after he had arrived home from his kidnapping.

After the police had questioned him for a little while, he had been sent home. Masaru and Mitsuki had been seated in front of the television, not wanting to miss even the dumb commercials in between the broadcasts of the incident in Kamino Ward. 

They had both been asleep when they were called about the news that Bakugou had been kidnapped by the League of Villains. Masaru had put on his glasses, still bleary-eyed, his voice heavy with exhaustion as he picked up the phone call, “Hello?” 

“Is this Masaru Bakugou?” The voice on the other end asked, their tone grave and blunt.

“Yes…” He sat up and Mitsuki groaned at the sudden movement, not wanting to wake up at such an ungodly hour. 

“I’m afraid we have some bad news…”

As the police officer explained, his vision grew clearer and clearer, his hand covering his mouth as he listened. Mitsuki sat up, alarmed, “Honey…?”

Masaru had tears in his eyes as he looked over at his wife, who resembled his son so much it hurt him even more to say, “...It’s Katsuki…” He began to recount what the officer had told him and Mitsuki’s mouth opened wide.

That had been a rough day, but the days following had not been any better. They had held each other as they sat in front of the TV, watching the teachers’ press conference. They felt themselves swell with pride over what Aizawa had said about their boy, but that pride was quickly extinguished by the realization that they did not even know if Bakugou was alive or not.

They had watched the end of All Might, sobbing along with the rest of the nation. After the fight, they received a phone call stating that after a brief medical analysis and questioning by the police, Katsuki Bakugou was now free to come home. The pair had screamed in happiness, Mitsuki falling to her knees, laughing through her tears. 

A half-hour later, they heard faint knocking on the door and they both raced each other, knocking over a side table, tripping over their shoes. Masaru had thrown open the door, eyes open wide with ecstasy. There was Katsuki, slumped over, hands in his pockets, looking down. As he looked up, Mitsuki felt her smile drop. His eyes…

His tense features immediately relaxed. His lip trembled and his eyes immediately filled with tears, “...Mom, Dad.”

Mitsuki did not hesitate a second more, enveloping her son in her arms, sobbing into his chest, holding the back of his head. Bakugou had rested his forehead on her shoulder and cried as well, “Mom, mom, mom”. Masaru wrapped his arms around both of them, and they all slowly slid until they were all kneeling on the patio, holding each other, crying with each other.

Now, Mitsuki saw that same look in his eyes and felt an overwhelming sadness push down on her shoulders. Bakugou did not say anything. Masaru squeezed Mitsuki’s hand tighter. What had happened to their son?

Mitsuki walked forward tentatively, sitting in a chair next to his bed. She clasped one of Bakugou’s bandaged hands in her own and brought them to her lips. She murmured against them, closing her eyes, “Oh, my baby…” Bakugou almost flinched. She had not used pet names with him for a long time, and in that moment, he didn’t want to be anything else than her baby. Their son. To be held by his parents and be normal. Not in a constant fight with his mother, or completely ignoring his father. He just wanted to be Katsuki, their Katsuki. 

He felt some tears fall out of his eyes and he looked past his mom to Aizawa, who was just turning to leave. “Mr. Aizawa,” He croaked. That had been the first time he had spoken since yesterday. Aizawa turned, arms rigid. 

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. It’s all my fault, it was me, I did this to him. I DID THIS TO HIM. I just--I didn’t mean to, Mr. Aizawa, you have to understand that. I’m so sorry.” The words spilled out of him, fast and interrupted by his hiccups. Mitsuki placed a hand on Bakugou’s shoulder, gently pushing him back onto the bed. There was great concern in her voice as she asked, “What is he on about?”

Aizawa did not move.

He looked down at his feet, “Bakugou...no, it really isn’t---”

“No! It is. Jirou, and Iida, and Uraraka, and Sero and Todoroki. It’s all my fault! I’m the one who---”

Aizawa walked over, putting his fist on Bakugou’s chest, “Stop.” The first thing he had noticed was him calling his friends by their actual names. He couldn’t recall a time Bakugou had ever called Todoroki something other than 'Half and Half Bastard' or 'Icy Hot'. The second thing he noticed...Bakugou was broken. So terribly broken. Aizawa had never seen him like this. It was as if a whole layer of him had been destroyed and cut away. His tears were neverending, his hands trembling, his eyes wild...He really thought that Doku and everything Doku had done was his fault.

Aizawa pulled him into a hug, placing Bakugou’s head on his chest, and held him. Bakugou’s body was wracked with sobs. He was trembling. 

“Bakugou, I don’t think you realize. That thing never was and never will be your fault. You did not create him, you did not push it to do anything. And whatever you think you did...It’s just not something you should be taking the blame for. If anything the only person that can be blamed is Doku. Now stop crying. The Bakugou I know would never let himself be swayed by such silly emotions, especially ones that should not exist. This shame and guilt? Get rid of them. They’re useless. I can’t stop you from feeling how you feel, yes. But at least use them to fuel your desire to get our Midoriya back. To save him from whatever beastly creation that has taken him over. Got it, problem child?”

He grinned a little, pulling back. Bakugou wiped his tears, holding his head in his hands, “Alright, Mr. Aizawa.”

Masaru walked up from his position at the foot of the bed and wrapped Aizawa in a bear hug, “Thank you.” He whispered. 

Aizawa patted his back, “I’m not being forced to care about my kids, Mr. Bakugou.”

He quickly withdrew, leaving them alone, breathing in and out heavily. Thank God he didn’t stay in the other rooms for too long, he wouldn’t be able to do that again. 

He made his way back to the waiting room, just to check to see if anyone else was there. The Iida's had already taken up residency at the back of the room: Tensei was sitting in his wheelchair, his fingers tapping the hand rests, his face hardened and his eyes filled with worry. His mother sat on the couch next to him, her hands clasped in front of her in prayer. 

Aizawa felt for them. They had heard no news about Iida’s wellbeing since he had finished his surgery at 6 AM; no one was allowed to visit him. He had been in surgery for around 10 hours. The doctors had wanted to ensure to get every single last piece of glass and metal out of his eyes. There had been quite a few small shards that they had spent hours delicately extracting. The injury to his back had not caused any permanent damage (Tensei had looked down at his legs and sighed with relief) but he would have to stay in bed for at least four weeks, give or take. His stay at the hospital would be prolonged, to say the least. 

Tensei looked up as Aizawa peeped in and he waved absentmindedly before going back to his tapping. Aizawa’s mouth pursed and he nodded his head curtly. 

His eyes swept the room and he realized there was one other person still in the waiting room. A short and round lady whose green hair shined in the fluorescent light of the room. “Mrs. Midoriya?” Aizawa asked incredulously. 

Inko looked up, her eyes brimmed with red as she smiled a little, “Hi, Mr. Aizawa. I’m here to see the students.”

Aizawa looked to his right before looking back at her, “...You’re here to...uh--Alright. Follow me, I guess.” The first room she had insisted on going to was Bakugou’s. 

She fiddled with her fingers the whole way there, breathing shakily. Aizawa looked down at her, seeing the worry and sadness so clearly on her face. She reminded him of Midoriya. They were carbon copies of each other. She was even muttering a little bit. He closed his eyes and aimed them forward again, hoping to block out the resemblance. 

He knocked on the door and Masaru called, “Come in!”

Inko entered as Aizawa held the door open for her. She walked a little more into the room before freezing. “Inko! Oh my God, long time no---” Mitsuki began, her voice bright and happy before Inko threw herself to the ground.

She spread her arms wide, palms far apart in the ultimate form of penance, her knees up to her chest, and her forehead on the cold tile floor. Masaru and Mitsuki cried out, standing quickly. 

“Forgive me, please! I’m so sorry for all the trouble my son has brought upon you, Katsuki. I am so so sorry, please, please forgive me,” Inko sobbed into the ground, her eyes tightly shut. 

Mitsuki ran over, pushing up on Inko’s shoulders, pulling her out of her kneeling, “Hey, what do you think you’re doing?! Stop that!” 

Inko looked back at her friend with sad, tear-filled eyes, “Oh, ‘Suki...I’m so sorry.” Mitsuki hugged her, drawing her close as Inko cried into her shoulder. “I miss him so much, I just can’t believe it. I--I can’t...he hurt his friends and he hurt Katsuki, his brother, his friends. I’m so sorry.” She babbled.

Bakugou looked down at the green-haired lady he had grown up with. He remembered the times she would put little All Might bandages on his knees whenever he ran too fast and fell. The times when she would make chicken nuggets for him (the spicy kind, of course) and Deku. The playdates, with their moms drinking tea in the living room, watching soap operas as Deku and Bakugou ran around randomly screaming “I am here!” 

This was a whole new person.

She no longer had that warm and kind smile on her face. It was replaced by a permanent frown that took up her whole face. He had never seen her so sad.

Masaru kneeled by his wife and placed a hand on Inko’s shoulder, “Oh, Inko, please. Don’t apologize. It’s not your fault.” Mitsuki pulled back, smoothing Inko’s hair out of her face, “Yeah, sweetie. It’s just our idiot son overused his quirk again. It is nowhere near your fault.” 

Inko laughed a little, “You never go easy on your Katsuki, huh?” Mitsuki chuckled, looking back at her son, “Nah. I love him too much for that.”





The day went on and the parents went home, promising to visit tomorrow. Finally, the students could visit their friends. First, they visited Todoroki and Jirou, whose rooms were right next to each other. They no longer needed to stay in the hospital anyways so they had packed up and dressed to walk around with the others. They chatted as they walked to Bakugou’s room who was being force-fed his food. Nurse Hikari was doing acrobatics just to get a piece of Jello in his mouth, “KATSUKI! THE FASTER YOU EAT THE FASTER YOU’LL BE OUTTA HERE!”

“NO, I DON’T WANT ITTTTT!” He screamed back, kicking his legs. 

Kirishima chuckled, alerting the two of the class’s presence. They both snapped their heads in the direction of the entirety of Class 1A (minus 2) standing in the doorway and hallway. 

They entered, crowding around Bakugou’s bed. Kaminari sat on the bed and began bouncing up and down, “What’s up, Katsukiiiii Bakugoouuu?” Bakugou grumbled, kicking Kaminari off the bed. He fell at Kirishima’s feet and Sero helped him up with his free hand. Bakugou glanced at the sling, frowning a little. It didn't seem to bother Sero though who was using his tape to stick to Kaminari who was swatting away at it. 

Kirishima smiled big, “Nice to see you back in business, Bakubro.”

Bakugou gave a small smile back before quickly frowning, yelling at Mina for eating his Jello, “HEY, RACCOON EYES, BACK OFF! THAT’S MINE!” Sero rolled his eyes, “You weren’t even gonna eat it, dumbass.”

The rest of the class chuckled, all of them smiling. Bakugou suddenly quieted and everyone turned to him expectantly. “So...what’s up with Four Eyes?...” He murmured. 

Everyone looked away, some down at their hands or at the walls. Kirishima cleared his throat, “Well, they say he’s fine. No permanent damage. But they’re not letting us see him. That...that can’t mean anything good can it?” 

Bakugou looked away as well, remembering the sound of the impact of Iida’s body hitting the wall. It was a sound he would probably never forget. My fault. A voice whispered in his head. 

“We were planning on checking again after visiting you. You want to tag along?” Uraraka asked, trying to smile. 

He rolled his eyes, pretending to be nonchalant, “Whatever.”

The nurse helped them load Bakugou into a wheelchair and Kirishima and Kaminari took turns pushing him down the halls, pretending he was a go-cart as they made sound effects and pushed him at horrific speeds, not suited for a hospital. He felt like he was going to be sick, screaming at them to stop their idiocy when suddenly they went quiet. They had arrived.

They still were not allowed in the room, but they could look through the large glass window into his room. At first, they could not even see Iida given the number of screens and wires surrounding the bed, but as they all angled themselves correctly they could see him. Todoroki sharply inhaled. 

Iida lay in the bed, eyes covered by some type of gauze and wrapping, his mouth covered by a ventilator. He was asleep, that much was obvious. But whether or not he was simply sleeping or passed out from the meds he was on was the question. He was shirtless, his whole torso wrapped and held together by a cast-like material. His mother sat by his side, holding his hand, watching the heart monitor beat steadily. Tensei sat at the foot of his bed, dozing off, head propped up by his hand. They had been there for a while, waiting for Iida to wake up. 

Uraraka pressed her hand against the glass and leaned in. She prayed silently for his quick recovery, closing her eyes. Todoroki looked away, casting his gaze to the floor. Yaoyorozu placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, looking through the window at her friend, the one who just a day ago had been awake, happy, and well. So much could change in a short period of time.

The past two days had been a rather harsh reminder that there was so much the world had in store for them, so much they still had to learn.

Bakugou gritted his teeth.

There was so much left for the world to take away from them.

Chapter Text

 

“AUGH!” 

Dabi jumped back, hands in front of him, blue flames curling around his fingers as he screeched. Doku had basically teleported in front of them at the back of the building, clutching his bleeding arm.

He was breathing heavily, his eyes glowing brightly. Toga ran forward, “IZUKU!” 

Shigaraki groaned, looking at Doku’s arm, “You have got to be kidding me. How are we gonna get out of this mess now? One player down and no Kurogiri…” 

Shigaraki, Dabi, and Toga had escaped through an emergency exit door, far away from the crowd once they had heard the ruckus. The door had led to the back staff parking lot which was deserted, except for a couple of cars. They had waited there impatiently until, lo and behold, the almighty Doku, disheveled and bloodied essentially appeared out of thin air in front of them. 

Dabi straightened, casting a hardened glance around to make sure no heroes were around, “Dude, what happened?”

Doku looked up and coughed a little, sending blood spurting down his chin as he smiled, “Oh, nothing, just a little catch up with some friends.” His teeth were stained red and he licked them slowly with his tongue. 

SCREEEEEECH.

The group all snapped their heads in the direction of the rather ear-shattering sound. A gray van had pulled up on the sidewalk in front of them, ignoring most of the common rules of driving.

Twice sat in the front passenger seat, on Compress’s lap, and he slapped the side of the van, “Get in, losers! This whole place is surrounded by heroes!” Compress pushed him to the side, annoyed. Twice crashed down onto the ground as Compress waved at the group to hurry up. Toga shot Doku a worried glance before running ahead with Shigaraki. Dabi turned to Doku, “You good?”

Doku waved at him, “I’m fine, let’s go.” The pair jogged ahead, Doku still clutching his arm as he climbed into the back of the van, thumping down onto the metal floor. He was breathing rather shallowly now. 

Spinner was in the driver’s seat and Twice sat in the middle of the two front seats, still rubbing his behind from the impact of his fall. Compress turned around to look at the stragglers climbing into the van and let out a loud gasp, “ MY COAT!” Doku looked down at the fate that befell the lovely trench coat he had been wearing. He smiled sheepishly, scratching the back of his head, “Yeah...sorry about that.” Twice pointed his fingers at Doku, cocking an eyebrow, “Wow, you’re looking rough , buddy. That’s our little fighter!

Dabi snorted, “What kind of reunion was this exactly?” Doku’s smile dropped, his face hardening, “None of your business.”

Twice let out a breath of air, “Woo, okay, let’s calm down. Fight, fight, fight.

Doku turned away from them as Spinner sped out of the parking lot. Toga brushed her fingers against Doku’s hand, “Izuchan, you’re bleeding pretty badly. We need to get him back as soon as possible.” Spinner looked through the rearview mirror, “Crazy’s right, look at him.”

Doku was pale, his chest heaving up and down, sweating profusely, “I’m FINE.” He said forcibly as more blood seeped out over his grimacing lips. 

“You and I have very different definitions of fine, hot stuff,” Spinner called, stepping on the gas a little more. 

Doku’s vision was blurring, his eyelids growing heavier. He could barely stay seated. Toga slid herself over to him, crawling to his side of the van. She dug a scarf she had stolen from the Kawaii store out of her pocket and wrapped it around his arm, pulling tightly. She remembered what she had said to him the first time she met him.

“You would be so much cuter if you just bled a little more!” 

As much as she loved blood, she realized she actually didn’t like to see him bleeding out like this. Her initial lust for it was pushed down by an overwhelming concern for his well being. Was this...was this what love was?

Toga gently pulled his head into her lap, much to his dismay. His eyes opened wide at the movement but he relaxed as she started stroking her fingers down his cheek. She was silent as she ran her fingers through his hair. She looked down at his drooping eyes and her own widened. 

Right before they shut she could’ve sworn she had seen a flash of green…








It was dark.

 

No shit, Sherlock.

 

It was dark and murky and...empty. But as always the mirror stood, tall and proud with its gold and intricately designed frame, in the middle of the cavern of Midoriya’s mind. The very same mind that imprisoned the poor hero, and the cavern that Doku had begun to control and rule. Said villain blinked, once, twice, trying to clear his slightly blurred vision. He assumed his injuries in the real world were causing this disorientation in his dream world and he brushed it aside. It wouldn’t matter. He couldn’t wait to see what Midoriya had to say about the events that had gone down.

Doku strode forward, stumbling a little more than usual. His footsteps rippled the ground like he was stepping in puddles. He put his arms behind his head, closing his eyes as he let out a long laugh. “So, Izuzu, what did you think of my little puppet sho---?”

He stopped abruptly as he opened his eyes hoping to languish in the agony Midoriya was in but...what stared back at him wasn’t Midoriya’s tortured and tear-stained face. No.

It was his own. 

It was a normal reflection, like any ordinary mirror. When he raised his hand to tap the glass, it didn’t ripple. 

What?

He waved his hand in front of his face. The mirror reflected it back. 

He opened his eyes wide with his fingers, checking to see that they were still red. They were.

WHAT?

Where was Midoriya?

“Izuku!” He called, a hint of desperation in his voice. 

He grasped the sides of the mirror, shaking it, but it was useless. The mirror was deadbolted to the ground and the shaking just jittered his mind even more. 

He closed his eyes, breathing heavily. No, calm down. You’re fine. You’re still here, aren’t you? You still exist, you still rule, you’re still you. Breathe. He’s here somewhere. 

No. This was a good thing! 

He laughed, his eyes still closed, a maniacal and breathy laugh.

That little weakling was gone! 

This was--

His thought process was cut off as he was slammed from the back into the mirror, shattering the surface from the impact. The mirror fell backward and he was lying on top of it. 

Doku let out a cry as the glass punctured his skin, the side of his face digging deeper into the shards as the unknown assailant pushed him down further.

“THAT’S FOR IIDA, YOU BASTARD!” 

Doku gasped. No...that voice…

He turned his head as much as he could and his worst fears came true. 

It was Midoriya. 

The green-eyed boy was glowing with One for All’s power, his mouth pressed in an angry sneer, his eyebrows furrowed, tears glistening in his eyes. He held down Doku, pressing his hand on the side of his counterpart’s face, his legs pinning him down on the ground. 

Midoriya punched Doku in the throat with his free hand, “AND THAT’S FOR URARAKA!”

Doku choked on his scream, unable to move, to breathe. MOVE MOVE MOVE MOVE!

Midoriya didn’t give him the chance to recover, picking him up by his tie, pulling him upwards. The hero kicked Doku in the stomach, sending him flying backward. “THAT’S FOR TODOROKI!”

Doku retched, on his hands and knees, trying to stand, deliver a blow, a slap, ANYTHING, but Midoriya was on him again, stomping him down. He punched him straight in the nose, another punch thrown into his chest, “AND THAT’S FOR JIROU AND SERO!”

The ground was falling around Doku, like a rock sinking into water. His vision was white, his breathing shallow as he tried regaining his footing. Midoriya stood above him, caging him in with his legs, chest heaving, tears flowing down his face. The tears splattered Doku’s face and he flinched away as if it was acid. Midoriya roared at nothing in particular, balling his fists again. Doku coughed, sending blood flying out, hitting the front of Midoriya’s white shirt and face. Midoriya wiped it away slowly, his eyes glowing so bright that Doku couldn’t make out his irises. Midoriya smirked a little, mirroring the smirk Doku had so proudly worn when tormenting his friends.

From his back pocket, Midoriya extracted a large piece of glass that had broken off from the mirror. “Take a look, Doku .” 

He held the glass in front of Doku’s face. Doku blinked, confused. He squinted at his reflection, wondering what Midoriya so badly wanted him to see besides his bloodied and bruised face. 

His eyes widened as he realized what was happening.

His usual red and pupilless eyes were gone...

Replaced by the bright green of Midoriya’s.

He blinked again, hoping that he was just imagining it. No. The green shone back, brighter than usual.

They flashed red for a moment, before returning back to the green.

NO!

He cried out, bringing his fist up to hit Midoriya in the leg, but Midoriya stopped him, stepping down on the arm, crushing it. Doku screamed at the sudden pain and his vision went white again. When he could see a little more clearly,  he could make out his eyes flashing green and red in the glass, like disco lights.

Midoriya leaned over until his face was level with Doku’s, “You were wrong, poison. You only exist because of me. And now...I rule. This is my body, my mind. Are you forgetting, poor Doku? You’re nothing without me.

He let out a light chuckle before his face hardened again. 

“And this?...”

He brought both his fists up, slamming down into Doku’s chest. 

 

“THIS IS FOR KACCHAN!!!!”

 

Doku sank into the ground, the sludge-like substance engulfing him, trapping him in as it pulled him downwards. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move. He was drowning.

Before his vision was taken from him, he could see, above him, Midoriya falling to his knees, burying his head in his hands. He heard a distant loud cry as if he was listening from underwater. Doku smiled a little.

Nah...he was still in control. 








Doku’s eyes snapped open. He was panting and sweating profusely.

He felt someone grasp his hand and he looked to see Toga sitting by his bedside, worry painted across her porcelain features. Her amber eyes were wide and gleaming, “Izuku!”

Doku groaned. He had a terrible headache, and every part of him throbbed. 

His right arm was bandaged and he pressed a little into his forearm with his other hand and felt the bumpiness of stitches. He didn’t have the luxury of Recovery Girl anymore. He was wearing a ventilator and he grimaced at the feeling of the cold and forceful breeze in his nose.

“Where am I?” He managed to croak out. Toga tightened her grip a little, “We’re at the Doctor’s hospital.”

Doku gave her a questioning look and she laughed, “Oh, I forgot! You haven’t met the Doctor, yet. You will soon.”

Doku closed his eyes and sank into his pillow. He could get used to this. The scratchy bedsheets and the mothball pillow at the League’s hideout would not be missed. Toga stood, giving a light kiss on the back of Doku’s hand before spinning towards the door, “I gotta tell everyone you’re awake!”

She ran out the door without further ado, and Doku looked down at the hand she had kissed. A light tingly sensation was blooming there and he felt his cheeks flush. How lovely. He never thought he would be capable of feeling love. That was something reserved for his heroic counterpart. An emotion that only he possessed after the split.

Speaking of the split...Doku recalled something Shigaraki had said at the mall. “The Doctor said he probably won’t remember anything from the transformation.”

Was this the same Doctor? And would this Doctor person give him some answers about what had happened in the dream world?

He turned to the door when he heard a faint knock. “Come in,” he called.

Shigaraki and a short man with round goggles and a white lab coat strode in, each taking their seats next to Doku’s bed. So this must be the infamous Doctor.

He extended his hand to Doku, “Hello, Doku. A pleasure to meet you.” He chortled as he realized Doku in fact could not shake hands with him, “My bad! I forgot I just treated this predicament.”

Doku’s eyes narrowed as he scanned the Doctor...something about him was eerily familiar. Something in the back of his mind was registering this man as someone he recognized. The realization smacked him in the face. This was the very same man who had told him that he was quirkless. 

Doku raised a shaky finger to the Doctor, “It’s you…”

The Doctor chuckled, “It’s me.”

Doku’s mouth was open in disgust. This man---

“I’m sure you would like an explanation for your power and...well, everything! And I’m here to do that for you...for a price.”

Doku rolled his eyes. There was always a catch.

“What?” 

The Doctor looked at Shigaraki who nodded his head. He turned back to Doku, “We know that as...Midoriya, you had journals filled with everything there is to know about heroes and sidekicks and villains galore. We want that. No, we need that. Information for information. I understand it’s still at the dormitories you previously lived in, and Shigaraki has already formed a plan to get you in and out quickly and efficiently. Consider this payment for the trouble you caused us at the mall. And for the trouble I had to go through to get you here and treat you. I guess you could see the information I’m providing you as a little extra compensation for being our test monkey.”

Doku grunted, looking away, weighing the options. He did want to understand his identity and possibly find a way to get rid of Midoriya forever...He couldn’t see the harm in the idea. He wanted heroes gone. He wanted Midoriya gone. 

It wasn’t really much of a decision.

“Alright, but under one condition. You answer any and all of my questions, truthfully, and to the fullest extent. I have a lot.” 

The Doctor adjusted his goggles, “Well, then let me add my own condition. We also want to know about anything and everything you learned from All Might. We know you were close to the former number one. I’m sure he told you a lot of juicy secrets about himself and his power. In fact...we’ve been planning for a while and...we think if we could either get our hands on you or All Might we could understand his power a little more. Especially since our almighty All for One lost connection with his brother long ago, he never got to truly understand the power it had become. Besides, of course, when he slaughtered the carriers of One for All…We want to see what we can unveil and how that can help us.”

Doku sat up a little, “And by ‘we’ you mean…?”

The Doctor gestured to Shigaraki, “Me, Tomura, and All for One.”

Doku had loved this plan but at the mention of All Might, he began to love it even more. 

He had not really thought about his old mentor the entire time he had been with the League. The only time he had brought him up was in his rant to the students at the mall. He smiled at the thought of seeing them again, tormenting them again. He would love to have a little more fun. 

“Yeah, I’m down. Let’s do it."

The Doctor smiled, “I knew you would say yes. Well, a deal’s a deal...I’ll give you whatever information you want to know.”

“Let’s start with the beginning then?” Doku asked, settling into a comfortable position. They could be here for a while. Shigaraki groaned, his head falling back, “Ughhh, we’re going to be here for years!” 

The Doctor rolled his eyes behind his goggles, “Ignore the child. Okay. The beginning.

Before All for One’s rather unfortunate loss, during their first fight, AFO had crafted a new drug that he had planned on using to defeat All Might. This ‘corruptor’ would ruin All Might from the inside, destroying One for All, once and for all. The corruptor was not needed, as you could see, AFO delivered a devastating blow to All Might. He is dying a very slow and agonizing death as we speak.

After further testing on some associates, we realized the corruptor was not at all what we had assumed it would be. It acted in a fashion similar to the notorious ‘Trigger’, the quirk-enhancing drug. Though, instead of just enhancing and changing the person’s physical abilities, it would corrupt their entire mental being, even splitting the person into two separate personas. It took the virtuous emotions and split them away from the vices. For you, it was ‘Doku’ and what I assume you call ‘Midoriya’. 

All for One had some extra ‘corruptors’ that we had amplified and fixed. Before, our subjects would die within a matter of hours, in reaction to the split. They would physically split into two, bleed out, or they would be ripped apart from the inside. It was a mess. And we needed a test subject. I approached Tomura with a proposition.

Someone he despised and had wanted dead, wouldn’t that be a great idea? Izuku Midoriya. If Midoriya died during the transformation, so be it. It would be one less thing to worry about. If he survived, we could coerce him into joining our cause. I knew you were broken and shaken by the reveal you could never get a quirk. I knew there would have been some kind of hatred towards the heroes. 

We had an entire elaborate plan set up. When you and your classmates went to the yearly training camp, we would kidnap you along with Katsuki Bakugou. If you both refused to join our cause, we would threaten to corrupt or kill Bakugou so that we could force your hand. Or, vice versa. We could’ve used a power like Bakugou’s on our side. But that’s beside the point. The plan was carefully crafted, we even had thought of a script. 

But things took a turn when our little Tomura went on his little temper tantrum. He had the corruptor in his grasp which was Mistake #1 on our end.”

Shigaraki scowled, looking away, “I did get him, didn’t I?”

The Doctor crossed his arms, “Yes, yes. Let me continue.”

“Tomura went to the mall and who did he see? Why, the very boy we had been wanting to corrupt. He grabbed you, and just as he wrapped his fingers around your neck, he injected our friend, the corruptor, this little chip in the back of your neck. You never noticed, never saw it coming.”

“We waited. For quite a while. The chip regulated your breathing, heartbeats, everything. If we saw any irregularities it would mean your transformation was commencing. Nothing. We had our subordinates keep watch on the monitors. Nothing for weeks. All for One was taken, All Might was ended, and you were beginning your second semester of the school year. All's well that ends well, right?

Then a little jolt. Not really noticeable at first, but definitely not normal for you. Another, and another. That was until you flatlined completely. We had thought we lost you. With the teleportation quirk All for One had passed onto me, I sent Compress and Dabi to investigate. That was when they found you, drowning in your own blood in the elevator. It was quite difficult to get them in and out with you as well, but we managed. Somehow they were not caught and now here you are. Have you, by any chance, been experiencing some rather weird dreams?”

Doku nodded and began explaining what he had been experiencing, including the fight from that night. 

The Doctor tapped his fingers across his chin, “Yes, yes, I see. Well, Midoriya’s subconscious was split into you (Doku) and him (normal Midoriya). You are now the ‘ruler’, so to speak, of Midoriya. You are the one who can control the body and do with it as you please. Unfortunately, when I was treating you, I noticed some...how should I put this?...some flaws in our corruptor. To begin, you noticed of course the red of your eyes and your power. Previously, they had been green. This red shows us that this is Doku; it shows the corruption that you had gone through. When I opened your eyes during your examination a couple of hours ago, they were green. From these findings and what you have just told me, I have deduced that with immense pain or damage to the body, Midoriya is able to regain control of this body. At least, to a certain extent. This mirror you have been seeing, I think it’s a physical representation of your split. And because Midoriya could cross it, it means he was getting close to making you the one trapped and unable to fight.”

Doku frowned. So he could lose this power…the control he had over Midoriya.

No. He would never let himself lose to a weakling like Midoriya ever again.

He couldn’t afford to let this happiness be taken from him, like before.

He wasn’t the pushover little kid who would let this power be taken away so easily. 

“Well, then. What’s the plan?”






Iida still had not woken up. 

It had been a week since the attack at the mall and nothing had stirred in him. That was both good and bad news. Yes, he was in a stable condition, but there had been no signs pointing to him waking up. 

Everyone else had already been released from the hospitals, back into their dorms. 

Bakugou had packed his things, getting ready to leave. Nurse Hikari had wished him safe travels, giving him a light hug he had grimaced at. She patted his hair and he walked away, clutching the strap of his backpack. 

After he turned a corner, he doubled back, making sure Hikari was gone before he speed walked back the way he came. He passed his old room, turning a couple of corners until he reached Iida’s room. Making sure no one was around to see him, he snuck forward, staring through the glass.

Unfortunately, we believe he has fallen into a coma.

Iida was in the exact same condition as when Bakugou had seen him last. In the same position, the same screens and wires. 

How could this happen? It hadn’t made sense.

We have concluded that the impact of him slamming against the wall caused some damage we could not see on the CAT scan. It’s...odd. We’ve never seen anything like this before. Many heroes have been through similar circumstances. Are you sure the attacker did not have a quirk-enhancing drug?

This is the conversation the doctors had with the students present in the cafeteria the day before they were released. 

No, they weren’t sure about the drug. No, nothing like this has happened before. No, they were pretty sure Iida was a very healthy boy. No, he has never shown signs of deteriorating mental health. Nor physical. In fact, it was as if he was in his prime.

Tiredly, the students answered the doctor’s questions as best they could. Tensei had wheeled himself over to personally thank them for their help.

His eyes and cheeks were sunken and he looked as if he hadn’t eaten in a while. He gave a sad smile, “Thank you all. For being here, for being Tenya’s friend, for...for everything. You mean the world to him, and it is such a relief to know that his world is still here for him.”

Tensei had looked down, tears swelling in his eyes. His brother had been the first familiar face he had seen when he woke up after his fight with Stain. He had been the one to visit him every chance he got. The one who meticulously planned everything, and always fretted over being a good successor of the Iida name. The boy who was a little too brash and impulsive when it came to those he loved, the boy who would come to anyone’s aid if you would only say the word. The one who…

Uraraka had placed a hand on his shoulder, a sad look in her brown eyes, “No need to thank us, Mr. Tensei. Iida is our friend as much as he is your brother. We will be here for him no matter what.”

Bakugou had watched the exchange sullenly, feeling his arms pulse again. My fault, that little voice whispered in his head. It’s all my fault.

Now, he looked through the glass and all he could think was about how this was all his fault. If only he hadn’t antagonized Doku, causing him to slam his arm down into Uraraka, stabbing Todoroki, pushing Iida, hurting Sero---

He closed his eyes and scowled. 

God, this was agonizing.

With glistening eyes, Bakugou glared at Iida through the glass, almost willing him to stir.

Wake up, you fuckhead. We need you.

Unresponsive, as always.

Bakugou looked down at his shoes before jumping back at the feeling of a warm head pressing against his back. 

Tensei had quietly wheeled behind him without him noticing and the blue-haired man looked up at Bakugou, trying to smile. Bakugou was taken aback at just how much the two brothers looked alike. He had thought it was Iida in front of him, not Tensei...

He had gotten his hopes up.

“Sorry, Bakugou. Still nothing," Tensei quietly said.

Bakugou turned around, already walking away, “It’s not like I cared anyway.”

He did.

As heartless as he wanted to be, Bakugou still felt the very much present organ beating fast in his eardrums, his head spinning just as fast that he thought he was gonna be sick again. 

Tensei was left sitting there, his hand still suspended in the air. His hair shadowed his eyes as tears fell into his lap, on his unfeeling and unsuspecting legs. Why? Why Tenya? 

Bakugou glanced back, seeing Tensei covering his eyes with his hand, shaking with every silent sob. 

He felt his heart sink into his feet. 

He did care. He did.

Nothing could change that. He couldn’t tell whether or not he hated it. This overwhelming sensation in the pits of his empty stomach. Sources may point to the opposing claim that the blond boy was nothing more than a rage-induced killing machine. But...no one could deny this pressure on his heart, weighing him down everywhere he walked, making it difficult to function. 

It was devastating, this cruel world they lived in.

The world did not care, but Katsuki Bakugou...he did.

And it was time to start beating the world at their own game.

Chapter Text

 

sleep

/slēp/

noun


a condition of body and mind that typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.



Sleep? 

Sleep was no longer a word in the dictionary of the students. 

Lying in bed, kept awake by the haunted memories of the mall, or the throbbing pain in their wounds, or the overwhelming desire to be held, to be told it was okay. Everything would be alright. That what had happened at the mall was all a dream. That Iida was awake and healthy. That Midoriya was--

The reason why most of the students had stayed in the hospital for so long had been due to the mandatory counseling appointments Principal Nezu had implemented. All the students caught in the fight in the food court had to participate in 2 one on one sessions with the therapist and 2 group sessions. It was gag-worthy. Talking about feelings? That wasn’t in the job description. Even the students had forgotten they were children for a moment. After hearing about these “counseling sessions” Nezu had insisted was necessary when moving forward, they all grimaced. Heroes shouldn’t need counseling. Heroes shouldn’t be traumatized to the point where their superiors needed to make sure they were still able to function. 

Heroes shouldn’t have feelings. 

Begrudgingly, they agreed.

They wiped their silly tears, forgot about their wounds, straightened in their beds, splashed some water on their pale faces, hardened their gazes.

They had been left to wallow in their self-pity for too long. 

It was time to snap out of it. 

Jirou, Mina, Hagakure, Yamomo, Tsuyu, Uraraka, Kaminari, Kirishima, Sero, Todoroki, and Bakugou were all placed in separate rooms, and patiently waited their turn. There was a half-hour interval assigned to each of them for the time being, and after everyone had had their session, they would reconvene as a large group. 

It was gag-worthy.

Nise Shinju was the hero counselor instated to the students. A petite and wiry woman with cropped black hair and big, circular glasses, barely balanced on her nose. Something that she had noted after talking to all the students was that not a single person shed a tear. She was expecting the worst if she was being honest. The doctors at the hospital had given Dr. Shinju access to the reports for each of the students. Most of the reports, in the notes, stated:

  • Unable to sleep
  • Excessive crying
  • Projectile vomiting 

But what sat in front of her were the robots of the hero world.

The empty husks of the kids who were trying so hard to be detached, the heroes in training who were as indifferent to the emotions they were feeling as someone who had not even been at the mall. 

They plastered on fake smiles, as bright as All Might’s, and gave vague, by-the-book answers to Shinju’s questions. 

No matter how hard she pushed to get an answer out of them, using all her usual tricks and questions, they wouldn’t budge. She could see that they were holding back. Especially with Kirishima, Kaminari, Mina, and Uraraka. Their words were almost the same, (“Yes, it was disastrous, but we are alright now”) but their eyes told a different story. She had deduced that they were probably the more emotional of the bunch. Kirishima’s sad and soft eyes when talking about Bakugou, Uraraka’s dazed expression, and Mina’s wobbly smile had all given it away that they were hiding something. Meanwhile, Kaminari had fidgeted so much, playing with his fingers, that it gave her second-hand anxiety. 

She was so frustrated, she had even snapped her pen in half when in a session with Todoroki.

“So, how does Midoriya becoming---”

“Doku.”

“What?” 

“His name is Doku. Not Midoriya”

“Yes, yes, but how did your friend changing into---”

“That isn’t my friend.”

“...Yes, Todoroki, but you have to understand that that is Midoriya, the same---”

“It’s Doku.”

She had willed herself to breathe in and out, steadying her heart. Normally, she would never lose her cool this easily, but dealing with eight other students, who had given her nothing, absolutely JACKSHIT---

No, calm down.

Bakugou was not any better. In fact, he was worse. At least the other students responded with complete sentences. But the blond had resorted to making low, animal-like growls, and witty one-liners such as 'Go to hell!', 'Fuck you!', 'As if!', and, her personal favorite, 'Just die!'. At that point, she wished she could have. 

“Bakugou, I understand that you and Midoriya were very close childhood friends.”

Shinju waited for a response.

Bakugou didn’t even look at her, sunk so low in his seat that he was barely on the edge, “Oh, get FUCKED!”

“...and you also were...greatly affected by the encounter at the mall. The doctors had even said that you had been inconsolable.”

“I WAS CONSOLABLE.”

“In your report, in fact, they were most concerned for your mental wellbeing out of the rest of the bunch. You had been subject to far more than you should’ve at such a young age. Most pro heroes, as old as they are, have not gone through what you have gone through. The Sludge villain, the kidnapping, and now, your best friend being taken by the very thing you have been sworn to defeat. It’s probably very mind-boggling. Why don’t you tell me about that? How you’re feeling?”

“Go to HELL.”

Shinju sighed, tapping her pen against her clipboard, pushing her glasses up with her other hand. The sheets of paper in front of her were blank, save for a few bullet points that she had scribbled down. 'Protective', 'Close to…?' She hadn't even remembered which students she had written those down for.

She looked down, then looked back up, staring at Bakugou’s downturned face, “Okay, you’re not going to give me anything? Gonna play hard to get? That’s fine by me. I’ve already had a rather frustrating day. This isn’t going to make it worse, not if I can help it. This is what I think, yeah? Sit there and listen, tell me to kill myself, tell me whatever makes you happy, sweetheart, but I need you to realize: you have to deal with whatever you are feeling right now. Throwing up in the toilet? Acting all angry all the time? That’s not coping. That’s not healthy at all. Mr. Aizawa had even said that you had been crying, more than you ever had before. He had even told me of the situation at the gym at your school. This Doku person is tearing you apart. So, please. Understand that I am quite frustrated when I see children who I know are broken, who I know are hurting, push that all aside for the so-called ‘greater good'. I have dealt with many heroes in my life. And they were the same as you all. Detached, even angry, insistent that they were fine, they were okay. But they weren’t.

Heroes are by far the most tortured creatures on our planet. Heroes are, when it comes down to it, really just actors. Being a hero is far more than just saving people and calling it a day. You must have the ability to get rid of your own doubt, fear, pain, suffering, all for the rest of the world. You must be able to give hope when there is no hope. Smile, when there’s no reason to smile.”

Bakugou looked up for the first time that whole session. Deku’s bright and unwavering smile flashed across his vision. When he had saved Bakugou from the Sludge villain, he had been wearing that big and stupid smile, tears falling down his face. The boy was quirkless. Nothing, shit under his boots. But he had still rushed forward, thrown his bookbag forward, and begun to rip at the sludge to help Bakugou escape.

Shinju took the eye contact in stride, folding her hands over her clipboard, “You understand that, right? You have seen what All Might has become. He no longer has to maintain that smiling, buff, ‘I am here!’ persona anymore. When was the last time you’ve seen him smile? That blinding, endearing smile? Tell me.”

Bakugou didn’t respond, looking away. He was being rather accepting of her words, and she was surprised. She half expected him to get up and walk out of the room. She was so worried that he would end up doing that, so she continued without a moment’s notice. 

“Exactly. So, trust me: I understand why you can’t tell me anything. Why you all can’t spill what you are feeling. But forgive me if I get angry at the world that has changed children like you into expendable pawns.”

Bakugou tched, shaking his head. He couldn’t say he disagreed, but it was indeed a new revelation for him...he had never looked at it like that.

Dr. Shinju closed her eyes, breathing deep, before opening them again and saying, “I think it’s time for our group session now. Please call everyone in. I’ll be waiting here.” She took off her glasses, folding them neatly and placing them on top of her clipboard. She rubbed a hand across her face and watched as Bakugou stood slowly, discombobulated, eyes staring forward at nothing in particular. 

He walked out of the room, into the waiting room. Everyone was already there, waiting expectantly. They all snapped their heads up as he entered and he grunted, gesturing with his head towards the room. The students stood, following him in a single file line into the room. There were eleven chairs already in a circle with Shinju at the top of the circle, drumming her fingers on the wooden clipboard. She studied each student carefully as they silently found a seat in the circle. She made note of who sat by who, who seemed to be friends. If their words wouldn’t tell her, their bodies would. She watched as Kaminari crossed the room, out of his way, so that he could sit by Jirou. Kirishima immediately took residence next to Bakugou, without a second thought, despite all the empty seats in the circle. Mina had placed herself in the seat adjacent to Kirishima and was followed by Uraraka, then Tsu, then Hagakure, and Yaoyorozu, who was also next to Jirou. On Kaminari’s left, Sero took his place, with Todoroki taking the remaining seat in between Sero and Dr. Shinju.  

Now, going from Shinju’s left, it went, Bakugou, Kirishima, Mina, Uraraka, Tsuyu, Hagakure, Yaoyorozu, Jirou, Kaminari, Sero, and then Todoroki. She squinted a little. It was a little difficult to see without her glasses, but she would make due.  

At first glance, it was obvious that Kaminari and Jirou were close. Shinju had not seen Kaminari twitch or fidget once, calmed by Jirou’s mere presence. They wordlessly were sharing gentle touches, with Jirou absentmindedly brushing her fingers across the back of Kaminari’s hand, soothing him whenever his leg would bounce, or his fingers reached for each other. 

Kirishima and Bakugou on the other hand were close but had not even bothered to speak to each other. Kirishima was staring down at his shoes and Bakugou had rested his chin in his hands, both completely silent. It was a bond of mutual respect, one that didn’t need conversations to keep it going. Just sitting together was enough to calm Bakugou. His eyes had softened considerably and he was less rigid than before. When Kirishima wasn’t looking, Bakugou cast him a worried glance, his mouth pouted, then looked away quickly before anyone saw him. 

Mina was also seeking solace in Kirishima, placing her hand on top of his. Kirishima looked up and smiled softly, not as big as usual, but enough to soothe her. She had been the stiffest, her eyes wide open like a deer caught in headlights. With his smile, she relaxed, withdrawing her hand and placing it on Uraraka’s shoulder who was jolted by the touch. 

Tsu meanwhile, was wrapped in herself, feet up on the chair, knees to her chest, occasionally ribbiting sadly. To her left, Hagakure sat, back straight, legs straight, feet pressed together, sitting as if she was about to greet a king of some sort. Shinju mentally scratched a note in her head. No, the invisible girl seemed to be the stiffest, unmoving, unfeeling. Without a face to look at, Shinju had no idea what Hagakure was thinking. 

Beside her, Yaoyorozu sat, hands clasped in her lap, her legs crossed all dainty-like doing some breathing exercises. She was the most level-headed, Shinju observed. Though she was worried, she was able to remain calm. A perfect leader for their class.

Her eyes trailed to the end of the circle, Sero and Todoroki. Sero was rubbing his shoulder gently, obviously trying to dull the pain that was bothering him there. His knees bounced, and his mouth was pressed in a hard frown. He was...frustrated. She hadn’t seen that in him during their session. 

Lastly, Todoroki. Son of Endeavor. He was a loner. A little lost in his own element. The way he had stood, looking around for a seat, before just taking the last one...someone who was alone for the first time in a while. He had no one to sit with, no one to comfort or be comforted by. It made her sad, seeing this boy staring forward with cold and hard-set eyes. 

Shinju tapped her pen once, twice, to get the children’s attention, “Hello, all. Welcome to our first group session. I’m just going to jump right into it. I understand that none of you are willing to give me a straight and direct answer, that you don’t want to give me the truth. I understand. But I don’t like it. So here’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to have a ‘confession session’. I feel it’ll be easier for you to share your worries and thoughts with the people who most likely share the same worries and thoughts. We’re not leaving this room until we can feel like we made some progress. Got it?”

The students looked at each other, surprised by this new approach. They nodded sullenly, realizing that she would most likely stick to her word. 

She smiled, “All right. Take it away.”

Silence. No one spoke up.

They fidgeted, Kaminari coughed. It was awkward. 

“Okay, why don’t I get us started with a question? What was your initial reaction to Doku’s reveal?” Shinju leaned back, pen at the ready, looking at each of the students individually.

“Shocked,” Hagakure piped up.

“In denial," Kaminari quietly stated.

“The world was caving in,” Kirishima bounced off of Kaminari.

“Impossible,” Uraraka whispered.

Shinju was writing at impossible speeds, jotting down every word the students spoke, hoping to retain as much information as possible. She could work with this in the next session. 

“Now, what about the mall? How were you all feeling? This time give me some complete sentences and examples if you could.” She looked up and made eye contact with Jirou.

“When...when he stabbed me, I was totally caught off guard. I was scared for my life. I--I’ve never felt that kind of pain before. I still...I still think about it.” Jirou rubbed her arm a little, casting her gaze downward, her cheeks flushing in embarrassment. Kaminari placed his hand over the one she had brought up to her arm and looked down as well, “When I had to shoot him...I didn’t feel very heroic. It felt---it felt so wrong. I...I don’t know. I just remember Yamomo handing me the gun and feeling so much like a villain at that moment. I know what I did was for a good reason, and I had every right to...but I still can’t shake the feeling that it was...evil.”

Mina wrapped her arms around herself, “I broke off from everyone to help escort the civilians out safely. Leaving my friends hurt so bad. I knew it had to be done, that we needed order in the chaos but I so badly just wanted to leave the people and help my friends. I heard...I heard so many yells and bangs and I couldn’t go and see. Are they okay? Are they alive? I--I didn’t even know if they were alive. I was so worried, it hurt. It felt so wrong to smile and help the people. Do I...do I even deserve to be a hero if I think that way? So selfishly?” 

Her classmates quickly reassured her, Uraraka placing an arm around her shoulder, insisting that no, we all have selfish thoughts. We all want to do what we think is right. 

“Angry.” Todoroki bluntly said among the chatter. Everyone stopped talking and turned toward him. He looked around confused, “What?”

Dr. Shinju stared at him and made a motion with her hand, Go on.

Todoroki looked down at his tightly clasped hands and continued, “I was angry. I was sad. I was confused. I have never seen Midoriya like this, I have never been...I don’t know, so lost. I...and Iida too. He threw himself over Doku to protect us and he was hurt in consequence. The sound...the sound of his body...hitting the wall...The crack...” Everyone in the room grimaced, all collectively reliving that moment. Bakugou sneered, a lump forming in his throat. He too couldn't forget that sound. In the silence of his hospital room, it would echo around him, like a phantom ghost with a broken record. Todoroki’s hand was slowly icing over and he willed himself to stop overreacting, to calm down, “I don’t want another friend to get hurt. I don’t want another friend to be taken. I want Iida to wake up and I want Midoriya back.”

He fell silent, his knuckles turning white as he squeezed his hands even tighter.

Dr. Shinju nodded, looking around before asking, “Any other thoughts?”

Uraraka looked away and Shinju took notice, turning her body to face her, “Uraraka, how about you? I see that you and Midoriya were close friends, and your friend Iida is now in a state of comatose because of him.” 

Uraraka shook her head, “Oh, I don’t want to bother anyone with what I feel. Besides, I feel bad after what Todoroki said, I don’t know, I--I don’t know…”

Shinju tapped her pen against her clipboard again, “No, no, please. This is a space where you can share anything and everything. None of us mind. In fact, it will better help both you and me if you would let it out. Let’s hear it.”

Uraraka looked down, her bangs shadowing her eyes, “Well, you see...I wasn’t...particularly angry. I was sad. Sadder than I had ever been before. I don’t think I’ve ever cried this much. I was surprised at myself. Why was I crying so much? Yes...Deku had meant a lot to me, but...I was just so torn apart by it all. The thought that a hero could just so easily be a villain. Especially someone as pure as Deku. He never meant harm to anyone. That---that isn’t him. I don’t know...And at the mall. For the first time in a while, I was happy, I was feeling bliss. But then it was all taken away. In the blink of an eye. The world went so--so cold and bleak and gray. I didn’t even...He grabbed my shoulder roughly, he...he cut my neck, and he threw me into Kaminari but that wasn’t what hurt. What really hurt was seeing his eyes. Seeing him. He was my hero. I looked up to him. I wanted to be like him. And...It was all taken in less than two weeks.

And Iida...Iida still hasn’t woken up...I don’t even...I miss him. So much. Iida wanted nothing more than to save Deku, and now he can’t even wake up. It’s a...It’s…”

“A nightmare.”

Everyone snapped their heads to Bakugou, whose arms were crossed, staring at the center of the floor. His voice was softer than usual, and the rest of the students had almost not recognized it. The silence in the room was deafening.

He continued, “We’re living in a nightmare...Trust me, I would know. That day...the broadcast, I really thought I was in a nightmare. OH DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT!” He snapped as he saw Kirishima’s eyes on him. Kirishima didn’t wipe the distraught look off his face as he nodded, encouraging Bakugou to continue. “Nevermind. Forget I said anything.”

Dr. Shinju shook her head, leaning forward, “No, no. I want to hear what you have to say.”

Bakugou turned away, “It’s...it’s my fault. Everything that happened. I…I was the one who spurred him on, angered him. I’m the reason why he is the way he is.” Everyone was stunned, stupefied into silence as they gawked at the spectacle in front of them. Was Bakugou...apologizing?

“No one would’ve gotten hurt if I wasn’t so damn WEAK. I’m so-... It was my mistake. I...It’s all my fault.” He looked away, his eyes soft and sad, grumbling under his breath. 

“Jirou's arm? Todoroki’s hand? Sero’s shoulder? Iida in a coma? God--it’s all because of ME.” Bakugou stood then, abruptly, turning to Shinju, his eyes brimming with tears, his mouth in a grimace, “You...what’d you do to me?!” He brought his fists up, setting off mini-explosions in his palm.

Kirishima stood too, holding Bakugou back, “Woah, man! Chill! Calm down!” Bakugou pointed an accusatory finger at Shinju, “WHAT DID YOU DO TO US?”

Sero stood as well, “Bakugou, I know it’s hard to talk about these kinds of things, but you can’t just go around accusing---”

“No, no, Sero. It’s quite alright. He is, in fact, correct.” Shinju grabbed her glasses, adjusting them before standing to meet Bakugou. She barely reached his shoulders and she looked up from the shadows of her bangs and made direct eye contact with Bakugou. “I have in fact been using my quirk this whole time.”

Murmurs and gasps of astonishment rattled through the room. “What?” Kirishima breathed, shaken, immediately letting go of Bakugou.

Shinju stepped forward, past Bakugou and Kirishima into the center of the circle, “My quirk is called Candor. By making direct eye contact with a person, I can withdraw any truth from the person in question. You never realized, but as I looked at all of you, you were involuntarily forced to speak the truthful answers to my questions. It’s why I have these glasses. They shield me from using my quirk normally, but because I had taken them off, I could see what everyone was thinking and feeling. Usually, when counseling, I refrain from using my quirk. But you lot were rather difficult to convince...so I gave you a little nudge is all.” 

The room had fallen into an uncomfortable and smothering silence for the third time that day. Suddenly all the weird pulling on their chests, the stuttering, and the total honesty in their words made sense. Mina brought a hand up and touched her lips. No…

“Bakugou, you were actually the only person I have ever used it on that recognized it. Usually, the criminals I use my quirk against don't notice and just blurt out their confessions. Well, I guess now is the time to tell you, I’m not an actual counselor. At least, not a licensed one with this hospital. I actually work for the police force. Mr. Nezu placed me here without Detective Tsukauchi’s permission as a means of getting you to open up about what happened at the mall. Whoops, I think I’ve said too much. Along with the fact I can make others speak the truth, I myself cannot tell anything but the truth.”

The students stared at her, anger, malice, fear, disappointment, and pure sadness in their eyes, the very same eyes she had manipulated into telling her the truth. She stared back, indifferent. It was her job anyway. 

She had never said she wasn’t a robot of the hero industry. 

“I think that does it for this session. Thank you all for coming, and I’ll see you tomorrow.” Shinju grabbed her clipboard, and with as much decency as someone can have after deceiving a group of teenagers, strode out the door, head held high.

Needless to say, the students didn’t show up for their next session.

 

 

 

Now, it had been a couple of days since everyone’s release from the hospital, save for Iida, and the class was more depressed than they had been before. The fact that their own principal had subject them to some so-called “counseling” without their permission was...infuriating. They set up camp in their rooms, with every intention of never leaving, except when necessary.

Todoroki stared forward at the blank sheet of paper in front of him, unable to form a single coherent thought. He had been attempting to write a letter to his mother in the hospital, but it was futile. He didn’t want to trouble her with his worries and he really had nothing else to talk about. He stood, and left his room, wanting to get the hell out of these fucking dorms. It was suffocating. The walls felt as if they were closing in on him. 

He stepped out and shut the door behind him. He slumped against it, closing his eyes and breathing deeply.

“...Todoroki?” 

He looked up in surprise and found Yaoyorozu standing outside her bedroom, her door open as if she was just walking in.

“Yes?” Todoroki asked, blinking.

“Where are you going at this hour? It’s almost eleven…” She closed the door, stepping into the hallway, hand still on the doorknob.

Todoroki clenched his teeth, his eyes hardening, “Well, how about you? What are you doing, Yaoyorozu?” She flinched, looking away. Todoroki’s gaze quickly softened, “Sorry, sorry...sorry, it’s just I...I feel like I can’t breathe. I can’t stand another second in my room. I’ve just been so agitated…” He didn’t need a truth-revealing quirk to spill to Yaoyorozu the hurricane of emotions surrounding him, threatening to cave in on him. 

“No, no. I understand. Don’t worry about it. I...I was visiting some of our classmates’ rooms. You know...how Iida used to? I...felt the need to continue that for him. He would’ve wanted that.” Yaoyorozu still didn’t look at him. Unspoken between them was the fact that she needed that. That she had needed to see her friends and be held and be reassured and be told it was okay. She needed to rub slow circles on her friends’ backs as they cried into her shoulder, as they all broke and everything they knew was taken.

She had tried sleeping, don’t get it twisted. She had. She had gone and closed her eyes, placing on her eye mask, letting her hair fly out around her like a halo as she sunk into her plush pillows. Just as she had begun to doze off she felt her throat close off, a warm and uncomfortably stingy sensation on her neck as she was choked. She had jolted, grabbing at her eye mask, breathing heavily. The feeling of Doku’s arm around her neck was as present as it had been that day. Even though the encounter had lasted a couple of seconds, it had been enough for her mind to encapture it in perfect detail.

She looked up at Todoroki, who had cast his gaze downward. She remembered how Doku had pierced Todoroki’s hand and remembered how much blood there was. One thought led to another and she began recounting the sticky and warm feeling of Jirou’s blood on her as she held her and wrapped it up behind the onigiri counter. Jirou had cried out as Yaoyorozu doused the wound in alcohol and Yaoyorozu had quickly shushed her with her hand, whispering for her to be silent. Jirou’s tears had fallen down her face, over Yaoyorozu’s hand as the latter wrapped the wound as best she could.

Yaoyorozu shut her eyes tightly, willing herself to breathe steadily. She felt a tentative hand on her shoulder and she opened her eyes to find Todoroki standing in front of her, worry painted across his face.

“Yaoyorozu, what’s the matter?” He asked, stern and nervous.

She chuckled a little, blinking away the prickly sensation in her eyes, “Nothing...nothing, Todoroki. Sorry for bothering you. I hope that you may be able to feel more comfortable here again.”

She turned, opening the door, not looking back, “Good night, Todoroki.”

Todoroki ran a finger over his bandaged palm, “‘Night…”

When she had closed the door, Todoroki turned around, making his way to the staircase. Since he was on the top floor, it would take a while to reach the ground floor, but it didn’t matter. He would take the staircase over the elevator any day. No one used it anymore. It seemed to serve as a sort of shrine for the Midoriya that had died there. 

Just as he reached the platform for the fourth floor, he saw Uraraka ascending from the third. They both froze, looking at each other.

“Todoroki...Surprise seeing you up so late.” Uraraka nervously laughed, rubbing the back of her head.

Todoroki stared back at her, tilting his head, “Uraraka. What were you doing downstairs?” 

Uraraka looked back down the way she had come, “Oh, just getting some fresh air. I’ve been cooped up in my room all week, so…”

They didn’t ask what they had wanted to ask. They didn’t say what they had wanted to say.

Should we continue...without him?

Todoroki, Iida, and Uraraka, since a little after Doku’s reveal, had begun researching and theorizing about Doku and Midoriya. They banded together every night in Iida’s room and talked and typed and noted any and all possibilities, trying to narrow it down to a possible explanation. What the news had been saying was ridiculous: UA student a villain all along? 

No. 

Midoriya was never and will never be a villain.

The three had wholeheartedly believed that there was no way Midoriya had just woken up one day and decided he would be a villain. The blood in the elevator didn’t explain that. The red eyes and red glow of his power don't explain that.

This had been why Todoroki wanted to share these theories and revelations with the police force. They could fill in the blanks the students were missing. 

“...I don’t mean to be selfish. But...but I feel like Iida would have wanted us to continue our research...continue trying to understand this mess…” Uraraka finally piped up.

Todoroki nodded, a ghost of a smile on his face, “He would yell at us for wasting ‘precious time'.”

Uraraka breathed out from her mouth, not a laugh, but close enough, “...He would…”

Todoroki looked down at his feet, “I was also thinking...why don’t we ask Bakugou to...I don’t know, join our little research group?”

Uraraka’s eyes gleamed, “I had been thinking about that too! But...I’m not exactly sure he would be up for it.”

Todoroki nodded, “Trust me, I understand. We’ll see if Iida wakes up---”

When Iida wakes up.” Uraraka corrected him, her tone stone cold.

Todoroki had not even realized his choice of words and he froze, his eyes open wide. Not if...please not if... I’m sorry. His brain projected, willing the message to reach Iida. 

When. When Iida wakes up.” Todoroki assured.

“We get Bakugou on our team.” Uraraka nodded curtly.

What the duo had not realized is that Bakugou already knew about their little research group. Had seen them convene together and lug around books about villainy and corruption, spend too much time in the school’s library, you know, the works. They looked like fucking nerds. It was repulsive. 

A thought had zoomed through Bakugou’s head, a flash of light in his darkened and shadowed mind. It was stomped on immediately, the fire burning out, leaving just the smoke that rose off of it. Maybe I could talk to them about what I’ve been thinking up of---

NO.

He didn’t need help. He would get to the bottom of this himself, and give that stupid little Deku a piece of his mind. 

But now, after Iida, he was seriously reconsidering his decision. He groaned at the thought of working together with those snot-nosed idiots but it had to be done. He needed to get to the bottom of this, fast. Get Deku back, fast. Beat the ever-loving shit out of him, ASAP. 

Maybe they’ve been fooled more than once, betrayed twice, and fucked over too many times to count.

But that wouldn’t stop them.

Because Midoriya was a hero. Through and through. And now that hero needed saving. Whether he liked it or not. Whether he needed it or not. It didn’t matter.

He had been their hero for so long.

And now it was their turn to save him.

Chapter Text

 

Bakugou slumped down on the couch further, begging the leather to absorb him so he could escape whatever conversation the boys were having around him.

“Midnight isn’t that attractive. I said what I said! I said what I said!” Sero insisted, holding his hands up in surrender as some protested. “What are you on, dude?” Kaminari asked, baffled. “She’s oldddd!” Sero groaned, throwing his head back, “She’s literally older than Mr. Aizawa, which is gross to think about. But Mt. Lady on the other hand...Now, she is someone I can get behind. Both metaphorically and physically if you know what I meannnn---” He stuck his tongue out and danced in his seat a little bit. Some of the boys cried out “Ewww!”.

Mineta shivered, “NO. Trust me...that thing ...she’s a demon!”

Ojiro scratched his cheek, a little flustered, “Can we please change the subject?” He had not realized that sitting with the other boys would mean this rather awkward conversation. 

Kirishima nodded, “No, I have a better topic of discussion. What about our girls? Huh?” The others laughed nervously, overlapping chatter filling the room before Sero threw his arms up, “SILENCE! Before we start, I’m laying it down from now. Denki TOTALLY has the hots for Jirou, and no, I do not accept criticism.”

He let his arms fall back down as chaos ensued. “Oooooh!” Everyone cooed.

Kaminari stood up from his couch, cheeks flushed as red as Kirishima’s hair, “HEY---STOP--NO--Sero!” He turned towards Sero, hitting him on the head repeatedly. Sero laughed, shielding himself from Kaminari’s attacks as Bakugou watched them, maybe just a little amused as he rolled his eyes. Of course, Kaminari liked her. It was so painfully obvious, even if the boy himself was oblivious to it. 

The way he looked at her with big, bright puppy dog eyes, like she was the sun and he was but a small planet whose mere existence served only to revolve around her. 

Kaminari slammed himself back down onto his couch, pouting, unable to fight against the boys’ insistent teasing. Mineta had stood on the hand rest and was making kissing sounds next to his ear. “WELL, OKAY, but what about Todoroki, huh? Mr. Handsome? He has to like someone. I mean everyone likes him! You have a crush, don’t you? It’s always the quiet ones, I’m telling you.”

Todoroki looked up from his phone, confused as to why he was suddenly mentioned in a conversation about girls of all things. “What?” 

Sero narrowed his eyes at Kaminari, “It's obvious you’re just trying to divert the attention away from you, dumbass. And it’s working, ‘cause now I’m intrigued about Todoroki and his crush.” From where he was sitting, Bakugou had also straightened a little, pretending to be scrolling on his phone, while keeping an ear open for whatever Half and Half’s answer would be. This should be good.

Everyone’s attention was now fixated on Todoroki who was like a deer caught in headlights. He sat, thumbs still hovering over the screen, about to text Fuyumi back. “Uh...crush? I don't intend to crush anyone.”

Kirishima slapped his forehead, “Oh, the poor boy! He doesn’t even know what a crush is!” Kaminari snickered, standing up to grab Todoroki’s shoulders, “Ah, I can see now.” He turned to the rest of the group, flourishing unnecessarily, “My brethren, it is time that we show Shoto here the beautiful creation that is women.” 

Kirishima and Sero simultaneously bowed, faces serious but their mouths quivering with suppressed laughter. “Hark! We must educate the young lad! Son, when a person likes someone romantically, they develop what we call a ‘crush’. So now that begs the question: Shoto Todoroki, who is your crush?” Kaminari asked, losing the deep and commanding voice he had been using, eager to see the boy’s answer.

Todoroki stared back at him blankly, “Uh...yeah I don’t like anyone romantically. I mean, I wouldn’t even know what it would feel like to feel ‘romantically’ towards someone else.” 

“That’s just sad, dude,” Kirishima commented, falling back into his seat, disappointed. Bakugou also slumped a little, annoyed with nothing interesting to listen to. Sero elbowed Kaminari, a mischievous smile dancing on his face, “Hey, Sparks, I think you might be able to help him out on this one. You know, telling him how loveee feels? You must feel it every time you look at Jirou---” Kaminari threw a pillow at the black-haired boy who was laughing his ass off. 

“There’s no point in denying it. Come on, help a brother out. Man to man!” Kirishima slammed his fists together, smiling big at Kaminari’s flushed face. 

Kaminari rolled his eyes, giving in, “Okay, well IF, and that’s a big ‘if’. IF I did like a girl, this is what it feels like.” 

He turned to Todoroki, eyes softening a little, his tone serious, ”It’s this weird little feeling in your stomach. At first, you think you’re hungry or you ate something that isn't agreeing with you. But then you notice it’s every time you look at her. It’s every time she laughs at your jokes or even at your expense. It’s when she makes eye contact with you accidentally, turning away quickly and blushing. It’s the times when she truly smiles, letting her eyes scrunch up and her mouth open wide, and she smiles so big you think her cheeks will break. Or when she sticks her tongue out a little when she writes, or when she’s really concentrating, she absentmindedly twirls her earjacks---”

“AYO! THAT’S GETTING MAD SPECIFIC!” Sero screeched, bringing a fist up to his mouth as he laughed loudly, eyes open wide. Bakugou snickered quietly, hiding his smile in his shirt as he swiped on his phone at the stupid game he was playing. Todoroki smiled ever so slightly, aware that Kaminari had just unintentionally confessed to his ‘crush’. The rest of the boys ‘Oo’ed and laughed along with Sero as Kaminari fumbled to make an excuse. He eventually gave up, “Okay! Maybe I do like her. LET ME FINISH.”

The boys silenced, though still jittery with this new confirmation. 

“You think it’s a bad feeling, but it feels so good. And you want to feel that way forever. You want to protect her, you want to make sure she’s safe, you want to hold her. It’s so many things at once. And these butterflies in your stomach fly up and infect your heart, pollinating it with the feelings of love and happiness.” Sero turned to Kirishima, whispering under his breath, “This analogy is getting a little weird.” Kirishima pushed him slightly, silencing him with a finger on his lips.

Kaminari lowered his head, “So you see. They ruin you from the inside out. But it’s so damn good.”

The room fell into silence. 

Todoroki looked away, “I see...I mean, I have never felt that way at all...but I guess that I do feel a little bit of a bond with Yao---”

BEEP, BEEP. BEEP.

Everyone’s phones simultaneously went off, a loud and vibrant sound filling the room. It was a message from Mr. Aizawa, classified as urgent.

 

AIZAWA

Iida woke up. 

 

The boys, including Bakugou, all looked up at each other, eyes bright and happy before they heard the thundering of the girls’ footsteps on the stairwell.

 

 

 

‘What?’

‘What is this place?’

“--prepare yourselves for the likely chance that he just may not ever wake up. The damage done to his brain was far more than we could have anticipated...the nerves most likely punctured by some of the glass and…”

A woman’s sob, followed quickly by another voice speaking up.

“No, that---that can’t be true. He has to wake up.”

“I understand, Mr. Iida, and we are doing everything we can to make sure that he does, but...I just need you to know that that is a possibility.”

“Of course, we know that’s a possibility! It’s all we’ve been thinking about. It’s what’s been keeping me awake at night. Why do you think we’re here?”

“Tensei, please! Don’t raise your voice in the hospital.”

‘Mother...Tensei...Father…’

‘I’m here, can’t you see?’ 

‘I can hear you...but I’m guessing you can’t hear me. Am I...dead?’

‘No, it can’t be.’

“I refuse to give up hope. Tenya is in there. He’s going to come back to us. I have a feeling, Mom. Don’t worry.”

‘Yes, brother, I’m here! I’m here...please...I’m here.’

From the darkness and depths of his cloudy mind, Iida reached a hand out to the stricken and saddened family in front of him. They were so close, yet so far. His fingers could almost reach, could almost clutch his father’s tailcoats as he did when he was younger, could almost reach for his mother’s hand as he did whenever he needed to calm himself or her down...could almost reach for Tensei’s shoulder, as he had made a habit of after the accident at Hosu, grabbing him as if to ground them both, hold them to the Earth. 

But they were too far. He wasn’t ready yet. He needed to be. He had to get out of this hell. 

He could only watch from afar, unmoving, and unable to intervene. 

The past week, through this ghostlike guise, he had watched his mother lose sleep over his lifeless form, holding his hand, a handkerchief pressed to her mouth and nose as she tried to steady her breathing. He had listened as his father talked to him about the new advancements at his work or sometimes something as simple as what he had had for lunch.

He had observed as Tensei wheeled himself at the end of his bed, placing his elbows on his paralyzed legs, his hands clasped in front of his face, watching Iida. After a while, Tensei would look away, his eyes tired of forcing Iida to wake, and would wheel himself out. 

He had seen the conversation between Tensei and Bakugou, though he couldn’t hear what they said. He watched as Tensei broke for the first time, his sobs moving his whole body. His wails were silent but so loud to Iida that he felt as if Tensei was yelling in his ear.

‘Brother...please. Do not fret over me. I am here. Do not worry. Move on. I’ll be back soon, I promise.’

He didn’t know how true that was.

 

 

 

Tuesday, at 7:53 PM, Tenya Iida stirred. 

He, of course, still could not open his eyes, but his arm twitched, his fingers moving ever so slightly. His mother’s eyes widened and she screamed in glee, crying tears of happiness as she watched his arm move up to touch the bandages wrapped around his eyes. 

“TENYA! TENYA, THANK GOD!” She cried, taking his hands in hers. Iida was still disorientated, unable to grasp why he was awake, but yet could not see. He heard the sound of the door opening and wheels on tiles followed by Tensei’s familiar voice, “He’s awake?! OH MY GOD, HE’S AWAKE! TENYA!” 

Iida could only feel as he listened to the hustle and bustle of doctors filing in, twisting knobs he couldn’t see, brushing past him, panic rising in his throat. Why couldn’t he see? Where were his glasses? His hand thrashed in the open air, trying to make contact with anything, grab someone. He felt a big and sturdy hand grip him, “Tenten, it’s okay, I’m here. It’s me, Tensei. Calm down, I gotcha.”

Iida squeezed his tired muscles gently as he steadied his rapid breathing. He opened his mouth, attempting to form a sentence but only a hoarse gasp escaped past his lips. He heard a quiet and shaky chuckle, “Yeah, I don’t think talking will be the easiest thing to do right about now.” Iida felt a drip of something on his hand, then another and another. He realized: Tensei was crying. 

He squeezed tighter, digging his nails into Tensei’s palms: I’m here. See? I’m here.

Tensei laughed again, “Good morning, Sleeping Beauty. We missed you.”

Iida smiled a little, feeling himself calm down, relaxing into the bed. He needed to assess. He knew he had been attacked by Doku, that much he could remember. He remembered wrapping his arms around Doku, pulling him away from Uraraka and Todoroki, before Doku had slammed his hand into his face, pressing in. A sharp pain, unlike anything that he had ever felt, before he was kicked in the stomach, whatever cry he was about to let out suppressed by the impact. A loud bang and a crack and that was when his world went dark. 

It was safe to assume he was in a hospital, but the reactions of his family were concerning. The cries, sobs, and tears. It was as if he had died. But here he was, very much alive. 

“...Te--...Tensei…” He managed to croak out. Tensei leaned forward, his elbows now on the mattress of the bed, “Hey, hey, don’t push yourself just yet. I’ll explain everything in a second. The doctors needa give you a checkup before we can talk, okay?”

Iida felt his brother’s hand fall away and he curled his fingers into themselves as if to trap the warmth the hand had brought him. He felt the cold metal of a stethoscope on his chest and he closed his eyes, waiting for it to be over.

A numbness fell over him. His brain was foggy and his hearing was a little fuzzy. He straightened his back a little and found that he could only move so far, restricted by a plaster surrounding him. Had he broken his back? And what of his eyes? He had been avoiding the thought of his eyes since he had awoken. His eyesight was something he had taken very seriously, always making sure to supplement himself with the proper vitamins, wearing protective goggles when training. He even had nightmares where he couldn’t see or his eyesight was blurry, despite his glasses. 

It was why he was so scared of contacts. What if they stuck to his eyes? What if the velocities at which he ran at were too fast and they crinkled up and dried out quickly? What if they melted? It was too risky. But he had never thought of his glasses being used as a weapon against him. That unnerving and bone-shattering feeling in his eyes was from his own glasses fighting back at him. 

Now he felt a dull ache in them and he knew he would never be the same. 

“Alright, I need you to answer a few questions for me,” a nurse spoke somewhere to his right. She placed a cup to his lips and tipped it back as he leaned forward into it, lapping it up. He hadn’t realized how dehydrated he was. 

“What’s your name?” 

He opened his mouth and coughed as he tried to speak. He cleared his throat multiple times, swallowing his spit before he continued, “Tenya Iida.”

“Age and date of birth?”

“Sixteen. August 22nd.”

“Do you recognize the man who just came through?”

“My brother, Tensei Iida.”

“Do you feel any pain as of right now?”

“...No, I don’t think so…”

“What was the last thing you remember?”

“My glasses smashed in and being kicked.”

“And do you know where you are and what happened after?”

“I must be in a hospital, right? I don’t remember at all what happened after. Is everyone safe? Are they okay? Today was one hectic day…”

“Today?...Oh, Tenya. You don’t know?”

Iida paused, freezing, every part of him stiffening. His brain moved a mile a second, running through the list of his friends, anyone who had been there. Who died? Who was hurt? He was mentally preparing himself. He didn’t know if he was ready to lose another person. Lose...anything more than he had already. If it was Uraraka or Todoroki...he didn’t know what he would do with himself. His mind began creating image after image, a detailed play-by-play of what he thought could happen. Without his vision, his brain was creating high-quality, HD and 4K terrors. The black knife slashing Uraraka’s throat, her blood spilling out down her neck and chest as she fell to her knees. Todoroki’s hand being severed off, Yaoyorozu’s legs chopped out from under her, Bakugou’s chest being ripped open--STOP.

Calm down. Rationalize. She hasn’t even told you what had happened.

“Didn’t know what?”

“You’ve been in a coma for nearly two weeks.”

That made him go even more rigid if that was even possible.

I was...what?!

Everyone’s reactions were starting to make a lot more sense. Since he was in the black void of his mind for so long, he had no perception of time. He had thought it was still that same day.

“It’s okay. Breathe. Let me first assure you that all of your friends are safe and alive. They have all already been treated and discharged from the hospital. You are the only one that is still in our care. Now, let me explain to you what happened. When your teacher Mr. Aizawa had arrived, he immediately began to assess the situation. He determined that you had broken something in your back and your eyes were swollen shut. On top of that, you had a couple of fractured ribs. You were in...critical condition. We immediately brought you into surgery. Spent a long 12 hours just extracting the glass very carefully from your eyes. Which, by the way, you should be able to use them again normally in a couple of days or so. We had thought that your unconsciousness was temporary until you didn’t wake up that day. Or the next. Or the next. You had fallen into a coma. And, well, here you are! Awake.”

A coma.

For two weeks. Fourteen days. Three hundred and thirty-six hours. Twenty thousand one hu---

“I can see you’re freaking out a little bit. I need you to breathe in and out for me, alright? We have your teacher on the way, probably followed by your classmates. Let’s get you ready for them, yeah? We’ll see the progress on your eyes, replace the bandages, test your balance, check for concussions. The whole deal. How does that sound?”

Iida couldn’t talk anymore. He turned his head away, breathing hard. He nodded a little bit and he felt the nurse walk away. 

Guess it was time to move on.

 

 

 

Iida still couldn’t see, but he made sure to hone in his hearing so he could listen for any oncoming footsteps in the hallway outside. His mother and Tensei had been by his side since the checkup, his father still on his way from work, probably going speeds he shouldn’t be going. His mother was holding his hand, tracing the lines of his palm gently with her fingers. They were silent, and the silence unnerved him even more now that he couldn’t see. 

What was happening around him? Were they staring at him? Were they looking at each other? He felt so detached from the world. He was submerged in a permanent black cloud, unable to open his eyes. The only things keeping him grounded was the feeling of his mother’s cold hand on his, the smell of a hospital, the feeling of the sheets below him, and the pillows on his head and back. 

He put all his concentration into these feelings until the only thing left was him and those sensations. Next, he began trying to identify the sounds around him without needing to ask. The quiet 'brrr' was the air conditioning. The 'beep beep' to his right was his heart monitor. The muted sound of footsteps was from the outside and they were coming closer and closer and 'knock-knock' was the sound of someone on the door and---

“Iida?” 

That was the sound of a newcomer.

Iida placed the voice right away, “Mr. Aizawa…”

Aizawa looked from the doorway, staring at his student, frozen in place. He just spoke...that voice, he hadn’t heard it in a while and he had almost not recognized it without its authoritative and serious tone. Iida’s voice was quiet, sad, and almost...fearful?

He stepped forward, clearing his throat, “Hi, Mrs. Iida and Ingenium,” Tensei looked away, unable to correct Aizawa. “Sorry for barging in like this. I just wanted to...uh--just wanted to see if he was okay.” Iida’s mother gave a watery smile nodding at Aizawa and squeezing Iida’s hand. Tensei also smiled, “Aw, shucks, Aizawa. I didn’t know you felt that way. I’m doing just peachy---” His mother slapped his arm playfully, “Tensei! Be nice.” She couldn’t find it in her to be angry at him. Her two boys...both now broken, used and abused by the hero world, were alive. And that’s all that mattered to her right now.

Iida chuckled weakly, giving a small smile, “I’m alright, Mr. Aizawa. How are you? My classmates?”

Aizawa took this as an invitation to join them and moved to stand by Iida’s bedside, across from the duo, “Well, they’re racing over here right now, why don’t you ask them in person?”

Iida straightened, his voice a little brighter, “Oh, they are! How wonderful. The doctor has informed me that everyone was already released from the hospital, but I want to hear it from you: is everyone safe? Healthy? Alive?”

Aizawa rested a hand on Iida’s shoulder, “They’re all fine, I promise. I’m sure they’ll give you a recount of everything that’s happened. Just know they’re all okay.”

Iida still hadn’t relaxed, the next question on the tip of his tongue. Aizawa read his mind, looking down, “Doku got away. Again, your classmates will let you know what happened. Just know that he escaped--Oh, speak of the devil.”

The sound of a plethora of footsteps on the tiled floor echoed throughout the hallway into the empty room. Uraraka burst in first, quickly followed by Todoroki who was pushed forward by Kirishima and Kaminari. The mass of students pushed into each other until they were stumbling and falling down. “Ow!” “That’s my arm!” “Dude, you stepped on my foot!” “Let me see him!”

Uraraka rushed forward as everyone regained their footing, her smile so big and bright it was almost blinding (a shame that Iida couldn't see. He would only be able to imagine it), “IIDA! IIDA! YOU’RE AWAKE!” Aizawa stepped backward to give her space as she fell on top of Iida’s chest, hugging him with all her might. Iida gasped a little at the impact, then raised his arms to wrap around Uraraka, pulling her close and pressing his forehead onto her shoulder, “Thank God, you’re safe, Uraraka!” He was very grateful that his eyes were unable to function as he knew with 100% certainty he would be bawling like a baby right now.

Iida’s mom and Tensei backed up as well, leaving the room quickly as the students all surrounded his bed, smiles big and eyes bright. It was their turn to relish in his return. Iida’s mom smiled softly, Look at all the wonderful friends my boy has made. Bakugou was standing in the back of the group, slumped over, his hands in his pockets, a faint smile on his face. Tensei smiled as well, clapping him on the back as he wheeled out of the room. 

Bakugou scowled at the thought that Tensei had seen him smile and he quickly pouted, looking away. 

Todoroki had placed himself right next to Uraraka and he waited patiently for her to let go of Iida so he could get a better look at him. Her eyes were squeezed tightly, her mouth in between a frown and a smile, her body shaking slightly. He’s awake! 

She pulled back, still holding his hand. He must be so worried that he can’t see, she thought as she felt his calloused hand enclose over hers. His smile was big, a little wobbly from his unshed tears, but happy all the same. She looked at his eyes and felt her smile fade a little. They were still wrapped, Iida’s bangs falling over them. She traced a finger across it, near his ear, and he leaned into the touch. “Yes, they said I can’t take this off for another couple of days.”

Todoroki frowned, “Do you...remember what happened, Iida?” 

A silence fell over the room and Iida turned his face in the direction of Todoroki's voice, “No, I only remember when he kicked me back.” Bakugou involuntarily flinched. He had grown so accustomed to the sound from that day haunting him that he hoped he would have grown a tolerance to it. But yet, any mention of it, or the thought of it, always sent shivers up his spine. 

Yaoyorozu took Iida’s other hand, letting him know where she was, standing to his right with Kaminari and Kirishima, “Mr. Aizawa said you probably wouldn’t remember anything...he said you would have a lot of questions.”

Kaminari piped up, “We don’t mind answering them.”

Kirishima crossed his arms, “Want us to start from the beginning?”

Iida nodded slightly, settling back into the pillow, “Take a seat, please. I can call the doctor to bring some more chairs for us?” 

Once everyone was situated, they sat in awkward silence waiting for someone to speak up. Iida scratched an itch, “I can’t tell if you’re waiting on me or you all don’t know where to begin.”

His classmates chuckled nervously. Mina stuck out her tongue, “Yeah, I have no clue what to say.”

Iida laughed a little, “Alright, why don’t we just start with right after he kicked me? I lost consciousness then so I don’t know what happened directly after that.”

Todoroki cleared his throat, “Yeah...well when he kicked you, you got blasted into Sero before hitting a wall. I think the doctor’s said you suffered a fracture to your ribs, a broken spine or something, and some sort of trauma to your brain.” 

Some of his classmates side-eyed him at his brazen honesty but Iida was not fazed, resting a hand on his chin as he nodded, “Which explains the coma as well as the cast I am wearing. I am very sorry, Sero. It was my fault. Are you alright?” Sero laughed, clasping his hands behind his head, “Don’t worry about it, man. I dislocated my shoulder but it’s already healed.” Iida nodded somberly, “I see. Sorry, you may continue.”

No one else seemed to have the willpower to explain so Todoroki continued, “After you hit the wall, all the civilians there started panicking. Yaoyorozu tried shooting Doku with a gun she created. She missed but managed to get a clear hit on him with a knife just as he went to attack her. She had perfect timing.” Yaoyorozu blushed at the lowkey praise and Kirishima gave her a fist bump.

Mina interrupted, “And me, Toru, and Tsu broke off to go and help the civilians escape.” Iida nodded proudly, “Great thinking, Ashido. Way to maintain composure in a scary situation.”

Uraraka continued, “Then it was a sort of standoff between us and Doku. Me and Momo started moving you, Sero, and Jirou away since you all were injured. You...you looked awful, I thought...I thought you were gone for sure.”

It was true. When she had touched him to activate her quirk, he had floated upwards carefully as she grasped his hand to lead him behind the onigiri counter. He was completely limp, his arms and legs flailing, his back arched weirdly, his eyes swelling. She had almost puked. 

Iida looked down again, “...I’m sorry I worried you all so much. It’s...it’s my fault for thinking we could’ve come to the mall, especially with everything going down. If I didn’t beg Mr. Aizawa, everyone would be fine and safe and---”

“Don’t talk like that!” Tsu said, clenching her fists on her knees. 

“None of this is your fault, Iida,” Kaminari said, holding onto the side of his bed, “There is no blame to be passed around. It all should be placed on Doku.”

The room fell silent again.

Todoroki knew if he didn’t wrap this up soon, they would all fall back into their depressive states, “Well, meanwhile in the cafeteria, we were fighting Doku. Me and Bakugou managed to corner him before he received a phone call.” From the end of Iida’s bed, Bakugou tched, arms crossed and slouching in his seat. 

“This is when things get tricky. Kaminari shoots Doku, who begins to attack again, running at everyone like a wild animal. Suddenly out of nowhere, he evades one last attack, bows, and says ‘Thank you for having me’ before he disappeared into thin air,” Todoroki finished, scratching the back of his neck. 

Iida tapped his fingers against each other, “I see. And beside me, Jirou, and Sero, were there any casualties? Civilians?” Todoroki shook his head before realizing Iida couldn’t see him, “Uh, no. None.” Iida nodded, “And what of your hand? Is it healed?” 

Todoroki traced the little scar on his palm, “Yeah, all gone.”

Again, silence. It seemed to be their default mode now. Before they would break out into mini conversations, loud and obnoxious, in their own groups, but now it seemed there was nothing more to talk or think about. 

Iida squeezed his fists, bringing them up to his face as if to wipe imaginary tears, “Alright, I’m sick of being sad. Why don’t you all help yourselves to the cafeteria’s food, on me? It’s the least I can do for you all.” The students began protesting but Iida had already hit the call button. A nurse peeked her head into the door, “Yes, Tenya?”

Iida gestured to the group, “Would you please escort my classmates here to the cafeteria? Let them indulge themselves. Thank you.” The nurse confirmed, waving at the students to follow her. Before she could leave, Iida grabbed at Uraraka’s arm blindly, brushing her elbow as she stood.

“Oh, what’s up, Iida?” She asked, a little confused.

“You and Todoroki...could you two stay behind for a moment?” He asked, quietly. He could hear the footsteps and chatter of his classmates fading away.

Uraraka grabbed his hand in response and turned to Todoroki who was waiting by the door for her, “Todoroki.”

He understood and moved forward again, sitting to Iida’s left with Uraraka on Iida’s right. They knew exactly what he had wanted to talk about.

The theories. The plan. 

“Before you start, Iida. I didn’t want to mention this with everyone else around, but Endeavor offered to get us a meeting with the task force assigned to this...situation. I thought that would be a good way to start this off,” Todoroki stated, crossing his legs. 

Iida’s whole face brightened, “Todoroki! You’re a genius!”

Uraraka smiled big, “You never told me, ‘Roki! This is promising!” 

Todoroki smiled a little bit, taken aback by the sudden praise, “It was no problem, guys. I was surprised myself. Alright, Iida, what’d you want to say to us?”

Iida straightened a little, his arm positioned in his usual chopping form, “So, I had been thinking before you all arrived: it has been 2 weeks since the fight, meaning that Doku has most likely healed. We missed a window of opportunity, but alas, it is what it is. After crafting our theories, I have been debating. And I don’t know if you will be on board for this, but I think Bakugou deserves to be a part of this too. Despite his rather...explosive personality, he is smart and cunning. I am sure he could aid us.” 

Todoroki and Uraraka made eye contact, a surprised smile on both their faces. The silence unnerved Iida and he cowered, “Oh, I knew you wouldn’t like it! I’m sor--”

“No, no! Me and Todoroki were literally thinking the same thing! We’re just so surprised you had the same thought.” Uraraka giggled behind her hand.

Iida brightened, “Should we call him right now?”

They nodded before Uraraka laughed realizing he couldn’t see them, “Yes! Absolutely.”

Iida pressed the call button again, readying his hands for a fervent apology. He pressed them together and bowed his head as the nurse walked in, “I’m so sorry, Nurse. Could you please retrieve Katsuki Bakugou for us from the cafeteria?”

The nurse rolled her eyes, “Tenya, I’m not a slave you know. I’m a nurse. ” 

Iida nodded, bowing even further, “It’s just that Bakugou will not listen nor come with any of us if we asked him to.”

The nurse laughed, “I was just messing with you. Of course, I got you.”

She left and the trio started discussing what to tell Bakugou. A couple of minutes later, the nurse walked in with Bakugou following close behind. He growled, “What?”

Todoroki pointed at the seat next to him, “Come, sit.” Bakugou walked over, his hands pressed deep into his pockets, his scowl taking up his whole face, “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” He grabbed the chair, roughly, and moved it to the end of the bed, far away from everyone. He plopped into it, crossing his arms, “What do you nerds WANT?”

Todoroki took a deep breath, getting ready to be interrupted every sentence, “Bakugou, we wanted to know if you wanted to join us in our quest to save Midoriya.” That made Bakugou freeze. The word choice…'Save' Midoriya. So...he had the same idea as them. For now, he remained quiet, wanting to hear what they would say. 

Todoroki took his silence and rolled with it, surprised that he could stay silent for longer than five seconds, “Well, I guess I could start with our main theory. Midoriya was corrupted, hence his red eyes and the weird red glowingness surrounding him whenever he used his quirk.” Bakugou’s gaze hardened, One for All…

“I think that one of the villains shot him with some kind of quirk corrupter at training camp. Either that or...I don’t know when they did it. We don’t seem to know the timeline. I think that whatever this corrupter is, it enhanced his quirk like Trigger but also changed his whole mental state. When I look at Doku, it’s not Midoriya. It’s like Doku is living in his body. Which I really don’t want to think about. But that at least is my theory. What me, Iida, and Uraraka had been planning was to get Doku back from the League of Villains. I want to actually talk to him. One on one. A capture...a capture would be ideal but I really see this as a recovery mission. 

My initial plan was to lure just Doku to the dorms or to anywhere really. We actually can score a meeting with the police now because of my dear old dad so we have them at our disposal as well. We trap him with the police’s handcuffs, the special ones that suppress quirks. Take him in and ask him what he did with Midoriya. I have the set up ready, who will be where and all, but unfortunately, after the mall and Iida, we haven’t had much time to think about it, and everything's been delayed.”

Bakugou nodded solemnly. Uraraka and Todoroki were taken aback by the rational and calm side of Bakugou. He had obviously been listening intently and now he spoke, his tone quieter, serious, “I think I can help out with the luring. I think I know exactly what the villains would want. Think about it...attacking us probably gave the League a buncha new problems, right? He fucked shit up as usual and now they’ll make him pay. What’s something valuable that Deku has that they would want?”

Everyone remained silent for a moment, brains churning.

“Information about infiltrating the school?” Uraraka questioned.

“Details about All Might?” Iida tried.

“I don’t know, just tell us,” Todoroki said bluntly.

“His dumbass notebooks. The ones that he wrote all that stalkery shit down in? Do you guys realize how good that fucker is at analyzing? At picking out weaknesses? Yes, he has information on All Might but think about all the other heroes he has come into contact with, the ones that he’s written extensive notes about. That’s valuable information, especially in the hands of the villains,” Bakugou leaned back, stating it all matter-of-factly.

“That’d be the only possible explanation for him to come to us. All he needs is a perfect opportunity. We just have to give it to him. Let’s set that meeting up with the police, right after Four Eyes’ recovery and we can have the officials help us out.” 

Everyone stared wide-eyed at Bakugou, Iida clapping his hands a little. “OH, WHAT IS IT NOW?” Bakugou roared, standing up quickly.

Uraraka smiled a little, “You’ve really given thought to this haven’t you? And here we predicted you would be difficult.” Bakugou tched, looking away, “No, I haven’t! I just am a quick thinker!”

Iida smiled and Todoroki rolled his eyes. 

It was a solid plan or at least the best they had for now.

It was game time.

Chapter Text

 

The notebooks.

He never really considered them to be...important? Valuable? It was a teenager’s chicken scratch and doodles. Why was it significant? You could probably get more information out of the tabloids that are released every week about the upcoming heroes.

KAMUI AND MT LADY??? 

GUNHEAD’S MORNING ROUTINE!!!

EDGESHOT’S REAL FACE?!?!?!?!

Doku rolled his eyes, tossing the magazine aside. Toga had dropped some off for him to read while in the hospital and he was not finding any amusement in them. She was weirding him out recently, not being all stabby-like. She was calmer and much more serious. He had thought she would be drooling over him, begging for him to bleed for her, but she seemed to have...lost interest?

It was a weird thing to think about, but it definitely kept him awake at night. Why was she acting so out of character? So odd? What was she planning?

In fact, he had noticed other members of the League acting weird as well.

It was evident since the moment he had joined the League that Dabi was pushing his own agenda, using the LOV as a means to an end. The question was: what end? What was his goal? He had been acting rather friendly to him and Toga and it was starting to creep him out. Acting all big-brother like. It was so un like him. He had even called Toga ‘Himiko’ at one point. Only Twice had been quoted to call her that and Dabi had usually resorted to calling her ‘Crazy’ beforehand…

He was acting too nice. And Doku wasn’t liking it. 

He had played along, letting Dabi think he had Doku’s trust, but in reality, Doku was secretly making note of Dabi’s unnatural and out of character behavior. Doku had been jotting invisible notes in his head, using Midoriya’s extensive memory to its fullest.

Speaking of the weakling, it had been quite a while since Doku had spoken or heard from his other half. There had been a stir a couple of days into his hospital visit, but it was gone as quickly as it had arrived.

Doku pouted. How unfortunate. The little shrimp was missing the show! His entertainment was gone.

But it didn’t matter. 

A new act was close; he had been in intermission for way too long.

With a date in mind, the plan already set in motion, he could not be more ready. He was still waiting for his stupid gunshot wound to close, but that didn’t matter. The League was not going to put him in direct danger, true. But they would let him have a little bit of fun…

Reluctantly, the Doctor had agreed to his conditions. He had given him a side-eyed glance, What a sadist…

It was true. Doku had practically been foaming at the mouth as he explained what he wanted to do. 

It was going to be so much fun. The poor kids would never see it coming. 

Next Friday, at 8 PM, no one would be in the dorms. Mr. Aizawa and the other teachers were going to gather the students in a lecture hall and talk to them about feelings or whatever. Who gave a fuck. All that mattered is that they would be out of the dorms. Meaning that was Doku’s chance to swoop in, grab his notebooks, and flee.

But here was the catch. 

In the hall where the students were staying, Twice would create thousands of clones of Doku to keep the kids and the teachers distracted. Doku had been upset that he wouldn’t be able to witness their shocked and horrified looks himself, but the thought of it would have to do. 

It would all run perfectly, he would make sure of that. 

He smiled, leaning his head back.

All would go according to plan.







“Thank you for having us,” Iida, Uraraka, and Todoroki said in unison, bowing deeply at the squadron in front of them. Bakugou tched, arms crossed, not bothering to even look forward. 

Tsukauchi waved dismissively, “Nah, don’t mention it, kiddos. It can’t hurt to hear you out. We’re looking for anything and everything.” Todoroki straightened, adjusting his uniform jacket a little. He wasn’t nervous. It was rather he was itching to do something. He knew that this plan that they had spent the past couple of days perfecting was going to work. And the police would love it. 

Rock Lock rolled his eyes, “Kids? Really? Come on, ‘Deavor, I thought we were above this.” Endeavor shot him a fiery gaze, “Do not underestimate these students. I will not allow you to slander my son’s name, especially when he is giving us hope at a successful capture.”

Rescue ,” Todoroki corrected, his tone hard and determined. 

“Rescue,” Endeavor affirmed, nodding curtly. 

Tsukauchi tapped his pen against his notes, “Alright. Take it away, we’re eager to hear what you have to say.”

The other heroes and officers in the room settled in their seats, all staring forward, though not really looking.  

Bakugou noted this and felt his anger deepen. They weren’t taking this seriously. The students had brought a solid plan to this sorry excuse for a squad and they already weren’t listening. 

Uraraka tightened her grip on the handles of Iida’s wheelchair. She was pale and sweating profusely. She wasn’t required to speak, in fact, Todoroki had insisted she didn’t need to. Public speaking, especially in front of such authority was not her strong suit, and since she felt like she did not contribute much to the group, she had told the boys to leave her out of it.

Bakugou had made a noise of disgust, “Oh, shut the fuck up. If you thought you were dead weight, why are you even here? I thought this was all your idea, Pink Cheeks.” Uraraka had frozen, quickly looking down. He was right. What had happened to her determination? She was just tired. Too tired. Even if they did get the meeting with the police, would they even care?

Now she looked at their indifferent faces and knew. No. They were barely teenagers. Why would they need any respect?

The only people paying attention were Tsukauchi, Aizawa, and All Might and that didn’t even matter since two out of the three were already informed of the plan beforehand.

Todoroki cleared his throat and began, “We’ve come up with a plan. It’s not a good one. It is fundamentally circumstantial, as a lot of it rides on Doku, but I think this could really work.”

Someone yawned, another clicked their pen.

“First, we need to give Doku an opportunity to enter our territory.” He paused, waiting for an objection or a question but no one spoke up, aimlessly drawing doodles on the blank notes in front of them, or looking out the window. 

“HEY, YOU SONS OF BITCHES, LOOK ALIVE! WHILE YOU SHITBAGS WERE LOUNGING AROUND NOT GIVING A DAMN, WE’VE BEEN WORKING OUR ASSES OFF TRYING TO DO YOUR JOB! WE’RE HANDING YOU A SILVER PLATTER. LISTEN UP OR YOU’LL REGRET IT!” Bakugou had jumped on top of the table, right in front of Rock Lock, stepping on the blank sheets of paper, sending off mini-explosions in his hands. If his words hadn’t been evident enough, his actions would speak for him: he’s done with being ignored. 

Aizawa, from his position across the room, threw his scarf forward, grabbing Bakugou and slamming him to the ground, his hair flying out. Iida chopped his arm, turning his head in the general direction of the screams, “BAKUGOU, DO NOT EMBARRASS US!”

Rock Lock scoffed, a faint smirk on his face, I know he had guts but I didn’t know he had the nerve...Kid’s got some spunk.

Aizawa drew his scarf back, his hair falling back into place, “If you cannot show these kids the same respect you show me or Detective Tsukauchi or even All Might, consider me off the task force. You haven’t even heard their plan yet and you’re already not listening. How are they supposed to be our successors if we teach them that their thoughts don’t matter? How can we expect this future generation of heroes to be strong-willed and confident if we don’t show them an ounce of respect? You’re all pathetic and weaker than these kids by far if you think their words are irrelevant to us. You all have had interns before. How is this any different? We’re teachers and role models every moment of every day. I don’t want to see a wandering eye in this room. You have a lot of nerve to call yourselves pros if you think you’re better than these heroes standing in front of you, providing the support you obviously desperately need. Do any of you have a plan yet? A lead?” 

Silence in the room as everyone stared downward shamefully. All Might beamed at his coworker with pride, You’ve really gone soft for them, haven’t you, Aizawa?

“Exactly. So swallow your egos and listen up,” Aizawa leaned against the wall, crossing his arms. He nodded his head at the dumbfounded Todoroki, encouraging him to continue.

Everyone else in the room had straightened in their seats, no one wanting to be called out again. Bakugou stood up, making his way back to the front of the room, glaring at anyone he could, making sure their eyes were on them. 

Todoroki cleared his throat for what he felt was the millionth time that day, “I spoke with Mr. Aizawa and some of the other teachers. We need to create a fake scenario and make it a little public. Not this Friday, but next week Friday, our teachers will call us all into the lecture hall to give us a talk. No one will be in the dorms. Bakugou deduced that the League's most wanted item right now would be Midoriya’s notebooks. Midoriya, since from a young age, has meticulously and religiously written in about every hero, sidekick, and villain you can think of. He currently has 13 that we know of, his most recent being No. 13, of course. We have reason to believe that the League had probably negotiated with Doku to get those notebooks. 

We need to give him a chance to get them through. We will send our class to the lecture hall, though me and Bakugou along with the task force and Mr. Aizawa, will be waiting in Doku’s room. I have a feeling they’ll go for it while we’re all ‘gone’. We jump on him and bam. Mission complete.”

A hero raised his hand, “But that sounds very circumstantial as you said. How will we know for sure he’s after the notebooks? How do we know Doku will come and not another League member?”

Todoroki nodded, “Yes, it all really does ride on Doku and if he does appear---”

“He’ll show up,” Bakugou growled.

Everyone turned to him, surprised that he had spoken.

“WHAT? I said he will. That fucker’s a sadist, I could tell right away from the mall. He’s probably going to make a show of it. Which is why I think that it should be just me, Todoroki, and Aizawa in the room,” He paused, expecting a protest, but the pros were leaning in intently, eager to hear his plan. Bakugou scoffed a little, What morons. Like dogs begging for treats after Mr. Aizawa yelled at them .

“Either Doku or the League are going to try and make a mess at the lecture hall as a distraction as someone comes for the notebooks. Whether that be Doku or a League member, it won’t matter. There are two ways I can see this going. One: we have me, Todoroki, and a couple of other squad members outside of Deku’s dorm, Aizawa and one or two from stealth ops inside the room, and the rest stationed at the lecture hall, in case of an attack. Or two: we don’t even have the students in the lecture hall. We’ll have them enter, and using Mr. Cementoss’s ability we could bury the rest of them in the ground in a sort of panic room. Keep them safe or whatever. Then that way we can have the full squad, including the police at the dorms. I think we could make use of that invisible girl, creepy looking dude with multiple arms, and Soy Sauce. But other than that no one else needs to be involved.”

Bakugou gritted his teeth, looking around at the stupefied group. Even his own team was looking at him weirdly. “WELL, ARE YOU GONNA SAY ANYTHING?” 

All Might chuckled, “Young Bakugou! I knew you were a smart boy, but this...this is so calculated…” Aizawa nodded his head. The way that he had been prepared to sacrifice himself in place of his classmates, ensuring their safety in both plans. Though he had been subtle about it, he had obviously been thinking about their well beings, especially after...well, everything. Whether or not he meant to be demeaning about it, not thinking they were strong enough to handle an attack, he had still kept them in mind when formulating these plans. 

As strong as the students were, both Aizawa and Bakugou knew they wouldn’t be able to handle another attack. Especially this close to home. 

Aizawa had heard about what the so-called counselor had done to his kids after he had caught Mina bawling her eyes out on the couch at four in the morning. She had been unable to sleep, haunted by the words that had escaped her mouth, that she had wanted to lock away forever in the depths of her mind. Aizawa had moved to the students’ dorms after everything with Doku and he had had his fair share of late-night run-ins with the broken and battered kids. But this was different. As Mina had explained what had happened through choked sobs, he felt himself grow angrier and angrier.

Why now? Why them? Against their will too...Aizawa's eyes turned red involuntarily, his blood boiling. 

And he could see now, Bakugou hadn’t forgotten. He never would. Both he and Todoroki were planning to take on this burden themselves, leaving their classmates out of the crossfire… Aizawa smiled under his scarf. God, these kids. True heroes...

It was so smart it shocked him...It was pure genius. What had these kids been doing when Aizawa wasn’t paying attention?

Iida clenched his fists, “Even though I probably will not be able to participate in the mission, I am planning on being in my own dorm, with earpieces connected to Bakugou, Todoroki, Aizawa, and Tsukauchi. I will instruct them and hopefully, along with the help of either our classmates or this squad, we can let you know if Doku is approaching or if there is any disturbance nearby. I will be the eyes and ears of our operation so to speak.”

Uraraka chuckled a little at his word choice. Iida’s eyes were still bandaged up, but they were healing. And by the time next Friday rolls around, he would be fine, his vision restored, his eyes somewhat cured. They would be ready.

Uraraka chimed in, “And I’ll take to the skies. I will make myself float and have Shoji with me as well! Shoji’s going to wrap a rope around me as I float up and away, while he uses his own quirk to look around on the ground. We’ll report back to Iida with whatever leads we have. I already spoke to him and he agreed to it. Tokoyami had even volunteered to help as well, though we all would like to keep the number of classmates involved to a minimum. None of them will be in any immediate danger if we can help it.”

Todoroki nodded, “I spoke with Yaoyorozu and she is planning on making the earpieces for us as well as some dark suits for our teams so we can blend into the night more.” 

Bakugou tched, “And Soy Sauce is already on board. He’ll be able to quickly apprehend Doku with his tape before the police storm in with the actual handcuffs.” 

Iida chopped once, “The rest of the students, we would like to keep out of harm’s way. This is why we suggested the use of a panic room in the lecture hall. If the villains do attack, they’ll arrive at a seemingly empty lecture hall. We also do not plan on injuring Doku in any way, or fighting him.” Bakugou tched angrily. It had taken a lot of convincing to get him to back off of Doku. He could fight him all he wanted after they had apprehended him. But it was best to keep his hands off him. 

“As you can see, we have thought of almost everything, and think this could work,” Iida concluded, resting his hands back on the wheelchair, uneasy that he couldn’t see their reactions at the moment.

“Okay, Endeavor, I take it back. You didn’t tell me these kids were geniuses ,” Rock Lock chuckled, clapping his hands twice.

Endeavor smiled proudly, nodding approvingly at Todoroki who turned away, rolling his eyes in disgust.

The rest of the heroes broke out in praise, quick to compliment and ask questions as necessary.

Tsukuachi raised a hand and everyone quieted, awaiting his response, “Students, this is a great plan. I truly am impressed. I’ve taken notes, but if I need anything from you, I’ll call Aizawa and ask him to send you guys in. I...I’m amazed. I’ll start forming the teams for each group based on your plan. I think we’ll go with option 2...I like the idea of keeping everyone else safe. You’ve all been through enough. There’s no need for any more unwanted villainy.”

Todoroki was taken aback by the sudden agreement, standing stock still as Uraraka smiled big, leaning forward, “Tenya!!! They love it!” Iida laughed, “I can hear that! I’m so grateful.”

Bakugou scoffed at their excitement. Idiots.

They had no clue what they were in for. 






“It is Friday. Time, 7:56 PM. Students are making their way to the hall as I speak. Mr. Cementoss, do you copy?” Iida spoke into the microphone positioned on his desk, Yaoyorozu leaning over to stare at the laptop screen in front of him.

A crackle followed by the low voice of their teacher, “Yes, Iida, I do. We are about to enter. The panic room is already ready.”

Iida nodded, adjusting his glasses. His vision was still a little blurry and it hurt to have his eyes open for too long but he would make do. Now was not the time to be in pain or injured. He was responsible for making sure everyone was safe. He was their guardian and he would make sure to do his job well. Yaoyorozu flicked her eyes from each camera on the screen. One showed the hallway outside of the lecture hall, one outside UA, another facing where Uraraka and Shoji were in position, and the last three were of Midoriya’s dorm: one inside, one outside in the hallway, and the other on the balcony. 

Aizawa, Sero, and another member of the police force were positioned inside the room. Outside the doors, on either side, Bakugou and Todoroki stood, waiting intently with the rest of the squadron. They would burst through the doors at any time.

All they had to do was wait.

Through the earpiece, Cementoss’s voice spoke solemnly, “We’re inside the panic room. I’ve sealed us in and have started the audio clip on the surface.”

The audio clip was prerecorded of the teachers spouting utter nonsense. It didn’t matter what they were saying: as long as it sounded like there was a lecture happening inside the hall.

Kirishima punched the cement wall, looking down and gritting his teeth, “How could he?” Kaminari looked away, “Hey, we might not understand Bakugou but...I think he’s just trying to look out for us.”

“Look out for us, my ass! He thinks we’re too weak to handle this. How come he didn’t include us in the plan? I...I’m his friend...I can help!” Kirishima punched the wall again. Mina rested a gentle arm on his hardened one, “Kiri, I’m sure you can. But I don’t think he left you out just to spite you, or say you’re too weak. No, I think he---”

She was cut off by the sound of a loud bang above them. She cowered, covering her head, reminded of the sounds at the mall. Kirishima quickly drew a protective arm around her head, ready for any incoming debris. Midnight gestured at all of them to be quiet. To keep up the appearance of their dis appearance, some teachers had been cooped up with the students as well, and they all needed to be silent if they needed to keep their cover. 

“There’s a group of masked figures trying to break into the hall!” Iida cried in the earpieces.

Indeed, in the hallway, several beings that were shrouded in darkness could be seen ramming into the locked doors. 

“Please remain calm. It seems as if they cannot get past our defenses. Though, they do not seem like they’re giving up. Those at the dormitory, please be ready for any incoming attack. Uraraka and Shoji, please scout the area,” Iida was typing frantically, bringing certain defense mechanisms at the UA into action, shutting off the lights in the hallways, bringing down the metal doors at both ends of the hallway. The masked figures would be trapped until police and other pros arrived.

The rest of the teachers, aside from Midnight, Snipe, and Cementoss, were stationed just outside UA, ready to attack at a moment’s notice.

“Got it,” Shoji affirmed and Yaoyorozu watched as Uraraka activated her quirk and shot into the air. With one of his arms, Shoji kept a tight grip on the other end of the rope attached to Uraraka, and with his others, he began to form eyes to see through the bushes and trees. 

Uraraka was taking an enormous risk being in the air and Iida did not like it. At any moment, she could be shot out of the air, or her quirk can deactivate or Shoji could be injured and let go of the rope or---

He had listed these all to her when she had insisted that she be a part of the plan. “Iida, I don’t care about the risks. I am a part of this group, and I need to help. This isn’t a matter of safety. I don’t care if I’m hurt. As long as we bring Deku back to us, got it? So get the job done, no matter what happens to me,” She had said, stern and cheeks unblushing.

Bakugou had rolled his eyes, The guts .

Todoroki and Iida had shared a look. There was no talking her out of it so they agreed.

Now she swam in the air, looking left and right for any signs of human life. She perched on the tip of a tree branch, taking a moment to pause and do a 360 turn. Nothing.

She clicked on her earpiece, “Anything down there Shoji?” 

“No, nothing,” He replied sullenly. 

Aizawa was perched on top of Midoriya’s dresser, backed into the shadows, scarf at the ready. Sero and another member of the task force were waiting in the bathroom. All 3 were there for restraining purposes: Aizawa with his quirk and scarf, Sero with his tape, and the officer to arrest. The people out in the hallway would only enter once Doku was restrained. 

Bakugou was itchy all over. He wanted to be in the room so badly but with his gauntlets, he would stick out like a sore thumb. He wanted to be the one to pounce on Doku, maybe blast him a couple of times for good measure, and then slap the handcuffs on him. He wanted to laugh in his face as he picked him up, sneering in his ear as Doku did to him at the mall.

Todoroki saw his grimacing face from his position across from him, “Bakugou, it’s alright. You’ll get your chance.”

Bakugou didn’t bother retaliating this time, instead simply tching and looking away. He was just waiting for word from Iida. 

“THERE! THERE, I SEE SOMETHING!” Uraraka cried, pointing at the front of the dorms. Indeed a figure was approaching, hands stuffed in their pockets and swaggering through the front of the dorms. They were alone, with no one around them or nearby. 

Iida zoomed in, “Indeed, there is a masked person approaching. Please be ready, he is arriving from the front of the dorms!”

Bakugou and Todoroki made eye contact with each other. “Shit!” Todoroki cried.

Iida closed his eyes tightly, “Everyone positioned outside the dorms, you need to hide! Go into any adjacent room...or...Bakugou and Todoroki actually...you two go into the room. The rest, please quickly hide in either Tokoyami or Aoyama’s room.”

Bakugou and Todoroki didn’t hesitate, running into the room and positioning themselves as before on either side of the door. Bakugou knelt, clasping his gauntlet and facing it to the door, with Todoroki standing, his ice hand extended to freeze whoever entered.

Bakugou was breathing heavily. 

Earlier, he had been tasked to swap out the notebooks with fakes so that in the event that Doku does manage to get them, they would be blank.

He gathered all 13, placing the one he had burned on top. He stared down at them...no, he...No, I won’t…

“He hated you. He wanted you dead, you know that? He wrote up all the different ways to kill you back in middle school. In that notebook, you threw away?---”

He grabbed a notebook at random, No. 9, and flipped it open. This one was more of a diary than analysis and he began reading, thumbing through the pages.

Today, me and Mom got a call from Dad. He’s doing good--

I got a good grade on my math test!---

UA announced their entrance exam date. It’s next year---

Kacchan hurt me again today.

Bakugou froze. Was...was he ready to read this? He didn’t care if this was his business or not, but was he ready to see those words…? Doku couldn’t have lied to him...could he?

 

March 26th

 

Kacchan hurt me again today. He punched me in the face as always but this time he ripped up one of my limited edition All Might collector’s cards. I want to rip his legs from his body and beat him with them. And afterward, I can take his remains and laugh and call him Deku. I’m going to kill him---

 

Bakugou threw the notebook as hard as he could to the side.

He covered his mouth with his hand, resisting the urge to hurl right then and there. It was his own fault for bothering to read it in the first place. He squeezed his eyes shut. This was a long time ago and Deku probably moved on a long time ago but that couldn’t change the fact that it happened. That this was his fault. The sadistic, wrath-filled Doku is a creation of his own anger that he took out on Deku. It was...it was really all his fault.

He staggered a little, grabbing onto the bed for support before taking a shaky breath. Thank god no one else was with him.

Bakugou opened his eyes again, his gaze hardened as he picked up the notebook he threw, placing it back neatly in the pile. He glanced at the No. 13. The one he had destroyed and exploded. Why? Why had he done that?

He breathed in and exhaled. It’s okay…

He grabbed the fake No. 13 and proceeded to inflict the same damage, making the notebooks identical.

But this time, he felt nothing but remorse.

Todoroki shot him a worried glance. Bakugou was pale, the moonlight from outside dancing on his sweaty face. Was this really bothering him this much? He remained quiet though, opting to just leave him alone for now.

It hurt Bakugou to be in this room, but if it meant getting the chance to tackle the motherfucker and get him for good, he would deal with it.

“The figure is walking into the dorms right now as we speak. They’re...using the elevator...Making their way to the 2nd floor, be prepared everyone,” Iida and Yaoyorozu were leaning forward intently into the screen, nervous. They had 100% faith in their classmates and teacher but this was something they weren’t sure they were prepared for. 

Bakugou straightened, grabbing his wavering arm to steady it. Todoroki bent his knees a little, fists at the ready. Aizawa looked down at the two boys. These two who have been through so much, who were so strong. He felt a swell of pride. They were much stronger than him. 

I’m so lucky…

He was nervous for them, sure, but he knew they got this. This was their plan, their moment. He would leave it to them. It was his turn to be their backup.

“The elevator has arrived...Wait, what---” Iida was cut off by the sound of banging at his dorm door. The doorknob rattled in its place. Yaoyorozu quickly built a gun out of her arm, loading it and pointing it at the door. 

She approached the door, standing so that when she threw open the door, she would be out of sight. She pulled on the doorknob but it was no use. It wouldn’t turn. They were trapped.

“Iida, I think something’s up!” She cried, running back towards him.

And that’s when the room erupted.





“Yaoyorozu!” Todoroki cried, his eyes wild as he called into his earpiece.

“Iida? Iida?” Aizawa seethed into his headset. He heard Uraraka and Shoji calling to him as well. They had heard the bang both in real-time and through the headset and now all was silent. They couldn’t leave their post to check on them though, as the mission came first. Aizawa clenched his teeth, his conscience screaming at him to go check on them. But he was needed more than anyone. He could control Doku’s quirk. 

Todoroki and Bakugou made uneasy eye contact with each other. That noise and Yaoyorozu’s cries. But, no, someone was just entering the dorm, the doorknob jiggled in place as it slowly creaked open. 

The figure stepped inside before they were tackled to the ground by Bakugou. He pinned their arms and legs down as Aizawa dropped down, activating his quirk. Todoroki froze their legs to the ground and Sero appeared out of the bathroom to tape them down as much as he could.

The masked figure giggled. 

Giggled?

Bakugou ripped off the black mask that was covering the intruder’s face and was met by the blushing face of the villain Toga. She smiled lustfully up at Bakugou, “Oh! I love this position you’ve put me in, Kacchan!”

Bakugou roared, punching her across the face.

She giggled again, “Oh, sweeties...the fun hasn’t even started!” 

Her face began to distort, her smile falling unnaturally down her face as she melted in Bakugou’s grip.

He screamed, pounding his fists into the ground. 

Something dawned on him then.

He quickly got up, slamming into Todoroki as he ran to the balcony, quickly followed by the rest of the squad and those already in the room. 

Just as he arrived.

 

That was when UA exploded.

Chapter Text

 

“NO!” Bakugou howled. 

He leaped off the balcony, followed quickly by Todoroki, Aizawa, and Sero. They stared in horror at the smoke and fire emerging from the faraway building. There were already sirens roaring, the lights dancing across the night sky. 

“FUCK! YAOYOROZU AND IIDA!” Todoroki yelled, looking up at the dormitories. Iida’s room was on the 3rd floor, and he didn’t need help finding the balcony belonging to the boy’s dorm. 

Blue flames had already engulfed the majority of the right side of the building, curling around the edges as more smoke emerged from the windows. 

Todoroki’s eyes widened. 

Those tell-tale blue flames...it couldn’t be…

He did not hesitate a second longer.

Using his ice, he built himself a stair-like structure towards Iida’s balcony and ran up it, the soles of his boots allowing him to glide speedily across it. He heard the sound of another pair of feet on the ice and turned to see Bakugou struggling not to slip on as he followed him.

But he had no time to help him. Todoroki surged forward, grabbing onto the balcony with his left hand and swinging himself over the bar.

He couldn’t see through the fire and he coughed a little as he swatted the air. He placed his right hand on the wall and closed his eyes against the stinging smoke, preparing to ice the whole room and balcony. But he stopped, realizing that he had no clue where in the room Yaoyorozu and Iida were (if they were in the room). He could accidentally ice them or stab them or cause them to slip, especially with Iida’s wheelchair, and his ice will probably melt immediately given the heat of the fire. It was even starting to make Todoroki a little bit light-headed. 

He roared until his throat hurt, bawling his hands into fists. He opened his eyes and steeled himself. 

Then he walked straight into the fire.

“TODOROKI!” He heard a distant voice call out behind him, but he continued on, not trying to place the voice. He was stepping on fire, the flames licking up his calves as he iced his left side over and over. He couldn’t make out any intelligible figures in the room, much less see a couple of inches in front of him.

“Yaoyorozu--” He began coughing sporadically, his vision whitening for a moment. This fire was unlike what he experienced with Dabi at the training camp. There was something else mixing with the flames that were causing all this pain; it was getting increasingly harder to remain in the room. But no, he had to look for his friends. Make sure they are safe.

Please, let them be safe.

Todoroki stumbled, tripping on something. With watery eyes, he turned to look at what he had tripped on and saw a wheel. A wheel from Iida’s wheelchair. His eyebrows shot up and he dived to the ground, searching the area around for any signs of other clues. 

Suddenly out of nowhere, he felt his arms bind to his body and he was pulled backward with enough force to knock the wind out of him. Once the scarf was released he began to cough, clutching his neck as he felt himself needing to hurl on the balcony. Aizawa was crouched on the bar and he jumped down, grabbing Todoroki’s shoulders, “IDIOT! WHY DID YOU GO IN THERE?”

Bakugou was also on the balcony now, his eyes open and wild, staring into the blue flames. At Aizawa’s outburst, he looked down at Todoroki’s shaking body, and his mouth pressed into a thin line. That bastard could’ve died. The smoke was too much, even for a fire user to handle. The tears rolling down his scarred face and the blood dribbling over his grimacing lips were evident enough that it had obviously been tainted with something potent.

Half and Half...you’re smarter than that. He thought to himself as he looked at the blue flames. He winced a little, brutally reminded of the nightmares he had had after Dabi. The room was untouchable now and he started to feel himself be crushed. A hefty weight pushed down on his chest as his mind raced.

Iida and Yaoyorozu...UA...Kirishima, Kaminari, Mina, Jirou, Tokoyami, Shoji, Asu---

“BAKUGOU!” Aizawa yelled, grabbing the boy by his forearm. Bakugou looked down at Aizawa who was still holding the almost unconscious Todoroki. His eyes were wide and wild, trying to meet Bakugou’s own dazed ones. “SNAP OUT OF IT! Your classmates are fine! They can handle themselves! Please, just grab Todoroki and RUN!” Aizawa stood up and brought Todoroki along with him, swinging his arm around his shoulders.

Bakugou looked up at him in surprise, “BUT, MR. AIZAWA---”

Aizawa brought his goggles up to his eyes, gathering his scarf in his left hand, “Bakugou, listen up because I’m only going to say this once. You do not have your license nor do you have explicit permission to use your quirk and fight. I will only allow it if you need to defend yourself. What I need from you right now is to make sure Todoroki is taken as far away from this fire as possible. I don’t want our sharpest mind dulled out by this ruckus. Please calm down, and think! Sero, Uraraka, and Shoji have already gone to UA with the rest of the police squadron. I have called for backup as well to come and take you and Todoroki someplace safe. So please. PLEASE. Just listen, just this once. You can raise hell later. This is more important than anything else, alright? I’ll call you to let you know what happens.”

Bakugou gritted his teeth, resisting the urge to scream in his teacher’s face. He was perfectly capable of fighting with his classmates, license, or not. All Aizawa had to do was pardon him. But he knew, he wasn’t going to do much good with all the fire surrounding them. He looked at Todoroki whose eyes were drooping, his coughing becoming weaker after every fit. Blood had seeped out over his lips and he was growing heavier in Aizawa’s arms by the minute. 

“Okay, Mr. Aizawa,” Bakugou affirmed, wrapping Todoroki’s arm around his shoulders. Aizawa nodded, filled with relief. In the blink of an eye, he had swung off the balcony and out of view. Now, it was just Todoroki and Bakugou on the balcony. Bakugou groaned, straightening his free hand at his side, “I’m never going to forgive you for this, Icy Hot.”

He began to set off explosions that catapulted him and his carry-on into the sky. He searched the ground for a safe place to land and found a spot far away from the building. He softly landed, cushioning Todoroki’s fall with his own body (Todoroki would swear on his life that had happened after the incident, but Bakugou would always deny it). 

He grunted as he propped Todoroki’s limp body against a tree trunk. They were sitting at the edge of the forest, hidden in the shadows of the trees. Bakugou took a moment to survey the area. In the distance, he could make out the smoke from UA and in front of him, the fire inside the dorms did not seem to be spreading. 

God, if anything is wrong with them…

He closed his eyes and grimaced. It would all be his fault again!

“Bakugou...they’re...fine…” 

Bakugou whipped his head back towards Todoroki, who had brought a hand up to wipe the blood on his chin. He looked up at Bakugou whose eyebrows were furrowed in anger, “I know they are! Shut the fuck up!”

Todoroki looked terrible. His skin was as white as a ghost and his eyes were glossed over. It didn’t help that he was coughing up blood as well. That fire was probably laced with some kind of poison and the moron had charged in headfirst. 

Bakugou was about to comment on his ghastly appearance before he heard a rustle in the bushes to his left. He angled his body in front of Todoroki, facing the direction of the noise, crouching so as to limit his hitbox. 

“Well, well, well! What do we have here? Two helpless boys all by themselves! What should we do with them, huh?” A shrill voice shrieked.

Bakugou brought his left fist up, holding his gauntlet steady with his other hand. His eyes darted left and right, making sure no one was sneaking up on them.

“Well, I’m not sure...But I’m down for a little game of tag, aren’t you?” A deeper, gravelly voice responded. 

Bakugou’s eyes widened.

And his suspicions were confirmed when the patchwork demon walked into the light illuminating from the blue flames from the burning dorms.

Dabi.

Followed closely by Toga, the girl who he had blasted in the dorms; she skipped around Dabi who was walking calmly forward towards the pair. 

Bakugou grimaced. He wouldn’t be able to deal with these two by himself: one was skilled at close range combat, and the other at long range. Normally, he would greet them with open arms but with Todoroki out of commission, he would have to fight and protect. Which would be near impossible as both were fairly young, quick, and most importantly skilled. Toga was a little brash and impulsive with her attacks, but that was what made her dangerous. Dabi on the other hand was more reserved with his attacks, but when he did, it was catastrophic. He was right when he said it would be a game of tag.

It was time to run.

He turned a little to look at Todoroki who was sitting upright now, his face blanched more than it had already been, staring forward at the incoming man. Dabi smiled wickedly, “Oh, ho! Nice seeing you again, Shoto Todoroki. What? You aren’t going to greet an old friend?”

Todoroki gritted his teeth, preparing to fire back when he began coughing again, doubling over further. Bakugou’s eyes widened slightly. This was bad. This was so bad. Todoroki would have no chance in his condition. He probably could barely let out any sort of attack.

“You liking that poison?” Dabi called.

Bakugou turned back to him, full of anger now. Dabi was throwing something in the air, letting it fall and catching it, examining it like a diamond. Bakugou would recognize that anywhere. It was grenade

“Yeah, we made a grenade from our old comrade Mustard’s poison. You remember that kid? From training camp?” Dabi was smirking slightly.

Bakugou flinched slightly but he hardened himself quickly. He did remember. Of course , he did.

“We combined my flames and this grenade and BAM. A concoction for the scrapbooks! Left your little duo in the dorms scorching. What was her name? Yamato? Yuzuha? I can’t seem to remember!” Dabi was holding his head in mock pondering, his tone demeaning and high pitched.

“YAOYOROZU!” Todoroki roared, his voice cracking in between.

Dabi snapped his fingers, “That was it! And the other...Lida? I’m not sure it’s something along those lines. But who cares? They’re dead anyway!”

“Their screams were like a symphony! It was so sweet too! That girl threw herself in front of the boy and she screamed so beautifully! If only she bled a little too, it would’ve been the real show!” Toga moaned, her face flushed so pink that it could be seen from miles away. 

Bakugou froze. 

No...they couldn't be…Mr. Aizawa said .

He felt himself cement in place, his body shaking despite his inability to move an inch. 

Todoroki was similar, his eyes wide with horror, his pupils almost gone as he grabbed at the grass around him. NO. NO NO NO NO NO.

They were surrounded by a doom they couldn’t shake. It couldn’t be true. But what reason could the villains have to lie? They wouldn’t...but it was just the sort of sleazeball kind of thing that they would do. Todoroki mentally slapped himself. Yaoyorozu was far more resourceful than that. She wouldn’t let herself die to fire. She was stronger and even if she were hurt (which pained him to think about), she would never let a friend be in danger. She was smart and a quick thinker. These villains had every intention of messing with their heads. For now, he would put aside any thought of them and try to get away from this mess.

Meanwhile, Bakugou still had not moved. He was going to throw up right then and there. He was empty, it was as if his heart had dropped to his feet and left, leaving him hollow. He was still staring forward at nothing, trying to calm his racing mind. But it was no use. There was not a single intelligible thought in his mind, the thoughts were like a key smash as they tried to comprehend what the fuck was happening.

This was a grievous error.

“OOPSIES! LEAVING YOURSELF WIDE OPEN!” He heard a scream behind him and a woosh as Toga brought her knife down, her smile wide with glee.

“BAKUGOU!” Todoroki croaked, throwing a small wall of ice in between her and Bakugou. Her knife connected with the ice, getting stuck in the wall.

She whined, struggling to pick her knife out as Todoroki fell over onto his side, coughing so hard he wasn’t breathing anymore. The puny ice wall was all he could muster right now, but it had been enough. Bakugou seemed to have snapped awake, looking at Todoroki before blasting forward at Dabi who was preparing to flame him with his quirk. 

The explosion and fire collided, sending a heat wave blasting across the terrain, the trees flying back against the force. The sound was as loud as thunder on a stormy night. The sound lingered, their hearing overtaken by the ringing. 

Dabi brought an arm up to shield himself from the onslaught of debris, his arm beginning to ache a little. His fire was no match for Bakugou’s explosion and was immediately shut down. 

“Toga!” He called, trying to see through the dust that had kicked up.

He swiped at the air, walking forward. He was at a huge disadvantage in this dust storm, especially given that he couldn’t move in the air like Todoroki and Bakugou. He had no choice but to walk forward and call out as he reached the ice wall that Todoroki had clumsily created. 

Toga was knocked out, lying on her side, bleeding from her head, her knife still embedded into the wall. One of Bakugou’s gauntlets lay on the ground next to her, covered in blood.

And the duo was nowhere to be seen.

“FUCK!” Dabi yelled. 






“Bakugou...Bakugou, LET GO OF ME!” Todoroki croaked, falling to his knees on the sidewalk. 

To be fair, Bakugou was holding Todoroki in a death grip, his gloved fingers digging into his side. He had sacrificed one of his gauntlets to make sure he could carry Todoroki away swiftly and safely. After blinding Dabi, he had turned and slammed his gauntlet down on Toga’s head before grabbing the shaking Todoroki and blasting away.

They had landed in front of the dorms unintentionally and now they were inches from the entrance. Bakugou had unconsciously been drawn to the building, wanting to see for himself the damage and...possible...dead bodies…

He wasn’t sure if he would be able to handle that, true, but he needed to confirm. 

Bakugou let go of Todoroki, letting the two-toned boy drop like a sack of potatoes onto the concrete. “Sorry,” he mumbled quietly.

Todoroki coughed again, weaker than before, spurting blood over the rocks in front of him. Bakugou shot him a worried glance. His condition was worsening by the second and the encounter with Dabi did not seem to give him any peace of mind. Todoroki was muttering under his breath as he attempted to wipe away at the never-ending stream of blood pooling out of his mouth. 

Yaoyorozu...Iida...please, please be safe. He chanted in his mind, bringing his hands together as he bowed forward a little. 

Bakugou was taken aback by the sudden prayer. Todoroki had never been the one to be religious, usually never saying his thanks before eating or expressing any interest in the thought of prayer. He’s just as worried as me , Bakugou realized. 

“I’ve...I’ve already contacted Endeavor...he’s on his way, but I told him to go to UA. I’m not sure when or if there is any backup arriving but…” Todoroki exhaled, his voice hoarse, turning towards the dorms. Unspoken between the two was the question: Should we...check?

They stared a little bit before they heard the whoosh of something flying in the air. Bakugou cried out as he grabbed his arm. One of Toga’s knives had pierced his left shoulder, and he stood up, brimming with anger. Toga herself was seemingly flying through the air as she skipped towards the pair. Todoroki extended his hand forward, preparing to attack, but fell short as he began to cough again. 

He grabbed at his throat as he coughed harder than he had been before. “The poison’s kicking in, Young Shoto!” Dabi called as he nonchalantly strode behind Toga. Todoroki shot him a lethal glare from under his bangs. This man was the epitome of evil. He had been the one to take Bakugou from them, to cast his fire upon training camp, burning Midoriya and his friends. 

Dabi needed to be stopped.

But he could barely lift a finger to help, getting overrun by the undying need to hurl and cough at the same time. So many different emotions he had never felt before were capturing him in a bubble as he fell apart and assembled back together over and over again.

His friends at UA, his friends in the dorm, Bakugou, the police squadron. 

Why would this happen? So soon after the mall attack. So soon after...well, everything.

He needed to focus. His thoughts were cloudy, fogged-up by whatever poison was in the flames. He steeled himself, clearing his throat a little before turning his whole body to face Dabi, “Dabi.”

“Yes?” The patchwork responded in mock seriousness.

“What did you do to UA?” Todoroki seethed through his gritted teeth.

Dabi looked behind the pair to watch the smoke rise out of the glass building, “Well, I’m not really sure, to be honest with you! I wasn’t a part of that. Could be any of us, could be a whole new villain.”

Bakugou narrowed his eyes. Dabi was acting a lot more different than usual, at least from the few encounters Bakugou had with him. He was pretty sure the hand on the throat and the kidnapping was enough to make the two unfortunate acquaintances. But he was acting...cockier. Happier? He had never heard the cremation boy speak so mockingly. He was always stern, correcting his teammates whenever they were too outspoken or happy. 

He was...acting a lot like Doku…

“Who are you?” Bakugou whispered.

Dabi looked taken aback, “Why, whatever do you mean?”

Bakugou tched, straightening his back. What he had noticed right away was that Toga was up and running, functioning normally with no apparent wounds to her head. It was a fake. Again. Did that mean the one he had hit was a fake too? This Dabi was probably a fake. 

Dabi pressed his fingers to his temple, “My, my! I can’t believe you caught on so quickly.”

His face began to distort, his face melting down, replaced by the all to familiar green fluff of air and harrowing red eyes. 

“Why, hello there, doll,” Doku smiled wickedly. 

Bakugou inadvertently backed a step away. 

This...didn’t make sense. Whose quirk was that? 

That was Doku...right? It was the same suit, the same hair, the same eyes...

WHAT?

“I told your dumbass this would be confusing,” Another voice spoke up from the shadows behind them.

Bakugou and Todoroki both gasped a little as Dabi came into the fluorescent light, scratching the back of his head. 

Now it was 3 against 1.

Doku pouted, “You’re no FUN!”

Dabi rolled his eyes, “Yeah, because we aren’t here to have fun. Get the job done so we can leave.”

Doku cracked his knuckles, angling his body to face the duo, “Oh, alright!”

He disappeared in the blink of an eye. As fast as the lightning that coated his body. Bakugou would recognize it anywhere...just not to this extent. One For All: Full Cowling. But if that was Full Cowling, this was Full Cowling: Tenfold. 

Bakugou braced himself quickly, bending his knees a little, waiting for an attack. Maybe a kick? Would he go into shoot style?

He felt a tap on his shoulder, “Yoohoo! Back here!”

He turned, but before he could react, Doku blasted him backward with a punch to the face. He hit the bulletproof glass of the dorms and fell to the ground. He wouldn’t go down without a fight though and stood up quickly, anger pulsing through his veins. But before he could make a move, he was quickly brought to his knees by the ringing in his ears and his whitening vision.

No...NO.

He staggered, looking around wildly.

Toga was already running at full speed toward Todoroki, who was doubled over on the ground, the blood he had been coughing up making a crescent around him.

NO.

Bakugou couldn’t make it in time. He wouldn’t make it in time. He brought his hand up and tried to send off an explosion but froze. He would hit Todoroki. And he was far too disheveled and disorientated to be precise. 

 

It dawned on him.

 

There was no way out of this.

He was pushed forward by the force of a foot on the back of his neck. 

“You’re probably thinking, ‘Ah! This is where I’m gonna die!’, aren’t you?” Doku snickered, mocking a frightened tone. He dug his foot into the back of Bakugou’s neck who gasped out for a breath. No, no, no, no---

“Well, sucks to be you, I guess, because I have no intention of letting you die so soon, Kacchan. Not when I’ll be able to have so much more fun with you,” Doku fired back sweetly, his tone dripping with poison. 

He leaned forward to whisper in Bakugou’s ear, “But on the other hand, I have no use for Todoroki. You’ll just have to watch as we cut him up. Bit. By. Bit.” He leaned even closer at the last few words, making sure to drive them home, puncture every nerve and organ in Bakugou’s body.

Bakugou paused, his whole body rumbling with anger, like fire in his bones. His eyes focused, his brain cleared, and he relaxed his muscles before turning his palms upward to face Doku. He blasted the boy with enough force to knock him into the sky, the red lightning surrounding the boy crackling and ironically followed by the sound of thunder from Bakugou’s blast. 

Bakugou began to run forward, not caring about whatever pain he was feeling. He just needed to stop Toga. Stop her. She had pushed Todoroki over so she was straddled on his stomach, his head pushed against the concrete. She had stopped to admire Todoroki, seemingly talking to him as she trailed her knife along his scar and down his face to tilt his chin upward with the tip of the knife. Todoroki had flinched so hard, it was as if she had stabbed him in the eye.

She angled her knife in her hand and brought it down with such force that Bakugou knew he wouldn’t be able to stop her. 

That it was too late. That there was no way he could stop whatever was to come. He was too slow. He was the cause of this all. Why? Why did he let Todoroki go into the flames? He had been the one to call out to that idiot as he stormed in headfirst into the apartment. He should have done more. He should have called for backup right then and there. He should have begged Aizawa to let him come with him. He should have gone into the building and checked on his friends. And now, he would never know if they were alive. He would never know if they were okay, if they were dead. But he would know for sure that Todoroki was dead because this was it. It was all his fault. He wasn’t there in time and it was all his fault and it was all his fault and he wasn’t fast enough and now TODOROKI WAS GOING TO DIE. And IT WAS ALL HIS FAULT---

 

CLANG. 

 

The sound of the impact of the knife hitting something. Bakugou froze.

Toga flew backward, stabbed back with the spear that Yaoyorozu had used to stop her from getting to Todoroki. Yaoyorozu stood over his body now, her legs on both sides of him, standing like a warrior with her spear and shield in hand. She was breathing heavily, ready for another attack. 

“Looks like you two need some help,” Bakugou heard a familiar voice call out. Wheeling his way down the sidewalk was Iida, his face set in seriousness as he let out a couple of bursts from his engines to propel him forward. 

Bakugou fell to his knees. 

 

Yaoyorozu and Iida.

They were alive.

 

“No fun! We’re totally outmatched now!” Toga cried as she melted away. Another clone!

Doku fell to the ground a couple of feet away and promptly began to melt as well. Dabi looked around and turned his hand on himself, setting himself ablaze, “Well, we tried our best.” He shrugged as he too fell into black sludge. 

“Are you two alright?” Iida cried, wheeling himself over to Bakugou as Yaoyorozu began to tend to Todoroki. 

Bakugou was still on his knees, so overcome with relief that he was exhausted, the adrenaline from the fight wearing down. He didn’t respond to Iida as the boy placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Bakugou! Hello?” Iida asked, waving his hand in front of his face. 

“BAKUGOU! I need your help, please! Over here!” Yaoyorozu cried. 

Iida turned to see Yaoyorozu standing over Todoroki’s seizing body. His back arched off the floor as he convulsed. 

Bakugou staggered to his feet, holding Iida’s wheelchair as support as he began to run toward the pair. Yaoyorozu held her face as Todoroki seized his fits and she dropped next to him, quick to craft a ventilator out of her skin and strap it to his face. She pressed her fingers to his neck and relaxed as she felt a pulse. 

“We need to get him medical attention now. The poison is slow working, thank goodness, but still. He’s passed out,” Yaoyorozu stated as she wiped his face of any blood from a handkerchief from her pocket. 

Bakugou took a moment to take in his classmates. While Iida was unscathed, Yaoyorozu’s right arm was burned from the shoulder down to her wrist. She had wrapped it, but it looked bad. Yaoyorozu followed his gaze and hid her arm quickly, “It’s alright. I did get hit with a little of Dabi’s flames but I managed to get us both out before there was any real damage done. Plus, I made us masks once I realized there was poison in the air. It seems Todoroki got the worst of it didn’t he?” She looked down at him with worry painted across her face. 

Bakugou still couldn’t speak but nodded. 

Iida scoffed, turning his head away to hide his distraught expression. Todoroki had run headfirst into the flames for them, and look what had happened.

Yaoyorozu shifted her legs into a comfortable position on the concrete, “I called Endeavor and some others. Last I checked with them, they were a couple of minutes away.”

As if on queue, the sound of distant sirens was heard and she sighed with relief, running a hand down her face.

“How...how did you get out?” Bakugou managed to ask, feigning indifference.

“Well, once I realized something was up, I ran to Iida and quickly formed a shield to stop the flames from advancing. I was a little too late as you can see but I managed to block the attack from us. The room started burning up and I quickly made myself a battering ram to kick open the door. We found a clone of Dabi out there and we took him out before escaping the building. We were safe the whole time, but...obviously, you guys couldn’t have predicted that.”

Yaoyorozu again looked down at Todoroki, running a soft hand up and down his hand. She quickly withdrew once she remembered she had the other two boys around. She flushed quickly and Bakugou rolled his eyes.

The sirens drew closer and Bakugou fell back onto the grass, breathing in and out slowly, trying to calm his heart rate. They were safe. 

The police cars, ambulance, and fire trucks approached, screeching to a halt. The firefighters made quick work of the dorms as the paramedics began loading Todoroki into the ambulance.

Endeavor sauntered over to the group after checking on his son in the ambulance. 

“Students, are any of you injured besides the young girl?” He asked, his tone hardened and stern.

Bakugou and Iida shook their heads.

Endeavor looked at the ground then, lost in thought.

Bakugou straightened, casting aside the far off look in his eyes, steeling himself to be able to speak to Endeavor, “Hey, Endeavor. Take us to UA.”

Endeavor looked up, a little startled that someone had dared to speak to him in such a way, “I’m sorry?”

“Take us to our school. We have to check on the rest, plus there could be more clones,” Bakugou stated matter-of-factly. Iida shot him an incredulous look, “Is that any way to speak to the number one hero? You should be ashamed of yourself! I am so sorry, Mr. Endeavor, sir, please forgive my classmate’s idiocy.” He bowed his head fervently.

Bakugou tched, “OH, SHUT UP! IT’S HIS JOB TO SAVE PEOPLE AND WE WEREN’T SAVED IN TIME! HOW DO I KNOW EVERYONE IS OKAY AT UA? HOW DO YOU KNOW?”

“I want to go, too, but at least be POLITE about it!” Iida cried.

Endeavor waved a dismissive hand at Iida, “No, no, he’s right. I wasn’t here on time and it got my son hurt. But I can tell you that everyone that was in UA is safe, I was just there. Though…”

He trailed off, looking back toward the ambulance taking his son to the hospital.

“THOUGH WHAT?” Bakugou screeched.

 

“Everyone is safe...but two students, let me try and remember their names….Kirishima and Ashido. Yes…

 

Those two are missing.”

Chapter Text

 

Oh, Izuku, this sounds like so much fun! The most fun we’ll have in a while!” Toga cooed from across the table, hugging herself as her face turned bright pink.

Doku smirked, “It is going to be a lot of fun. But let’s go over it one more time, alright?”

Shigaraki rolled his eyes, “Yeah, have all the fun you want, psychos. Leave me out of this.”

Spinner and Compress also agreed, leaving with their leader to another room as the “children” sorted out their outrageous plan. Shigaraki had only agreed to it under the circumstances that Doku would never be put in harm's way. He needed him still. What was the point of unlocking a special power if you didn’t have the right player to use it? 

Doku had agreed reluctantly but was still overjoyed at the prospect of his plan. 

Doku had already predicted most of what would happen, but he needed to be sure of each of the time, who was involved, and the positions of those participating in the “capture”. He had Toga go undercover as one of the cops at the meeting between the students and the pros and listen to their plan. Toga was in shock most of the time. Doku had it all down to a tee. He had predicted it all like some sort of fortune-teller. 

She had asked him afterward, “How did you know Katsuki’s plan?”

Doku had just smiled and said, “As much as he doesn’t want to admit it, me and him are one and the same. I know everything about Kacchan, whether he likes it or not.”

It was perfect. They knew everything now. They carefully crafted their plan off of the information gathered and they knew it would work perfectly.  

“So to start. We need to get rid of their eyes and ears. We’ll send two clones of Dabi toward Iida’s room: one will be on the balcony and the other outside the door. The one at the door will melt the doorknob, making it impossible for them to leave. The other will throw in these poison grenades we have and shoot up the place with their fire. Once Iida and Yaoyorozu are out of the equation, we’ll have a clone of Toga approach the dorms and go into Izuku’s dorm. They’ll attack her, and you’ll reveal yourself.”

He had purposefully left out the part about wanting UA to explode. That was his own little surprise for both the kids and his teammates. When asked what he would do with the students in the building, Doku waved it off, telling the group that they weren’t important. As much as Doku wanted them dead, he needed them alive for now, for reasons unknown. He took Twice aside and explained to him what the plan was.

Doku needed several clones of himself to be sent to UA. He knew where the kids would be hiding and didn’t necessarily want to harm them, just scare them. He would have the clones try to break into the room before having one kick open the doors and throwing in the bombs. The bombs wouldn’t harm the kids or the building but they would show catastrophic damage to those on the outside looking in.

The perfect distraction. 

He knew exactly what would happen. The heroes would leave and run towards the building, prioritizing those in the school rather than those in the dorms. Bakugou would want to go to the school of course, but he would be torn between whether or not he should help Iida and Yaoyorozu or go with the heroes to UA. In that split second hesitation, that was when Doku would attack with Dabi and Toga clones. 

Of course, they wouldn’t kill him. Rough him up a bit? Sure. Injure him? Yeah, sounds good.

They would take advantage of any and all situations to get Bakugou into a corner. 

A capture could also happen if the occasion called for it. 

But he was getting ahead of himself.

“Toga and Dabi, I’ll have clones of you attack Bakugou. It’ll be perfect since Toga is a close-range fighter and Dabi is a long-range fighter. First, he’ll be outnumbered and then he’ll be outmatched. Toga can wear him down with her bizarre attacks before Dabi comes in with a devastating final blow. It’ll be perfect!” Doku clapped his hands. 

Toga spun around once before jumping on Dabi, hugging him, “Oh, I can’t wait to torture Katsuki! This is going to be so. Much. Fun!” 

Dabi shook her off, grunting as he walked away, waving his hand, “Yeah, yeah. Just wake me up when we gotta get ready.”

Doku smiled, “Oh, we’ll be ready very soon.”

That night, Doku visited Midoriya for the first time in forever. He had left the boy to rot in his little mind cave for a while now, mentally tying him down and forcing him to watch and live through all of what he was doing.

“Izuku, my boy!” Doku called in an All Might-esque tone.

Midoriya was a mess. 

And that was being nice.

After the last incident with Midoriya beating Doku to a bloody pulp, Doku didn’t want to take any chances. He crafted a sort of prison in his mind, tying Midoriya down with chains and ropes in the middle of it. 

The whole experience had not been a pleasant one, to say the least.

Throughout the time spent in the “mind prison”, Midoriya had been through a kind of torture he had never considered to be real. 

He had been battered and beaten countless times, from training to actual fights with villains, and his own classmates, so he had grown accustomed to physical pain. But this emotional torment was new to him. It had been a rude awakening in him. That he could be beaten down by more than just punches. That his strong will could be susceptible to some of the worst that mankind had to offer. Before, during fights, he had been just able to smile away his worries or was so overcome with adrenaline he had never been given the chance to truly emotionally handle what was going on. Even afterward, he would never let anything affect him. He could not remember the last time he had truly felt a long-lasting emotion towards anything. Bakugou telling him to kill himself? Forgive and forget. All Might telling him he couldn’t be a hero? Look where he is now. The sludge villain choking him to the point of death? Never heard of him. Shigaraki threatening to kill him at the mall? There were more important things to worry about.

The list goes on. There was always something more important. There was never room for him and his feelings. It was always about someone else, it was always about saving someone else.

But that changed.

Here, he wasn’t allowed to fill his time with fights or new battle strategies or new ways to improve his quirk. All the time spent was dedicated to watching the shit show that Doku was directing, in perfect detail. He couldn’t fight back, not anymore. What little fighting power he had that one day, was gone. He could barely even speak anymore. Once, he had tried to speak to Doku but was whipped by an invisible rope across his face. That wound still had not closed. Restrained in his own mind, with no control over his own actions and words. It was torture seeing his own hands play out what he would never do, his mouth speaking words he would never say. He had been left to sit and watch, unable to look away or change what was happening.

Midoriya was the one that needed saving. 

The way he had been tied down did not allow him to sit or lie down in any sort of comfortable position, stuck sitting on his knees in an almost permanent bow. It was more than uncomfortable: it was painful. It made it hard to rest or sleep, the ropes digging at him whenever he so much as moved. He had had no contact with Doku in over a week and he had been growing agitated by the second. 

The time he had spent in the prison was filled with vomit, tears, and pain. Just pain. There was never a moment when he was not heaving on the ground in front of him, or sobbing until his throat grew hoarse, or passing out from the pain in his mind and body. His anger at Doku was gone, stripped away by the eternity he had spent in captivity. 

And Doku knew that. He knew. He would occasionally lash Midoriya with a whip in his mind, just for funsies, letting him know that he did indeed hear his cries, but would never listen to them. 

This time, though, he wanted an in-person visit both before and after his plan. It would get him in the mood. 

At Doku’s voice echoing in the cavern, Midoriya barely stirred. His head was lolling around, as if about to snap off his neck, his green hair covering his bloodied face. He coughed a little, the only response Doku would get for now.

“Aw, now why the long face? You know this is going to be a great showing! You don’t want to miss it,” Doku called, dragging his nails across the metal bars of the cage. 

Midoriya flinched, prepared for a whip to strike at him, or for Doku to say another awful, awful thing to him. But neither came as Doku simply stared at him, relishing in his pain.

“You know, before, I saw you as a threat, Izuzu, but now? You can barely even talk to me! Am I really that scary?” Doku walked through the bars as if they were invisible, kneeling in front of Midoriya, his shoes squelching in the vomit and blood around him. 

Midoriya did not react, did not look up or move his blank, empty gaze from the floor. 

Doku brought a finger under the boy’s chin and lifted it up, “I can be far scarier, Izuku.”






Missing?

What?

Iida took the words right out of his mouth, asking, “What do you mean, ‘missing’??”

Endeavor looked down at his phone for any incoming messages from Aizawa, “I mean they’re missing. Disappeared. No one knows where they are. As we escorted everyone out of the safe room in the lecture hall, they were not among the students and teachers.”

Bakugou was frozen in place, the throbbing in his arm, and the pressure in his head suddenly gone as he felt a wave of numbness overflow him. He blinked once and suddenly snapped out of it. He needed to stop this. The constant worrying over nothing. They were fine. They were two capable hero students who had their licenses. They could fend for themselves. 

But Bakugou couldn’t shake the unnerving feeling that something was terribly, terribly wrong. 

“Where were they seen last?” Bakugou asked, his anger evident in his tone. He sounded scary, his words dripping with wrath, his whole aura shifting into one of seriousness as he stared down Endeavor for an answer.

The pro hero looked down at Bakugou and felt a chill rise up his spine. This kid was something else. 

“You’re not going anywhere. Stay here, the pros and police can handle this,” Endeavor said, clearing his throat quickly. 

Bakugou looked away, his eyes shadowed by his bangs, “I thought you’d say that.”

He began to walk away, seemingly in the direction of a bench off to the side. Endeavor sighed with relief about to turn away, but Iida remained, watching Bakugou walk away. There was no way he would give up without a fight. What happened to him? Bakugou turned to look back at Iida and Iida flicked his eyes to Endeavor and nodded his head quickly. Bakugou was confused. He had already planned to blast away but now Four Eyes was giving him some sort of signal.

Iida wheeled himself farther away from Bakugou, in the direction of the ambulance and Endeavor before crying out in agony, clutching his back.

Bakugou understood exactly what Iida was doing the second Endeavor and the rest of the paramedics began surrounding him. Iida shot him a glance in between his cries and gave a small wink. Bakugou was overcome with relief and nodded his head, steeling himself before running for the woods behind the dorms.

Thanks, Four Eyes…






Bakugou blasted himself from tree to tree, balancing on branches and calling out every few seconds quietly. He was making his way towards UA since the two couldn’t have gotten far.

It was unlikely that the villains had been the ones to take them away as everyone was crammed together in the safe room. They must’ve broken off from everyone else before the police had arrived. Idiots. They were in that room for a reason.

But something that Dabi had said still didn’t sit right with him:

“I wasn’t a part of that. Could be any of us, could be a whole new villain.”

Of course, he could be lying. The League wasn’t above that. He just...didn’t know what to think.

As he ran on the grass, jumping over logs and rocks he felt his panic rise in his throat. He grabbed his phone out quickly, surprised to see it in almost perfect condition. The screen had cracked from one of his falls but he quickly unlocked it without trouble, scrolling through his contacts.

Kirishima

He clicked ‘call’ without hesitation, bringing one hand to hold the phone and the other to continue his blasts. 

I’m sorry, but the number you are trying to reach is unav---

The call went straight to voicemail.

Racoon Eyes

Click.

I’m sorry, but the---

“SHIT!” Bakugou cried into the open air, almost crushing his phone with his bare hand.

They had run into trouble, he was sure of it.

“KIRISHIMA!” He screamed into the woods, unable to keep calm any longer.

Silence.

The response was delayed.

A bang and the high pitched scream of a girl in need of saving.





“Kirishima? Are you sure this is the right way?” Mina asked nervously, clutching his jacket sleeve tight.

“We’re going to the dorms...just taking a short cut is all. I’m sure they’ll catch us if we take the regular sidewalk so it'll be easier to get to Bakugou through here,” The redhead responded firmly, moving at a faster pace than before.

He had not intended for Mina to come along with him. This was a solo mission with an unfortunate tag along. He didn’t want her in danger’s way at all, but she and the others had read his mind.

“Kiri, don’t even think about it,” Kaminari had said, his voice low and serious, his icy gaze scaring Kirishima so much he immediately froze in place. Mina and Jirou all paused as well, looking from Kaminari to Kirishima.

Kirishima gritted his teeth, “Come on, man. I just---”

Mina brought a hand up to stop Kaminari from advancing forward, “Just...just let him go. But I’m going with you.”

Kirishima immediately refused, shaking his head fervently. Kaminari shrugged, turning his body to face the police officers who had their backs to them. He opened his mouth to suddenly shout before Kirishima tackled him. He held Kaminari in a chokehold, slamming his hand over the blond's mouth.

“OKAY! Okay, but I don’t want Mina coming along. I just don’t want to put her in harm’s way--” Kirishima pleaded, looking around at the group as he let Sero go. 

Mina crossed her arms, “Excuse me? I am perfectly capable of defending myself, thank you very much.”

Jirou shrugged again, “Can’t argue with the lady. Just go. We’ll cover for you, alright?”

Kaminari shot the pair a thumbs up as they had run into the woods. 

Now, Mina knew she made the right choice, forcing him to let her come along. The idiot had no clue where he was going. And she knew she wasn’t a genius either, but she could at least tell that they were lost. 

She sped up her pace as well along with Kirishima as they jogged through the wooded area, surging towards the little flickers of light up ahead. The actual dorms were not in their line of sight yet, and they had no clue what was going on there, but they knew they needed to be there. 

Bakugou, Sero, Iida, Todoroki, and Yaoyorozu. Five of their own stationed on the front lines. Kirishima had been surprised that Aizawa had let Todoroki and Bakugou participate despite the fact they didn’t have their licenses yet but Todoroki explained to them that Aizawa had granted them a pass just for the capture. After that, they were never to use their quirks.

They had been completely safe when UA had exploded above them. Sure, a little debris rained down on them, coating them all in a little dust, but they had been safe as Cementoss repaired whatever damage was done above them. In fact, there hadn’t been any damage. The bombs had seemingly just been made up of noise and light. 

Several things were weird about the situation. 

First, how did whoever bombed them know they were in the bunker? The bombs had only been thrown in the lecture hall and had not targeted any of the other parts of UA, so it was obviously to deter the students in the bunker.

Second, why did the bombs do no damage? The children and pros were sitting ducks and would’ve easily been taken out by a couple of real bombs. 

It’s a distraction, Kirishima had thought immediately.

Bakugou and the others...they’re in danger, aren’t they?

Mina suddenly froze, pulling on Kirishima’s arm to get him to stop too. He stumbled, his momentum suddenly cut short. She brought a finger to his lips before he could question her.

“Shh...don’t you hear that?” Mina whispered, looking around for the source of the noise she had been hearing. 

Kirishima closed his eyes and listened as well. Now that she mentioned it, there was a rustling somewhere to their right in the woods. He had been so lost in thought, he hadn’t even realized. 

He quickly hardened his arm, turning to face that direction, placing Mina somewhat behind him. 

“It could just be a squ---” Kirishima began, slowly moving his arm down before he was blasted backward, crashing with a bang against a tree about five hundred feet away. Mina screamed, reaching after him before she was pulled into Doku’s arms, a knife to her throat.  “Uh, uh, doll...Let’s keep still for me, alright?” Doku whispered in her ear, sending chills down her spine.

So this was what Ochako felt that day? This sheet of ice wrapping around her? Like she was being drowned? 

She choked on whatever cry she was going to let out next, tears already forming in her eyes.

Far away, Kirishima stood, unscathed as he had hardened right before the impact. He ran forward, roaring before he realized the situation Mina was in.

Doku laughed, a sickly sweet sound as he waved the knife at Kirishima, “Might want to be careful what you do next, Kirishima, or you might just lose another classmate today!” 

That choice of words…”another”? 

Kirishima felt himself go numb, “No...WHAT DID YOU DO?”

Doku smiled wickedly, ruefully stating, “Oh, you hadn’t heard? Well, I guess you never will, will you? You both are dying here. You’re just going to get in the way, you know?”

He brought the knife back to Mina’s neck. 

 

Time slowed. 

 

Kirishima was too far. He was way too far to make it in time.

And there was no one around to save them.

He’s...he’s gonna slash her throat.

The image of the waterfall of blood falling over her chest and onto the grass...choking as he held her and---

No...it can’t end like this…

Please…

But before Doku had the chance to bring the tip of the blade to her throat, he spazzed, clutching his head.

“NO! NOT RIGHT NOW!” He screamed into the open air.

Mina brought a hand up to grab the knife, melting it with her acid. The sharp edge cut her as she held on and Doku screeched, jumping back with the sad remains of his knife.

Doku fell to his knees, screaming as his eyes bulged out of his head. Kirishima and Mina just watched as he writhed and seized, moving around on the grass like an electrified snake. 

“NO, NO, NO!” The villain cried.

He managed to turn to the pair, staring at them with flashing red and green eyes.

Mina gasped. 

Those were...those were Midoriya’s eyes!

Kirishima clutched Mina in his arms, holding her tight, “Midoriya?...”

Another scream joined Doku’s as Bakugou burst out of the woods, hands blazing, looking around wildly for his friends.

He spotted Kirishima and Mina and felt an overwhelming sense of relief wash over him before he turned to the source of the cries.

Doku was grabbing at his suit jacket and tie, as if they were choking him, crying and screaming out into the air as if he was burning alive.

Bakugou was taken aback, unable to throw a punch. What the hell?

“NO!!!” Doku screamed again as he grabbed at his hair, almost pulling it out.

He snapped his head up at the trio and they all flinched back. But this time, instead of Doku's blank red eyes, Midoriya’s green ones shone back, filled with tears. Suddenly wounds and blood appeared on his face, red seeping into the white dress shirt the boy was wearing. It wasn’t Doku anymore...it was Midoriya...

The combination spoke in a garbled voice, a mixture of Doku’s and Midoriya’s, “...I’m...sorry...so...sorry...please...help...me…” Tears spilled down his face at an alarming rate.

A curtain of doom and despair descended in the clearing, everyone unable to move or speak. 

“Sorry...sorry...please, I’m...sorry...Kacchan…” His voice cracked and paused unnaturally as he spasmed randomly.

Bakugou seized up, shaking as he stepped backward...Deku…

 

“I’m sorry…” Midoriya cried one last time before he melted into sludge.

Chapter Text

 

Bakugou fell to his knees.

It was the only thing he could do at the moment. It has become his go-to reaction nowadays.

All his muscles stopped working, his brain shutting down. He was on the verge of passing out.

The solitary moment of numbness was quick to pass as everything hit him again like a train: the physical pain he had been suppressing from the stab wound as well as the probably cracked ribs he had from his earlier fight with Doku. Along with this pain came a new blooming sensation in the pits of his stomach and he heaved onto the ground, breathing laboriously.  

But it didn’t stop there. 

An onslaught of thoughts berated his mind like a herd of bulls plowing their way through the gate and onto the field.

He grasped his head in his hands and screamed hoarsely, his throat still burning from vomiting.

Deku...Deku wasn’t just…

He…

“I’m sorry, Kacchan.”

The blood...the marks…

The...Deku, he--

Prior to this unforeseen moment, Bakugou had been under the impression that Midoriya was asleep, in a coma, in the back of his mind, with Doku at the reins. But what he saw today...it changed things. Doku wasn’t just inhabiting Midoriya and controlling him uncontested...no...Midoriya was there...Midoriya...Midoriya saw everything, Midoriya was wide awake. 

Midoriya...Midoriya was hurt.

Normally, Bakugou wouldn’t care, wouldn’t bat an eye. Getting hurt was part of the job. If you throw out punches, you should expect to take them as well. But this was so different. So different from a sparring battle or a robber on the loose.

This was…

That was…

Torture.

He’s being tortured.

The whip lashes on his face...the excessive crying and apologizing...he had seen everything. And that bastard would of course fight back. Midoriya was a hero. And Doku...Doku probably punished him for that. Maybe even...just for fun. Doku was a sadist, he was not beneath that.

He’s being tortured.

And that fucker who loves his friends so much...who would do anything to protect them...had to watch as Doku picked at them piece by piece…

Tortured .

GOD, IT WAS ALL HIS FAULT!

“Bakugou? Bakugou, please, can you hear me?” A voice far away was pleading with him. It wasn’t necessarily that he was going deaf. In fact, he wished he was blind after what he had just witnessed…

But this all too familiar voice, saying these all too familiar words. He needed to go back to them.

He reached forward and grabbed Kirishima by the front of his shirt, looking up with hooded and hazy eyes, “You...you bastard...running off...on your own…making us...worry---”

Bakugou couldn’t breathe normally anymore.  He didn’t deserve it. His body was punishing him. One lung had decided to take the day off, it had seemed, boycotting Bakugou and his horrible antics. Everyone else seemed to follow that lung: his muscles, his vision, his hearing, his consciousness. They all up and left him. It was all his fault so what right did he have to continue living in this world?

Bakugou passed out, falling forward onto Kirishima’s lap before rolling off and hitting his head on the hardened dirt surrounding the trees.

I’m sorry, Kacchan.






IZUKUUUUU!” Doku roared into the black abyss. 

He was going to do what he should have done weeks ago.

His need for control overpowered his desire for pain. 

He needed to kill Izuku Midoriya. Right here. Right now. 

Doku turned around several times, looking all around the empty void, not seeing a single thing. No mirror, no cage, and most importantly, no Midoriya. 

Where did he go? There was nowhere for him to go. Doku made sure to stomp the floors, rattling them as they rippled like waves, making sure Midoriya wasn’t planning any other surprise attacks.

“WHERE ARE YOU?” Doku screamed.

What Midoriya had done was unforgivable. He needed to be punished for it. He needed to be killed for it. And it would be a slow and torturous death, that was for sure.

In fact, Doku had no clue if he even could kill Midoriya. 

That little shit wasn’t fighting back for a reason. All that time spent in the cage, being whipped and thrown about like a rag doll. Just taking it. It was SO OUT OF CHARACTER. How had it not struck him as odd? HE KNEW MIDORIYA.

MIDORIYA WAS HIM.

The whole time...he had been storing his energy and strength for a chance at control when Doku’s presence was at its weakest. 

Now Doku understood how Midoriya got under Bakugou’s skin.

But he would solve that problem for the both of them.

Midoriya was dying today, one way or the other. 

He was weak, Doku knew. That instance in the woods had definitely taken a lot of Midoriya. It had taken all of his strength to even speak. Plus, he still had to be hurting from the beatings Doku had inflicted on him. 

“YOU CAN’T KEEP THIS UP FOREVER, IZUKU!” Doku called maniacally, shaking as he grimaced and grinned at the same time. He looked like a madman. Granted,  he was one, but usually, he was composed about it. But Midoriya had struck a certain chord within him. 

Doku screamed in pain, falling to his knees.

The sudden pain that overflowed him was the same as when Midoriya had taken control back in the clearing.

“NO!” 

How was it happening again? So soon as well?

He looked up as the void around him brightened as if a screen in an IMAX theater had turned on. Is this what Midoriya saw? Is this how he watched Doku sabotage his life? 

Nothing played on the supposed screen and Doku was left to stare at it before he suddenly remembered he was asleep. There would be nothing playing on the screen. 

Wait…

Wait does that mean?

DOES THAT MEAN?

“NO!” Doku screamed. 

“YES!” Midoriya screamed back, his yell echoing across his mind, piercing Doku over and over.

That means that Midoriya has control.

Oh, how the tables have turned.

Doku was thrown back by a punch to the gut. The crackling of One for All was surrounding him but he couldn’t place it, couldn’t see Midoriya or where his next attack would be from.

“HOW?” Doku cried. 

“You’ve had control for too long, Doku...for too long, you’ve taken advantage of me. Not anymore...now--” Midoriya was cut off as Doku reached his arm forward and pulled as if playing a game of tug of war.

Midoriya was dragged forward, seemingly out of nowhere. He wouldn’t let himself be beaten though and took the opportunity to charge up a kick and slam it into Doku’s chest. 

“FULL COWLING! SHOOT STYLE!” Midoriya hollered, sending Doku flying backward. Doku was quick on his feet though, anticipating Midoriya’s moves as he absorbed the kick and threw back a punch, a smash at almost 35%. He wouldn’t be able to use 100% of One for All’s power here, but he would go as far as his bodiless mind would allow him. 

Midoriya dodged expertly, flipping over before sending another kick, narrowly missing Doku’s nose. Doku bent backward, trying to kick Midoriya’s legs out from under him. Midoriya jumped, skyrocketing into the air, bringing his leg straight out and lifting it, attempting to ax kick Doku, “Manchester Smash!”

Doku was fast. Just as fast as Midoriya. He moved to the right at the last second as Midoriya slammed into the ground, the ripples of the floor creating such large waves that Doku rode them like a surfer, several feet away.

Midoriya regained his footing quickly, turning back to him, “YOU’RE NOT GOING BACK, DOKU!”

Doku smiled, breathing heavily, “No, silly Izuku. You’re the one who landed straight into my territory . You are the one not leaving here. You’re dying here.”

Midoriya stretched his arm, bending his knees, “Bring it, villain.”

And so the fight continued. Both the boys fought on equal playing fields, all their moves, patterns, and attacks were easily predicted by the other and before long it was more of a game of who could touch the other first. Neither had landed a punch or kick since the beginning when Midoriya had kicked Doku. 

“You’re going to pay , Izuku. Pay,” Doku snarled, opting for a different attack, scratching his hands forward like a cat. 

“Never. I’m never letting you get to them again,” Midoriya retorted, flinching back before throwing another kick. 

Doku did an aerial, spinning his body around and yelling, “ST. LOUIS SMASH!”

Midoriya easily countered, grabbing Doku’s leg and throwing him onto the ground, “DON’T YOU DARE USE MY MOVES!”

Alone in his thoughts for a moment, with the wind knocked out of him, Doku felt himself panic. Am I really going to lose to him? Is this it for me? It can’t be, can it?

No. It can’t.

Doku began thinking. Since he was naturally dodging Midoriya’s attacks he had the luxury of a clear headspace for the time being. 

We both are at the same level physically, and mentally we think the same. This battle will never end. Here, it seems stamina is infinite, but we can still get hurt. So far I have only received punches, but never landed any of mine. 

He seethed. There was no way out of this.

Midoriya would never let up, until he was on the ground bleeding and begging for mercy. He wouldn’t stop until his body was his again.

So what was the quickest and easiest way to get him back under Doku’s thumb?

Maybe if I--

His thought process was interrupted as he had to dodge again, this time just barely avoiding the fists Midoriya was bringing down upon him. Midoriya landed on his toes, his hands pressed to the ground.

Midoriya was going to win this.

It was the only thing he could think of at the moment.

I have to win this.

At the same time as Doku, Midoriya was having a similar moment of reflection, trying to craft a plan within the fraction of time he had. 

The void can conceal my presence, but it looks like Doku can easily see through that with just a simple noise from the person being concealed. He’ll probably be able to track me much easier anyway since he’ll know to expect it. What he won’t expect is if I try and use the void against him, like he did to me. 

The wounds from his beatings were slow healing but for some reason, after gaining a bit of his control they seemed to have faded away for the time being. That was a good sign. 

Now, if I can just figure out how to use the chains he did!

With both his hands pressed flat on the rippling surface of the ground, Midoriya closed his eyes and thought in his head, Chains. Chains, wrap around Doku!

He opened his eyes and to his surprise, two long lengths of chains sprouted out of the ground and began to dive for Doku.

Doku yelped, summoning his own means of defense with a black wall of concrete to stop the onslaught on him.
No, it can’t end this way!

When the chains made contact with the wall, both erupted into sparkles, settling down around them like stars in the night sky. 

So when two creations of the void touch each other, they disappear. 

Midoriya looked down at his hands incredulously. He should’ve tried that sooner!

Without touching the ground, Midoriya tried it again, this time trying to focus the chains to erupt behind Doku. 

It happened just as before and this time Doku was caught off guard, his left arm completely encircled by the chains. 

He moved out of the way in time before it got his right hand as well. Doku reached into his pocket and pulled out the knife Toga had gifted him. He swiped at the chains and they fell away.

Doku looked up, exasperated, “Izuku! Why don’t we just talk for a moment? Hermano to hermano? No fights, no weapons, nothing?”

Midoriya scoffed, “I might be a little naive, Doku, but even you should know I’m not that stupid.”

Doku shrugged, indifferent, “Okay then. That was your last chance.”

“Last chance at what?” Midoriya asked, his tone suspicious.

Doku turned his head to face him, his red eyes glowing brightly and a wicked smile on his face, “Your last chance to live.”

Before Midoriya could even process what Doku had just said, Doku turned the knife on himself, stabbing himself in the chest. 

He disappeared.

Midoriya looked around, confused. He couldn’t have killed himself. What would that do?

He was quickly answered by the jumbotron in the void roaring to life as he began to see himself rise out of bed, in the crusty room with the League.

No…

Doku…

Doku had woken himself up...to end the fight.

THAT WAS A CHEAP TRICK, DOKU!” Midoriya screamed, enraged, “ COWARD!!!” 

Doku’s smartass voice echoed around him, “Oh, you’re starting to sound a lot like ol’ Kacchan now, arentcha? Wonder how he’s holding up after everything that’s gone down…”

Midoriya felt like he was slapped in the face. Was it right for him to have taken over control? Should he have? Did he just make things worse for Bakugou?

But…

But...Bakugou doesn’t really...he doesn’t really care about him, does he? He wouldn’t let Midoriya of all people rattle him. 

“KACCHAN IS FINE! NOTHING THAT YOU OR I COULD DO WILL CHANGE THAT! HE’S STRONGER THAN YOU!” Midoriya yelled back.

He’s stronger than me. 

He won’t have any trouble at all.





“BAKUGOU!” Kirishima yelped, taking Bakugou into his arms. He quickly looked up at Mina who was standing above him. Her eyes were closed and she was clutching her bleeding hand. Kirishima felt something in him break a little.

He looked back down at Bakugou, then back to Mina.

What the hell am I supposed to do?

This was all his fault! 

If he didn’t let Mina come with him, if he didn’t go after Bakugou, if he got to Bakugou in time…

It was just like training camp. But this time, he had acted and it still went wrong. 

Am I...cursed or something?!

Why did everything have to go wrong whenever he was involved? 

He didn’t know what to do. Mina was hurt, Bakugou was passed out. His scream earlier had stopped Kirishima’s heart. It was so filled with pain and he had sounded utterly defeated, his own voice failing him again. Kirishima placed a protective hand on Bakugou’s head, closing his eyes tightly. 

Think, Kirishima! What would Bakugou do right now? Hell! What would Midoriya do now? Iida? Yamomo?

His eyes snapped open and he wiped his frown off his face, determined. He carefully pushed Bakugou back onto the dirt before hardening only his left hand. He brought the hardened hand to the sleeve of his shirt and began to cut, leaving a large chunk on the right side missing. 

“Mina, here,” Kirishima tapped her shoe with his fingers to get her to look at him. She kneeled to his level and Kirishima began to wrap her hand, tying it in a little bow on her palm. “There you go,” He continued holding onto her hand, the back of hers lying on his upturned palm.

Mina admired the knot, “Kiri, you really know how to treat a girl right, dontcha? This knot is beautiful, stunning, exquisite!” Mina was obviously trying to lighten the dampened mood to no avail as Kirishima kept her hand in his. 

He looked down, his eyes hooded by the shadows of the night, “I’m really sorry, Mina. You shouldn’t have come along, it’s all my fault.”

Mina rolled her eyes, turning her hand around to gently grasp his as much as she could with her wrapping, “Dude, it’s not your fault at all. If anything it’s mine for forcing you to let me come. Besides, nothing Recovery Girl can’t fix!” 

She smiled big, her eyes scrunching, and gave him a thumbs up. Kirishima returned with a small smile of his own, looking back down at the unconscious Bakugou. His face dropped. This was tearing his friend apart. 

Mina stood tall, stretching, “We need to get back to everyone. Especially with Bakugou out cold and my hurt hand, this is going to be hard, but we have to. Think you can manage, tough guy?”

Kirishima slammed his two hardened fists together, “Of course I do! Anything for my friends!”

He stood, bringing Bakugou along with him, slinging his arm around his shoulder before stopping. Mina gasped, pointing at Kirishima’s bare shoulder, “Kirishima!”

Kirishima quickly lowered Bakugou. Oh, no, oh, God.

Bakugou had smeared some of the blood from his stab wound across Kirishima. He was hurt! How did Kirishima not notice before? He tched quietly under his breath: the black of Bakugou’s costume had hidden the blood so well, neither of them had even noticed anything wrong. But now, they could see: the boy was feverish, pale, breathing heavily as he bled. Kirishima hardened his hand again, cutting gently through Bakugou’s costume to reveal the wound. Both Mina and him grimaced, Mina, looking away as they got a better look at it. Kirishima took a deep breath, “It isn’t that deep, he’ll be fine. But we really need to get him back NOW.” Kirishima took off his shirt entirely, using it to wrap around Bakugou’s shoulder before taking the opposite arm and slinging it over his shoulders. 

“Let’s go, Mina, we gotta hurry,” Kirishima grunted as he began to speed walk with Bakugou.

Mina ran ahead but quickly slowed down after realizing Kirishima wouldn’t be able to keep up, “Maybe I’ll run a little ahead? I could get the cops' attention and we can get someone to help you with him.”

Kirishima shook his head, “I don’t need help. This is my fault. It’s just…”

Mina hit him on the head with her free palm, “Kirishima! This isn’t about blame, strength, or otherwise! It’s about getting Bakugou the medical attention he needs! Besides, it’s not like you can tell me what to do!”

She pulled her cheek down with her pointer finger, sticking a tongue out, “Later, losers!”

Mina created some acid on her feet and she quickly skated out of view into the woods. Kirishima smiled a little. Mina was so heroic and brave. Even when she was hurt, she thought of others first. 

He followed the burnt path in the ground as he dragged Bakugou back to the road. 

Soon, he could see the blue and red lights of the police cars and ambulances that had taken residence all along the streets at UA. 

He broke through the trees, blinking at the bright flashlights aimed at him as several paramedics and police officers ran to meet him, taking Bakugou off him. One paused, asking if the blood on his shoulder was his and he had reassured them that he was perfectly fine. At that, he was suddenly frozen to place, wrapped up in a soft yet tight material.

Aizawa stomped to him, eyes glowing, hair flying as he tightened the scarf around him even more, “YOU MORON! Going off on your own like that! Scaring me half to death! What were you thinking?!” Aizawa yelled at him. Kirishima had never seen his teacher so worked up before.

He simply looked away, at a loss for words.

“The correct answer is: you weren’t! Do you have any idea the trouble you’ve caused us all as we thought that you were dead ? Kidnapped? If the police don’t arrest you, I will!” Aizawa growled.

From his position several feet away by one of the police cruisers, Tsukauchi was standing, writing in his notepad. Without looking up, he called, “The kid did nothing wrong, we don’t have any reason to arrest him.”

Aizawa grunted, whipping his head to face Tsukauchi, then back to Kirishima, “I never clarified if it was a legal arrest or HOUSE ARREST.”

“Now that one is actually out of my hands. All up to you, teach. Actually though,” Tsukauchi clapped his notepad shut, walking over to the pair, “UA is definitely being shut down temporarily. Not only can the students in 1A not stay in their damaged dorms, but the other students from other courses are now also in danger. We need to check damages done to both the high school and the dorms and then…” Tsukauchi sighed, turning to look at UA in the distance. “And then that little weasel’s gotta figure out how to get UA back up and running. He’s gonna have to pull a few strings, that’s for sure. The press is gonna have a field day with this. The only reason why they’re not here right now is because we got a whole line of policemen and Hound Dog down at the entrance to stop them from getting remotely close to us.” 

Aizawa loosened the scarf around Kirishima, suddenly relaxed, and back to normal, “Kirishima. You can explain everything to me later. Right now, I need you to go home and just stay out of trouble. As easy as I make it sound, you lot seem to be having a lot of trouble with that.” Kirishima began to speak up, but Aizawa held up a finger, “We’ve already sent your other classmates home anyway so you won’t get the chance to catch up with them. We’ll probably meet as a class sometime later this week.”

Kirishima looked at the ground, sulking a little before perking up, “Can you at least tell me who was injured besides Bakugou and Mina?” 

Aizawa shook his head, “What, so you can worry? So you can beg me to let you go see them? No.”

Kirishima banged his fists together, “On my honor, Mr. Aizawa, I won’t do anything. I’ll go home and sleep this all off and keep myself out of trouble. But I just need to know my friends are okay.”

On his honor, huh?

Aizawa scoffed quietly, This kid and his manliness.

“Yaoyorozu, Todoroki, Mina, and Bakugou are the only casualties of this attack. None are of severity except for Todoroki who had ingested some gaseous poison,” Aizawa stated, deadpan (though his insides screamed in anger, he managed to keep composure for his kid). Kirishima flinched a little. It was less than the last attack, and he decided not to push anymore.

“Thanks, Mr. Aizawa,” Kirishima let himself be led away by Tsukauchi before stopping abruptly, turning to Aizawa.

“Wait! I gotta tell you what happened back there...in the clearing!” Kirishima cried.

Aizawa nodded, giving him the cue to continue as Tsukauchi brought out his notepad again.

“Well...me and Mina, we were running in the woods when suddenly I got blasted back by some force or something. It was Doku. But it was a clone of him. He blasted me and grabbed Mina and he was about to kill her right then when suddenly he stopped. He started screaming and he didn’t end up hurting Mina. The only reason she is hurt is because she grabbed the knife and melted it. Doku fell back and suddenly he looked up at us, but this time...his eyes weren’t red, they were green! Just like Midoriya’s. It was Midoriya. Just then, Bakugou comes through and we all watch as Doku starts to become Midoriya. Midoriya...his face was all cut and beat up, and he was bleeding through his shirt. The only thing he managed to say to us before he disappeared was ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘please, help me’...”

Tsukauchi finished scribbling, dotting his i’s before flipping it closed again. Aizawa kept a pondering hand on his chin and nodded, “Thanks, Kirishima.”

Kirishima began to walk, nodding back as he and Tsukauchi headed toward one of the police cars.

Aizawa turned away from them, his face contorting. This was all his fault.

Not again. This was the 2nd attack on the kids...when would this all end? 

He ran a hand down his face.

Momo Yaoyorozu,

Shoto Todoroki,

Mina Ashido,

Katsuki Bakugou.

Though only four casualties, it had not been zero. 

And now...Izuku Midoriya

He repeated their names in his head.

Yaoyorozu: superficial burns on hands and face, 2nd-degree burns on forearm and arm.

Todoroki: unknown damage done by poisonous gas.

Ashido: sliced hand.

Bakugou: possibly fractured ribs, stab wound to shoulder.

Midoriya: injuries unknown. Status unknown.

Not to mention the psychological damage they would sustain from these attacks so close together, inflicted by the same person…

Midoriya…

He had never thought that Midoriya would even be conscious through all of what was happening. And it seemed that Doku was doing something to him. 

All the ones he wasn’t able to save. What kind of hero was he?

What kind of teacher was he?

As much as he scolded his students, told them they had to fend for themselves, deep down he knew: they were just children . At that age, they should be spending time with friends, going out to malls and food, and studying for tests. Instead, these hero course students were worrying if they would live another day, if their friends would be healed without complications, worrying about villain attacks from their own kind on top of the ones they had already been dealing with.

Aizawa looked at the dorms, at UA, at the retreating police cars.

 

In order to save people, do we have to destroy ourselves in the process?

Chapter Text

 

Bakugou woke up in the hospital room, a little out of it but mostly present. He turned his head and was surprised to see the room almost pitch black, save for a small sliver of moonlight falling through the cracks in the blinds.

He groaned lightly: why did he have to wake up in the middle of the night, of all times?

A light grumble and he looked down at his stomach which was rumbling, almost annoyed. Feed me! , it seemed to scream. Yeah, yeah, whatever, Bakugou projected back to it, flipping the blankets off himself. He swung his legs off the bed, slipping them into the slippers ready for him on the floor. He began to leave his room, being mindful to be silent as everyone else was probably asleep.

He opened his door, looking back and forth carefully before exiting, sliding the door silently back into place. 

There was no one roaming the halls, which he should’ve expected given the hour. There were probably no nurses making rounds to all the rooms. 

Without really thinking, Bakugou turned right, walking down the eerily silent halls of the hospital.

As he strolled, he tried peaking through some of the doors around him, not necessarily snooping but just curious if there was anyone on his floor from the battle at UA. Though, he began to notice that none of the doors this way had any nameplates, nor were there any available peepholes to look into the rooms. Odd.

Bakugou approached the elevator of his floor and stared at it for a little bit. A shiver ran down his spine and he quickly turned away, looking for the stairs. 

Without warning, he was suddenly halted by a hand on his shoulder.

He snapped to attention, frozen in place. How did he not hear the person approaching?

“This is for you, Katsuki,” An echoey voice breathed in his ear. He slowly turned to see what had approached him but there was nothing there, lest for the notebook on the ground.

Bakugou leaned forward to pick it up, and upon further inspection, he could see that there was indeed a title in big red letters, eerily similar to blood, the words “No. 9”. Hesitantly, he opened the notebook and a bright light blasted through, shining into his eyes until he was blinded by it, unable to close the book any longer.

When his vision finally returned, he was somewhere else entirely. The room was pitch black, almost like a void or a cave. He turned around, trying to see through the darkness. The notebook was no longer in his hands and his hands felt almost empty without it. 

Kacchan…

Bakugou flinched, his head quickly looking towards the source of the voice. The voice was everywhere and nowhere at the same time, spinning around him, taunting him as it whispered to him in Midoriya’s voice.

Kacchan...I’m sorry, Kacchan.”

Do you forgive me?”

Please, help me .”

Why can’t you help me?

A different voice, distorted and deep, sinisterly murmured behind Midoriya’s voice like an awful harmony, “ He wants you dead.

Die.

He hates you.

LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO HIM! ”, it roared, and a strong wind threw itself at Bakugou, sending his hair flying back, and he squinted his eyes against it.

When the wind had died down, Bakugou spotted a figure lying on the ground a couple of feet away from him, huddled in on itself. He didn’t move, watching the still body with wary eyes.

The person suddenly began to twitch, moving like a puppet whose strings were being pulled. The body curled outward, finally stretching to its full height and Bakugou felt his heart stop.

Midoriya ascended into what he assumed was a standing position in front of him, arms raised as if held up by invisible strings. His head was bent forward, his green hair limply falling over his face, matted to his head by patches of blood, and his legs dragged underneath him, unable to stand without Midoriya to command them. 

Bakugou didn’t know what to do. He was glued to his place, so even if he wanted to move he wouldn’t be able to. 

Look what you did to him ,” the voice whispered into his ear, repeating the words as Midoriya’s head was thrown back, an invisible hand grabbing his hair and bringing his face into view.

The night in the clearing, Bakugou had indeed seen Midoriya’s face and his wounds, though he was sure they weren’t to this extent. They weren’t this bad, right? Maybe the darkness had shadowed Midoriya and he couldn’t see it all, or maybe he was so high on adrenaline he couldn’t focus. But...but it wasn’t this...this…

Midoriya’s face was disfigured. That was the only way Bakugou could describe it. It was completely painted in blood, covering most of the whip lashes on his face and the bruises on his cheekbones. His arms were decorated in the same marks as his face, his legs not any better. A large bloodstain that only seemed to grow larger soaked through his shirt, starkly contrasting to the green hair being twisted in the hidden grip of the void. 

Midoriya lightly flinched in his unconsciousness, slowly stirring awake. Bakugou couldn’t breathe, air suddenly escaping him. It had betrayed him too. 

Look what you’ve done.

He wants you dead.

Midoriya’s eyes suddenly snapped open, completely red, pupils and all, glowing brightly like the light from the notebook Bakugou had opened early. His mouth began to move, expressionless, speaking in the voice of the void, “ Kacchan, why would you do this to me? How could you? ” Midoriya lurched as if struck. 

My blood’s on your hands, Kacchan.

Bakugou looked down at his hands, his chest heaving, his eyes wild. In his bloodied and dripping hands, he held a whip that was already marked with Midoriya’s blood.

I hate you, Kacchan.” 

“You did this to me.” 

“You hurt me. I want you dead.”

“I HATE YOU .”

Midoriya began moving toward Bakugou, his legs dangling in the air as he floated, his wrists hanging loosely. Bakugou could do nothing but watch in horror as Midoriya drew closer and closer, his hands reaching for him. Stay back!, something in Bakugou’s mind screamed. Midoriya closed his fingers around Bakugou’s neck, holding on tightly, his blood-red eyes boring into him.

Die.






Bakugou finally awoke, sitting up quickly in bed before being brought back down at the sudden pain in his torso and shoulder. He was sweating profusely, his sheets charred from where he had most likely activated his quirk accidentally during the nightmare. He closed his eyes and let himself breathe for a second, sucking in gulps of air, feeling a sharp stabbing sensation in his ribs as he did so. 

“Good morning,” A deadpan voice mused and Bakugou opened his eyes, groaning at the sudden light as Aizawa drew the curtains. 

Bakugou threw his free hand over his face, shielding himself from the attack of the sun on his poor eyes.

Aizawa settled into the seat next to his bed, his elbows on his knees as he leaned forward, moving Bakugou’s arm from his face. Bakugou didn’t object, too worn out to be angry or frustrated at the unwanted contact. He turned his eyes to Aizawa whose own black voids stared back worriedly. Something in Bakugou flinched a little as he felt the dream rush back to him. “Bakugou,” Aizawa simply stated, getting the boy’s attention. His unfocused red eyes had just been staring forward and it hurt something inside the teacher to see that empty and glazed look in his student.

Bakugou grunted in response, affirming that he was present. 

“I’m sure you would’ve started a riot if I didn’t get to you before the doctors or cops. I asked the doctors to let me have a moment with you before they come in and do all that mandatory check-up stuff no one cares about.”

Bakugou snorted a little, glad to know his teacher understood him well enough to know he didn’t like to be kept out of the loop, especially when his time was lost to injury.

“I wanted to be the first to tell you that we are no longer involving you kids in our fight anymore. You will all be removed from any and all connection to the case, and don’t you even try to argue with me on this.” Aizawa could already sense a volcano stirring within Bakugou at these words.

“There were one too many casualties, especially kids who don’t even have their license yet. Your classes don’t even start for another couple of weeks. We don’t need you two completely unable to function before then. You want your licenses right?” 

Bakugou gave a curt nod, looking away before turning back to Aizawa, his voice hoarse, “Half and Half?” 

Aizawa leaned back into his seat, “Todoroki is fine for the most part. He’s awake and kicking, so he’ll most likely be around here to annoy you soon enough. He’s still recovering from the poison since it still hasn’t completely left his system but he’s going to be okay.”

Bakugou nodded, feeling a little grateful.

“Yaoyorozu is alright as well. Her burns were easier to treat and have almost completely vanished. Ashido’s hand was fixed quickly by Recovery Girl and Kirishima was uninjured. They should be around to visit you, so you might wanna save whatever anger or spirit you got left for when they come.” Aizawa straightened his scarf around his neck. He didn’t want to pry, didn’t bother to ask about whatever nightmare Bakugou was most likely having when Aizawa had walked into the room.

As much as it was his duty to make sure his kids were alright, this was something he knew he couldn’t touch on. Besides, the problem child wasn’t going to be his problem anymore. Poor Kirishima and the others would have to babysit him for a little bit while Aizawa met with Tsukauchi to discuss what they needed to do moving forward.

“Now, I’m going to tell you this straight, though I really shouldn’t. We’re planning on cutting this short here. We can’t go on like this. At this point, Doku has become a greater threat than we thought. He’s already attacked us once too many. I know I’ve been saying that a lot, but I refuse to keep you in harm’s way. We’re going to organize a raid. Whether or not Doku will be taken alive or dead is up to the circumstances. We are planning a capture, a real one. But what we are doing with him after we do have him is the question,” Aizawa stood, moving the chair back. 

Bakugou felt himself deflate. This is what it was coming to…

“I’m sorry, Bakugou. But you’re done. Don’t try to fight me on this, alright?” Aizawa waved a little before exiting through the door, not looking back. 

Bakugou stared after him, a little numb. All emotions had left him. Sadness, anger, fear had all disappeared, being replaced by a descending feeling of utter hopelessness. Today, he wouldn’t bother trying to deal with his emotions. He would just simply let them run their course for now. It wasn’t worth fighting anymore.

The doctors had come and gone in a blur. His parents had visited as well, his father in tears as he begged his son to not involve himself anymore.

Even Inko had visited. 

“Katsuki?” A timid voice spoke from the doorway.

He turned his head tiredly toward her, staring at her before moving to stare up at the ceiling as he had been doing before.

Inko walked in, holding her purse in front of her like some sort of wall or shield. Whether or not it was to shield herself from Bakugou or shield Bakugou from her was the question. She already had tears in her eyes and she had not said a word to him yet.

Deku’s mom.

Like mother like son, I guess…

Inko was like an aunt to him, and even though Midoriya and him had drifted somewhere along the way, she was a constant figure in his life. It was a little hard for him to see her like this. She really didn’t deserve this, and as much as he hated Deku, he had never held anything against Inko.

He had never really thought about her since she had last visited him, in almost this exact same scenario. He felt deja vu as she began to walk forward.

Somehow, Bakugou knew what was going to happen next, “Don’t. Don’t even bother.” He held a pleading hand up, palm facing her to stop her from bowing on her knees at his feet.

He didn’t feel like a king right now anyway.

“I...I don’t need your apologies,” He muttered, looking away quickly.

Inko’s tears ran down her cheeks and she grabbed his left hand, the hand of the stabbed shoulder and he grimaced a little at the pain that shot up his arm. She quickly took her hand away, curling it into her chest, holding it there, “Sorry! Sorry…”

Bakugou shook his head, tching, “Whatever, it doesn’t hurt.”

She smiled sadly, “You always used to say that…”

“Katsuki...I know that Izuku never meant much to you, but just know that this apology is from both of us. I know he thought of you as a brother, and you two fought as such…he just cared for you too much to ever even think about doing this,” She gestured to Bakugou’s shoulder. Bakugou looked down.

If only she knew…

“I just want you to know that we are so sorry and that we are forever in your debt,” She bowed her head. “Please. If you need anything. At any time. Call me. I could never be any more sorry than I am now. I just...I know it may not bother you, or you aren’t really affected by all of this mess...but if you ever feel like your world’s caving in, just give me a call. I missed you anyway ever since you all moved into your dorms. I haven’t seen this face for a while!” She was smiling a little now and she reached up to pinch his cheeks. 

He frowned, flinching at her touch as she pulled a little, laughing at the look on his face. Her strength wasn’t one to laugh at, both mentally and physically. She was taking this all a lot better than Bakugou had expected. Even though she was essentially inconsolable, and seemingly “unforgivable”, she still had the will to move on. No husband, no son, and basically no hope. Guess it ran in the Midoriya family: strength. Even though it wasn’t necessarily physical strength, one you could see, it was still present if you just looked hard enough. It was evident they were strong, with a grasp over their emotions and willpower.

Bakugou envied that. Control was one thing he never seemed to have. He could refine and perfect his quirk as much as he wanted, but it never translated over to his emotions or feelings. They were way more complex than making things go boom. 

She patted his head a little, “Now, get some rest. Don’t give your mother a hard time, alright? She worries for you more than you think. And your poor father as well. That man has to deal with you two feral creatures every day,” She teased.

Bakugou rolled his eyes, a very faint grin on his face, “Yeah, yeah.”

Inko stood to leave, wiping her eyes quickly, straightening her skirt. She leaned over, planting a kiss on Bakugou’s forehead, and exited, waving once more at him. 

Bakugou trailed his fingers over the tingling on his forehead where she had kissed him. When was the last time he had been held by someone from his family?

“Young Bakugou...I see you’re awake,” A small voice spoke. 

Bakugou sighed. Was he never going to get a break?

“I can come back at a later time if now isn’t good for you…” All Might made to close the door before Bakugou scoffed a little, “Coward.”

All Might turned back toward him, accepting the challenge as he swung open the door. Bakugou looked away towards the window. He wasn’t in the mood for eye contact today, especially with this bastard. “Young Bakugou, I’m so---” All Might began, extending his arm forward.

Bakugou flinched back from the touch, “Can it. Save those apologies for the people who deserve it. Like that dumbass Deku. You couldn’t protect him, and you let One for All get in the villains’ hands. ‘Number one hero’, my ass.”

Bakugou scoffed again at the saddened look on All Might’s face, “Look in a mirror. You look like you just rolled out of hell. You’re pathetic. The one job you had and you couldn’t even do THAT properly. Especially the most important thing in your life. That idiot is all you have left to live for. And here you are doing nothing about it. How about stop wasting your motherfucking time wasting away and being sorry for yourself and instead go and think of a way to get him back? I can’t do it anymore, it’s gotta be you and Eraserhead. Get it through your thick head: DEKU IS GONE. What are you going to do about that? ONE FOR ALL IS CORRUPTED. That’s your responsibility. ‘I am here’? You weren’t there for him. And look what happened.”

All Might was stunned silent, simply staring with wide eyes at Bakugou, who had read him like a book. He smiled a little, looking down at his feet. 

“WHAT’S SO FUCKING FUNNY?!” Bakugou screeched, throwing a pillow at All Might.

The taller man looked up, tears in his eyes, “Some mentor I am...getting lectured by my own apprentice. You’re...you’re right, Young Bakugou...I--I just came to apologize to you too. I can tell that this is really getting to you.”

Bakugou sniffed, turning his head away, “As IF. I don’t give a single fuck.”

All Might smiled again, placing the gift he had brought on Bakugou’s bedside, before turning his back to Bakugou. He transformed into his muscle form, hands on his hips, and he turned his head to make eye contact with Bakugou who was staring up at him with a mixture of contempt and admiration.

“I will make sure to live up to your expectations, Young Bakugou!” He boomed before coughing up some blood and converting back to his skinny self.

Bakugou looked away. It seemed to be his default reaction to everything he was seeing today. 

Yeah, you better, All Might.








God, I hate him.

Hatred was something foreign to Midoriya. When Doku had first separated from him, he had been so detached from all his emotions he had thought he had truly died in that elevator that night.

Doku had taken only his negative emotions, yet...it seemed as if he had taken Midoriya’s entire being. 

Was hate really something that lived so earnestly within him?

With the spare time he had now that he was back to scheming, he had begun to truly think about the circumstances of his situation. 

When Doku had first manifested, he had seemed to be a bundle of pure hatred...when suddenly he changed, as if someone had flipped a switch within him. 

Doku Kiraku…

The hate. 

And…

Midoriya began to spiral down a thought process.

If ‘Kiraku’ was the surname he had chosen for himself, it seems as if he has shed that along with that burning hatred he had previously. It almost seems like he’s more... advanced. Has more control over his emotions and thoughts. The separation must have left him struggling to contain everything bundling inside him. But now that he has been given the time to morph into a being of his own nature, with its own name, so now it seems he can control when he pushes these emotions out.

Midoriya closed his eyes. 

To think that that hatred had lived inside of him for so long…

And towards what?

What had Doku said at the mall? 

That he hated Kacchan ?

KACCHAN of all people.

He cringed a little as he remembered that he had indeed had some...regretful thoughts about what he could do to Bakugou but that was in the past!

That was nothing but a mere child’s frustration. 

He didn’t hate Kacchan.

There was no hesitation.

I do NOT hate Kacchan .

So...so what did he hate?

Even if he did hate his friend at one point, and if his friend had birthed these feelings within him, it did not mean it was his fault. Or that he was the sole creator of that burning ball of wrath that fueled Doku. 

That hate was but mere embers now.

Midoriya looked into the black abyss of his mind.

Oh…

Maybe...maybe…

I hate myself.

But what could possibly make me hate myself?

My life’s great! The best it’s been in a while. I have a quirk, All Might’s my mentor, I think I’m finally making progress with my friendship with Kacchan!

In fact, the day Midoriya was changed into Doku, he had gotten some great advice from Bakugou about how his shoot-style should work. He hadn’t even gotten to finish his house arrest. 

You don’t hate yourself, per se. You hate the version of yourself that had the audacity to exist .

A different voice spoke into his mind, bouncing the words back and forth like ping pong. A more rational and perceptive Midoriya.

Doku is you, no matter how much you try to deny it. He was a part of you that yes, you had suppressed, but it existed nonetheless. You hate yourself because of Doku. He was a part of you you could never rid yourself of. And now, your friends, family, and mentor have to see this side of you you tried so desperately to hide from them. In fact, they have been directly targeted by him. Especially Kacchan. Kacchan’s gotten the worst of it.

Midoriya took a minute to ponder, thinking of the implications of his thoughts. They...they were right, of course. 

Yeah, but Kacchan of all people wouldn’t get tripped up about this. He hates me. 

Think of what that word means. ‘Hate’. Is hate the same to everyone? Is hate the same toward different people? Does Kacchan feel the same hate toward you that he feels to, let’s say, a villain? No. You can’t simply say ‘hate’ as if it is a given fact that has been previously established and proven.

So you’re saying Doku isn’t just my hate? But everyone else’s hate combined with my own?

Possibly. I think he was given a blob of clay, so to speak, and forced to mold his own being out of it. That hatred you speak of? When he seemed to hate everything and everyone in sight? That was most likely a direct contribution of Kacchan’s hatred. Or when he said he hated heroes? I think that was Shigaraki’s hatred inside you. It could be from the interactions you’ve had, and he rubbed off on you. Or from the drug he injected into you. I’m not sure. Just a theory for now…

Midoriya’s eyes widened. That made a lot of sense now that he thought about it. 

Well, I think that’s a good theory. What are we gonna do about it then? We can’t be sitting ducks.

Let’s use this hatred to our advantage. 

You still got some left over, don’t you?

Midoriya’s eyebrows furrowed in anger.

 

His hatred for Doku ran deep in his veins.

 

Of course.

Chapter Text

 

During his time at the hospital, Bakugou got more visitors than he could count on his hands. It was nauseating having to talk to one person after another that when his friends visited him at the end of the second day, he had limited his speech to almost a word per person.

“Bakugou, I see you’re awake and well!” Iida smiled, wheeling himself in, with Uraraka and Todoroki close behind. Uraraka held a small box of confections and a single balloon, something that resembled a smile on her face. Todoroki was as pale as a ghost still, considerably thinner, his face sunken in. His eye bags stuck out like bruises on his face; if Bakugou didn’t know any better, he would’ve mistaken Todoroki for a walking corpse.

Bakugou rolled his eyes, looking away as they walked into his room. 

The trio positioned themselves at Bakugou’s bedside, Iida, of course, in his wheelchair, and Uraraka opting to stand to allow Todoroki to sit in the only other chair in the room. Bakugou, along with the help of a temp nurse, had secretly been moving the chairs out of his room, hoping to discourage guests from staying too long. So far, no dice, but it was worth a shot. 

Iida folded his hands over his bouncing legs, hoping to freeze them long enough to seem somewhat composed. I mustn’t let Bakugou see me worried like this! I am the class rep after all! Plus, Mr. Aizawa did hint at the fact that Bakugou was...going through a lot right now. I need to make sure I am his pillar! 

“So...I have to admit we didn’t just come to check up on you, which was our initial intention of course! But...we did want to ask what happened with Doku. Kirishima and Ashido did tell us about what had happened in the clearing...but we wanted to know...I don’t know what we want to know we just needed to talk to you about it,” Iida blabbered, trying so hard to steady his breathing. What had happened sounded completely awful.

Ashido was pretty shaken up about it, despite the smile she had plastered on her face. I’m fine, guys! She had laughed as she tried (and failed) to convince Sero, Kaminari, and Jirou, the latter two of which had been apologizing profusely for letting her out of their sight. Kaminari had grabbed her in a tight hug, his eyes squeezed just as tight. He could’ve lost another friend that day. Sero had wrapped his arm around her shoulder, leaning so that the side of his head rested on the top of hers, “You can tell us, you know?” He didn’t specify what it was exactly that she could tell, but she understood completely. 

Soon, Mina’s smile turned wobbly, her eyes glazing over and watering as silent tears fell down her cheeks. “Oh, guys, it was awful,” She sobbed into Kaminari’s shoulder as she grasped the back of his shirt.

She explained everything, from the attempted murder to Midoriya’s appearance and Bakugou’s collapse. The other three had been stunned into silence. 

The rest of the class was informed of what had happened, of Midoriya’s attempt at control over his body. It all seemed to fall in place from there.

Midoriya was indeed still alive, and this persona ‘Doku’ was merely a corrupted part that had seemed to take over him like a virus in a motherboard.

That somehow made everything so much more complicated. 

Kirishima had tried to explain Midoriya’s...circumstances, the state in which he was in, but every time he did, he found himself silent, trailing off mid-sentence. Mina could barely get a sentence out before she was choking on the words.

The rest of the students had made uneasy eye contact with each other. Every day was a new wake up call for them. Their friend was probably suffering through pain and torture, unbeknownst to them this whole time.

Iida couldn’t help but let his mind run wild at imagining the state Midoriya was in. He couldn’t help it. As much as he tried to suppress or erase the ideas and images from his brain, they popped up again in much more detail, sometimes with sound. Looking at Bakugou, he could tell that his classmate was indeed shaken by what had happened. Bakugou was good at hiding his feelings in his voice and his words, but his face and eyes displayed them like an open book. His eyes were unfocused, obviously lost in thought, his mouth not set in his usual grumpy frown but instead in a neutral pressed line.

Uraraka was nearly the same. Iida had never seen her so detached and cold. After hearing what had happened in the clearing, she had stood and left the room, silently and swiftly without causing a scene. Iida had attempted to follow her but had lost her in the maze of the hospital. Especially without his legs, it was futile to even start a chase. Besides, even if he had caught up to her, she had gone straight to the girl’s restroom to heave up whatever breakfast she had tried eating that morning. Iida would probably be too caught up in the middle of a dilemma to even be able to help her. The boy would most likely descend on a borderline identity crisis as he tried to figure out if he should break every rule in every guidebook and storm into the restroom to console his grieving friend, or simply wait for her outside.

She had gone straight home afterward, leaving the visits for another time, stomach empty, but mind full. Her parents had thought she had contracted a virus, insisting that she get rest after checking for a fever. She had no energy to protest, much less speak, as they swaddled her into her blankets, each sleeping on one side of her, hugging her in between them. Her mother had carefully drawn circles with her fingers on her daughter’s back and her father had gently patted her hair as Uraraka cried and cried until she fell asleep like that.

Emptiness had consumed her, like an infinite black void. She had scolded herself multiple times: this was no time to wallow like this! What would Deku do? He wouldn’t give up like this! He would march on, do everything possible to make sure his friends were alright. Come on, Ochaco, where’s that fighting spirit? Those guts that even BAKUGOU praised you on?!

But then once she had reached the confidence to leave her room, much less get out of bed, she was immediately pushed back down by a smothering weight of remembrance. Of the thoughts that she would never be strong enough nor brave enough to stand up to Doku. If Deku of all people couldn’t defeat him, how could she?

She had been broken down too many times to count, and unfortunately, she felt her will withering away slowly, day by day. 

Iida and Todoroki had noticed this, insistent to build her back up to her usual gutsy self, but even they could do so much. Uraraka was eternally grateful to have her friends by her side, but she saw them struggling too, forcing themselves to save face in front of her in spite of their own feelings. 

Todoroki felt like a rag doll that had been dragged through the mud, rattled and numb all over. The day’s events had all felt so unreal that he had even asked Mr. Aizawa if it was a dream. Even if Todoroki didn’t believe him, the haunted nightmares and his unnaturally colored vomit were more than enough proof of what had gone down. Possibly losing two of his most valued friends, UA fake exploding, Dabi’s untimely return, Midoriya’s appearance, the list went on. 

That seemed to become Class 1A’s motto: it was all too much at once. 

The poison had left his system for the most part, but the residue of it still picked at his stomach, stealing his appetite and scratching his throat. It was a brutal reminder of his brash and impulsive behavior at the moment. 

He regretted nothing. 

Endeavor had already chewed him out for it, scolding him for his childish antics, insisting that he was right to be apprehensive of the kids joining them. Todoroki did not even have the energy to be mad or annoyed, his usual scowl directed at his father gone. He watched the trees wave softly in the almost-autumn breeze, finding it easier to be distant than present. 

Endeavor had leaned forward, placing a hand on his son’s shoulder, “I’m...I’m just so grateful you’re safe, Shoto.” Todoroki practically had to drag his gaze to Endeavor, letting his bloodshot eyes fall on the source of almost all his problems. He didn’t have it in him to quip back as he usually does, Don’t want the precious merchandise ruined, huh? Endeavor looked genuinely relieved, and it was more emotion than he had ever let show on his face besides anger or frustration. 

Todoroki looked away again, “Thanks.”

Bakugou could see this all painted on his friends’ faces. The defeat, the fear, the absolutely drowning feeling of utter hopelessness. It was what he saw when he looked in the mirror. 

“That doesn’t make any fucking sense,” Bakugou croaked, turning onto his right side, facing his back to his friends. 

Todoroki didn’t have time for his shit. The boy grabbed Bakugou and turned him back to face them, roughly pushing down on his hurt shoulder in the process, most likely intentionally. Bakugou was taken aback more than anything before he felt anger flooding his veins. 

“Sit up straight, Bakugou. I know you’re not going to give up this easily,” Todoroki hissed, crossing his arms and leaning back in his seat. 

Bakugou opened his mouth to respond but instead tched, letting his blood simmer back down to a reasonable temperature, “Duh.”

Uraraka beamed a little, like a light bulb on its last legs, as she leaned on his bed, “Mr. Aizawa told us that he’s taking us off the task force after everything that went down. But we can’t just sit by and do nothing, can we?”

Iida straightened his glasses, huffing, “As much as this pains me to say, I want to be involved as much as possible. We would probably just get in the pro heroes’ way, but...I can’t help but think that we have a duty to be there. That we are supposed to get Midoriya back, on our terms.” 

After directly disobeying Endeavor, Iida was scolded for the first time in a long time. He had indeed been filled with shame but...somehow was not remorseful in the slightest. He had done what was right, even if it broke the rules, even if it directly went against his superiors. He was learning bit by bit, day by day, that rules and regulations were not everything, that they didn’t need to dictate his life. 

And Iida was actually a little proud of himself for thinking that way. 

“Even though I haven’t the slightest idea as to how we could achieve this, I need to be involved,” He concluded, chopping his arm once. 

Todoroki nodded along with his friends, “Bakugou, what exactly did Midoriya look like? How was he acting, what did he say? Ashido and Kirishima could barely spit it out.”

No one batted an eye at Todoroki’s brazen way of speaking, including Bakugou who wasn’t in the mood to wallow in this ditch of self-hatred and pity. He was stronger than this, and he wouldn’t let himself be on par with Ashido and Kirishima’s reactions to the matter.

“He was fucked up. He’d been whipped or something, that’s what the marks looked like to me at least. I can’t tell you everything about it because I’m not a wound specialist or whatever the fuck, but he was probably tortured. I’m thinking by Doku. The only words he could say were ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘help me’.”

If Todoroki was blunt, Bakugou was sharp, quick to cut through the tension in the air with his own sword of metallic brashness. 

It was a little hard on the ears but Iida nodded curtly, tilting his head down, “It is as we feared…”

Uraraka looked away, fisting the sheets in her hands.

“Okay, he’s hurt. He most likely can’t fight back, but the fact that he got control for a moment…? Midoriya’s still there, and he isn’t going to let himself be taken that easily. Knowing him he’s going to try that again. I just want to be there when it does,” Todoroki leaned forward a little bit, driving his point home.

Bakugou scoffed a little bit, “That’s exactly the kinda energy that got you hospitalized and vomiting fluorescent puke.”

Todoroki tilted his head, unamused, “That’s also the energy that got your ass saved when you were kidnapped by the League.”

Iida and Uraraka looked between the pair, the two boys who were so similar yet so different were like the yin to the other’s yang. 

Bakugou rolled his eyes, “Fine, do you smartasses have an idea like that right now?”

“Does it look like we do? Why else would we be here? We needed your brain mass, no matter how small the amount,” Todoroki smirked a little, enjoying riling Bakugou up after seeing his friend so down before. 

Bakugou felt a nerve snap, “You better watch it, Icy Hot, or you might just be blasted straight into a hospital bed again.”

“Boys! Let’s keep it civil, please!” Iida chopped with both hands swinging back and forth.

Uraraka giggled a little and the boys all snapped their heads toward the now foreign sound. Iida’s eyes widened then relaxed as he smiled softly. Though it was something that used to come so naturally, he had indeed missed her laugh, like a sweet melody that brightened every room a little. 

It was something so normal: laughing. But the kids in Class 1A just couldn’t remember how to anymore. 

“What?” Uraraka asked, quickly stiffening under the attention of the boys. 

“We missed that, ‘tis all,” Iida scrunched his eyes, pushing his glasses up his nose. Bakugou tched, looking away quickly. 

Todoroki nodded along with Iida, “It’s been a while since anyone’s been genuinely happy.”

This had been especially true when he visited Yaoyorozu’s hospital room the previous day. She had been kept overnight so as to properly treat her burns, which were a little worse than they had previously anticipated. 

Todoroki grabbed a flower from a bouquet that Fuyumi had brought him and walked himself to her room, clutching it so tight that a thorn from the rose pierced his finger a little. He stared at the little droplets and quickly licked them off before knocking on her door.  

Why was he even visiting her?

“Yes?” Her usual regal and sophisticated voice hummed. 

She’s here, see? A voice whispered in Todoroki’s head.

Maybe he just needed to make sure, to put something within him at ease. He didn’t know exactly what it was that was stirring within him, but his stomach was in knots as he opened the door.

“Hi,” He said plainly. 

Yaoyorozu was sitting upright on her bed, her entire right side of her body covered in gauze and bandages. Her hair was flowing down her back, shining in the afternoon sun as her eyes widened in surprise.

“Todoroki! I wasn’t expecting you!” She exclaimed, smiling big.

He could stand there for ages, soaking up her smile, one that he had realized he had not seen in a while.

Todoroki was still standing with his hand on the doorknob and he began to turn back the way he came, “Oh, sorry. I’ll come back later.”

Yaoyorozu panicked, waving her left hand at him, “No, no! That’s not what I meant. Please, stay. I was just surprised, is all!”

Todoroki turned again, finally stepping into the room, “Oh.”

Yaoyorozu gestured to a seat next to her bed, “Please, sit. I can call for a nurse to bring us some tea? I’m not sure what kinds they have here but I’m sure they have at least the humble Earl Grey!”

“No, thank you,” Todoroki sank into the seat, still clutching the rose in an almost death grip.

The two sat in uncomfortable silence for a moment before Todoroki suddenly remembered why he was even there in the first place. He twirled the rose in his fingers and watched the petals open and close against the wind pressure.

“I just wanted to say thanks in person. I heard from some doctors that I probably would’ve been too far gone for them to help me if you weren’t there. So...thank you. I was really worried that something had happened to you, but of course, you’re pretty strong so I should’ve seen that coming...” Todoroki looked up at her as he ended his sentence, trailing off as he stared at her dumfoundly.

Yaoyorozu had tears in her eyes as she listened to him praise her as if it were natural, like second nature to him. 

“Are you alright?” Todoroki asked, concern building in his voice as he uneasily stood to be closer to her.

“I’m fine! I’m...It’s just...I’m not sure, I’m sorry,” She chuckled a little, wiping furiously at the persistent tears.

Todoroki fell back down into his seat, “What are you apologizing for?”

“I don’t know...I didn’t mean to inconvenience you,” she whispered, losing all confidence in herself, despite Todoroki’s praise.

Todoroki wasn’t sure what to say to that so he decided to just not speak, standing awkwardly over her as she silently cried. He took a deep breath before he gently laid a hand on her good shoulder, dropping the rose into her lap, “Yaoyorozu, I know this is really hard, and it may seem like there is no end to our inevitable suffering. But you and Iida are our rocks. I trust in you, don’t crumble on us now.”

Yaoyorozu was shocked. Todoroki had never been the type to be so poetic, always missing the point when it came to poems or abstract pieces of art. He wasn’t exactly one to think critically or try to find the deeper meaning in things, much to Mr. Cementoss’s dismay. His metaphor, though simply, struck a chord within Yaoyorozu as she felt her heart leap into her throat, “Todoroki…”

She grasped the rose in her hand and smiled shakily, “You’re right. Thank you.”

Todoroki had seen and experienced first hand just how hard it was to be happy again. So when Uraraka gave her little giggle, Todoroki couldn’t help but feel warm. Uraraka had always been bubbly, but recently it seemed as if all those bubbles had been popped.

“Whatever, let’s hear what you nerds compiled. Can’t be much since you all, at most, share negative one and a half brain cells,” Bakugou snarked, leaning his head back onto the pillow.

Todoroki rolled his eyes, “Well, listen to what our one and a half brain cells came up with…”




“But are you sure you’re okay to leave the hospital just yet?” Kirishima asked for the umpteenth time. 

“If you ask me that one more time, I’m going to punt you,” Bakugou growled back, signing the last form before handing it back to the nurse. 

In a blink of an eye, Bakugou was already slinging his bag over his good shoulder and leaving the room, wanting to get out of the suffocating place as fast as possible. He had been a little jumpy after his nightmare from two nights ago, and he was beginning to grow increasingly more uncomfortable in his hospital room.

His mind had been racing nonstop since his conversation with the Treacherous Trio. 

They can’t be serious. They can’t!

“---so that maybe we can catch some ramen on the way back. You’re probably sick of hospital food, huh?” Kirishima was still animatedly talking to the lost in thought Bakugou, unaware of his friend’s dilemma. 

“Yeah, yeah, sounds good,” Bakugou dismissed him, shoving his hands deep into his pockets as he chewed on his bottom lip. 

Kirishima stopped dead in his tracks on the sidewalk, giving the back of Bakugou’s head a look as Bakugou continued walking, unaware that Kirishima had stopped. 

He crossed his arms, basically tapping his foot as he watched Bakugou grow farther and farther away from him. Bakugou was about to turn the corner before Kirishima called after him finally, “BAKUGOU!” 

The blond spun around, jarred out of his head. His eyes widened as he saw the considerable gap between him and Kirishima. He really had not been paying attention at all. 

Kirishima jogged over to him, his eyes filled with a mix of annoyance and worry, “I knew something was up when you said ‘sounds good’. When have you ever agreed to anything that I’ve said?”

Bakugou tched, not even remembering what he had agreed to. He looked away, scratching the back of his head before turning back, “My bad.”

Kirishima cocked his head, “See, right there. You never apologize. What happened , Bakugou?”

“Nothing. Drop it, Shitface,” Bakugou turned around, walking forward, straight into oncoming traffic. 

“BAKUGOU!” Kirishima yelped, grabbing the back of his shirt and yanking roughly, just as a beeping car roared past them. Bakugou fell to the ground roughly as Kirishima dropped to his knees next to him, breathing heavily. 

Bakugou sat up quickly, annoyed, and a little sore from where his butt had hit the ground. His ribs ached at the sudden movement and he felt a pang run through his shoulder. Before he could even get a word out, he was already wincing, grabbing at his arm. 

“I knew it. I knew you weren’t ready to leave yet. Why do you keep doing this to yourself, Bakugou?” Kirishima’s annoyance and anger were completely gone at this point, replaced with a drained and defeated tone. 

Bakugou didn’t look at him, standing up as he dusted off his pants, “Are we getting the ramen or not?” 

Kirishima looked away, feeling his eyes prickle a little, “Whatever.”

Still not making eye contact, Bakugou extended an arm to Kirishima, “....Thanks.”

Kirishima grabbed his hand, standing up, “Just be careful next time,” he grunted. 

The two walked in an uncomfortable silence to the shop Kirishima had suggested, neither bothering to bring up a topic of conversation. What was there to talk about? The fresh trauma they had experienced? Their feelings ? Disgusting.

Instead, Bakugou let his mind wander to think about the kind of ramen he would get. It had been a while since he had eaten normal people food. Jello and turkey sandwiches had been getting old.

Deep inside, he was grateful to Kirishima for this opportunity to rewind and relax, but he couldn’t seem to find the energy to be happy. It had been a devastating couple of weeks, for lack of a better word. 

Kirishima had noticed that Bakugou seemed to be the most affected by the outcome of Doku, despite the fact that he seemed so nonchalant about it all. It was little things. Like how Bakugou would randomly flinch or would sink so far into thought that he wouldn’t even register anything else around him or the obvious nightmares he had been having. Bakugou was always a well-rested person, sleeping earlier than a literal baby, but nowadays he looked more drained and tired than ever. 

“Bakugou, I---” Kirishima began, stopping and turning toward his friend before Bakugou’s phone went off, ringing loudly.

Bakugou tched, pulling his phone out of his jacket pocket, rolling his eyes at the name before picking it up.

“What, are you going to chew me out for leaving the hospital early too?” Bakugou asked, annoyed. 

“What? No---wait, you left the hospital already?!” Aizawa screeched into his ear.

“Yeah, get to the point,” Bakugou droned, anticipating the inevitable lecture. 

“Who are you with right now?” Aizawa asked, his voice a little strained. Bakugou’s eyebrows furrowed, “Kirishima...why?”

“Put me on speaker.”

Bakugou did as he instructed, drawing closer to Kirishima so that the phone was in between them. 

“Boys...we got him.”

“What?” Bakugou asked.

“Who?” Kirishima was genuinely confused, but Bakugou knew the answer already.

 

“Doku. We got him.”

Chapter Text

 

Bakugou blinked once. Twice.

That...can’t be him, can it?

He stared through the two-way mirror at Doku, bound and shackled to his seat, his unmistakable green hair hanging over his eyes. No...it was him. 

What reason would Aizawa have to lie? He didn’t. He was not one to joke, despite the fact that Kirishima had laughed nervously when he called them as if what he said had been one. Aizawa didn’t even believe in jokes. They were a bother to him, a waste of time, energy, and words. 

So Bakugou had believed him right away. Yet...standing here, looking at him...it was still jarring, still not an established fact in his brain. 

Kirishima brought his hand up to the glass and leaned in, “God, it really is him…”

Aizawa had told them the gist of it over the phone: Doku had turned himself in, he didn’t believe it was his real body, and they couldn’t confirm it either. Doku had refused to speak to anyone but Bakugou. 

Well, shit.

“Yeah, well who the fuck else would it be?” Bakugou muttered, half-assing his anger. 

Kirishima was just thankful Bakugou hadn’t spiraled again, especially after his disaster earlier. This was the best he would get out of him, take it or leave it. Kirishima glanced over and almost flinched at the look on Bakugou’s face. His pale face was dripping with sweat, his irises small and shaking, his eyebrows furrowed. 

“Now, I normally wouldn’t do this, and I strongly, and I mean, strongly encourage you not to...we can always interrogate him. But...if you really want to, Bakugou...” Aizawa offered, leaning on the doorframe and shooting a nod in Doku’s direction. 

Bakugou looked up at him in surprise then looked down again to think about it. If Aizawa was apprehensive about it...

Do I...Do I want to?

Bakugou gritted his teeth. He was no pussy. 

Of course, he was going in. 

He walked out the door before he could even hesitate, almost shoving Aizawa who was calling to a police officer down the hall. Aizawa moved out of the way, his mouth pressed in a thin line, but nodded, motioning for Bakugou to wait a moment. 

Click.

Shhhhh.

The noise as the door opened was the only thing that penetrated the thick and heavy silence that had fallen over the room as Bakugou walked in, his eyes never leaving Doku, who still hadn’t looked up yet. 

Aizawa’s words that he had spoken to him before he unlocked the door echoed in his head. Aizawa’s voice was low, his eyes firm, “Whatever you do, don’t lose your cool. Stay calm, be rational. I’ll step in if I need to.”

He gritted his teeth as he sank down into the seat across the glass from him.

“What, you're not going to greet your guest, cocky motherfucker?” Bakugou seethed, banging his fist on the glass after several moments of silence. 

Smooth. Very calm, very rational.

Doku didn’t so much as stir. 

Bakugou was hoping he wouldn’t have to do the talking. Aizawa had said that Doku would only deliver his message to Bakugou, so he had expected the green-haired heathen to start spouting acid the minute he walked in. He had mentally prepared himself, putting up wall after wall, impenetrable to whatever attempt Doku would take at breaking him. Plus, he had some questions he wanted to be answered. He already had a list in his head, in order of importance.

Bakugo leaned back in his seat, crossing his arms. Whatever fear or anguish he had felt before, suddenly gone. He was fearless as he bore his glare into Doku’s forehead. 

“You gonna talk or? Said you would only talk to me, huh? Miss me that bad?” Bakugou hissed, swinging his feet up to rest on the countertop in front of him.

Aizawa narrowed his eyes at him on the other side of the mirror.

Bakugou was about to answer his own question, opening his mouth for another snarky blow at Doku when suddenly Doku moved, lifting his head slowly. 

Bakugou immediately shut up, much to Aizawa’s surprise. He dug his fingers into his biceps, waiting for Doku to say something, anything; he even brought his legs down, leaning forward.

Doku moved again, this time bringing his head further up so that Bakugou could see his nose and mouth. He leaned forward again on instinct, wanting to hear him. 

Slowly, painfully slowly, Doku lifted his head, his eyes closed as his mouth crumpled. Bakugou flinched a little somewhere behind his walls but maintained his level head as he waited again, the anticipation killing him

Doku remained that way for a moment, gritting his teeth, visibly shaking as he squeezed his eyes. 

He snapped them open, red meeting red as tears quickly formed. 

Kacchan! Please! Help me!” Doku cried, leaning forward as if to get closer to Bakugou somehow, straining against the straps holding him to the chair, his neck muscles bulging.

Bakugou was expecting everything but that. 

He had prepared himself for everything but that.

His walls cracked quickly under the pressure, unprepared for the oncoming barrage of pain.

He wanted Doku to chide at him, making passive-aggressive comments, or--or anything but that! 

Bakugou cringed a little, painfully reminded of that day in the clearing. He was frozen, his heart beating at a pace faster than humanly possible.

No! 

He steeled himself, opened his mouth again, struggling to form his next sentence before Doku burst out laughing, the tears in his eyes falling as he hooted and howled.

“YOU SHOULD SEE YOUR FACE RIGHT NOW! How’d you like my Izuku impression?!” Doku cried, throwing his head back and being overcome by another fit of laughter. 

Bakugou felt his eyebrows furrow, his blood boiling, his anger reaching a level he had never experienced.

“Woo! Thank you for that, Bakugou, dearest, that---woo! I haven’t had a laugh like that in ages!” 

Bakugou had nothing to say to that. The 180 that Doku had just done, calling him Bakugou on top of all that? He was trying to get to him, get under his skin, get past the walls.

Not again, not ever.

“This is getting boring. Your tricks are the same, your torture’s the same. Change it up. Hell, bring Deku out, at least he was somewhat entertaining,” Bakugou waved a hand dismissively, looking away from Doku as if he was the most least interesting thing he’d ever seen.

It took everything within him to not slam the glass with his fists, punching until he got through the plexiglass. No matter who restrained him, no matter what happened to him. He would slam through and choke the motherfucker right here, right now. The hold he had on himself was stronger than any weight training he had ever done, the grip tighter than when he went mountain climbing. It was physically exhausting, holding back the anger. A bead of sweat dripped down his forehead. 

He knew if he so much as breathed the wrong way, Aizawa would call this all off. He could feel his teacher’s icy gaze on the back of his head as he brought his feet back up again.

Doku was surprised at this reaction, his eyes widening, raising an eyebrow, “Boring?”

“That’s what I just fucking said. Are you deaf?” Bakugou snarled, the grip loosening.

“I’m just a little surprised. I just used a trick you would use. You know, teasing other’s pain? Making fun of them? I got that all from you just now,” Doku cocked his head curiously, almost genuinely skeptical of Bakugou’s words. 

Bakugou pursed his lips, breathing in deeply. He was going to burst any second now. 

Keep it together. Keep. It. Together.

“As for Izuku, for some reason, I can’t seem to reach him anymore. It’s very odd, ever since we brawled to death the other day, I haven’t heard a peep from him, nor can I access the part of my mind where he resides,” Doku shrugged as much as he could with the restraints surrounding his arms. 

To the death?  

“Well, tell the moron to wake up. I want to talk to him, since you don’t seem to want to tell me whatever it is you called me down here for,” Bakugou stated plainly, not giving any indication of the swirling storm within him. Calm and rational. Calm. And. Rational. Just like Eraserhead said, come on. Match his energy. 

Doku stuck his bottom lip up, looking up as if genuinely considering it, “Eh, I don’t think I will. What have you done to deserve it, Kacchan?”

“Well, for one thing, I want that bastard gone as much as you do,” Bakugou tched, looking away from Doku to resist the urge to punch him.

“Even if I did want you two to talk it out, I can’t even reach him right now.”

“Yeah if he was available, your dumbass wouldn’t have gotten caught,” Bakugou just about shouted.

Doku’s whole aura suddenly shifted, his red eyes glowing with hostility, “Now, don’t get it twisted. I turned myself in. I chose this. Don’t think for a second you have any power in this.”

Bakugou's body froze but his blood boiled, the grip on his anger was getting flimsier and flimsier. 

“Well, it was fun while it lasted,” Doku was back to normal it seemed, “I might as well cut to the chase then.” He seemed to physically shift, his scowl softening into a smirk, his eyes losing its dangerous glow, “Mr. Aizawa! Make sure you got this on record, alright?!” 

Bakugou frowned.

Doku trained his gaze back at Bakugou, his smirk gone, only pure anger on his face. Bakugou had never even seen himself that angry. His entire eyes were glowing, almost like an oracle saying its prophecy. “Three days from now. I will attack UA and this time, I will stop at nothing until I burn it to the ground. There’ll be no more close calls or narrow misses. I will stop at nothing until every student is dead at my feet. Every hero who tries to get in my way will be massacred. I’m, of course, going to save the best for last. Tell All Might to prepare himself. He’s going to watch the very world he built crumble before his eyes. And Bakugou, doll, I’m not killing you off just yet. You’re going to be mine forever and we’re going to play until I get bored of you. I’ll even let Izuku make an appearance or two since you seem to enjoy his company so much. It’s going to be mass torture . Hell on earth! I’m going to kill every single one of you and there is nothing you can do to stop me, there’s NOTHING that you can do to stop me, there’s nothing YOU CAN DO TO ST---”

He would’ve probably gone on and on if Aizawa hadn’t shot him through his heart, Doku immediately falling into sludge where he sat. 

Bakugou stood, his rage finally releasing as he screamed, bringing his fist into the plexiglass, and punching so hard it vibrated under his touch. On the other side of the glass, Aizawa’s eyes grew wide and he quickly threw the gun back at the startled officer he had initially stolen it off of. He ran out, moving to Bakugou’s side of the glass, pulling him back by his armpits. 

Bakugou hollered again, his throat raw and he swung his fists uselessly, watching the black mud seep down over the chair legs and the black handcuffs. He had been right there .

“BAKUGOU!” Aizawa cried, pushing Bakugou down to the ground and slamming his arms next to his thrashing body. “Kirishima, help me!”

Bakugou got a sick wave of déjà vu as the two swarmed him, just like the night he had awoken from his nightmare. 

The cycle would never end, would it? It would just be pain and pain for him. 

Karma was a bitch. A motherfucking bitch.

Just when he thought he had everything out of control, just as he thought that there was nothing that could shake him anymore, just as he thought he had seen everything, could protect himself against anything Doku threw at him. Just when he thought he had nothing left to lose…Doku managed to surprise him, take that control, take his sense of safety and security, take his sense of self

Future hero? As if.

He couldn’t even stand up to his friend anymore. The pathetic weakling he had done nothing but step on, the rug that he had wiped his shoes on. 

Well, the rug had been pulled out from under him, and now he lay on the concrete with no means of standing up. Just when he thought he could regain his footing, Doku was there to kick at him, pressing him down into his own submissive puppet. A doll, he had called them.

And now he was being told there was nothing he could do about it?

Doku didn’t make sense to Bakugou, not in the slightest. 

The sudden mood changes, the absolute hatred of heroes, the need for pain. 

“Get your hands off of me before I blow your arms off!” Bakugou unconvincingly threatened, almost pleading, as he wrapped his arms around himself for a moment to steady his racing heartbeat. 

Aizawa and Kirishima immediately backed away, the swarm of police officers already flooding the area as Bakugou breathed heavily through his nose, grabbing the front of his shirt. Kirishima didn’t seem to know what to do with his hands, shifting from clutching at his shirt, then his hair, then his hands, holding himself back from touching Bakugou. He had never wanted to place a reassuring hand on someone’s shoulder more. 

Bakugou’s so damn manly, taking all this pain by himself! He mournfully thought to himself, making another attempt to grab at Bakugou’s arm before pulling away. 

Bakugou meanwhile was just trying to figure out how to breathe, much less how to handle the pain. His hands moved from his shirt to his hair, down to his ears as he closed out the echoing sounds of an explosion, the crackle of blue flames, the thunderous noise of a body hitting a wall, the crack that followed, the steady beep of the heart monitor, the sound of---

“Bakugou, breathe. In. Out. Come on,” Aizawa’s voice was low and calm, right by his ear as he patiently waited for Bakugou to do as he asked.

But Bakugou was never one to be told what to do.

He felt his heart drop to his feet, his blood run cold as his brain actually began registering all that Doku had said. Before, he had indeed heard him, but he hadn’t listened .

Now, his mind was remembering it all, recounting it, down to the detail of Doku’s wicked tone. 

He wasn’t going to sleep tonight, was he?

“Breathe.”

He tried, damn it. It’s not like he didn’t want to breathe. 

Well, maybe…

As he tried to regain control of his lungs again, Bakugou slowly dropped his hands down into his lap, exhausted. Kirishima was immediately there, placing a soft hand on Bakugou’s forearm, trying to meet his unfocused eyes. Bakugou flinched under his touch and he immediately drew his hand back, holding it to his chest as if he had been burned. Glancing at Bakugou, he realized his friend probably felt the same.

Kirishima’s mouth pressed into a hard line. What was he supposed to say? Hey, Bakugou, I know this doesn’t seem promising, and Doku will most likely massacre all of us, but it’s fine! It’s all going to be great! Through the power of friendship and manliness, we’ll take him down!

He curled his hand into a fist. That wasn’t what Bakugou would want to hear. But right now, he couldn’t seem to tell if silence would be Bakugou’s enemy or not. 

From what he could tell, Bakugou’s thoughts were suffocating him, but would talking even help? What would he even say ?

“Don’t tell me you really think he’s going to take us down that easily,” Aizawa deadpanned. 

Bakugou’s rapid breaths halted long enough for him to register Aizawa’s words and the ones that followed.

“We’re a school filled with pro heroes and training pro heroes. Don’t forget that UA isn’t just class 1A. We’ve got four courses, three grade levels, at least two classes per grade level...You think that the League could take us down?” Aizawa was asking genuinely, not a hint of snark or sarcasm in his voice.

Yes. Yes, I do. They managed to do it before.

“Take a moment to think about the word choice Doku had used. He said ‘ I ’. I ’m going to blow UA up, I ’m going to kill everyone. Which implies what?” He didn’t bother to answer his own question, forcing Bakugou to calm down enough to respond. 

Bakugou breathed in one more time, “He...he’s on bad terms with the League?”

“Or...the League doesn’t know,” Aizawa held his hand out to Bakugou as he stood. Bakugou froze for a moment. Oh…

He slapped Aizawa’s hand away, using the cold metal wall to prop himself up. A pang spread through his mind as it reminded him of the elevator but he was calmer now. Whatever had seized him up was slowly fading into a dull ache at the back of his mind. He had no explanation for it, but definitely never wanted to feel that way again. The feeling of total and utter defeat, of the world ending, of his breath failing. It was something he would wish on his worst enemy.

Speaking of which…

“So, you’re telling me he’s not with the League anymore?” Bakugou huffed, clearing his throat and straightening himself.

Aizawa gave a curt nod to a passing officer, “No, I just think he’s using the League to get what he wants. It’s painfully obvious that he acts on his own accord. The League of Villains is just a name to him. He wanted nothing to do with heroes so what better way to purge himself of them if he joined the very organization that opposed them, both metaphorically and physically?”

Bakugou nodded. Aizawa was never one to talk out of his ass, not one to talk without reason. This wasn’t something to say to get Bakugou to feel better: he meant it. This was an idea he had entertained before. Bakugou was grateful. Aizawa was someone who wouldn’t trick him, someone who would always be frank and wouldn’t hold back on anyone’s account. 

Kirishima extended a hand to Bakugou again. Bakugou didn’t flinch this time, and Kirishima took it as a sign to advance, holding his shoulder in a companionable grip. 

“No worries, Bakubro! We’re all heroes, aren’t we?!” Kirishima beamed brightly, his smile not reaching his eyes. Bakugou glanced at him for a moment, finally registering that Kirishima would be affected by this too. Kirishima also had friends and teachers and classmates he could lose. Bakugou noticed the little fumble in the smile and steadied his gaze, “Yeah, we are.”

Kirishima was taken aback at Bakugou’s response, even more surprised that he had even responded at all. He smiled again, brighter than last time, “Alright! Let’s go, Bakugou!” He held his free hand up for a fist bump. 

Bakugou shouldered out of his grip, rolling his eyes, leaving Kirishima hanging. The latter was completely undeterred, already turning to Aizawa.

“So...are we telling everyone?” He asked, looking away from Aizawa’s sharp glare as he realized he hadn’t even thought about that.

“No. Don’t speak a word about this to anyone,” Aizawa waved at an officer walking by. “Can you take these two home for me? Thanks.”

Kirishima glanced at Bakugou who had a hand brought up to his face, rubbing over his lip as he pondered. "I don’t know if you still have an appetite after what just happened, but want to---” Kirishima started, awkwardly pointing with his thumb behind him as if the ramen shop was just behind that wall.

“Yeah,” Bakugou responded, not to simply get rid of Kirishima, but in actual response to the question he hadn’t let Kirishima ask. 

The redhead let out a breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. Bakugou gave him a quick glance as he shoved his hands into his pockets. “We’ll be fine. We’re just gonna walk,” He asserted, more than stated.

“Absolutely not. And as for wherever you two were planning on going, you can kiss your plans goodbye,” Aizawa commanded, his hair flying back a little as his eyes glowed red. Bakugou knew that the battle was over before it had even begun. Aizawa hadn’t needed to explain anything. They were all targets now. 

That hit Bakugou like a train.

Sure, he knew it but he hadn’t really thought of what that meant. 

Doku was not a liar, at least when it came to pain and suffering, so that was a...good thing?

That meant he would keep his word. He would try and kill everyone…

Even himself if it came down to it. 

That meant…

Kirishima wasn’t safe. 

And it wasn’t that Bakugou didn’t believe that he couldn’t handle his own. No, he knew more than anyone just how powerful Kirishima could be, even if the redhead himself hadn’t realized it. It also wasn’t that Doku was better than him. It wasn’t a matter of skill or ability. It was the pure fear that Doku would stop at nothing. Nothing. To get what he wanted. 

And what he wanted was pain.

Kirishima began to protest to Aizawa, but Bakugou clamped his hand down on Kirishima’s outstretched arm for a quick moment, so quick that Kirishima had thought he’d dream it.

“Drop it. Let’s just go,” Bakugou muttered, stuffing his hands into his pockets in case his arms decided to act on their own accord again.

Kirishima gave a final wave to Aizawa, who was already beginning to discuss what had happened with the nearest forensic agent, and they both left, following the police officer outside. 

They sat in the backseat of the cruiser, both feeling out of place in the high-security interior, padded with quirk suppressing walls and seatbelts that would probably be more suited to be chains for Godzilla or something.

Bakugou tapped his foot impatiently, his jitters still not completely leaving him. Everyone was in danger. Everything’s going down, and it’s going down soon.

This would be a war.

Kirishima was looking out the barred window, zoning out as the complete and utter silence of the soundproof area engulfed them. Bakugou closed his eyes, rethinking the idea that had just come into his head, but thought ah, fuck it. He didn’t have the luxury to overthink things now, the luxury to care whether or not what he was doing or saying would “taint his image” so to speak.

“Kirishima, who do you live with?” Bakugou asked, almost a sigh as if he was forced to ask.

Kirishima turned, his eyebrows furrowing at the completely unexpected question. Bakugou had never been one to talk about personal matters, regarding himself or others. 

“Uh...my mom and dad are both away on a work trip right now, so...just me,” Kirishima stammered, still in a state of shock. It wasn’t something inherently odd, but the fact that Bakugou had been the one to ask, especially out of nowhere…

Bakugou nodded and quietly went back to thinking for a couple of strained moments, of Kirishima just staring at him incredulously and Bakugou deep in thought.

Good that the first stop is my house then, Bakugou thought.

“Come in for dinner. My old hag of a mother should have something ready for when we get in,” Bakugou said plainly, no malicious tone or signature growl behind his voice. He was oddly calm. Kirishima couldn’t help but compare him to someone at the doors of death. 

“Oh, are you sure? I wouldn’t want to impose and I---” Kirishima began.

“No. We got an extra futon anyways,” Bakugou said placidly as if he hadn’t just suggested a whole new thing than what he had said before.

Futon ?” Kirishima asked, leaning his head forward as if he hadn’t heard Bakugou correctly.

“Futon,” Bakugou confirmed, blinking blankly at him as if Kirishima was speaking a foreign language. Normally, he would’ve snapped at Kirishima to shut up and just listen, throwing in some well placed explosive punches. But, again, he didn’t have the luxury to hate everything and everyone anymore.

They could all be dead in a couple of days.

“You’ll sleep over. It’s---” This was as far as Bakugou’s calm persona would take him, cutting short before he could finish his sentence as if his free trial had ended or something.

It’s too dangerous for you to be alone right now.

He was already picturing it. Kirishima alone in his home, being ambushed by the villains and being burned alive, or blown to bits by an explosion. Even if the villains hadn’t attacked, Kirishima would probably find a way to kill himself when using the toaster to make himself dinner.

He grimaced at the thought. He had seen what Kirishima eats when given the ability to roam free and “widening my horizons” as he had said. Noodles cooked in the oven, tea boiled in a large pot, a piece of steak in the microwave. 

Kirishima realized what this was about almost instantly, his widened eyes softening, “Bakugou, you don’t gotta feel responsible for our safety, you know. I’ll be---”

“THAT’S NOT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT, FUCKSHIT!” Bakugou roared, all the anger that he had been suppressing for so long making its grand debut. 

Kirishima dodged one of Bakugou’s punches expertly, the old habit never truly dying out. They bickered for a bit before the police officer rapped his knuckles on the divider between the front of the car and the back. They’d arrived.

Kirishima bowed, “Thank you very much, sir!”

“No problem, kiddos. Stay safe,” The police officer gave them a warm smile and ducked into their car again, leaving Kirishima and Bakugou alone on the sidewalk. 

Kirishima took a moment to take in the house. It was nice. Definitely not what he was expecting, but to be fair, he hadn’t ever given Bakugou’s living situation a thought. Kirishima whistled low and long, “Sheesh. This is awesome .”

Bakugou tched, stomping forward up to the front door, pounding without any hesitation. An intelligible shout came from inside the house. 

“WELL, I DON’T HAVE THEM!” Bakugou screamed, startling Kirishima who hadn’t realized he’d been responding to whoever had just yelled inside the house. 

Kirishima braced himself as he heard thunderous footsteps, louder than Bakugou’s had been earlier, from inside the house.

“KATSUKI, YOU LITTLE SHIT, DID YOU LO---Oh, hi, dear! Katsuki, is this one of your friends?” The woman standing in the doorway was a carbon copy of Bakugou. Kirishima corrected himself. Technically, vice versa. The young-looking woman could’ve easily passed for Bakugou’s sister if not for the faintest wrinkles along her forehead that he had seen on his own mother’s before. 

Her screaming and angry personality were also something that was obviously genetic, one that Bakugou had received at its full capacity. The only difference was that this woman knew how to control it, or keep a lid on it in front of others. The 180 she had done had almost given Kirishima whiplash.

She smiled sweetly at him, holding a steaming wooden spoon between her clasped hands. She was wearing a white apron, devoid of any indication that she had even let it near a kitchen, her feet in slippers. 

Kirishima’s brow furrowed. She was... normal.

If anything, Kirishima was expecting two werewolves to be raising Bakugou. 

“Name’s Mitsuki,” She beamed, bowing a little. Kirishima bowed as well, “It’s very nice to meet you, Mrs. Bakugou. I’m Eijirou Kirishima!”

Mitsuki giggled, flailing the spoon back and forth, “Oh no! Please, call me Mitsuki, dear! Takes a few years off, you know?” She gave him a little wink as if they were sharing a private joke that only they knew. 

Kirishima smiled, She was so cool!

That was until she turned back to Bakugou, her face dropping entirely as she examined her son, “What’d you do this time?”

Bakugou snapped, “WHAT?! NOTHING!”

“Then why'd you bring a hostage?”

“HOSTAGE?!”

“YOU HEARD ME! THE POOR BOY LOOKS LIKE HE’S HERE AGAINST HIS WILL!”

Kirishima cringed sheepishly, trying to cut in, but it was no use. His pleas fell on deaf ears as the two, in sync, stomped into the house, Bakugou kicking off his shoes without missing a beat.

“AND YOU LOST YOUR KEYS?! HOW FUCKING INCOMPETENT--Sorry the house is a mess, Eiji. We weren’t expecting guests!--CAN YOU BE?!” 

Kirishima just stood there, trying to find what exactly was the “mess” in the almost perfect, pristine home. The only mess he could see was the fight that was starting to turn ugly in front of him.

The house was even nicer on the inside than it was on the outside. Kirishima didn’t know where to look first. 

“Ah, sorry about them. They're always like this; you just have to get used to it!” A quiet, much calmer voice spoke behind him.

Kirishima turned to the source of peace like a moth to a lamp. A man he could only deduce was Bakugou’s dad stood to his left in the gathering area, folding a newspaper as he bowed to Kirishima. 

“Pleasure to meet you, my name is Masaru, I’m Katsuki’s father. I assume you’re a friend?” Masaru questioned, his smile small as he watched Kirishima mirror his bow. 

“I’m Eijirou Kirishima. Yeah, I guess you could say that!” Kirishima said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck as he watched Bakugou strap on his own apron, still in his scrabble with Mitsuki. 

Masaru laughed a little, “It definitely takes some time to get used to it.”

“I could barely handle one Bakugou, and now you’re telling me there’s two of them?” Kirishima was only half-joking.

Masaru huffed out a fake exasperated breath, “Now imagine living with the spawns of the Devil. Even waking up next to one.” His smile crept through again, his kind eyes and tone not matching his words at all.

Masaru was watching his wife and son with nothing but love as they flawlessly worked together, still screaming at each other. Looking at him from this angle, Kirishima realized Bakugou looked like Masaru a lot more than he had initially thought. The simultaneously sharp and soft curve of the eyes, the jaw, the nose, most notably, the spiky mess of hair was the same as Bakugou’s, just brown. While his hair and eye color were all Mitsuki, Masaru seemed to fill the blanks in between.  

Kirishima finally got the courage to step into the house, shifting from leg to leg as he was unsure where exactly he should be standing.

“Please, let’s sit at the table before they find a way to break it again,” Masaru offered, leading his guest to the dining table and sitting across from him. 

They engaged in conversation until Bakugou and Mitsuki each placed an identical dish in front of both Masaru and Kirishima, respectively. Kirishima looked up wide-eyed at Mitsuki before looking back down at the steaming bowl in front of him. 

The slightly oily broth was deep red, the noodles and vegetables perfectly balanced without being too soggy. The smell alone was enough to get his nostrils burning and his throat stinging. And was that?... Wagyu beef?

“Oh, sorry, I forgot to ask if you’ve got any allergies!” Mitsuki clamped her hands around the bridge of her nose.

Kirishima shook his head frantically, clutching his chopsticks in each hand roughly, feeling a splinter in one of them, “No, no! It’s just...haven’t had a good meal in ages!”

Mitsuki beamed, clapping, “Perfect! Well, please, dig in!” She plopped next to Masaru while Bakugou slid into the seat next to Kirishima.

They said their thanks but none of the Bakugou’s even looked at their food, all staring intently at Kirishima who halted with his chopsticks halfway up to his mouth, leaning forward over the bowl. His eyes widened a bit and his noodles fell limply back into the bowl, splashing the soup, “Did I do something wrong?”

“No, we wanna see how you like it,” Masaru said eagerly. Mitsuki nodded and Bakugou remained still.

Kirishima’s mouth fell into a silent ‘oh’ before he picked the noodles back up again, slurping as quietly as possible. It was a lot less spicy than Kirishima had initially thought and he eagerly took another bite. Once the tingly sensation in his mouth had diminished a little, he decided to finally try the Wagyu beef, savoring the bite as if it would be his last.

Meat!

Suddenly it all hit him like a train. He coughed, grabbing at his throat as everything started burning. The spice had been hidden away, a delayed bomb attack of some sort. He reached for his water and chugged it, panting heavily. When his watery eyes finally cleared, Kirishima could finally make out Bakugou hiding a grin behind his chopsticks, Mitsuki with a similar expression suddenly finding the scratches on the wood of the table very interesting, and Masaru eating happily from his bowl.

“So, Kirishima, how was it?” Mitsuki asked, a laugh hidden behind her voice

Kirishima had to blink several times to regain any sense of control over his senses, “Spicy…”

Masaru gave his wife a half-hearted disapproving look, “‘Suki, what’d we say about harassing guests? It’s why the Ito’s never call or visit anymore.”

“Yeah, well those motherfuckers deserved it,” Bakugou said plainly from behind his napkin as if profanity was a dish best served at dinner with his parents. 

“Well, I wouldn’t say that---” Masaru began before Mitsuki put a hand up to stop him. “Don’t even. They insult you, they insult us.”

Kirishima’s eyes darted from family member to family member, all finally calm except for the dangerous glint in Bakugou's eyes and the grimace pulling at Mitsuki’s lips. 

“Oh, don’t mean to leave you in the dark, Eiji, sweetie. We had these so-called ‘family friends’ that used to visit often. One day, they tried to talk shit about my own husband to me. We created the glorious dish sitting in front of you right now, just dialed down a bit on the spice. It’s one of Katsuki’s favorites.”

Kirishima’s eyes bulged out of his head. This was dialed down?!

“Yeah, you can imagine they were about to wreck our toilets before I sent them packing,” Mitsuki laughed a little, slinging an arm around her husband’s shoulder and resting her head on it.  

The Bakugou’s were...interesting. But they were a family all the same. 

“So why’d you give it to me?!” More than a little hurt tainted Kirishima’s tone. 

Mitsuki laughed, “That was actually supposed to be Katsuki’s bowl, but we thought maybe we’d give you a little initiation! You'll be staying with us tonight, right? We Bakugou’s like to leave a lasting impression. An explosive one, you could say.”

Kirishima relaxed a little, grateful he hadn’t done something to insult any of them, at least for the time being. 

Bakugou switched their bowls, “I didn’t eat out of mine yet.”

Kirishima stared down at it, a little more apprehensive than he would care to admit. The broth was noticeably less red, and the scent of it didn’t make him want to curl into a ball and die, so that was a good sign. He took a hesitant bite and relaxed into the savory pops of flavor as he went for another bite. He hadn’t eaten all day, and it was hard to imagine just a couple hours earlier he had saved Bakugou from being run over by a car. 

He gave a quick glance at his friend, checking to see if there were any tell-tale signs that his wounds were still hurting him but Bakugou seemed to be fine, eating the spicy nightmare without even flinching. 

Once they had finished eating, Mitsuki had collected the plates and called for Masaru to help her while asking Bakugou to set up the futon for Kirishima. 

When he walked into Bakugou’s room, he was surprised to find it mostly barren, save for his bed, dresser, and desk. The grey walls were oddly soothing and Kirishima was again surprised by Bakugou’s lifestyle. He expected the room to be permanently on fire, a rotting corpse in one corner, and another hanging from the ceiling for decor. 

“What?!” Bakugou snapped as Kirishima lingered in the doorway.

“It’s so empty,” Kirishima commented, mostly to himself.

“I haven’t been here in months, and didn’t think I would be back anytime soon. Of fucking course it’s bare.”

Kirishima flinched just a little, and Bakugou noticed out of the corner of his eye. Kirishima had just been reminded that the whole ordeal about the dorms was triggered by his friend’s kidnapping. And once again, he was probably feeling unsafe in his own home.

“You gonna stand there and be useless, or actually help me?” Bakugou asked, a little less rough than before.

Together they laid out the futon, pillow, and blanket. Bakugou glanced at the clock, “I’m going to shower. I’ll get you out some extra clothes you can wear after and you can take your own.”

Kirishima nodded, plopping down on the futon, and flipped on his phone for the first time that day.

 

Missed call from MOM.

MOM

Did u get dinner 4 tn?

 

Kirishima shot her a quick text back, explaining the situation, telling her not to worry, though he knew she inevitably would.

Bakugou’s parents had seemed so nonchalant about the prospect of people targeting UA. When he had asked why that was, Mitsuki’s glare had hardened, her tone wickedly stern, “Because I’m not letting you boys anywhere near that building.”

Kirishima resisted the urge to bite at his lower lip, learning from past mistakes and countless split lips. 

“You’re up,” Bakugou mumbled, tossing a black shirt and a pair of sweats at Kirishima before collapsing on his bed, his hair impossibly fluffy and spiky at the same time.

“It’s literally only 8:12, Bakugou, why are you sleeping now?” Kirishima asked, taking a glance at the last wisps of dusk seeping through the blinds.

“You mean it’s already 8:12. You better be fucking quiet as a mouse when you come back,” Bakugou snarled, bending his pillow to wrap around his ear, tightly shutting his eyes.

Kirishima should’ve expected this, since Bakugou would sleep even earlier when they were back at the dorms. But something picked at him: given that Bakugou was already a somewhat restless sleeper (at least, he thought so after the nightmare encounter), Kirishima thought today would be even worse. 

He somehow doubted Bakugou would sleep that easily. 

Ever since the day at the mall, Bakugou hadn’t spent a lot of time at the dorms, since he was in between hospitals through most of the past weeks. But the days he did sleep in his dorm, Kirishima would listen intently, not sleeping until he heard Bakugou settle down. A couple of times, Bakugou had nightmares, but they were never as loud as the one that night. Kirishima would get up at that point and start lifting weights or finishing a homework assignment he was going to copy off of Jirou or something. 

It was all to deter him from the thought of rushing into Bakugou’s room and waking him up out of the nightmare. He remembered what Bakugou had said last time, and as much as it pained him, he would respect his wishes and leave him alone. 

So his headphones on at almost max volume, he would scribble answers to the math problems, lift a weight heavier than usual, anything to block out the rustling and soft murmurs of fear from the other room. 

He would stay awake into the late hours of the night, sometimes falling into bed a mere half an hour before he needed to go to class. 

That hadn’t gone over well.

Kirishima was a mess, even more than Bakugou who was actually the one struggling and suffering. The latter would always give Kirishima the weirdest look, but would always be there to kick his shin to wake him up if he fell asleep over his lunch, to slap him over the head when he dozed off when doing homework, and even bring him food after he realized that Kirishima simply just wasn’t eating.

“Oh, thanks, Bakugou,” Kirishima had smiled weakly, stifling a yawn that always seemed to tighten the lines around Bakugou’s mouth.

“I didn’t do this for you, Shitty Face. I made extra and didn’t want it to go to waste,” Bakugou snarled at him, shifting his usual insult to match the horridness of Kirishima’s face. 

Kirishima grinned a little, “Sure.”

Bakugou was always a perfectionist, a lowkey one, but Kirishima knew he never made more than he needed to, never left scraps or leftovers, especially with the other guys. He had made that mistake once and Sero and Kaminari had devoured it within the hour.

So let’s just say, Kirishima was skilled in the art of “the Bakugou”. He respected his friend, sure, but he sure as hell didn’t believe him.

He didn’t know how on the nose he was.

Bakugou waited until he heard the sound of the bedroom door close to give a glance over his shoulder at it. Kirishima had left, and he let out a sigh, turning onto his back and draping his arm over his eyes. 

There was no way he was sleeping before Kirishima, especially because he felt the impending sense of dread that he was definitely not going to get through this night without at least two separate nightmares. Plus, he wanted to see if Kirishima would actually sleep. He had been suspicious of him ever since he had fallen face-first into his cereal one morning, completely out.

So he stayed awake, pretending to be asleep when a couple of minutes later Kirishima crept into the room, so quietly that Bakugou almost didn’t hear him coming. 

Kirishima grimaced as the floorboard creaked a little and froze, waiting for the room to drop into silence again before mad dashing for his futon. Bakugou bit his tongue as he resisted the urge to insult him.

A couple moments later, Kirishima was lightly snoring, slightly annoying Bakugou who had not predicted this at all. It sounded like rocks in a blender. Bakugou’s lip curled up in annoyance and he buried deeper in his covers. 

Minutes later, he was fast asleep.





“Kirishima, who do you live with?”

“Uh...my mom and dad are both away on a work trip right now, so...just me.”

“Come in for dinner. My---”

Suddenly he lurched forward, the seatbelt suddenly not enough to stop him and Kirishima from slamming into the divider in front of them as the car flipped over. 

It spun like a top, rendering Bakugou blind for a couple of seconds until it slowed down and he could finally open his eyes. He blinked against the debris, the settling dust, and the rain of glass around him.

He was still strapped in the seatbelt, lying parallel to the bottom of the car, suspended in midair. 

“Kirishima?!” He croaked, his voice hoarse.

Kirishima should be fine with his hardening and all but he didn’t get a response, and he could barely crane his neck to look behind him to see if Kirishima was okay.

The silence was deafening. 

“KIRISHIMA!” 

Nothing.

He tried his hardest to turn his neck and when he finally could get the smallest glance over his shoulder he realized he was completely alone in the car, no driver or Kirishima.

His eyes widened and his breath quickened as he fumbled to unlock his seatbelt, twisting his arms to no avail. The seatbelt only tightened, pressing him against the seat of the car, basically suffocating him.

A nearby explosion shook the car, sending it spinning twice before settling again. When Bakugou opened his eyes again, there were blue flames licking up into the car, creeping towards him. Using his feet, he pushed himself as far away as possible from them, panting. He couldn’t get out. He was trapped. And there was no one around to save him.

“There’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

The voice echoed around him as the flames engulfed his calves, making him scream as the heat pulsed into him like knives. 

He cried out again, kicking at the window, calling out to no one in particular. 





And he sat up in bed, grabbing the nearest thing within reach which happened to be Kirishima’s shirt. 

Kirishima’s eyes were wide and filled with a mixture of fear, pain, and worry, his hair limply falling around his grimacing face. 

Bakugou quickly let go of his shirt, letting Kirishima fall back in a sitting position on the bed as he took a moment to remember how to breathe again, something in his throat catching the breath before letting him relish in it. He choked on another breath again, bringing his hands up to his throat as if holding it would somehow remind him that he could breathe.

“Bakugou, just breathe, okay? In and out,” Kirishima’s voice wobbled, his hand stretching forward to rest on the back of Bakugou’s head to get him to look at him. 

The gazes of the two boys were nearly identical: like a deer caught in headlights. Bakugou focused on the sensation of Kirishima’s hand and closed his eyes, breathing in deeply this time, only a small hitch in between.

“I’m fine,” Bakugou murmured, pushing out of Kirishima’s grip. 

Kirishima didn’t argue, didn’t protest, or try to reach out again. He simply nodded and slid down back onto his futon, his eyes now completely empty yet so full of the unasked questions he had boiling over in his head. 

“‘Night, Bakugou.”

“...’night, Kirishima.”

Chapter Text

 

“Plan’s off.”

“What do you mean ' plan’s off ’? This is the first time you ever contact me and that’s the first thing you say?” 

“I mean the plan is fucking off, ” Bakugou seethed into his phone. 

Todoroki sighed on the other line, “So you’re not going to explain---?”

Bakugou hung up. 

Kirishima side-eyed the blond, confused as to what ‘the plan’ was, but decided not to pry. He was confused about a lot of things at this point, so he was used to it. Accept it and move on. That was the mentality he’d developed after growing closer to Bakugou. 

There were some things he couldn’t question, some things he couldn’t discuss. The list of things grew every day and if he was being honest, he found it... challenging was the only word he could come up with. It wasn’t a nuisance or a bother, in fact, he was delighted for a challenge . Bakugou was like a puzzle he needed to solve, and the patience he needed for it was beyond his comprehension. He’d never had to do this before. Usually, he’d just smile and others would as well and that was that. It was how he got friends. They reciprocated his feelings easily, they smiled when he did, they laughed with him, they were friendly

Bakugou was anything but. 

Of course, Kirishima wasn’t complaining (he says this constantly as if reassuring the voices in his head). Bakugou is his best friend, and he wasn’t ready to change that. Bakugou wouldn’t get rid of Kirishima that easily. But…

He couldn’t lie. There were things he wished were different. 

He wished that Bakugou would be a little more forthcoming about his feelings, or at least about what was troubling him, instead of bottling it up as he always did. Kirishima prided himself in being able to tell what Bakugou was thinking (about fifty percent of the time) but there was only so much his eyes could pry from Bakugou’s distant and wary ones. 

Last night was no exception. He knew better than to overstep his boundaries. Bakugou having a nightmare was not his concern, he tried to tell himself. It isn’t my place to ask. You saw how mad he got last time. I’m not supposed to bring it up .

But...but it was so hard not to.

Kirishima was like an open book: easily read and easily scribbled upon. His emotions were always plain as day and could change with something as simple as a brushstroke. In that sense, he wasn’t that dissimilar from Bakugou, though it seemed Bakugou’s scope of emotions was very limited. From angry to slightly less angry, maybe. Essentially, Kirishima loved feelings, Bakugou did not. 

So it was a little difficult for Kirishima to tone down that need for openness, that desire for being someone’s comfort. It crushed him sometimes. He knew it was selfish of him to want something from someone who couldn't give him what he wanted. It was so hard to not hold his friend, to not try to pick up the pieces when they were right there, scattered at his feet. 

He felt like a little kid who had broken a cookie jar. His mother would always say, “Don’t come near this way! I’ll pick it up, don’t worry. Just go stand over there until I’m done.”

At the time, Kirishima was indeed very clumsy and had even fallen susceptible to his own quirk on more than one occasion. He was rather grateful for his mother’s offer but in this context... Being told to walk around the pieces, or, “I’ll pick it up, don’t touch anything,” was worse than anything. 

Maybe it was a Savior complex. He had considered the possibility. It could very well be, given that he was an up-and-coming hero. But really...his need could not be defined in such a simple two-worded phrase. 

Bakugou was lonely. Bakugou was hurting, fearing, screaming, and all Kirishima could do was watch

He was told to stand and watch as his friend picked up his own pieces, and tried to put them back together all on his own.

Hero complex aside, Kirishima was his friend . All he knew was how to be helpful, and then being told not to? 

It hurt, that was for sure.

Seeing Bakugou curled into himself, kicking at random, speaking nonsense as Kirishima had to listen and endure and fight everything within him that screamed Help him! He had given in to the cries and pleas and eventually sat on Bakugou’s bed, reaching out just as Bakugou awoke, sweat sticking his shirt to his skin, eyes open and wild, chest heaving. Bakugou had grabbed his shirt so roughly, Kirishima was sure that it would rip off. But he had waited, had endured. 

Bakugou had let go and began to hyperventilate. Kirishima had never in his life wanted to save someone more. 

Was there something out there that could take these awful thoughts away from Bakugou? Something that could repress these nightmares or even simply erase them completely? They lived in a developed and Quirk-filled society, there was bound to be a way. 

But again:

Not my job, not my problem, not my responsibility. He chanted to himself.

He would be confused if Bakugou needed him to be. This wasn’t about what Kirishima wants, but rather what Bakugou needs. Kirishima needed to remind himself of that. He couldn't be selfish. That’s what friends were for, and Kirishima would respect his wishes as best he could.

But.

Something that was confusing him that couldn’t be ignored was why he was still at the Bakugou household. 

Bakugou hadn’t directly told him to leave, given that he probably would’ve thrown both Kirishima and his stuff out on the curb if he did want him gone...but the energy radiating off of him was begging anyone within a five-kilometer radius to leave him alone.

It felt to Kirishima as if he was overstaying his welcome at this point and he grew increasingly more uncomfortable as the minutes passed. 

Bakugou was reclined on his bed, reading a volume of a manga that Kirishima didn’t have the heart to care about. Bakugou was obviously past the phone call, past thinking about whatever the hell the plan was, and was finally relaxing for the first time in forever, it seemed. 

I’m really ruining this for him. This is the first time he’s had a break and been at home for weeks! I really should get going.

“Hey, Bakugou, I think I’m going to go now. I’v---” Kirishima started, standing with the pillow Bakugou had lent him in his hand. 

“Your mom texted my mom and asked for you to stay here,” Bakugou interrupted. “Even if I did want you here, it isn’t up to us. That old hag isn’t going to let you near our front door, especially because Eraserhead’s gonna have a press conference in about ten minutes now.”

“Yeah, but I’m really just being a both---” Kirishima slumped. He wasn’t going to ask how Mitsuki had his mom’s phone number. 

“WOULD YOU STOP WHINING, SHITHEAD?! I’m trying to READ!” Bakugou yelled, curling his hand into a fist, yet making sure to not crumple the manga in his hands. “God, no one gives a fuck about you being here.”

Kirishima sank back down onto the futon, “Alright…” So Bakugou wasn’t frustrated with his presence? His Bakugou translator in his head was working overtime, trying to read the mixed signals and decipher them like the Rosetta Stone. 

No one gives a f*** about you being here.

As in...they don’t care that he’s here? Or they don’t care that he’s here? Or was it, they don’t care that he’s here?

Maybe it was...that the Bakugous didn’t mind that he was there. That made more sense. Kirishima hid his smile. Alright then! 

Bakugou glanced at Kirishima as he turned the page, watching the grinning idiot dig in his backpack for a phone charger. 

It was better to be safe than sorry. He didn’t need to lose a friend (Bakugou couldn’t really call him a friend. He’d never had one of those, nor did he think he had it now. “Friend” was more like a placement word until he could find a better way to define his relationship with Kirishima). He’d already come close to that many times in the past month. 

Besides, Kirishima had seen too much. He’d seen Bakugou at his most vulnerable, and normally, those who did witness it would immediately be exterminated, but Kirishima was different.

There was no rational or coherent way to explain how he felt about Kirishima. At least, a way that other humans would understand. It was slightly less angry screaming directed at him, a sort of mutual respect sent his way, indirect responses to Kirishima's fits of sadness, this feeling of equalness when he was around him...

It didn’t need words, now that he thought about it. As long as he and Kirishima understood it, that was all that mattered. 

But, equals was a good way to put it.

Someone he could see standing on the same pedestal as him, if not ever so slightly below him. 

He gritted his teeth.

But equals could mean many other things, couldn’t it?

Like with De---

That useless piece of shit Deku...he was NOT EQUAL to Bakugou in any way shape or form.

How could he even think that?

That thought was immediately eradicated, thankfully. 

“KATSUKI, YOU USELESS PIECE OF SHIT, DIDYA LEAVE THE FAUCET RUNNING?!” Mitsuki screamed from somewhere in the house.

Bakugou resisted the urge to chuck his manga across the room, “FUCK YOU! I HAVEN’T EVEN LEFT MY ROOM YET!”

“WELL, GET YOUR LAZY ASS DOWN HERE and Eijirou, dear, why don’t you come as well? Mr. Aizawa is about to be present at the press conference. We already have the channel up now!” 

Kirishima chuckled sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his neck. The yelling was not something he’d miss when he left. 

“Oh, boys, it’s starting!” Masaru whispered as the two settled themselves on the same couch, at opposite ends. 

It indeed was starting. A long table covered in a black tablecloth was the only thing in the shot. Sitting at the table was every teacher at UA, with Aizawa, Principal Nezu, and All Might in the center, as if relics to be presented for sacrifice. Aizawa was clean-shaven, his hair pulled back in the same half updo Bakugou had seen in the recordings of the last broadcast online (though he thought he was going to regret looking at anything relating to his kidnapping, he had gotten the sudden urge to cry when he had heard what Aizawa had said, almost like when All Might first appeared in front of him at the League of Villains hideout). All Might looked as haggard as ever, still wearing that atrocious, hard-on-the-eyes yellow suit his mother always complained about (“Now, if only it was blue!”). Nezu...Well, there was really no differentiation in Nezu’s physical features, so Bakugou couldn’t exactly decipher what exactly was happening internally in the mouse-rabbit-hamster thing he called principal. 

There was an empty seat between Aizawa and All Might, but other than that, the rest didn’t matter. 

It would first start with the statement from the school, as well as the teachers, then it would be open to questions, the narrator announced as the teachers adjusted their microphones and straightened their legs. 

Nezu cleared his throat and began, “Parents and students. Citizens of Japan and of the world. We are here because of the grievous errors that not only we as faculty members have committed, but have dragged your children into. As you know, just a few weeks prior, a student from Class 1-A, Izuku Midoriya, had fallen victim to what we believe is a new technology crafted by the League of Villains. The boy was completely healthy, a hero in the making, when suddenly he disappeared. Many had thought that he was dead, which we found out later was not the case. Midoriya had indeed joined the League of Villains and had begun to wreak havoc on not only his own classmates, but the citizens of Japan as well.

That being said: we did lock up a clone of this ‘Doku’ persona he had developed, and he revealed some rather disturbing details.”

Murmurs from the crowd began to rise as Mitsuki grabbed Masaru’s hand. This was a little more difficult for them than they’d let on. The last time they watched a broadcast, besides the one announcing Midoriya’s disappearance and conjunction with the League, they had been here, sitting on the couch and watching for their son. They failed to see how this was any different.

Masaru wrapped his arm around Mitsuki’s shoulders, bringing her closer to him as she took a shaky breath in. 

Bakugou glanced at his parents and rolled his eyes. Whatever. This was just an announcement. 

Understatement of the year, to say the least. 

Nezu continued, “Doku stated that he was planning to eliminate UA and all the students and teachers residing in the building in two days' time.”

Shouts of shock and anger rose in the room as cameras shuttered and reporters shouted out questions. A few police officers lining the walls shouted for silence as Nezu shut his eyes and waited. 

When the volume decreased, Nezu opened his eyes and cleared his throat, “As such, we have taken measures to combat this. We already have a task force actively looking for Doku and the League of Villains, as well as evacuating everyone from the school buildings for two weeks. Now, we have a statement from Mr. Aizawa and the task force I had mentioned prior.”

Questions arose again but were quickly quieted as Aizawa continued without waiting for them to finish their chatter, “Thank you, Mr. Nezu. This is an official statement from Endeavor, the Number One Hero as well as the leader of this task force. It was a unanimous decision and unfortunately, he couldn’t be here today to announce this himself.”

Aizawa visibly stiffened, breathing in deeply before saying the words Bakugou would never have expected.

“The order is to shoot to kill. Any officer or hero who faces Doku will first attempt capture, but if met with resistance have been ordered to kill Doku on the spot.”







“Didya hear that, Shigaraki? Shoot to kill! Wonderful! Bestie! Boohoo, how tragic!” Twice cried out, throwing his head back like a lady in waiting. 

“Shut your trap, Twice,” Dabi seethed, obviously dripping with anger. Shigaraki side-eyed him, watching the flames swirl in the man’s turquoise eyes, “You’re a lot more hot and bothered by this than I thought you’d be.”

Dabi immediately relaxed, his face hardening over, “I’m not.”

“Right.”

“Though, it would’ve been better for our relations with the Shie Hassaikai to have him around...I don’t really miss him if I can be frank,” Mr. Compress started matter-of-factly. 

Toga turned to him with reddened eyes and screeched, “Don’tyoudaresaythataboutmyIzuku!”

“Please, speak a coherent language, Toga, m'dear,” Mr. Compress said with a little more compassion. He placed a comforting hand on the top of her head as she wailed a little more, her head in her hands. 

“Hey, sweetums, don’tchya worry! He totally hates you, LOL!” Twice wrapped an arm around her shoulder as she released another sob. 

Spinner rolled his eyes, “I always knew he wouldn’t stick around for long. He was always a little off...very selfish...not at all like Stain…”

“Where even is he, anyway?” Dabi questioned, looking over at Shigaraki, who shrugged.

Shigaraki sighed, “He left two days ago. I don’t know but it looks like he’s on his own quest. As much as I hate UA and everyone who resides within...I want no part in this. Just as we’re getting in cahoots with the Yakuza...they’ll lose all respect towards us. They probably need us more than we need them, but I just have a bad feeling about this whole thing. He left us, let’s not associate with him anymore.”

“You got it, Boss!” Twice saluted. Dabi tsked, Toga sobbed, and Mr. Compress and Spinner gave their own appreciation for the much-needed statement.

Doku was off the rails, batshit crazy. Not to say they weren’t, but it was a different kind of crazy. The League was crazy together, while Doku seemed to be content with being crazy on his own. They weren’t going to take the fall for whatever he was planning on doing. 

Shigaraki silenced his subordinates, eager to listen to the rest of the broadcast. 

“That being said, there are certain students that we have chosen with provisional hero licenses that will be required to actively serve in the detainment of Izuku Midoriya, otherwise known as Doku,” Nezu was saying.

“The kids ?”

“Didn’t we just attack them?”

“Like last month or something.”

The League whispered among themselves as the reporters began asking questions.

Shigaraki smirked a little.

It would be very soon when UA would crumble to pieces. And he wanted to be the one to make it dust. 

Very soon…







“WHAT DO YOU MEAN? WILL THE CHILDREN BE ON THE FRONT LINES?!”

“AND WHAT SAY OF IZUKU MIDORIYA? WHAT IF THE BOY IS TRULY ALIVE IN THERE?”

“WAS IT REALLY A UNANIMOUS DECISION? IS UA AS HEARTLESS AS THE MEDIA PORTRAYS THEM TO BE?”

The reporters were shouting and screaming out their questions, but it was useless. Nezu repeated the same shtick about “safety” and “pro heroes will be there as well”. 

It was all a load of shit.

“Katsuki Bakugou, I already know what you’re thinking,” Mitsuki warned, her voice low, yet clear and unwavering.

Kirishima looked over at his friend who hadn’t stopped staring at the screen, shoulders slumped and hands digging into the pillow in his lap. He knew exactly what Bakugou was thinking as well.

The blond boy looked over at his mother, leveling his glare with hers. Masaru scooted forward a bit, holding his hands up, “Now, now, you two, let’s ju---”

“And I know I can’t stop you,” Mitsuki sighed. 

“What?” Both of the Bakugou men said at the same time. 

Mitsuki shrugged a little, “It’s pointless. He’s as headstrong as he is aggressive. Even if I said ‘no, you can’t’, he’d find a way to go anyway. It'd be better if I give him permission, rather than him go and do the roundabout bullshit he always does. Sneaking out in the middle of the night and surviving in the woods until the attack, probably. But here’s the deal. There are conditions you need to follow. You don’t follow them, I’m calling the police on you.” Her red eyes glinted angrily, boring into Bakugou in a way he had never experienced. Sure his mom was always angry and full of hostility when it came to him but this was different. She was...acting like a mother...in her own weird way? Giving him orders that he knew he had to follow. This wasn’t something as simple as who was going to do the dishes. 

“He said two days from now, right? You do nothing in those 2 days. You stay here, both you and Kirishima. I want neither of you out of the house unless absolutely necessary. The teachers are already sending home all of your hero costumes as well as any support items you need. Any training, any exercise, anything. You do it here. That’s rule number one. Number two: if you are in a life-threatening situation, leave immediately. I’m not letting my son be taken away from me permanently. And now you’ve brought me another being to care about, so you better not get hurt either, Eijirou.” 

Kirishima shuddered a little under her cheetah-like glare. It was one of the first times she hadn’t affectionately called him “Eiji” (He’d actually never had someone call him by a nickname before and it was rather pleasant).

“And Katsuki, you’re still hurt. I can tell. You were making faces all during dinner last night and when you were walking to the shower,” Mitsuki crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes.

Kirishima’s own eyes widened, staring at Bakugou a little longer than he should’ve. How’d she see that?! What kind of modifications does her Bakugou translator have?! 

Granted, she was Bakugou’s mother...she was probably the first-ever model of the “Bakugou Translator” installed. 

“I’m fine---

“Bullshit. Heroes should know their limits. That’s what makes them strong. Please, Katsuki. You’ll be surrounded by pros and your classmates. Rely on someone for once,” Mitsuki pleaded, all contempt absent from her tone. She was genuinely asking her son to be safe. 

Bakugou didn’t respond, simply turning away from her and grunting. Masaru patted his wife’s knee gently, “Don’t worry, honey, I’ll talk to him later. Why don’t you boys go on back to your rooms? I’m sure you’ve got a lot to discuss.”

Kirishima nodded absentmindedly, staring at the broadcast that was coming to an end. There were water bottles and insults being thrown at his teachers as they stood.

“Before we go, we have just a little announcement from a special guest, if you could all cease your behavior,” Nezu stated calmly into the microphone, ducking when a half-eaten sandwich flew over his head. 

The room dwindled into angry murmurs as the standing faculty turned toward the door, watching as a rather plump, but petite, woman make her way to the empty chair in between Aizawa and Nezu.

Mitsuki’s mouth dropped open, “ Inko ?!”

“Everyone, this is Inko Midoriya, mother of Izuku Midoriya. She had a couple of words to say. Any backlash of what has happened should not fall to her, and if you do continue to throw things, please aim them at us, not her. She is another victim in this whole ordeal, and you shall treat her as such,” Aizawa practically seethed, poison dripping off every consonant. 

The reporters dropped their voices, eager to hear what this woman could possibly tell them.

Inko was a wreck. A put-together one at best. Though she was completely composed, outfit and hair-wise, her face was splotched, unshed tears gleaming at the corners of her eyes as she shakily sat down in her chair along with everyone else. All Might placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder as she began.

“Everyone...at UA...in Japan... everyone , I just need to say this: please, do not hate my son. You know as much as I do, that he is a hero. He...These kids are our future. I know my son would never give himself to the villains...not willingly. So, please, give my Izuku another chance. I don’t want the world that he wants to protect, against him. He’s strong. He is kind and brave. Do you all remember the Sports Festival? How he gave up a fight just to help his friend who was struggling? Do you remember the training camp? How he and his classmates were attacked, and he had persevered and saved a child, Koda? Please...my son is a hero. Don’t treat him like a villain. If...if…” She choked on a sob and Aizawa was quick to hold her other shoulder as she waved her hand and shook her head, “No, no, I’m fine…”

“If my son does die...please do not paint him as a villain. Please, honor his name. I probably won’t be around for long after that...so let this be my dying wish. My son is a victim. A victim to who, we may never know. But he was never a villain. Whatever that thing was...was not my son, ” Her tone shifted, her voice unwavering as she practically shouted the words into the microphone. The room was completely silent now.

“I know you might think that I’m just saying this because he’s my son. Do not think that I am not aware of the atrocities that have occurred because another person wears my son’s face. In fact, this Doku even hurt Izuku’s own friends and sent them to the hospital. I am aware. But it is not Izuku doing this. You must know that. That’s...that’s really all I wanted to say. Thank you for your time,” Inko stood immediately, bowing as the room erupted into a frenzy. Questions and cheers and booing shattered the silence as she was escorted out by the staff, cameras clicking, the lights flashing.  

Mitsuki was already in tears.

“Boys, I’m sorry, I’ll be right back,” She whispered, her voice a little shaky as she stood, walking to her room. 

Masaru watched after her and looked back at the two boys, still frozen and staring at the commercial that was now playing on the screen. His son was completely still, his red eyes unblinking as his chest rose and fell unsteadily. Kirishima was on the verge of tears, his hair hanging over his face as his knee bounced up and down

“Why don’t you two go on back to the room...I’ll be there shortly,” Masaru said kindly, his voice obviously tinted with worry at both the broadcast and his wife’s reaction. 

Kirishima collected himself, nodding, “Yeah, let’s go, Bakugou.”

 

 



Bakugou and Kirishima opted for silence. It was the only thing that they could do at this point. Letting the thoughts and questions and confusion swirl in their brains like a brewing pot as they tried to understand this world they were forced to live in.

Shoot to kill. 

Aizawa was lying when he said "unanimous". There was no way...From the few interactions Bakugou had with his teacher since this had all started, he could gather enough information to know that he would never agree to kill Midoriya. Even his face when he announced it...

Shoot to kill .

That was a little extreme, wasn’t it? Who even suggested that? Did they all really agree to it? Or was that just to please the public, and put them at ease? 

Shoot to kill .

How would he feel about that?... Even if they did get to Doku there was no guarantee that Deku could come back. Even if he could, would he ever be the same? Would it really be Deku? Would the people really listen to what Inko said? Would they protest against it if Deku came back to UA? 

Shoot to kill .

Some sick, rational part of himself understood the command. It was for the better of the people. Doku was evil, and he seemed to just keep getting away, no matter how hard they tried to catch him. He’d already successfully gotten to them twice. They weren’t going to make it three.

Shoot to kill.

How were his classmates reacting to the broadcast? He had a pretty good idea. 

Todoroki probably made an angry face or two and then shut off whatever device he was watching on. He would get up and then try to busy himself with something, acting as if whatever had just happened hadn’t affected him in the slightest as a storm gathered under his skin. Maybe his hand would ice over involuntarily, or he’d accidentally raise the temperature of the room. He wouldn’t realize it until his sister yelled at him from the other room, practically suffocating. 

Uraraka probably was so shocked she couldn’t move. Maybe even in tears? That was debatable. She probably wouldn’t leave her room for a while, just as she’d done at the dorms.

Iida was---

“Bakugou, what are you thinking?” Kirishima spoke nonchalantly as if he hadn’t just spent the past ten minutes mustering up the courage to ask.  

Bakugou grunted in reply. 

“Yeah, me too,” Kirishima replied, half in jest. A simple “ugh” was sufficient enough right now. 

A knock at the door silenced whatever follow-up Kirishima was going to try. Masaru peeked his head around the door, smiling wearily, “Hi, you two. Eijirou, would it be alright if I spoke to Katsuki for a little while?” 

“Oh, of course, I’ll see myself out,” Kirishima fumbled with the futon, quickly rising and waiting for Masaru to enter before leaving. The door was shut and Bakugou remained lying down as Masaru crossed the room to sit at the foot of his bed.

“They shipped in your school uniform along with your hero costume...but I noticed they didn’t send in your tie. Why’s that?” Masaru scooched himself so that his back was resting on the wall, getting a better view of his son who was on his back, staring at the ceiling. 

“I don’t know,” Bakugou muttered. 

Masaru laughed a little, “You threw it away, didn’t you?”

Bakugou didn’t respond but averted his eyes. That was answer enough and Masaru laughed again, “Guess once was enough, huh?”

Masaru remembered that day. The first and last day Bakugou had ever worn a tie. It was before he had even begun to attend UA, a school picture day of some sort. He had to receive a student ID card with his picture and the school uniform was the required attire.

For around fifteen minutes, Bakugou had stood in the mirror in the bathroom, turning the length of fabric left, then right, exasperatingly sighing whenever his knots came easily undone. At one point, he’d thrown the tie onto the floor and screamed, as if that would somehow help. 

Masaru heard and quickly padded to the bathroom’s doorway, “What’s wrong?!”

Bakugou looked over at him, panting like someone who’d run a marathon, and pointed at the ground where the tie lay. Masaru looked from his son back to the tie, not sure whether to laugh or be disappointed, both as a father and as a fashion designer. 

“Need help?” Masaru managed to get out without sounding even the slightest bit amused. 

Bakugou didn’t respond but picked up the tie and wrapped it around his neck again, obviously waiting for instruction of some sort. Masaru blinked once, then twice. He’d never had this kind of interaction with Bakugou before. There was no tossing the ball around, or learning to shave, or mowing the lawn together. Granted, the Bakugou’s weren’t really a white picket fence family, but Masaru had missed out on a lot when it came to his son...Did he even really know him?

“I’ll be right back!” Masaru said, a little too gleefully as he dashed to his room to grab a tie. Work wasn’t for another two hours, since he had taken half a day off for Bakugou, but it didn’t matter. His son was asking for his help! Bakugou watched his father practically skip down the hallway with confusion and went back to looping the red satin every which way.

When Masaru had returned, a striped tie in hand, Bakugou stepped to the right to make some room for him to fit next to him at the sink.

Masaru almost burst into tears on the spot at the gesture. When he looked up into the wall-length mirror, standing side by side like this, he noticed his son was almost as tall as he was now. When did he grow to be so big? 

And looking back down at the tie didn’t help his aching heart either. He recognized it right away, and so had Bakugou. 

It was very stereotypical of a family to not really know what kind of gift to get the man of the house, and the Bakugou’s were subject to it as well. As unconventional as their family was, they still seemed to fit right in when it came to these things. That being said, the tie that Masaru was holding was a victim of the stereotype.

A couple of years ago, for his birthday, Bakugou had bought him this very tie. It had been the first time he’d used his own money that he’d been saving up to buy anything, so he had been rather proud of it. He hadn’t really thought much about the gift, but Masaru was touched anyways. 

Bakugou looked down at the tie for a moment and tched, “Why are you using that old piece of shit? I thought you threw it out.” 

Masaru beamed, looking down at it, “Nope! I would never. I’ve worn it before!”

Bakugou was a little taken aback by that. It’s not like the tie was necessarily cheap, but it was definitely...not fit for a fashion designer’s more advanced palette. The stripes were an awful combination of orange, brown, and grey, and the bottom was a little wider than it should be. Bakugou couldn’t even lie: he most likely got it on clearance. He thought his father discarded it afterward. Maybe if he paid a little more attention…

Bakugou rolled his eyes a little, “Alright, how the fuck do we do this?”

Masaru and Bakugou spent the next two minutes tying and retying the tie in different knots, Masaru laughing a little whenever Bakugou got his fingers stuck, and Bakugou yelling out in frustration at least every five seconds. 

Masaru missed those times. Especially now. When his son was in and out of hospitals, a target to the villains, kidnapped, waking up in the middle of the night, haunted by memories and nightmares he shouldn’t be having at such a young age. He would never take his son’s dream away from him, but he couldn’t help but wish that Bakugou wasn’t born with such potential. It was selfish, and he would beat himself up anytime the thought crossed his mind. But humans can’t control what their hearts long for.

Sometimes, he’d let his mind wander. Let himself believe that Bakugou wasn’t going to UA, wasn’t going to be a hero, wasn’t a person of interest in the eyes of literal villains. Maybe there were no quirks in this world. Maybe Bakugou would be the heir to the fashion business the Bakugou’s were planning on starting. Maybe they’d get a shop, call it something sweet like Kazuko , for family, and they’d be a humble local business. And maybe they could’ve lived like that. 

But this was the world he lived in. And there was no way around it. 

“Do you remember that day you learned how to tie a tie?” Masaru blurted out suddenly. Bakugou didn’t move but flicked his eyes over to his father, who was staring at Bakugou’s bookshelves across the room, lost in thought. 

“Hm.”

“Did you really forget since then? You’re a bright kid, you know,” Masaru teased a bit. 

Bakugou brought a hand up to his chest, rubbing where his collar would be. Truth be told, ties were suffocating, and especially after his kidnapping, it was even worse for him. Wearing it that day for the picture, after the sludge villain, had been literal torture. He’d ripped it off right after taking his ID. He’d never seen the tie since. 

The day of the sports festival, after he’d won, he had been forced into one while he was still tied up. Whose it was, he’d never find out, but that one was gone too, exploded to bits by his quirk. 

“I don’t like ties,” Bakugou mumbled, letting his hand fall back onto the mattress. Masaru watched the movement, understanding immediately. His eyes scrunched behind his glasses as he frowned. His kid was worried about asphyxiation. His kid. His sixteen-year-old child was worried about being choked out, after he’d suffered through it, twice

Some world they lived in.

“They’re overrated anyway,” Masaru agreed. They dwindled into silence again. “Katsuki.”

“Hm.”

“I know you don’t like sappy stuff, but you need...you need to know. I have to make sure you know, in case…” He didn’t finish his sentence, but Bakugou did in his head. In case I die. He did hate sappy shit. He didn’t turn away, though, and that alone encouraged Masaru to continue. He focused his gaze on a thick mathematics book on the shelf. Looking at Bakugou would only make him break down into tears. 

“Me and your mother...we care about you very much, which I’m sure you know. We love you. You’re all we have. We could lose our jobs, our home, our cars and money, and everything , but as long as we have you...that’s all that matters. We’ve never...we’ve never told you this...but your mother suffered several miscarriages after you. We tried to bring another Katsuki into our world, but someone out there knew that one was enough. That you’re all we need. There’s only one sun, you know?” Masaru laughed a little, getting teary eyed. “You burned as brightly as one. Anyone else would’ve melted under your tiny little fists!”

“Just...what I’m getting at here is that we can’t afford to lose you. You’re our sun, our world. So please, when we say be careful, it isn’t just about your physical wellbeing. I know you don’t care much about that at all. We say it for our family. For the life that you have yet to live. For the memories you have yet to make. For the sun that you will bring into the world. Don’t think that there'll be no repercussions when you throw yourself at every obstacle that comes your way. Maybe you don’t care what happens to you, but you aren’t separate from everyone else. You are connected to hundreds of lives, both living, dead, and the ones that have yet to be lived. Sure you’ve got your own idea of a hero in your head, but a hero isn’t just someone who saves others. Heroes get to be selfish too. You deserve that. Sometimes saving yourself means saving others!...I’m just blabbing now...I might be going senile! Just know that it isn’t just you against your problems. You’ve got two trusted allies right here if you ever need help. And if it ever gets to be too dangerous, back away. Remember, you’re still just a kid. You aren’t supposed to be going through all this. You have every right to back out. It’s your life after all, and we need the sun now more than ever,” Masaru concluded, sighing as he felt a huge weight lifted off his chest. 

This was probably the most he’s ever talked to his son in a span of time. He’d kept his feelings about Bakugou and his dream hidden away for so long, and especially now, it had been suffocating him to keep it inside. 

He stole a glance at Bakugou, almost forgetting he was there as he collected himself. It was useless to try and wipe his tears, as more inevitably began to fall the minute he looked at him. 

Katsuki Bakugou was a mess. 

Tears were leaking out of his closed eyes as he quietly took shaky breath after shaky breath. When the silence prolonged even more, he opened them, red-rimmed and watery, his mouth quivering like a child. 

He never really talked to his dad. He never really needed to. He hadn’t had the typical talks fathers gave their sons, and he wasn’t necessarily angry about that. They’d just never found the need for them. Everything was a sort of mutual understanding, of mutual respect. If anything, Masaru was the only one that Bakugou ever really listened to. 

This talk summed up every other talk they never had. Every word that was never spoken, kept away in the back of their minds. These words were enough. 

Masaru never spoke his mind much, and Bakugou was unconscious of the fact that his brain could understand everything he was thinking almost perfectly. But he would never have guessed this was what he was feeling…

True, parents are supposed to love and care for their children. And with his parents, it was an obvious given; despite how much he and his mother fought, he always knew, in the end, there were really no hard feelings. But rarely do they express that love and care like this. 

A simple “I love you” could not simply meet the standards of the words that Masaru had just spoken. The ones that had driven needles into Bakugou’s heart. 

“Dad…” Bakugou whispered, sitting upright and diving for Masaru whose arms were already open for a hug. 

Bakugou fell onto his father's chest, holding the back of his shirt so tightly that he was worried his fingers would fall off. Masaru hugged him back just as hard, his tears flowing freely. 

He didn’t talk, didn’t move. His heart had already captured this moment and framed it. This was the first time his son had ever touched him. In...at least a decade. It had been far too long. 

Little Katsuki running around, getting his knees scraped, running his mouth a little too much, fighting stray cats, and bothering old ladies. Little Katsuki who he used to give piggyback rides, who he used to hold hands with as they walked through the All Might merchandise store. Little Katsuki, who would insist that he would be big and strong “like All Might and Dad!” Little Katsuki who wasn’t so little anymore. 

He didn't want to do anything to ruin the moment. Maybe if he wished a little harder, he could freeze time just like this. Maybe call his wife from the other room. And they’d hug. And he’d freeze them. And that would be it.

“Now, don’t you get all sappy on me. I can’t even remember the last time you called me dad,” Masaru chuckled, his voice thick and his glasses fogging up. 

Bakugou let out a soft scoff and pulled back, quickly wiping his tears. He didn’t know what to say anymore. He’d never felt so...loved? Accepted? But these words couldn’t come from just anyone. They only mattered from Masaru. Quiet and calm Masaru, who always meant what he said, who never lied. 

It hurt, actually. Just a little bit. That he pained his family like this. That they were always worried about him. That they didn’t want to lose their only son, their only light. His family wasn’t something he thought about often, but he realized at that moment that if he lost one of them...he wouldn’t know what he would do with himself. 

Giving it thought now, hurt.

“Thank you, Dad.”

I love you, too.






“Do you need help with any part of your costume, sweetie?” Mitsuki asked Kirishima who was changing in the bathroom. 

“No! Thanks, Mrs. Bakugou!” 

“WHAT ABOUT YOU, SHITHEAD?! YOUR INCOMPETENT ASS IS PROBABLY STRUGGLING IN THERE!” Mitsuki screeched through Bakugou’s door, pounding her fist on it. 

“GO AWAY, YOU WITCH!”

Mitsuki stuck her tongue out at the door and stomped over back to the kitchen. Her face fell immediately. Today was the day. Her son would leave and…

She wished she could shut off her brain, close off all the different possibilities her mind was creating.

She had called Inko the night of the broadcast and spoke to her about what had happened, teary eyed and all. “Take back what you said,” Mitsuki had practically screamed into the phone. Inko was so shocked she had even dropped the phone, “Which part?!”

“‘ I won’t be around for much longer ’?! Take it back, dumbass!” Mitsuki yelled again. 

Inko went silent for a couple of moments before sighing, “It’s true, ‘Suki...I just...I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. After today...I just don’t think I’m strong enough…”

“Lies! You are the strongest woman I know,” Mitsuki interrupted.

“Heh, and you’re the strongest I know.”

“Why...why don’t you come over on that day? I don’t want you to be alone. You know what, scratch that. This isn't a question. This is a demand. You’re coming over, and we’re going to drink tea and stress out together, alright? You can’t be alone on a day like that...and neither can I. We might be the strongest women we know but strength has its limits…” Mitsuki demanded.

“Even if I disagree, you’d find a way to make sure we’re together during it,” Inko gave in, giggling a little, for what felt like the first time in forever. 

“Exactly, don’t fight it. You’ll never get rid of me!”

Knowing that Inko would be here soon was putting her at ease, but her heart still raced as Kirishima and Bakugou walked into the living room, both wearing their hero costumes. 

Keeping herself distracted, she began to adjust Bakugou’s headpieces, making sure to be gentle as she straightened them and moved onto his gauntlets. Looking over at Kirishima, she cocked her head a little, surveying his costume. It wasn’t the ugliest she’d ever seen but it definitely could be better. 

“Eiji, how do you feel about sleeves?” Mitsuki asked, abandoning Bakugou to walk around Kirishima, narrowing her eyes. 

Kirishima blinked, “How do I feel about them? I mean, they keep you warm? They...I don’t know. I never really had strong feelings about them…?”

“I meant for your costume, silly. If you got some black sleeves, I think it might tie the whole look together. And maybe some tighter pants? See how they bulge over here, it could prevent your mobility and air resistance…” She trailed off, realizing she was going full-on work mode when she had in fact taken the day off. “Sorry, sorry! Totally got ahead of myself there.”

Kirishima looked down at his arms, “No, I think that’s a really cool idea, Mrs. Bakugou! You’re a fashion designer, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, I am!”

“Then you probably know best. I’m not the greatest with clothes or styling so I think I might take your advice!”

“That’s great to hear---oh, looks like your ride’s here, boys. Masaru!” She called back for her husband who was using the restroom. 

Bakugou walked past her, not in the mood for the goodbyes that were going to commence. The faster he got to the car, the faster he could get to UA, and the faster he could help take down Doku. 

“Where do you think you’re going, Mr. Katsuki Bakugou?” Mitsuki had her hands on her hips, her foot tapping the ground as she waited for him to turn around. 

“To UA.”

“You didn’t give your mom a goodbye!”

“Bye.”

Mitsuki rolled her eyes, striding forward to grasp Kirishima’s hands, “Please, keep this idiot out of trouble, alright?”

Kirishima nodded with a lopsided smile, “Of course! Will do!”

She stood a little on her tiptoes and gave him a kiss on his cheek, hugging him tightly, “And come back safe.”

Masaru followed suit, giving Kirishima a handshake as Mitsuki moved on to Bakugou. She glared at him, but it was rather lackluster. Her bottom lip quivered, and her eyes filled with tears as she tackled her son in a hug. He held his hands up and away from her so as not to hit her with his gauntlets as she squeezed. 

“Please, Katsuki…” She didn’t say exactly what she was asking of him, but he understood perfectly well. 

“Yeah, yeah, Mom,” He grumbled, his eyes softening a little. 

She gave him a kiss as well and moved aside, wiping her tears. 

Masaru gave Bakugou a salute, which made the blond roll his eyes, before pulling him into a hug. 

“I love you, son, be careful.”

Bakugou was left to wonder which spelling of the word son he meant. 

You’re our sun. 

“Goodbye!” Kirishima called, as Bakugou muttered, “Bye” as well. 

Mitsuki crossed her arms, “No! It’s ‘See you later’.”

Kirishima’s hand faltered where it was up and waving, “See you later.” He affirmed. 





The two boys sat in silence on the way there, each looking out of their respective windows. 

Today was the day. 

Today…

Everything that had happened so far rushed back to Bakugou, hitting him like a tidal wave. 

Doku was after everyone...he wanted Bakugou alive...he was attacking UA. 

He wasn’t sure how Doku was going to achieve that on his own, and frankly, he didn’t care to think about it. He’d know when he got there. 

Only a couple of students in Class 1A were permitted to come back to the campus, in hopes that, if the pros do capture Doku, they might be able to get through to Midoriya. Familiar faces were always better than foreign ones. Todoroki, Iida, and Uraraka had all texted Bakugou to let him know they had been selected to come. 

Even though they were wearing their hero costumes, they were not expected to do anything. They were to wait in a classroom until the pros had apprehended Doku, and then they would be escorted by police to the area of capture. 

Nezu’s using this as a simulation , Bakugou had realized when he listened to the instructions from Aizawa. 

They would not be doing any real work, unless the pros asked anything from them, and were simply permitted to watch as they did their work. 

It was ridiculous. 

What was the point of bringing the students to the building if they were not doing anything? It was one teenaged boy against the hero industry’s biggest and brightest. How hard would it be?

For someone whose quirk is Intelligence, Nezu was dumber than Bakugou could’ve ever dreamed.

“Hey...what’s that?” Kirishima asked. 

Bakugou drew his attention to whatever Kirishima was pointing at. By the looks of it, the car was nearing UA, driving on one of the private roads that led up to the dorms. As for what Kirishima was pointing at…

What is that? 

The road was curving upward, and where Kirishima was pointing was a little further below them, on the pathway up to the UA building. 

Were those...ants?

A big mass of figures clustered together, and from far away, it definitely did look like insects…

But no…

With a sinking feeling in his chest, he realized: they were clones.

Hundreds and thousands of Doku clones.

Bakugou turned to the driver, “STOP HERE!” 

The driver didn’t listen. In fact, he stepped harder on the pedal, sending the car flying forward, and Bakugou, backward. 

“WHAT THE HELL?!”

The driver turned around, a wicked smile on his face, his glowing red eyes boring deeply into Bakugou, “That’s not very nice, Kacchan.”

Before driving them away from the road, diving off the cliff, and into the nearest tree.

Chapter Text

 

“I’m not exactly sure where you are. And I’m not sure I want to know. But I just want to say...I’m going to win. Today’s the day. Izuku Midoriya will no longer exist, you hear me?”

Doku spun in a circle, flourishing his arms like a conductor, “Doku is the one and only! The poison that flows through humanity’s veins. The poison that eats away at your being, the poison that you tried so hard to swallow. THE POISON YOU CREATED!”

He was breathing heavily now, the mental strain getting to him. 

He hadn’t heard from Midoriya in...weeks. At least. Radio silence. 

It was scary.

Nothing was more unsettling than silence, and Doku knew that better than anyone. 

His brain had been empty. No cries, or shouts, or even a peep from Midoriya. Not even when he was at the police station when he was poking fun at Bakugou. 

Not a word. 

He had, in fact, antagonized Bakugou just for that sole purpose: to grab Midoriya’s attention. He had planned it all out. Not only was there the revelation that he would be attacking UA, but the reactions of his loved ones were a surefire way to get Midoriya to come out of the shadows. And yet...

Doku was going a little insane.

“DO YOU THINK YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH THIS?! DO YOU THINK I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE PLANNING?!” He didn’t.

“YOU CAN’T HIDE FROM ME FOREVER! I’LL FIND YOU.” He won’t.

“I. AM. YOU!” He wasn’t. 

He practically ripped his hair out as he grabbed handfuls of the green mess. As much as he tried to convince himself that he knew everything there was to know about Midoriya...he truly never could figure out what he was thinking.

Midoriya was an anomaly. 

Sure, he could predict things: emotions, reactions...well, so he thought. But Midoriya was uncharacteristically quiet. Not making a move, not attacking. 

Doku had been on his guard when he had first wandered into his mind, waiting for Midoriya to pounce out and attack him. But even now, as he struggled to remain in the hollow space, he couldn’t feel his presence.

Almost as if…

“I’M GOING TO KILL YOUR FRIENDS! ALL OF THEM! ONE BY ONE! I said I would save Bakugou for last but I DON’T THINK I WILL! I’LL DO HIM FIRST! THEN YOUR CLASSMATES, YOUR MOM, YOUR DAD, ALL MIGHT, EVERY HERO! I AM UNSTOPPABLE. I. AM. DOKU---”

He froze. 

He was Doku. Right?

I'm Doku, right...?

That day at the mall, Doku had gone on and on about how he wasn’t Midoriya: he was Doku. Todoroki had insisted that he was Midoriya, but Doku had argued back. Why had he done that?

Wasn’t he just saying he was Midoriya? Is he even his own being?

Aren’t you just…nothing? Are you sure you’re a real being…? If you were saying that you’re Izuku...doesn’t that mean you’re not Doku? Does that even make sense? Who are you? What are you?

Doku fell to his knees and screamed. 

No. He was...Doku? Right? RIGHT?!

WHY ARE YOU EVEN STRESSING OUT ABOUT THIS, DOKU?!

“DON’T CALL ME THAT!” Doku roared into the darkness. 

The cry echoed throughout the shadows that surrounded him as he rocked back and forth. Doku or Izuku? Which was it? 

 

 

And he woke up, sweating, flushed, and shaking, the questions swirling his thoughts and vision, spinning his stomach, taking his breath. 

It was awful, really. Being alone. 

In a way he missed Midoriya, but not for the reasons you might think. 

Being alone with his thoughts was terrible. Midoriya, in his own sick way, gave him a sense of security. 

He pulled at his hair again, like yanking leaves out of a tree: What are you planning, Izuku?

 

 

 

“Hi, Mom.”

“Oh, Shoto, this is a nice surprise.”

Todoroki stood in the doorway to his mother’s room, his hand on the frame, not making a move to step any closer. 

His mother sat on her freshly made bed, wearing the mint pajamas the hospital supplied and a feeble smile as they watched each other in silence for a moment. 

“Er...would you like to come in?” Rei asked half-heartedly, a little confused at her son’s behavior. Todoroki had made it a habit to visit her at least once a week, and he didn’t hesitate as much as he had the first day. But now, she was hit with a sick wave of déjà vu as she stared up at his unmoving face, shadowed by the sunlight peeking through the window. 

Todoroki shook his head, “No, I really need to get going.” And yet he made no attempt to leave. 

He flicked his gaze over to the bellflowers resting in the vase on the windowsill, their petals drooping ever so slightly. 

“He hasn’t been here in a while, has he?” Todoroki suddenly asked, spurred on by impulse in the heat of the moment. 

Rei looked startled, staring at the vase and blinking, “Oh, I guess he hasn’t…”

The wilting flowers were evident of Endeavor’s negligence, given that every time Todoroki visited, they were fresh. His father supposedly replaced them every chance he got, but lately…

“Did you come to talk about your father? He doesn’t visit. Granted, he’s not allowed to but---” 

“No,” Todoroki interrupted. “Well, kind of. I haven’t…I haven’t spoken to him in a while, and I texted him, but no response has come back yet. I thought maybe you knew something about it. But of course, you wouldn’t and I shouldn’t have asked, I’m sorry. I’ll go, I’m…” He trailed off as his mother began sheepishly chuckling.

“Ah, you remind me of him when you get flustered like that. Even though neither of you outwardly show it, you both are so awkward! He apologized just like that after asking me if I wanted water at a restaurant!” She giggled again.

Todoroki’s face fell and he grimaced, “Don’t compare me to him. Especially when it comes to things like that .”

Rei smiled warmly, despite the ice radiating off her son, “Please, Shoto. Just because you reject your father, doesn’t mean you can reject the tendencies and traits he passed onto you.”

Todoroki looked away. She was right, but she didn’t have to say it. Especially in that teasing tone she was using.

“I haven’t seen him, you’re right, but that is definitely odd that he wouldn’t even answer your texts. I know he’s been blowing your phone up non-stop. You would think he would pounce on any opportunity to text you.”

Todoroki cringed, “Please...don’t word it like that.” The image of Endeavor as a cat came to mind, jumping on his phone as if diving for a ball of yarn. 

“So, what is it that you need from him?” 

“I just had a question, I guess.” Was that really it?

“Oh? About hero stuff?”

“Sort of...you remember everything I told you about Midoriya right?”

“Well, how could I forget? You were just here last Wednesday.”

Todoroki felt himself begin to thaw. Little things like her remembering stuff that was important to him made him so happy, it was almost unbearable. 

“Yeah...I don’t want to trouble you or anything…” He quietly said, already planting his foot so he could make a timely escape.

“No, please. I wouldn’t mind being troubled. It’s what mothers are supposed to be anyways. To be honest, I...I sometimes feel like our roles have reversed,” She turned to him, patting the mattress, inviting him to sit. 

Todoroki hesitantly accepted, lowering himself, but not finding a comfortable position. 

“So, you know how Mr. Aizawa told us we weren’t allowed to participate in the whole Doku fight anymore?” His mother hummed in remembrance.

“Well, it’s not like me and my friends listened. Me, Iida, and Uraraka came up with a plan. A crazy one. But one that could work. I don’t remember the specifics, because Bakugou told us the plan was off...but it was just so that we could get ourselves into the main fight, without the pros noticing us.”

“I suppose this is where I should tell you off, as your mother,” Rei said more as an observation rather than something that she intended to do. “But I’m proud that you took initiative, Shoto. Just please make sure you’re safe.”

Todoroki nodded and continued, “So, as I said, Bakugou called me and said ‘Plan’s off’. That same day, I found out that they want me back on the task force, along with some of my other classmates. Which is...extremely weird. Even Endeavor was completely against involving us...This begs the question: who convinced them? Or rather, did they do it without the permission of the teachers? Not to mention that Doku showed up to UA that one time I got poisoned. How did he find out? I don’t know, I’m just rambling. But none of this makes sense. Is Midoriya a mind reader? Does he have another quirk we didn’t know about? Can he control minds? Do you think he convinced the police to let us come?”

Rei blanched at her son’s outlandish predictions, and she suppressed the urge to laugh as she watched his forehead wrinkle, his eyebrows furrow, as he became deep in thought. The curve of his mouth, the far-off look in his heterochromatic eyes...it was all his father.

She tried, oh, God, how she tried to find a piece of her within him. 

But the only thing that reminded her of her motherhood was the blazing red scar that covered his face, like a stain of blood on pavement. 

Aside from that and the right half of him, there was no trace of Rei Todoroki in her son.

She tried this with her other children as well: Fuyumi, Natsuo. They both had more of her physical traits, rather than Enji’s. The white hair and the grey eyes, and even the ice-related quirks. But still: Natsuo’s hulking form when he brought her sweets, Fuyumi’s straightened posture as she folded her mother’s clothes. It was all Endeavor. Natsuo’s stubbornness, Fuyumi’s commanding nature. Shoto’s indifference, his cold stare.

And Touya...sweet Touya who had taken after her more than he should’ve...

Rei Todoroki was a curse. 

She was convinced of it. 

She plagued those around her, leaving little brands of her wrath. Whether it be by tea kettles or blue flames, she had burned those around her, despite being the Ice Queen herself.

It was rather ironic now that she thought about it. 

“Shoto, honey, I think that’s a bit of a reach,” She placed a gentle hand on his forearm.

Todoroki immediately froze, growing tense under her cold touch. He held his breath as he searched for the feeling of warmth from his mother. The same warmth that used to enveloped him when he sat in her lap and watched All Might reruns on the TV. 

The last time he had felt warmth from her was from the scalding hot splash of boiling water on his face. 

Granted he could handle it, the heat didn’t affect him, but he could feel it nonetheless. 

In a sick and twisted way, he had embraced that warmth, like a mother’s open arms, like the loving touch from a kiss, or the gentle caress from trailing fingers. 

In a sick and twisted way, he felt that it was his fault that his mother’s hands had turned cold, never to revert back. 

Because when the boiling water was dripping down his face, after he had savored the warmth before it morphed into lukewarm nothingness, he was met by his mother’s touch. 

And it was cold. 

So very cold.

And he cried and wept as she opened her arms, her cold hands burning his skin, her fingers digging into his face. There was no warm embrace, there was no loving kiss, and there was no gentle caress. 

He cried because his mother’s warm touch was gone. And it was his fault.

So he deflated under her clutch now, firmly moving his arm away as she quickly withdrew.

She held her hand in her lap and stared down at her pale fingers. The same fingers that had grasped the tea kettle, the same that had pressed into his face, burning and scarring him with the same fingers that were meant to comfort. 

“What could it be then?” Todoroki moved his palm to rest under his chin, so as not to make it seem like he had purposefully taken his arm away from his mother. 

Rei shrugged a little, crossing her ankles as they fell into a cold silence. 

“Could it...no, it can’t…” Todoroki whispered under his breath, tapping his foot insistently on the tiled floor. 

Rei looked up at him, “What is it?”

“No, it’s stupid.”

I fail to see how you could get stupider than ‘mind reader’ and ‘mind controller’. “There’s no such thing as a stupid idea or thought, Shoto,” Rei channeled her inner Fuyumi-sensei as she chanted the phrase she had heard her daughter say during stories about her class. 

Todoroki glanced over at his mother, “What if...what if UA has a traitor?”

 

 

 

And two days later, as Bakugou propelled forward at an ungodly speed, as he felt the sudden weight of someone on top of him, the sensation of crashing and the blinding pain that skyrocketed through his body…

At that very moment, Katsuki Bakugou had the same thought.

What if UA has a traitor?

What if there’s more to this than it seems?

Sure, Doku was technically a ‘traitor’...but how could Doku have possibly gotten into UA? How did he get all these clones here? Tracing back even further, how did the League know about the training camp? Or even about the USJ?

If he had known that he had reached the same conclusion as Todoroki, two days later than that dumbass had, he would’ve killed himself. 

Todoroki was...relatively...No, not smart. That wasn’t the word for it. He was knowledgeable? There was no real definition for it. He knew things, yet was incredibly stupid. He was so dense it was laughable. 

Bakugou would scream, would go ballistic if he knew.

That is, if he even made it out of this alive. 

There might not be a ‘later', Mom. He thought as his vision faded.

 


“--kugou! Bakugou! KATSUKI BAKUGOU!” 

“WHAT?!” Bakugou groaned. Why was his mother waking him up now? School’s canceled.

But when he blinked against the pain in his everywhere, his mom wasn’t the one sitting nearly on top of him. It was Kirishima.

Kirishima hovered over Bakugou, his red eyes cracked, and his skin hardened. And that’s when Bakugou really woke up. 

The car...the car had crashed!

Bakugou sat up quickly, looking around, “Doku! Where is that bastard?! I swear once I---”

“Bakugou, calm down! You're bleeding! A lot! You were out for nearly ten minutes! Just---let’s calm down!” Kirishima was frantic, his skin softening as he placed a hand on Bakugou’s forehead, drawing it away to show his friend the now red-stained fingertips. 

The blond raised his own hand to his head, feeling the sticky warmth of blood coating his hair, now missing his headpieces. 

“Whatever. Where are we?” He grunted, making to stand up as he used Kirishima’s shoulder for help. 

It isn’t just about your physical wellbeing. I know you don’t care much about that at all.  

“Well...the car crashed. The Doku driving us was a clone, so he evaporated immediately. I managed to get out of my seatbelt and harden myself to protect you. I...I wasn’t fast enough though, and you hit your head on the seat in front of you…” Kirishima looked down shamefully, unable to meet Bakugou’s eyes.

The latter’s mouth curled into a snarl, “SO?! There’s nothing your headass could’ve done anyway! It was a surprise to both of us!” 

The words were sliced by his harsh tone as he turned away from Kirishima, already crafting a path up the cliff back to the top.

“Grab on,” He called roughly, still not looking at Kirishima as he extended one of his arms.

Kirishima hesitantly stepped forward, grabbing onto Bakugou's bicep just as Bakugou began to propel them both into the air, crashing through the trees, with his explosions. 

For a moment, suspended up above like this, Kirishima was hit with a wave of nostalgia. This was eerily similar to when they had saved Bakugou from the League of Villains. 

This time though, Bakugou wasn’t the one who needed saving. 

It was Midoriya. 

If he even was still in there. 

Bakugou let out another explosion with his left hand, balancing them in the air as he surveyed the area, looking left and right for wherever those clones had gone. He roared, his cry echoing throughout the forest. In the distance, a flock of birds took off into the sky, shaken by the sudden noise. 

Kirishima was taken aback and nearly let go. He straightened himself out before taking a moment to really look at Bakugou. To see him.

Sure, everyone had eyes. They could grant vision, let us see the world around us, blah, blah. But they were much more than that. They were windows into a soul. They were open doors and closed gates.

They were able to give as well as receive, though.

They could rupture and penetrate anyone’s character under their gaze. They could kill, they could puncture and wound. 

Bakugou’s eyes had always looked that way: red, piercing, murderous intent in every sharp glare he directed towards anyone he deemed unworthy (of course, that didn’t count Kirishima).

But nowadays, Kirishima found that Bakugou’s eyes were so...hurt. As much as he held up the persona of a raging madman on steroids, he never could hide his true emotions as well as he wished to. 

Bakugou was troubled. Blood was trickling down his face and onto his eyelid, his hair was a mess, his body covered in bruises. 

Kirishima closed his eyes and breathed in deeply the smell of smoke and blood and fear. 

Bakugou gave his companion a weird look, surveying just how peaceful Kirishima looked when he was like this, blocking out all the pain of the world. 

He scoffed a little, the faintest ghost of a smile on his face as he let out another explosion to guide them in the general direction of UA. 

Before they were struck out of the sky, plummeting to the earth at a breakneck speed.

Time slowed.

What was it that his father had called him again?

The sun.

But…

But wasn’t the sun also a star?

As he shot downward, like a star falling out of the sky, the thought crossed him.

The sun was also a star. 

And there were plenty of those. 

Why did he give himself the luxury of thinking he was special? 

He crashed into the ground and stayed there.

Because that’s where he deserved to be. 

Because why did he think he was anything less than the scum of the earth? Than the mud that dirtied others’ shoes? 

Some sun he was. 

He knew it ever since he had watched Deku grow. During the sports festival, training camp, just in class when they would practice their hero moves. 

He would never amount to anything. And even if he did, he would only pale in comparison to the progress that everyone else had made. While everyone grew and improved, he stayed still. Stagnant. Like his lifeline had been cut short. Like a star that watched as the Earth rotated on its axis. Like a simple planet or meteor rock that had foolishly thought that others revolved around him when in reality, he was the one rotating around them

A sun? As if.

His father had said he glowed brightly like one. But was it him letting off the glow...or was he simply reflecting the glow let off by those around him? Was he just a surface in which they could use to cast their light everywhere? Was he just the receiver of that light?

The sun was a star. And there were already plenty of those.

He wasn’t needed.

So when Katsuki Bakugou was thrown to the ground, pushed into the dirt, and shoved into the mud, he stayed there. Because that’s where he belonged.

Maybe it wasn’t a conscious decision, maybe he truly didn’t want it. But it was what his heart had decided.

All his life, he had dictated his actions and emotions through his head, rather than his heart. It was time for it to take the wheel. 

The agony and torture he had put it through were enough to make it turn against him. His heart had been neglected for so long, aching and crying out to him, begging him to stop. Bakugou had never lent it an ear. 

He closed his eyes against whatever physical pain he was supposed to be feeling, let his limbs fall limp as tears trickled down his face.

The sun was a star. And stars could fade and disappear under the light of a sun. 

The sun was a star. And stars could vanish from the sky, without anyone giving it a second thought.

The sun was a star. And there were billions of them. He would never be able to shine as the brightest, forever lost in the sea of stars. 

Bakugou’s will was no longer something that was present. Whatever he’d been fighting for was erased from his memory.

Who was Midoriya again? Doku? Kirishima? Who was Katsuki Bakugou? What was he doing on the ground anyways?

Then suddenly something snapped (granted, Bakugou didn’t think that there was anything left to break within him anymore).

A wire that had been disconnected was suddenly plugged in again.

Deku is the bastard I gotta save.

Doku is the bastard I gotta kill.

Kirishima is the bastard I call my equal.

Katsuki is the bastard that thinks I’ll let him get away with giving up. 

I’m on the ground because I’m worthless. But I can’t just stay here can I?

A voice boomed in his mind. It wasn’t necessarily his voice, but something at the back of his mind registered it as familiar. And he trusted it, leaned into it, like a moth to a light. 

The sun was a star. And stars could fall from the sky. And even though they look so itty bitty up there, so small and insignificant, when they fall from the sky and land on the earth, they explode. They leave their mark. They leave a crater so large, it can’t be ignored.

The sun was a star. But was that such a bad thing?

He was still a sun. 

Every emotion he had let himself feel in the maybe two-second time frame between him falling and him hitting the ground was pure selfish agony. The tears shed, the very fact that he had those thoughts...It was all selfish.

He was still a hero and he better start acting like it. 

Katsuki Bakugou could doubt. He could feel upset, he could feel sad, and he had every right to think this way. But he would never allow himself to.

The universe could grant him these rights, but he would strip them from himself. 

These thoughts? This worthlessness? They had no place in the mind and heart of Katsuki Bakugou. 

They slipped past his walls this one time. And they would never come through again. 

Think of it as an antibody. When we develop illnesses, our body produces antibodies to combat the virus, and ensure that we won’t develop that branch of the sickness again. 

It was the same.

Bakugou refused to be plagued by these feelings again, and his own antibodies were quick to shut it down.

It might not make sense to normal humans. Scratch that, it really did not make any sense to a normal human.

But that didn’t matter, because Katsuki Bakugou wasn’t human.

He was the sun. 

He gritted his teeth, he steeled his resolve. The will he had thought was gone, reappeared, stronger than ever. 

Deku is the bastard I gotta save.

Doku is the bastard I gotta kill.

And he stood up, wiping the mud off his face, and he glowed.

And when he turned around, spitting up blood and saliva to his right, he was met by two out of the four bastards in his life.

Deku, the bastard he had to save, and Doku, the bastard he had to kill.

“Well, well, Kacchan, we meet again!” Doku smiled brazenly, his wickedness as prominent as ever. “Took a real tumble there, didn’t you?”

“Shut the fuck up,” Bakugou seethed, quickly dropping into position and leaped, his hands already raining down hellfire on Doku, who jumped back a step.

“Woah, easy tiger! I hit you with enough force to knock out an elephant! Or at least an overweight zebra! I mean, look! It took out our Kirishima over there!” Doku pointed to his left, where Kirishima was splayed on the ground, clearly knocked out.

Something about the fact that Doku had said ‘our’ Kirishima didn’t sit right with Bakugou. There was no ‘our’. He growled, stepping back as he realized that Doku would be as agile as ever. He wasn’t really in the mood for another cat and mice chase.

Something that also wasn’t sitting right with Bakugou was Kirishima. If he had the reaction time to unbuckle his seatbelt, get out of his seat in a moving car driving at least sixty miles per hour to protect Bakugou, he would have the time to harden himself before hitting the ground.

Plus...Bakugou didn’t even have Hardening and he still managed to remain conscious and somewhat unscathed.

He snarled, bringing his hands up again, “WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM?!”

Doku looked over at Kirishima, feigning innocence as he batted his eyelashes, “Whatever do you mean, Kacchan?”

“You know exactly what I mean, motherfucker. What did you do?” Bakugou asked, his voice noticeably quieter, but all the more threatening, like the calm before the storm.

“Oh, my dear Kacchan. You’ve always been able to see through me!” Doku laughed, then quickly did a 180, his smile dropping, his eyes glowing dangerously.

“He’s going to be asleep for a while, Bakugou. I wanted the luxury of defeating you myself, without any outside intervention. I can finally prove just how superior I am to you, and just how weak you really are.” 

Bakugou scoffed at that. He couldn’t tell if this was Deku or Doku speaking. Either way, they were sounding a lot like how Bakugou used to sound…

“I was hoping the car crash would’ve incapacitated you two, but I should’ve known that Kirishima would’ve used his Hardening!” Doku’s face brightened again.

Bakugou was starting to notice a pattern.

Whenever Doku would be tricking him, telling a lie, or trying to get on his nerves, he would switch to this happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care attitude. The smiles, and laughs, and teasing comments, the ‘Kacchan!’. 

But whenever he was dead serious, he would turn...dark, despite his glowing eyes. 

Right there, Doku had lied. Of course he would know Kirishima would use his hardening. 

Didn’t he have the notebooks now? After the incident at UA, Aizawa had reported the notebooks to be missing. 

Even if he wasn't in possession of the notebooks, Deku’s brain was a database. He’d spent enough time with Kirishima to know that he would use his Hardening in a situation like that. 

He was toying with them.

Just as he had been from the beginning.

Bakugou sneered, “Well, then, COME AT ME WITH ALL YOU GOT!”

Doku rolled up the sleeves of his white button-up with his gloved hands, his jacket already discarded long ago, completely serious as he said back, “Don’t mind if I do.”

And they fought.

Bakugou flung himself at Doku, using the trees as support as he kicked off them, his gauntlets ready to strike him. 

Doku dodged, like the slippery bastard he was, and used his own One for All lightning charged fist to plow down on Bakugou’s back. The latter fell again, hitting the ground with a boom, eerily like the noise of thunder. He rolled out of the way just in time to miss another cleverly aimed kick from Doku.

Bakugou roared, holding his hand out and using the other to aim as he began to fire explosion after explosion as Doku weaved in between trees. The red lightning of One for All was nearly the only source of light in the suddenly dark and shadowy forest. Bakugou had always taken great pride in his AP Shot, especially the rapid-fire version of it, but he should’ve known that Doku would’ve been able to avoid it so easily.

Speaking of, the villain was nowhere to be seen. 

Bakugou lowered his hand slightly, turning every which way to look for him, on his guard.

The green-haired bastard emerged in the branches of a tree, right as Bakugou’s back was turned to him.

“Catch me if you can, Kacchan,” He purred, before jumping from the tree and launching himself, both legs extended, into Bakugou’s back again. 

He cried out as he went down, his face pressed into the rock-hard dirt as Doku kicked down on his head.

“See what you are? Worthless dirty scum. The mud I have to wipe off my boots. The rug that I get to step on as I please,” Doku whispered into his ear, digging his heel into Bakugou’s neck.

He choked, coughing blood into the grass as he struggled to breathe. No, not again, please …

His panicked eyes flew left and right before looking up. Right above them was a branch, swaying dangerously back and forth, probably broken by one of the two.

He opened his palm to the sky, firing an explosion up at it, forcing Doku to jump off him. He gritted his teeth, scoffing as he watched Bakugou explode himself away in time before the branch came crashing down where they just were.

A dust cloud rolled past Doku and he coughed, closing his eyes against the stinging. When he opened them, he realized the roles were reversed: it was his turn to seek. 

Time to catch a Kacchan, he mentally snorted at the oddly perfect rhyme.

He laughed shortly, the noise echoing through the forest, You seeing this, Izuku?

With One for All at Full Cowling, Doku began to jump from tree to tree, launching himself and scanning the brush for any signs of a wild Katsuki Bakugou.

“Yoohoo! Where are youuuu?” Doku sang, hoping that Bakugou couldn’t see the grimace on his face right now. From somewhere in his vest, Doku pulled out the knife Toga gave him. He examined it before giving a kiss to the handle and gripping it with white knuckles.

Today was the day that he would win. 

That was Doku’s last thought before he was thrown to the ground, knocked by the sudden explosion of the Howitzer Impact that Bakugou had hit him with. 

How the tables turn. 

Now Bakugou stood on top of him, his black boot digging into Doku’s chest, a prideful smirk on his face, his teeth stained red.

Doku took this moment to look up at the sky. 

Bakugou had brought him to a rather nice place to battle to the death. They had ended up in a clearing, the sun finally showing through the branches of the trees. Doku squinted against its light, letting himself stare into it, before turning away, looking back at Bakugou.

He failed to see the difference, if he was being honest.

So this was Katsuki Bakugou.

It hadn’t taken much for Doku to be wholeheartedly impressed with Bakugou. This whole time, he had looked down on him, but now he had no choice but to look up at him. It was a great view. A great last glance at the person he was going to kill. 

It really put things into perspective. 

Bakugou spit on his face, and Doku didn’t even flinch. 

In fact, he smiled. 

He looked up at Bakugou and gave the most genuine smile he could muster, the first one he had been able to make since becoming Doku. 

Bakugou just stared back, the smile reminding him too much of Deku, his eyes widening as Doku started to blend with Deku, the two becoming more like each other than Doku and Bakugou wanted. 

Suddenly, Doku’s eyes welled with tears, his smile dropping, his red eyes transforming into a green as green as the grass surrounding his head like a halo. They stared up at Bakugou with the saddest look that he had ever seen. They were wide, as wide as his, and shaking, the tears finally spilling out as he clutched Bakugou’s ankle.

He then reached up the other hand holding the knife, but Bakugou was too shocked to move or fight back.

Deku unfurled his fingers to offer the knife to Bakugou, speaking in a voice the latter hadn’t heard in what felt like years. 

“Kill me, Kacchan.”

Chapter Text

 

“What do you think, Bakugou?” 

“I think this is the shittiest idea you’ve ever had. And that’s saying a lot, all your ideas are shitty.”

“Thank you for offering a better suggestion.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

“But...what do we even do if we get there? If we see him?”

“I...I’m not sure.”

“We KILL HIM!”

“That’s a little aggressive, Bakugou.”

“A little? That’s absurd! This is a rescue mission, is it not?”

“Well, I don’t even know. How do we get rid of Doku? Is there even a way…?”

There was. Two ways, in fact.

But they didn’t know that yet.

There was only one way out for them and that was…




“Kill me, Kacchan.”

Bakugou’s lungs stopped working, his heart skipping several beats as his body went rigid.

“What?” He breathed, his voice barely forming the word. 

Midoriya looked up at him, his green eyes overtaken by his dilated pupils, filled with tears as he slurred out the words again, “Kill me.”

Bakugou backed away immediately, wrenching his ankle out of Midoriya’s grip, “What?! No!”

Midoriya whimpered, choking on air as he struggled to sit up, using what little strength he had left to push Doku into the trenches of his mind. 

For the past couple of weeks, he had been hiding, lying in wait, as Doku played around, thinking he had the advantage. Midoriya had it all laid out, had planned it down to the last second. Down to this moment.

It was all in the mind, he found out. He could influence Doku’s thoughts by disguising his own words as Doku’s. Simple timing and placement made Doku easy to manipulate. A ‘let’s do this’ here, a ‘go here’ there. Midoriya got Doku to do his bidding without the villain ever realizing it.

It had all started back when Doku was still a part of the League. 

Midoriya convinced Doku that he should use Twice’s clones against UA. Twice did not even bat an eye as he created hundreds upon thousands of Doku clones. Those clones went into hiding before the big day, today. After, he had begun to whisper thoughts into Doku’s head, breaking down his sanity by convincing him he wasn’t a real being. 

Aren’t you just…nothing? Are you sure you’re a real being…?

After this, he got Bakugou alone, encouraging him to knock out Kirishima so there would be no distractions. And here they were. 

Alone, in a clearing, with Kacchan, a knife, and the fate of the country balancing on the tip of it. 

Because who else could he trust? Who else could he turn to? Who else did he know had the balls to pull off something like this? Because who else would know that this was the only way? Who else would understand that, and would be able to shoulder that burden? Who else did he know would not hesitate to get the job done? 

Nothing was heavy to Bakugou. Not the weights he lifted in the gym, and not the burdens he carried. He was strong. Midoriya knew this much. He saw it in his friend’s eyes when they fought when he was held down in Ground Beta.

Ever since they were young, it was always Deku and Kacchan. And maybe there were other extras who joined the crew or new environments that drove them apart. But when it came down to it, they always found their way back to each other. 

Back to Deku and Kacchan.

And even though Bakugou would beat him, yell at him, swear at him, step on him, it didn’t matter. If those were the roles that they were meant to play, so be it. As long as they got to stay as Deku and Kacchan, as long as they could go on living, together. Midoriya would let Bakugou beat him to a pulp every breakfast, lunch, and dinner if it meant that he got to do that. 

If that meant that he got to stay as Kacchan’s Deku. 

He sat up, reaching for Bakugou’s leg again, pleading through his tears, “Please! Please, Kacchan, you have to understand. You do understand! This is the only way. Please!”

Bakugou blinked down at him, this time, not moving away from Midoriya’s weakening grip. 

He did know. He did understand. This was the only way.

He knew it. But his brain refused to register it as a fact. To be honest, his brain wasn’t even functioning properly right now.

It seemed to be stuck in a loop, replaying every moment he had ever spent with Midoriya, moments he didn’t even think he still remembered. Moments from his toddler years, his childhood, middle school, high school, the Doku era. The last time Midoriya had been crying at his feet like this was back near the dorms when he had begged for his mercy.

How fucking ridiculous.

As if Midoriya should be the one on his knees, screaming his apologies at Bakugou. As if Bakugou was the victim, as if he was the one that was tormented his whole life. 

As if.

What Bakugou knew is that he should be the one bowing and screaming and crying and begging like a dog. Because he needed Midoriya’s mercy more than ever. 

What Bakugou didn’t know was that he had always had it. 

Every time Midoriya was kicked, punched, thrown, spat on, pushed, and attacked. 

Every time Bakugou kicked, punched, threw, spat, pushed, and attacked. 

Midoriya forgave and Bakugou forgot. 

It had been such a habit, second nature almost, to hate Midoriya.

Why?

Why was he like that? Why did he harbor such hatred in his heart? 

Why couldn’t he just accept that Midoriya wasn’t an enemy? Midoriya had never choked him, never kidnapped him, never restrained him.

Midoriya was…

Midoriya was a friend.

Midoriya always came back to Bakugou. Always.

Even now, nearly on the verge of passing out, putting forth all his effort to stay present, to take hold of his body, he ran to Bakugou. To Kacchan.

He could’ve easily gone to Mr. Aizawa, to Iida, to Todoroki, to Uraraka, to All Might, for fuck’s sake. But he came to Kacchan.

And Bakugou wanted to stay ‘Kacchan’ for just a little longer. He wanted it so badly, he thought he might just die. 

Because he really did know. He knew this was the only way for everything to go back to normal. Or, as normal as they had been.

But normal…

But normal couldn’t be normal without Midoriya.

As much as he hated that he was coming to these conclusions, he wouldn’t be able to feel any semblance of normalcy if Midoriya was gone. 

As much as Bakugou pushed him away, as much as he punched and kicked and everything, Midoriya never left. Midoriya was an extension of him. Like the brother he never had. 

And now, after cursing the very life that Midoriya was begging him to take, he found that he couldn’t do it. 

How many times did Bakugou tell him to die? Countless times. There weren’t enough fingers in the world to count them. 

It was habit and second nature.

What he discovered though, was that treating and loving Midoriya like a brother had become a habit as well.

Didn’t brothers fight? Bakugou wasn’t familiar with the concept of siblings, but Midoriya had given him the closest thing to that experience. Maybe brothers didn’t fight to this extent. 

But brothers cared about each other, made stupid nicknames that the other hated, teased each other and hated each other. Brothers despised each other because their lives had unfortunately been tied together. ‘Why him of all people?’ was always the question. 

That’s how Bakugou felt.

Brothers. Not friends.

Midoriya was a brother.

And Bakugou asked himself that question right now, looking down at his brother, whose eyes were filled with so much desperation and pain that he wanted to gouge his own eyes out so as not to see it any longer. 

Why him of all people?

Why did he have to take care of this useless piece of trash?

No. Why did he have to try and kill him, of all people? Why did he have to be brothers with Midoriya? Why did he have to grow closer to the one person he was pushing away? 

Because he couldn’t do it. He just couldn’t. 

Kill Midoriya? No.

Brothers wanted to kill each other sometimes, sure, but they never meant it. Bakugou never meant it.

And he for sure could not do it.

For some reason (it wasn’t just some reason. Bakugou knew why, now), he wanted to pick Midoriya off the ground. For all the times that Bakugou had screamed at him, calling him worthless, Deku, trash, dirt at his feet, Bakugou couldn’t stand seeing Midoriya on the ground like this. 

The roles should be reversed.

Bakugou wasn’t strong enough for this.

“No.”

Midoriya’s eyes impossibly widened more, “No, Kacchan, you have to! PLEASE!” 

Bakugou looked away.

He wasn’t strong enough for this. If he looked into Midoriya’s eyes for another second, he might just throw up. They were crazed. They were asking for something that Bakugou couldn’t give him. And that hurt

He didn’t want Midoriya to suffer. Truly. But Kacchan couldn’t give Deku the mercy he craved.

Midoriya straightened onto his knees, bringing his head level to Bakugou’s hand, shoving the hilt of the knife into his grip. Bakugou snatched his hand away, “NO!”

The knife clattered to the dirt, Bakugou’s scream the only noise in the forest. No birds sang, no leaves moved in the wind. All was silent.

Was this death?

“I’m sorry,” Bakugou muttered, dropping to knees in front of Midoriya, catching them both by surprise. What he was saying sorry for, he didn’t really know himself. Sorry for not killing you? Sorry for the torture I put you through? Sorry that this was all my fault? 

Bakugou couldn’t give a reason. He didn’t really need to. Midoriya understood what he was confessing to. Because it was Deku, and this was Kacchan. He knew everything about Kacchan and he didn’t need some stupid notebook to prove it. 

But this was new. Just Bakugou saying the word “sorry” was shocking enough, but to add the word ‘I’m’? To personalize it? To make it come directly from Bakugou, and not some vague third party not present? 

‘Love you’ was impersonal. ‘I love you’ felt more genuine. The same went for an apology. 

Bakugou said ‘I’m sorry’. 

Kacchan was sorry to Deku.

Midoriya went rigid. 

“No!” He cried out suddenly, slamming his fist into the ground, his power suddenly flowing back to him. One for All crackled throughout his arm, the red and green swirling and colliding to make a dark grey. 

Bakugou flinched backward, falling onto his butt in surprise at Midoriya’s sudden outburst. He was surprised at himself more than anything for actually getting scared by that. To this day, Midoriya was still the only one that could conquer his defenses, it seemed.

“What do you mean no?!” Bakugou screeched back when he regained his composure.

“Don’t you fucking apologize to me !” Midoriya roared, diving at Bakugou and grabbing the front of his costume. He was breathing heavily, his eyes flashing between green and red. For a moment, Bakugou was captured by the changing colors, Midoriya’s glare amplified by the vivid light show. 

“Just get the job done, and you won’t have anything to apologize for. You’ll have no regrets. Please, Kacchan. Be the hero we need you to be. That I need you to be. Kill me. You’ve gotten close to it before, why don’t you just finish the job?!” Midoriya sobbed, leaning his forehead against Bakugou’s chest. He grabbed the knife and then pulled back, offering it again. “Bakugou. Please.”

Bakugou.

So...it was already over.

The era of Deku and Kacchan. 

It fell through Bakugou’s grasp and he reached out for it, grabbing and screaming, trying to bring it back. To bring back the time when he was Deku’s Kacchan. 

It was already over before it even began, before he really got to be a good brother, a brother that Deku could be proud of. A hero that Deku could be proud of. 

Kacchan would die the minute Deku would. 

And it seemed like Midoriya had already come to terms with that. 

Was a hero really saving people if they killed others? Was he even really a hero to begin with? He couldn’t even be a fucking good brother. He couldn’t even protect his own kin.

Was he really saving Midoriya by killing him?

Was this really the only way?

He reached once more, reached for Kacchan, reached for Deku, as he moved his suddenly lead-filled arm and grabbed the knife. He reached once more for Deku and Kacchan, and again it fell through his fingers like the sand in the hourglass of life. 

It was over. And with just a simple downward swing of this knife, it would be finished for good.

Midoriya’s hand grew limp and he fell back to sit on his knees, breathing heavily. This was it. This was death. More than anything, he felt grateful.

He pulled his mouth into a watery smile, lifting his head to meet Bakugou’s terrified, childlike gaze, “Thank you, Kacchan.”

Bakugou’s eyes immediately filled with tears, “Save your thanks, helpless Izuku.” It was a poor attempt at a joke, a little blast from the past. Plus, it didn’t seem right to call him ‘Deku’ anymore.

Because he was about to kill that Deku. He was...He was about to kill. He was about to kill Deku.

Suddenly, with no warning, his throat closed off, his chest tightening, air escaping him. He was going to kill somebody. And not just anybody. It was Midoriya. Izuku Midoriya. Deku.

“Kacchan?!” Midoriya exclaimed, grabbing Bakugou’s arms to steady him as he nearly toppled over into the dirt.

“Please, there’s gotta be another way,” Bakugou choked out, finally getting to be the one to beg. “Please, no. I...I can’t---” 

I can’t kill you.

I can’t lose you.

I can’t live without you.

I can’t kill my own brother.

I can’t.

Midoriya closed his eyes and drew a shuddering breath. He didn’t know that Bakugou would get so worked up like this. Even going so far as to say ‘please’...

“There...there might be another way, but I really don’t know if it’s going to work and I don’t know if it’ll be enough---”

Anything.”

Midoriya tightened his grip, “Okay. Okay, just breathe. I...we’ll try it. But you have to promise! You have to promise that if it doesn’t work that you’ll kill me.”

Bakugou looked away.

“PROMISE!” Midoriya yelled, shaking Bakugou with all his might. 

“I promise.”

“Good,” Midoriya stood, unbuttoning his shirt. 

“What do you think you’re doing?” Bakugou spat out, truly confused. 

“Just shut up, Kacchan,” Midoriya sneered back with just as much poison. Maybe Doku had left behind too much of a trace before he was thrown into the mind prison.

Bakugou closed his mouth, waiting until Midoriya had thrown his shirt aside. The latter turned around, kneeling in front of Bakugou so that his back was to him. 

“Wha---”

“Do you want to know how I was changed into Doku?” 

Bakugou was silent and Midoriya took that as a cue to continue, “Back at the mall when I was held captive by Shigaraki, he shoved something into my neck. A microchip of some sorts or whatever. A theory I had was if you somehow got that chip out, Doku would be removed as well, like a virus in a laptop or something...But I ultimately discarded that theory because it is very reliant on the nature of the chip as well as circumstantial---”

“Get to the fucking point.”

“I need you to cut out the microchip.”

It was quiet again as Bakugou processed what Midoriya had just said. Cut out? The microchip? 

Well, anything was better than killing. Than literal murder.

“Alright.”

Midoriya visibly slumped, relaxing, “Thank you. Thank you, you don’t even unders---”

“Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. Just shut up and...and I don’t know. Relax? Do you...need something to hold onto? Do…” He’d never done this before, had only seen it in movies. 

“I...I didn’t really think about that,” Midoriya confessed. Bakugou scoffed. Of course, he hadn’t. Always thinking about others before himself. “I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it. Just do it.”

Bakugou sighed, setting the knife aside so he could discard his gloves and gauntlets. The anticipation was killing him. He needed to do this quickly and carefully. What if he didn’t get the chip? What if Deku bled out? What if the wound got infected? What if he cut something important? He didn’t know anatomy. He didn’t know anything about cutting and knives. He wished he did now. 

He wanted Deku to suffer as little as possible.

He wanted this to succeed, his promise from earlier weighing on his shoulders as he aligned himself behind Deku again. His grip tightened on the knife in his numb and sweaty hand. He had to do this right.

Bakugou needed to finally do something the right way, and if it was this, then so be it.

“Where is it?” Bakugou cleared his throat, trying to dislodge the sudden lump that had gotten stuck there. 

“Here,” Midoriya pointed at the left side of his nape. 

“Your fucking hair’s in the way.”

“Well, then cut it, genius.”

Bakugou tsked, bringing the knife up to carefully shave back the hair that blocked his view, gulping as he realized just how sharp it was. He barely needed to put pressure to slice his way through Midoriya’s hair. 

“Okay, I...I think I’ll start now.”

“Don’t stop.”

Bakugou didn’t respond, not sure if he could agree to that. 

He brought the knife to Midoriya’s neck, steadying both himself and Midoriya with his other hand by grabbing onto the latter’s arm. And he breathed in, sinking the tip of the blade next to where Midoriya had pointed. His goal was to make a small circle around the area and carve it out, but he wasn’t sure he would get that far. 

Midoriya was already hissing, growing rigid under Bakugou’s grasp. He halted, tightening his grip on the knife again to dig deeper, cutting the pale, freckled flesh. Midoriya cried out, leaning forward away from the knife.

“I can’t do it like this!” Bakugou yelled, shaking Midoriya slightly.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry, I---why don’t I just lie down?” 

Delaying the deed was starting to affect Bakugou. It was really getting to him, now. Was he really the best person for the job? He half considered calling Mr. Aizawa, or even getting Recovery Girl---

“Kacchan, I’m ready. Please, let’s go!” Midoriya jolted him out of his thoughts, already on the ground, his left cheek resting on the ground, his exposed chest pressed against the dirt. Bakugou couldn’t deny that this was an easier position, but he didn’t want to think about that all that much.

Instead, he straddled Deku’s back, leaning forward with the knife again, placing it back where he had started. 

This time, he gave no warning, starting to cut along the line he had already created. Midoriya writhed under him, but he was completely caged in, unable to move his limbs freely. Bakugou cringed at his cries. They were quiet now but were bound to get louder. 

Blood immediately rushed to the surface, gushing out over the black metal. Bakugou’s vision swam but he blinked hard against the nausea, jerking his hand to move faster. 

Let it show on the record that Katsuki Bakugou would like to redact his previous statement about this position being easier.

This was an awful position. 

From this angle, he could see Midoriya’s face. See how blanched it was, how the tears fell down his face rapidly, how his eyebrows furrowed in concentration, how his mouth cried out in pain.

Bakugou wished he could go back to when he lost his hearing that night after Gym Gamma. He wanted to be deaf so badly, he would cut off his own ears right now if he could.

He could also see Midoriya’s eyes, which was both a good thing and a bag thing. He watched as they flashed, green then red, then green. It was confirmation that he was hitting where he needed to be hitting. He was removing Doku, he was killing Doku. 

That spurred him on, as he reached the halfway point in the circle, a semi-arc already carved out along the scarred skin. Blood raced its way down Bakugou’s hands, falling in between his fingers and wrapping around his wrist and forearm like a snare. It was Deku’s blood on his hands.

It always was.

He winced again at a particularly loud scream that Midoriya let out, begging for his eardrums to shatter. 

Don’t stop! ” Midoriya howled, slamming his fist repeatedly downward as if he could crash down on Bakugou’s head.

He didn’t hesitate a second longer, pushing again, the sickening squelch of blood and the ripping of the skin twisting his stomach into knots. The warm crimson was making his hands slippery, loosening his grip on the knife. 

Bakugou coughed, feeling bile build up in his throat. But he had to get the job done. And he was almost done too.

He slid the knife through again, wincing as Midoriya began to spaz underneath him.

“No, no, no, NO! ” A distorted and warped voice flew out of Midoriya’s mouth, his eyes open wide, red and glowing. 

Doku.

No, Bakugou, don’t you dare! ” 

Bakugou grit his teeth and stabbed deeper.

I’ll kill you! I’ll kill Izuku, I’ll kill you, I’ll kill Tenya, and Ochako, and Shoto, and---

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Bakugou shouted, completing the circle. Now, all that was left to do was to just carve it out---

Before he could continue, Midoriya’s hand whipped up and grabbed his wrist, his eyes still red and crazed, though, not glowing. “Please, don’t listen to him, Kacchan. Do it!”

He didn’t need any more convincing.

With a roar, Bakugou dug the knife under, pushing up on the hunk of flesh he had chopped out, blood squirting up to his face. Midoriya and Doku’s screams joined his as their cries filled their ears and the air. 

The piece of flesh jumped out, flying to the right as Midoriya’s eyes rolled back into his head, going limp under Bakugou. Without hesitating, Bakugou dived for it, grabbing it in his hands as he examined it. 

Right there, in the middle of the mess of tissues and blood, was a crimson red chip, about the size of his pinky nail.

With a cry of relief, Bakugou chucked it away from him.

Then, he turned around, throwing up, heaving into the base of a tree before promptly passing out.

 

 

 

“You can’t do this !”

“You’re right, Doku. I can’t. But he can,” Midoriya smiled, pointing up at the screen in his mind, where Bakugou’s pale and sweaty face hovered. 

Doku staggered backward, his arms bound to his back by an invisible force. He looked terrible, the effects of the chip being removed showing. He was wilting away, his face and body disintegrating slowly, the left part of his torso already nearly gone. “ How ?! How did you manage to defeat me?!”

“It was all really simple. I just had to come to terms with the fact that you actually were me. You thought I was absent, looked for me for weeks, but I was always here. I just wasn’t a separate being from you anymore. Once I realized that I had to accept you as a part of myself, it was all smooth sailing from here. My thoughts were your thoughts, your words were my words. I simply projected into you and you did as I asked. You never were Doku. You were always me,” Midoriya shrugged, as if this was common knowledge. 

“No, that’s IMPOSSIBLE!”

“It very much is possible. You…” Midoriya looked up to watch as Bakugou cut at his neck. “Doku, you were just another person I needed to save.”

WHAT?!

“You ‘were’ me. Not ‘are’ me. You were me, when I was young, whenever I had hatred in my heart. But I no longer feel that way. I no longer have that hate towards really anyone anymore, including you...I needed to save myself,” Midoriya’s gaze was unfocused as if he was talking to himself. To be fair, he was. 

Doku didn’t like this one bit. 

He strode forward, stumbling and tripping, his leg nearly fully gone, blood red tears seeping out of his eyes like waterfalls, “No! I’m not...I’m not you! I’m Doku! I’m---I’m me!” Doku grabbed the front of Midoriya’s shirt, pulling with all his might.

Midoriya just smiled sadly down at him before grabbing him into a hug, “No, Doku. You’re me.”

With that, Doku began to glow red, the remaining pieces of his body shattering, swirling around Midoriya like a hurricane, encapsulating him in its fury.

Midoriya took it, held onto the pieces of himself that he refused to acknowledge, refused to pay any mind to. He saw Doku now. He saw that piece of himself that he hated, that he despised. He took it and he hugged it. He embraced it. 

This was a part of him. And he accepted it now.

I see you.

He closed his green eyes and fell into the feeling of pure bliss, completely at ease.